CCollections.co

Hello everyone! Let’s kick off the new year right with a brand new interview with CCollections Boutique owner CiCi Henry! She is a visual artist, innovator, and  creative individual setting her own standards. So let’s get to it!

Me: Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?

Cici: My name is Cici Henry and I am the owner of CCollections Boutique.

Me: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

CiCi: I am 21 years old and I am originally from California. I grew up in Atlanta. I currently live in Huntsville, AL and I am a senior attending Alabama A&M University. 

Me: You are fairly young. Can you tell me about your CCollections Boutique?

CiCi: It is vintage mixed with a modern style. I can make your grandma’s stuff look cool, but also take a new pair of nine west shoes and make an outfit out of it. The foundation is to take timeless clothes and put them together with today’s style. 

Me: So your kind of mixing the old with the new and adding your own flavor to it. Were you inspired by something and did you always dress original? 

CiCi: I guess my inspiration comes from decades. Each decade had an influence on me starting from the 30’s until now. It was something such as a hairstyle, the way they wore their bustiers back then, and the baggy clothes trend in the 90’s. I’ve never really dressed according to the era I’m in. It’s always been an influence from something in a different time such as an old movie, an old fashion blog, or magazine.

Me: So do you like history?

CiCi: Yes in a sense I like timeless vintage things and making them current today. 

Me: What’s your favorite era?

CiCi: It has to be between the 60’s and the 90’s. I think both of those time periods were rebellious in fashion. In the 60’s it was very Diana Ross. Women wore fitted, colorful, color blocked outfits. In the 90’s girls started wearing baggy clothes and dressing like guys. I have a hard time choosing between the two.

Me: Your hair is giving me a 90’s type of vibe today! Who is your niche market?

CiCi: I would like it to be for everybody. My target market would be for teens to mid 40’s.

Me: Is your company unisex?

CiCi: I have men’s clothes but mainly catered to women. My t-shirt line is unisex.

Me: We touched a little bit on your style inspiration but would you like to add to it? 

CiCi: I dress how I feel. The way that I dress is my outlet of how I express myself. I want people to be able to express how they feel thru their wardrobe.

Me: Who inspires you?

CiCi: God! He is the center of everything I do. Situations also inspire me a lot whether they are good or bad. I try to take some type of lesson from it. My peers, music, and life inspire me. It’s not one particular thing or person. I’m a movie and music junkie and those inspire me as well. I’m a visionary so I instantly turn something into a picture.

Me: In your mind? Cause I’m the same way.

CiCi: Mmmhmmm…so really life inspires me.

Me: Good answer. Where do you get your merchandise from?

CiCi: I mainly thrift for the clothes and I revamp them.

Me: Do you thrift locally or out of town?

CiCi: I thrift all over. When I’m out of town I make an intinerary of places I want to go and try to hit up at least 2 stores. I find pretty dope stuff. I’m headed to Miami soon so I hope I can find some really bomb stuff there.

Me: You will definitely find some good stuff! Can you tell me about your t-shirt line?



CiCi
: I love statement t-shirts. I do graphic design as well so I order blank t-shirts and print the design on them. The last t-shirt I designed was The Black and Proud shirt with Angela Davis on the front. The reason I made it was because it was a lot of killings going on and I thought it was fitting for the time.

Me: It’s still fitting…

CiCi: It definitely is still fitting and I will be making more in regards to that. I feel like as an artist it is our job to make things aware. Like back in the day you had artists using their voice to be heard that inspired a lot of people. Fashion inspires a lot of movements. The next t-shirt I have coming out is “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my…”

Me: I’m digging that. It’s like you are a walking statement expressing yourself. Like moving art! 

Cici: Yes! I feel like they describe you. Any T-shirt that you see a person wearing is a part of them. They bought that shirt because they could relate and it was significant to them. That is why I design them because I want people to have another way to express themselves boldly.

Me: I know that you are preparing for your boutique to open, but can you tell me about the struggles along the way? What did you have to face while doing your pop up shops and trying to get everything together? 

CiCi: The main struggle that I had with the pop up shops was finding different locations and having people work with a decent budget. My main focus was getting the brand out and associating CCollections with the pop up shop.  I was basically setting up a mini store so I didn’t have all the necessary tools in the beginnning. We made it work! Transitioning from that to a store you have a solid foundation to execute the way you want. As far as getting the store together it’s expensive. When I first started I made a budget for myself and I’ve been saving money by doing a lot of DIY projects for decor. It’s working out.

Me: When you did the branding with the pop up shops did that actually work for you?

CiCi: It worked out way more than I thought. When you put things on social media some people like it and some don’t. When I would go out to eat people would recognize me. You feel like you are not reaching a lot of people but they are paying attention. I started to get known for it even outside of Huntsville. My parents and their friends were sharing my stuff as well.

Me: I think that your store is a good accomplishment from your pop up shops and you are stretching yourself to get everything right. At the end of the day it is a good look for you. Do you have a team that helps you?

CiCi: My friends are super supportive as well as my mom and dad. I have a pretty good support system because I would fail without them.

Me: You have some cool friends and family. Do you feel like you’ve had any great accomplishments since you’ve started your journey? 

CiCi: I’m pretty hard on myself because I feel like everything I’m doing is great. I have to have an outer body experience and look at it to give myself recognition. I hear it all the time that I am only 21. 

Me: And that’s what I’ve been saying you are so young to be doing things of your stature. 

CiCi: Yes I’m 21 and I’m still in school. It is stressful and frustrating but I have to recognize the blessing.

Me: Where do you see yourself in the future?

CiCi: I can see the direction where I’m going but not the clear picture. I knew it would be something artistically but me having a store…heck nah! Even when I got the store God put it in my mind to do it in October. As far as 5 years from now I don’t know. Hopefully traveling and opening stores in Atlanta and California. I want to branch out and expand on my other crafts: photography, creative directing, and helping others get their brand off the ground. 

Me: I will share this with you. I don’t know where I’ll be in five years and I’m still trying to figure it out. You just have to let God lead you to where he wants you to be. I know you will do well! Can you tell me about any projects or events you have going on?

CiCi: Thank you!!! I recently discovered a local artist named Wade Brown. He was a contestant on “The Voice” on Cee-lo’s team. He makes amazing music. When I heard his EP I asked him if he was going to have a listening party and let him know that I would sponsor him. 

**Guess who got to attend**


** Go check him out guys**

CiCi: I will also be having a holiday special where people can come and shop. I will be preparing for the store to open in February. In October we had a Love Jones spoken word event and I will have a part two coming in January. 

Me: Let me know about the dates of upcoming events so that I can attend. Is there any advice that you would like to give to future entrepreneurs, creatives, etc?

CiCi: Just do it! Don’t second guess your craft or what you have to offer to the world. Understand that what you have is a gift and don’t let anything taint or dilute it. If you see yourself doing it figure out a way to do it period. A lot of times monetary things stop people from doing what they want to do. I was one of those people. When your creative you find ways to make it happen. So use your talent or gift that you have and just do it.

Me: Yes ma’am I hear you girl… thank you CiCi! Is there anything else that you would like to add?  

CiCi: Thank you for interviewing me! 

Me: Thank you for having me! 

I can’t wait to see what CiCi has in store for her and I wish her much success! To stay connected with CiCi and to follow her blissful journey you can find her on instagram: CCollections.co, CCollectionsboutique_

www.ccollections.co

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I fell in love with Habana!

I went because I wanted to experience a whole new world, culture, and country. I was looking for perspective and lacking inspiration. As soon as I touched the ground I found myself meeting strangers at the airport that I would spend the next few days with. I enjoyed learning their stories and hearing about where they came from. The Real World Cuban style is what we will call it!I was excited yet scared to embark on a place that I’ve never set foot on. I’m not sure of the uncertainty. We arrived at the small congested filled airport and had to wait in line to go thru the usual security check point. Once we got thru we had to hold tight for our bags. As we were waiting, the other group arrived. We swapped hugs with each other and ran to snatch our luggage off the belt as we saw fit. I think the whole process took about three hours. We exchanged our Euros for CUC (Cuban Covertible Peso) at the airport and flew out the door to find the next available taxi.


I’ve learned so much in such a little time and I appreciate every thing that came my way. It didn’t matter to me that my hair and clothes got wet while walking thru Old Havana from the rain shower. I was left in awe while looking at the colorful buildings.  The beautiful scenery looked like a masterpiece of artwork in every nook and cranny.

As I walked on the cobblestone my feet began to ache because I had worn sandals. I was too anxious to see the next thing like a kid in the candy store! The artist sang and danced with joy and wanted us to take part in the festivities. It was an unforgettable moment. The internet didn’t work unless we had an internet card and it was only good for an hour. The disconnect from the rest of the world was much needed for the duration of this trip. It was an adjustment that we all had to adhere to but we made it thru! I was able to enjoy the everyday whoas of my adventures and soak it alI in. I’ve seen the luxurious photos that people post once they have arrived to show off the pretty scenery and the classic taxis. Don’t get me wrong I was guilty of that as well but it was more than just pictures. It was engaging with the locals by speaking the bit of Spanish that I knew -hugging, smiling, dancing, and just being accepting of the culture.


It was going to the cigar factory to see how hard those people worked on a day to day basis to hand make cigars and cigar boxes. (Talk about humbling) I thought to myself no matter where my mind takes me I can be present at this very moment and take the opportunity to connect. I will never forget going across the street to grab jamon y queso (ham and cheese) sandwiches with jugo (juice) for breakfast. Or walking to Tic-Tac Boquitas, to grab chicken on a stick or a fresh BLT! We ran thru the streets and chased the ice cream man down for yummy helado (ice cream).

So guess what I found out? In order to be somewhere and give up a little of yourself to gain culture differences and be open to new things will give you a greater perspective on self, life, people, and mindset. I came back feeling renewed, inspired, and full. The only souvenir I have are the beautiful memories I captured in the photos and that’s plenty! This trip was a gift to myself that was long over due. Don’t cheat yourself but treat yourself and that’s exactly what I did! Interested to know more about Cuba? Feel free to ask me! Where are you headed to on your next trip? Wherever you go stay warm my friends. Until next time…

XoXo

Monalisa G. 😘

Girl where have you been…

Where have you been?

Being still, feeling up my soul, enjoying short walks, inhaling/exhaling slowly, listening to my inner thoughts, watching the wind blow, the sun shine, eating good, and chopping up meaningful conversation.

What have you been doing?

Choosing to allow myself space to just think, wander, read, sticking my feet in the sand, ocean, the grass, the concrete and cushiony shoes. All the while being still. 


Where have you been?

Minding my own, staying in my place, taking apart my time and placing the equal amounts to give and receive to my loved ones. Enjoying every ounce because you never know when it can be cut short!

Where are you going?

I’m going to laugh, listen, and move when necessary. I’m going to sit in the back yard and eat watermelon and cherries …get lost in the magic of the flowers and plants. I’m going to encourage you to encourage me. Im going to sit down and continue to Be Still….Listen…I’m going to keep living thru experiences and taking care of my mind, body, and spirit… 


Xoxo

MonaLisa G. 😘

Whence&Whither 

Hey guys I know it’s been a minute but guess what! I got the chance to catch up with Mike the Creative Director and owner of Whence&Whither.  After speaking with him all I can say is that he is the epitome of a humble individual! Check out what he had to say! 

Me: With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?

Mike: My name is Mike Brun and I am the Creative Director of Whence&Whither.

Me: Mike can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

Mike: That’s my least favorite question cause I hate talking about myself. I am 26 years young, Haitian American, and I grew up in Orlando, FL. My parents always taught me that if you could work hard then you can do anything. They always put that faith in me. I never really grew up thinking that there was nothing that I couldn’t do. My problem was deciding on what to do and being passionate enough to see it through. I was that kid that thought I was good at it, but never took that extra step to be great. So one of the decisions I decided to do was push myself to the next level.Me: I get what your saying. It kind of sounds a little bit like me at this point now. Can you tell me how you came about Whence&Whither? 

Mike: I was playing football in Missouri and I kind of fell out of love with the passion. When that was happening I stopped caring about school and kinda let my life drag away. I wouldn’t say that I was depressed but I reached a very low point in my life. I had to have a conversation with myself to focus on something and figure out what I enjoyed. I was going to drive myself crazy. So I wrote a list down of everything that I loved. Fashion was at the top of the list of things that I wanted to pursue. It wasn’t fashion at first but I just enjoyed getting dressed in the morning. That brought me happiness. So I was like cool I’m going to focus on clothes.  I started drawing t-shirts and I met this girl named Francine. She took my vision and grew and blew it up. We started going to fashion shows and getting into designer stuff. It introduced me to more nice things. We were at a fashion show and I met this teacher at International Academy of Design and Technology in Orlando and she gave me the advice to go to school. That was the first time I thought about even going to school for it. She talked to me about their program so I decided to attend school that next semester in Tampa.

Me: So how many years ago was that?

Mike: About 3 or 4 years ago.

Me: So Francine was the one that motivated you and got that fire going in you I see! Can you tell me what is the inspiration behind the clothes you design? 

Mike: Our mantra is versatile, functional, and forward. Those are the three things that we think about when going thru the design process. We go for comfort and sporty materials because they feel better on the skin. We like to keep it very simplistic and classic with a modern design and a twist.

Me: Is it for males and females?

Mike: It is for males but we have a lot of female clients. 

Me: How long did it take you to get thru your program? 

Mike: It took 2 years because going into it I already had my AA degree. So I had a few general education classes left to take. The hardest part was learning how to sew because I had no experience in it. It took most of the time perfecting it, but I stayed diligent and I didn’t fail any classes. I graduated with a 3.36 GPA with honors. When I was younger I didn’t care about grades I just wanted to play sports. That’s also where the athletic inspiration comes from.

Me: Wow! That is so good! What sports did you play?

Mike: I played football, basketball, soccer, volley ball, track, etc. Pretty much any sport that you can think of. If it had a ball I was active trying to do it. 

Me: But you still had an eye for fashion?

Mike: I always liked to get dressed. My mother put that in me because my father was a Pastor and she was the First Lady. So I was used to having that spotlight–radar to come with it every single Sunday. She instilled that in me and I took that and applied it to everyday. I would be that kid to put my outfits together and wait to wear mine after the first week of starting school.

Me: You jumped clean and fresh on everybody with your new stuff on lol! How would you describe your own personal style?

Mike: I would say that I’m a mood dresser. I dress how I feel for the day. I’m usually even tone with jeans and a t-shirt or maybe basketball shorts. I like to do a little bit of everything so one day I may want to dress like Fonzworth Bentley, the next day Andre, ASAP, or Kanye. 

Me: You like to switch it up a little bit..

Mike: Yes, eclectic! 

Me: I like that word too because it does describes everything about  you! I know you went thru a down and out phase and I wanted to know what did you do when you lost your inspiration?

Mike: I have two answers. When I was down and out I had to focus on me cause I know I got myself there and I had to get myself out. I spent a lot of time alone and I didn’t talk to anybody. I had three good friends while I was in Missouri: D lo, Scott, and Nick Pettlon. They tried to keep me in my highest spirits and could sense there was something different from how I’ve always been. I had to focus on something that I loved to get myself out of it and that’s what I did. Present day when I look for inspiration when I feel like I’m in a rut with my creative inspiration I go to synthetic inspiration. Basically you pick apart stuff that you like and tweak/ move it around to make it better. That’s how I get out of a rut whether it be two days, weeks, or months. There is always that moment when the light bulb goes off when something new comes and you kind of run with that. 

*As I’m taking notes..

Me: Who inspires you whether it’s a relative, celebrity, singer, etc? 

Mike: My mother that’s my baby and I love her to death. I’ve seen her work so hard and diligent to provide for us. She embodies that love that you would want to aspire to be like. She gives unconditional love no matter what happens even when she is mad and makes sure your fed. Even for people she doesn’t know she has always been that person. She was always the person the kids ran to for candy at church. I felt like she gave me good morals and at the same time she showed me that work ethic that it takes to be successful. They moved straight from Haiti to Jersey and started a business. They taught me how to be an entrepreneur and be independent from the system. They inspired most of things I did. She also went to school for fashion which I didn’t find out about until I graduated.

Me: Oooooooh ok, she didn’t tell you?

Mike: I would always see her making stuff on the sewing machine but I never put two and two together.

Me: So it was in your blood basically?!? 

Mike: One day I was in my office and I was working and she found one of her old journals and showed me her old drawings and patterns that she made.

Me: What was your reaction when you found that out? 

Mike: I was like I can ask you questions now cause you know what your doing lol.

Me: Wow that is crazy!

Mike: It’s funny cause the last collection I did had a bunch of different fabrics. On the detailing I put in suede and this one hounds tooth suede with a cotton twill that kept slipping and moving. I got frustrated cause I didn’t know how to make it stop. She told me that I had to baste it in place and put a loose stich thru it so it stayed while sewing. I was like duh I knew that to myself but didn’t think about it until she showed me. It was good to have her there to help me out. 

Me: I bet she is very proud of you now! And you always have that one person that can help you when you get frustrated. That is awesome!

Mike: I think she is more so just glad I focused on anything at all. 

Me: And finally figured out what it is that you really wanted to do…

Mike: She is definitely happy that I chose her passion, but with whatever I chose she would’ve been ok with it. If I wanted to be a garbage man she still would’ve supported me. 

Me: That’s a mother for you! She will still support you anyway. That’s unconditional love and a mother. My mother is the same way! 

Mike: We are blessed!

Me: We are very blessed! Are there any tips or advice  that you would like to give to future entrepreneurs, designers, or creatives? 

Mike: Never let anybody tell you that you can’t be or do nothing. If you can put your mind to it and your willing to put in the work to get there cause it’s not going to be easy; you can do anything. 

If you focus on your craft it’s literally like a mathematic formula to it. It takes 10,000 hours to perfect a craft. If your not willing to atleast put  in 10,000 hours before you decide to quit and move on to something else then it’s not that IT didn’t work, it’s that YOU didn’t work. So if you want to be anything you can do it.”

Not to be funny but Donald Trump of all people will be the president. So you cannot tell me you can’t do anything. And currently who do we have now President Obama. 

Me: I totally agree with that. We just gotta keep it moving. 

Mike: It’s going to be real hard. I wanted to give up soooo many times. 

Me: But I bet your glad that you didn’t now.

Mike: I’m so glad! 

Me: Even like looking at your instagram I’m like he is really doing something. And it looks like you have a good support system behind you. I’m thinking like wow this is cool and your inspiring me.  

Mike: I definitely have some good support. I appreciate that! 

Me: Where do you see yourself in the future and are there any new events/ projects that you are working on currently.

Mike: Our website launched recently. As far as the future we want to be known as more than just a clothing brand but more of a philosophy. So what we are going to do is help elevate planetary consciousness. That’s what we kind of push with the main thing being self love cause if you don’t love yourself you can’t love other people. We also want to get to the point where we are more involved in the community by having events where we go out and feed the homeless. Whatever we think, we aspire to do. Just teaching things like the right eating habits, how to better your diet, getting enough excercise, and the psychology of fashion. (When you dress good you feel good) When you put yourself together from day to day you take care of yourself and start on a good note the good will keep rolling…start on a bad note the bad will keep rolling.

Me: Absolutely! It’s all about mindset! Is there anything else that you would like to add? 

Mike: I would like to say thank you to you for the interview and I appreciate you reaching out. 

Me: Nooo, thank you! 

Mike: To anybody that is looking for what’s next to come we just want to promise to always be an inspiration and to always push creativity. I feel like in this day and age where the system is trying to get rid of the arts and taking them out of the schools like losing music and drum programs with low funding. They are cutting athletics like cheerleading. We promise to always be that inspiration to promote the arts. 

Me: And I will keep watching because I know you have some good things in store for you. 

Mike: I’m excited! 

Me: I’m excited too! Thank you so much for having me! 

To stay connected with Mike and follow his journey you can find him on Instagram: @wxwthebrand

Shopwxwthebrand.com

Email:wxwthebrand@outlook.com

 

Reflections

When you care about something bigger than yourself then you will find true happiness! Well that’s what the documentary said that I just tuned all the way in to (HAPPY)! I truly have belief in that statement but I’m still trying to connect the dots. Appreciate the small things that you have. Blessings come in all sizes and just be thankful is what I know to ring true. As each day goes by I have constantly been hard on myself for slow progress. But that’s better than no progress right?  I have been exploring the depths of my own mind inch by inch. I find myself drifting on a journey that is not fully complete. I know that I need not be here nor there but somewhere my eyes have yet to see. Please book me a one way ticket to Zamunda! I’ll wait…or I can hop on social media and take a ride in somebody else’s fairy tale lane! Ha! Walking thru a tropical jungle on a rainy day or streaming down the river watching the wild animals play….Yikes… What’s next?  I now know that it’s ok to take a step back and just be caught up in life. As long as I opened my eyes to see another 24 hours I am forever grateful. When your plan in your mind does not equal where your at today it can be intimidating. I think I’m missing the bigger picture here. (Isn’t that the whole point of blogging? Rhetorical question lol!) The road on that journey makes it even better I guess. It creates substance, character, and perhaps a story to tell. Slow yourself down and allow yourself to feel everything that’s happening. I recently attended a workshop on mindfulness and the most important tip I took from it was to be counscious and present in everything that you do.  All things happen for a reason although I’m not sure why…it will always reveal itself in due time. I’m not rushing this thang just talking you thru it with me. Here is what I have been reflecting on for quite awhile it may sync with your thoughts and you may have others:

  • Pray
  • Keep smiling
  • Enjoy family and friends
  • Get a great support system
  • Don’t be afraid to dream
  • Don’t waste time on people/things that don’t elevate you
  • Be kind.
  • Say no!
  • Trust actions/intuition
  •  Follow your heart 
  • intimate moments need to be just that 
  • Take your time
  • Be open for suggestions/ideas from others but stick to what you know in your mind
  • Express yourself! 

Stop spending the clock on anything that does not give you a pep in your step, a stride in your walk, and some feel good energy! What do you care about that will bring you true happiness? 

Dress: Thrifted 

Shoes: Agaci

Sunnies: Queensunnies

Yours truly,

Monalisa G. 😘

Catching up with OrangeisMedia! 

Monalisagblog
Hello everyone! I got the chance to sit and chat with Leon better known as Orangeismedia! He is a creative soul full of many talents! He is a photographer, videographer, poet, and founder of the #1 open mic in Orlando #RespectTheMic. Be sure to check out the interview and what he had to say! 

Me: With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with this evening?

Leon: Well you have the pleasure of speaking with Leon E. Orange Jr. Or you can call me Orangeismedia! A couple of people call me that. 

Me: Leon can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Leon: I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I spent nine years in the military. I did three years in active duty in Fort Drummond, NY.  I came down here because I had a passion for the arts  and music.  I never wanted it to be just one thing.  I had a bunch of things I wanted it to be and do. Just coming down to Florida I felt like it was the best place for me to do it.  You have Full Sail University with a bunch of aspiring film makers, music guys, and painters. I found home! I’ve been here for the past eight years. 

Me: So that’s what brought you to Orlando?

Leon: That’s what brought me here fa sho! 

Monalisagblog

Me: What made you want to bring the open mic to Orlando?

Leon: Now with the open mic there were open mics and things going on in Orlando because it is such a diverse melting pot of different cultures already. I just remembered being back home being in coffee shops and having poetry gigs. I didn’t really see that here in Orlando. So I figured I could ask someone else to do it or I could create it myself. So that’s what I did.  I had a passion and a goal to start my own open mic and about 15 people showed up to the first show. Now three years later we get over 100 people every week every Tuesday, EVERY Tuesday! So just imagine how that is 3 years going. 

Me: Wow! I notice on your flyer you have a featured artist every week, how do you go about choosing your featured artist? How do you go about planning your show? Is it routine? 

Leon: It’s defenitely routine and consistency. I always feel like consistency is the key to success. As far as my features go I always have a plethora of artists performing each night.  It’s poets, emcees, singers, comedians, etc. So out of those people whoever stands out is who I ask to to come and be a feature on a different day.      I got a lot to choose from with about 15 to 20 people every week. 

Me: What inspires you as a creative? 

Leon: What inspires me is people. People inspire me because they can go to school and work and make albums and rap. It’s people that are damn near homeless and paint like Picasso. Those type of things inspire me. So I feel like if they are able to create on the levels that they are then I would be wasting my God given talent to not try to help foster those things or create myself.



Me: It almost sounded like you were rapping or spitting a poem! I guess that kind of correlates with your motivation. Was there ever a time where you felt like giving up?

Leon: I felt like giving up often but I look at it as a barrier to push myself thru to get to the next level. There has been times when everybody hasn’t gravitated to things that I’ve done. What I’ve always maintained to do is to try to stay consistent never compete with anybody, and never set goals or expectations on many people. I literally do what I do and whoever wants to follow suit will follow suit. They will always be able to trust what I’m doing because I continue to stay consistent. 

Me: So you just continue to stick with it no matter what? 

Leon: Mo matter what. No matter how cool or popular it is I’m going to do me and enough people will gravitate to it. 

Me: I agree with that. Kinda like what I’m doing. Whoever likes it will like it or whatever and I’m going to keep doing it. What other projects are you working on besides your open mic? 

Leon: I’m shooting music videos and photo shoots every other week. Im stretching my limits as far as my photography with levatation photography and trick videos. I’m doing all these different things. My next big venture I’m excited to do is start another open mic and it will be Respect the Mic presents the “Cypher”. It will have a different host every month. My goal is to break the poetry scene down. Right now the show is an actual show with a band. It can kinda be intimidating to poets just writing in a notebook or jotting some lines down in their phone that don’t feel confident in performing in front of a lot of people. So what I’m doing is simultaneously building leaders. Every month I will pick a new host. I will choose people that are interested that have never hosted before. So that will help with building leaders then on the flip side the people that are performing will get honest, positive critiques on their poems. This will help them become better performers. I’m trying to strengthen poets and potential leaders in terms of the hosting community. 


Me: I think that’s a good idea to get people comfortable up there and sharing their word. Where do you see yourself in the future about 3 years from now? 

Leon: Ok cool..See a lot people always ask me where do I see myself in the distance or what’s next for me and I always tell them exactly what I’m doing now.

Me: So you see yourself like what your doing currently instead of ahead? Cause with me I kinda go with how I feel so I don’t really know where I will be. Is that how you are?

Leon: No! I’m exactly going to be doing THIS and it’s going to be the same thing 3,5, and 10 years from now. I’m going to stay consistent at what I do and add things on to it over time. At the end of the day consistency is the key. 

Me: So are you following your passion? If so how did you know?

Leon: Yes! I knew I was following my passion when I felt like I made it. A lot of people want to be rich and I feel like I’m rich already. I’m kinda just living off the fruits of my labor. Once I felt that satisfaction I knew I made it and it’s all I ever wanted to do. 

Me: And that is so good because you are successful in your own sense and your happy with what your doing. A lot of people don’t have that. 

Leon: Absolutely! 

Me: Is there any advice that you would like to give to future creatives? 

Leon: For future creatives I would say find what it is that gets you up in the morning and consistently do that. Don’t worry about how many people come to your shows, listen to your music, or how anybody gravitates to what you do! You focus on you and making yourself better. In any sense when you keep the focus on you, the people will come.

Me: Is there anything else you would like to say? 

Leon: Check out my open mic every Tuesday at Cafe Annie’s in Orlando, FL. Holla at me and talk to me…connect with me. I’m a very personable person.

poetrysinger poetsingerrapperpainter


Me: Thank you Leon (Orangeismedia) I’m very happy that you took the time to speak with me. 

Leon: Thank you! 

 To connect with Orangeismedia you can find him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and www.orangeismedia.com

An emoji style world

emojis, tye dyeHere is something to think about. A conversation can be skewed by emojis to have you thinking that the person you are talking to is completely fine. In other news behind that phone there is someone wishing and hoping that they find the courage to tell you that they aren’t ok. We live in a world where people are hurting from whatever life has thrown their way. They put on a facade out of hopes of being that happy go lucky guy or gal. When you have a chat with your family or friend genuinely ask them “are you ok?” It’s ok to not have it all together in the snap of a finger but atleast you have opened up the line of communication so that dialogue can be exchanged. When you have people in your corner that actually care to listen it makes it all better. Releasing your feelings is a good way to manage your mental health instead of keeping it all inside. I encourage you to extend yourself today to that person that is waiting on that check up!
Yours truly,

😘 Monalisa G. 

5 go to loc hairstyles

Hello everyone! Are you looking for easy quick styles to rock? These styles can be achieved on Locs, loose naturals, or relaxed hair! I like to have versatility when it comes to my locs! These are 5 styles that I have been wearing to stay cute this summer! (my hair was prepped from a Bantu knot out) What is your favorite go to hair style? 

Bantu knots

Side part

Pony with bang

Side swept curls

Top knot bun


Yours truly,

😘 Monalisa G.

    Closet Freekz

    I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with Ash, the proud owner of Orlando’s clothing store Closet Freekz!  I must say I am pretty impressed with how much information was shared with me today and I can’t wait to give you all the details. So let’s jump right in!


    Me: Heeeey Ash! I want to know how you got started with Closet Freekz and what does that name mean to you?

    Ash: Closet Freekz got started in my own house in my own closet and it was the idea that you can wear whatever makes you feel confident even if it’s not something necessarily popular or trendy. I felt like a lot of people our age or younger in society don’t have the freedom to go in their closet and make who they want to be today. So that’s why I spelled it F- R -E -E -K -Z!  It went from there into a situation where we can create who we are everyday regardless of popularity or being cool but still having your own individuality.  That’s how the items are chosen to be sold in the store.

    Me: I see some pretty funky pieces in here so can you tell me the style inspiration for Closet Freekz?

    Ash: The style inspiration changes monthly because each season I pull together a collection of ideas and designs. These peices are populated within a series of new vintage wholesale items.

    For example an idea for a collection of denim could literally change by the month depending on what people like about the different styles and trends that can be made from the items.

    That’s the cool thing about it and I always tell people you will never find these one of a kind pieces again.  We get to create new things and bring back some old ones. You can re-invent your style seasonally. We all go thru that phase and say that worked for summer but now I need a new look for fall. There are not too many places that you can go and pin point a special something you are looking for.  Aside from thrifiting you can randomly find original items. I try to keep enough pieces in stock so that you can possibly try something new such as that army fatigue look, a jumpsuit, or a jacket. Thrifting doesn’t allow you to have the abundance of variety to choose from so I try to have it available. If you want to re-invent yourself we give you your own paint to do that with!

    Me: I agree people can creatively have an idea of what they want to wear in their mind and your store helps to bring that to light.  Can you tell me about when you felt the need to venture out and create Closet Freekz?

    Ash: So I finished school and did a year in the military. I traveled a lot and began to get restless and I was just like a lot of us (in our 20’s and 30’s) thinking like what’s next!


    —we both shared a giggle and I knew exactly what she meant.


    We spend our time traveling and getting to know ourself during this transition.

    I saw another lady start her business and I figured hey I could start a business since I’m already business minded.  People were already asking me for my clothes out my closet anyway.  I don’t have any sisters so sharing clothes was not anything I was used to doing. I just gave my clothes away. I came up with the concept of coming up with peices of clothing I would risk trying and put them up for sale to see who else would try them out.

    Me: So you were always a trendsetter I see! Can you explain your own personal style?

    Ash: Uuum NO! And I think that is the best part of my style it always changes. Shopping for me is the worst thing somebody could ever do.

    Me: Totally understand the same here for me!

    Ash: I can’t explain my style because it is eclectic it is evolutionary and always changing. In my mind my idea of what I want to present is also changing. I am a canvas for my consumers because I like to introduce my buyers to new pieces. My comfort clothes are sports wear. Once your able to pinpoint your style I think you should change it.

    Me: I agree on changing your style up lol! What else are you pursuing besides Closet Freekz?

    Ash: I will be getting a a few other stores opened for Closet Freekz as well as some brand ambassador work for an athletic brand. (She can’t spill the beans yet on the company). I operate an online radio station where live radio space is sold and Co-own a management and PR firm that will officially start in the fall. I’m always about taking a little bit and turning it into alot! Those are a few things I have under my belt and who knows what else is in store.

    Me: Your a busy little lady and you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. So my last question for you is what advice would you give a person looking into entrepreneurship?

    Ash: The typical thing to say is apply yourself and anything you want to do and dream of will come true. I’m not going to say that because I don’t think it’s that simple. I feel like that attitude makes it seem like it’s for everyone and entrepreneurship is NOT for everyone. It is for the savages!

    It’s for people who don’t mind taking out of their mouths, the clothes off their backs, and pillows under their heads to give to a business.” 

    To give to something no one can see yet even when it just starts with an idea. It’s not glamorous and for the people in our generation they think being an entrepreneur means working when you want and sitting on a yacht while money is coming in. Those are goals that we look forward to, the same way as being a VP in a company.

     

    “It starts with hard work and a sacrifice. Sacrificing your lifestyle to give to an opportunity and alot of it is unseen! Most people can’t see what your trying to do. Hopefully you will get supported by family and people who can trust in you whether they see it or not.”

    On the worst case scenario you don’t have people that understand what your doing .  So you just have to know that your doing it for a purpose. You see your own vision and have to clarify the parts that keep pushing you to be successful. A lot of people don’t make it because they don’t push thru the storm. They feel like it should be free and full of sunshine. The only thing people see is the sunshine on the outside. They will never see what you had to sacrifice and put yourself thru to learn what it is your trying to do. Then on top of that to get people to support it. I don’t take support lightly! Every customer and client that could see what I did visually to me is one more person that I’ve accomplished.

    I remember when it was just me that could see it and that’s a really big deal. Evaluate what is for you and if it’s for you don’t be so quick to give up or second guess yourself. It won’t be easy and hopefully you still can push thru the hard times. Once you get to the other side and are helping people with a service you provided it’s more rewarding than any other profession because you created it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s fashion, art, music, cupcakes, etc just something that your passionate about and your helping people.

    ✨”It was a purpose put in you that has flourished and now people can eat the fruit and enjoy it!”✨

    That’s the full circle of entrepreneurship. It’s a great feeling but everybody isn’t meant to do it.

    Me: Whew! I thank you for being real and explaining that obstacle because  like you said everybody doesn’t see the hard work that you have to go thru. I think you are doing a wonderful thing and I appreciate you for that! I definitely look forward to seeing what’s in your future! 

    To keep up with Ash and her future endeavors you can follow her on social media! Don’t forget to check out Closet Freekz and tell her I sent ya 😘

    www.shopclosetfreekz.com

    420 E. Church St

    Orlando, FL 32801

    Instagram: @closetfreekz @ashcashmoney

     

    Toastin to the weekend

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    Park Plaza Restaurant

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    Looking for a refreshing scenery with delicious food and drinks this weekend? Park Plaza Garden Restaurant is the place you should definitely check out. Tucked away in Winter Park, FL on Park Avenue. You can get a feel of sitting in a garden-like ambiance, but nestled on the inside of the hotel. The chicken and waffles made my entire day. The chicken was seasoned just right and crispy enough to my liking.  I must admit that I love and appreciate a good breakfast combo. The fluffy waffle was drizzled with syrup and needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed every bite!  The bottomless mimosas were the perfect touch to a great brunch date! Whether you are celebrating a birthday or hanging out to catch up with friends for happy hour this is a must! Cheers to the freakin weekend, you will be glad I sent you!!!

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    Chicken and waffles

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    Cheers! Pomegranate and mango mimosas

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    Park Plaza Restaurant                      319 S Park Ave Winter Park, FL 32839

    Yours truly,

    😘 Monalisa G.