Author Archive

Over.It. Already?

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — January 1, 2020

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A new semester is upon us! Our schedules just got busier and our workload is a little heavier. Just the thought of this would make any normal person a bit uneasy. However, there are ways to get ahead of the game so that you’re fully prepared for the semester and anxiety won’t creep up on you like those forgotten assignments!

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Pull up with a planner| Planners are extremely helpful especially when you have a schedule full of club meetings, due dates, and get-togethers. It will allow you to write things down and have a visual representation of what your schedule looks like so you’ll know when you can squeeze in a nap!

Get a head start| I know this is easier said than done, but anything you do to get a head start on an assignment will help you tremendously. You’ll have more time to plan and ask questions if needed. You’ll even have room for those days when you’re procrastinating.

Sleep, sleep + sleep| This is a fan favorite. Sleeping is not only a hobby for those who stay busy; it is also an essential part of your health. Getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night will improve your mood and give you the energy you need to kill it!

~Tia Banks

Meet Christiana Smith!

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Feature, Latest | by — December 17, 2019

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Finding your personal freedom + creating your individual rhythm is exactly what pro-skater Christiana Smith carved out in her love for skateboarding! Blocking out noise, distractions and all negative vibes, Christiana paved her own path into her passion while shredding stereotypes in the process. 

Originally from Southfield, Michigan, Christiana discovered her love for skating at 11 years old.  Sharpening her skills, she consistently began placing in the top 10 of her competitions with ease.  While progressing she noticed more unwanted opinions and push back. Instead of shutting down, she flipped the energy by creating her empowering “Skating In A Dress” YouTube video in 2014.

She states in the video, “When you’re young you overthink everything. Then you get a little older + wiser and you realize people are going to judge you for the rest of your life. If you let that affect you, you will never be happy. So do what you want and don’t care what other people think about you.” 

Soon after she  gave creative birth to  A Positive Seed Co. created with the mission of planting positivity and sparking a movement of inspiration + kindness!

Let’s get to know Christiana a little better…

Originally from Michigan, what first inspired you to start skating + how was the skating scene at that time?

What originally first inspired me to start skating was competing with my brothers.  I have two older brothers and they went through phases of trying different sports.  One day they got a skateboard and I ended up using it more than them. A combination of that, the video game Tony Hawk Pro Skater (me just thinking skateboarding looked like the coolest thing ever) then eventually getting invited to a birthday party at a skate park when I was 11 years old.

At the time I was very young and unaware what a skate scene even was.  All I knew was I was the only girl at the skate park. I spent days in my driveway with my best friend Justin and my mom taking me to Modern Skate Park , aka, my second home.  I was so in love with skating that I wasn’t even thinking about the scene itself.  I definitely received a lot of backlash from males as my skill level progressed and they became intimidated by my presence.  Looking back, it was very cliquey but again I was so in love with skating that it didn’t matter.

You created your barrier-breaking video “Skating In A  Dress” at 18 to shred stereotypes for girls and girls of color, why is it important for you to open up doors for the next generation?

It is very important for me to open doors for the next generation because I needed a video like “Skating In A Dress” to help me when I was a young girl.  I was so timid, shy and insecure.  By me being the only girl and a black one at that, certainly didn’t make it any easier for me.  There were many times when I wanted to quit.  Not because I didn’t like skating but because I cared more about what others thought about me and the negative comments, that it was felt as if it would be easier to just quit.  I never want another person with a love of skateboarding to go through that without having support and someone to empower and motivate them to press on and never give up on something you love because of what others think or say.  I didn’t know it was ok to just be myself and do what makes me happy.  It is so true that people will judge you whether you like it or not and if you let that affect they way you live your life, you will never truly live and reach your full potential.  Not to mention being happy and living with a sense of peace and purpose.

High school can feel uneasy because you’re constantly trying to discover who you are + oftentimes faced with a lot of opinions surrounding you, how did you stay true to yourself + navigate your way to your dreams?

High school was very difficult for me.  I simply did not fit in and refused to “go with the flow”.  I suffered from low self-esteem and depression through most of it.  I had to fight through feelings of inferiority and eventually dropped the idea of doing things because of what others thought of me.  I realized that at the end of the day, “they” don’t matter and neither does what they have to say about me.  I was fortunate enough to find something I was passionate about and that became my main focus, I blocked out the background noise and tunneled into what I loved. After school it was straight to the skatepark almost everyday.

Your amazing company + powerful movement, A Positive Seed, is all about planting the seed of kindness and respect both in + out of the skate scene! How can one act of kindness start a flame of change in the world? 

A Positive Seed truly is all about planting a simple seed of kindness.  I have seen the faces of young girls/boys light up when I give them one of my stickers or compliment cards and then tell them to do the same for someone else.

You never know what people are experiencing and one kind word at the right time just may be enough to save a life.  It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t cost a thing to smile, speak or simply listen.  We are all fighting our own internal battles and at any given time, we can all need to know someone cares enough to be kind.

Skating gives you the freedom to be who you are! Has there ever been a time you were nervous to fully step into your authentic self?

There have been many times when I was nervous to fully step into my authentic self.  I think the hardest time for me was middle school/high school years just trying to fit in, wear what was trendy, make jokes being a class clown to mask my own insecurities.

I have made many a joke at the expense of someone else’s feelings just be be accepted by my peers and make them laugh.  That is something that I regret to this day.  That was certainly not who I was.  That time in my life made me contemplate giving up skateboarding entirely because the opinion of others made me believe that skateboarding “wasn’t for girls, especially black girls”.

What’s one mantra or positive quote you live by?

The one mantra or positive quote I live by is GROWTH is not found in comfort.

What advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams and passions but are nervous or intimidated? 

For girls who want to follow their dreams and passions but are nervous or intimidated, my advice would be to find positive influences in your community, social media, etc. that will help you get through the “questioning yourself “stage of coming into your authentic self.  It is so important to believe in yourself and find someone who believes in you as well.

Time for faves! Artist? Food? Movie?

Favorite Artist: Sampha

Favorite Food: Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

Favorite Movie: Going to have to throw it back to my favorite childhood movie I can still watch and recite and sing all the words to today, Mulan.

Follow more or Christiana’s journey here!

Instagram

A Positive Seed

Survival Kit x Finals Week!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — December 5, 2019

OH! The school year is almost over but you have to make it through finals week first! The pressure of studying everything you’ve learned this year is on. But don’t stress too much because we’ve put together Final Exams Survival Kit that will get you through.

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    1. Fresh Supplies – We all know how fresh supplies at the beginning of the school year make us feel good and put us in learning mode. Well, bring back that same energy during finals week with a fresh pack of pencils, highlighters, and sticky notes.
    2. Your favorite snacks – Use your favorite snacks as a reward for getting through that first chapter or memorizing formulas.
  1.  Noise Cancelling Headphones – Headphones that cancel out all outside noises allow you to focus on the task at hand.
  2. Noise Cancelling Headphones – Headphones that cancel out all outside noises allow you to focus on the task at hand.

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  3. Caffeine – Caffeine can give you that energy boost you’ll need when it starts to get late and you still have a sufficient amount of work to get done. Whether in the form of coffee or energy drink, make sure you consume in moderation. OR
  4. Emergen-C : During finals week we dedicate long nights to studying and therefore result in less sleep, which weakens our immune system. Keep a packet of Emergen-C nearby just in case you start to feel a little under the weather.

You’re almost at the finish line! So don’t blow it, love. We’re ready to see your victory dance after you crush this semester!

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Meet Martine’s Dream!

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Feature, Latest | by — November 4, 2019

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Imagination unlocks the secret of life’s hidden joys + dreams flourish as long as you fuel them! Debbie Martine has brought her creativity to life and continued to sprinkle her spirit + artistry into her blossoming boutique, Martine’s Dream!

Originally from Jamaica, Debbie gathered her colorful daydreams and spirit of women who shaped her to launch her boutique in Brooklyn, NY!

Living her light in creating flavorful prints + stunning silhouettes allows her to not chase trends but instead follow her fearless free spirit. Her amazing pieces encourage women to step into their authenticity and boldness of their beauty. Each piece is a collage of her global experiences that create wearable masterpieces!

How has Jamaica and Brooklyn influenced your style?

Jamaica and Brooklyn has influenced me by allowing me to express myself and be adventurous. I live by this poem:

I was born on an island the sun is within me.I reside in Brooklyn but the world is my oyster.
I am Martine. A sun woman, a traveler, a dreamer.
I am …”

This poem really captures who I am, as a person who is from Jamaica. And as a child who would tie up her dress to climb mango trees with her friends. I never stayed in a box. I would always venture out and find myself anyway I could. I am truly a child of the sun.

Can you describe yourself in 3 words or less? What are 3 colors that’s represent you as a person?

“Lover of Life!”

Blue, Yellow, and White! The colors change with season. I have always loved color even at a young age. As a child I saw a picture of India and became obsessed with colors. I made a promise to myself to go there when I grew up. I didn’t know if I would leave Jamaica, but as soon as I saw the picture I knew I would go there one day. At a young age I didn’t understand my love of color but, as I grew up I became more fascinated with color. I remind myself everyday “with Martine’s Dream I say live, love, dream in color.”

Do you feel that the neighborhood you are located in now represents Martine’s Dream? 

Yes, Martine’s Dream represents the neighborhood and brings true joy to me. This is reminded through my friends +  neighbors who are apart of the neighborhood.

Even though, the neighborhood has changed due to gentrification and the rise in property rent, my clients still travel to see me.  Also, new relationships are built through new faces in the area. These are my people.

I knew this shop was for me through the signs that were presented to me. From my friend who find the location to the circle in front of the shop. (Ms. Debbie shares the ink art/tattoo displayed on the center of her back of a circle). This was fate.

What became a struggle for you starting your own business?

Finding a balance between personal life and work because I worked where I slept.

Who would you say was there for you at your hardest times while you were building your boutique?

My friends and family have always been there for me since day one and always wished me the best especially my mother.

Who do you look up to now that you run your own boutique?

I look up to my mother, my grandmother that passed but she was always there to push me.  I also look up to Maya Angelou.

What are a few quotes you live by? 

  • “Dreams are never realized alone.”
  • “You never accomplish anything alone.”
  • “The one person who supports your dream  is a huge blessing”

Follow more of Ms. Debbie of Matine’s Dream here!

IG: @martinesdream

Website: www.martinesdream.com

Interview by Mariam Sikiru, Melanie Santiago, Naomi Aubin, Taffia Evelyn

Style Diary x Jordan!

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Fashion, Latest | by — October 29, 2019

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Scroll through the teen Style Diary of Philly-based fashion lover, Jordan!

What’s your name, age + the city you’re from?

Hello! My name is Jordan, I’m from Philadelphia.

Style is showing who you are with out having to speak! Name your top 3 trends you’re feeling this season?

My top three trends that I’m feeling this season are  leopard, platform shoes, and the rhinestone makeup look.

If you had 30 seconds to grab your 3 favorite style pieces, what would they be?

If I had 30 seconds to grab my three favorite pieces it’d definitely be my platform Doc Martens, my vintage high waist Lee mom jeans, and a white cropped T-shirt.

Style inspo is everything! Who’s your ultimate fashion icon + why?

One of my biggest fashion inspirations is Rico Nasty. She’s always authentically herself, and incorporates grunge and colorful aspects to her looks.

What’s your number 1 rule when it comes to style?

My number 1 rule when it comes to style is to just do you. And don’t forget to accessorize!

Follow more of Jordan’s style here!

Instagram

Mixed Signals?

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Relationships, Latest | by — October 22, 2019

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When you’re putting time and effort into a new guy, you want to make sure it’s worth it. Guys can be the biggest culprits of mixed signals and you don’t want to be left wondering whether or not he has feelings for you. Below, we’ve listed four “red flags” to look for. It’s important to remain honest with yourself so that you can avoid wasting your time. Then, you’ll also be ready and available for someone worth it.

He never texts you first|
Initiating a conversation shouldn’t be solely up to you. When a guy wants you, he will say anything just to have your attention. You are most likely not on his mind if he isn’t reaching out to you. Kick him to the curb.

He asks for relationship advice|
Sis, if he is coming to you for relationship advice, you have to throw the whole guy away. If he’s that into you, he’s not going to give you any idea that he doesn’t know something about relationships. He wants to be seen as the ideal man and will usually go to his friends (keyword: friends) if he needs advice.

He doesn’t make an effort to see you|
Talking on the phone and texting is one way to get to know someone, but meeting up in person is even better and if he isn’t trying to do that, then you need to move on. This means that you are not a priority and he isn’t that serious about you. On to the next!

Honestly, you can just tell|
When the vibe is right with someone you can tell. The same goes for when the vibe is off. Our instincts will tell us when something is wrong, which is why you have to listen to your gut even when you don’t want to. You can also tell from body language and your interactions if he’s into you or not. And if he isn’t, just let him go.

~ Tia Banks, Content Editor

Feeling My Flo!

Menstruation! Yes, we said it! And as awkward as it might seem, it doesn’t have to be. It’s time to gather a new perspective with the Feeling My Flo podcast. 

The Feeling My Flo podcast, which launched on July 11, 2019, is a conversation shaped around this transformational experience that happens to those along the gender spectrum. Feeling My Flo discusses a broad range of topics from puberty to fighting period poverty. 

The host of the podcast, Kamilah Kashanie, is a twenty-three year old Brooklyn College graduate. She along with executive producer Mia Warren and Executive Editor Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, aim to build a community centered on a common but impactful experience. 

“This generation is intellectually curious, so each of our 10-12 minute episodes will be fun, engaging, intimate, and probing.”

Get to know host Kamilah + Feeeling My Flo podcast a little better…

Photo by Young Cheong

Podcasts are becoming an impactful influence among young people. What inspired you to start Feeling My Flo about menstruation?

Feeling My Flo (FMF) is actually the brainchild of our producer, Mia Warren, and our editor, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. They invited me to be the host. As the three of us got to talking, I really resonated with a lot of the feelings they had about why FMF is an important podcast to put out into the world. As storytellers, I think we’re all really interested in digging into issues that other people might be afraid to tackle. Menstruation is such a sticky subject in some circles. It’s still not considered necessarily “appropriate” to talk about this completely normal bodily function that’s been happening to people since the beginning of time. At Feeling My Flo, we want to change that. Young menstruators deserve a place where their bodies are understood. We want to reaffirm to them that there’s nothing wrong with them, especially during puberty, which can already be such a vulnerable time.

Can you give us an idea of what specific topics regarding menstruation will be covered on the podcast?

In our first season, we talk about what it’s like to be a “late bloomer” – waiting to get your period after all of your friends have theirs. We explore how menstruation has affected one family across three generations of women, what sympathy cramps are like, how a family with two gay dads talk to their daughters about their periods, what menstruating is like for a trans and non-binary person, and how a lack of access to period products can impact people experiencing homelessness. Menstruation looks and feels different for everyone, and we want to talk about all of it. And this is just the beginning of the conversation. As we start thinking about season two, there’s so much more that we want to cover.


Young women have different experiences when it comes to having their first period. Do you remember yours and who was there to guide you?

Oh yes. I definitely remember my first period, and I talk about it in the pilot episode. I grew up in a house full of people with periods, so there were always products around and I had a little bit of prior knowledge just from osmosis. I started my period when I was 10, when I was out to dinner with my mom and some family. My older sister had actually started her period a month or two before me, so when it started and I felt that clammy sensation in my pants, I already knew what was happening. Growing up with three women in my house, and a plethora of older relatives and cousins around, I had a lot of people around me who had been through it before and gave me tips, whether I wanted them to or not. 

What do you want young girls to walk away with after listening to the podcast?

We want everyone who listens to Feeling My Flo to walk away with more understanding of what menstruation is like for those who experience it. And the show isn’t just for menstruators. My boyfriend doesn’t menstruate, but talking about it with him has been really important to us understanding each other better, especially during my period. Menstruation affects everyone, whether they bleed or not, and really understanding that is a part of breaking down the stigma that’s attached to periods. And we want to do that in a way that’s fun and engaging and makes you want to hear and learn more. Ultimately, we want our audience to feel informed, entertained, and empowered after every episode. 

Do you have advice for young people who are afraid to ask questions about their period or are embarrassed?

I know it may feel weird at first, and it feels like this mysterious, super private thing that you don’t want to talk about, but it’s completely okay. Find someone that you trust and ask away. Find someone who knows what you’re going through. There’s a lot about periods and the human body that we’re still figuring out, so there’s no such thing as a stupid question and nothing is too crazy to ask. Some of the resources we recommend for young menstruators include Hello Clue, Scarleteen, and Planned Parenthood.


You say that period poverty is a topic of conversation. Is there something young people can be doing to fight period poverty in other countries? 

Period poverty exists in our backyards. There are many organizations working to fight period poverty that young people can get involved with. In one of our episodes, we talked to a national activist and some high schoolers about how they’ve taken action. PERIOD is an example of an organization that’s fighting period poverty. They have people stationed all over the country donating products and doing research on how to make menstruation a safe and affordable reality for everyone. 

We are all about empowerment, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

For me, empowerment means feeling like you can do anything. When you’re feeling empowered, it’s like nothing can stop you. If you want to do something, or change something, you just can. All the barriers – racism, sexism, inequality – they just don’t mean as much when you know you have the capacity to do more than all those “isms” tell you you can.  

 
Find out more here!
 
 
Interview by Tia Banks 

Challenge:1 Week = $20?

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Finance, Latest | by — October 8, 2019

The Art Of Making Your Money Stretch should be a class taught in college. Skills like these will help you learn how to budget and will carry you through your “broke college student” years. When you are lucky enough to find yourself with a little extra money in your pocket, find a way to make it last. Below is a money diary we put together on how to make $20 last a week.

Monday: $4 Starbucks coffee, eat in the cafe for dinner.

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Tuesday: Breakfast in the caf, Download a $0.99 study app, 2 packs of ramen 1.50 (see Ramen Remix)

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Wednesday: $5 foot long for lunch, dinner in the café. Download a $0.99 study app!

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Thursday: Breakfast & dinner in the cafe , face mask $4 #selfcare.

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Friday: New lip gloss for the weekend $3!

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Thank us, later!

~Tia Banks, Content Editor

Style Diary x Mykell!

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Fashion, Latest | by — October 1, 2019

Scroll through the teen Style Diary of YouTuber + actress, Mykell!

What’s your name, age + city you’re from?

Hi! My name is Mykell Williams, I am 18 years old, and I am a Youtuber and an Actress from Fayetteville, Georgia. 

Style is showing who you are without having to speak! Name your top 3 trends you’re feeling this season?

As we approach Fall, I am excited to play with layers, mesh turtleneck shirts and DIY.

If you had 30 seconds to grab your 3 favorite style pieces, what would they be?

OOF 30 seconds! I’m guessing that I’m wearing braids because I would literally spend an hour on my hair. The first piece would be a cute hat (baseball cap or beret). The hat will be paired with a “spunky” graphic tee, highlighting one of the colorways because we LOVE color coordination! For the third piece, I’ll grab a statement purse.

Style inspo is everything! Who’s your ultimate fashion icon + why?

Robyn. Rihanna. Fenty… is there anything left for me to say?! But on a serious note, Rihanna is the embodiment of “confidence is the best accessory”. Her confidence is the reason why she can pull off those looks. As someone who wasn’t comfortable in their skin, constantly seeing Rihanna challenge the stylistic norm for a woman of color inspired me to do the same. 

Getting ready in the morning can be fun but stressful if you’re in a time crunch, what’s your go-to look if you’re in a rush?

For my go-to morning look, I would probably wear gold hoops, a “Jean on Jean” set, a colorful top, statement purse, and black sneakers.

What’s your number 1 rule when it comes to style?

“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” —Oscar de la Renta

Whenever I style a piece I like to have complete creative control. I want to make sure that what I am “creating” is solely coming from me. That I am not letting negative comments deter me from what I set out to do. That I am creating art. That I am allowing myself to be challenged. As long as the outfit elevates who I am as a person, I’ve done my job!

CHECK OUT MORE OF MYKELL’S STYLE HERE!

Instagram

YouTube

Study Break Visual Playlist!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — September 24, 2019

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What gets you through an all-nighter study session? Ummm, a dope playlist! Having a playlist –a good one– is a big deal. Now, some of us are visual people so we’ve put together a visual playlist of some songs you’ll have on repeat through the end of the season!

Lizzo ~ Truth Hurts

Chance The Rapper ~ Ballin’ Flossin’

Kygo~ Higher Love

Ari Lennox ~ Whipped Cream

Jidenna -Tribe

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