Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mallory's Thoughts: The Power of Your Brain

             Over the weekend I took some time to relax and enjoy a movie. As I watched the Ben Carson Story I was inspired. I began to think about one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life. I believe one of life’s most important lessons is the process of discovering your unique gifts and attributes.     
            During a scene in the movie, Ben Carson interviewed for a position at John Hopkins University’s Neurosurgeon Residency Program. During his interview he was asked why he wanted to become a neurosurgeon. He responded, “I believe the brain is a miracle. There is so much we should do; there are so many miracles we should perform. The key to performing miracles is the brain.” As I thought about his words, I thought about how intricately human beings have been created. I also thought about how enlightening it has been for me to continue to discover and utilize all of my unique characteristics and qualities. It also has been just as important for me to discover ways to positively impact humanity by using my gifts and attributes.  
            As I began to think about how the brain is related to femininity, the topic of comparison continued to come up in my mind. Although many women will not admit to their behaviors of comparison it is very common. When we compare ourselves to others we use our brains destructively. We often compare our looks and achievements. We think negative thoughts about ourselves and we spend countless hours wishing we could change things about ourselves.
            We rarely stop and think about the power our brain has, or the brains ability to help us achieve countless and indescribable things. Our brain was intended to be a tool of empowerment. Our brain should be used optimistically, to plan for the future, to discover our gifts, to imagine ourselves fulfilling our destiny, to think positive thoughts about ourselves and others, and to accomplish miracles by being motivated to action. But we rarely push ourselves to use our brains to reach those unimaginable dreams and goals. Instead much of our time is spent coveting others possessions and achievements.          
            The beauty of femininity is its differences. Femininity can be described, explained, and demonstrated many different ways. Femininity encompasses many thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and ideas. When I think about how my brain influences my femininity, I would have to say my brain is the organ that completely encompasses my individuality. In other words, no one will see or embrace feminine ideas exactly the way I do. No one will wear color schemes or fabric patterns exactly the way I do. No one’s ideas of femininity will cause them to be motivated to action the same way I am. Each woman possesses femininity in her own unique way. Your individual approach to femininity is just as powerful and important as other women. So, in the spirit of “Identifemi” I encourage you to Identify Your Femininity. I want to encourage you to use your brain to activate those unique qualities you possess. Yes, I believe your uniqueness will provide you with a platform somewhere, somehow to impact others.  


Monday, November 19, 2012

Model Spotlight: Tina Sickinger

 (As part of our mission to provide accessories that help women "identify their femininity" IdentiFemi  utilizes real girl models in all of our product shoots. Each model brings a set of skills, experiences, goals, and style preferences that make her amazing! We want to share our amazing models with our customers and blog readers. We are super excited to present our first model spotlight.)
Meet Tina!
Tina Sickinger
Relationship Status
If you could do anything with your life or have your dream job what would you do/be?
 I would do something on a global level helping people change behaviors.[Helping people] change to more healthy behaviors and life styles.
Describe your style? What does Tina like to wear?
Tina likes to be comfortable. But that doesn't mean I don’t dress up. I like classy not trashy. But I do like a lot of bright colors.
Is there a particular color you find yourself wearing more than not?
I like pink. I don’t always wear it, [but] I do like pink. People have told me I look good in purple  I don’t know how true that is.
Who is your style icon? Do you have one? 
Not necessarily [a style icon] but I am a really big Beyonce' fan. She’s pretty fierce, but she's also classy.
What does femininity mean to you?
Embracing being a woman, whether that’s as far as style, your curves, or [being] unique. [Doing] different things  with your hair and stuff that guys just don’t do.
Has there ever been a time when your femininity was challenged? 
In high school I wore sweatpants probably everyday, so I would say definitely in high school. It had a lot to do with like some of the activities I played. There was once, [when] we had to do a gender bender day where the girls dressed up as guys. It was interesting.
Since you had to wear sweats [in high school] what helped you develop your own style outside of that?
You still know whats cute and stuff; but I don’t know, that one’s hard.
What are some things that make you feel beautiful? 
Natural is the true definition of beautiful for me. Whether that’s little makeup but natural tones or no makeup. [With] my hair, people tell me that they like it better natural.  Just kind of being yourself I feel like is attractive to anyone.

If you could give advice to your younger self what would you say?
I would have never dyed my hair for sure! But I would say, just be natural. Be who you are, not who you think you should be, or who other girls are trying to be. Especially like in school, girls get caught up in who they are not.
How do you stay confident?
I’m not always confident but I think I've learned  through performing and being in front of people that if you half do something, even talking to people,  then it comes off that way. If you’re not having a legitimate conversation or  speaking to people in a true manner; if you're nervous they know. 
Where do you see yourself in five years and ten years?
In five years I see myself hopefully either out of grad school or through a nursing program and hopefully with a pretty stable job and maybe thinking a baby, at some point.  In ten years definitely children, having a career that I like and not something that’s hard. Hopefully working in Health Education. I’m kind of open though to what comes and what ever falls in line for Brian [my husband].
You know our company is called IdentiFemi and it stands for "identify your femininity." How do you feel like you "identify your femininity" as Tina?
Probably a mixture of being confident, but naturally, and just being who I am
 Thanks for the AWESOME interview Tina!
Stay tuned for our next "model spotlight" on November 30th.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Myah's Words: Feminine Hair

I have always been a girly-girl when it comes to clothes and fashion. I love pink, sequins, and sparkles. However, there is one area of my life where I have struggled with my femininity. That area is my hair. Growing up, I alternated between relaxed* hair (which is basically taking my natural, coily hair and chemically straightening it) and natural hair (which is wearing my hair the texture that it grows out of my head, without any chemical changes). I have always had hair that grew fast and for many years my beauty was defined by the length of my hair. I loved short haircuts but I never had the nerve to actually cut my hair. From eighth grade to my junior year of high school I wore my hair in its natural state (think afro or twists). I loved my hair this way, but as I got older I started to notice my peers did not approve of my hair in its natural state. Having natural hair was not seen as cool when I was in high school and it definitely was not seen as pretty. Pretty girls had long, luxurious permed hair. I had shoulder length, thick, kinky hair. In all honesty, until junior year of high school I was blissfully unaware of how “uncool” my hair was. One day in particular, changed my view of my hair for the rest of my high school and half of my college career.

                                                (My natural hair, pre-hair insecurities)

During the middle of the year I went to school wearing an Afro.  I was proud of my thick, full hair. When I made it to school I was met with laughs, pointing, and harsh jokes. I had never felt more ashamed of myself or the way I looked.  My self-esteem was greatly affected by that experience and from then on I vowed that I would never wear my hair in its natural state again. I started to feel insecure about my hair and the next year I permed it. I remember going into the salon believing I would come out a new woman because my hair would be straight. I started my senior year with straight hair. The first day I went to school feeling confident and sexy (okay, as sexy as a seventeen year old could be).  I just knew my new hair would grant me the popularity and acceptance I was looking for. I was met with disappointment. People commented on my hair, but just as soon as it was seen, it was old news. I quickly became just another black girl with permed hair.  Within the coming months my hair began to break off and I developed dime and quarter sized bald spots. The texture of my hair greatly thinned and I knew I was having a reaction to both the perm and the heat (curling irons and flat irons) I was using.  Even so, I continued to perm my hair.
                                         (My relaxed (permed) hair during my senior year of high school)
College brought on a new hosts of hair insecurities. Suddenly, I was not only in a sea of permed hair I was introduced to the world of wigs and weaves. I quickly realized that the cool girls on campus had long straight weaves and wigs.  I wanted to weave my hair but I quickly realized that the price of weaves were not cheap! Some of the women around me were spending $100- $200 every four to six weeks to get their weaves done. My student income didn’t allow for those types of weaves and I quickly began to feel inadequate.  My freshman year was a mix of micro braids and permed hair. Regardless of how I styled my hair I felt insecure and unhappy.  My sophomore year became a year of experimentation. I started out by cutting my hair into an uneven bob. I absolutely loved it. Then I cut my hair into a short crop cut. I loved that too but it was hard to maintain.
                                                                      (  My "Bob")
                                                                     ( My "Short Cut")
I loved my new hair but inside I felt a deep, genuine urge to embrace myself as I was naturally. I still based my beauty on being cool and having an acceptable hair style. I knew I needed a time where my hair was in its most natural state. I knew it would force me to develop a self-esteem based on being a natural version of myself. In January of 2010, I cut my hair off and began the process of going natural once again. This time I was determined to find myself, for who I really was and for what I naturally looked like. For so many years “popular” was pretty in my eyes and since weaves and straight hair where popular they were also what I saw as pretty. But they weren’t me, at least they weren’t who I naturally was. I ‘m not sure where the determination came from but I suddenly found myself on a quest to find out who I was. I wanted to know that I was beautiful for just looking like Myah. I read a plethora of natural hair blogs and watched natural hair videos on Youtube. I learned a lot about my hair, my ethnicity, and inevitably my identity. During this period a lot of my true insecurities came forth but so did my inner strength, authentic beauty, and confidence.

                                                    (Natural Myah in the Early Stages)
I stayed natural until June of 2011. At that time I had just completed my Bachelor’s degree and I wanted a style change. In my mind the only change I could think of was a perm. I still had left over insecurities.  They weren’t as strong as before but they were part of the voice in my head that told me “natural hair wasn’t as sophisticated,” and “guys will think you are cuter if you have permed hair.” I battled with myself for a couple of months and then I took the plunge. I remember sitting in my beauticians chair and feeling her put the first few strokes of perm in my hair. I knew in that moment it was a mistake. I don’t know why I didn’t tell her to stop. I was too timid, polite, and unsure I guess. After the process was over I tried to tell myself that I liked the new permed style but I knew in my heart I had made a hair mistake. I didn’t even feel like myself.  The next morning when I woke up and looked at my permed hair in the mirror I wanted to cry. I had truly made a mistake.  Two months later I cut my hair off and began the process of growing my hair out naturally again. I haven’t regretted my decision to return to being natural. 
                                                           (Natural Myah in May 2011)
                                              (Permed Myah in June 2011 (I was hating my hair!)
I won’t lie, sometimes I still feel insecure about my hair. However, though this process I have become extremely confident in my hair. I think I am beautiful with my natural coily hair. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having straight hair from time to time (but I don’t like straightening my own hair because I don’t want to damage it) so I have five wigs that I use mostly during the winter months then I want my “straight hair fix”. I think it is so important to be able to accept yourself for who you naturally are. I don’t think synthetic hair, nails, or makeup are wrong, but I think they become a problem when you can’t feel beautiful without those things. Makeup, hair, nails, and clothes are only made to enhance our personal style and our existing beauty. They do not make us who we are. Every day I am learning that even with my coils (or naps as some would call them) I am still just as pretty as a girl with straight hair. More importantly I am myself and that is the bravest thing this girl has ever been.
                                                             (Myah Now)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mallory's Thoughts: Bubble Baths and Candle Light

                                                                  Image Credit
I recently spoke at a women’s conference where I mentioned my daily ritual of a bubble bath to candlelight. When I brought up the topic, I was not prepared for the different responses. Sure, I know there are a lot of women who take bubble baths with candles burning, but it is usually a practice women indulge in after a long day. However, I take my bubble baths first thing in the morning. Some of the women attending the conference thought my morning bubble baths to candlelight was an interesting idea. Other attendees were inspired and saw the bubble bath ritual as an indication that they needed to incorporate some type of “me time” into their daily routine.
            My daily bubble bath ritual is the time I use to de-stress and prepare for the day. I know it sounds strange, the need to de-stress in the mornings. Most mornings, when I wake up, I immediately begin creating in my head a list of things I need to do. Carving out “me time” helps me to focus on what is important. During my morning ritual, I pray and thank God for being alive, for keeping my family safe, and for giving me the strength to face whatever the day brings. I also take time to reflect on this journey called life. I think it is important to embrace both the good and the bad that happens in our daily journey. Although we endure many struggles and disappointments in life, we also experience many surprises and golden nuggets that are priceless.
            You might ask, what does this have to do with femininity? I believe part of being feminine is taking daily personal time to rediscover yourself. My bubble baths in the morning are about nurturing my body, my mind, and my emotions. My bubble baths remind me that I need to take time to look my best, to approach my day with the best attitude possible, to increase in understanding, to show compassion, and to be an instrument demonstrating kindness and love. My morning baths remind me to embrace the challenges of the day by allowing the challenges to unlock unused potential and help me to embrace change. How you start your day will greatly influence how you respond to the events of the day. Okay ladies, I challenge you to find a morning ritual that will cause you to embrace your femininity by reminding you that your beauty is a representation of what you look like on the inside as well as the outside.   


Monday, November 5, 2012

Myah's Words: Accepting My Style, Accepting My Femininity.

When I was in high school, I hoped to win “Best Dressed” my senior year. I put my best foot forward, wearing the cutest outfits I could create and almost never having an “off day” when it came to my clothes. I was sure I stood a chance. In my eyes, I was definitely stylish and people always commented on what I wore. When the “Best Dressed” winner and nominees were announced, I was nowhere in the running. I was devastated. I remember thinking “is my style not good enough?” “Do I dress bad?” The experience led to a fashion downward spiral that lasted four years. From that moment on, I constantly compared my clothes to other girls. I tried to keep up with the trends. I tried to learn the “cool styles” and wear heels. With every outfit I tried to create using other people’s style preferences, I lost a part of myself. 
                                            High school Myah, when I was comfortable with my style.

By the time I graduated from college I was painfully insecure and totally confused about my style. I didn’t feel cute. I didn’t feel feminine. And most of all, I didn’t feel good enough. In graduate school I ran a style blog. Style blogging gave me the opportunity to showcase my personal style, but reading other style blogs caused me to do what I had done so often in the past: compare myself to other people. Once again I was miserable, frustrated, and style-less. It took me a while, but I soon realized that what I had been trying to do all along was gain acceptance through what I wore. In high school, I really believed that winning best dressed would validate my importance. I didn’t feel important so I thought having the approval of “the right people” (popular people) would solidify how important I was. In college, I wanted to fit in so I followed the model of other people. If the cool, accepted girls wore pink boot and fur coats then I wanted to wear pink boots and a fur coat, even if my real style preference was a plaid shirt, jeans, and Uggs. I always wanted to be chic, but really (as someone recently accurately described) my style is very creative. I now seek to enjoy my clothes rather than to wear things other people approve of. Honestly, I’m not trendy. I only know a handful of brand names. My clothes aren’t chic. My taste isn’t sexy. But none of that matters because I have learned to wear what makes Myah happy. I feel the most comfortable in clothes that are sweet, colorful, and sparkly. I’ve learned that my acceptance and femininity are not defined by trends but rather they are defined by me.

                                    Myah now. I have redefined my style and now I feel more like myself. 

To see more of Myah's style (or to hear more of her thoughts) head on over to her blog :

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mallory's Thoughts: What's Your Style:

What’s your style? Maybe today it’s a two strand twist, slacks, a chunky sweater, small post earrings and a charm bracelet. Maybe tomorrow it’s a twist out, denim skirt, knee length boots, jersey tee, large hoop earrings and a hobo bag. Whatever your taste, remember that your style is a representation of your femininity. On several occasions I have been told that my style is unidentifiable and cannot be easily classified. But unidentifiable is not how I would describe my style. I would describe my style as individualized, creative, classic and sort of chic. Sounds different, right?  Well it is. 

My style is a representation of me. I refuse to be identified by clothing, hair, and accessory norms. I prefer to define my style by choosing accessories that make me feel proud to be a woman, clothes that fit neatly and are comfortable, and hair styles that showcase who I am as an individual. I am a firm believer that your style should represent who you are and what makes you feel feminine. So, I challenge you, instead of allowing others to decide what you should wear, or decide what clothing is acceptable for each season, Identify Your Own Femininity by wearing clothes, hairstyles, and accessories that represent you.