World Vision: No Child For Sale — Discover

World Vision’s “No Child For Sale” campaign aims to educate Canadian consumers about child labor being used within the supply chain.

via World Vision: No Child For Sale — Discover


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

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


One Sky: A collaborative project with almost 90 female* artists and one instruction: look up.

Women Who Draw is an open directory of female* professional illustrators, artists and cartoonists. It was created by two women artists in an effort to increase the visibility of female illustrators, emphasizing female illustrators of color, LBTQ+, and other minority groups of female illustrators.

One of their most recent project is called “One Sky”: a collaborative project with almost 90 artists and one instruction: look up.


On August 13, 2017, at precisely 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, 88 artists all over the world stopped what they were doing, looked up, and drew the sky. What each artist saw was unique to the time, the weather, and the place. The locations ranged from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn, Buenos Aires to rural Georgia. Some saw different hues of blue. Some saw black, pink, or gray. Some saw stars or clouds or fog or rain. Here it was summer. There it was night. In one place a fire left a heavy brown haze. Whatever sky the artist saw, they captured it on paper in their own unique style. They were, at that exact moment, separate skies. But when we view these drawings together, they become one far-stretching, simultaneous world view. They become a portrait of one shared sky.


This is the beautiful result:

*Women Who Draw is trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators.


Women are making the best rock music today

Snail Mail – Photo: Emma Swann

The New York Times newspaper published an amazing story yesterday about 25 new bands that prove women are making the best rock music today.Here’s what they wrote: “Where, exactly, have the guitars gone? Sure, there’s never been a shortage of traditional rock bands – say, a mostly male, mostly white four-piece. But in the face of increasingly diverse music tactics, their cultural impact is beginning to wane. Many indie-rock groups have started to feel rote or even parodic, as if they’ve run out of ideas or exhausted the passion to develop new ones.

But a new generation of female and non-binary performers – punk in style or spirit, coming from theall-ages warehouse and D.I.Y.-venue ecosystem – is taking their place. These singers and musicians, working just below the mainstream, are  making music about tactile emotion, rousing politics and far more.

Laetitia Tamko aka Vagabon – Photo: Jared Allen

To take stock of this vibrant moment, and to spotlight these artists’ work, we spoke with them about why they make the music they do, and what obstacles the industry, and society large, have thrown in their paths.”

Check out the story on the link below:


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


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.”


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.


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


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

Image Source


Dark Side Books

Editora Sextante







#Harvey2017 ~ How To Help — By Hook Or By Book

I know many of you, like me, have been watching in horror as Southeastern Texas has been pummeled mercilessly by Hurricane Harvey. Here’s a quick list of organizations who are looking for donations of any size: American Red Cross – Looking for donations starting at just $10. Visit Call 1-800-Red Cross or text […]

via #Harvey2017 ~ How To Help — By Hook Or By Book


Gender Equality – Why It Matters

GenderWhile the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

  • About  two-thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education
  • In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrolment ratios were the same for girls as for boys.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
  • Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015
  • In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.

Regardless of where you live in, gender equality is a fundamental human right. Advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting the health, education, protection and the well-being of girls and boys. Investing in education programs for girls and increasing the age at which they marry can return $5 for every dollar spent. Investing in programs improving income-generating activities for women can return 7 dollars for every dollar spent.

What can we do to fix these issues? If you are a girl, you can stay in school, help empower your female classmates to do the same and fight for your right to access sexual and reproductive health services. If you are a woman, you can address unconscious biases and implicit associations that can form an unintended and often an invisible barrier to equal opportunity. If you are a man or a boy, you can work alongside women and girls to achieve gender equality and embrace healthy, respectful relationships. You can fund education campaigns to curb cultural practices like female genital mutilation and change harmful laws that limit the rights of women and girls and prevent them from achieving their full potential. To find out more about Goal #5 and other Sustainable Development Goals, visit: sustainabledevelopment 

Source: United Nations