Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

Lauren Walsh

February 18, 2015

Lauren Walsh- 2b
Lauren Walsh

When meeting Lauren Walsh, the first thing one may notice is her contagious smile and positive attitude. You may recognize her on Birmingham’s ABC 33/40 News. Originally from Florida and moving from Augusta, Georgia, Lauren made a career move to the Magic City.

We admire her ambition and were excited to have a coffee date with her and her precious pup, Sophie.

What days/times can we find you reporting? 
My normal schedule is Monday through Friday at 4,5 & 6 in the evening. You can follow my stories on Twitter @LaurenWalshTV.

What was your transition like from Florida to Birmingham? What do you like most about the Magic CIty? Can you give any advice to those who relocating for a career?
Birmingham is MUCH colder, especially this week! I miss the Florida sunshine and the beach but I love Birmingham. Everyone is so nice and friendly.

My first reporting job was in Augusta, Georgia, so this is my second time moving to a new, unfamiliar place for my career.  My advice is to get plugged into a church. Volunteer. Join activities like Young Professionals or a kick ball league (I’m doing both here). Building a network of friends in a new place is essential to make it feel like home.

Lauren Walsh- 2b

Lauren Walsh- 2b

What is your favorite part about your job?
A reporter’s day is spent in the community, meeting new people and sharing their stories.  I never stop learning. It is something new each day. Yesterday I did a story explaining the judicial process ahead for gay marriage. Today I interviewed the most adorable four year old for a story about the Transplant Center at Children’s of Alabama.

One of my favorite journalism quotes is from Mike Wallace: “It’s astonishing what you learn and feel and see along the way. That’s why a reporter’s job, as you know, is such a joy.”

What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter?
There are too many to list! I will always remember my first trip to Washington D.C. to report on Capitol Hill. I am a nerd for politics! When I was in Augusta, I also had the opportunity to cover the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. It is beautiful beyond words! I became a golf fan my first day on the course.

What advice can you give to other women who are pursuing their dream job?
Persistence is key. Rule out excuses and do not accept no for an answer. There were days in college where I worked at the coffee shop in the morning, then went to intern at a local TV station until 11:30 at night, then went home to study for class the next day. You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. Also, find a way to set yourself apart from others competing for the same job.

 

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Lauren Walsh 2b

What quality is most beautiful in a woman? How do you define beauty for yourself?
A woman who loves Jesus is a beautiful thing. One of my favorite bible verses is Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

When you love the Lord, you can’t help but host more beautiful qualities, like confidence and kindness. I love women who are confident in who they are, and don’t feel the need to compare themselves to others.

I believe being beautiful is being able to love yourself through your flaws. Nobody’s perfect.

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Lauren Walsh 2b

What’s in your purse?
My purse is big because it doubles as a camera bag! It totes equipment like microphones and batteries during my workday. You’ll usually find it with a Clinique chubby stick, two iphones (personal and work), a hair brush, my Kate Spade Wallet, a notepad and a pen (a reporter’s best friends), mints, hand lotion and business cards.

What are your can’t-live-without beauty products?
My Clarisonic. They are expensive but worth every penny. I use it with Clinique’s skin care line.
My friend Meaghan recently gifted me fiber lash mascara. It is magic in a bottle! There are two steps. First you put on a gel as you would regular mascara. The second step is brushing fibers on! It makes your lashes look so long!

Lauren Walsh 2b

Lauren Walsh- 2b Lauren Walsh 2b

What’s the story behind Sophie? 
I had been planning on adopting a dog for a while. The weekend I planned to go to the humane society just so happened to be three days after a tough, completely unexpected break up. I got Sophie from a group called Two by Two, which had a booth set up at Pet Smart. They found her in the woods covered in mange. Even though I adopted Sophie, she actually helped me more. She gave me unconditional love during a time of heartbreak. She’s my best friend!

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

Photography: Becca Bell of 2b Photography

Location: Thanks to Hart & Soul in Homewood, AL

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Mary Stackhouse of Laylon

February 4, 2015

 

Mary Stackhouse

Mary sat down in front of me at Starbucks for Sunday afternoon coffee. I asked her to meet with me after being introduced by a mutual friend. I’ll admit that I had been following her fashion blog long before we met in person. I warned her that I would be in workout clothes, seeing it was my day to relax and gather my thoughts for the week.

She came in casual attire as well- jeans, tennis shoes and a plaid scarf (I was dying to know where she bought it). Somehow, though, she looked more pulled together than most do in a cocktail dress.

I was struck by her grace and poise. It’s the kind that can’t be taught even by the best of etiquette coaches. She’s the type many envy for her exterior beauty and impeccable style. Yet,  it’s her authenticity and no-apology-attitude that I was impressed with the most. The juxtaposition of the two is quite breathtaking.

Many may know her as a fashion blogger behind Laylon. This new year, she gave her site a fresh look and purpose, with a focus more on lifestyle content. Don’t worry. She’s still sharing her fashion finds and outfit inspirations.

I was eager to introduce you to Mary, and in what better setting than her home? I’m glad she obliged.

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What are your favorite places in Birmingham for a night out? What’s an
ideal Saturday look like to you?

For a night out, I love going to dinner with friends. Pretty simple, but I can have a good time doing just about anything with great company. I like Chez Fon Fon, Dram, Five, El Barrio, and Slice. I love trying new places! An ideal Saturday would involve a coffee date with a friend earlier in the day, a good workout in the afternoon, and a fun dinner that night.

What is your day job? How do you balance your lifestyle blog and work?

I’m an account executive for Martin Advertising, where I’m responsible for managing the Allstate and Scholarship for Kids accounts. I find balance by waking up every morning and setting aside an hour to spend in prayer and devotion. Ever since I started doing this, I’ve had so much clarity, and I’ve found that I can accomplish more in less time. It also helps guard me against becoming a slave to work and ambition, which is no life at all.

Mary Stackhouse

What quality is most beautiful in a woman? How do you define beauty
for yourself?

I think dignity is the most beautiful quality in a woman. A woman with dignity is strong because she has self-control. She isn’t ruled by her emotions. Instead, she is solid in her convictions. She is marked with self-respect, and thus, others respect her. It’s an honorable, worthy quality that people are drawn to. It makes me sad when women don’t respect themselves. It’s important to take a look at where in life you are seeking your worth. My strength and confidence comes from Christ, and from that, I believe dignity and strength will naturally follow.

I also think a woman is beautiful when she can build up other women. Gossip tears people down, and it stems from insecurity. Having an uplifting spirit is an amazing quality! You can be such a blessing to others. Several months ago, I was touched by a girlfriend who shared a success about me on her Facebook page. We were new in our friendship, so I was still getting to know her, but I loved that she could celebrate in my achievement… and publicly for that matter! I immediately knew she had confidence in herself. A confident woman is free to build others up because she isn’t hindered by insecurity.

Mary Stackhouse BnW (44 of 50) (1)

Mary Stackhouse BnW (32 of 50)

With the pressures of the media bombarding women to look a certain way, how do you keep a healthy balance?

Healthy balance is very important. I think it’s a good idea to limit your intake of the messages the media and pop culture bombard us with. I don’t watch TV for this reason. So much of it is trash. I don’t want that in my head. I’m not saying there aren’t good shows and movies out there, but it’s good to be conscious so that you don’t base your reality on what you’re taking in.

What is your advice for young professionals in the dating world?

If you don’t like being alone, learn to like it. Don’t date until you reach that place. I’ve made the decision not to date this year. I want to see how God will use my singleness as a positive thing for His kingdom work on earth. I’m excited about it! Some people look at me like I’m nuts when I tell them I’m not dating this year, but is it really that hard to follow through with? I don’t think so. I practiced abstinence before I got married. I’m divorced now, and I still practice it and will continue to unless I get married again. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to do what you think everyone else is doing. Who cares what other people think! Love yourself, look to the Lord for strength, and be strong in your convictions. When you are a strong person, you will stand out, and people will be attracted to that. Trust me on that one!

Mary Stackhouse

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What’s in your purse? 

My purse is a bottomless pit! I’m amazed by what I pull out of it sometimes. Going through it now, here is what I’ve found: two pairs of sunglasses, my makeup bag, random jewelry, three cell phones, a lock, business card holder, mail, nail polish, and a duck call!

What are your favorite, can’t-live-without beauty products?

Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo! The dry powder formula. I usually buy it in bulk. Keeps hair fresh and adds volume in between washes. White teeth are a priority, so I use Crest Advanced Whitening Toothpaste and Whitening Rinse multiple times a day. Can’t live without the mouthwash! As for makeup, Kismet Cosmetics lipstick and nail polish every day. Long lasting, and I love the shades. I was blogging about it so much that the creator of Kismet asked me to be the Birmingham sales rep, so now I sell it!

Photography: Birmingham based photographer Devanshu Kaushik

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

Make It Count

January 27, 2015

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While many are in the gym every day, are they making the most of their time? Brynlea Cunniff, certified fitness trainer and figure competitor, provides a fitness routine that will produce the most results.

“First of all, get rid of the myth: lifting weights will make me look like those manly bodybuilding women. False. Steroids will make you look manly. I do figure competitions. I lift heavy; I push my body. That’s the only way to change. You must command your body to grow and change.

Weights:
Do not be afraid of weights. Start light. As it gets easier, go up weight. Got it? Aim to lift 5 days a week. One muscle group a session. Push yourself. The last reps should be hard in each set.

Weight training:
Each day train a different muscle group! Start with 4 sets of 12. Then after a few weeks, try adding weight each set doing 15, 12, 10, 12. Change it up!

Sample weight routine:
Mon- shoulders, abs and cardio
Tues- biceps/triceps and cardio
Wed- back, abs and cardio
Thurs- legs (skip cardio)
Fri- chest, abs and cardio
Sat- your choice or OFF
Sun- your choice or OFF

Cardio:
Aim for 5 sessions a week for 30-45 minutes. Do not go over 45 minutes. You want to tap into your fat storage-not your glycogen levels (this fuels your muscles). Do cardio first thing in the morning, before eating, or right after weight training. When you weight train, your body begins to tap into fat storage, so by cardio time, you are ready to go!

Sample cardio workouts:
Research shows that anaerobic exercise builds lean muscle, and your body will continue to burn calories hours after the workout. HIIT(high interval training) is an example of anaerobic activity.

Example: Sprint for 1 min, walk for 2, sprint for 1 min, walk for 2 min. Jog for 3 min., sprint for 1 min., walk for 2 min. Repeat. Do this for 30 minutes. Download the Tabata Timer to help you keep time your sessions.

Elliptical. Vary the resistance and incline. 30-45 minutes.

Stair stepper. 30-45 minutes.

Walk at incline of 10 or more. 30-45 minutes.

The key is to change your workout’s intensity and weight training every 3-4 weeks. Vary the exercises and machines. Your body will adapt, so you must confuse your muscles often.

Do your research and get acquainted with the body and muscle groups. You can find tons of workouts for each of these muscles.”

Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Instagram.

Favorite Four to Follow

January 4, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s why we love Instagram. These fantastic four inspire us with their beautiful images from fashion and interior design to powerful and moving messages.

Mary Stackhouse: Laylon Beauty

Based in Birmingham, AL, Mary’s take on fashion in a Southern city is definitely forward thinking. Not only does she have exquisite taste, but she’s also beautiful. What’s not to love?

Mary Stackhouse

Mary Stackhouse

Bethany Joy Lenz

You may remember her as Haley James Scott on the beloved the television show One Tree Hill. We are inspired by her passion for women’s rights, and we fancy her vintage finds as well.

Bethany Joy Lenz

Bethany Joy Lenz

Taylor Sterling: The Glitter Guide

We’ve always been a fan of Taylor. As she embarks on a new journey of motherhood, she makes it looks effortless. Her lifestyle website also features impeccable interior design and every day inspirations.

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Alexis Jones: I Am That Girl

Alexis Jones is an author, activitist and founder of I AM THAT Girl. I AM THAT GIRL is helping girls to transform self-doubt in to self-love by providing a safe space to be lifted up and have honest conversations about things that matter. Of course, we love what Alexis stands for, and we love following her daily postings!

Alexis Jones

Alexis Jones

Broken Not Destroyed: Leaving

December 9, 2014

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Tough Man was of masculine stature. I would need more than two hands to count the number of times he was stopped and asked for his autograph. By “his” I mean that of Vin Diesel. Same bald head, same features, same full lips, and yes, Tough Man was stacked. The two looked very much alike. His nickname by many was “The Hulk.”

Yes, “The Hulk” arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes. I froze in the doorway just staring in trembling fear of his unknown move. He cleared his throat with a dry cough, sniffed, puffed his lips out as if kissing the air, and refocused on Pre Game stats. All the normal signs and evidence letting me know I was in for days of ignorance therapy. I was in the clear. I closed the door behind me, and before I could even make it to the stairs, I was bid farewell by the locking of the double deadbolt.

Looking back now, the evidence to the truth of Tough Man’s final words to me, were apparent all along. It would just take me awhile, and unfortunately, a lot more pain before I built enough courage to truly leave.

I tossed the luxury weekender in the backseat of my 2000 VW Passat, and I drove, and I drove, and I drove. Noon turned to two, two turned to four, and four turned to six. Six hours and an empty gas tank later, I pulled into the 7Eleven not five minutes from the house. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be gone this many hours, but this was the first time I left without being told to get the hell out. He hadn’t called, he hadn’t checked in, and I knew it probably wouldn’t be good to go home. The unknown consequences scared me more. I had to make a decision, and checking into a motel wasn’t an option. Those were the days shortly after my first year of grad school. Tough Man was inspired by my drive to advance my education, and decided to do the same. Money was tighter than tight, and I was already going to hear about the unnecessary gas expense. I had isolated myself from most of my friendships to keep the abuse hidden, so there wasn’t exactly a laundry list of people to call. I wasn’t really prepared to sleep in my car that night, as I normally would. My favorite spot, the place I felt the most safe and hidden, was discovered by Grapevine Police Department the last time I was kicked out. The officer was kind, but firm, and promised me a ticket the next time I was found at 3:00AM in a secure zone.

Daylight was fading fast, I had a PA (Public Appearance) the next day from one of the top makeup brands. Driving four hours to my parents wasn’t really an option, and I wasn’t even close to ready to share with them, or anyone, of the fear, pain, and shame found in what had become my routine lifestyle. I needed a shower, a real one. The kind of shower where I get to use a fluffy, home washed, Downey smelling towel, and take as long as I need. Not the type of shower where I paid by the quarter hour, locker room style. I had become pretty close to Jennie and Randy that had a crappy little stop off HWY 10. I had discovered them two years earlier, when I was welcomed home one night after work to my belongings in the front yard of the apartment. To this day, I still don’t know what I did. Anyhow, whatever I did, awarded me four days of motel Passat, bathroom not included. By day two of long work days, I needed a shower. I felt prompted in my spirit to take a different drive to my “safe place.” That’s where I saw the sign for “hot showers and daily stay rates.” I pulled into the parking lot, and mustered up every ounce of dignity I had to walk through the office door and ask the mousey brown-haired woman about purchasing a shower. My eyes were full of tears, and my lip was quivering, not out of fear, but out of total embarrassment. I was humiliated.

My professional makeup, elegant side sweep, and tailored business suit created mystery to my question, but my red face, glassy eyes, and quivering lip caused the middle-aged woman to refrain from questioning. I had a $5 bill, and asked if that would work? The rates were for rooms including a hot shower, so I needed a bit more. With excitement she explained they took debit/credit cards.

A little side note to those unfamiliar with abuse. purchases are one of the easiest ways to track a location, so the last thing I wanted to do was give Tough Man a traceable transaction to my whereabouts. I looked her dead in the face, and I lied, explaining the $5 cash was all I had. To this day I appreciate her reading between the lines. She looked at me with compassion and a smile, knowing there was more to the story. She walked around the counter, and handed me a key to room 113. She handed me a travel size of Perell shampoo and a bar of Irish Spring. She said her name was Jennie, and that her and her son, Randy ran the place. My imagination never allowed me to sleep a night on one of their beds. I did, however, appreciate the numerous showers and cheap toiletries, gifted at no charge. There was never a time, I didn’t, randomly and inconveniently, walk through their door with glassy eyes, and quivering lip, to a warm smile and humble acts of service. They didn’t know why I randomly appeared in a tailored business suit, and the need for a shower away from home, nor did they ever ask. All they knew was that something wasn’t alright, and they wanted to be a part of creating a little stability for the mystery girl. The new routine for the unpredictable had become their shower for hygiene, and the Passat for sleep. My location wasn’t traceable, and the PD hadn’t discovered me in a secure zone.

The gas pump jolted, signaling the tank was full. I hung up the pump, pulled the Passat out of the way, and for the first time all day, broke into hysterical tears in the 7 Eleven parking lot on Glade and 121. I had escaped into mental numbness, and in giving the day’s earlier events an ounce of thought, brought forth full emotion to feeling less loved than a stray dog. Tomorrow’s event couldn’t handle such feelings. I needed to be on and confident, with freshly-applied, trend-setting makeup, and a pocket full of feel-good tricks. As reliable as the back seat leathers were, they were no match for the rest I needed for an “A-game ready” arrival. It was now 6:11PM and the sun was quickly fading. Evening was turning into night and I was running out of options.

I wrestled between calling Tough Man, and playing off the events, by asking if he wanted his favorite dipped cone. In the moment it seemed easier to suck it up, find a way back in, so that I could take my best shot at gaining my beauty sleep. The fact that I had walked out without being kicked out kept running through my mind. Was He going to be more mad? Was he going to rage when I got home? Would I be hurt or bruised in a way that would keep me from being able to show up to the most important work event of the year? Tough Man never beat me as many experience. One push, grip, or hit from “The Hulk” was effective enough. I never had bruises in noticeable places. On one occasion a “simple punch” to my side enabled me from the ability to squat to pee for a week. The unknown of how he would respond to my leaving was my biggest fear, yet I desperately needed to rest up for the day of beauty exhortation.

I pulled out my Blackberry, stared at the number, and hit call…

To be continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

Broken Not Destroyed: Exposed

November 10, 2014

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Pastor Robert’s message was really powerful that particular Sunday. He had been teaching on a series about The End: What comes next? Tough Man had made his prejudgements about Gateway Church long before this message, so I was already walking on egg shells in asking him to come with. You see we had already joined and left two churches in almost three years of marriage. We stayed until people started suspecting problems, and Tough Man found every reason not to return. The fact his mother was with us that morning, gave some bit of comfort, as she was never going to deny her youngest, but she was, thankfully, very protective and fond of me. She had heard much over the years, and helped pack my car many a nights that Tough Man made it clear to get the _____ out before he got home. His mood was seldom predictable, and as unhealthy as it was, I appreciated, more times than not, his mother being just across the parking lot. I often referred to her as Mams, and she was the one person that had seen the signs of what Christian girls don’t speak of. Honestly and tragically, she had become my best friend.

On the drive home, I was sandwiched between Tough Man and Mams in his black Dodge pickup truck. The stride in his step to the truck, locked jaw, and single hand grip on the steering wheel was full evidence he was heated. Mams and I knew that anything could set him off so we opted to remain awkwardly silent until the ticking in the air conditioner came. It wasn’t the type of tick that anyone would notice, but it was one I had become obsessively aware of, as it was the sound that would send Tough Man over the edge into a raging war. In an effort to drown out the tick, I resorted to the message from Pastor Robert. As much as I hate to admit this, I knew that Tough Man was already angered by Pastor Robert and his “mega church productions.” I knew that mentioning the service would take his anger off of those “responsible” for “allowing” the noise to continue and place it on someone that couldn’t presently be effected by his escalating rage. I knew wrong. As I mentioned previously, the mood was completely unpredictable. Just as I shared the confirmation the message brought to my salvation, my sunnies were knocked to the floorboard, and blood rushed to the surface of my left check to meet the heat of a fresh slap telling me, “Shut the ____ up!” Mams gasped in shock and began pleading for him to stop. He felt encouraged and affirmed in his adrenaline rush and began driving as if he were under the influence of a spirited bottle and tonic. He had lost complete control to the anger rush and nearly flipped the Dodge on the over pass bridge of 121 and Bedford Road. Tough Man pulled into the covered parking spot that belonged to our 800 sq. ft. apartment, shut the door calmly, and walked up the stairs as if nothing had happened. Mams stood there with me as gigantic tears burned my cheeks; my lips quivered; my body trembled; and I sobbed silently. I was embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, and terrified all at the same time. I had learned to mask the physical abuse well, thanks to the training I gained from previous years of interview pageant prep and successful work as a makeup artist, whose job was to make others look and feel amazing. I understood “game on!”

What I had failed to prepare for was the abusers need to increase the adrenaline rush which often comes from “new” levels of abuse. He had done what I hadn’t prepared for- actually physically harmed me in front of another person, least of which I would ever have assumed to be his mother. I always felt like Tough Man was way too prideful to ever hit me in public, so I was ill prepared on how I would respond.

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Mams stood there with tears in her own eyes, having no idea whether to stay or go. The ever lingering question posed to keep Tough Man contained so to speak. Regardless if the abused want to admit it or not, we fall prisoner to the daily cycle of whatever, whenever, why ever, and however. Anything not to be the target of harmful hands and hurtful words. I encouraged Mams to head on home. I had Tough Man and his cycles calculated near flawlessly. I assured her the fit of rage was over, and now for the enduring of hateful words or days of silence. I would know once I saw the way he was positioned on the couch, and if the TV was on or not. Although the less accepted by society, I would have rather taken another hit, than the acceptable form of emotional, metal, and silent abuse that often comes with being the Christian girl that deeply desires to refrain from carrying one more mark of failure or un acceptance. I hugged Mams, and we parted ways in tears. I walked up the stairs, striving with everything in me to contain myself, because we already established what unwanted noises produce. I walked in to Sunday pre game and Tough Man comfortably couched on the middle cushion of the sofa, nursing a Dr. Pepper. I was about to get it, and it was going to be long and painful. I was in for an unknown number of days, maybe weeks, of silence. The type of silence that never acknowledges your existence. The type of silence that refuses to see you or hear you. The type of silence lonelier than any place of alone. It was routine for me to respond in one of two ways depending on my ability to endure Tough Man’s conditional therapy. I would walk to the bedroom and sob myself to sleep on the bed, or I would very casually and calmly grab the keys, and say I’m going for a drive. Neither one ever broke the silent therapy. It was simply my way of giving him the whatever, however space to let the punishment therapy for whatever I did, run its course.

Still in a state of shock, I think, I walked straight to the closet, packed my leather, electric turquoise weekender, gifted to me by Trish McEvoy, and prepared to do my own attempt at the unthinkable. I set the bag out of view as I opened the door wide enough to leave for my “drive.” I was awkward, and the bag was obvious. He arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes.

To Be Continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

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We will be sharing with you Chelsie’s courageous story in several parts. Thank you, Cheslie for allowing us to help share your story.

The Slave Hunter

September 30, 2014

Aaron CohenAn unexpected phone call from Aaron Cohen, the author of Slave Hunter and human activist, turned into one of the most interesting conversations I have had to date. Within five minutes of emailing him for an interview, I was contacted immediately. His quick response is a direct reflection of his fervency to spread the word and get others involved.

Who is Aaron Cohen you may wonder? After hearing his story, you will not forget him. Just by browsing his Web site abolishslavery.org, you sense a passion that does not appear in most people. And when you speak with him, this passion is even more evident. But what is he passionate about? Aaron Cohen’s mission is to free those who have been held captive in the sex trade and other forms of bondage, such as in agricultural and industrial production and in domestic work.

Cohen’s mission didn’t always look like this. Once a drug addict himself and best friend and business partner with front-man of the rock group Jane’s Addiction, his life obviously didn’t reflect his present attitude of selflessness. When asked what began his transformation, he says it was due to his mother’s diagnosis with cancer and “her sincere last wishes for her life.”

For the past several years, Cohen has been known to many as a slave hunter. Going undercover, Cohen seeks out those who are victims of human trafficking in areas such as Cambodia, Latin America, Sudan, and Iraq. Cohen has played an integral role in freeing the lives of abused victims. Currently, he is promoting his book Slave Hunter. This book retells Cohen’s life-risking journey. When asked what memory resonates the most, he recalls a story about a young girl named Jonty whom he encountered while in Cambodia. He appeared in disguise at a brothel where he met her. She was too shy to sing karaoke by herself, so Cohen suggested she gather her friends to help her. These eleven girls, including Jonty, were victims of human trafficking, which included forced sexual acts. The next day, Cohen was able to free all eleven girls.

Aaron Cohen

Cohen speaks with a heartfelt sincerity as he recalls these bittersweet memories. This memory is bitter because Jonty died of liver failure due to the drug abuse she was forced to partake in while held captive. These memories are yet sweet because Jonty and her ten friends were free from a life that seemed inescapable and would have led to death if someone like Cohen had not rescued them. Eight of the eleven graduated from that life and two returned to drugs.

Even more so, the memories that Cohen carries are memories of hope yet urgency to continue his efforts in freeing these innocent children. Cohen says, “ I am one guy with many networks.” He further explains that he and others have come together to help alleviate this dangerously growing problem. You, too, can make a difference. But how?

Cohen offers ways in which you can get involved. The first step is prevention. This can be accomplished by creating an awareness campaign through various social networks such as Facebook. The next step is prosecution. If you know of someone who is a victim of human trafficking, then call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888. The last step is protection. Protect those who have been victims or who are currently.

You may think that one person can’t make a difference; however, it is apparent that Aaron Cohen, the slave hunter, has made a difference in many rescued lives and so can you.

By Brittany Windle. To learn more about human trafficking, visit Abolishslavery.org.

Originally published on SouthernBeautyMagazine  and DIvineCaroline

He For She

September 24, 2014

heforshe

“Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.”

“Feminism by definition is that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

These moving quotes are from Emma Watson’s speech at the HeForShe Special Event at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 20th.

We encourage you to listen to Emma’s speech to gain a better understanding of what feminism is and the importance of gender equality.


Show the world your support of #genderequality as a#HeForShe. Post a picture and tag HeForShe. Join the movement at www.HeForShe.org.

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Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

Life with Intention

September 9, 2014

LifeWithIntentionOnline

Today, Jess Lively launches her online course Life with Intention. I’ve been anticipating its arrival for a couple of months now. I first came across Jess several years ago when introduced to her lovely, thriving jewelry business. Jess Lively is a woman that I admire for her entrepreneurial spirit, positive outlook and the desire to help others build a life of value based intentions.

“This six week course ditches traditional paths to “happiness” and “success” and rebuilds your approach to POSSESSIONS, PERSONAL HABITS, RELATIONSHIPS, and CAREER
from the ground up.”

From Jess herself:

“The truth is, I searched for this course my whole life.

I grew up as a kid who wanted to do it all, a college student who tried to do it all, and a 20-something who realized “doing it all” wasn’t actually that great.

Mostly, it left me feeling empty inside.

No matter how many things I accumulated, or goals I reached, I never had enough. I had to keep inventing new dreams, goals, and visions in order to get ‘there.’

Wherever ‘there’ is.

But the truth is, it didn’t work. I never got ‘there.’

With the same longing in my heart. The same feeling that I wasn’t enough. And the same desire to find a way out of the Rat Race I constantly fell back into.

One day, during a particularly difficult period of my life, I stumbled upon a quote about Michelangelo. People once asked him how he created the stunning statue of David with a single piece of stone.

Michelangelo replied that it was much simpler than they were making it out to be.

He simply saw the potential within the stone, and removed the layers that concealed the potential within.

In that instant, everything clicked for me.

All the guys I dated, candy bars I (binge) ate, and lipsticks I bought, were never going to reveal my full potential. They were merely adding to the stone instead of subtracting the excess.

I decided in that moment to find a way to live from Michelangelo’s perspective. I wanted to approach my life from a place of revealing my potential, instead of obscuring it.

I wanted to understand why the way I had been taught to ‘succeed’ in life led to so much heartache, struggle, dissatisfaction, and distraction from the present moment.

This class is the culmination of those eight years of study. It weaves together truths taught across several genres, including personal development, spirituality, Eastern/Western philosophy, psychology, and business (with a healthy dose of design, of course.”

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut- personally or professionally? This course seems to help you navigate through that. I’m excited to see what it’s about.

What do you think? Could you use something like this?

Brittany Windle

Favorite Four to Follow

September 5, 2014

Whether you are looking to stay up-to-date this weekend with New York Fashion Week or to simply be inspired, these four are the ones to follow.

Sophia Bush

@SophiaBush- You may remember her from the TV show One Tree Hill. Actress and activist, Sophia Bush, is one to follow. We’ll admit that we have a girl crush! We love her “do good” attitude, exciting travels, and just the every day postings of her life.

sophia bush

Chelsie Birks

@ChelsieBirks - For the best of New York Fashion Week, stay tuned into Chelsie’s account. When she’s not capturing moments like these, you can still be inspired by her outfits and travels.

Chelsie Birks

Kendi Skeen

@Kendieveryday - We have been a fan of Kendi’s for several years. Her quirky sense of humor and great style are the reasons we keep following!

kendi skeen

Kelli Murray

@kelli_murray- Graphic designer and illustrator, Kelli Murray, is definitely a favorite! We wish we could spend a day with her picture-perfect family! What will you see if you follow? Interior design ideas, outfit envy, and pictures that will inspire you to be more creative! (Isn’t her daughter adorable?!)

kelli murray

 

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.