Empowered Women Empower Women

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What exactly is Women Empowerment?

Being empowered as a woman is one of the most important things that can happen in our society at the moment. We are the carriers of the culture and predominantly the primary care givers. How and what we teach our young girls and boys, is reflected in the society we currently exist in.

When we continue to dumb ourselves down, deflect our successes, and when we constantly apologize for being who we are. . .we are teaching others that we are not good enough. When we as women lower our vibration, we are energetically transmitting our fears and insecurities to others. We are telling the world that we do not believe in what we have to offer and so why should anyone else?

I personally have had to fall and fall and fall and fall and fall (I’m sure you get the picture by how many times I wrote that) time and time again in order to not only rise, but to be able to stand grounded! The humble beginnings of taking my power back! I could not have done so if I did not take 100% responsibility for my life and without having a tribe of empowering women in my corner.

How can Empowered Women Empower Women?

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10 Ways to Help Empower Women & young Girls

1. Know Your Worth

Knowing your worth and value is vital if you want to have success and happiness in your life. For you to feel fully alive, you must have a strong sense of self-worth and exude confidence. It is not easy all the time; but it is so important and absolutely necessary. We all have the ability to develop confidence and to also have an optimistic view of self. It all starts with overstanding yourself as a person, accepting yourself unconditionally, practicing self-love, recognizing that you no longer need to please other people and taking full responsibility for your life.

2. Lead By Example

I’ve always loved this quote, “Instruction is good for a child; but example is worth more.” As you become more present in your own life, you will begin to enlighten others by your example. This is one of the most important ways you can empower women. Young women are influenced by their role models, so it’s important to be a dynamic one. Admire strong women, celebrate different types of beauty, empower women with humility and kindness, and encourage women to turn their dreams in to a reality.  

3. Be Open and Honest

If you raised your eyebrow after reading that, I don’t blame you. It’s not always easy to be vulnerable. Personally, it took me some time to share my most intimate and what I felt were embarrassing experiences at certain times in my life with others. As I became more comfortable doing so, I realized my truths were not only helping others navigate through their experiences, but by me being open and honest I was also helping myself heal. At times, it can be hard to share your experiences with others, but it can play an important role in giving other women a voice. Without women like Yaa Asantewaa, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, and Malala Yousafzai; just to name a few. . .we women wouldn’t have some of the rights we have today. Thanks to these women for fighting for, speaking out, and sharing their struggles; real changes have been made in areas such as legislation, societal expectations and even how women and young girls view themselves in the mirror on a daily basis. While it’s important to share your own story, it’s just as important to listen to other women’s stories and experiences.

4. Shut Down Negativity

Stay away from anything and anyone negative. . .PERIOD! Women are constantly exposed to negativity as we’re often held to unrealistic standards of beauty displayed in magazines, on TV, and of course, on social media. Media has created a culture where women and men can freely express themselves. Social media has also opened the floor for others to slander one another and circulate negative comments about women’s appearances and or what they should be doing with their bodies. . .their lives. Negativity online has become a huge problem, especially among our younger generation. It’s important to lift women up by taking a stance against negativity; whether online, at the office, in school. . . it’s vital to combat negativity by continuing to promote truth and authenticity. Don’t be afraid to shut negativity down; no matter who it is coming from. Respectively, be as direct and honest as you can. The tribe of women you are supposed to have in your space will appreciate your honesty and YOU.  

5. have a self-care day weekly

You owe it to yourself on a weekly basis. My Self-Care Day is every Sunday. Depending on what my schedule consists of on that Sunday will determine my routine. If I’m home, I make sure I give myself a facial, take a herbal bath, wash and deep condition my hair and review both my personal & business schedule for the weeks ahead. If I’m out of town on business or traveling, I always make sure I set time aside to listen to some TED Talks and immerse myself in as much positivity as I can. My mental health depends on it! So does yours! Self-care is important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself as it produces positive feelings and boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Self-care is necessary to remind yourself and others that you and your needs are important too. Continue to take care of yourself so that you can help empower and take care of others.

6. help Boost another woman’s Self-Esteem

Empowered women empower women, Right? So be sure to encourage the women around you. Make them feel special. Let them know they are strong. Encourage your friends to speak up. Make sure they know the value of their opinions so that they’re never scared to use their voice. If you have daughters, nieces. . .any young women around you. . .celebrate her self-expression; whether she loves to dress up in full princess or batman attire, or she likes to express herself by drawing, encourage her to be her authentic self. Encourage another women’s unique personality by supporting her interests wholeheartedly, whether she’s into sports, drama (the theater type of course, lol), pottery, knitting or academics.

7. Become a Mentor

Becoming a Troop 6000 Girl Scout leader two years ago is one of the best decisions I could have ever made for myself. I love working with young women. They bring me so much joy. There is nothing like a young lady giving me a hug and whispering, “I’m so happy you’re in my life!” Whether you find a mentorship program in your community or focus on inspiring your friends and sisters, being a mentor is a great way to inspire young women. Gather a group of girls and encourage them to participate in an empowerment activity. You can totally do it!

8. Support Women owned & Women Run Businesses

As a female entrepreneur who has the pleasure of getting support from other women, I cannot begin to describe what it does to my soul! I too love to support my fellow women owned and women run businesses. There is nothing like watching another woman WIN! Show your support for women in your community by investing in businesses run by your fellow sisters.

9. Support Organizations That Empower Women

Do what you can to support organizations that are committed to empowering women. Whether you make a donation, give your time, or refer a friend to a business or organization that makes empowering women a priority, your support truly matters.

10. love on the Women in Your Life

Say Heyyyyyy Beautiful!  Say I Love You! Say Thank you! Give genuine compliments while allowing yourself to also receive them when given. Help out the women around you. Showing the women in your life how much you appreciate them by sending a thank you card, a positive email or text, or simply telling them what they mean to you can truly brighten another women’s day.

Closing thoughts

Empowering women ultimately starts with you. Show your support for the women in your life, show them they matter, and remind them that they are strong and capable of doing anything they put their minds to. Changing the narrative for women and seeing real change is a collaborative effort. Us women need to stick together.

If you agree, share this article with the women in your life, and encourage them to be that Empowered Woman that Empowers Women.

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Styled by | Tima Samad

Photography | Jazz Journey Photography

Jewelry | Design By U Essentials

NOT Your Average DIY

My SIP & DESIGN series are NOT Your Average DIY jewelry classes!
My classes are instructional and A LOT of fun! We mix learning a new craft with education, healthy dialogue, wine & sweet treats.
My most recent class held on March 16th was the very first class I started with; “Let’s Get Waisted”; a waist beading class. In this session, all attendees were taught the history of African Waist Beads & learned how to make their very own.
Every woman who attends our “Let’s Get Waisted” jewelry class has a different customized experience because their waist beads are custom fit to their waist.
Waist Beads are worn as a celebration of womanhood, status, sexuality, femininity, fertility, healing, spirituality, protection, wealth and also used for body shaping. Beads are also great indicators in weight gain. They will fall lower on your waist if you lose weight, and become tighter or higher on your waist if you gain weight. We talk about weight gain & weight loss targets and teach you how to use your beads to aid you in your goals.
Our waist beads are made with (but not limited to) a variety of premium glass, seed and hex cut beads. Each are unique in color and in variation.
Instructing these classes have been an amazing experience thus far. We surely have grown from our very first class conducted in January of this year. It’s been a few months of intense & enjoyable growth.
Femininity is the ultimate form of sophistication.
Being Creative is not a hobby! It’s a way of Life.
In these jewelry classes, new memories are created.
We did something new in this particular class. It turned into a birthday party as well. Two of the beautiful women who attended were celebrating their special day, so we decided to surprise them. The energy in the room was absolutely perfect. It was an amazing way to close out our class.
Everyone also had the opportunity to try Noosa Yoghurt, who sponsored this “Let’s Get Waisted” jewelry class.

In our next SIP & DESIGN, we’ll be teaching how to make an Ankara Bib Necklace. Click on our events tab for our schedule of events.

Ankara Bib

Visit our Facebook Page to view all photos from this jewelry class

 

Photography & Videography | @dadouchic

 

What’s in your cup?

I don’t know about you, but I’ll tell you what’s in mine! TEA, TEA & more TEA!

I love me some tea! Call me the tea connoisseur, lol. I’ll have a cup of tea over coffee ANYDAY! I’ll drink it cold or hot!

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I moved back to Harlem about two and a half years ago. You should have seen me. I was like a kid in a candy store. Harlem has changed so much since I left in 2005. One of my favorite discoveries is the tea shop, Serengeti! OMGgeeeeee! If you haven’t been here, you haven’t experienced life. The variety of teas are absolutely phenomenal! The ambiance and energy is also quite pleasing. The customer service is also impeccable!

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I just recently had a collaboration for Design By U Essentials with Fashion and Lifestyle blogger Rebecca Quainoo. She asked if I had any suggestions on where we should connect. I was more than happy to suggest Serengeti! Rebecca fell in love with this spot, as I knew she would. It was such an amazing space for us to connect, exchange ideas, chat about what’s next for us both and to talk about one of our many favorite things “Jewelry!” whilst sipping on TEA. We had two of my favorites, the Lemongrass, Ginger & Turmeric and Cherry Pear infused teas. Have a cup and I promise you; you’ll be going back for more.

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You truly get a feel of being in Africa when visiting Serengeti. In addition to the variety of teas that they have, you will see a display of amazing art work and artifacts. Having Ghanaian roots, I so appreciate this! Seeing the stool reminds me of Ghana each and every time I’m here.

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There’s also delectable sweet treats that will go well with your TEA.

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If you’re in NYC, particularly, Harlem. . .I highly recommend Serengeti Tea & Spices. You’d really enjoy this space and of course the TEA. How fitting it is to write this amazing piece during Black History Month.

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Collaboration with | Rebecca Quainoo

Photography | @dadouchic

Jewelry provided by | Design By U Essentials

Adorned Collaboration

One of the best feelings is knowing that you are appreciated! When my sister girl Rebecca Quainoo called and said let’s collaborate, I was truly humbled and excited all at the same time! I loveeeeeeee to align myself with individuals that are passionate about what they have to offer in life. Not only am I a big fan of Rebecca and her style, she is one of my best costumers. She’s the proud owner of many Design By U pieces. So to receive a call from her saying, “I would like to do a piece that highlights you and your creativity!” I of course said ABSOLUTELY, ⬅ this is one of my favorite words by the way, lol!

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Collaborating = EMPOWERMENT

Other than my love for my family; what excites me is natural hair, jewelry & sisterhood. When Rebecca reached out, I said let’s do brunch. Our brunch date turned into so much more than we expected. It was empowering! We spoke about jewelry, what’s next for Rebecca Quinaoo, Tima Samad, Design By U Essentials and a lot more about the power of joining forces. One of the most valuable resources that we all have is each other. One thing I’ve learned is without collaboration, our growth is limited. Alone, we can do very little; but together, we can achieve so much. Do not be afraid to collaborate with others. Of course, collaborate with those that you can learn from. For me, when collaborating, energy and alignment are key components and factors.

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Sisterhood

I absolutely adore Rebecca. We actually feel the same way about each other, lol! Not only is she supportive and genuinely applauds me, she has an amazing personality and an impeccable eye for style! We learned a lot more about and from each other on this brunch date. It doesn’t hurt that we’re also both Scorpios. . .so we definitely get each other. We dug deep and spoke not only on personal and business matters, but about what happens when you’re feeling stuck and we also spoke about GROWTH. This is why I feel sisterhood is important. Having that sister to talk to about what’s going on in your world can make such a difference. It is especially helpful when the other has experienced what you feel you cannot conquer! Healthy sisterhood relationships matters! This goes for you brother’s who are reading this as well; having healthy and genuine brotherhood. . . MATTERS!

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You will see Rebecca wearing a few of her favorite pieces on Design By U Essentials.

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Rebecca is wearing “R U B Y” from our Lush Collection.

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Rebecca is wearing “S P A R R O W” from our Rings & Thangs Collection & “B A M B O O” our signature wood bracelets .

Jewelry is ART! Jewelry is LOVE!

My love for jewelry started when I was very young. My mother also has amazing style and taste. She’s far from ordinary! I would watch her pair bold pieces with the most simple outfits and just say WOW! You look like a Queen! I went to Catholic school from 1st grade to high school; where jewelry past post earrings and a thin tennis bracelet was forbidden. So I really started to express myself (in terms of jewelry) in my early college years. It was around this time that my love for art and different art forms aided in tapping into my creativity at a higher level. When I realized I could make my own, my love for jewelry took on a totally different meaning. I wanted to share my sense of style, my creativity, my art; paired with amazing custom jewelry; with EVERYONE.

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Everything is in the details. There is nothing like the right piece of jewelry and accessories that make your outfit “POP!”  This is what I will continue to showcase from Design By U. No matter what you are wearing, you will be able to find that piece or those pieces that will bring your entire look together.

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This was such an exciting collaboration ❤

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I am wearing “M A U V E” from our Lush Collection

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I am wearing “L O O P E D” from our Plated Collection

Collaboration with | Rebecca Quainoo

Photography & Videography | @dadouchic

Jewelry provided by | Design By U Essentials

Custom Made

When you feel good, you look good! Be sure to Customize your life! After all, it is YOUR LIFE and you are Custom Made 💛

In regards to my style, I really love Custom Made pieces. I have a closet full of dresses and skirts you will not see on another person. Custom made makes your look classic, unique and different! In addition to standing out in the crowd, you support another’s dream and passion.

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Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it! Fashion is ART and you are the canvas; so forget the rules! If you like it WEAR IT! Make sure it’s Hot though, lol 😉😆

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Don’t be afraid to wear horizontal stripes! They’re always going to be a Big Fashion Statement! I had this skirt made about 5 years ago and this is my second time wearing it since! The key is HOW. . .what you pair it with and styling it for your body type.

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💛 Loving & Living Life 💛

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Location | Bronx, NY

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Maxi Skirt  |Nsaa House of Designs

Top | Rainbow Shops

Earrings| Design By U Essentials

 

Nothing like a flowing Maxi Dress

No matter what people think of you, keep singing your own song! Many may not know this but music is my sanity. I cannot go a day without singing or listening to music. I was having a moment in this shot 🎤🎵🎶🎵

Now about this dress 😁

I have quite a few favorite style looks. Maxi dresses & skirts are definitely on my list! Can you believe I bought this amazing Maxi dress for $20? Yes, you saw that price correctly!

It was on sale at Mandee’s in NYC. I purchased this dress a few months ago. This particular color may not be available, but they do have many great colors & patterns in stock now.

 The material and the way this dress flows is beyond words. I received many compliments while wearing this Beauty.

Because this dress speaks for itself, I decided to minimize my accessories and went with a Bold Metal Choker. I don’t have earrings on because I forgot to put them on 😩🙈

 

Location | Bronx, NY

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Maxi Dress |Mandee

Necklace| Design By U Essentials

Camo is my Happy Color

I absolutely LOVEEEEEEEE anything Camouflage! You will see me with this Camo jacket no less than 3 times a week once Spring rolls around 😁

I enjoy pairing Camouflage with Black, Brown’s and Neutral Tones.

This is one of my to go looks; a white tee or tank with a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans, booties, Camo & bold ethnic accessories! I’m wearing Ethnic inspired necklace ‘Symmetry’ & my wrists are adorned with ‘Bamboo’, wood bracelets (which I wear 99.9% of the time). . .from Design By U Essentials!

Don’t be afraid to enhance your look with jewelry and bags.

I follow NO trends! I wear what I love; I dress how I feel!

This bag is one of my absolute favorites! It was a gift from my Dad 3 years ago. We were together when he bought it in Wa, which is in the Upper West Region in Ghana. It is also where Dad’s side of the family is from. As soon as I saw it, my eyes LIT up. So he bought it for me. I love to support local artisans! Happy we had the opportunity to support an artisan in Ghana.

In addition to Camo & more Camo, I absolutely love ART and color. It makes me Happy!

The Amazing graffiti art in these photos is by Brazilian artist, Panmela Castro. You will find this phenomenal mural on the walls outside of Andrew Freeman Home on the Grand Concourse in Bronx, NY. Visit if you can. There is nothing like seeing it in person.

Location | Andrew Freedman Home

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Camo Jacket |Forever 21

White Tank |H & M

Boyfriend Jeans | H & M

Shoes | Cape Robbin

Jewelry |Design By U Essentials

Bag | Gift from Dad

Mural | Panmela Castro 

What is African Black Soap?

I’ve had an influx of orders for my Authentic African Black soap during the Holiday season after I shared my personal testimonial on it on instagram; after frequently being asked how I am able to maintain flawless skin.

Many have been saying & asking, “I know it works, but what exactly is African Black Soap?” Below is a brief summary.

African Black soap has been used for centuries in West Africa. It is still made the traditional way from locally harvested plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves & shea tree bark, to name a few potent ingredients. It is then fermented which is how the soap gets its brownish-black color.

*Please Note* African Black Soap  should not be entirely Black in color. If so, it is not authentic. It’s  watered down & mixed with different agents!

African Black Soap is suitable for all skin types! It can be used daily and it is also great for washing makeup off! If you have any skin sensitivity, it is best to do a skin test. Place a small amount of soap (wet it first) and leave it on an area of your skin for about a minute to see if you have a negative reaction to it. Another way is to choose an area on your skin to wash with it for 3 consecutive days (same area). Because of it’s organic ingredients, a negative reaction rarely happens (unless you have specific allergies).

(WASH ONLY. DO NOT USE AS A MASK)!

Because of it’s potent ingredients, the soap is powerful. You should not leave ABS on your face for a long period of time. When you start using this soap, you will instantly see improvement in discoloration, skin tone, acne, reduction of razor bumps, ingrown hair bumps, fine lines and wrinkles. . .just to name a few. ABS detoxifies and purifies the skin, due to its amazing ingredients.

Plantain skins is high in vitamin A, which increases collagen production; vitamin E, has natural healing properties which helps  moisturize the skin; & iron, which boosts the benefits of both vitamins A and E.

Cocoa powder softens & firms the skin & its antioxidants & anti-inflammatory properties, fight free radicals, repairs damaged skin, and renews skin cells.

Cocoa butter is a natural moisturizer loaded with vitamins A and E that fights & helps reverse the signs of aging. It also eases rashes, eczema, and psoriasis.

Shea butter also has vitamins A and E to strengthen skin, repair damage, and diminish wrinkles. Over time, ABS can help in healing sores, scars, & help with treating psoriasis, eczema, & dermatitis.

Palm oil is rich & packed with antioxidants and two forms of vitamin E which help heal acne and eczema.

Palm kernel oil, extracted from the fruit seeds of the African palm tree, is high in lauric acid, giving it antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help heal acne.

When African Black Soap is exposed to air, it may develop a thin, white film. There is no need to panic or worry. This is normal. It’s not mold nor is it a sign that it is expired, and the soap may still be used. African Black Soap has a very longgggggggg shelf life!

F A Q’s

What are the ingredients in Raw African Black Soap? How is it made?

The ingredients in Raw African Black Soap may vary depending on the region, but the soap consistently usually includes: plantain skins and leaves, bark from the shea tree, cocoa pods, oils (palm oil, coconut oil and/or shea butter). The skins, leaves, barks and cocoa pods are burned to ashes. Water and the oils are then added to the ashes. After being stirred for a day or more, the mixture  is left to ferment. There are absolutely NO CHEMICALS, artificial ingredients or preservatives in our A U T H E N T I C  African Black Soap.

Does African Black Soap contain alcohol and | or lye?

NO! Our Authentic African Black Soap contains neither alcohol or lye.

What are some of the benefits of African Black Soap?

It is an all-natural exfoliator which deep-cleanses the pores. It is suitable for all skin types. It helps fade dark marks and hyper-pigmentation, psoriasis and some eczema flare ups; (should not be used if the skin is broken; sore)

How do I use African Black Soap?

A little bit of African Black Soap goes a VERY LONG WAY! We’ve made it easier for you by cutting it in our classic soap pattern. Just add water and lather. Because of the uneven texture of the soap, we suggest lathering the soap in your hand and then applying the lather to your face (if using for your face only). If you’re using the African Black Soap to wash your hair, you can put pieces into a bottle, add water and shake it up. That will dissolve the soap and create a face | body wash & shampoo. This is easier and safer than buying already mixed African Black Soaps because you are controlling the contents that it’s being mixed with.

How do I store African Black Soap?

Since the African Black Soap has no preservatives, it must be stored in a cool, dry place. We suggest you keep your soap in a tin; not in plastic. If the plastic that you are storing your soap in; is not BPA free, it will absorb the toxins present in the plastic.

Note: the soap dissolves quickly when it is wet. If you let the entire soap or piece you’re using sit out in water, it will look like melted caramel by the time you are ready to use it again 😁 When stored, ABS may get a whitish film on it. If this happens, do not panic, It’s not mold! It’s just the effects of the soaps exposure to air.

Can I Use African Black Soap on my newborn?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is too strong for a newborn baby’s skin. We suggest you use on children 2 years of age and up (Only to bathe); do not leave on their skin for a long period of time.

African Black Soap didn’t work for my friend. Will it work for me?

Everyone’s skin is different because everyone has a different skin type. What works for another may not work for you. This is why we encourage you to do a skin test prior to using, as we mentioned in our summary. It also helps to know what you are buying. Not all African Black Soaps are Authentic.

How is it that I’m able to use this soap on my oily skin when there are oils present in the soap?

Though oil is present in the soap, it is not “oily”. The fermentation process gives all ingredients an amazing balance, which makes it a great exfoliator. It keeps your skin hydrated without increasing oil. If you have oily skin, please moisturize afterwards with a non-comedogenic lotion.

Can I use African Black Soap on my dry skin?

Yes you can! But, if you do not like to moisturize or wear lotion, please do not bother to use it! With those that have dry skin, the soap is effective, but you MUST moisturize and cream your skin immediately after using. It is a natural exfoliator, meaning it is striping skin. You have to replenish moisture to maintain balance.

What is the shelf life of African Black Soap?

African Black Soap has a very long shelf life. If stored in a dry cool place, it can last for approximately 10 years.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Your questions will help me add more insight to Design By U Essentials FAQ’s for ABS! Comment below or send us an email at info@designbyuessentials.com