Five of the Greatest Strides Being Made for Women in Science Today

Five of the Greatest Strides Being Made for Women in Science Today

Research shows that eight of the ten most lucrative careers all require a solid education. Many of these are engineering degrees, such as petroleum, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. However, pharmacy science and computer science also rank high. Industries need more students with a strong STEM background. Luckily, this problem is being solved with the great strides being made for females entering more science disciplines.

Successful STEM Fields
According to PBS, certain STEM degree fields have equal numbers of both male and female graduates. For example, the fields of math, biosciences, and social sciences now have no gender graduate rate differences. It shows more female college students aren’t afraid of getting a bachelor’s degree in biology or related field where there might have been a stigma before.

However, the number of engineering and computer science degrees are disproportionality awarded to males. For example, males earn approximately 70 percent of computer science degrees, and 80 percent of engineering related degrees.

Productive Programs
Since 2001, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program has received over $130 million in project funding support that has been distributed to over one hundred higher education organizations. The goal of the ADVANCE program is to increase the number of women in STEM fields through making positive changes to academic subcultures and institutional structures.

Inspirational Programs
Non-profit programs are making a difference with encouraging females to enter STEM fields. For example, Techbridge was created in 2000 through a grant from the National Science Foundation. They offer after-school and summer programs for girls that aim to provide training and raise awareness. They also collaborate with community partners to provide outreach programs and volunteer training.

Fab Labs
Fab Labs were originally created through MIT to serve as a local fabrication facility for molecular assemblers. However, Fab Labs have spread across the world and provide digital access to impoverished and disadvantaged students. Fab Lab is noted as providing exclusive access to females in remote areas. These female students can participate in peer-to-peer online projects and receive training.

Political Support
The White House proudly supports the development of better educational opportunities to female STEM students. Both the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the White House Council on Women and Girls collaborate to provide political advocacy and support to women.

In the end, there are great strides being made with providing better opportunities for females to study STEM related degrees. There are private, non-profit, and government organizations helping women enter STEM fields today and making a real difference in today’s workforce.


Not Too Soon to Worry About Tax Time!

Even though we are in the middle of summer, we still need to keep on track with our upcoming tax filing in the spring.


If you are self-employed and own your own business, you already have tax accountants like a working with you to keep you on track.  Depending on whether or not your business is registered as an LLC, sole proprietorship, or other corporation, you need to stay on track of income and expenses which will determine your tax liability.  And, if you are smart, you are working with someone who helps you do to just that.taxes2

People who work for other people, also need to do a mid-season check to see where they stand as far as their tax obligations go.  You don’t want to end up at the end of the fiscal year with not having had enough money taken out for taxes.  No one wants to do their tax forms or have them prepared and be told that they owe money to the government.  So, it’s a good idea to do a check yourself or have your accountant check out where you stand at this present time.  Maybe you need to make an adjustments in your allowances and have more money taken out so you can break even with the government or get a refund.

Getting a refund however, is like giving the government an interest free loan.  A lot of people have the tendency to use this a way to get extra money after they file their taxes, but in reality, it is your money that you let the government borrow for free.  If getting this extra money in the spring is what you’re after, it’s better to put the extra money that’s currently going to the government in the bank every payday.  At least this way it can generate some interest for you – no matter how small.  Something is better than nothing!  Get out of the mindset that you want to give the government an interest free loan so you can get your own money back after they’ve borrowed it.  Learn how to save instead.

Suppose you are not having enough taken out of every paycheck?  You don’t want to find this out at the end of the tax year.  Get with your accountant to get an idea of where you stand now to avoid future shock.

Perhaps you are going to break even.  Wouldn’t you rather know where you stand now rather than wait until later when it’s too late to correct anything?



Quick Business Tip – Find a Good Attorney

Anyone going into a business venture needs to have a good attorney or at least know who you are going to call on if you need legal representation.  It’s a good idea not to wait until a problematic situation happens.  Hopefully, it won’t, but you never know.

You may need help navigating the many forms and requirements of legal documents involved with startup (like incorporation documents).  And even though having an attorney is expensive, you know your startup is being done right.  The money you spend on experience will save you time, hassle, and money in the long run.

Because you don’t know what you don’t know – having an attorney frees you to focus on other aspects of startup, so you don’t have to spend time learning about the legal processes.

An attorney can help with specific tasks, like trademarking your name, reviewing lease documents, discussing potential legal structures, preparing incorporation forms.

Yes, you can use on-line form providers, but if something is not done correctly, you are limited usually to on-line communications.  Sometimes and depending on the company you are dealing with, getting issues resolved could become very frustrating. If you do use an on-line company, make sure you do thorough research on the company and the quality of their services.

Having an actual attorney working with you gives you someone that you can deal with in person.  You can pick up the phone and call your attorney.  You can meet with him or her in person.  That’s always a benefit.

A Quick Business Tip submitted by Stephanie Lawson who is currently a paralegal for the EGH Law Firm. Stephanie hopes to have her law degree early 2015.

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Catherine Cazes-Wiley & Tinaliah

A conversation with Catherine Cazes-Wiley, her hats and homeless people.  She’s having an interesting journey in life.  We won’t tell you about it, we’ll let her tell you.


talking heads


When I started this social enterprise I had no idea that a common thread was already running among job creation, social justice and the fashion industry. What seemed so far apart is now looking plain. Let me explain. Most quality homeless shelters in the US have some sort of job program and most job program revolve around computer skills, sometimes AC and heat tech., trucking and security guard licensing. Not everybody qualifies. Are we omitting manual skills and becoming too brainy?

I think so. Overseas we do farming, we sew, we craft and we create micro enterprises. Do you see what I see? America is becoming a third world, small jobs are resurfacing. Folks are readier to rethink their environment and are creating new methods for survival, but a lot do not have the skills. In Thailand, Cambodia and North Carolina rescued young women from the sex trade have no skills either but agencies are already in place and the young ladies are learning how to sew, creating clothing, bags even jewelry. There are more opportunities for men than there are for women in the U.S. and most of the time the small alterations businesses, which I do on the side, are held by foreigners like myself. Learning how to sew can lead to that and much more.



Hats from the catwalk to weddings, diner and more...What is your passion with creating beautiful hats? Where does that come from?
Thank you for the compliment. This passion came from my heart where Jesus resides. I am inspired by flowers, by my childhood in the New Hebrides Islands, also by the fine craftsmanship of fashion houses in Paris, by fashion from the 40ths among other things.


Where does the name Tinaliah come from and why did you choose this as the name for your mission or business?

Tinaliah “the one who perseveres” is a tribute to myself for all I’ve had to overcome along my life’s journey. I was raised in Cameroon, France and the South Pacific and arrived to the U.S. as an exchange student. I found myself destitute on more than one occasion, but these unique circumstances opened my eyes to the reason for the U.S. homeless population, especially its women.


Are you a nonprofit organization, or are you just operating from your heart?
How did you know, I am working on becoming a nonprofit right now, for my heart is bleeding!


How is your marketing working? Are you getting enough people to come through and purchase products from you and all of the people that you are helping by selling their products?

I do shows, business expos, hat parties and I am expanding into bridal wear. People can find me on Etsy, It is fun and exhausting at the same time but it is far from being enough, this is why I am looking forward to becoming a nonprofit or a benefit corporation to look for grants.

Crafting with homeless women is helping to forget and refocus.


You worked in shelters as a craft instructor. Was that something that you proposed and organized or did they have such a program already established?
It was something that I was in my heart to create but when I arrived in New Haven such programs already existed. As I was looking for an apartment to rent I found laying on the rental agency counter a flyer advertising the very program I was imagining! I contacted them right away, the director asked me for a demonstration and I was hired that quickly.


How many different crafters are you working with right now?
There are the crafters and the artists. The crafters are part of a sewing group of seven women operating in a New Haven sewing studio. They produce shawls, scarves, wraps and aprons. I am now able to contract with them for my bridal veils. The artists draw and I coach them to produce saleable art such as hand painted caps, Tee-shirts and cards when we will have added capital.


You were homeless for about five years. How did you come to be homeless and what got you back “on your feet,” so to speak?
I was a missionary willing to experience the “open field”; I had some home bases where I would return after being sent to different locations and states. It came upon me as a surprise for I did not know it would last that long.


Homelessness is usually seen only as a curse but I now see my time as a homeless person as serendipity. Even though I was never in the streets, five years was a long time. And while it was extremely hard at times, I now see this period as a gift, just as someone who recovers from a major illness values their new found life. During that time I became more aware of who I was becoming and what I did not want to become “a cliché-women” modeled after societal stereotypes.

As Carl G Jung puts it in his memoir: Memories, Dreams, Reflections, “people can be unhappy because their life does not have sufficient content. People seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they are seeking. If they are unable to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis (the unhappiness) generally disappears.”

2014 Bridgeport Biz Expo. New bridal line whose edges are finishing by wome in recovery.
During those five years I was forced to rethink a lot of things. For example, being disabled, I am never going to be willing to be put on the shelf. Another twist to my call was the ongoing challenge of fitting the high end of fashion design while dealing with the heart in a social enterprise. It is still a thought mix.  Thank God my faith kept me afloat. It just happened that when I was finished learning what I was to learn, it was time for me to get a job and to create Tinaliah and its caring Co-op.


Is this how you became interested in helping other homeless people, because you could relate to them and wanted to help?

Yes, I already had a good education but was in need of the actual experience. After my roaming period, I felt like I finally had both parts of the puzzle and Tinaliah “the one who perseveres” was born.  I continue to build the environment, in which I move today, that attracts others like you since you invited me for this lovely chat.


It is true what you said about the lack of people developing craft skills in the U.S. Why do you think it’s like that – teenagers and adults alike don’t learn how to make things?

catherine2It is not the custom any longer. Society undervalues manual skills. The US marts galore sell cheap everyday objects which end up as trash somewhere. It is easier to buy, replace and not rethink consumerism meanwhile we stay poor, enslaved and ignorant. My teaching, coaching might just be a drop in the bucket, but I know many would find joy in learning how to make things. We might just create a revolution!


You see this as something that is coming back in this country. How so?
I really cannot answer that as bad habits are hard to change. What I can tell you is only what we personally are doing to help change that as value with education is added to the process. Value because when you make a hat with your own hands or an object or still, when you put your heart into writing a good article you feel good about yourself. The education will come through discussions like this one, with time and with the help of other crafter teachers I am networking with to broaden Tinaliah product line.

Unisex 2013 fall beret with Eiffel Tower


What do you do for a living now? How do you support yourself?

I also work as a French interpreter in the Court, plus I have an amazing husband.


What would you like to see happen with Tinaliah and how can others help with that vision?

I am thinking about a store near New York, possibly in the Bronx, with a warehouse to host classes for the community.  I am looking for grant avenues that would benefit such venture, creating employment with the homeless and strengthening the ones in recovery. Feel free to contact me at if you want to help, have questions or suggestions.   God bless, thank you.


Brooklyn Farm Girl


Did you ever think about farming on a Brooklyn rooftop? Or any rooftop?  That’s what Pamela Reed and her husband do.  They feed themselves with their own crops from their rooftop “farm.”  There’s a lot to this artistic woman and her equally artistic husband, Matthew, including their successful visual arts company Reed & Rader.    When you visit, you’ll find wonderful recipes, gardening info, art and fashion and great cat stories!




How does a girl from a mining town in Pennsylvania end up in New York City?  And, why Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan, Bronx, Greenwich Village…?
I went to art school in Pittsburgh where I met my creative partner and husband, Matthew.  We are artists creating digital imagery in fashion and advertising ( so NYC was the most relevant move in the United States.  When we moved to NYC, Brooklyn was the first choice due to cost and size of a space, but nowadays Brooklyn is where all the artists are moving to just because it’s a great location with energy and creativity.  I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in NYC but Brooklyn, I love it.


How does your family feel about you being in the big city?
They like to visit so it works out.


What is blue hair all about?bluehair

Blue hair is just about fun.   In our work we play with characters often so this is just a way to express perhaps a future augmented self.   I used to do all colors but nowadays I tend to stick with my blue.


You and your husband have this really cool garden on the roof of the building that you live in.  What was the initial inspiration for that and how did you get started?

We are both from small towns where we both grew vegetables alongside our families as kids, so living in a concrete jungle, we got the itch to create a space where we could get our hands dirty again in some soil.  In NYC there is so much empty space on rooftops so we felt like it would be the perfect spot to grow our own urban farm.


What do you do with the abundance of food that you grow?

We enjoy it mostly between the two of us, as I freeze and can everything to last us months.  Even though tomato season mind end in September, we can still enjoy fresh tomato sauce in May which is pretty cool.  I also share with our friends and neighbors.


Do you face any obstacles with your rooftop farm?

Being on a roof we have to deal with strong winds and a very reflective rooftop.  We have to get creative with ways to protect it.


If someone else wanted to get started with a similar project, what you would you recommend they do first?

Start small and don’t get discouraged.  Figure out what works and try new methods.  Our containers we started with in the first year of the garden are not the containers we use now, but they were the first step to get us there.  Also, not all plants are going to work out  but just live and learn.  Trust me, I’ve cried more than once.


Do you need a written plan of some sort to start gardening?  Do certain vegetables need to be started at a certain time in order to be in the proper growing season?

I have a seed calendar on my blog:  It’s more specific to the Northeast.

Given all the recipes that you introduce regularly on your website, you have a passion for cooking.  Where did that come from?

I don’t really know.  My mom cooked as a kid but she was more a out of the box macaroni and cheese mom.  I think I just get the passion from wanting to learn and wanting to make something from nothing.  With growing all our vegetables it’s made me really search for new ways to enjoy and preserve them.

Any suggestions for someone who does not cook well (some people have tried everything) to get better?

The internet is your Oyster.  There’s a how to video on anything!


farmgirl-catLet’s talk about your family – your beautiful cats.  Is introducing a new cat to the family easy, or were there challenges with each new introduction?

We live in a open loft space so introduction to new cats is pretty quick, we can’t exactly quarantine for days or weeks.  With that said, all our cats get used to each other quickly and like all cats, they’ll bond over food. J


Your website is so very interesting.  You speak on a variety of different subjects.  How or when did you decide to live such an open and vocal life? 

I consider my blog my own personal blog.  It’s not a gardening blog, not a cooking blog, not a beauty blog, but it’s just my life.   I work as an artist, but I garden often and I cook dinner every night.  I’m  obsessed with cats.  I like pretty clothes and nails.  Sometimes I think this can be confusing to my readers as perhaps most of them are into one of those things, but I try to have the same voice across all categories and bring them all together.  Besides, who doesn’t love cats?


showcase-flowersHow did you and your husband create such a successful art company? 

We just worked really hard and continue to do so today.  We both come from blue collar families so artist was never an occupation we heard growing up.  It still confuses our families on how we make a living.


You seem to be so full of happiness and optimism.  What gives?  How do you do that?

I’m just like everyone else, I get happy and I get sad.  I think there’s many blogs out there that try to put on this “always happy, my world looks like a perfect pinterest board” but I think that’s really discouraging to readers and has to be emotionally draining on the blogger.  I just try to be me and share things that I think might cause other people happiness.


 For more information (and those great recipes we mentioned):


Success in Love, Music & Business – Kim Wright

A dual interview with husband and wife team – Daysahead.

“Daysahead revives the spirit of the golden era of bands from the 70′s & 80′s criss-crossing rock, jazz, and soul into a sound that’s both contemporary and timeless….an air-tight band and a bewitching front woman. Daysahead gets straight-ahead funky.” (Michael Heyliger, RhythmFlow)

Daysahead was founded by husband and wife duo guitarist/producer/songwriter Steve Wright (Richmond, VA) & vocalist/lyricist/songwriter Kim Wright (Baton Rouge, LA) in 2003. Steve & Kim’s unique approach to songwriting, arranging, and powerful performances has attracted a diverse and loyal following of fans from around the world.


You and Steve met in 2003. What came first – the music or the love? If it was love, how did the two of you decide to work on music together? If it was music first, it would make sense that love naturally followed…

Kim: The music came first. We were musicians in a back-up band for an artist who was based out of L.A. but wanted to put an east coast band together based in Atlanta. I was hired to sing Soprano (I’m a natural Alto), and Steve was hired as her lead guitarist. During rehearsals Steve says he was drawn to my voice and tonal quality (here’s where I start blushing). One day after rehearsal he asked if I wanted to get together to write and demo some songs to sell. I was totally down! I thought that Steve was (and of course still is) a great musician with a beautiful tone, is very melodic, and just technically diverse and amazing. The first song we wrote together was “You Move Me”…..after the form, melody, and some of the lyrics were written we both looked at each other and were like this is too good to give away. Steve then asked if I wanted to start a band together! I gave an emphatic “YES.” I was really looking for a writing partner who got me and wanted an active music career as much as I did…the piece of heaven would’ve been for this magic man and I to be romantically involved as well. In walks Mr. Wright. ;-) The lyrics morphed from my very thoughts of wanting a sincere love and active music career. We went on our first date shortly after that session….and got married at a lovely B&B in the North Georgia Mountains in 2011.

Steve: For me it’s hard to say which came first. I think that our love and music both came together pretty fast. On that gig, I did think that Kim’s voice added a warm and really fat sound to the vocal section….with her being a natural alto singing soprano lines which created a strong presence. Her sound was/is awesome, breathy with lots of control. She caught my attention right away. My game was/is not to have game, so we had very natural conversation after rehearsals, and were instantly relaxed with each other during our writing sessions. I was very happy to have found a good woman, and a versatile singer and writing partner whom I could share my life and the music biz with.



Is it challenging to work together, live together, love together? Or is the combination of those things that make it easy?

Steve: Yes, but the pros outweigh the cons. It just takes emotionally mature and stable people to make it work. We take a team approach to the music biz. I feel for solo artists. I wouldn’t want to do this alone.

Kim: From the first time we met and started writing together and having a naturally blossoming relationship, I can’t imagine our lives and career happening any other way. Our friendship, marriage, and shared career crossover in the right ways.


Both of you are trained/educated musicians. How did each of you individually come into music? Kim, what made you sing and Steve, why’d you pick up that guitar?

Kim: Well, my mom is a singer, organist and pianist. She’s been a Music Director (as a side gig) for church choirs all of my life….usually 2 or 3 churches at a time. And she’s still working it. So, it’s safe to say that she was/is my biggest musical influence. I remember we used to sing gospel and r&b music around the house all of the time, my brother even joined in singing, while mama played her B3 organ or acoustic piano. My first solo was at age 5 during a church service….I sang “If You Got Jesus, You Don’t Need Nobody Else”! Wow, I really do remember that moment. I remember the feeling of that. Standing in front of a group of people boldly singing and seeing their smiles and hearing yells of agreement….I was hooked. My appreciation for jazz and rock music came in my early 20s.

Steve: I picked up the guitar when I was about 11 years old….around the mid-eighties. My Uncle David, who played guitar in bands when he was a teenager, taught me my first song. It was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones! I was hooked on guitar from that point on. Me and all of my little friends loved heavy metal, punk rock, thrash music….anything out of the mainstream! The common thread between those genres is that they’re all guitar-driven. I didn’t get into jazz, funk, and r&b until my late teens and early 20’s.

Both of you perform internationally. Do you sometimes get to work with the same groups or is it usually different groups that each of you are performing with?

Kim: We’ve only worked with the same artist once, that was when we first met. Since then, from time-to-time we’ve worked with separate artists if there’s a need for a specific instrumentation line-up. Fortunately, Steve & I have had more opportunities where we perform internationally under our own band’s name.


For the aspiring artists/musicians out there, how does one go about obtaining international work? Is it all based on who you know or should one connect with certain types of agencies?

Steve: Good question. There’s definitely no one way to do any of this. I’d say just be resourceful, and I think it’s very important to not put your hopes into the hands of others. YOU have to make it happen….so go out and take it!

Kim: I wholeheartedly agree with that. When someone told me early on that this is a “who-you-know” business and that relationships are key, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of that. It would be a nice dream realized to have a blueprint on how to navigate this business. Much like how you have a curriculum in college, you graduate, you search for a job (ideally in your field), you interview, you get the job, you go on with your life. Navigating the music business can be nutty, but knowing that you have control over your livelihood is priceless. You are, essentially, your own manager and/or team you’ve been waiting for. When others see you DO, they’ll join your bandwagon because you’re doing for yourself. Folks like to see others pursue their dreams/destiny. It takes courage, organization, persistence and resilience. Thoughts become….Destiny. If you think you can, so shall it be.

How does it feel to go from a large stage with an international artist and then do a small intimate duo performance at say a coffee house? Does it really matter where you do your music, or is it just about doing the music?

Steve: I like both, however, they are completely different. Playing in a back-up role, no matter who the artist is or the situation is never as good as playing your own gig. Coffee houses can have their fond moments, when people are actually listening and engaged. And, there are moments when you just don’t care if anyone is listening and you perform in the moment of your sound and your bandmate’s sound. You make music together. Big stage, corner of a room…..making the music has become my source of inspiration.


Kim: There’s a quote by Leonard Bernstein (American composer/conductor/pianist/lecturer) that says “In the olden days, everybody sang. You were expected to sing as well as talk. It was the mark of a cultured man to sing, to KNOW Music”. Steve & I, along with many other American Musicians optimistically await for this to be the norm again in our country. Culture of the Arts have to be introduced, valued and shared to individuals and groups to create this shift towards appreciation for and generosity of the arts. Coffee House to the Big Stage can become a simple matter of physicality if spiritually we’re all operating in that one reality. While we shift collectively, I have affirmed to be in the moment of music as well.


Are the two of you full-time musicians? Are you supported completely by your art?

Steve: Yes we’re both full-time musicians. We also teach to supplement between gigs/tours.


AMH Music Studios – what does AMH stand for?

Kim: A.M.H. Music Studios stands for “At My House” Music Studios! It’s a very accurate description of how we get down at home. Building our own home studio was one of the more economically sound decisions we’ve made. Having a studio handy is necessary for spur of the moment writing sessions and recordings, and it’s great training to perform “on the mic” consistently. I established A.M.H. Music Studios in 2006 when I taught my first student at the house and when we bought our first pro studio gear. We laugh, but are proud to be able to answer folks when asked where did we record our music because they think the music is awesome…very casually we say “Oh, at my house” studios! ;-)

Steve: Having our home studio also affords us the chance to tweak our songs as often as we’d like. We have, however, disciplined ourselves to not re-do a take to death! It’s so tempting to get that one part just right, to seek perfection. But, in doing so you can lose the raw sound or feel of the song. We do enjoy the freedom and accessibility to record whenever the ideas come. daysahead4


What services do you offer? Who teaches what?

Kim: We offer individual and group lessons for beginner to advanced students, from ages 6 to adults. We also conduct clinics and workshops for private and community events, schools, and festivals. Our teaching focus is on theory & technique, melodic and harmonic application, ear training, rhythm and phrasing, composition and songwriting, and stage presence & performance.

I teach vocal lessons (all levels) and piano lessons (beginners to intermediate). Steve teaches guitar lessons (all levels).


Where is your studio located and if someone wanted to sign up for lessons, how do they contact you guys?

Steve: Our studio is located in metro Atlanta. To ask about and to sign up for lessons potential students and/or parents can contact us at:


To the husband and wife team – do you have children? If so, how does that impact the work and music schedule? And, if not, will there be and what plans will you make to be able to continue the music? Not, that music stops if there’s children around, but certainly some things may have to be adjusted.


Steve: Not yet. Yes, we plan on having children. They shouldn’t change what we do much…beyond the actual pregnancy and slowing down on the performances during that time. And plus, Grandma is right around the corner. ;-)

Kim: We’re pretty excited about having our first child, when it happens. And yep, both sets of grandparents eagerly await their turn to babysit whenever we need them. We’re into the idea of home schooling, and exposing our child(ren) to a life of a creative early on. It’ll be fun to share our love for music and pass that on to our own kid(s).


When the two of you are composing new music, how does it happen? Who does what?

Steve: Our process varies some from song to song. I write the majority of the music’s structure and melodies, framework, and chords. Kim writes the majority of the lyrics and also melodic ideas and some structure. The songs typically don’t end up how either of us start out or introduce to the other. Sometimes a whole song just comes and other times we piece together ideas from all over the place (i.e. from older material, unused material, some new inspiration that happened earlier in the day, etc.). We definitely believe that your creativity is influenced by your daily life.


How did you come up with your band’s name: Daysahead?

Steve: I always wanted to write music with staying power. Music that will be around in the days ahead……hence the name.


Daysahead Music set up a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo to help with the costs of recording and touring across the U.S. How did it go? How do you think it could have gone better? And, what’s the next step if you don’t get all the funds you are hoping for?


Kim: Our Indiegogo Campaign faired well for our first crowdfunding effort. We are very appreciative to our fans who supported financially as well as those who supported with lots of happy thoughts and prayers. Doing the fundraising allowed us to reach even more fans and the funds raised helped us to offset some production costs for our upcoming sophomore cd titled Homebound. We’ve released our first single, “Missing You”, off the cd and are in a marketing/promotion push to build the buzz about it. Fans can download the single via our official website, CDBaby, Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes. Our immediate next step is to secure regional and national dates to hit the road and promote this single, as well as more singles soon to be released, in support of the upcoming release of our full cd Homebound.



Do you guys do your own marketing and promotion, or do you hire that work out?

Kim: As indie artists we wear many hats. Yep, we take care of our marketing and promotion with the occasional help of people who are specialized to do so when it’s in our budget to hire out the services. We do have a loyal super fan, who is a dear friend, Audrey Authur of ADA Creative Communications, Inc. who does PR work and consultation for us.


How successful is your marketing? How do you measure success?

Kim: The power of the web, with all of the social media sites, has helped us get the word out about our brand more efficiently and in a much shorter time than say when we first formed and started marketing and promoting Daysahead. Being organized and understanding how to utilize time management is very important. Our success is measured by how well opportunities align themselves and materialize from our thoughts and actions. When we feel gloom, we get gloomy results. The opposite is certainly true….when we feel upbeat and positive and approach contacting folks in that way, we get positive results.

Steve: Great responses from our fans when they buy our songs and consistently come out to our shows, radio spins online and terrestrial, word-of-mouth booking, talent buyers and venue owners reaching out to us to secure bookings, and recognition from unfamiliar faces when we’re just out about town are also great measures of our success.


What is the joint music goal? Is there an ideal musical situation that the two of you are striving for?

Steve: We’re striving to have a sustainable career as independent artists. To paint a numerical picture of that, that would be medium-sized theater audiences to consistently perform to in any city or area we choose to play.


Thankfully, society has slowly been changing to be more open and accepting of interracial couples. Has being an interracial couple ever been an issue for the two of you in terms of how other people may react? (as an aside – my own family is very diverse – from nieces, cousins, uncles, aunts, and my beautiful daughter-in-law.)

Kim: One of my students, a 16 year-old Italian-American young man, texted me a photo once of a beautiful mixed-race teenage girl that read “this is what 50% of Americans will look like by 2050”. Times are slowly a-changing, but change is happening. ;-) Yeah, it bothered us at one time until we started to realize that fear is taught and exploited for political gain and a false sense of power. The “isms” are created to keep us all separated from each other….fearful of each other and to not view each other as spiritual beings. My mother-in-law and father-in-law, along with both our siblings and friends, have always embraced the two of us as a couple. My mom was slow to come around because she was plagued with fear. Skin pigmentation is just that…..the shade of one’s skin. It doesn’t nor shouldn’t define your character. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be conned into shade boxes and made to fear each other on that basis. Thinking for yourself and understanding the tactics is power.

Steve: I suppose early on in our relationship we were more affected by the ignorance of some people. However, our spiritual growth and education over the past 7 or 8 years has helped us to know that one’s own thoughts and awareness are what’s important. In other words, if you don’t look for something then it’s not there.


da-1Let’s say that the two of you have been married for 50 years and are sitting back and looking over your past. What will you see? What will you have done?

Steve: In 50 years I’ll be 89…..hummmm….I honestly choose to keep my mind where I am today. LOL….don’t really wanna think about being 89. That’s not to say that I don’t think about the future. But, I think living in the moment is the key to happiness and longevity. Hopefully I’ll be able to say, in my latter years, that I gave everything all I had to give.

Kim: Our children will be married and have children of their own, and everyone is healthy and da2happy. Our music legacy will have passed down to our kids and Daysahead will have earned multiple grammy awards and oscars for film scoring. A.M.H. Music Studios will have expanded into a free standing arts building, fully equipped with 3 live rooms and recording studios as well as classrooms for lessons and a concert hall. Steve & I would have built our dream house on our farm, equipped with a green house of organic veggies and herbs. Peaceful. Our rocking porch offers a warm welcome to our guests and neighbors. Life is Peaceful. The level of consciousness worldwide will have increased exponentially. We’ve created a vision board at home detailing these aspirations. ;-)

I believe here would be a good spot to insert more of the promotional information that we would like to share.

Daysahead’s new single “Missing You” is now available for download through CDBaby (, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, Emusic, etc.! Please download your copy and be sure to write a review.


Visit them on the web:

Thinking About Becoming A Real Estate Agent?

Real Estate provides a career that has unlimited potential for income — which means you could make a lot if you work hard, or only a little (or nothing) if you don’t.  It offers you a very flexible schedule — though often irregular hours — because you need to be available to show properties when your clients are available.

The process of becoming a licensed professional in the real estate industry differs from state to state and country to country. Most real estate agents and brokers are required to have a certain number of hours of pre-licensing education – and, in some cases, experience – to become fully licensed.

Find out the general requirements for becoming a real estate agent in your state. There is an exam you’ll have to pass that may differ in every state.  You may also be required to take some related courses in preparation for the exam.

You don’t need a degree from a four-year university.  However, having a degree is a good idea if you eventually want to become a broker (the one who manages all the real estate agents).  It is also a good idea to have knowledge of business, marketing, economics and law. To succeed in the field, this is a good starting point to learn what you’re going to be dealing with.

Make sure this is something you want to do. All of your time is spent making contacts with clients, prospecting, and simply getting yourself and your name in front of others.  Though you will be connected with a real estate company,  you are essentially working for yourself, which means taking care of your own lead generation, your own office management, and all your own advertising, education, scheduling, and paperwork. Are you looking to start your own business? That’s what real estate is.

Make sure you have cash set aside.  When you’re just starting a job that is totally commission-based, it may take some time before you actually start making money.  Because of this, it’s important to have some money saved up to get you through those rainy days.


Get to know your market.  Every place is a bit different. Go around the area you plan on working and watch the agents. Note the current inventory and how it all works.  Use technology.  Internet searches can be very helpful.  Then there are apps like a real estate agent checklist.

Be desirable to brokers. Brokers are looking for personality, a business plan, and the right skill set. They want to see that you know what you’re getting into (it can be a lot of work!) and that their demands and goals meet what you plan to accomplish.  Also, make sure your broker is going to be helpful to you.  In the beginning you’ll probably have lots of questions. You need to work with someone who will take the time to help you.


Women In Music

Women in Music is a dynamic group of individuals in music working together to support, cultivate and recognize the talents of women in our field. Through educational seminars, panels, networking events, showcases, our annual Touchstone Awards, and other gala events, we provide camaraderie and tools for advancement to hundreds of members at all stages of their careers.

Founded in 1985, Women in Music is now in its third decade of service to the music community. Our members are inspired by the resources and opportunities WIM offers. We, in turn, are inspired by their wonderful achievements and contributions across all areas of the music industry.

WIM Mission Statement:
Women In Music is an organization with a mission to advance the awareness, equality, diversity, heritage, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts through education, support, empowerment, and recognition. Our seminars, panels, showcases, achievement awards, and youth initiatives celebrate the female contribution to the music world, and strengthens community ties.

If you need music equipment, cheap hiwatt amplifier at musicians friend could be a girl’s best friend!


Guitar Girl Magazine

While surfing the internet looking for interesting women’s sites, we stumbled upon Guitar Girl  Their mission statement says they are an online community dedicated to encouraging and promoting female guitarists and the fans that love them. With a combination of interviews of women in music, relevant music industry news, fun rock lifestyle finds, insider tips and advice, and special features and events, Guitar Girl Magazine strives to provide content that informs, entertains and engages our readers on a regular basis.

Tara Low is the founder of the publication.   She developed an online music store, Guitar It Up for Girls at, which caters to female musicians (both aspiring and accomplished).  Tara launched her business in 2009 and has created business alliances with major manufacturers of musical instruments and charitable organizations which she supports including Los Angeles Women in Music, Guitars in the Classroom, Girls Rock, Special Angel, A Place Called Home, and various others which she has supported through these partners.

Tara is a member of the Los Angeles Women in Music, the National Association of Music Merchants and The Recording Academy.

Most recently, Tara launched her new venture, Guitar Girl Magazine.   “My goal is to create a community for female musicians where we can band together and help support, promote and empower women in music. Through Guitar Girl Magazine, we will bring you the latest relevant music industry news, fun rock lifestyle finds, insider tips and advice, and special features and events.  We want to provide content that informs, entertains and engages our readers on a regular basis,” says Tara.

Just goes to show you what a little thought and inspiration can evolve into.


Submitted by Sabrina Sterling, who is a musician representing classic gallien mb200 and aspiring mom-to-be who is looking for Mr. Right!




Post-Mortem Communication



Following death, it is often that family members squabble over estates and property due to the rocketing price of real estates and the monetary value of something being left to someone in a will. There have been instances where the person who has passed away has often used the will to spread a smile or spread his word and it with this in mind that a slightly more humorous take can be taken on wills.

As will confirm, the process of squabbling over property and bequeathed things are not only stressful but also well documented, here’s an alternate look at wills and last testaments, removed from the boring legality of the procedure and more into the humanity of it. In essence, wills are communiqués that are completed after the death of one person. This makes them a special form of communication as they happen when there is no possible way to communicate with the person who has passed away, it is the deceased’s words being said after he has left the living.

In the old days, people often deposited letters with trustees telling them to mail them to loved ones after their death at specified intervals of time. They were letters which provided the loved ones with respite and a sort of bridge into the forgotten feeling of being with someone who has passed away. In the modern day, electronic communication has replaced the old standards and they provide more novel methods of being in touch with loved ones after death. Imagine a sudden email from your grandfather, who passed away, telling you some wisdom from his many years living the adventure of life. Or a video message with an old aunt waving and smiling in a day where live footage of the deceased is something sought after.

Another method is that of time-lapsed letters and gifts. Anyone can arrange for an executor who keeps with him certain items that are to be given after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Say for example, you have a really old car in your grandfather’s estate. You can set it aside and keep some money for its upkeep and make contingencies to give it to your daughter in case your time comes before her eighteenth birthday. Imagine the look in her eyes, receiving a gift from her dead father on the day of attaining maturity. In such a case, it would be prudent to inform the rest of the family of the idea, or your daughter may end up being more fortunate than you’d planned with someone else in the family gifting her another car.

There isn’t a lot of preparation required for this sort of will or testament. This is not the usual financial delineation of property according to hierarchy or favor and hence can be approached with more creativity and freedom, making it an emotional enjoyable affair. What is most important is that the item to be given or the communiqué to be delivered should be kept in the hands of a trustworthy person, someone who is not prone to spilling the beans to the desired recipient.

Wills are generally boring and come with a foreboding sense of doom with signs of litigation plastered large across them. They are always hotly contested and often result in relationships becoming bitter and strained but when used in the above methods, they can be used to stay in touch with loved ones after death and provide quirky entertainment for those souls who watch.

About the writer:
Gemma is an attorney who specializes in wills and last testaments. An unusual attorney, Gemma is armed with a sharp wit which helps her in making the usually mundane world of dead legality a more approachable one. She regularly provides advice on sites such as and helps clients in understanding what wills are and how they work.

Update on Our Interviewee – Linda Fritz

Linda Fritz, Sun Sugar Farms is a

2013 WE Celebrate Awards Finalist

for Best New Product or Service of the Year


Congratulate Linda by joining us for the eighth annual WE Celebrate Awards on December 5 at the Horseshoe Casino as we honor the best and brightest women in business. Enjoy networking, breakfast and inspiration from past winners. Retired CEO Victoria Buyniski Gluckman will be honored with the inaugural WE Celebrate Pinnacle Award and Cincinnati’s Q102 radio DJ Laura Powell will emcee.

8th Annual WE Celebrate Awards Breakfast
Thursday, December 5
8 – 9:30 a.m.
Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati



Read her Interview with WMTS

Tomaca’s CRESBI Crate Review


My Very Own CRESBI Crate!


Submitted by Tomaca

Linda Fritz is right — CRESBI crates make shopping so very easy!  I stopped to pick up some fruit from the grocery store.  It was a breeze to walk in with my crate, put the fruit in it, check out and pop it on the seat for the ride home.  Get home, put away the fruit, or I could have left it in the crate and put it in the fridge.  So easy.  Then it folds flat for storage and goes into the trunk for the next trip.

Great product!

IMG_5042 IMG_5035IMG_5033




Coming Back from Soul Destruction – Ruth Jacobs



We know them.  We all know a woman who struggles with drugs and alcohol.  Perhaps she’s a woman in your family, a friend or even a co-worker, but we know them.  If you have not been an drug addict then you cannot know what they go through.  You can’t imagine the pain they feel from moment to moment and the things that they are driven to do because of that addiction. 
Ruth Jacobs has been there – in the very recesses of hell – and she came back to us.  And, when she came back, she came with a mission to rescue others. Not just her friends, but anyone and everyone who wanted help.  Those stuck in the vicious cycle of drugs and prostitution have someone they can turn to. 
Ruth is working very hard to make the world safer for people in prostitution.  She is making them aware of their rights and helping to inspire them to have the courage to speak up when they have been victimized.  Can a sex trade worker be raped?  Absolutely, yes and Ruth is helping to change the laws and the awareness of society so it is not tolerated.



You have had experiences with drugs and alcohol. Were you an addict?

Yes, I was a heroin and crack addict shooting up and on death’s door during the late ‘90s. I didn’t expect or want to live back then.


Ruth Jacobs 7-12What pulled you into a life of getting high?

I didn’t care about or value life. I hated it. I started drinking from a young age then in my early teens, I started smoking dope. It was to escape my reality. I was desperately unhappy due to trauma. I was self-medicating. The drugs I used escalated, as did the way I took them.


Were you also pulled into prostitution along with this?

Becoming a call girl wasn’t a decision made or needed to pay for drugs. When I first started, I didn’t have a heroin or crack habit. I think I’d tried those drugs once or twice, but they weren’t matched to my income so I didn’t take them. The day job I had at the time provided enough money to buy the drugs (dope, acid, speed, alcohol) I was using back then.

For me, prostitution is what pulled me into intravenous heroin and crack addiction. I was living in a fantasyland and to stay there I had to shut out what I was doing and what I was allowing to be done to me, as well as what I wasn’t allowing – I was raped by a client quite early on, and that wasn’t the only time.

Maybe my drug using would have progressed to the depths it did anyway from the original pain I was running from – I don’t know. Certainly having the money to buy the amount of heroin and crack I was taking played a part, but maybe I would have gone downhill slower if that wasn’t the case. Some of my clients, a lot of my regular clients, were drug users, not heroin though and none injected. But they took cocaine and/or crack and I’d take it with them. As an addict, being paid to take drugs when you’re in active addiction seems like a dream job.


What made you decide to change your life and way of living? What woke you up and saved you from this lifestyle?

I ran out of money, I looked too sick (abscesses from injecting/needle marks) to work, and none of my many attempts at suicide led to the only way out of life I could see.

In 1999, around the summertime, I’d already been hospitalised five times that year in London, even though I’d been out of the country until mid-late February and one of those hospitalisations was for two months. Some of those times I was sectioned, which meant I wasn’t allowed to leave and I had to take whatever medication was prescribed, which was very frightening, as was sleeping in an open-door room in a mixed locked ward with a rapist.

After the fifth hospitalisation, I actually went to the 12-step meetings I’d been saying I was going to attend the other times but never did. I used to say to myself just one more hit when I get out then I’ll go to a meeting, but the first hit on being released would lead to the next then the next then the next, and I kept finding myself back in hospital. So, I went to the meetings and some truly amazing, wonderful people saved my life and taught me how to live without the drugs I’d been dependent on.

I wasn’t planning to stop working, but my 12-step sponsor told me I wouldn’t stay clean if I went back to seeing clients. I listened to her and didn’t return to that life.

You began to write novels versus poetry and short stories. Tell us why you started writing.

I think that my grandmother being a writer inspired me to start writing. When I first began as a young teenager, I wrote poetry and I did that because it provided some kind of release for me from trauma, nothing like the drugs did, but then they brought their own trauma in the end. It wasn’t until I completed my first novel that I tried my hand at a short story, though having said that, I would have written short stories as part of my school work. I actually started writing my first book at around sixteen, but I didn’t finish one until twenty years later.


Your work is focused on bringing attention to the plight of those in the sex industry and helping those same people. Prostitution and drugs. How did you get involved with this? Why is this your focus?

I wrote my novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, to show what the reality is for so many women in prostitution. Being a call girl has been glamorised in the media and I wanted to show the experience that my friends and I had had – we might have seen clients in five-star hotels and luxury residences in the most expensive parts of London, but that didn’t render us immune to suffering rape and other violence. I hoped my book would deter other women from entering the sex trade because I know so many of us still suffer from having been in that life and I didn’t want other women and girls to think it’s easy money because that’s the only portrayal they’d seen. I also wanted to show women who sell sex as the real people they are, which is why my book is about the women and not about what they do to earn money. And also to show that although many of us do have a history of abuse in our childhoods, we are strong women, fighters and survivors. I wasn’t planning on doing anything else; my non-fiction writing on the subject and activism just happened along the way from when I began writing a blog and connecting with other women activists, some of whom had also been in the sex trade.


Your most recent book, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, is this story fact or fiction and where did the concept come from?

That book is fiction, but the main storyline is based loosely on events from my own life – though not how it ends.


You released In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl, which is a transcription of an interview you did with a woman in prostitution who you refer to as “Q”. Unfortunately, that woman is no longer living and you donate all proceeds from the sale of that publication to Beyond the Streets, a charity working to end sexual exploitation. How did you come to find this organization and why is it important to you?

I was searching for a charity whose ethos I agreed with and when I found Beyond the Streets and saw they also worked with a great number of other charities and projects across the UK they seemed perfect. I spoke with the director and liked their non-judgemental and empowering approach to supporting women who want to leave the sex trade and I am delighted my friend’s words are raising money for them, as I am sure she is too.

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What, if anything, can the average person do to help women and others who are involved in prostitution? 

Respect is the first thing that comes to mind. Just because someone is selling or has sold sex this does not make her deserving of any less respect than any other woman. This also includes respecting her agency and where she is at in her life, having understanding and compassion, as most of us have suffered, but not viewing and treating us all as victims which is unhelpful and disempowering.

Understanding what help, if any, a person wants is really the first step, and accepting and respecting their decision whatever that may be, including if they do not want to leave the sex trade. Anyone trying to make me leave that life or believe I was doing something damaging by selling sex when I was a call girl would have made me run a mile from them.

At a less personalised level, there are laws and policing models people can advocate for such as the Merseyside hate crime model, which has brought about astonishingly high conviction rates for crimes committed against sex trade workers. This policing model prioritises the protection of people in prostitution over the enforcement of the law, ensuring people in the sex trade have the human right of the protection of the law and recourse to justice when they have been the victim of a crime. Interestingly as well, this model – which is not focused on exiting routes (though offers the services) – has resulted in there being half the number of women involved in street prostitution.


Walking up to them at random is probably not the best thing. How do we know if they need or want help?

I think giving someone a smile is worth a lot. But if someone walked up to me and offered to help me, they may well have ended up looking for help themselves – to get to a hospital. As far as I was concerned I didn’t need help, but perhaps more importantly, I didn’t want help. I would never trust a stranger offering that to me. When you’re in that life everyone wants something from you and an offer of help would demand something from me in return.


However, if someone on the street seems like they might be in danger, say there is violence from what appears to be a pimp or a punter, or if a woman seems like she may in fact be a girl and underage, then people must call the police. It is imperative to remember that in the sex trade there are people who are there because they are being forced. Sex trafficking sadly is a reality and action has to be taken to address this. I’ve even heard about an area in London where the police were regularly driving past women in the sex trade who were being beaten in the streets. They didn’t stop and the public would do nothing either, just look on. This sickens me.


When it comes to sex trafficking, which means that this is done against someone’s will – especially if children are involved – how would the average person know that this is happening? Are there specific things we should look for?

I think it’s important that the term ‘sex trafficking’ is better understood. This horrific abuse, especially where children are the victims, can be happening in family homes. People are misled perhaps by the media and perhaps by the term ‘trafficking’ itself. I didn’t realise, until I actually understood the term, that a couple of the women I knew years ago had been victims of trafficking. For example, one young woman would give all the money she earned on jobs to her boyfriend and he didn’t let her leave the house unless it was to see a client. At the time, I just thought she had a controlling boyfriend and didn’t understand why she stayed with him. I was naive and young myself.

As I am not an expert on human trafficking, I won’t answer what is an extremely important question with regards to the signs people should be looking out for in order to identify trafficking victims. I would urge people to read this guidance provided by the UK government and this which is from the US



To change the subject, you are also doing interviews with writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. Why did you start doing this and does it tie into your other humanitarian work or is this separate?

The majority of the creative interviews I do are separate from my other work but there has been crossover such as my interviews with survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution who are also writers and artists like Christine Stark and Sherry Dooley for example, and for filmmakers who are activists like Aimee Galicia Torres who is making a documentary, John: The Worst Story Never Told, with two of my friends who are survivors of sex trafficking, Michelle Carmela and Nikolaos Al-Khadra. Also author Sheila Quigley, who has written novels covering the issue of trafficking, took part in the series of interviews I ran at the beginning of this year for human trafficking awareness month.

I can’t remember what made me start undertaking the interviews, but I do remember it began with writers, and I also recall speaking with my friend Natasha Sandy in Canada about it at the time and who I will part blame for the somewhat cheesy title I chose: In the Booth with Ruth. She’d told me her title for a talk show if she ever had one, and in comparison, mine didn’t seem so bad. She needs to start that talk show!


Selling sex in the UK is not illegal but many activities related to prostitution are. Though the purpose of the trade is to sell sexual services, rape does happen and it is real. You are now helping to fight for victims rights through the Merseyside model and are pushing for that to be made UK wide. Again, why are you so passionate about this and how can others help?

When you are in prostitution there are so many barriers to reporting crimes committed against you, most of us don’t, yet we are the most likely to be raped and the death rate is shockingly high – in London for women in prostitution it’s 12 times the national average. When we do report crimes committed against us quite often we aren’t believed or it’s even perceived we were asking for it or it’s deemed a hazard of the job. It’s abhorrent to treat victims of rape and other violence like this. And then there’s the very real possibility of being charged with something related to prostitution. This goes back to what you mentioned about selling sex not being illegal here but activities related to prostitution are. If a woman lives with another woman in the sex trade or they are both working from the same premises for safety they could be charged with running a brothel, if she’s working on-street she could be charged with soliciting, if she lives with someone else they could be charged with living off immoral earnings, and for migrants who don’t have the right to live here it’s even harder as in addition they may risk being sent back to a dangerous country, separated from their family and children.

I care so much because I know this injustice in the law too well and how the current laws make people in the sex trade easy targets for criminals, knowing how unlikely we are to report the crimes they commit against us. My novel is about a group of women in prostitution who have all been raped by the same client – this is what’s based loosely on my own life– they aren’t able to turn to the police for help so to stop the rapist raping any more women they have to take matters into their own hands. This is not how the justice system is meant to work, not how the protection of the police is meant to fail women, yet it does.

Fourteen years later nothing has changed for women in prostitution when they have been the victim of rape – with the exception of the women in Merseyside. Merseyside is the only place in the UK where people in the sex trade can call the police when they’ve been the victim of a crime and know they will not be treated as a criminal and they will have the full protection of the law and recourse to justice.

People can advocate for the Merseyside hate crime model in their areas wherever they are in the UK or in the world. They can write to members of Parliament or Congress and campaign and raise awareness by any other means to get it discussed at government level and in the media spotlight. This short clip on BBC News from a documentary I presented will be useful in understanding the scheme and seeing how it works in practice. There’s also a great deal of information including interviews and articles here for people who would like to know more.


Linda Fritz and CRESBI



A lot of us dream of owning and running our own business.  But, how many of us actually  do it?  As Linda indicates, it is emotionally and financially draining.  It’s like giving your last drop of blood and somehow finding the strength and energy to continue. 

Linda Fritz did it and IS doing it.  She created the concept, did the research, designed the product, made the financial investment and made the product available for sale.  Now she is working on marketing and growing her business.

As women, we are bright people.  We are creative; we are divine.  Open yourself up to what your heart is saying and get moving.   Linda, thank you for sharing your story!  – WMTS


It’s been pretty challenging with all the things one has to do to get a business going, financially and emotionally.  But here’s my story:


After putting myself through college and working for twelve years as an engineer in the automotive industry in cresbi2Detroit Michigan, I wanted to make a bigger difference in the lives of children.  I always volunteered but desired to reach more kids with a positive message in my entertaining style.  I felt TV was the way to do this.  I went to broadcast school at night and created a kid’s TV show. In the process of spending my savings on video equipment and quitting my job to get the show on the air, God played a little trick on me and my husband of ten years and we had our first child.  Since I was the one already home, for the next 18 years I was the mom/wife/homemaker with a video business on the side.  It was weird for me because I always saw myself as running a company or the country – not just a household – and it felt like I gave up too much power in the relationship by staying home.  I did however cherish that time with our child.


For the next 18 years, besides raising our daughter, I did a lot of volunteering and making enough money with the video business to buy things I thought were important.  I also started growing edamame and sun sugar cherry tomatoes on a small scale.  My secret hope was to someday bring these great foods to all the kids in Kentucky to help them eat healthier.  And then in 2011 my daughter graduated and went happily off to college.


A big hole gaped in my chest where my heart had been.  Now what?  No gold watch.  No job well done party.  No marketable skills to get back into engineering. Even my video work didn’t satisfy.  I did love being outside though, expanding the edamame farm.  That next year I was actually selling several hundred pounds of it while donating some to schools.  I just hated all the cardboard boxes I had to use to transport it because I knew they’d get just get thrown away.  And then I noticed the produce guys at the grocery store.


After interrogating the workers to show me who made them, I purchased a couple small collapsible crates like the cresbi3ones they were using.  They were great for delivering the edamame because I could reuse them and easily clean them. At the same time it was getting harder to get paper bags, which I used as weed control for the garden. I hated plastic bags since they were such a poor carrier and multiplied like rabbits in the pantry.  When Kroger had a “design the reusable bag” contest I’d had enough – the reusable ones I’d tried weren’t much better, why were they perpetuating this problem?!  I drew up my concept of what it would be like to use crates like mine to grocery shop, noted that they were even more functional than paper bags because they stacked and submitted my entry.


I didn’t win.


But I did start investigating what it would take to make my edamame crates a little less industrial so others could try them.  I was told by three different men that they weren’t interested in helping me because I wasn’t Kroger, I didn’t have $200k, and what’s wrong with plastic bags anyway?  At 3:00 AM one morning I came across and there were crates that were the perfect size and weight I was looking for!  I designed a strap and a cooler to hold the few samples I was working with and many trials and tribulations later sunk my savings into a container-load of crates and custom hooks.


I gave these new little crate systems a name: CRESBI for Collapsible Reusable Environmentally-friendly Stackable Box Idea (pronounced kress bee).  I love that they free shoppers from the mercy of a liberally-packing bagger, that precious fruit can no longer go free range under the car seat, and that they’ll last forever. Plus they can be thrown in the dishwasher versus the farce of their “hand-wash in cold only, headed for a landfill” reusable bag counterparts.


The best part though is the time they save.  Open up your CRESBI crates when you walk in the store, put your items in them with the barcodes up and have the checker use their handheld scanner to scan the items right in the crate.  It truly is a better way to shop and I’m thrilled when I get feedback about how much women love their CRESBI crates.  It’s kind of ironic that the ones who are most excited about CRESBI crates when they see them though are kids.  I’ve had ten year old boys say to their moms: “Mom, this is cool, you should buy this! Seriously, Mom, when do I ever get excited about grocery shopping!?”


I just love that people I’d never met took a leap of faith and ordered my product.  Now that I know they love it, I cresbiwant them to be able to share it a little more easily with others, especially for the holidays.   And if people aren’t afraid to make a positive connection with a checkout guy or gal and ask them to use their handheld scanners, it’s amazing.  The last time I went shopping I bought about 40 items – $110 worth of stuff – and it took less than a minute to check out from the time I put the crates on the conveyer to the time I put them back in my cart because I had 3 of my crates with the products’ barcodes up.  The checker just looked at me with a smile and said, “Wow. We’re done. That was cool.”


Financially I did OK this first year with just the website out there ( and the few shows I’ve done but I still have a ways to go to get my investment back. I wish that I could lower the prices to make CRESBI crates more affordable to everyone but with Kroger considering them and a possible time on the Home Shopping Network I need to have margins of 40 – 55% to provide them just to break even.


My goals are to get on a TV show like HSN or Shark Tank (my audition tape I made is the first answer:, get my investment back and sell enough to hire more moms to help me with the business. Oh – and see that every home in America has a CRESBI crate.  Why?  Because they really do help people “make a better life” and they’ll love them!  I don’t know if I’ll do all that, in fact some days I’m afraid to get out of bed because I don’t want to make cold calls! But I guess I’d rather die living and trying to help the world than live dying inside because I felt I missed out.


Thanks for letting me tell my story.


(Coupon code: LOVE20 will save you 20% off your internet order through December.)



The Importance of Doing Home Repairs


Home repairs are critical.

A friend of mine who has been a stay at home mom for two decades, was lamenting about the work that she needed done on her home, but could not afford.  She said, “my home is now starting to look bad and that’s not what I want.”

The roof needs work, her kitchen floor needs redoing as well as some of the walls.  And she always wanted to have a little deck built on the side of the house.   She made the choice of having less cash flow by staying home with her children.  Her youngest just turned 13 but returning to the workforce is not of interest to her as she helps her oldest son with his son, who is just 3.  So the home repair will continue to wait and as she waits, the repair situation will become increasingly more expensive to do as the conditions deteriorate.

Most people have invested their lifetime income into their home.  Something that you’ve made this kind of investment in needs to be well-maintained.  You have to continue “reinvesting.”  The longer you wait to repair something, the worse it will get and the more it will cost to repair.  Waiting is not an option.


Set Aside Money for Maintenance

Everyone has a budget that they work with.  Whether it’s written down or not, scheduled or not, you have income and you have expenses.  Add home maintenance as an expense line in your budget.  Decide how much you can reasonably put aside and start saving.  They key is to accept that this money is not to be touched for anything but home repairs.

That’s the challenge a lot of people will have.  Holding on to money in a savings account or in a jar and not touching it!  You have to develop a resolve that no matter what else happens, this money is slated for home repairs and nothing else.  This is essential because you don’t want, for example, your water heater to burst and not be able to replace it immediately.

If you are not prepared for emergency repairs, then all the drama gets created….all the emotion, doubt, frustration, anger, etc.  You will run through your mental list of “who can I borrow money from?” in order to take care of these kinds of repairs.  Don’t put yourself, your family and your friends through that.  Don’t put yourself through that.  Take the necessary steps to set aside money and then don’t touch it.


Find Reputable Repair People

Where do you start?  Ask your family; ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, even local churches and businesses.  People who have actually used contractors and other repair people are the best source of references.  Good repair people are concerned about their reputation and will do excellent work.  Their business is largely supported by referrals so they will do their best.   They know that if they don’t do a good job, the person that hired them is going to complain about what they did and how they did it.  So, you can probably trust referrals from others.


Licensed or Unlicensed?

Contractors and even handymen who have a license and insurance are safer to use than those that don’t.  If you hire someone to work on your property and they get injured, they can easily make you responsible for that injury.  So, you want to make sure that you are working with someone who is a registered business and has their own insurance.  This protects you and your assets.


What will the repair person do?

A good repair person is going to listen to your explanation of the problem, physically look at it and then put together an estimated quote for you.  That quote should include the cost of the materials, the cost of their labor and how much time to repair work or construction will take.    If you agree, then it becomes a document that you both sign and that you get a copy of.  This is a legal, binding agreement.

Make sure that this document covers the “what if” factors.  For instance, if you are having a roof repaired that has been in need of repair for fifteen years, the “what if” would include if they start to strip away the shingles and the wood and find rotted beams underneath.  Wood gets damaged from water over long periods of time.  A really good contractor may poke an prod and may be able to determine if there is damage underneath or beyond the eyesight, but they can’t always.  And, they should be the one to bring this up.


Will the work have to be inspected by a city official?

Some specific types of work has to be inspected by your town’s license and inspections people.  If you are adding on to your home, certain types of electrical and duct work, changing from propane to gas, installing pipelines or chimneys, etc., are required to be inspected.  Your specific city or town has guidelines as to what kind of work requires that a permit be pulled and inspected upon completion.  A good contractor knows what rules apply very clearly and will take the necessary steps to pull the permit and have inspections done accordingly.


Learn to ask questions

A good contractor is going to explain everything in great detail.  They will take the time to make sure you understand everything that is involved, include potential “what if’s.”  But, if they don’t, make sure you’ve done your research.  The internet is a great tool and there are literally thousands of videos on youtube demonstrating how to repair this or that.  Do your own research so that you are coming from a standpoint of understanding of what is involved and ask questions.


Do it yourself?

We mentioned the thousands of youtube videos.  If you’ve got the courage to take on what you consider to be a challenge, why not?  Plumbing is really a simple system of water flow through pipes.  Walls are made of wood studs and sheet rock.  Patching walls with joint compound is a very simple thing to do.  Most of us can get a roller, a paint tray and paint our own walls.  Changing a garbage disposal is simply a matter of unscrewing the old one off and screwing on the new one.

Doing your own electrical work is not recommended.  A licensed electrician should always be used.  Electricity kills and is not a good idea for a novice.


Your home is an investment

Taking good care of your home is a priority.  A home, for most people, is a lifetime investment.  You want it always to be solid and in good repair.  It has value.  Keeping it well maintained is necessary not just so you can live in comfort, but also in case you decide to sell it.  Well maintained homes sell much faster than those that are in need of repair.  The other consideration is that you may want to leave the home for your children.  We want our children to have the best and leaving them the family home in good condition will be a blessing for them.


Image Credit

Considering Bankruptcy?


Alena was raised by a “very money smart single mom,” as she says.  Her mother didn’t make a great deal of money, but made what she had work well.  They didn’t have a lot of things growing up, but they had love and gained financial management wisdom.  “Mom’s biggest lesson was to always put some money away no matter what.  You are always going to have bills, but if you give them everything you have, then you will have nothing for yourself.”  So Alena always pays herself first and her creditors second.  She’s putting the finishing touches on her education so she can help to empower other women with financial matters.


Submitted by Alena Williams – Pennsylvania, USA

Women hold key roles in their families.  It is important for a woman to be well versed in financial matters, especially considering that it is women that do most of the shopping.   If you don’t know about finances, take a few courses. Search on-line for basic budgeting courses, there are many free ones out there.  Once you have a good understanding and grasp of the basics, check your local community centers and colleges for workshops on investments, retirement funding and other parts of money management.  Educate yourself.  The tools available and often free!

In these present times it is not uncommon for families to have  financial problems.  So many people have lost their jobs and lost their homes.  Many of us are just scrambling from week to week, paycheck to paycheck and in a lot of cases from day to day.

Our society programs all of us to shop.  Women even adopt the popular slogan:  “Shop til you drop!”   But, it’s a fallacy; it is fantasy and illusion.  If you are the kind of person who is always shopping, ask yourself – why am I shopping all of the time?  What am I doing?  What am I achieving?  Stop, look and listen to yourself.

The need to be glamorous, to be dressed in the latest fashion, the most attractive shoes, all of these things are illusions.  There is nothing wrong with looking nice.  Looking nice is good, but we have to have some limits and some common sense.  Those credit cards can very quickly get out of hand and your debt can be in control as you lose control.

If you are at the point where you are being threatened with garnishment, foreclosure or repossession, contact consumer financial services places.  These non-profit organizations can contact your credits and put you on a repayment program.  Make sure that you check out the legitimacy of the company that you decide to work with.  Make sure their fees are not excessive or unreasonable.

If all else fails, you may want to consider bankruptcy.   You have the right under federal law to file for bankruptcy relief from your creditors. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person can get a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy can be very useful and effective in resolving financial problems in certain cases. However, it is not the answer to all financial problems or the right step for everyone.   What bankruptcy does is eliminate all of your debt.  Your creditors can no longer contact you and request payment for anything.

You can only file bankruptcy once every six years.  You want to save this option until you really need it. Also, you may not need to file bankruptcy even though creditors are threatening you because you may have no nonexempt property or wages. Which that means you have nothing the creditors can take from you. You can’t be put in jail for failing to pay your civil debts (other than fines or other court ordered amounts).

Discuss your situation with a financial counselor first, and if they suggest bankruptcy (and if your situation is severe, they might), then talk to a bankruptcy attorney. Every case is different and laws change from time to time, so you need to be represented by an expert.


Alena is pursuing her certification as  a financial planner.  She also blogs about pennsylvania bankruptcy laws.


5 Image Management Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

People make unconscious split-second impressions based on how a person looks, sounds or moves almost instantaneously upon first meeting. This is why image management is a growing industry.

Your reputation depends on those crucial first seconds when you introduce yourself to a client or business associate. You might create an impression of confidence, competence and openness, or you might create a negative impression that reeks of ambiguity, bigotry and mediocre skills. A large part of image management hinges on how you are dressed.

Modern Day Feminine

Females dressing for success in the 21st century is different than it was in the 1980s, where women tried to replicate the styles their male counterparts were wearing. While tailored suits and modest hemlines are still appropriate, donning the narrow black tie and bulky shoulder pads are out. Today, clothing that radiates ability, authenticity and credibility are desirable.

Create a stellar first impression to deliver your message without compromising your feminine side.

The Basics

Authority is best demonstrated in the form of a suit, either slacks or skirt with a jacket. Lightweight fabrics and dark neutral colors with minimal prints are appropriate for most business settings. For inspiration, check out designer suits with a classic line. Even if you can’t afford a $1400 St. John Collection blazer, exploring various styles is helpful. Invest in the services of a tailor. Fit is as important as fabric.

The Unmentionables

Creating a first impression of authority does not mean you have to come across like a Marine drill sergeant. It is perfectly acceptable to wear your sexy panties from Yumdrop or a Victoria’s Secret lacy camisole underneath your button-down shirt with a split collar. Feeling comfortable in your suit is essential to expressing an authentic attitude. Keep in mind bra and camisole choices should be light or neutral shades. When it comes to legwear, skip the hose in the summer and use a self tanner if pasty white. In the winter, wear leggings or a non-patterned neutral shade tights.


Do you like to wear bracelets, bangles and necklaces? Keep it traditional and limited. Jewelry selections that are worn in moderation and have simple designs are best to keep your business image in line. Part of creating a great first image is a firm handshake, and you don’t want half a dozen bangles clanging around during this opportunity to create a competent impression.


As long as you follow guidelines for a more traditional approach, you can decide on the bag. Stay away from over-sized bags that resemble a weekend carry-all and tiny clutch styles that don’t hold essentials. No spiky heels or hot pink wedges, but a modest heel in almost any style will work, as long as it compliments your suit.

Finishing Touches

Creating an air of respect and credibility means no dramatic hairstyles or shocking makeup techniques. Those are best reserved for after hours and time at the club with the girls. Choose mani and pedi colors that are toned down, and wear conservative-leaning hairstyles. You can let your hair down after work.

Managing your image by creating a dynamic first impression is not difficult. Just remember: classic, conservative, authentic and comfortable. 01 (285)

Flickr photo: Victor1558

What image tips do you have for female entrepreneurs? Share them in the comments.

Few Things to Know Before You Start a Business Abroad



Submitted by Alina Jones


When it comes to businesses abroad, there are massive opportunities for investment. Most of the opportunities are global and not confined to one location. There are simple things to consider when doing business abroad, and some of those are knowing the rules in the part of the world you are operating in. Some countries may not allow foreign ownership of some major means of production or property.

Some of the useful tips before encountering a business abroad are:


Spend most of the time studying the markets in the country you are doing business for. Make sure that you are familiar with the market, this means that you get to at least visit and grow accustomed. Businesses in the tropics are better as visiting might be part of leisure that is low in budget. Most of the foreigners have their own boutiques, resorts and much more, this is only because they like to visit these ends and not only do they just visit, but take the travel as part of their investments. It is good to invest where you may as well get a permanent residence.

Internet and publication

For those who are confident and may speak foreign languages, well you may do some internet research on the person you would want to talk to. If you have a big company, then you may start to phone the secretary from whom you may get the e-mail address or a direct line for the person you want to talk to. Then you may start asking the needful questions and create a good contact before a visit.

Hire a consultant

Hire someone you are sure is good in acknowledging the rules and regulations. In some places there might be intricate laws and have special conditions for the foreign investments. Before the hiring, make sure you do some reading and research online, or better information sources. Make sure you also get to know where the embassy of the country you want to invest in, is in your country. Get to know the people and talk out what you need to the economic attached. There are countries that offer very good incentives for foreign investments, make sure you acknowledge all this so as to get some tax relief and holidays, this will depend on your investment level and the number of individuals you want to hire.

UK boarder agency ukba are your best option in finding out on the available opportunities, they may be able to put you in the best spot both information and opportunity wise.

Get a local trusted contact

It is better to have someone who not only will give you financial advice, but have someone with a lifetime experience in the market you are ready to explore. Locals become investors in your industry and may have a better and necessary knowledge of the network and market both within and outside the country.
At last, for the people who need some quick and effective resource, the UKBA is one of the best places to contact for your concerns and the internet will definitely do the job for you. Make sure you take time to understand the markets before you make any important decisions.

Aweber for Email Marketing

Keeping in touch with your clients or fans (if you are an artist) is essential.  You MUST have a website.  Some people rely on free networks to market themselves and their products.  Probably the most popular place is facebook.  But, did you know that facebook controls how many people see your posts?  It’s true.  Not everyone connected to your facebook page will see what you’ve added.  Facebook has grown so and is doing so well financially, that just like any business who wants to take advantage of a good thing, they want to enhance it.  That’s why you see advertisements all over the place and you are constantly being asked to “boost your post” by paying a fee.

Using facebook or any other social network are good tools but they need to direct your customers and fans to your home spot – or your website.  On your own website, you control and own all of your content.  On facebook, you don’t.

So, okay, you’ve got a nice website.  It’s clean, easy to maneuver and people like it.  Next, start asking people to subscribe or to submit their email addresses for more information.  There are many sites that offer email services, if you don’t want to manage your own.  And, it’s probably a good idea to use a service because you can easily design attractive emails, schedule when you want them sent and monitor results such as – to who reads them.

Aweber is highly ranked for popularity and reliability.  One of their slogans is “Email Marketing Made Easy.”  With them, it certainly is.  Give them a try.



Debra Britt – Celebrating History through the Eyes of a Black Doll Collector

Debra Britt is the founder of the Doll E Daze Project &  Museum, Inc., the national Black doll museum.  They have a collection of over 6,000 dolls; they provide education and workshops and raise self-esteem in young Black children.  She tells us how it all got started.

I guess the biggest question is why did you decide to open a Black Doll Museum?

There was never a plan to open the museum. I am a Christian and I believe that my life purpose was to open this museum. As a business person, I  know that  failure to plan is a plan for failure.  However, the events in my life called me to this ministry. Entering the 5th grade, my teacher had difficulties accepting a black child in his room, therefore I endured pain and humiliation on a daily basis being called a monkey and taunted by him. I knew this not to be true and tried to ignore him and educate myself with history and geography while I was in his class. I have a seizure disorder that in 1996 left me disabled and unable to travel alone or long distances. I began to research dolls I had collected.  In 1999, my husband and I adopted two girls who had been emotionally and physically abused.  They needed love and positive reinforcement about who they were.  In 2004 I began my journey with my sister Felicia Walker and Tamara Mattisson to ensure that all children have the tools to become strong, confident, loving, lovable and independent. That begins with positive self-esteem – accepting the skin you’re in and loving it.

The museum chose me.

I acquired 3000 dolls on my own.  I know what a powerful impact is made to see a doll in your image that you can

Debra Britt, Founder Doll E Daze Project & Museum
Debra Britt, Founder Doll E Daze Project & Museum

call beautiful. In addition, through my research I have actually proven that teaching history with artifacts is an empowering experience. The museum’s physical space allows me to do that on a daily basis. We enlighten and uplift a child in crisis.


Where do your dolls come from?

The dolls at the museum come from all over the world.  When my baby sister Kareema Thomas was 25 years old, she had a stroke. There was no medical reason. They told us she would not be able to walk again as she was paralyzed. She saw Byron Lars “Limelight” Barbie in an Essence magazine and told her four older sisters she wanted it. That weekend we put her in a wheel chair and took her to several malls looking for the doll. It was nowhere to be found. However, we told her she could have any other doll that she wanted if she attempted to get the doll. She knocked a couple down and we brought them for her. Every weekend after that for at least a year, this was a ritual – getting her to take small steps. It then became a bonding for us.  My mother eventually joined us.

We then began traveling across country, all the while searching for dolls during our vacations, at flea markets and doll shows. We used timeshares and discovered conventions and other collectors. While Kareema ‘s interest was in Barbie, we all took on different interests.  I like vintage dolls, Felicia loves Native American dolls, my mother – porcelain, Tammy, miniatures and clothing and Celeste likes African dolls. We also uncovered the collecting bug of “action figures” in my brothers, as well as Barbie’s and fashion dolls they said it was for their daughters. That was almost 17 years ago. We still travel and now the daughters ,granddaughters cousins and nieces all join us. It is a family affair.


How many do you have in the collection at this point?

At This point we own 6,273 dolls of which none are duplicate.  This does include my extensive collection of Black Santa’s, Angels and cloth dolls, We keep 1500-2000 dolls on the floor daily. We rotate the displays every 6 weeks and also put dolls on display in several libraries that we collaborate  with.


How many do you plan to have? 

Felicia Walker
Felicia Walker

I actually have no idea how many we will have. We tell the African American experience with our dolls and history never ends.  If someone donates a doll to us and if we already own that doll, we clean and restore it.  If we are called during the holidays, we use those dolls for our doll giveaway.  They are given with love to girls in foster care, homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters.


If this a nonprofit or for profit business?  Are you looking for donations?

We are a registered 501(c) 3 non profit organization and do accept and need donations to sustain the museum.


What supports the museum financially?

The museum is supported totally by donations and through our doll making workshops and bully prevention program we have created partnering with schools. We currently work with Hartford Performs in the Hartford Public School system. Our programs meet the curriculum framework standards for social studies, history and the arts. Readers can support us through donations, memberships, volunteering and the purchase of merchandise.


Are any of the dolls for sale?

We do have dolls for sale at the museum. The dolls range from African wrap dolls, fashion dolls, and soft sculptured dolls. Many of our dolls come from the cottage industry of black doll artists. We also partner with several small businesses such as River Trading and Pretty Brown Girls.

Tamara Mattison
Tamara Mattison

Understanding that your dolls are probably from a variety of time periods, what is the range?  How old is the oldest one you have and where did she come from?

The dolls range from the late 1700-present in all mediums. We have sold some dolls to keep our doors open.  We have an 1847 wishbone doll, 1885 paper doll and a bottle doll from 1830. My oldest doll is from 1796 and I received them a set from the house I moved into as a child. They will be leaving soon as I need to sell so we can keep our doors open.


There was a time when Black dolls just were not made in America.  When was the first time you had your own Black doll and what did it mean to you?

This is true.  Black dolls weren’t readily accessible in America, my grandmother Jessie was a maid and she often bought home toys and clothes from the children she took care of. She would painstakingly take the white dolls apart and dye them in a pot with rite dye to provide me with a black doll.  She made me an African wrap doll and gave me a history lesson on the origin when I was just 8 years old. So memories of black dolls have been there for me.

In 2004, I wrote the a book entitled “Legend of Cecilia.” It is a story of the first African princess, the princess of courage. It will be available in September and is also a musical that is in process. It will be on our website for sale during our Grand Opening Celebration Black Doll Fest, Sept. 27-29,2013.  The National Black Doll Museum presented by the Doll E Daze Project is located at 288 N. Main Street  in Mansfield, Ma .


Please tell our readers where the museum is located and what your hours are?  And how can they find more information?

We are open Thursday-Monday 9-5 pm.  We are open in the evening by appointment and closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays.  Our admission fee is $13.00 for adults and $9.00 for children and seniors. We can provide an hour-long tour of the museum.  More information is available at our website or by calling us at (774) 284-4729


Doll E Daze Project & Museum, Inc.

288 N.Main St.

Mansfield, Ma 02048


Read about them in the Boston Globe

Join them on Facebook:  National Black Doll Museum

Doll E Daze blog