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Inspire with Christy Birmingham

This week we are going to talk about Christy Birmingham. She is a writer, poet and feminist. Her writing is inspiring and motivates every woman who is going thru difficult moments. I personally love her work, Christy explains how art/poetry helped her to deal with personal issues, depression, and abuse. She is the perfect example what we have been trying to translate on our project.

Christy

Read her complete interview below.

When did you discover your passion for writing?

As an elementary school student, I realized my love of poetry and short stories. It was after becoming a voracious reader. I recall my English teacher asking us to pen a story based on a prompt and my story getting a good mark from the teacher. I was very proud!

Is poetry your favorite writing style?

Yes. Poems mean a lot to me as this was my first writing style published (back in elementary school – the poem was on the topic of recycling). I like the succinct nature of poetry. The format suits how my thoughts often emerge and I find that my expressions go well with a poetic format.

Do you think poetry is a type of therapy?

It absolutely can be! Art therapy has proven benefits and writing is a form of it. Poems, in particular, helped me to deal with personal issues, including depression and abuse. It was through my first poetry book Pathways to Illumination that I truly came back to being “me.”

Tell me about your writing motivation.

I am primarily motivated to write to help women struggling with their mental health or with unhealthy relationships. I speak from experience and want to help others. I believe that my purpose is to provide a hand to those who need help in these areas. By growing my blogging and book platforms, I can hopefully reach more women.

Who is your favorite author?

Margaret Atwood! I was drawn to her when I realized how distinct a writing style she has. I marveled in her book Surfacing at how she crafted a female character that was both unique and familiar at the same time. She has a beautiful way of phrasing sentences.

Tell me about your favorite poem.

I cannot choose a favorite poem. There are so many great choices. Some of the poets I admire most are Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and Sylvester L. Anderson.

 

What are your career aspirations?

I think that keeping inspired in a career can wane, no matter who you are. If I find this happening, I take a break from my desk and walk out in nature (preferably by the water). This will calm me and help me refocus my train of thought. It helps to write down the why behind why you do what you do as a career and look at this piece of paper when you find yourself feeling uninspired as a way to re-ignite the spark in you!

Tell me about your coming book.

I am working on a collection of short stories. It will be my third book and the first one that is fiction. I am not releasing too much about this upcoming book… yet.

 


Women’s rights

What do you think needs to be done to reduce the violence against women? 

I think that we need to stop putting the onus on women to prevent violence. I suggest instead that we educate men about respecting women and what a healthy relationship looks like. Instead of looking at sexual assaults as “what did she do to be treated that way?” let’s instead say “why did he do that?” But, better yet, let’s address the issue before it even happens.

Do you think that women can overcome traumas through writing?

I think writing is a therapeutic tool, absolutely. Journaling is just one example. My therapist had recommended it to me, and I found it helpful for making sense of a full mind. Reading the words on paper was scary at first, but it does force you to come to terms with the past and only by doing so can you move ahead.

How can writing be a powerful tool to speak out about women’s rights?

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For me, writing provides a way to connect with women whom I might not otherwise ever meet in person. Blog posts, articles, and books are all powerful ways of educating women and men about gender equality. My last book Versions of the Self explores the different types of relationships and explains how we each affect one another. The great thing about the written word is that it can be read re-read and savored whenever a person wants.

If you could advise a young girl who lives in a vulnerable territory, what would it be?

It would depend on the exact situation. If she is scared, I would encourage her to reach out to someone she trusts and express what is behind her fear. This person can then take the steps necessary to get this child to a safe place. Also, I would tell her to trust her instincts. If something feels off, it likely is!

Feel free to leave any message to our readers. 

Feminism is not an ugly word! Often a person raises an eyebrow at me when I explain that some of the writing I do concerns the subject of feminism. It is about protecting female rights around the globe, and we deserve to fight back at the attacks being made on it. Let’s stand strong and unite, men and women, to make the world a more peaceful and fair place to live.

Bio:

Find Christy Birmingham blogging about ways to enhance your life and live fully at When Women Inspire. Also, you can find her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+.

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Interview with Gricey RT – Geometry Art Portrait

by Vanessa Daniela

Empowering girls is the key to a prosperous society.

We are pleased to support Gricey RT. An amazing young artist who is well known for her geometry portraits. Gricey is launching her new portraits on our website in October.

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Read the exclusive interview with this talented artist.

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BIO

Born and raised in Northern Mexico, the artist behind this trend, Gricey RT, is only 15 years old. She is currently studying his first years of high school, but she already has a promising career in the field of Art & Mathematics.

French, English and Spanish speaker — she has a wide perspective of different cultures from which she finds inspiration and applies it to her art.

Her goal is to inspire this generation with art as her tool–therefore, the birth of this website, just to share her pieces with the world and to raise funds in order to keep developing her art techniques.


Interview

When did you discover your passion for the arts?

I have always tried to express myself through any kind of visual art, as far as memory holds. About three years ago, when my former math teacher gave us an assignment about tessellations—handmade drawings made of a pattern of geometric figures—I realized I could combine my art with basic geometry. However, unlike Leonhard Euler’s great masterpieces, I decided to put my own twist to it—implementing faces. That is because when I was nine years old I began developing a passion for the human face’s proportions and little characteristic that can make it different from everyone else.

Do you think art is a therapy?

Absolutely. It helps people going through tough times and traumas, and it is certainly as a mean to express your inner thoughts without the fear of criticism. No matter how you do it, you learn to love it and be proud of it; what really matters, however, is your feelings towards it and the opinion you have about it. It is unique. It is yours.

Tell me about your art motivation

My art motivation is the combination of both my fascination for art and mathematics. My goal is to highlight the distinctive features of the human face, to capture its beauty in a minimalist way. I enjoy drawing a human face with its own characteristics—large eyes, small forehead, big checks, you name it. The trick is using lines only. But in the end, the reaction of the people when I hand them their portrait is the most satisfying part and my biggest motivation.

Who is your favorite artist?

I consider Vincent van Gogh as my lifetime favorite because of his distinctive style and perspective of the world. To illustrate, his paintings clearly show the brush-stroke. Also, the effect of continuous movement in his painting Starry Night. Banksy’s political activism, on the other hand, caught my attention. His intention to transmit his message about politics through “illegal” means. He agreed to the possibility of going to jail, not showing his face, and doing it at night. Nowadays you have to be more spontaneous and creative in the way you share your art, like the previous example.

Tell me about your favorite art piece. 

My favorite art piece is The Creation of Adam and The David by Michelangelo because I like the way he captured the essence of the human body. Also, the Sunflowers of Van Gogh. A personal reason, my favorite color is yellow.

What are your career aspirations?

I have always clear that engineering is my area of vocation, in specific the area of cybernetics and electronics. Designing and developing prostheses to help amputees is one of my goals. Although recently my focus has been on developing my own style in art, I am sure that I will find a way to merge both aspects of design and achieve innovation in my area of study as well as on the artistic side.

Tell me about your coming project.

My upcoming project is a collection of the outstanding women throughout time. My intention the promotion of the idea that women are dauntless, empowered and capable of anything.

Women’s rights.

What do you think needs to be done to reduce the violence against women? 

I think we should educate our children that women are capable. We should encourage them to participate in social movements and politics. Making society aware women’s mistreatment through the means of art, like poems—like Button Poetry (which I really love)—performance art such as Marina Abramovic and Kara Walker, social movement such as The Art Hoe Collective, photography and visual art; Women support each other and empower one another.

Do you think through art women can overcome traumas?

Through art, we can put our traumas and difficult situations apart. This helps us to observe and analyze with objectiveness. That is because the first step to overcome, is to organize what we feel and what we think, and a way to do it, as I said, is through art.

How art can be a powerful tool to speak out about women’s rights?

I often think how in the past women art wasn’t well treated or even accepted. But since then, we had acquired the courage to express, create and show our art. At this point, we start to make ourselves conscious that we are also human beings and that we deserve the same opportunities as men do. So now I can say that we can inspire new generations of women to create and fight for what we want.

If you could give advice to a young girl, who lives in a vulnerable territory. What would it be?

All problems at a certain point, tend to end. In a good or a bad way, however. But the difficult part is living with them. Art is always a good way to escape because it helps you to focus and express your ideas. A painting, sculpture, a song, it doesn’t matter. And you don’t need expensive equipment to produce it, as I do, you can implement the concept of Minimalism, created by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. After all, your only true supply is your imagination and the most important thing, what really matters is your opinion.

Feel free to leave any message to our readers. 

I think that art has to do completely with feelings, it’s expressing yourself in different ways, and by the other hand opening your view of the World, because all of us see different things in a same piece of art. But no matter the place, people, culture, etc. Feelings are the universal language. So in some way art is telling us that we are all equal. As human beings, we have the same opportunities, strengths, weakness, etc. And that these art pieces deserve our attention, our respect, and tolerance.

Featured

Where Do We Go Now – Director Nadine Labaki

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by Charlie Brewer

Where Do We Go Now is the story of a small Lebanese village threatened by Christian-Muslim conflicts. The village is unnamed. The time is unspecified. It could be anywhere, anytime The men in the isolated village get along well with one another, until they get wind of the international conflicts between their faiths. Once they do, they are immediately split by religion despite the protests from their respective religious leaders. Their wives are tired and scared of the effects of their rage on their village, and do their damnedest to ensure the harmony and, in turn, their safety from one another. Director, co-writer, and star Nadine Labaki crafts a beautiful homage to the strength and cunning of the often underestimated and under appreciated Middle Eastern woman. All at once, she displays to her audience the crippling effects of reality, the joyful camaraderie of a musical, and the ups and downs of a forbidden romance. All of these ideas are connected by one single conflict, showcasing just how imperative it is to comprehend the effects of religious prejudice. Where Do We Go Now blurs the line between fictional characters and reality, inspiring its audience to take the lessons it teaches and apply them to their lives.

This film serves to inspire young women around the world because it was created by, for, and about women. It showcases the female gender in an entirely different light: yes, the women of the village are the traditional mothers and wives, but insists that those same women are intelligent, complex, raw characters that are often taken for granted. When this movie began with a group of women crying over their late husbands and sons, I reluctantly settled in for another male-dominated war movie about Courage in the Face of Adversity. Then the women began a

slow, heavy dance in time with one another. All at once, it was about the wives’ grief, the story less told but no less painful. It is clear from the first scene that this is no story we’ve been told before, zeroing in on the fact that the same women crying for the men they lost are completely their own beings, independent and strong and even manipulative in their own right. The husbands become the simplistic one-track minded characters, and the audience receives a much-needed insight into the minds of the loving wife and mother. The women effortlessly put aside their differences in religion in favor of the well-being of the village, manipulating their husbands like puppet masters. They are clever, cunning, loving, emotional, strong, weak, hateful, broken, and whole, all in one. For once, we are shown a complex, well-written hero in the form of the dowdy middle-aged mother. This film proves that anyone can be a hero, and that everyone – especially your mother – is one.

Every time I watch this film, I notice something new. I laugh. I cry. I call my mother. I learn. The making of this movie was not about gains, about fame, about money; instead of it was about sending a message that everyone can understand. This movie is art, because it disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed. Both sides are affected, both sides respond, and both sides blame the other for negative reactions. It is here that developing the wives, characters becomes even more imperative, because they are in the middle of the issue. As an American, it is fascinating to examine the conflict that our nation barely makes an effort to understand through the lense of a character we can all connect to. This film, with its story and its characters and its creators, inspires me to be the director, the creator, the artist I want to be.

Image Source: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/hammerandthump/interview-nadine-labaki-director-co-writer-and-star-of-where-do-we-go-now/

Interview with Artist Rebecca Tapscott — Creative Collections

“I am a maker of things; working predominately within the realms of contemporary painting.” These are the words of Australian Artist Rebecca Tapscott during our interview. But she is so much more than just a contemporary painter, as I soon find out. “I do like to mix it up a bit with Cyanotypes, welded sculptures […]

via Interview with Artist Rebecca Tapscott — Creative Collections

via Mongolia’s Hunt For Female Street Artists — i News Today Blog

The goal was to paint street murals that illustrate the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. And not to have only male artists — especially for the goal about gender equality. (Image credit: Katya Cengel for NPR) from xxx http://ift.tt/2eQhrkx bitly.com/2vy3fm4

via Mongolia’s Hunt For Female Street Artists — i News Today Blog

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Meet Tammie Umbel, who built a $1.7 million beauty business while home-schooling her 14 children.

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Tammie Umbel built a $1.7 million beauty business while home-schooling her 14 children.

“The purpose of Shea Terra was never intended to be so that I could go out and work,” the 44-year-old mom and businesswoman said. “Whatever I could do while being in the kids’ presence and in their service when they need me emotionally and physically, then I would do it. But I never said I wasn’t going to make money.”

Umbel travels the world finding raw materials for her Dulles, Va.,-based business that primarily caters to women. Ten employees manufacture products with names like Argan Oil, Shea Butter and African Black Soap.

The two-decade-old company grossed $1.7 million in revenue last year, Umbel said. She turned a profit of about $350,000 in 2016 — and is rightly proud of it.

Tammie Umbel’s company makes soaps, lotions, scrubs and other skin and face creams. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

The company gets about $100,000 a month in revenue online and most of the rest from Vitamin Shoppe, the 700-store chain that carries her lotions and creams.

“I absolutely love what I do,” Umbel said. “I have done everything myself, from A to Z.”

The children — ages 4 to 26 — go everywhere with her. Not all of them at the same time, of course. Her oldest child graduated from the University of Virginia and is in her last year at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Three others are in college studying engineering, cybersecurity and medicine.

Some might accompany her on sourcing “vacations” to Africa, something of a logistical nightmare. Sometimes they just pile into her recreational vehicle (sleeps 10), and off they go to an industry show in Florida.

“It’s not easy,” she said, with notable understatement. “We have to keep our passports up to date, which is a nightmare. Airports are tough. Lots of times, people in airports are jerks.”

Most of Umbel’s ingredients are things I have never heard of, like the argan oil from Morocco.

“In 2003, a Moroccan worker of mine brought a bottle of argan oil to me that his mother had made. I knew immediately I held the oil of the future, although I detested that it sounded like the name of a gas.”

She buys marula oil in Namibia, injecting some much-needed cash into a former mining community. And Egypt is her source of something called Black Seed Oil.

“I built Shea Terra the old-fashioned way,” said Umbel, who lives on a Loudoun County farm with her physician husband. “Hard work is how. Dedication. I took the money I made and reinvested in the business. No debt. No loans. No investors.”

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As the company has grown, Umbel has trained her staff so she can run the company remotely from her Leesburg farm, a half-hour from the factory that she rents for $5,300 a month.

If she must go to the factory, sometimes the children come, too.

“I would line them up at tables in the shipping area and give them (school) lessons while running back and forth to orders,” she said. “I would teach them alongside me as I ran the company. Was it difficult? Very. But I was determined to succeed.”

The self-taught businesswoman has had to learn marketing on the fly. Most of it came from roaming the aisles at Vitamin Shoppe. She noticed that retail sales demanded symmetry and continuity. Same color. All in a line.

“Retailers want shelf presence,” Umbel said. “They want to see five products together, lined up. They want to be able to put a whole regimen on their shelves. They don’t want to see just one piece. If you took 10 different fragrances and 10 different products, you basically have chaos.”

Umbel grew up in Prince George’s County and spent much of her teen years living by her wits. She was born with a curiosity about foreign cultures, including Asian and Indian.

“I was fascinated by different cultures,” she said. “My best friend was from Korea, and I loved to go to their house and eat their food. I was a strange child.”

She would camp out in front of a black-and-white television and watch public-service ads about hungry children.

“I was fascinated by that, and I wanted one day to create jobs for these people,” she said. “I was very conscious of human suffering.”

Umbel, a practicing Muslim, met her husband, Syed Ishaq, at a mosque when she was 16. He was 12 years older and had just arrived from Pakistan, where he had attended medical school. Ishaq is now a kidney specialist — a nephrologist — with Inova Fairfax and Access Medicine.

“He was very handsome and well-mannered,” she said.

She married him when she was 16 and gave birth to their first child two years later.

While her husband studied for his medical exams, Umbel in 1990 created a clothing company that was modestly profitable and specialized in ethnic garb from South Asia and the Middle East. She closed it down after she became pregnant with their fourth child.

She smelled — literally — another opportunity in the various international people who frequented the Islamic Center near Washington’s Embassy Row.

“These women who hung around the mosque had natural beauty and skin they would take care of with these different natural ingredients,” she said. Some would cover their body with a blanket and “smoke” their skin with woods from Africa.

“I saw all these different natural regimens and said all these things could make a really good business if I introduced them to the American population,” Umbel said. “I could bring some very needed income into the [African] villages.”

She started Shea Terra in 2000 in the basement of her Arlington home. At first, she cooked up some shea butter. Then some cream. She taught herself how to make soap.

The big break came in late 2001, when she returned from a lengthy trip to find $1,000 in shea butter orders from online sales. Soon, she was selling $30,000 a month, reinvesting most of the income in the company.

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Umbel eventually moved to her current facility near Dulles International Airport, where she makes and stores her products. Most of her raw materials are flown in through Dulles and trucked to her factory.

The biggest margins are in her facial-care line.

The nice thing about the beauty and skin-care business is that it tends to be less affected by recessions than others. “People are really vain and willing to pay a lot of money for their face,” she said.

 

Shea Terra got a boost when actress Sarah Jessica Parker posted on social media applauding its face wash. “She said that her face had not been that soft since she was a baby,” Umbel said. “She was thanking her celebrity aesthetician.”

It’s not all glamorous, though. Believe it or not, the beauty business has a dangerous side.

“The border control people are scary people,” Umbel said, referring to her travels abroad. “Overseas, they tend to give people in general a hard time. You don’t know if you are ever going to see daylight again.”

But on the other hand, her children go places that most others may never see.

“Not a lot of kids can say, ‘I was in Namibia and on a safari at Etosha Park,’ ” Umbel said.

Source: The Washington Post

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Women on Writing – Enthusiastic and Sad Life Lessons that We Should Read

by Vanessa Daniela

This summer, I have read fascinating books that expanded my knowledge about society,  cultures and human rights. I can not deny how shocked, sick, or enthusiastic I was after some chapters on these books.

For some of them, you will need to have a thick skin to read thru pages of torture and suffering, but all of them are life lessons. Before I talk about them, I want to congratulate the female authors and those who fight for human rights. Also, my deepest condolences to those who lost their daughters and family members.


Until We Are Free – My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Sherin Ebadiimages

Shirin Ebadi is a human rights lawyer, former judge and has been defending families against the regime in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of her most remarkable battles was to change the child custody laws in Iran after Arian Golshani, 9-year-old was beaten to death by her father and stepmother. The Iranian law favors the men over women, so Golshani was not allowed to stay with her mother after her parents’ divorce.

Following Ebadi’s  journey thru this book, it gave me a unique perspective and an amazing knowledge about Iran.

The regime has been violating the human rights by torturing people to extract information about anything useful to the government. It is an inspiring and sad book, but totally worth reading.

Click here to read more about Shirin Ebadi


I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick

Malala is one of the bravest girls that I have heard of. She stood up for education even 51dVLcrS0gL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_when she faced Taliban death threats and after the attack that caused her eternal marks. Despite the brutal attempt, she raised stronger after it.

“We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.”
Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Malala is the youngest Nobel Prize Winner.

I applaud her parents for supporting her studies and dreams. According to Taliban, Pakistan culture, and religion, girls should not be educated, but be married at an early age and dedicated to their husbands and house work.

Click here to read more about Malala Yousafzai


O Diario de uma Escrava by Ro Mierling – The Slave’s Diary capa-diario-de-uma-escrava

This book is based on real stories of girls that were sexually abused by a psychopath that kidnaps girls and uses them as his object. I read for study purpose, but I wanted to throw up after every chapter. I couldn’t believe how some people can be so heartless.

According to statistics, in Brazil, every year, 40,000 minors disappear, and a third of them are used for sexual purpose. Usually, they leave without leaving a trace.

DO NOT READ, if you went thru any kind of sexual abuse. However, It is an excellent book for parents and teenagers as a watch out. Breaking parents’ rules and curfews, and talking to strangers on the internet can be a lapse with permanent marks.

…”please watch over them and guard them again mistakes of youth that are unalterable.” Powerful Prayers of Protection

Click here to learn more about Rô Mierling


The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna 51I6aeJYqlL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Elle Luna is an artist, designer, and writer who challenge us to think outside of the box and push ourselves to reflect on the conflict between our passions and our money maker job.

Reflective words, messages combined with an inspiring touch of art bloomed my creativity and put me ready to work on my craft.

“Should is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations that others layer upon us.”

 

 

Click here to read more about Elle Luna

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Dark Side Books

Editora Sextante