My Good-bye Auntie Michelle [Obama]

To my Auntie, Michelle LaVaughn [Robinson] Obama:

“My forever First Lady”, “The Closer”, “Renaissance”…

Thank you. Thank you for making the girl in me in 2008, believe in the woman that I am now in 2017. Over the course of these past 8 years there has been much debate surrounding the legitimacy of your position and your influence. People have wondered whether or not the imagery of you and your husband were enough, if [you] were enough. So let me start by saying this, for the little black girl in me, you were more than enough.

I think all black and brown women possess a ‘little black or brown girl’ inside of them that never quite grew up. A little girl that was never given the proper attention, love, encouragement, appreciation or patience that all little girls long for – yet, most girls of color are denied in society. But you, Auntie Michelle, you became the mentor that spoke to all the little girls inside of us.

You showed us what we could be, but most importantly, you showed the world what they have failed to see for so long. You have embodied class and grace, while you simultaneously stood confidently in your truths as intelligence and kindness consistently flowed from your lips.  You repeatedly defied all stereotypes they tried to brand you with, you reclaimed and polished the damaged identity known as the ‘[angry] black woman’.

You instructed us to “go high when they go low”, you told us that #blackgirlsrock and that “Women and girls can do whatever they want..” and that “…there is no limit to what we as women can can achieve”. You taught all women alike that is only right that we be educated and ambitious, you made it your mission to, and encouraged the world to “let girls learn”.

Auntie, you have shattered glass ceilings, inspiring us all to aim higher. You entered 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the the most educated and stylish FLOTUS – Princeton and Harvard educated, all while looking radiant and flawless. You boldly, yet humbly showed us how to love ourselves and how to accept the skin that we are in. I cannot count the number of times that we all have shouted “Slay Hunni!!!””Yaasss!!!” and “Come thru, Michelle!!!”. Being a ‘First Lady’ has never looked better!

Oh, and I would be amiss if I failed to mention all of knowledge gems and realness that you have left us with over the years, whether it was during commencement speeches or at any other function. We could always count you, like all of our favorite aunts, to keep it one-hundred!

— You never forgot who [you] are, or your history:

“I wake up everyday in a house that was built by slaves, …”                                                                               Michelle Obama’s 2016 DNC Speech

— You always encouraged us to stay focussed on what really matters:

“There is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education. If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the president of the United States.”                                                                            – Michelle Obama at Glamour-hosted panel, The Power of an Educated Girl

— You taught how how to deal with negativity and our nay-sayers:

“You know, the bad stuff I just don’t hold on to… A better way to handle things, is to keep it moving… We, as black women, better be able to do it… because there’s so much that comes at us all the time. Every day. In subtle ways that could tear your soul apart if you let it.”                                       – Michelle Obama’s Farewell Address

— You never failed to exemplify kindness, and taught [us] how to be loved:

Michelle – for the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud. –  Barack Obama’s “Farewell Address”

Lastly, Auntie Michelle, I just want to simply say ‘thank you’ once more. Thank you for being the epitome of #blackgirlmagic, and allowing us all to witness history. I will never forget how you came into our lives, as well as our homes and inspired us all. Although it is hard to say good-bye, I know we must. It has been an amazing 8 years – and I know I am biased, but we could not have done it with out you.

Love always,

– As Told by HER, your nieces – all of the ‘little black and brown girls’

 

 

 

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#WorkingWomen Spotlight | Teeny Weeny Closets

This week’s #WorkingWomen are: Mary Tijani, CEO & Creative Director 

Business: 

Teeny Weeny Closets: A luxury mommy and me boutique. We specialize in animated satin bonnets for kids which is often hard to find, Mommy and me turbans and unique hair accessories like jumbo bows. We take pride in the fact that most of our things are hand made.

Background: 

 Teeny Weeny Closets is a company built on embracing natural beauty especially amongst women and children. As a mother teaching my child to take care of her hair from an early age is very important to me. I wanted to share that with other mothers through my business.

What being a #WorkingWoman means to her:

To me working woman is quite self explanatory. It means a woman that works and makes ends meet by any means any means neccesary for her family. It could a corporate woman or even a businesswoman. Just a hard working lady that explores and grinds to make her money legitimately.

Mary, on knowing their worth:

All of my customers will tell you that I constantly encourage them through comments or sometimes direct messages. I am constantly encouraging them to push forward as mothers, because as a mother I know I feel down some days and all it takes is a little push to brighten my day. On a daily basis I send positive vibes to the women and children on my page. 

***Pictured below are some of the “teeny weeny” apparel available for children, and their mothers alike:
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image1 image2

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For business inquiries, “Teeny Weeny Closets” can be contacted at:
Instagram : @teenyweeny_closets
Facebook: Teeny Weeny Closets
Website www.teenyweenyclosets.com

#WorkingWomen Spotlight | Naturally Perfect Candle Company

This week’s #WorkingWoman is: Erika Wilson (ErikaNicole), owner/artisan 

Business/Title:  Naturally Perfect Candle Company, a handmade aromatic company (i.e. soy candles, incense and room sprays for home, office and everywhere in between).

Background:

In 2010, while I was working a part-time job at a hardware chain, as well as deciding to start my master’s program, I began creating as an outlet during my professional transition. I had two childhood friends that were preparing to cross into Greek lettered organizations and I was without money but wanted to shower them with congratulations. While up late one night researching, I came across information on creating candles and began purchasing materials that night and well into the next day. My first products were a set of Pink/Green candles and a set of Blue/White candles; they loved them and I knew I was on to something! Since then, I have made several strides with turning my hobby into a legitimate side business.

 

What being a #WorkingWoman means to Erika:

A WorkingWoman is one who awakes every morning with gratitude, with goals and strategies for achieving those goals.  Her goals are lofty yet attainable and her passion is undeniable. Her gorilla grind paired with her classy disposition puts her in circles that only propel her higher, faster. “Her goal is to be better today, than she was the day before but understands that even when she falls forward, she’s moving in the right direction.”

 

Erika, on knowing her worth:

I surround myself with a diverse enclave of #WorkingWomen to ensure I am up-to-par with the products I provide and that I’m consistently connecting with quality intellect. I take classes/seminars on various topics to ensure I am ready for whatever my industry has to offer while staying true to my goals as a creative entrepreneur. I also take pride in uplifting those around me whether it be through public praise or private adulation. “I want us all to win and I’m not afraid of sharing a step with another sister because it only makes that pathway sturdier for the next to climb.”

 

Below are images of Erikas products. 

geneva   ginger-and-genevaginger

*** Pictured above are some of Erika’s products: A Green Tea & Lemongrass candle (top left) and a Champagne & Mandarins candle (bottom). ***

For all business inquiries, Naturally Perfect Candle Co. can be reached at: naturallyperfectcc@gmail.comwww.naturallyperfectcandleco.com

2016; A year of Progress, Promotion, & Pain

Well, it’s that time for the ‘new year, new me’ posts, and if that is what you are looking for this blog is not for you. Rather than creating a long, in depth, unobtainable ‘New Year’s resolution’ that I have no intention of completing; I would like to instead, reflect over few things that have made my 2016 unforgetable.

So here goes:

  1. Graduation:

graduation-formationMan, this is one day that I never thought would come, but once it did I had no idea how four years could happen so quickly – oh, the irony. My undergraduate experience was full of opportunities and challenges that will have long lasting implications on my life. I learned how to succeed and respond to failure. Most importantly I learned that my life is mine, and whatever I hope for it be rest solely on my shoulders.

2. Acceptance into graduate school:
img_0491 This to happened all to quickly. In high school and most of undergrad I never really had intentions on staying in school. It’s funny how life works its self out (and how you I would have done anything in order to escape all of the pressures and responsibilities of the “real world”) – regardless, it happened and I am glad it did. Graduate school has allowed me to further explore who I am, the world around me, and how I fit into it. I never thought that the world of academia would have been my cup of tea, but I am going to keep drinking it until my thirst is no longer. Go Pokes!

3. Receiving the “Margaret Young Award”:

IMG_0003.JPGThis year I was awarded, from my undergraduate institution, the “Margaret Young Award”. Deeming me as the “most outstanding female student” in my graduating class. Now, between me and you I had no idea what this award even was prior to my nomination – so me winning was a total shock to both my family and I. This did not make the list in order for me to boast about all of the wonderful things that I have done and how I am such an amazing person (complete sarcasm), but because of what it represents. My mother always said that, “People are always watching you; you may not know it, but they are”. The things that I did in undergrad were done because I was passionate about whatever it was I was doing, not with intent of be awarded. This award reiterated what I had always been taught, and further emphasized that, ‘as long as you are doing what you love, and you are giving it your all, it is not in vain – people see  you, and you are impacting them’.

4. Friendship:

IMG_1389.JPGIt took awhile, but I finally them! Friendship is one thing that I feel like people take for granted, especially in an area of #NoNewFriends and being hyper-independent. As for me though, I believe in and have witnessed the beauty of friendship. Some battles are not meant to fought alone, and I thank God that I was given a support system this past year that have been willing to stand beside me.

5. Failure:

There is not specific picture that embodies the failure that I have endured this past year, yet the feelings that are left as a result are felt so deeply. In 2016 I opted to start dreaming. Although in retrospect the idea of ‘dreaming’ is splendid and encouraged, however we know that with dreaming there are very real implications that come along with them. Implications that may include rejections, loss of money and time, disappointment and possibly embarrassment. Unfortunately, I experienced all of the above this year. Through a series of disappointments and rejections I have realized that these events are nothing more than redirection. Redirection toward something better.

6. Tarnished Relationships:

As I stated earlier, this year I began to truly value friendships, in the same manner I value growth and progression. I have grown fond of the statement “show me who your friends are, and I will show you who you are” – therefore, I do not believe that the two independent clauses previously stated can stand independently of the other. With friends, one of two things can happen, progression or regression. Either you will move forward or fall backward, it’s really that simple. I thank God, that I was able break loose from the chains and bondage of old and tired relationships. I was able to walk away and move forward, away from people who were no longer a source of growth, support, and positivity.

7. My people and I (woke) up!

Oh, yes! Even through the weekly killings of our brothers and sisters, the 2016 election, and every other monstrosity this year, we began to open our eyes and peeped game! Straight up. *Excuse me, I had a moment there for a second*. Anyways, we decided to step a way from “professionalism” and opted to be UNAPOLOGETICALLY black. We began to demand “Seat(s) At the Table“, we started to do what no one wanted – we got in “Formation“, and when it was all said and done, for once we took a much needed break a delved into our  “Coloring Book(s)“. And, although all of these things are great, I cannot forget how many of my beautiful sisters continued to embrace and exude our inherent #blackgirlmagic.

***All in all, 2016 was a very special year for me. One that I will never forget, but one that I am glad I am past. I was one of progress, promotion, and pain, but necessary none the less. If you are reading this, I wish you a 2017 that will challenge and strengthen you – a year that will make you better than what you were in 2k16.

– As Told by HER, Hailey