WOMANday: Sunnie Ha, Founder of Activewear Company Wear It To Heart Talks Apparel Production in Central America, Sustainability, and Empowering Young Women

WEAR IT TO HEART LOGO BEING TRANSFERRED ONTO GARMENT

Back in February, I attended the first ever AXIS Show at Pier 94 in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The fashion trade show focused on women’s active lifestyle apparel and home goods, which was really exciting to me. It was there that I was first introduced to Wear It To Heart (WITH), a ladies activewear brand based in Los Angeles and produced in El Salvador.

I was really drawn to the soft, yet technologically sound fabrication of the garments, in addition to the lovely prints used across their spectrum of leggings, capris, tanks, and sports bra offerings. I was also drawn to the idea of their goods being produced in Central America, so I decided to set up an interview with the company’s founder, Sunnie Ha, to discuss their initiatives, predominantly female workforce, and more. Read on!

Tell us a bit about your background and when you came to the point to make Wear It To Heart a reality.

Looking back, it all started with the observation that women’s activewear was just men’s activewear made in smaller sizes.  It seemed as if every woman walked out of the same closet all dressed in black tights and uninspiring, boring tops.  I wanted women to look like women, feminine and beautiful.  In my mind leggings with fun and pretty prints give women a comfortable but bold look that is stylish.  The WITH look allows women to live in every moment and love the life they live. Wear it to Heart was born in California and is growing up in El Salvador.  We work with both designers and artists from Los Angeles and El Salvador.  I have the pleasure of working with artists who, for the first time have an outlet which allows them not only to express but also profit from their creativity.  You should see the excitement of the team when their prints are featured on our pieces.  I feel blessed to be able to love what I do and excited to see what the future of WITH holds.

Your product line consists of fashion-forward activewear suitable for yoga and other low-impact activity. What kind of feedback have you gotten from the fitness community thus far?

So far, the feedback has been very positive. Every piece of WITH is constructed with the highest quality materials and attention to detail, which people notice and appreciate. Also, because the prints are fashion-forward, you can wear them out and about, not just at the gym, which is very important to our customers as well.

DESIGNER SKETCHING

Let’s talk about your workforce. In your company factory in El Salvador, you run a sweatshop-free work force, comprised predominantly of women. Was this done intentionally? And can you elaborate on your company values and in-house initiatives?

Wear it to Heart mainly manufactures in El Salvador to support Project Garrobo which was started many years ago by my husband and I.  It began with a desire to help the communities in El Salvador.  We found ourselves working with single mothers to help them acquire work skills to support not only themselves, but also their families.  Project Garrobo, is an apprenticeship program for several disadvantaged, unwed, and unskilled teen mothers.  We pay them a salary and train them for several types of apparel jobs, but also teach them life skills such as finance, English, and other necessary subjects for them to meet the oncoming challenges of adulthood.  Once they reach the age of 18 they are welcome to work at our factory, or if they choose to leave and work elsewhere, we’re happy with that also. Our payback is satisfaction knowing that we improved their lives.
Our factory is recognized globally as a leader in CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability.  This distinction stems from many years of researching and implementing the best practices.  For instance, we responded to employee requests to offer a daycare solution.  Our response was to visit several daycare facilities in the U.S. and Brazil.  Learning from those already doing it, we inaugurated our child development center on our premises in 2011.  Since then we have gained Montessori accreditation, therefore giving our pre-schoolers a clear advantage for when they graduate and move on to regular day school.

A PAIR OF LEGGINGS BEING SEWN

Apparel production in Central America has been on the rise in the past few years, using some of the most technologically sound processes in the industry. What do you see in its future?

On-shoring or near-shoring apparel production back to the Americas has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. It’s good news for us because it creates a win-win situation for the U.S. and the Central American & Caribbean regions. Due to the way the free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) is structured, most key inputs come from the U.S. and then produced as final garments in the region.  So it’s true bi-lateral trade benefitting both sides of the border.  We are to expect this trend to grow significantly due to the changing global sourcing landscape. As China and other Asian countries develop more consumer driven economies, the available capacities and resources will focus more in that direction.  As a byproduct, the Americas will gain more market share of U.S apparel imports.  Flexible, faster to market lead times and real time communication with U.S. brands and retailers  also make CAFTA-DR region a very attractive sourcing hub.  For W.I.T.H., the flexibility and speed allow for unparalleled levels of service and innovation.

It was such a pleasure to speak to, and learn more about the apparel industry in the Americas from Sunnie. Be sure to check out the goods on the official Wear It To Heart website, in addition to following them on social media!

*Photos courtesy of Wear It To Heart (WITH)

Saturday Sounds: Kali Uchis “Rush” + Music Video

Kali Uchis, the Colombiana songstress & visionary by way of Virginia has been on my radar for some time now. I first came across her last year via Kitty Cash’s Love The Free Vol. 2 mixtape that featured her track “Real”. I was immediately fascinated by her smokey tone and songwriting, and had since been following her music via SoundCloud.

She dropped her Por Vida EP back in February, and it’s been in constant rotation on my iTunes. It contains nine undeniably groovy tracks, one of my favorites being “Rush”, produced by KAYTRANADA & BADBADNOTGOOD. The song has a funky 1970’s vibe, which I always appreciate in music. Listen below.

The music video, co-directed by Kali Uchis is set in the mid-1970’s with hot pants, platform shoes and cascading tresses to set the mood. The visual perfectly complements the lo-fi feeling of the track. Get into it below, and enjoy your Saturday!

Contest: Want A Hair Pick-Me-Up? Win a Cut & Color At ARROJO Williamsburg w/ Andrea K. Castillo On Thu. 5/28!

Hey girl hey! Spring is here, and you’ve been pleading to yourself that you are due for a hairstyle change, but haven’t gotten to it yet? Whether it be a busy schedule, not finding the right stylist, or just being strapped for cash, we believe that YOU deserve that new hairstyle that you’ve wanted. Here’s the deal.

We have teamed up with one of our favorite salon brands in NYC, ARROJO, for a super special experience at their newly opened location in Williamsburg in our hometown of Brooklyn. We are giving ONE lucky winner a cut & color for FREE (or either/or, depending on your preference) on the afternoon of Thursday, May 28th. If this isn’t enough for you, you will be getting your hair did in my company, as I will be refreshing my ‘do as well at the same time! You will get the V.I.P. treatment before the crowd comes in for the salon’s grand opening event that evening, that you a free to stick around for, of course. Sounds pretty BOSS, right? So here’s how you enter.

TO ENTER:

  • Leave a quick comment below to say why you believe you should be chosen for the hair makeover, or tag a friend that you believe deserves it.
  • Follow @alifeinthedayof on Twitter and tweet us “I deserve an #ARROJOBK makeover because…” OR Follow @alifeinthedayof on Instagram and comment on this photo with #ARROJOBK.
  • “Like” us on Facebook, and tell your friends!

 GUIDELINES:

  • Must be a resident of the New York City area, aged 21 or over.
  • Must follow the site and related social media. No exceptions.
  • If chosen, must be present for cut/color on Thursday, May 28th at 3 PM at ARROJO Williamsburg.
  • Upon being awarded the prize, you must specify if you want a cut, color, or both.

The lucky winner will be announced on Friday, May 22nd at 12 PM EST. Good luck to you!

 

*Photo courtesy of ARROJO

Nailed It: Carefree Lavender Vibes in “Charming” by Kryolan

If you have been keeping up with my Nailed It nail color swatching series, you would have come to the conclusion that I have a penchant for bold colors. I try pastels every now and then, but tend to be drawn to blue, green, and pink hues. I’ve never tried a lavender hued nail polish (in my life I think), so when I received this perfectly pastel lavender from Kryolan, I was almost reluctant to try it out.

I looked at the bottle and turned it over to see the color name which read Charming; they already won me over. The color is a neutral, creamy light lavender shade, pretty balanced in blue and pink undertones.

My lovely cousin Ashley was the woman behind my manicure. We achieved this color with a base, two coats of color, and a top coat, which you can see is very true to the color seen in the bottle. I really digged the final look because it complemented my complexion well, which I did not expect. This color pairs well with mint green, peach, white, black, and shades of tan.

Charming is available for purchase on Kryolan’s e-commerce site and retails for $9.95. Get into it!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

MANday: Le Club Des Douze, The Men’s Online Fashion Destination in English & En Francais

ALEX & OLIVIA OF LE CLUB DES DOUZE

It has been some time since I’ve featured a piece for MANday, so to get back on the ball, I want to introduce you to super-cool menswear aficionado Alex Rizos of Le Club Des Douze. Alex first reached out to me over a year ago via Twitter, and since I have been following his blog which is a men’s lifestyle destination focused on curated fashion-apparel inspiration boards, designer & brand interviews, home goods and food. We are both in good company as contributors to Capsule Show’s We Are The Market blog as well.

The site began entirely in French, and with my little knowledge of the the language was able to navigate the mood boards and posts. It has since transitioned to be a completely bilingual site, featuring content in both French and English. I caught up with Alex at a coffee shop in the city to chat about Le Club des Douze and learn the story behind the blog. Read on.

You started Le Club Des Douze in 2012 with your wife, Olivia. Give me a little background on you guys and your interest, and why you decided to start the site?

Let’s start with Olivia. She used to be a lawyer in England, she’s actually from here [United States] but she moved there to study law, but she didn’t love it. At some point she came back here and went to Parson’s because she was interested in fashion, not necessarily fashion design, but working in a more creative, design-related field. She does PR for interior designers and architects, so it is very specific. As far as I’m concerned, I lived here six years ago for one year, then lived in London for a year, where I met her (Olivia). During these stays in both countries I discovered the renewal of independent menswear [brands]. I don’t know if it was because I felt new to it or it was actually a new wave then, between 2009 and now. I discovered a bunch of new brands between here [New York] and in London, and also a lot of menswear blogs that focus on craftsmanship, more independent smaller brands, and I thought that was very interesting. At the time in France, there really was no blog talking about that. So before moving back here, I had a three-month period where I moved back to France to take care of my visa, and I said “let’s launch something in that field.” I started the blog [Le Club Des Douze] and at some point it had an e-commerce portion to it when I launched, then I realized that it was writing that people were looking for.

How important has social media been in connecting you to fashion brands, in addition to building your brand internationally?

It’s crazy how social media can enable you to connect with so many brands, even the smaller ones, and that’s amazing. When I started Le Club Des Douze I feel like most of my followers were on Facebook. There was an interaction, but I didn’t feel that brands would reach out to me there, and it kind of shifted to our biggest following being on Twitter. That’s where our audience is, where you can visit our website from, where you share articles, and where you connect with a lot of brands. Either we reach out to the brands or they discover us, and they want to talk to us. It’s crazy that five years ago, to know about a brand, I would have to read about it on a blog or go to a trade show. Since the beginning, our following grew a lot internationally. Now we have about 40% French followers, about 30% in the UK, and the rest divided between the U.S. and Japan.

SCREENSHOT OF THE WEBSITE

How important do you believe a female influence is for the growth of a menswear-based business?

I think it is very important. I think since she [Olivia] started working with me, she’s added a lot of value in terms of …I don’t know. She just KNOWS when she sees a group of items together, what to add. I need to see things. I need to see the twelve items and then decide if it looks good. She can see three items and already know what the whole section will look like. I don’t know if it’s a feminine thing, but I know that’s the way she thinks. She sees the story behind it all. She has the vision of the guy that’s going to wear the outfit, and each selection is basically one outfit with additional pieces that you can pair and swap out.

What do you foresee in the future of menswear apparel & media?

I think the menswear industry, especially independent menswear …they’re not looking to do something that is “out-there”, these brands are looking to do something that they have seen and that is “heritage” with a twist. Whereas in womenswear, designers create something that is new, and there are menswear designers that do that as well, but that’s not what we are really interested in. The independent brands and designers that we work with are more into heritage and taking something that exists and making it better.


It was such a pleasure to speak with Alex, and see the growth of Le Club Des Douze firsthand. You can check out their site here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photos courtesy of Le Club Des Douze

Saturday Sounds: “Reflection” Towkio, Produced by Kaytranada

Hey girl/boy! So you had a long week, huh? I hear that. Work was pretty stressful and that one co-worker you can’t stand was all up in your grill, right? You need a break, and possibly a burst of energy. Well, I got that, in the form of music of course! In this edition of Saturday Sounds, I bring to you yet another track produced by my FAVORITE GUY, Kaytranada.

The song “Reflection” is by newcomer Towkio, who is apart of Chicago’s SAVEMONEY click, led by Vic Mensa. His voice is painfully expressive with a great melodic quality, which really trains your ears to listen to the lyrics; the storytelling behind the song. Press play to get into it.

Towkio’s .WAV Theory EP is available to stream and download now.

Take A Bite: Chutney Kitchen, For Fast, Healthy Indian Food on The Cheap In The Heart Of The Theatre District

INTERIOR VIEW OF CHUTNEY KITCHEN

In life, the food that I love most is that which we consider “comfort food”. The meals that are usually filled with carbs, and cheese, and oil; those are the things that make me feel happy inside. But what if your favorite comfort food was also healthy? That would be an added plus, right? That is such the case when it comes to Chutney Kitchen.

Located in the heart of New York City’s Theatre District on 8th Avenue, Chutney Kitchen is the brainchild of chef & owner Silu Sao. Having worked in finance on Wall Street for many years, Sao who is of Indian descent, came to a crossroads in her life where she wanted to truly follow her passion. Egged on by her daughter, Sao followed her passion for cooking and decided that she wanted to open a restaurant that offered Indian food in the manner in which she grew up on; packed with flavor with minimal oil, unlike some of the faster Indian food we have become used to in the States.

CHEF & OWNER SILU SAO- courtesy of Chutney Kitchen

With her business partner Pankaj Amin, they founded Chutney Kitchen in 2012 and developed a fresh flavorful menu, that would get the approval of their own families. Their first location opened in February 2015 on 8th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets, and I had the opportunity recently to visit and try out a few things from their menu.

CHICKEN TIKKA RICE BOWL W/ CILANTRO SAUCE

Upon my arrival, I quickly met with Sao who was just so gracious and incredibly passionate about her business. She gave me a rundown on the space and menu offerings, and offered a few things for me to try. The menu has options for everyone, offering “build your own” bowl options, as well as full plates for those that can be overwhelmed by customizing their own plates.

I tried out the rice bowl (which you can see in the photo above) and topped with chicken tikka, tomato salad, and cilantro sauce. The flavors were bold without being overpowering, and the amount of food was generous. I felt light after eating it as it wasn’t weighed down with tons of oil; they cook their food in light olive oil. The food stations are set up similar to a salad bar where you can pick your protein, toppings, and sauces, which I enjoy because customization is my thing. They also offer a wide range of in-house beverages, including the Hibiscus tea (seen in the photo above), Honey Green Tea, Ginger Lemonade, and more!

FULL MENU

Above you can view the full menu, which offers tons of meal options, all under $10! During the week, there are lunch specials for $11 that include a meal, drink, and chips. Healthy food with flavor for a great price? Yes, you can have it all. When you are in the area, be sure to visit Chutney Kitchen. You will NOT be disappointed.

CHUTNEY KITCHEN

856 8th Ave

New York, NY 10019

212-247-6200

*Photos Courtesy of Chutney Kitchen + Andrea K. Castillo

Nailed It: Show Your Best Green For Mental Health Awareness Month With “Tilda” by ZOYA + Help Me Raise Funds for NAMI Walks NYC!

ZOYA “Tilda”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Having friends and family members that suffer from mental illness, and having dealt with anxiety and depression on my own, mental health awareness is an initiative that is very close to my heart. To show my support for the cause, I decided to paint my nails this lush shade of leafy green in “Tilda” by ZOYA as green is the color of mental health awareness, as pink is the color of breast cancer awareness.

Tilda close-up

The nail polish itself is a creme that is somewhere between a lime green and a fresh leaf or grass green. To achieve the look in the photos, we used a base coat, two coats of polish, and a top coat. The polish’s formula is a bit thicker than others, so application may look a little messy. Not to fret, the formula dries smoothly. My lovely cousin/newly-crowned manicurist Ashley painted my nails and encouraged the green as we will be walking a 5K with NAMIWalks NYC this coming weekend to raise vital funds for families and individuals living with mental illness. 

Please support us if you can! Any donation counts. You can check out my Fundraising Page here to donate.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

Free In NYC: Bryant Park Kicks Off FREE Summer Event Series Including Dance, Yoga, Film & Live Music!

Each summer, one of my favorite places in New York City, Bryant Park, holds  a comprehensive arts & culture event series. The season kicks off tonight with a waltz ball, in addition to dance, music, yoga, and the HBO Summer Film Series programming continuing throughout the course of the summer. I’ve included the FULL calendar of the series beneath the appropriate photo. All of these events are absolutely FREE, so feel free to bring a friend, family member, partner, or future lover. :)

Dance, Courtesy of Bryant Park Corporation

Dance lessons will be held from 6–7pm, followed by dancing to live music:

Opening Night Waltz Ball, Wednesday, May 6:

–  6–7pm: Dance lessons by Randy Dias and Alexandra Lyubchevskaya

–  7–8:30pm: Dancing and live music by Lester Lanin Orchestra, which has played for audiences around the world for 50 years—most notably at the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Cuban Salsa, Wednesday, May 13:

– 6–7pm: Dance lessons by Yesenia Selier and Hunter Houde

– 7–8:30pm: Dancing and live Cuban music by Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros

Swing and Lindy Hop, Wednesday, May 20:

– 6–7pm: Dance lessons by Evita Arce and Michael Jagger

–  7–8:30pm: Dancing and live swing music by George Gee Swing

Orchestra

Samba e Mais, Wednesday, May 27:

– 6–7pm: Dance lessons by Marizete Browne and Daniele Andrade

– 7–8:30pm: Dancing and live music by Mistura Perfeita Band, which will play traditional and contemporary Brazilian samba and bossanova

Tango, Wednesday, June 3:

– 6–7pm: Dance lessons by Mariana Parma and Hernan Brizuela

– 7–8:30pm: Dancing and live music by The NY Tango Quartet, which will perform classics and improvisations

Bachata, Wednesday, June 10:

– 6–7pm: Dance lessons by Alejandro Bouza and Talia Castro-Pozo

– 7–8:30pm: Dancing and live music by Bachata Heightz, an original pioneer of urban bachata

West Coast Swing, Wednesday, June 17:

– 6–7pm: Dance lessons by Marlon Mills and Chrissy Bridgeman

– 7–8:30pm: Dancing and live music by Rakiem Walker Project, a seven-piece band featuring soul, funk, R&B, gospel and blues

Latin Dancing Festival, Wednesday, June 24:

– 5–6:30pm: Latin jazz dance lessons by Sekou McMiller and a live performance by Grammy award-wining bassist John Benitez

– 6:30–7:15pm: Mambo dance lessons by Frank Muhel and Ericka Fignole

– 7:15–8:15pm: Dancing and live music by 50’s and 60’s era mambo band, Palladium All Stars

– 8:15–9pm: Salsa dance lessons by Talia Castro-Pozo and a special guest

– 9–10pm: Dancing and live music by salsa dura band Avenida B

ADMISSION: Free
WHERE: Fountain Terrace at Bryant Park, which is between 40th and 42nd Streets on the Sixth Avenue side of the park.

Yoga, Courtesy of Bryant Park Corporation

  • Bryant Park Yoga, starting on Tuesday, May 19 at 10am: This flagship series— presented by Athleta with support from Yoga Journal and Flavorpill—will be returning for its 12th season. (Tuesdays at 10am and Thursdays at 6pm through September 24.)

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What I’m Reading: “Happy Is The New Healthy: 31 Ways To Relax, Let Go, And Enjoy Your Life Now!” By Dave Romanelli

COVER

Life is all about timing. People come and go, opportunities show themselves, we live, and we learn. We receive advice that we may or may not take, but there are always those lessons or teachings that come at just the right time. I received one such message whilst reading Happy Is The New Healthy by Dave Romanelli. It’s really quite interesting how I even got my hands on the book, a signed copy at that.

As I have been focused on fitness as of late, running, yoga & core strengthening specifically, I always search for classes in the city, specifically those that are free. I saw on Athleta’s calendar for in-store events that they were hosting a Yoga & Chocolate session with Romanelli, whom is a yogi, life coach, and chocolate connoisseur. How could I say no to that? I woke up early that Sunday morning to get a spot in line for their Flatiron store event, and was one of the lucky ones allowed in. We had a wonderful restorative yoga session with Dave, who told stories about living life to the fullest throughout our workout. We ended our practice with a tasting of three exotic chocolates, and were treated to a complimentary copy of his book. I felt so lucky to be there, as I wasn’t expecting all these perks!

MESSAGE FROM DAVE

I’ve had the book for some weeks now, and finally decided to pick up the book to read last week. I turned right to the inside cover where Dave signed, “Andrea, Don’t Wait…live life now!”. Prior to reading his message, I had been going through a period of indecision, and those simple words were the impetus to read the entire book, and get to my dreams. Dave’s style of writing is very lighthearted and visual, it feels like you are his friend and he is sharing some of the best stories he’s heard from others, or experienced himself throughout the book’s 161 pages. To me, the book is truly a written version of what you would want a life coach to be, or at the very least, that positive force in your life that keeps pushing you forward.

The chapters are concise and end with a quote to meditate on, to bring the good vibes forth, and create a happier you! I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who is looking for a positive push in any way, and wants to find simple ways to make their lives that much more happy on an everyday basis.

Happy Is The New Healthy is available now for purchase on Amazon & other book retailers.

Nailed It: Take A Ride With “Pony” By Floss Gloss

FLOSS GLOSS PONY

It’s been some time since I’ve done a nail color review, for so many reasons, mainly not putting the time in to doing my nails. As the weather warms up and I’m shaking off the blues of colder weather, I decided to share a color that screams SPRING in Pony by Floss Gloss. I especially wanted to share this shade as I bumped into the ladies behind the brand recently at the BUST Craftacular Primped at Brooklyn Night Bazaar.

Since I had peeled off my nail polish a few days prior, I felt this color would give me a fresh new start. My lovely cousin Ashley did my manicure, which I believe, came out WAY better than it has as of late at my local salon. No shade, I promise.

CLOSE-UP WITH BOTTLE

Pony is described as a “neon peach creme”, but don’t let that scare you. Your nail color may or may not glow in the dark, but the neon element they speak of is more so a brightness. To achieve this level of opacity, we used a white base coat. On my hands, the contrast makes it look like I got a nice little tan, even though I have yet to get any sun this season. As it is a pastel, it’s a great everyday shade, and pairs well with whites and aquas.

If you want to get your nail art game on, I would suggest pairing Biscuits, Mrs. Tony Montana, Wet, or Wavepool (all by Floss Gloss) with this creamy shade. All colors retail for $8 and are available for purchase on FlossGloss.com. Would you rock this shade?

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day Of Andrea

Art In NYC: Flux Art Fair Launches During an Event-Filled Week In Harlem, May 14-17 at the Corn Exchange Building

Tomo Mori, Rain, 2013, Acrylic canvas on canvas collage, 36” x 48”

The art scene in New York City has been incredibly energetic for decades, and we are seeing a resurgence of this energy in the contemporary-sphere in none other than Harlem. Leanne Stella, renowned curator & fair organizer is solidifying this position with the launch of Flux Art Fair. The inaugural fair is an extension of Stella’s Art In Flux program, which provides opportunities for artists through pop-up exhibitions in under-utilized spaces in the neighborhood.

Uday Dhar, Mirror Mirror No.8, Janus, Casein, water-based pigment, spray paint, crayon, and collage on canvas, 54” x 48” (Sold)

Flux Art Fair will take place on May 14 through the 17th, coinciding with Frieze Art Week in New York City, and will be held at the historic Corn Exchange Building. It will feature thirty artists selected by a curatorial committee consisting of Danny Simmons, Manon Slome, David C. Terry, Rachel Weingeist, Raul ZamudioRoger C Tucker IIIKristin Sancken, and Omo Misha. 

Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Lynesse as ‘American Buffalo’, 2014, Photographed sculpture, Digital C-print, 30” x 20”

American Buffalo, 2014, Sculpture, fishnet stocking, yarn, and acrylic, 18” x 15” x 15”

The images throughout the post are a glimpse of what you can expect at the fair and beyond, as artists curated pieces for  Chef Marcus Samuelson’s Harlem EatUp!a food festival throughout Harlem that takes place the same weekend. Are you excited yet? I hope so! Read on for full event details, and how to purchase tickets below. Hope to see you there!

 

GENERAL ADMISSION:   May 14-17, 2015

To purchase tickets in advance, go here.

THUR/FRI/SAT 11:00 am-8:00 pm

SUN 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

LOCATION:

CORN EXCHANGE BUILDING | NW CORNER OF 125TH STREET & PARK AVENUE

81 E. 125th Street, Harlem, NYC

A Message To You, and Myself: OWN THAT SHIT!

A SNAP OF MY COCKTAIL TASTING AT NEW YORK TRAVEL FEST

As a young professional woman, at times, I can say the odds are against me. Those odds are raised as a young professional woman of color; not an opinion, but pure fact. It is fact that there is a lack of melanin and varied hair textures in higher management and executive positions across all fields. It is fact that we earn less than our male counterparts. It is fact that we receive more discrimination, whether it be simply for our gender, sexuality, race, or any other reason under the sun. This can put a damper on my and your mood, given your circumstance, but in these times, I always need to remind myself that things can be exponentially worse.

The simple fact in that my parents decided to uproot themselves from Belize to provide a “better life” for their children in the United States has granted me many opportunities, specifically in education and the workforce. Being in New York City has been beneficial for me as it is an epicenter for entertainment and media. Things are within my reach, I would say. I do not remain complacent, although at times, I do struggle with a bit of a sense of entitlement, given the fact that I really hit the ground running building industry contacts since the age of 18. That is now ten years.

MY BADGE FOR THE COINVENT MEDIA SUMMIT

I’ve always been a dreamer, but very vocal in what I’ve wanted and continue to want. That voice and will has afforded me great opportunities, but I can say to this date, I can get overwhelmed. Something as simple as being able to be in the same room as one of your idols, or better yet, have a conversation with them; that’s a HUGE DEAL. I look back at emails, and photos, and writings, and I am often taken aback by goals that I have achieved without even realizing it. I have also realized that in times like these, I need to give myself a pat on the back because it was not pure luck which brought these things into my life, it was through tons of hard work and relationship building. I DESERVE IT. And I am here to tell you that you deserve all the incredible opportunities that come into your life as well.

In the past week and a half, I presented & did a tasting at the New York Travel Fest on behalf of my fledgling beverage company Cas Rum Beverages, I was invited to attend the CoInvent Media Summit, which focused on the intersection of media and tech, and attended the final day of the Women In The World Summit, which featured a special presentation and call to action by Angelina Jolie Pitt. Sounds like a lot right? And I can say it is, especially in such a short time, but I know this is all happening now because I’ve truly worked so hard over the years to get to this point.

BLURRY IPHONE PHOTO OF ANGELINA JOLIE PITT AT WOMEN IN THE WORLD

I’ve got a long way to go, but I am reminded each day that I am truly on the right path. Don’t beat yourself up. With each missed connection and sleepless night, you are preparing yourself for something great. Trust your journey.

Saturday Sounds: Sango & SPZRKT – “HowDoYouLoveMe” (esta remix Ft. Towkio)

The week has ended and it is time to relax, regroup, and unwind for the weekend. For this edition of Saturday Sounds, we have a groovy, lo-fi jam by some heavyweights at the West-Coast based label/collective Soulection.

Here we have the “HowDoYouLove” me remix, a track by Sango and SPZRKT, remixed by Esta, featuring additional vocals by SaveMoney from Chicago’s Towkio. Yes, I know that was a mouthful, but the sonic synergy of these gentleman creates a sexy/dance jam in the best way possible. Press play below to get into it. This track and others are featured on Esta’s new “etc.” EP, available now for download on Bandcamp.

Earth Day Is Around The Corner and EDEN Juice Is Here To Shake Things Up In The Juice World! + Giveaway

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.

Meet Eden. They’re a new environmentally friendly company that makes fresh, cold-pressed juices from imperfectly shaped fruits and vegetables. Why imperfect fruits and vegetables? Because despite how they look, they provide the same exact health benefits as perfectly shaped fruit.

Eden’s core belief is that diversity and imperfections are not flaws to be corrected but traits to be celebrated. And they use their line of juices to fight aspects of our culture that threaten diversity, conservation, and overall health:

 

Superficial Mindset

Photoshop gives us flawless skin, perfect tans, and the ideal physique, but it also erases everything that makes us unique. Now more and more people think these digitally altered images are the norm and are determined to attain these unrealistic standards no matter what the cost.

 

Food Waste

In the U.S., we throw away close to 40% of the food we grow. In many cases, it’s not because the food has gone bad, but because the produce doesn’t meet our cosmetic standards. We waste food because it doesn’t look good and ignore the most important part—the health benefits.

 

Access to Clean, Healthy Food

While we throw away our food, over 15 million American kids go hungry every day and don’t have access to nutritious food.1 The worst part is that nutritious food is available; it’s just ending up in landfills instead of in the hands of those who need it.

 

Overfed and Undernourished

1. More than 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight or obese,

2.  and more than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

3. And fewer than 35% of Americans are eating the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetable.

4. So those in the U.S. who aren’t going hungry are overfed and undernourished.

While these problems can’t be solved overnight, Eden hopes to get one step closer with their line of fresh, cold-pressed juices. They’ll help limit the amount of food wasted in the U.S. by using produce that consumers and retailers usually throw away for cosmetic reasons. They’ll also make nutrient-rich food more accessible to those who struggle to get nutritious foods and those who want a simple way to improve their diets.

 

You can be a part of the movement! Join Eden’s Kickstarter campaign by going to drinkeden.com. Drink Eden. Naturally different.

 

As a special incentive, Eden is giving away three $150 Visa Gift Cards! Enter the contest here. Good luck to you!

 

Sources

  1. http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/child-hunger/child-hunger-fact-sheet.html?gclid=CKmb4Y734sMCFUwV7AodyT8A_A

 

  1. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/

 

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

 

  1. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/blog/US-fruit-vegetable-consumption-trends.php

 

* I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.