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Editor's letter

If I told you that any of this change was easy, I’d be lying.
If I told you that all of the creation process was fun, I'd be lying.
If I told you that I wasn’t scared “putting myself out there”, I’d be lying.
If I told you that I knew how to build an empire, I’d be lying.
If I told you that I didn’t love this life from my core, I’d be lying.
If you ask me “are you okay?” And I say yes, I’d be lying.

 
 

...

Despite knowing that I’m on my path, some days are hard. This is the work of booming. I am better than okay; I am living. I love my growth and evolution better than safety and my own outdated expectations of life. Being who you are instead of following expectations blindly requires truth. Facing truth may inspire tears and smiles.

Nourrir’s birth occurred because someone else believed in me at a time when I did not. She saw skills I didn’t recognize. Her courage to tell me, coupled with her courage to be the spark is how I am here today, publishing. Each of us deserves that friend; the one that sees the light in you, the one that props you up so you can begin or continue or pick yourself up again. Nourrir hopes to be that friend; or, one of those friends. Our soul, sole, purpose lies in encouraging you to live your fullest life, today, to know you are enough just as you are.

The work of a seed becoming a plant is violent. She destroys all she has known about herself to emerge anew. Growth is movement beyond where we have been. I couldn’t see a future. But, I was falling back in love with my today. Falling back in love with my quirky, introverted version of passion. Falling in love with my whole self.

How can I help you fall in love with yourself? That is the question I ask myself everyday. That is why I do this.

2018, a year of radical highs and mysterious lows, learnings and rapid growth. 2018, perhaps the most transformative year of my life, after motherhood. 2018 most of the magazine was put on hold. A necessary break to honor my grieving, which I have written about in my blogs in the “Freya’s Thoughts” section. During that time, I kept building: photoshoots, articles, a fashion show, interviewing contributors and most importantly: DREAMING.

Nourrir‘s mission vibrates even more strongly for me. My purpose is to be a Lover; Nourrir is one way, a big way for me to express that Love. How many inspiring people out there are chasing dreams, living hard, failing, succeeding, and loving? I want to tell those stories. I want to tell them so we can keep inventing and reinventing ourselves.

Now is the time.

#photo @eyelivephoto #stylist @ladydextergoesrogue #mua @makeupandskinbytaralynn #earrings @belleisledesignco

 

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NOURRIR TRAVEL

St Barths Unfiltered: A rare glimpse of the Island and its culture a few months after Hurricane Irma

By, Douglas Marshall

 
 
 

When I was growing up I dreamed of going to Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It was painted as this idyllic beach island with chic French culture, reserved for the elite. It seemed like an exclusive private club, so I wanted to go there. About 10 years ago I had my first taste of St. Barths.

One of my college friends who had been vacationing there all her life took a group of us down for her bachelorette weekend. We stayed in an open-air villa, sunbathed on beautiful beaches, dined on exquisite French food and spent many Euros on overpriced luxury goods. It was everything I imaged it would be, and more. It was naturally stunning with beautiful architecture and the island had a very intimate feeling peppered with a sophisticated European vibe. The one thing I noted is that most of the people who live on the Island are nice and pleasant, but they never seemed overly preoccupied with visitors to the island. There was an expectation that people flock to the island, so I often felt like shopkeepers or restaurant hosts were aloof. It’s not off-putting though. That attitude is part of the St. Barths charm and it’s why the Island’s culture is so alluring. It keeps you coming back for more.

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I’ve been going there regularly ever since and it’s an almost yearly vacation tradition for me and my husband. In September 2017 when Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean headed directly to St. Barths, we were nail bitingly watching news coverage. As I saw videos and pictures online of all the destruction the hurricane left in its wake, my heart sank. My husband and I looked at each other in dismay and we agreed, “No St. Barths this year.”

 
 
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For a month or two after the hurricane we would search the internet for articles on St. Barths to see how it was progressing. Some articles said recovery efforts were going well but there was still so much to do. A lot of them talked about how tourism was taking a big hit. We saw one article in particular that said most of the jet setters were opting out of St. Barths this year. That really spoke to us. We didn’t want to be the couple who skipped out just because the Island had to take a few steps back after a category 5 hurricane. We decided to plan a trip there for February 2018, to support the Island and the community.

Planning the trip wasn’t so easy. An airline that flew direct from Minneapolis halted service for the season due to lack of demand and there were no direct flights to be had and ticket prices were through the roof. We had to take 3 flights just to get there. The airport on St. Maarten that you connect through was literally a tent because the airport suffered so much damage. For accommodation, only 25% of Island’s lodging (hotels and villas) were available due to damage suffered from the hurricane. Many places were not available due to reconstruction efforts. We found a guest cottage on VRBO that was beautiful, listed at a very low price, and had no reviews. I thought it was too good to be true until I started having a lovely correspondence with Abigail. Her husband, François Pecard, is a very well-known and coveted architect on St Barths. A year ago they built the guest cottage on the property of their villa for friends and family to use. After the hurricane, they wanted to open up their home to travelers like my husband and I, who are Island regulars that needed a place to stay. It was their attempt to promote tourism; something I found to be a loving gesture. I liked Abigail’s energy so we took a chance on the cottage. We decided we were going to wing this trip because a lot of things had changed on St. Barths and we didn’t know what to expect.

After 15 hours on multiple flights, we arrived on St. Barths. It was so good to be in a familiar place. At first glance everything looked great but as we drove through the town to our cottage, I saw and felt the aftermath of a category 5 hurricane that had happened less than 6 months ago. A rubble pile next to the airport contained a few demolished cars and a twisted up plane. Palm trees were devoid of fronds. When I looked up into the hills at the once stately villas, so many were missing roofs, had broken windows or were all boarded up. Two staples in the small town of St. Jean, The Eden Rock Hotel and Nikki Beach were both closed and being rebuilt. A crane stood high above Eden Rock and there were wooden barricades painted in their signature red saying #SolidasaRock and #StBarthsStrong. The Mercedes SUVs that chauffeured guests were covered up. Seeing this new side of St. Barths was like seeing a movie star without make up – still beautiful, but more real. This was St. Barths unfiltered. While the devastation was abundantly clear and the rebuilding efforts were rampant, I immediately felt an easier laid-back energy. The once buzzing island was humming. Less glitz and glamour and more “take me as I am”. St. Barths had been humbled, and it was more stunning than before in a different way.

My husband’s bag didn’t make it onto the plane, so as soon as we got to the Island, we had to go shopping. This is where the plot twists. I've never seen people happier to see me.  Everywhere we went in town, the shop keepers were so happy and chatty and profusely thanking us for coming to the island. In particular, I heard over and over, “Thank you for coming to see us.” Us meant the Island and its people. In the past, I never felt that the two were connected because it felt more aloof. Locals used to have this expectation that people would come no matter what. This time was very different. It felt more connected and people seemed to be more interested in us.

In the first few days we made our rounds on the Island to our favorite places. Most of the shops and restaurants in the main towns of Gustavia and St. Jean were all pretty much up and running and most of the beaches remained untouched. From that perspective, the Island was business as usual. However, there were noticeably less people on the island. And less super yachts. I used to love walking around the Gustavia Marina gawking at the 100+ foot yachts. The Marina was very vacant with some slips filled with more modest boats. This confirmed the articles that said jet setters opted out this year. It was a welcome change because it felt less pretentious. The slowdown of tourism on the Island produced a positive result on our trip. We could eat at any restaurant we wanted at any time. Places we could never get into in the past because they were booked had prime tables for us at a reasonable dinner hour. In prior years we used to go to dinner at 9pm at hard to get into places and we were exhausted and cranky at dinner! On this trip, no matter where we dined, everyone was happy that we came to see them!

While we were there a lot the iconic hotels were still closed and rebuilding: The Eden Rock, The Christopher, Le Toiny and Le Sereno were most notably absent. The Hotel Christopher was set to reopen while we were there and it was a big deal for the Island. The night before we arrived The Christopher’s newly built restaurant caught fire and burned down and the newly constructed pool was trashed as a result. The fire caused them to push their reopen date to November 2018 and they had to quickly find villas for their impending guests. It was a huge blow to the Island because The Christopher was one of the first hotels to have power and running water after the storm and it wasn’t so devastated, so it housed many workers early on who came to rebuild other Island properties when there were no other places to stay. The hotel was working so hard to reopen and everyone was really excited for it because it was symbolic of the rapid recovery efforts. After the fire, the Island residents were very emotional when they talked about it.

 

 
 
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Once I started picking up on this trend that there was a softer, gentler and more human side of St. Barths, I wanted to learn more. I had some good conversations with Abi since we stayed on their property for the week. She and her family were on the Island during the Hurricane; she gave me a little bit of a play by play of how it all went down when the super storm hit and the weeks that followed. She said she had never seen or experienced anything like the devastation they had. She said the Island was practically crippled and it forced the community to rely more on each other. The streets were filled with rubble that took days to clear. A lot of people lost cars, roofs and flooding ruined possessions. If someone had power before their neighbors, they gathered there. If someone had water, other people came over to get some or bathe. People who didn’t know their neighbors got to know them quickly. There were no other options.

The category 5 storm weeded out people and businesses that were not truly invested in the Island. Some large hotels just took their insurance payout and split. They haven’t rebuilt and it’s not clear if they will even come back. The people who stayed really dug in. They are the true locals and those are the people we were encountering in the shops and restaurants. They wanted to talk about their experiences and they wanted to get to know us. They were proud of their Island and they were so happy to have us. The sentiments and observations about post Irma St Barths were universal. The devastation produced a more intimate and interdependent community. A community, some said, had been lacking in the past.  A lot of people left, but the ones who stayed, have grown stronger and they are all working together to rebuild the Island. Abi said so much had changed and little by little she said it is for the better. A couple people I spoke to said that no matter what happens in the future for St. Barths, they hope this more intimate community feeling stays. It’s what the Island needed. With the bad, came a lot of good. A few told me they truly feel like survivors. From all the pictures and videos I saw online after the hurricane, I believe it.

 

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I’m so glad we made the effort to go to St. Barths this year. The trip was a blessing because I fell a little more in love with the Island after seeing a new side of it. There was an abundance of gratitude, the tourists were more subdued and everything felt more authentic. I got a precious rare glimpse of the Island while it was emerging from a place of struggle. I hope the humility and unity that emerged after the storm won’t be forgotten as the Island builds back up. In a few months from now, all the grand hotels and hotspots will be open, probably better than before. Yachts will fill the Marina. The jet setters will return. St Barths will continue to be what it always was: An idyllic beach island with chic French culture.

 

 

 
 
 

Contributor

Douglas Marshall

A recent Twin Cities transplant, Douglas Marshall writes about fashion, beauty, and celebrities, and is a social media consultant. Follow him on Instagram @theworldofdoug

 
 

NEW FACe
Fernanda Martinez

PHOTOGRAPHY BY
LaMaria Aguayo

MUA BY
Benjy Parra

STYLING BY
Anayansi Gonzalez SanMiguel

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Contributor

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LaMaria Aguayo

LaMaría was born in a small town at the northern part of México, since she was a little girl, her parents always encouraged her to follow her dreams and of course achieve them.

...

She showed a strong interest and tendency for arts at a young age. She loved painting, photography, singing, musical theater and acting. The things she loves the most nowadays are: her job, of course, traveling and food. She says that the best way to get to know the culture of a country is through its gastronomy, and of course, the people.

She began her photography career as a photojournalist in 2012, making pictures of places and people of the countries she visited. Her first encounter with fashion was when she started working in a local clothing brand in Guadalajara. She has a bachelor degree in multidisciplinary design at ITESO. She thought design would be part of her photography. When she graduated three years later, she went abroad to Milano to Study fashion photography and film at Istituto Marangoni. She graduated in 2016, and returned to her beloved country to continue her professional career, working with local clothing and cosmetic brands.

 
 

TRUE LIFE

by Jane Frick

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In the middle of her treatment for cancer, my daughter Claire decided she wanted to be on the MTV show True Life. She hoped to raise awareness around childhood cancer and she wanted the world to see what it was really like for a teenager to be faced with the challenges of intensive chemo therapy and radiation (including all the brutal side effects), medical procedures and surgeries, and the emotional impact of the constant, lingering possibility of death. She completed an application online and not long after she received a phone call.  She was so excited. But in talking with the producer, she was informed that her particular story did not fit into any of the specific topics for upcoming episodes. The producer acknowledged that Claire had an amazing story to tell and was impressed with the candor, vulnerability and maturity she revealed in their conversation, but politely apologized and that was the end of that.

Even though Claire was disappointed at first, on more than one occasion during the very difficult times to follow, we both looked at each other with mild relief that no cameras were following us at those particular moments. No one to hear our harsh words with one another when we had been pushed beyond our limits. No one to hear her wails of pain and anguish as she simply tried to go to the bathroom. No one to see her standing with her walker, trapped by her own vomit. No one to see her slowly lose her ability to walk, speak, see and hear.

But then again no one was able to witness her amazing fortitude and stamina as she forged ahead with life by singing in every school choir concert, painting masterpieces in her art class, dressing up as Voldemort for the latest Harry Potter movie, traveling to New York City with her siblings and Washington, DC with her choir. The world was not able to see our family enjoy one last vacation together when we went to Disney World and Universal Studios for Claire’s Make-A-Wish trip where she rode all the scariest roller coasters more than once, laughing and joking and living life to the fullest even with her crooked little smile which was a result of the cancer invading her brain. No documentation of our seven day respite from the rigors of treatment and the reality of an unknown future.

So today I am filled with regret and sadness that her story was not archived on film. Why didn’t I suggest that we do our own “True Life” and get a video camera so she could show the world her perspective of what was going on? I would give anything to be able to see her living, moving image once again. I have so very few videos of her. At the time I was entirely focused on keeping her alive. I never allowed myself to entertain the thought that one day she might be permanently gone and that videos and pictures would be all that I had left. But at the same time I fully understand why we didn’t. There was no more room for anything else.

 
Clair before cancer.

Clair before cancer.

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For our time was consumed with fighting Claire’s cancer and keeping up with her appointments. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma which required a very intense initial treatment plan that lasted over a year. She relapsed almost immediately upon its completion and around that same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unlike Claire’s situation, my cancer was caught early and was not seen to be life threatening. However, I found myself in a place of choosing treatment options for myself based on how much recovery time I would need in case my terminal daughter were to die in the upcoming days or weeks. I ended up having a lumpectomy followed by radiation. I was able to make arrangements to have my radiation treatments done at the same clinic where Claire was receiving her radiation, a location close to her hospital and clinic so I could walk over to get my treatments on days when she was either in clinic or hospitalized.

So as you can see, our days were full. We spent as much time as we could living life, being together, enjoying time with family and friends and playing with the cats. At the end of each day we would collapse, exhausted, into bed where we were unable to sleep, filled with worry as we tried to wrap our brains around what was happening.

Now over six years after her passing, I still have not fully wrapped my brain around what has happened. But there are those moments when I do wish we could have found a way to make the room for visual documentation. Because then it would only take the push of a button to see Claire alive on the screen; to hear the sound of her voice, her laughter, her tears. And while I can pretend to believe that this would bring me more comfort and lessen the pain of her absence, I know deep down it would never be enough.  Because the harsh reality of my True Life is that she is physically gone. Forever. And I am only able to hug and kiss her in my heart and mind and dreams.

 
 
 
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JANE FRICK

Jane Frick is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has a private practice in St. Paul, MN (janefricklmft.com). Jane occasionally writes when she finds the time and inspiration, having had pieces published in The Edge magazine and a statewide professional newsletter in addition to her personal blog, soothingthespirit.com. Jane lives with her husband and their two cats and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

 
 
 

NOURRIR SCIENCE

It Happens Here Too:

In Science, A #MeToo Moment

 

 
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By Rebecca Fanning

When it comes to her research, Dr. Shauna Price has complete control. But over the years encounters with male superiors have challenged that control; forcing Price to re-examine her role as a woman and minority in the male-dominated world of science.

 
 

Shauna Price works well under pressure. A quest to collect ant specimens for her research has brought her to Panama, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Peru. She’s scaled trees, fashioned tools and created makeshift labs in rundown hotel rooms. On a research trip to Panama City, Price and her co-researcher found themselves surrounded by police, guns drawn.

“We showed them our permission, and it was okay, but it was a little bit heart-stopping,” Price says. She’s ridden boats to remote field sites in the Amazon, been mugged in Argentina, and bribed her share of police. All in pursuit of neotropical turtle ants, the population that she collects in order to study the factors that cause turtle ants to evolve.

Insect-obsessed since high school and encouraged by her parents, 39-year-old Price has carved out a career driven by a deep curiosity for insects, especially ants.

“I’ve known what I wanted to do for like 30 years,” she says. “I’ve wanted to do the same thing for ever and ever.”

The daughter of two aerospace engineers, the evolutionary biologist always felt supported, especially in science. Her mother emigrated from Thailand and carved out a high-powered career filled with travel and purpose. She was a strong female role model who encouraged Price to pursue her passion and fostered in her a sense of determination.

And risks in the field only added to that mindset.

While political corruption and natural elements challenge her research missions, the greatest threats to Price’s career lurk closer to home. In her early twenties she was sexually harassed by a direct boss, an encounter that permanently changed the way she lived and worked.

“There have definitely been experiences that have set me back or stumbled or caused me to question my place in science,” she says. “It has had cascading impacts on my life.”

 

 

 
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The Moreau Lab

 
 
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Turtle ant specimens from Panama, Field Museum collection. (Photo credit: Rebecca Fanning)

Turtle ant specimens from Panama, Field Museum collection. (Photo credit: Rebecca Fanning)

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A beetle hole in a tree branch. The changes in these hole sizes may be one cause of turtle ant head shape change over time. (Photo credit: Rebecca Fanning)

A beetle hole in a tree branch. The changes in these hole sizes may be one cause of turtle ant head shape change over time. (Photo credit: Rebecca Fanning)

 

Behind the walls of Chicago’s bustling Field Museum, there’s a larger-than-life picture of an ant and four foot-tall letters displayed against a window. ANTS, the sign says. This is the entrance to The Moreau Lab, a space dedicated to the study of ant evolution. Founded by Dr. Corrie Moreau, the lab uses ants and other insects to better understand the factors that influence evolution, like how microbial symbioses, geography and ant-plant associations influence the way ants change.

While most studies of ants focus on their social structures -- each ant takes on a very specific role: The workers work, the queens reproduce and the soldier defend -- Price is fascinated by the collective way that ants work to form a system.

“The colony becomes the individual,” she says. “No ant can exist individually, they always live in colonies, they are obligately social.”

Unlike people, who are social beings but capable of living alone, ants literally cannot survive without each other. And while the queen reigns supreme, ants make localized decisions and play their roles without heavy governing. It’s this decision-making structure that has inspired computer scientists to examine ant colony structures as a way to develop algorithms for use in artificial intelligence and robotics.

From her post at the lab, Price studies neotropical turtle ants, a tree-dwelling group of ants best known for their dish-shaped heads. Turtle ants use their heads as living shields, one unlucky member of each colony spends their life with head in hole, blocking the nest's entrance from intruders like other ant species and predators like birds or lizards.

Turtle ants nest in holes left behind by beetles, so they have very little control of the size or shape of their new homes. The beetles make holes of different sizes and shapes, and over time, the shape of the ants’ heads has evolved to fill available hole sizes. Some species use multiple heads to block a hole, while other species only use one head. These two groups are called generalists and specialists respectively.

Price is currently working to understand the evolution of the shape of the ant heads and how that relates to their level of specialization, and how that level of specialization has changed over time. Did generalist species come before specialist species? How often do generalists become specialists or vice versa? Overall, she’s finding that the generalists evolved first, able to fill all sorts of different holes, and once species specialized they tend to stay that way.

For Price, the ants are simple. It’s the human elements that threaten to stand in her way.

 

 
 
 
 
 

Sticking it Out

Price spent two years dealing with harassment from her boss. She thought about leaving several times, but she loved her job and knew it was the right step in her career, so she stayed.

“I kept trying to think that I could control it, that if I just dealt with it or had enough talks with him or change my behavior or something he would leave me alone or switch his thinking,” she says.

In a year dotted with #MeToo moments, Price finds herself revisiting her past more than ever. She’s frustrated that her story seems to be shared by many.

“I didn’t have the power to change my situation or I didn't have the strength to leave when I should have and I I felt so torn,” she says.

More than half of all women -- 54 percent -- have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” at some point in their lives, according to a 2017 ABC News-Washington Post poll. Nearly one third of women have experienced advances from male colleagues, and 25 percent say those men held positions of power.

Finally, Price reached a breaking point. But she never reported her boss. He was a colleague and important member of the scientific community and she worried reporting him would negatively impact her friends and colleagues.

“There's definitely some guilt or questioning about whether I should have exposed him,” Price says. Instead the fallout from that encounter shaped her career.

“I wanted to find an advisor who was either going to be a woman or a guy who I knew would just absolutely leave me alone,” she says. “So I ended up choosing a PhD advisor who was ill-suited to my research questions, just because he was a feminist and his wife worked in the department. So I ended up being fairly alone in my PhD.”

For a long time afterward a question plagued her: How could I let this happen to me? An only child and daughter of a successful woman, she says she often blames herself for the obstacles in front of her.

Back at the lab, things are improving, though Price still views herself as the “trailing spouse,” lagging behind her husband, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago. She says she’s still catching up from events early in her career. And more troubling, she knows she’s not the only one.

 

A History of Inequality/Joining the Movement

For over 30 years, women pursuing careers in the life sciences have compromised only 14.8% of full-time professors at top-tier research institutions, and women are less likely to receive tenured positions.

The Field Museum’s Women in Science Program is trying to change that. A series of speakers, workshops and events aim to promote females and minorities in order to close the gap. This month Dr. Jane Goodall spoke at a Women in Science Luncheon, an event intended to raise awareness of women in science and to raise funds for scholarship programs.

Price views herself as a female advocate and makes a point of showing up to meetings supporting diversity in science.

If you’re not part of the scientific community, you can still support women and minorities in science.

“Most people have implicit gender and racial biases that they should try to be conscious of in order to make space for women and minorities in scientific spaces,” Price says.

Take an online implicit bias test or check out these twitter memes which highlight the diversity of physicians and scientists:

#whatadoctorlookslike

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And encourage young girls to pursue STEM courses. Price remembers a male teacher discouraging her from taking an algebra class when she was 12. She took the class and ended up with a B, but the experience had a lasting impact on her perception of her ability to do math.

For Price, the adventure continues. While she’s spending less time in the field, Price has a new challenge to tackle. She’s raising a daughter in a world still dealing with gender and race issues.

“I’ve heard this story too many times,” she says. “I don’t want my daughter to get the same messages.”



 

Louis Carr - Smooth Operator

By, Dameun Strange

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Every week, Louis Carr and his family would pack up food to take to a neighbor’s house in a neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. It was just the way things were done in the community that nourished the young Carr. He would run up and down the street with plates wrapped in tin foil. You took care of one another. From these humble beginnings Louis Carr has not only grown to become an extremely influential media executive as President of Media Sales at BET Networks. But, he has also become one of the most generous philanthropist in the nation. I asked Carr about the variables in his early life that had had the greatest impact on him and his personal philanthropy. He talked about growing up on the Southside of Chicago:



“I think the real influence on my philanthropy comes from my mother and my grandmother. I grew up poor and didn’t realize I was poor until I became a teenager or went to college. I thought I was middle class because everyone around me had just as little as I had. So, when you are in that type of environment, you don’t realize that you are poor; you assume that you are doing pretty good because there are not many people who have more than you, if at all. But, whatever we had we shared.”

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Louis remembers receiving care packages in college and when he would open the packages, there would also be food for is schoolmates. This was certainly no surprise to him. “From that early stage of life, sharing whatever we had sort of put me in that mindset. For example with toys, you never threw toys away. After you outgrew them you gave them to somebody on the block or somebody in your family. That sort of started that thinking in my mind that no matter what you have, it’s still enough to share,” Carr said



There is something powerful in all of this. It beckons us to imagine that this is what a community is. We all have our talents and resources. What happens when all of that is shared, communal. How beautiful of a garden can we grow in a   And what happens when our young people are raised with these values. 




 

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Paying It Forward


Louis Carr is broadening his community. Over his life he has made many friends and acquaintances and has built those relationships through a life of sharing. One of the more formal ways Carr chooses to share his wealth is through his foundation.The Louis Carr Internship Foundation (LCIF) which Carr created to ensure that there would be more representation from Indigenous people and People of Color (IPOCs) is celebrating its 15th year. These internships address an issue that affects many internships across the nation. Most internships for undergraduates are non-paying which makes them inaccessible to a large number of IPOC students. LCIF provides opportunities for IPOC students to get career building experience in top tier communication companies while earning money for college. 


“One thing I realized is that we always sort of get a late start in life. At every [level], whether it is grammar school, high school, college or whatever. So, we always are a little behind. And that is sometimes because of economics, sometimes because of environment. Most of my friends were first generation college graduates. So, we didn’t have the guidance, the leadership as to what were the right moves to make. Most kids today don’t even know how important internships are. And so, when they come out of school, they don’t really know how to get a job. They don’t know what to say in interviews. They don’t know how to dress. (More on Louis’ dandism later). So, what my internship program tries to do is teach them some basic fundamentals. What are some of the basic skills they need to have to compete in today’s world. We are making an impact and having an influence on individuals lives.”


Carr knows a little about this sort of mentorship. He has said many times that he owes part of his own success to John H. Johnson of the Ebony Magazine who hired Carr and not only gave him the job that helped launch his career but helped him understand “the rules of the game”. Carr sees himself as paying it forward through his foundation.  


 

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Growth through Adversity



One of Carr’s nicknames is “The Renaissance Man” because he has what I called “flow”. Now flow has many different meanings to many different communities. If you are in the hip-hop community, “flow” means ease of communicating with unique vocabulary skills. If you are in the lax community, you are talking hair. When I say “flow” I mean the ability to move easily between communities, sectors, interests and projects. Louis Carr has it. 

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“One of the things is that when you grow up Black and poor, you have to learn how to operate and assimilate into a world that you’re not accustomed to. That process teaches you a lot of different skills. From communication skills to social skills to academic skills, I think that’s a real advantage to someone like me. And I think it gives someone like me the opportunity to take those skills and move across different industries, different communities and different areas to have real impact. It’s almost our responsibility not to be pigeon-holed to do one thing. You get those experiences and that education to be more than just a one-trick-pony.”

If you think of that pressure that is needed to create diamonds. Pressure put on Black people in this American. That pressure can be enough to crush some but for those who make it through, those folks become diamonds. Louis Carr is a black diamond looking to create more diamonds.”





Being able to operate in an uncomfortable place. 




Carr has philosophical belief that in order for one to grow, one has to experience some type of uncomfortable environment in order to push you to your best self. “I think that the uncomfortable place really make you look deep and challenges your social [abilities] and intellect to be able to figure things out,” Carr said of these types of learning moments, “Whether it is growing up poor, living or operating in an environment that doesn’t look like you or think like you. I think it all is for a purpose. And that purpose is for your personal growth. What you make of it is what you get out of it”




Carr remembered what it was like being the captain of a team at Drake University where he was one of two Black athletes on the team: 

What you make of it is what you get out of it




“It’s different being in a small town like Des Moines, IA versus being the captain of a team in Chicago because you are dealing with people who come from so many different backgrounds, people who may be seeing and African-American for the first time in their life. How do you lead and manage people who may have preconceived ideas and still become successful. And help them become successful. Most of us who are men of color have had some uncomfortable environment in their lives where they have had to operate and still be themselves and keep their own sort of traditions and values that made them who they are. These are the environments that make you grow and helps you accomplish goals and objectives.”

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In October 2018, Louis Carr hosted the Dirty Littles Secrets: Men Only Edition Conference in Chicago, IL. The conference was specifically focussed on Black men at this moment in our nation’s history. The idea for the conference emerged out of Carr’s book tour for Dirty Little Secrets. He said during that tour the most interesting questions came from men but often were unrelated to the book. Whether there were questions about managing a successful marriage with his busy schedule or questions about his perpetual youthful appearance or questions about staying healthy while always on the go, he found that all of these men were looking for answers and perhaps he could bring a community together that could find these answers and share them with one another. 

 

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“Outside of the Black Church, there are no men’s conferences and as we know Black men have a lot of issues. So I said how can I take the knowledge and experience that I have been able to gather and learn and ask my friends and associates to participate to help people with questions and will give them answers that will motivate and inspire them to be their best selves.”






The conference was a sold out success. And from all accounts, Dirty Little Secrets: Men Only Edition was an engaging, emotional experience for all who were in attendance. With presenters and panelists like Daymond John, Sway Calloway, Bob Johnson, the sessions were full of knowledge being dropped and experience being shared.  Reviews were so positive that Carr is planning to bring the conference back to Chicago, October 19th and 20th 2018. 






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Doing it in style



Black dandyism is making resurgence in the mainstream but Louis Carr has been doing his work in style well before it was mainstream, a little lesson he picked up from John H. Johnson way back when. Carr, being so steep in flow, understands how to choose his style based on where he is and who he is with. He always has his eye on being comfortable while making others around him comfortable. Carr is masterful at doing this while also projecting a strong image of success. 



“It is strategic. Whether I am casual, business or formal I really think about the impression that I want to make on the environment I am going to be operating in. So, whether I am going to give a speech at a college or a high school, I wanna look like I’ve been successful but I don’t want to look out of place. So I am going to wear something that [the students] are going to be impressed with, not the professors.”



Carr’s journey to the top of the communication’s world is an inspiring light we need in these dim times. A boy who learns to share and turns it into a lifelong personal mission, it is a story of humility and personal philanthropy. Louis Carr is one smooth operator, a model for how success should be a bloom that pollinates, not isolates. 

All Photos Shirley Yu @shirleyshotyu www.shirleyshotyu8.com, Set Production Naomi White Randolph, Makeup Sharon of @tantrummashent, Location Baccarat Hotel NYC @baccarathotels, Stylist Lavasia Minus of @lavasiathefounder, Louis’s EA and Rising Star Laura Polanco @laurapolancovalencia

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Spirit Space

By Vima Lamura

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“What the world needs now, is love sweet love”

“What the world needs now, is love sweet love” lyrics from a song of years ago still resonating in hopes, hearts and dreams today.

Times have changed, society has changed. Pursuit for the eternal bliss of love has taken a turn to technology. Technical mating popularity has reduced to dating sites and synthetic romantic fantasies encouraged by media influences. The instant fix of finding love based on appearances, financial appeal, lists of compatibility preferences, impulsive need and sexual chemistry seems to be taking dominion over souls uniting through the heart in it’s own season.

Fear of loneliness or non acceptance can be a powerful force in this pursuit of happily ever after. So powerful, love gets twisted into a confusing, sticky, misguided, painful, beast. The pursuit becomes a never ending struggle to satisfy the veracious appetite of the beast imprisoned in a deep, selfish, empty, wound.

Birthed from the seed of light within, the power of being love, dissolves the empty pursuit and liberation entices every atom of existence gracefully.

Yet, the perpetual cycle continues to attain this bliss. Hope rings true for the faithful where struggle gives way to growth, beauty and strength. Some soulmates possess the talent to stir bitter conflict, squeezing the unloving demons that keep the heart heavy. In the end, driving one to to either self destruction or lead one to the threshold of self love.

How does one open this seed of being love to SELF love?
It happens. In the course of life itself there are many opportunities that show up offering the choice to dive in the journey.
It starts when the pure grace of our universal intelligence thrives as illusion loses its luster. It can happen in the heights of awakening or in the depths of despair. Either way, it happens when you’re not looking when the heart is ripe for fearless change.

I have a story about a friend.

Divya was a beautiful young woman. Her marriage was a traditionally arranged affair. She confided in me, that her parent’s in law had debated between a dark skinned Brahman girl and her, because she was light skinned.

What the world needs now, is love sweet love

They chose her. Her stunning beauty radiated a thousand blessings of grace before she entered a room. Poised in mannerisms and rituals of a “proper Indian wife.” she fulfilled her duties seamlessly, without complaint.

Never saying a word about her burdens, the hardship of day to day life with an alcoholic husband lingered like thick smoke over her aura. She knew, I knew, in the unspoken air between us, she didn’t have to posture around her sadness.

Divya’s greatest desire was to have a child. Her soul lit through her eyes every time she spoke of it. We went from temple to temple praying, consulting priests and profits. At every turn, hope prevailed over discouragement. Nine long years of marriage had passed, finally she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Raja.

Selfless giving from the light of her heart gracefully poured out and equally received by her precious child, gave her life and vitality. It was beautiful, natural, flawless and effortlessly fulfilling for both of them.

Raja was a typical little boy, bouncy, bright, cheeky and generous with hugs and love. He played with the dog, had many friends, and like any typical child, would rather play cricket than do homework. Divya was in heaven with every ounce of joy and pain of motherhood. Her life was finally full.

The news came, Raja had cancer. After many years of doctors, operations, chemo, remissions and reoccurrences, he passed. Grief and devastation consumed Divya.

One day Raja’s friends visited Divya in memory of her son. Divya surfaced from her well of grief to entertain the boys, serving tea and biscuits delighting in tossing bits of wisdom amidst solving math equations.

 

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 The air was filled with joy. Biscuit crumbs flying, books thumping open, chatting, giggling, between the bouts of serious study. It was wonderful witnessing my friend coming alive again, Smiles aglow guiding the boys in that familiar lovingly stern, motherly way.
The study visits became a regular routine.

The universe continued to spin it’s magic. It was through these visits, giving, rewarded Divya with profound healing. Bit by bit, happiness overflowed from her heart. Gaps of emptiness filled up in the reciprocal nature of unconditional giving and receiving.

Grief remained to have its way with Divya, cascading and declining. Kidnapping her, one moment, then abandoning her empty, the next.

Witnessing the series of events, I had an epiphanic realization. Everything fused into a moment of speechless wonder. I could see, a large piece of Divya’s sadness was rooted in no longer having someone to give her love to.

The need to be loving to give love, is calling out. When all is said and done, recognizing “love is all there is” as a vital primordial need is a step to bring balance back into the ascending consciousness of humanity.

We are not designed to exist for ourselves alone. The loveless maladies of separation and selfishness can heal. Love cannot be manipulated, or contrived. It doesn’t have lines between giving and receiving, yet, taking, clips the wings of its essence.

Observing what is happening in the world today, we’ve become obsessed looking for love rather than discovering the nature of being loving.
This a sovereign, inside job as the play of life requires we dance heart to heart to the song “What the world needs now, Is love, sweet love.”

All rights reserved © 2018 VimaLamura.com

Burning Question

By Pansy St. Battie

 

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 For some, a surname is a one word autobiography: something that ties together family, history, and personal identity. For others, it can be a reminder of trauma and pain. So what happens when the family, history, and identity expected of you don’t match what was prescribed for you at birth? 

Most people’s last names are given, not chosen. Usually, we take on the last names of our parents, and, perhaps with age, our partners. It’s both habit and expectation. While it works well for some people, when it comes to others last name is not as much gifted as it is coerced. This is especially true when power structures are present. Racism, misogyny, and familial abuse can turn a name from an identifier of a person, to one of a toxic history. In these cases, changing a surname can not only be healing but vital to survival.



This was the case for Jasmine H. Wade. She grew up in a home where she experienced abuse, much of which got brushed under the rug in the name of family,

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“So much of my upbringing was about what it meant to be a part of that family. Our last name was a badge of honor, something that united us.” For her, her surname was more than a title: it was a representation of toxic bonds. “When I got older, got out of that situation and began to truly heal, my last name began to feel like a weight around my neck. I felt this almost physical desire to flee from it.”

Gina Martínez Valentín also changed her name in response to abuse, with another axis: her father used her given name as a way to deny her race. 

“My father was white, and it was very important to him that his children identified as white only. Not as mixed or Latinx.” Gina’s mother is Puerto Rican, and Gina later added her mother’s maiden name, Martínez, to replace her father’s. She felt it helped connect her to that side of the family, including to her grandparents. “My maternal grandfather always told me I was a Martínez, and wanted me to at least add that to my legal last name, but while my father was alive it wasn't safe for me to do so.”

Meanwhile, sharing her birth name with her abuser tied into a deeper trauma, one that was both personal and ancestral: “The stamp of whitewashing, colorism, colonialism and racism feel like that little story of my conception and creation, and I had no choice in it,” she recounted. 



But for Gina and Jasmine, like many others, the process of changing names wasn’t instantaneous. Jasmine spent 6 months dating around in hopes of marriage, before realizing she could take the initiative to do it herself. 

It’s a common struggle for those seeking to change their name; both the legal issues and taboos are roadblocks. A name change starts with petitioning the court, which can take up to 3 months according to California Courts’ website. The processes costs money, and requires a significant amount of time to complete. The website also notes that those who are incarcerated, or on parole, may need expressed consent from the Director of the Federal Bureau of prisons, or their parole officers. 

Another barrier to changing names can be the taboos. People worry about losing connections to their family, or judgement from peers, employers, and friends. 

Jasmine worried about creating a rift between herself and her siblings, “I worried they would see it as a rejection of them rather than a rejection of the childhood that has scarred me.” Though luckily for Jasmine, her sibling’s understood and supported her the way she deserved, the fear of losing family isn’t surprising with how personal and intimate names can be. 


 

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 Gina Martínez Valentín, looking back on her name change, stressed the fear of people scrutinizing those intimate details of her life, “I worried that I might get questioned, and my decision is linked to my father's abuse. I didn't want to discuss it.” She added, “There are many people who still believe I should honor my father, that's how I was raised in the church, and those people can fuck off.”

An interviewee named Tobias noted their struggles as well, “I was afraid that changing my last name would somehow change who I was,” though they added, “But once it was official, I only felt relief. I don't regret the decision, and I've been supported throughout the process.”




Despite the hardships, the freedom brought is worthwhile. Tobias explained, “It was like letting go of a shackle and receiving wings instead.”

Wade referred to her own name change as “a very tangible way for me to say, ‘I value myself. I am powerful. I am free.’” 

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When asked if she’d lost anything through her name change, Martínez Valentín replied, “I only lost a measure of the ugliness and control my father had over me. I gained a visible, comforting reminder of my mother and grandparents, and how they love me. The heritage I have with them.”

For people whose names were coerced, changing them isn’t just about letting go of a label. It’s about letting go of what that label represents: trauma, fear, pain, and struggle. More importantly, it’s about reclaiming a person's own identity.

Despite the hardships, the freedom brought is worthwhile




So when the emotional benefit is so clear, how do we make it easier for people to free themselves of harmful names? Everyone’s answer is a little different, but for most people interviewed it’s a matter of a cultural shift. Gina explained how after her own name changing process, she’s working to better the dynamics with her own children, “We see names as a way to own our children, whether it's their gender or the general feeling of ownership over our children. I try to counter that with my own daughter. We've had discussions about her lineage and ways in which she might want to change her name to reflect what's important to her.” 

Tobias also laid out hope for the future, “I would really like to see more freedom; changing one's name should be a choice for everyone. One shouldn't feel forced or compelled to keep a name if it makes them uncomfortable. Assigning names at birth might be important, but it's equally important to let the person decide their own name.”

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As long as names are given without consideration for the weight they carry, and their personal impact, it’ll be easy for those who feel their name is coerced to get pushed under the rug. It’s important to acknowledge the ways trauma, personal or ancestral, play a role in how people’s names affect them. Fluidity in the use of surnames based on identity and experience should not only be accepted, but celebrated. Name changes should be affordable and convenient. They should be the sole choice of the person named. Most importantly, they should be understood as an important way for many people to reclaim their identity, gain freedom, and love themselves entirely. 




Interview Credits:

Jasmine Wade (www.jasminehwade.com)

Gina Martínez Valentín

Tobias

Maudisa Meroe

Keidera Monet

Dr. Lexx (www.Lexxsexdoc.com)

Brandice Taylor-Davis (www.taylordavisagency.com)

Tricia Warden

Lola Phoenix

Lori Fowler

Au Valencia. (www.ActingNT.blogspot.com)

Madeleine Sutherland

Imani Gayle Gillison

Genoa Brown

Kia

Alli Kirkham (www.punkpuns.com)

Valencia Vanner (www.facebook.com/numi81)

Wellness;The Fountain of Youth

By Jill Goldsberry

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 Sylwia Wiesenberg – The Fountain of Youth 

Inspired by her love of the beach, and ice cream Sylwia uses her  digital fitness platform Tonique and Dope Naturally to show women how to maintain their youthful figures from the outside and feel great inside.

I sat down with Sylwia (pronounced syl weeya) Wiesenberg, founder of the digital workout Tonique, which is part of the digital workout movement.  Sylwia has been an early pioneer of the YouTube workout videos and has since moved one to be one of the first downloadable fitness entrepreneurs. She discovered a void when her students outgrew her classes. But now the Tonique community is growing globally one download at a time. Her sessions are often shot in an  exotic locations like Anguilla or high altitudes in Peru.

 Meanwhile, her latest business venture is supplying us with the edible beauty supplement just for us girls via her company Dope Naturally. Tonique and Dope Naturally founder Sylwia Wiesenberg was gracious enough to chat during her travels, She shares her love of real ice cream and bikinis with us                                                                                                                                                                                    

Tell us about what you do - How did Tonique begin and when did you see the need for Dope Naturally and how did the name come about?

I consider myself a body architect. I truly love movement and creating workouts, generating new ideas for moves that can help us to fight gravity at every age.

I created TONIQUE after quitting my financial job and believing that my true calling is to help women feel and look fabulous and obtain their ultimate body confidence. After seeing amazing results on myself, friends, and then strangers (who now are part of TONIQUE family and my friends) I decided that my mission should not stop on just movement, I should expand on my passion for foraging ingredients and turning them into delicious and nutritious meals. In the end movement and food are inseparable. 

 After years of producing TONIQUE workouts and teaching underground class in Flatiron district in Manhattan, I was once asked what do I do to have that endless energy - my quick response was I dope, naturally of course and this was it. I decided that moment to name my edible beauty and wellness brand DOPE NATURALLY - because pure and unspoiled food is the most powerful drug to make us look and feel great, and it is good for you. 

 

 

Do you think online and digital workouts are the future of fitness?

 

TONIQUE was definitely one of the first fitness methods available for downloads - the idea was to bring TONIQUE to your bedroom and make it easy for you to travel and stay motivated.  As much as I love the personal touch of the classes, knowing your trainer and trainer knowing his or her students/ clients it is an impossible for me to be present in person for everyone at the same time. However, today it is because of the internet there is a growing need for home - travel - portable fitness programs - personalized with every detail and so real that you feel like you experienced the class. And with the power of the internet, you really can achieve that - the best part is that your audience is not limited to a class of 30 people but you can expend it to reach women/men around the world and creating a close community who follow your workout method and lifestyle ethics. I love that I am able to be within 24 hrs in hundreds of homes on at least 4 continents, that's brilliant! And that experience makes the future of fitness definitely digital! I am fascinated with the power of AI and I cannot wait to see what AI will add to fitness experience.               

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Photo by:



  What can clients expect from Dope Naturally once they start using it? 

Improvement in skin tone and natural glowing appearance, and inside you, I'll have that great energy and feeling satiated without feeling heavy and bloated. No reflex and aftertaste that I cannot stand in most powders. You will see the difference how you see and taste food that is pure without any fillers and sugars added.

What do you want people to know about Tonique that is different from other workouts? 

It is impossible to describe TONIQUE - you must try it and then you will develop love-hate relationship since TONIQUE requires discipline, patience and focus. But the results are worth the commitment!



 If you are looking for a workout to tone at home try at home Tonique should be on your list of downloads.

www.tonique.com www.dopenaturally.com

Fit Moms

By Freya and Morgan Faro 

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In a world full of conflicting images and messages about what women “should” look like and “should” act like kids remain confused about who to be. Young girls sadly still fall victim to eating disorders, self-doubt, and ultimately a loss of purpose and sense resulting from unrealistic depictions of women. On the one had, they see emancipated models propped as “ideal”, an emerging trend of exaggerated “bubble butts” and breasts, mostly achieved through plastic surgery or “mom bod”. While Nourrir does not judge any woman’s life choices, we noticed something wrong with these choices. Who are our children looking up to? Aren’t the fit, athletic and muscularly women “ideal”? 


Fit Moms sprang from an idea brought to Nourrir by our photographer Ky West. He shared his less than satisfied sentiment about how Wonder Woman, from the box-office hit last summer, was portrayed. A warrior would have muscles more like a CrossFit athlete than a Pilates instructor. Nothing wrong with either, but we wondered why can’t an athletic woman be a leading lady? (Side note, I was also annoyed with the corny love story that I felt diluted her power and was an unnecessary plot line. If they needed to her to be sexual, she could have just had a few male companions!) Ky thought we could depict kids, preferably girls, looking up to their Fit Moms; choosing to follow in her footsteps, led by her example. The photos happened before the story. 


As editor, the emotion elicited from a photo or words is my best filter for excellence. When Ky messaged me a first edit, I got chills. Where were these photos when I was a kid?? The next thought was, I can’t wait to tell my son about this. I knew then he had created something special through which people would be moved.

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The shoot happened on a sort of rainy afternoon, outside of June resale boutique in Minneapolis. Claudine, one of our fit moms, in town from LA joined with one of her two daughters. Kelly and Ky had already begun shooting with her two daughters who were stoked to “be in a magazine”. Magic depends not on time, but on alchemy.


At Nourrir, we advocate for grownups to be exactly who they are; we believe no less for our children. We seek to dispel the myths holding us back from LIVING our fullest life, today. We also advocate for active and fit lifestyles, the hard work and dedication required to maintain, and the joy fitness brings. We hope women will be celebrated and admired for being strong, really fucking strong. I am talking about their biceps and not their ability to navigate the BS of life.


So, we asked Morgan to talk to our two featured Mamas: Claudine McHie Cooper and Kelly Schraufnaugel. Their narrative brings the the idea, the visuals and the hopes all together. Enjoy!

First and foremost, I believe, you have to help yourself

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Claudine and Kelly are two moms alike in spirit. They are fiercely passionate about encouraging women [and moms] to become their best selves.


Claudine is a group fitness instructor, originally from Minnesota, now based in Inglewood, California. Claudine draws on her own story of grief and resilience when motivating her varied cross-section of clients private gyms to her weekly community-led class. 


Kelly works full time whilst sustaining a thriving health and wellness business with her husband.  Kelly has helped thousands of people achieve their health goals through simple, effective nutrition coaching and virtual support groups and connecting like-minded souls.


They wholeheartedly accept the responsibility of building healthy communities, raising conscientious kids and providing accessible wellness for all.


Nourrir caught up with them to pick their brains about healthy living, creating healthy communities and making yourself a priority. 

Photo by Ky West

Photo by Ky West


How did your journeys into healthy living and fitness begin?


[Claudine]: I actually entered into fitness more for my mental health. Following a period of depression and grief my therapist prescribed me daily exercise as therapy. This was back when there was VCR; I would put in an aerobics video, turn down the TV volume and turn my rap music up. After about a month, I was already feeling better. 

My mom had dragged me to the gym with her for my whole life, so when I started to feel better I applied to get a job at the gym. Not that I could become a group fitness instructor, but so I could get a free membership. 

Now, there are times during my classes when I can literally feel someone’s sadness, their overwhelming depression. And so on those days I use my platform to share my story, my testimony. So that those people can feel it and know that there is success in overcoming this, that there is power in this movement that is so much bigger than you getting a six-pack. 


[Kelly]: My journey into healthy living started in college, but it was after having kids that I really ramped it up. It was then that I realized that I wasn’t just doing this for me, I was doing it for my family and for my kids. I think it’s so hard for people to think about finding time to care of themselves without feeling selfish. Now I understand the importance of putting yourself first, and that when you do that, it’s not a selfish thing to do – it’s actually selfless. When you take care of yourself and you feel good, you can show up better in the world and better for your kids.


Why is living a healthy life and taking care of yourself so important to you as a mom?


[Kelly] : First and foremost, I believe, you have to help yourself. It took me a year into being a mom to realize that what I was doing wasn’t working. I feel like I was always a great mom, but I just wanted to feel better. I was doing the best that I could, putting everyone else first, but at the end of the day I was exhausted, drained and didn’t feel the best that I could because I wasn’t making myself a priority. 

Our kids are little sponges and they look up to us, they do as we do. I want my kids to be strong, independent girls that stand for something, who have a voice, who are confident and friendly – and I realized that I needed to show them how to take care of themselves. 


How did motherhood change you as a fitness instructor, Claudine?


[Claudine]: Motherhood softened me in my profession and my profession softened me as a mother. When I was pregnant with my first child, I still taught my regular classes. I was that trainer; the one yelling ‘if I can do it, so can you.’ But it was on the days when I was vomiting before teaching a class that I began to understand that not everyone has the same capacity to push to level 10 like I do.

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Why is creating healthy communities such a passion for you both?


[Kelly]: I help a lot of women who don’t have the supportive community at home. People are made to change but having a supportive network and surrounding yourself with people who want to see you succeed is the most important element of long-term success. 

I never would have thought that I would have been able to impact so many people; I just found a great vehicle to build a platform to help so many people change their lives. 


[Claudine]: Exercise is one of those things that universally, everyone can agree makes you feel good. It may not feel great during, but when you’re done, it’s an accomplishment. I teach at the park in the neighborhood, we’re all really there touching shoulders as a community. And I feel like this job of being healthy forces people to remember to be humble, because when it comes to sweat, we all sweat the same. The girl who’s got 1.5 million Instagram followers is struggling just as hard doing a work, is just as flushed and I think it’s a good reminder. Not just for her, but for us too. 

Photo by Ky West

Photo by Ky West


What advice would you give to people starting out on trying to lead healthier lives?


[Claudine] : I still love to walk. That’s actually how I started partner workouts. They were these long periods of time where I’d be able to connect with someone, just walking and talking. I felt that the connection brought about by a private moment in motion has become even more powerful as I’ve gotten older and is why I make my children walk with me. I feel like we’re gotten away from being outside which is so important for all of us to connect with our spirit, to really be with god amongst the plants and the birds and the trees. Walking is accessible to anyone, it doesn’t require a gym membership, all you need is two feet.


Nourrir wishes a heartfelt hank you to Kelly and Claudine for sharing your stories with us.


If you would like to keep in the loop with our inspiring interviewees, their social media handles are below. Kelly also adds that anyone is welcome to join her private community on Facebook – aimed at helping women become their best selves. Connect with Kelly through Facebook for more information.





Photo by Ky West

Photo by Ky West

À Table: Cooking with Affirmations

By Lauren Clark

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Lauren Clark is a vibrant soul from California. She studied at Valparaiso University in Indiana, spent almost every summer in North Carolina with her grandparents, and lived in France for a year as a sophomore in college, majoring in political science and French. She has interned at the Department of State for a semester, and plans on moving to Paris, France, for a master’s degree in European Affairs.

Lauren loves going on long walks, runs, and hikes, making delicious meals and desserts, writing songs on the piano and guitar, meeting new people and making new friends, learning different languages, and traveling. But what she really loves the most is singing in French and cooking. At the same time. 

Lauren battled an eating disorder throughout her high school years and became vegan to cope with the disorder. Through this process, and with the help of positive affirmations, Lauren has overcome her disorder and because of it, has published a vegan recipe book with over 80 recipes and positive affirmations. Lauren posts recipes and motivational mantras on her instagram @soulfullylauren. Lauren advocates listening to your body, nourishing it with love, good food, and happy thoughts. She wants you to know that you can do anything you set your heart and your mind to. If there’s a will, there's a way.



À Table

In these times, trust that you are where you need to be in order to get to where you want to be.


Herbed yogurt on avocado toast
Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 avocado
2 slices of your favorite bread, toasted
1 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp plain greek yogurt
½ shallot, finely diced
2 sprigs dill, finely chopped
A pinch of cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to your liking

Directions:
Toast your bread
Cut the avocado open, spread each half onto each slice of toast
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and put a dollop onto your toast.
This herbed yogurt concoction can also be used for other things, like dipping vegetables into, or could be used on a sandwich.
Enjoy and eat with love!



Herbed yogurt on avocado toast

Herbed yogurt on avocado toast

You are sovereign, you are free. Nothing has the power to stop you from achieving all that your heart desires.

Chocolate caramel squares
Makes about 9-12 squares
BASE
1 cup almond flour
1 cup Dried Desiccated Coconut
2 TBSP almond butter(or alternative)
1 TBSP maple syrup
2 dates
1 Pinch Salt

CARAMEL
6 medjool dates, soaked in hot water
2 TBSPS tahini
2 TBSPS coconut oil
1-2 TBSP maple syrup
generous pinch of salt
1 TBSP vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE
100g 60% or higher chocolate chips
1 TBSP Coconut Oil

Instructions
1. In a food processor place almond flour, coconut, nut butter, maple syrup, 2 dates and salt and blend until a bound consistency has formed (about 1-2 mins)
2. Press mixture down into a mold to form the base crust. mould or a greased dish press down the mixture to form a flat base. I like to keep mine about ½-3/4 an inch thick, but you can have it as thin / thick as you want!
3. Place in the freezer while making the caramel sauce.
4. Remove pits from dates and place into a small bowl of boiling water, let sit for 10 minutes, drain water.
5. Add salt, tahini, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla to bowl with dates and mash vigorously with a fork until smooth caramel consistency is reached.
6. Pour caramel on top of the cookie base, spread evenly, and put back into the freezer while you make the chocolate layer.
7. In a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water melt your chocolate and coconut oil together.
8. Pour directly on to the caramel shortbread base and place in freezer for about an hour until set
9. Remove from the freezer and allow to stand for about 15-20 minutes before using a sharp knife to cut squares
10. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge
11. Serve and enjoy with love.

Chocolate Caramel Squares

Chocolate Caramel Squares

Nourrir Pleasure

By Dr. Rachel Allyn

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  It is tragic how guilty so many people can feel about their natural desires, and this is especially true for those socialized as women. There are many reasons for this: women have been raised to believe their needs aren’t as important as mens; that their body is flawed unless they look like a supermodel; that their sexual desires are not only unimportant but actually dirty. Enough of the slut shaming. Let us reclaim the word slut — or any of the words (promiscuous, whore, floozy, tramp, hooker, hustler, tart, scarlet, loose woman, hussy, trollop, harlot, wanton, vamp…) that denigrate women for owning what is naturally theirs.

We must let go of the associations that sex is dirty, sinful, secretive. One could argue: why did nature, did evolution, did God (or whatever your higher power may be) give us a body capable of such energetic union and pleasure if it were not meant to be celebrated? 

Let’s break this down. Guilt is the feeling of having done something wrong or bad. It’s defined as a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, or wrongdoing, whether real or imagined. How fascinating that the opposite of guilt is defined as innocence. Let’s exit this moralistic, puritanical highway that is a remnant from ancient times. 

The truth is you are a sexual being, as were your parents and their parents and so forth. Beyond the perfunctory efforts at procreation, sexual pleasure is your fundamental birthright as well. Yet many people have conflicted feelings around giving and receiving pleasure to themselves and in their sexual relationships. Some find pleasure a lavish, gluttonous indulgence, others fear they will become too attached to pleasure and not have the boundaries to create a balance between work and pleasure. Balanced pleasure free from guilt IS possible. 


 

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 Here are some tangible ways to reduce guilt and begin to own your right to sexual desire and pleasure:

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  1. Start with giving yourself permission to honor what works for YOU, not what other people have told you your relationship with sexuality SHOULD be. Recognize that healthy sexual relationships can look many different ways to different people — whether they be a 20 year monogamous relationship or a single night of passion for whom you never see the person again. Each of these represent a sacred charge and union of energy that is powerful and worthy. 

  2. Get reacquainted with your sensuality. Open your eyes to the acid green lushness of the leaves; close your eyes as you slowly take your first bites of food; smell the lilacs draping off the bushes; feel the wind in your hair; hear the echo of the grasshoppers at night; strip off your socks and enjoy your bare feet. Reunite with the little sensual moments around you. Notice areas of ease in your body as well as areas of tension. Bring loving touch to the areas of tension. Start to feel more at home in your body.

  3. Be curious about the dynamics of your body. For starters, many women are unaware of their own anatomy. The sanskrit word for vulva is “yoni” which means sacred space, so start viewing it as such. Additionally, tap into your breath — your life-force — on a more regular basis. Yoga can be excellent for teaching different styles of breath.  In addition to yoga, engage in a variety of different styles of mindful movement such as dance, paddle boarding or hiking, which help you feel more fluid and less rigid. 

  4. Connect to sound. Release stuck energy within your throat — the bottleneck between the head and the heart. Let yourself make guttural sounds like sighing or soothing sounds like humming. This helps you practice expressing yourself and asking for what you want and need. 

Sexual guilt severs your relationships, including the one with yourself. Begin to reside more fully and unabashedly in your physical body and it will lead the way, liberating you from the old storylines to a new narrative which reclaims what is rightfully yours. 


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BIO:
Dr. Allyn is a licensed holistic psychologist and a pleasure expert.
Her area of focus is relationship and intimacy issues, including sex therapy and body positivity. 
She blends Western and Eastern philosophy and integrates the body and mind. She created a unique style of psychotherapy
called YogaPsych® based on research that the body stores emotions and other experiences, which get stuck within us unless we have
a safe way to discharge them from the body.
Dr. Allyn helps facilitate connection and release of these stuck emotions and behavioral patterns through
yoga, breathing, meditation, chakras, the aerial silk and outdoor therapy - all methods that help develop body intelligence.
She also has a monthly wellness/relationship column called Ask Dr. Rachel, and leads international wellness retreats each winter.