N. Dunham’s Visionary Trilogy

We see signs around us all the time, every day in fact.  I’m not talking about street signs and stop signs; I am talking about spiritual signs – the messages that we hear if we are listening and paying attention.  N. Dunham’s signs came to her in the form of the Red Tailed Hawk and she was listening.  She was guided to write stories that included the bird in a prominent way as it was the basis of her inspiration.  She works part-time, is a busy mom and a wife and in the midst of that she found the time to write and to create.  N. Dunham tells us about getting started with the first in a series that she is writing.   


Tell us about the story “Visionary.”

Visionary- Unleashed is the first story in a young adult fantasy series.  It’s centered around sixteen-year-old Aislinnvisionary Lee Murphy, who mistakenly unleashes her hidden ability to see things before they happen.  Little does she know that she’s part of a bigger system, she’s a visionary.  A visionary is someone who not only can see things before they happen, but they also have individual spirit animals based on their zodiac signs.  These spirit animals can provide visionaries with many skills and astounding abilities.

There are also three rare spirit animals, including the red-tailed hawk, and Aislinn may happen to have that as her spirit animal.  If she does in fact have the red-tailed hawk as her spirit animal, her future is unknown.

There is also a secret agency, whose soul mission is to terminate all visionaries and Aislinn has become their next target.  Luckily, Aislinn meets fellow visionary, Sebastian Martinelli, who saves her from precarious situations and introduces her to fellow visionaries.


Tell us about your Red Tailed Hawk experiences.

I love red tailed hawks.  It’s amazing to spot them soaring in the sky.  During the writing process of this book, I must have seen a red-tailed hawk almost once or twice daily.  I found it comforting to look up from driving and spot one with its white underbelly and hues of red shining in the sunlight.  Because of my fascination with red tailed hawks, I chose to make that specific animal one of the three rare spirit animals in the book.


This is the first book of a series.  How many will there be?

There are three books in the series.  I chose to do a trilogy so that the story can unravel more with each book.


Where did you get the whole visionary idea from? 

The idea just came to me as I put the pen to paper.  I originally had another name for the story – The Gift – but “Visionary” seemed to fit better.


Who is the book designed for and what do you expect people to get from reading it?

This book is a young adult fictional novel.  I would say that ages twelve and up would be suitable for this story.  I would hope that this story would encourage young adults to want to read more, as well as inspire one to dream and be creative.  I also share a love for nature and animals and hopefully this book may encourage others to respect nature and marvel at its beauty.


How long did it take you to write the first book?

It took roughly 7-8 months from start to finish.


When will the second one be released?

I hope to have the second book released by September 2013.



How did you decide that self publishing was for you?

I tried traditional publishing in the beginning and realized that it was much more difficult than I had originally anticipated.  At first I was against self-publishing, but after I started researching it, I decided that it sounded achievable.  The idea of being able to be creative with my book such as cover picture, layout, etc. was also a huge selling point for me.


Have you always had the thought to write in the back of your mind?  What let you know that the time was right?

As a teen, I didn’t read much at all.  I started to read a lot more when I had children and discovered that I love books, all kinds of books.  This led me to think about what kinds of books I might enjoy.  I started having many ideas, but never had enough time to put the pen to paper.  Last year, when I started writing, the time just worked out.  I started writing late at night when the house was quiet and my ideas were able to flow.


Your website allows people to find their own “spirit” animal based on the stories that you have written.  Where do the definitions and descriptions come from?

Some of the descriptions come from fact based on the specific animal’s traits and some of the descriptions are purely fiction to entertain and drive the story. I wanted to enhance the traits from the spirit animals to provide each visionary with unique abilities.


Do you personally believe in “visionaries” or psychics? 

I believe that some people have psychic or strong intuitional abilities, but the idea of visionaries, in regards to my book, are purely fictional and for entertainment purposes.


What are your expectations or plans/dreams for your future career?


I would love to be able to continue writing full time.  I have other story ideas that I would love to put together if the future allows me to do so.


The book is available on sale on Amazon, IndieGo and other sites.  To get a link to purchase the book or to find out more information, visit N. Dunham’s Website:  http://www.ndunham.com/

Find out what is your Spirit Animal is!

N. Dunham on Facebook


How a Functional Family Might Look


Some essential information for us ladies. From Susan Jane Smith from the UK.



“So I come from a dysfunctional family system – how do I create a functional family now that I am married and am planning to have children of my own?”

family1Firstly, I would say that you need to work on your own life issues and ensure that you have good self-esteem, good communication skills, good anger management and stress management skills and like yourself! Your partner needs these too! Go to counselling/psychotherapy if you lack the skills above.


Functional parents:

  • • do not lie to anyone
  • • do not tell their children that they are worthless
  • • do not call their children insulting names
  • • do not use physical pain to enforce their point of view
  • • do not get drunk
  • • do not use street drugs
  • • have no need for pornography
  • • do not use money or gifts as bribes for desired behavior
  • • do not use guilt to manipulate anyone


Sounds impossible? It isn’t – it’s just not what you will have learned growing up in a less functional home.


See my chapter ‘Quality of Life: A Blueprint for Change’ in my book:

Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth.


Many clients walk in saying they are the black sheep of their family because they have been used as a scapegoat for the problems of the family system. We go over examples of what has happened and their self-esteem starts to rise when they can see it was not all their fault! They are so used to being blamed as the bad one that they believe it. Frequently, they were depressed teenagers who acted out.   That depression came from being hit as a child and being so angry (not expressed directly at their parents) that they were self-destructive and got into drugs or alcohol to excess, promiscuity, et cetera – no sense of self-worth. No boundaries or respect taught because their parents had such low self- esteem themselves and were addicting to work, affairs, alcohol, et cetera. No nurturing time spent with the kids. Throw in one or two divorces or relationship breakdowns and how could a child grow up in a healthy, self-nurturing way – no road map to follow.


If they make it into a therapists’ office they are starting to break a generational cycle. Well done!


When I was studying for a master’s degree in community psychology, I came across the concept of dysfunctional families. Until then I didn’t know that I had been brought up in one! Sure enough I had. A bit of a shock to me at that time and it is a label that still tends to make people feel uncomfortable. The trouble with dysfunctional families is that a characteristic is to breed loyalty – even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it isn’t deserved.

Thus, to try to tell someone suffering from that kind of loyalty that it is undeserved and toxic is painful for them! Even if that is the best bit of news they really could have. What it does, once you get your head around it, is to set you free from believing that it was all your fault or that what parents (and sometimes siblings) have said is that it was you who was the odd one out for questioning what was going on! Freedom at last! Do read ‘Toxic Parents’ by Susan Forward Ph.D. to get rid of any rubbish from your past.


My initial learning about dysfunctional family systems came from the wonderful work done in the U.S.A. about the families of alcoholics. The concept of being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (A.C.O.A.) is a real step forward. See my chapter ‘My Drinking Isn’t A Problem’ in my book Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth.


I then realized that you could be what I have called A.C.D.F.S. – Adult Child of a Dysfunctional Family System because lots of other situations also make a family not function well. These could be addictions like gambling, drugs or workaholism! Yes, over working is an addiction too. It could equally show up when there is incest, an eating disorder, a depressed or seriously ill parent. You may well recognize other situations!


There are different types and degrees of family dysfunction – some families may be outwardly focused as when the members are involved in criminal activity. There is still dysfunction if a family is overly inwardly focused – there can be a need for the children to be compliant and not express any negative emotions. There may be sex role stereotyping. Parents may also not be good at pulling together and are inadequate in themselves. Children may be deprived of their individual identities. Children may learn to expect disappointment as the adults in their lives are inconsistent in what they do and say.


I have decided to try to describe a useful, more functional model or people to aspire towards! These are my views and you will need to do more reading for yourself to learn to choose for yourself what you would want for your family.


My functional family would have positive responses to these questions:

  • Do I feel that my family demonstrates loving behavior?
  • Do my family members trust each other?
  • Is there open and honest communication between all members of my family?
  • Does my family avoid keeping secrets?
  • Does my family show affection openly and often?
  • Do we have laughter and fun at home?
  • Do all the members of the family get the respect of other family members?
  • Do my parents have the ability to differentiate between the needs and wants of the individual family members?
  • Do we all listen to each other and acknowledge the viewpoint even if we don’t agree?
  • Are we able to adapt and be flexible in dealing with situations – especially creating age-appropriate behaviour as the children get older?
  • Do we all have a clear understanding of the boundaries of acceptable behaviours?
  • Do we honour the limits set?
  • Is there an appreciation of individuality and differences?
  • Do we have an enjoyment of each other’s company?
  • Do we demonstrate the ability to forgive and show mercy without accepting repetitive bad behaviour?
  • Do we all feel safe with each other and within our home?
  • Is seeing projects through to completion role modelled by the adults so that children can learn this?
  • Do we all feel non-judgemental – able to separate out unproductive behaviour to be corrected rather than just the transgressor as a bad person?
  • Is there provision of approval and praise to reinforce appropriate useful behaviour?
  • Do we teach our children to look ahead at the potential outcomes of their behaviours?
  • Do we encourage occasional spontaneity rather than consistent impulsivity?
  • Do we recognise the accomplishments of all the members of the family?
  • Are mistakes or failures seen as learning?


Here are some questions that might allow you to look at your own life and see if you have been affected by a dysfunctional family system so  that  you know you  need to go to counselling/psychotherapy to make changes:

  • Do you fear criticism? (No one likes it – fearing it drives people towards trying to be perfect and put themselves and people around them under inordinate strain).
  • Do you over-extend yourself? (Do you have trouble saying “no” either in a work situation, to friends who ask for ‘favours’ or to family members?)
  • Do you actually seek crisis situations? (Are you more comfortable in a perverse kind of way when there are emergencies to be handled?)
  • Do you subconsciously create crisis either by choosing partners who cannot commit, violent people to be in your life, alcoholics or people with other addictive or unhealthy patterns?
  • Do you over-spend so that you keep yourself stressed, self-abused and struggling to fix the emergency?


A child’s sense of self- worth is something they develop as a result of their parents’ (and other influential carers) attitudes towards them. Please do think about the words you use when you speak to children.


A child needs:

  • To be taught ways of coping with everyday problems
  • To be trusted
  • To be appreciatedfamily-girl
  • To be told in words that they are loved
  • To be told in words that they are valued
  • Their every minor accomplishment praised
  • Parents need to speak with and listen to their children (and not just talk at them or give them ‘orders’)
  • Hugs and kisses (with no sexual overtone)
  • Notice your child’s strengths and reinforce them with positive comments
  • Thank them for doing chores
  • Explain what needed to be different not just criticize when the child gets something ‘wrong’
  • Give compliments for ‘good’ behaviour
  • Give compliments for being ‘well turned out’, etcetera.
  • Remember to praise all of the children not just a ‘favorite’.
  • Stability and consistency creates secure children. Yes, love is important and it is important to tell a child in words they are loved.


The reason I believe ‘roots’ are vital is because of reflecting on my own experience. I had the consistency of my parents being married for over 40 years which was only terminated by my father’s death. I had the consistency of an extended family. I also crossed the Atlantic Ocean 35 times by the time I was 16 years old and that was not for holidays! My mum married an American GI at the end of World War II and emigrated to the U.S.A. She was terribly homesick. In her 70’s she told me she had wanted her parents to stop her from marrying and leaving home – they didn’t as they thought this was what she wanted! Such poor communication skills within the family! My mum’s homesickness was exacerbated by her mother’s dying and my mum always felt (unrealistically) that if she had been at home with her parents she could have prevented that death.

My mum lived with unresolved grief and depression for over 40 years as a result. This culminated in unstable family5behaviour on her part and an unstable childhood for me. I understand it all now – as a youngster it was just confusing. Please think about the impact of your behaviour on your family! My father’s behaviour is covered in the first chapter of my book Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth.


My parents both loved me – they were just so inadequate as individuals and they were parentally dysfunctional without even knowing it. Most people never knew about such things back then and that needs to change for the future.


Children who are moved around a lot for whatever reason (job change, marital breakdown, parents who are in the military, having a parent who is a diplomat) can have a lot of anxiety at being in new situations and then having to say goodbye to friends yet again. It can make it difficult to settle down in one place when they grow up and thus make it difficult for them to give their own children roots and a stable environment. If your family has been in this situation does it have a clown, are the kids acting out or are they withdrawn?

Recognize anyone? Seek counseling for them, please!


Functional families display feelings, not stiff upper lips, because that denies a child’s reality. The child instinctively senses if you are sad and then if you say that you are not you create confusion and self-doubt and that makes it difficult for the child to trust itself.

Trust in life means trusting yourself deep down inside so that you know you can handle it even if you meet with disappointment, betrayal or hurt.


Appropriate action when disagreement occurs is for an apology and for forgiveness. Faulty learning is where there family6is hurt and defensive anger in response to a complaint. Under that is a feeling of rejection and injustice and withdrawal creates unresolved conflict.

Just more buried pain as the pattern repeats itself. Functional families work to resolve conflicts.


Whatever your family of origin (single parent, reformed, or with both original parents being together forever) it is the place where you became the person you are – unique with your own identity.

Functional families honor and foster that individuality. It is a social unit that makes it safe for its inhabitants to experiment and find out who they are and what they want from life.


Previous article:  Susan Jane Smith

Susan’s contact information:

Susan Jane Smith, B.SC

Counseling in the Forest Publishing




Books that add value to your life – now live on Kindle & ebook readers!

“Hugs & Emotional Wealth Change the World”

“Pre-Marital MOT: A Relationship Inspection”

“Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth”

and the Little Book Series of Emotional Health For Emotional Wealth


Twitter @SusanJaneSmith


You can find her on Linked In, and Google +

www.facebook.com/EmotionalHealthForEmotionalWealth &



Spring Break! Activities Your Kids Will Always Remember


Submitted by Annette Hazard


Spring break is right around the corner. Have you planned a few activities to keep your kiddos occupied and having fun? Need some ideas?

Go On an Adventure

Plan a visit to a local museum or zoo. A trip to the museum or zoo can take a child on a learning adventure and provide hours of fun. To get even more out of the experience, request a guided tour.

Arts and Craftsspring-break2

Help your child get in touch with his or her artistic side. Stock up on paint, glitter, scissors and glue. Embrace the mess, and enjoy yourselves.

Get Wet

If you live in a warmer climate, you might enjoy splashing in your own pool or a community pool. Has your child taken swim lessons yet? Could they use a refresher course? Spring break swim lessons such as those found at http://www.swimjim.com/loc-houston-tx will get your child ready for summer pool fun.

Get Active

If you want to get outside and get moving, then biking and rollerblading are great options. Consider a trip to the batting cages or a game of putt-putt golf. If it is raining, hit the roller rink or a local climbing wall.

Catch a Movie

What is new on the big screen? Spring break is the perfect opportunity to catch the latest kid’s flick. If a trip to the movie theater is not in the budget, consider renting a dvd or watching something new on Netflix. Do not forget the popcorn!


Summer is right around the corner. Hit the mall to help your child choose a new warmer-weather wardrobe. If the mall is not in your budget, visit your local consignment or thrift shop. You are sure to find a treasure at a price you can afford.

Get GameChildren Playing a Board Game

Spring break might be a good time to let your children choose a new video game. Add to the fun by letting them have their friends over for a gaming party. Split the group into two teams, provide some snacks, and let the competition begin!


Between homework and extracurricular activities, sleepovers can be difficult to schedule throughout the regular school year. A spring break sleepover could be just the answer. Be sure to include your child in the planning process. Let him or her make the invitations and help plan for fun food and games.

However you and your child decide to spend spring break, enjoy your time together and keep the focus on fun!


Vitamin C – Nutrition Series by Caroline Devine



Submitted by Carolyn Devin of Serenity of Body and Mind, CT, USA
The third in a series of talks about the importance of vitamins.



Vitamin C is an interesting vitamin because most of the animal kingdom can synthesize it themselves. Humans, guinea pigs and fruit bats are some of the very few species that need to supplement it in their diets. This vitamin is also known as ascorbic acid and we mostly associate it with citrus fruits such as; grapefruits, lemons, limes and especially oranges. While citrus fruits do contain quite a bit of vitamin C, guava fruit and red peppers actually contain much more. Half a cup of red pepper contains 160% of our daily recommended amount, half a cup of guava is 310%. Half a cup of orange juice is less than 75%. Green vegetables are also a great source of vitamin C but this vitamin is very heat sensitive and is easily destroyed in the cooking process.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, helps in collagen production and helps with the synthesis of other biological compounds needed in the body. Collagen production is very important in wound healing as it is critical to the skin’s structure. Another important role of vitamin C is the assistance to non-heme iron (non-animal form of iron) to be absorbed in the body. And lastly, vitamin C does assist with immune system functions; it does this by binding to free radicals in the body to prevent damage and illness.

Generally, vitamin C deficiency is rare, less than 15% in America. Vitamin C is fortified in many processed food such as juice and cereal so most people do have access to enough. Smokers, woman taking oral contraceptives and burn victims need more than the vitamincnormal daily recommended amount because of oxidative stress and tissue regeneration. Severe vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy. It was prevalent in sailors hundreds of years ago because their sea voyages would last for months with no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Many sailors died before a British doctor discovered the connection between citrus and the sailor’s sicknesses and deaths in the mid-1700s. After that British fleets were stocked with limes (as they kept for long periods). This is why the British sailors were called Limeys.

Scurvy is a nasty disease. It starts with fatigue and small red spots around with hair follicles which are called pinpoint hemorrhages. As the connective tissue in the body continues to break down, larger hemorrhages begin to appear, bone pain and diarrhea. Scurvy is fatal if not treated. This disease is generally associated with poverty but is rare in the United States. Poor vitamin C status is more common in populations of smokers, alcoholics and those with extremely poor diets.

There are studies currently going on to see if there is a correlation between intake of vitamin C and the prevention of some cancers and heart disease, however, there have been no definitive results. 

Cacarolyndevinerolyn Devin is a Health and Wellness Coach practicing in Glastonbury, CT, USA. She helps individuals who are looking to lose weight, gain energy or just to feel better by teaching about nutrition and lifestyle changes.

“I don’t advocate “dieting” or quick fixes. I feel that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy, which means that I don’t propose radical changes to your lifestyle or starvation diets. I want to guide you on a path to healthier living.”



Marguerita and the Nappy Cakes

It’s always about the journey and the ability to stay with our goals no matter what.  Marguerita Gill from Liverpool, England has her own home-based business.  But she also has discipline and determination – two essential ingredients for whatever we decide to do in life.   Please enjoy reading about Marguerita Gill and her heart-based business – Nappy Cakes.
What kind of work did you do before you started your own business?
Before I started my own business I worked doing various office jobs.  I worked for a while at John Lennon Airport, Liverpool, UK, for Ryanair airlines as a check in agent, and even had a go doing Security.  I was always looking for job satisfaction but never seemed to find what i was looking for.  I always wanted to set up my own business and so decided to just give it a go.
How long have you been in business?
I have been in business for almost 2 years
Do you have a physical store location or work from home?
At the moment I am a home based business, but I am looking into opening a shop in the near future.  I sell most of my products via Facebook, my website and a lot of it is word of mouth and repeat customers.
blue cake with socks
What is a Nappy Cake and where did the term come from?
A Nappy Cake is made from various useful baby items, such as blankets, bibs, booties, hats, onesies, scratch mitts and of course nappies.  Items will vary depending on the size and price of the Nappy Cake.  I guess the term Nappy Cake came from the idea that it is made mostly of nappies to look like a real cake, although you can make other items from nappies, like prams, and tricycles, Nappy Beds and really anything you put your mind to.  There is no exact science to making Nappy Cakes, but being creative plays a big part.
Why did you decide to start your own Nappy Cake business?
I started my business making hand knitted babywear for premature babies, and I thought I would expand into the Nappy Cake world.  I thought they made an ideal gift for the new mum and baby as they include a variety of baby basics.  I read a quote one day, which read “If you don’t have goals, you will always work for someone else who does.”   And for me, I would much rather work for myself and set my own goals.
blue trike
How much time do you put into creating your products in a given day?
I think the time I spend in any given day on my business is really from the minute I open my eyes in the morning, I wake up sometimes in the night with an idea and take it from there.  Sometimes I have a few ideas happening at the same time but I do try to work on one project at a time now.  Every aspect of my business falls in my hands, so I do my own marketing, selling, buying in stock, production, business cards, website, the list is endless, but I do what I love and love what I do.
Are you happy with what you are doing?
I love making and designing my Nappy Cakes and the creativity it gives me.  I love the tiny cute baby clothes too and feel I have found my niche.
What were some of the obstacles you faced when you decided to set up your own business and what pink storkmade you persevere to get through them?
I believed in myself and what I was doing, but it has taken a lot of hard work and determination.  Financially it was hard, and at times my personal life had to come first.  My mum played a huge part in the setting up of my business in the early days, of which I am very grateful, however I did find that some areas I would have expected to get support and I didn’t, so that was a bit of an eye opener.   I realized pretty fast that if I worried about what other people thought I would have given up a long time ago.  So really for me discipline and determination is the key.

Barbara Choice – Hold Fast to Dreams


Barbara Choice is a woman who made the “choice” to continue on with her dream of creating a successful marketing and PR firm, Choice Management, LLC.   Like many women, she experienced setbacks and had doubts as to whether or not she could continue.   But, she got a second wind and forged ahead beyond the pain and the fear.   She reminded herself of something that she wanted to share as part of the interview:

“Hold fast to dreams 

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

 That cannot fly.”


Barbara chose to fly.  Her wings are not broken and Choice Management, LLC is growing by leaps and bounds every year.



What is Choice Management?

Choice Management, LLC is a premiere management and public relations company specializing in talent management, brand development, and creative marketing for all aspects of the entertainment Industry.

You said that you’ve always wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry. Why?

I had dreams of working in entertainment industry since childhood. I’m the only child so I used to sing and dance in front of my stuff animals. I wanted to be an entertainer. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be an entertainer, then I thought maybe I can work behind the scenes. When I learned that my cousin moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue her dreams, that is when I decided to reconnect with my cousin to get advice on to where to start on pursuing my own dreams. My cousin advised me, then told me she was going to reach out to her connections at WPGC 95.5 and Essence Magazine. I decided to send out my resume to WPGC 95. 5 and Radio One WKYS 93.9 for an internship opportunity. I received a call from WKYS 93.9 for an internship. When I received that phone call for internship, I was happy and felt that my dreams had come true.

I interned at WKYS 93.9 for 6 months. I left WKYS 93.9 to re-enrolled in college after postponing a semester to dedicate more time to my internship.  But, upon re-applying for an internship with the station, I was not accepted. A lot of people told me that I was stupid to leave WKYS 93.9. I was so young then and thought I would be able to get another internship. I returned back to college and thought that I blew my chance of opportunity. I never in the millions years thought I would get a second one. What I didn’t know then that this was the beginning of my journey into the entertainment Industry.

There are many other well-established entertainment marketing firms. Why start your own company when you can work for someone else and gain contacts, experience and develop a foundation that way?  Wouldn’t you have more fun doing what you love on a grander scale if you worked for someone else who is established?

My plan at first was transfer from UDC to Howard University to get my bachelors degree in communications. Then I was going to move to New York City to work at a PR Firm. My plans fell through when I was unable to get any more federal grants to attend school. I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket so I had to drop out. After a brief hiatus, barbara_choiceanother opportunity presented itself via Facebook. I saw Tabi Bonney post a status that he was searching for interns to assist his company, Cool Kids Forever Films. When I first saw this opportunity I wasn’t going to apply for internship. I told my friend, who was also a communications major, to apply for the internship. I changed my mind and forwarded my resume. I happened to know one of the interviewers because we both interned at WKYS 93.9 and my work ethic and style was remembered. I began working with Tabi Bonney’s Cool Kids Forever Films as a Production/Film Assistant in 2009. I also briefly interned for a clothing line, Black Collection, and The Board of Administration. Then I began networking throughout the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia entertainment industry. Local artists reached out to me and asked me to become their booking agent and manager. I felt honored being asked since I only had a little experience at that time.

I began working with local artists to build their brands and market their talent. My business associate/Cool Kids Forever Intern, Davon Duckett, suggested Choice Management as a name for my company.   I never had plans to run my own company, but it seemed like everything fell into place. I love that fact that I am my own boss running my own company and I don’t have to answer to anyone.

I believed that creating from nothing to the point where you are your own boss is…Accomplishment.
What have been some of your company’s accomplishments that you are most proud of thus far?

Having my first client recording artist, Pert McFly, who has been with me since 2009, appear and interview on 106 & Park by Rosci in 2010 and perform at The Apollo Theater’s new series “Apollo Live” in 2012.   I booked my former model a show at NYFW on September 2011.   Another company accomplishment was able to get Vh1’s Mob Wives star, Ramona Rizzo, wear my client Kevin Lattimore’s FG Brand T- Shirt and wearing former client Lyndora Williams of Ekklesia Clothing dresses.   I was featured on Business Minded Women Blog for Starzbiz of the month of January 2013.   I was asked to be a guest speaker at The Art of Starting New: Networking Event for Professional Women on January 31st 2013.   Linkedin social network sent me an email on February 11th 2013 congratulating me for having one of the top 10% most viewed Linkedin profiles in 2012. Linkedin now has 200 million members.

Do you run your company full-time or part-time?

I run my company part-time.

You mentioned that you had to learn how to separate friendship and business.  Without going into great detail, what happened and how did you resolve it? 

I wish someone would have told me to separate the emotions you have doing business with close friends/family. When you don’t separate the two it can deter friendship and family. I had to learn through experience after losing what I lost sight of friend/family relationship through the entertainment industry. The experience helped me grow. I live and learn, accept responsibility, move on and had a second chance with the friendship that I lost. I’m now able to take constructive criticism without getting upset or taking it personal.

What would you recommend for other women who may experience a similar situation with their own business operations or ideas about going into business? 

My advice is to finish school or try to get an internship in your field. I also recommend joining organizations and to get a mentor. I’m a member of Black Public Relations Society – DC and Women In PR. I’m currently seeking a mentor in PR Fields. I also want to say it’s not easy to run your own business and success will not happen overnight. You really have to put work into your company and get out there and network.

What are some of the other obstacles that you have faced and how did you overcome them?

I decided to quit my business for a few months when my best friend/former business partner relationship fell apart in 2011. I was hurt and devastated. A lot of my friends, including my cousin why inspired me, asked me why I was quitting my business. A lot of people encouraged me to not to quit and to get back out there. I had to remember that I overcame obstacles before in my personal life and this is just another setback. I also found a few of my speeches from my public speaking classes back when I was in college. I read one of my old speeches about dreams of working in the entertainment industry and working behind the scenes with artists. I read the speech and broke down crying. I realized that I was living my dreams. I decided to get back out there in running my company.

2011 was the year I expanded.  I started working with photographers, models, and authors in an attempt to broaden my markets and diversify my experience with management and PR. I talked about going back in forth to NYC to my friend/former business partner before we fell apart. In June 2011, I finally did what I said and went to NYC by myself and met with a business associate there to attend a DC local artist event. I have been going back in forth to NYC attend events, NYFW shows, and building connections ever since.

Where is Barbara Choice and Choice Management in say six years?  What are your goals?

My ultimate goal is to leave my 9 to 5 job to run my company full-time. In six years my plan is to be ever more successful than I am now with Choice Management, LLC being a global company.


I just want to end this interview with a few quotes.


“Everything that is past is either a learning experience to grow on; a memory to reflect on, or a motivating factor to act on, the future is what we make of it.”

“I’ve learned that it is not what I have in my life but who I have in my life that counts.”


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Vitamin B – Nutrition Series by Caroline Devin



Submitted by Carolyn Devin of Serenity of Body and Mind, CT, USA
The second in a series of talks about the importance of vitamins.



Vitamin B was the second vitamin to be recognized (after vitamin A). It was so named because the scientists at the time did not realize that vitamin B was actually many different compounds. All the B vitamins are water-soluble which means there is little risk of toxicity as they are readily excreted from the body in urine. This is why when you take a vitamin B supplement your urine is a very bright yellow. That is from the riboflavin (B-2).

All B vitamins form coenzymes, which mean they help the biological processes that happen in our bodies, such as the process of transforming food into energy. The B vitamins that I am going to write about today are B-1 (Thiamin), B-2 (Riboflavin), B-3 (Niacin) and B-6. Many of the B vitamins are found in whole grain which is why when grains began to be processed and refined there was an increase in vitamin B deficiencies. To combat this problem, vitamins were added back to processed food such as bread, cereal and ground flour. It is called “enriched” flour on labels. Unrefined or whole wheat (or grain) flour is healthier but it will go bad much quicker than the refined flour because the germ of the grain contains oil that will go rancid. It’s best to use whole wheat flour quickly or store it in the freezer for longer storage.

Thiamin (B-1) is found in great quantities, naturally, in sunflower seeds. Just two ounces contain the daily recommended amount. Other good sources are pork products and, of course, enriched foods such as bread and cereals. Thiamin deficiency can cause a disease called Beriberi. This disease can have many different symptoms such as impaired nervous, cardiovascular, muscle and gastrointestinal systems. It can cause weakness, difficulty breathing and heart enlargement among other symptoms. Beriberi can be fatal if not treated. Symptoms of deficiency can begin just fourteen days without thiamin intake. Thankfully, thiamin deficiency is rare now due to the enrichment of so many food products and the new trend of eating whole grain foods. Thiamin is not heat stable and cooking may destroy much of the vitamin.

Riboflavin (B-2) is found mainly in enriched food products such as bread and cereal but some natural sources include; milk, mushrooms, spinach, kale and broccoli. Three ounces of beef liver also contains almost twice the recommended daily amount. As with thiamin, riboflavin deficiency is rare but symptoms include inflammation of the throat, tongue and mouth and cracking around the corners of the mouth. Anemia, fatigue and headaches are also symptoms of low riboflavin intake. Riboflavin is very light sensitive and is easily destroyed by exposure. This is why milk should be stored in light-blocking packaging.

Niacin (B-3) is most prevalent, naturally, in poultry, meat and fish and in enriched bread, cereal and whole grains. Coffee and tea also have small amounts of niacin. Niacin is metabolized from protein, more specifically tryptophan which is the amino acid most well-known for causing that post-holiday turkey-eating sleepiness. People with adequate protein intake are not at risk for deficiency. The disease caused by niacin deficiency is pellagra and was a national epidemic in the early 1900’s before the discovery of the niacin connection. It is estimated that 200,000 people died from pellagra in that time period in the United States. Today, pellagra is mainly found in Africa in famine areas. Niacin is also associated with niacin flush which is a tightening and reddening of the skin and can be quite disturbing to those unfamiliar with it but it is generally harmless. Toxicity is possible with very high supplement doses and can cause stomach upset and even possible liver damage. Consult with your doctor before using niacin supplements. Niacin is very heat stable, therefore very little is lost in the cooking process.

Vitamin B-6 can be found in the muscles of animals so poultry, meat and fish have high quantities. Whole grains again are good sources and carrots, potatoes and bananas are also great non-animal sources. Toxicity of vitamin B-6 is a real concern for those taking excessive supplements such as bodybuilders and woman treating themselves for the symptoms of PMS. Toxicity can potentially result in permanent nerve damage. Deficiency is rare in North America except in cases of very poor diets and alcoholism. Symptoms may include confusion, depression and convulsions. B-6 has been shown effective in the treatment of carpel tunnel syndrome and nausea related to pregnancy but please consult your doctor before trying B-6 supplementation.

Eating whole grains, lean meat and fish are excellent ways of getting your daily amount of these B vitamins. And don’t forget the bananas!vitamin b

The remaining B vitamins: Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Folate and B-12. Many of the B vitamins are found in whole grain which is why when grains began to be processed and refined there was an increase in vitamin B deficiencies. To combat this problem, vitamins were added back to processed food such as bread, cereal and ground flour, it is called “enriched” flour on labels. Unrefined or whole wheat (or grain) flour is healthier but it will go bad much faster than the refined flour because the germ of the grain contains oil that will go rancid. It’s best to use whole wheat flour quickly or store it in the freezer for longer storage.

Pantothenic Acid comes from the Greek word pantothen, which means “from every side” because this particular B vitamin is found in many, many foods. Common sources are animal products and vegetables. Unprocessed foods are a better source of this vitamin because it can be easily stripped away or destroyed in processing methods. There is no known case of deficiency of pantothenic acid unless it has been produced in a laboratory. This vitamin is used in the body to assist with the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and alcohol.

Biotin is found in whole grains, eggs, nuts and legumes. Peanuts are a great source of biotin with just 2 ounces (about 3 tablespoons) containing one and a half times the daily recommended amount. One large egg has about half the daily recommended amount; however, raw egg white contains a protein that will inhibit absorption of biotin. That is another reason to not consume raw eggs. Deficiency is rare with biotin but symptoms do include rashes, hair loss and impaired growth (in children). The most common incidences of deficiency are with individuals who are born with a genetic defect that prevents the body from processing the biotin. Or people who ingest large amounts of raw egg whites.

Folate is commonly heard when talking about women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant because early conception deficiency can be devastating to developing fetuses. The term folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that is found in fortified foods or supplements. Folate is very prevalent in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Legumes, avocados and oranges are also good sources of folate. This vitamin is easily destroyed in processing or cooking. Salads with avocados are an excellent way to get your daily recommended amount. Folate is used in the body in the synthesis and maintenance of new cells so that is why deficiency in pregnant woman can lead to severe birth defects in babies such as neural tube defects; spina bifida (most common) or anencephaly (most severe-total lack of brain). It is extremely important for a woman considering pregnancy to be taking supplements or eating a wide variety of folate rich foods. Deficiency is difficult to detect because symptoms are on the cellular level but generally people who are more prone to deficiency are alcoholics, people with very poor diets and those taking certain medications.

Vitamin B-12 is heard a lot in the vegan community because the only reliable natural sources of this vitamin are animal products; meat and dairy. Vegans must take supplementation to avoid deficiency. The good news is that B-12 can be stored in the body for 2 to 3 years as it is not excreted in the urine like the other B vitamins. There are other sources of B-12 but they do not contain enough to meet daily requirements or are not in the correct form for the body to use them. These include fermented soy products (tempeh and miso) and certain seaweeds. Absorption of B-12 can be inhibited by diseases such as Chrohn’s or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Some medications may also inhibit absorption such as anti-reflux (Prilosec®) or metformin (used to lower blood sugar with Type 2 diabetes. Common symptoms of deficiency are neurological changes which include; sensory issues in the legs (burning, tingling, prickling and numbness), balance can be affected which will make walking difficult, loss of concentration and disorientation. There can be vision problems as well. These symptoms will precede more serious cellular level issues. Elderly are at risk for deficiency due to mal-absorption and infants born to vegan or vegetarians are also at risk.


Cacarolyndevinerolyn Devin is a Health and Wellness Coach practicing in Glastonbury, CT, USA. She helps individuals who are looking to lose weight, gain energy or just to feel better by teaching about nutrition and lifestyle changes.

“I don’t advocate “dieting” or quick fixes. I feel that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy, which means that I don’t propose radical changes to your lifestyle or starvation diets. I want to guide you on a path to healthier living.”