Seizing The Summer w. Summer Learning Contracts + UMIGO {sponsored}

Summer is the season I live for! The winter holidays are a close second, but nothing beats the sunshine and lazy days of the June – August months in my book.  I was just telling a friend yesterday that because of all of those years my kids spent at full-time summer camp while I was working a 9-to-5, I have a soft spot when it comes to over-scheduling and overworking them during their summer vacations now that I am at home with them.

That said…

I also don’t want their brains to turn to mush thanks to the summer brain drain that naturally occurs without some active countering! About a year or two ago I started making them agree to Summer Learning Contracts that require them to complete a weekly series of learning activities with a fun twist.  We’re already on Week 2 of their SLCs and it’s such a great opportunity for them to do just a little bit of review and preparation, while re-discovering activities, books and toys that they have long forgotten and left buried in the basement.  Even neglected MadLibs activity books and Wreck-It Journals are new again!

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While the older kids are more willing to read a novel (kind of) or research a topic online, finding entertaining but educational activities that are self-directed for L’il Buddy is a teensy bit harder.

 

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Enter UMIGO

UMIGO – You Make It Go - is a fun, vibrant online world of adventure that uses the building blocks of math to engage early elementary age kids in narrative-driven “appisodes.” As best friends Bean, Bit and Dizzy save the day from broken roller coasters, ancient mummies and more, the hilarious, interactive UMIGO appisodes incorporate stories, music videos and games, getting children involved and helping them to become active learners. UMIGO helps children develop the math skills they need for effective reasoning and problem solving; its educational content is aligned with the Common Core Standards for Mathematics for first and second grades and is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education. UMIGO’s free downloadable at-home activities engage families and educators in the child’s development of math and reasoning skills and are designed to make learning easy and fun.

I asked L’il Buddy if he would be willing to test out an app for Mama, and after negotiating his compensation ($3 – truly a son of a blogger!) he got right to work. As soon as the site loaded, it caught the eye of his big sisters who exclaimed: “I like it!” and “The animation is BOSS” – the ultimate tween compliment, I must say.

What I loved about it was that it was easy for L’il Buddy – who turned 7 years old on Tuesday! – to navigate on his own.  He didn’t need to ask for help nor did he get frustrated while using it.  He was able to dive right it to the “Let’s All Umiball” appisode, which kicked off with THE cutest music video, which had him in a fit of giggles right off the bat.

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As an avid sports fan, he was enthralled with the Umiball storyline – and the “commentator” in the game very clearly explained the rules of the game, so he able to jump in right away.  Peeking over his shoulder, I noticed that the appisodes did a great job of illustrating mathematical concepts with humor and repetition. The concept this appisode focused on was that, for example, if 3+7 = 10, then 7+3 also = 10. I’m sure there’s a snazzy name for the concept but apparently I am not smarter than a 5th grader so I can’t recall.

After happily playing UMIGO for a solid 30-minutes, here is what L’il Buddy had to say about UMIGO:

  1. It’s fun.
  2. It’s good.
  3. It’s exciting!

I asked him if there was anything he didn’t like or that he would change and he couldn’t think of anything. And when I asked if he would play it again and he said: “Yes! I’m going to play again right NOW, Mom!”

And so, we’re adding daily time on UMIGO to his Summer Learning Contract. An interactive, engaging and entertaining way to make sure that he’s learning while hanging out for the summer.

Now that’s BOSS.

UMIGO Collage

 

 

Thank you to UMIGO for introducing us to your platform and for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine (and L’il Buddy’s)!

UMIGO + National Summer Learning Day

Last week, UMIGO kicked off the Summer of UMIGO on National Summer Learning Day, Friday, June 19, in an effort to help combat the “summer slide.” In partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), UMIGO will brought its narrative-based appisodes, interactive games, activities, and educational resources to more than 70 communities around the country. Learn more about how the day went here: SummerLearningDayMap.org

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radio silence

Whew! Spring is always a busy time of year but the past few weeks have been cray cray for me, hence my radio silence on the blog.  Really, Mommy-ing has been the primary focus of my time, what with end-of-school plays and concerts and ceremonies and field trips.  On the work front, I’ve been busy opening up registration for Blogalicious Weekend 2015 and all that entails! Adding to that list is managing our marketing network which has launched and pitched several campaigns this month; hosting a wine tasting and Pop Up event in DC; and preparing for my upcoming 2-Day Sponsorships Intensive…all while still serving coaching clients, walking in fashion shows, and spending quality time with the Hubs.

So you see, I’ve been busy living!

June is going to be another whirlwind with the Intensive, keynote preso at Y’all Connect, workshop preso at Weekend Startup School, and ending with a much-needed vacation to the Dominican Republic – all with the kiddos out of school. I’m gonna need my vitamins.  Most importantly, I’d love to see your gorgeous faces everywhere I go (except the DR. I plan to be a total recluse there!) So here is the info on how you can join me over the next few weeks:

June 4+5: Done-For-You 2-Day Sponsorships Intensive
(for those of you who want to secure sponsorships for your events)

Done4U FLier

 

June 12+13: Y’all Connect
(for those in the Birmingham, AL area who want to connect and learn about blogging and social media)

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June 13+14: Weekend Startup School
(for those of you who are entrepreneurs launching a startup)

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Or? If you want me all to yourself, I’d love to be your passion strategist + coach. Start HERE if that tickles your fancy.

See you in June!

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INTERVIEW: TalktoAmberTV ~ What Every Blogger Needs to Know About Pitching to Speak At a Blogging Conference

 

Thinking about pitching a session at a conference? You’ll want to listen to my interview with Amber Wright of TalktoAmberTV first! I’m giving my top tips and helpful takeaways for pitching from my perspective as a conference organizer (and reviewer of hundreds of pitches!!)

Miss Amber knows her craft too – I’m currently taking her “How to Speak with Less Fear and More Finesse” eCourse and it’s the truth! If you get the chance to work with her, I highly recommend it.

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Check Out My Key Takeaways and Watch the Interview HERE.

 

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the kind of world I want for my family in 2030 #globalmoms

I am sharing this post as a J&J Social Influencer for Social Good. This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Each time you ‘like’ or share a Global Moms Relay post via the social media icons or comment, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $300,000, to improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMAShot@LifeUNICEFand Girl Up. You can also use the Donate A Photo app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or UNICEF, up to $100,000.   Scroll to the bottom to find out more.

Change The World

In 2030, my babies will be 26, 24 and 22 years old. It’s beyond insane to imagine! And yet, as they say, “The days are long, but the years are short” and so the time will be here before we know it.  And while I’m attending school functions and cheering them on during track meets and flag football games and Girl Scouts ceremonies; grocery shopping and making lunches and roasting marshmallows over our backyard firepit, every now and then the thoughts about our world and what the future holds creep into my mind and take my breath away.

I have 3 wishes.

That in 2030, my children will not feel limited by the color of their skin. Am I delusional that this day will ever happen? Amidst all of the police brutality against African-Americans, the systemic racism, the inequity in opportunity, I remain encouraged – it’s my sincere belief that we are in the midst of a revolution. Not only is the revolution televised, but it’s being tweeted and Instagrammed and Facebooked and blogged. With the #BaltimoreUprising the latest movement in a tragic series of events, I’m encouraged because I know that things must get worse before they get better. I’d say things are pretty bad now – I’m praying for an upswing just around the corner.  What’s my part in all this? To use my voice and my platform to bring attention to current events that expose the deadly racism that still very much exists so that the powers that be are forced to make a change.

That in 2030, my children will not have to worry about their food poisoning them.  About 3 years ago we started to order our food from a farm.  And even 2 years before that, we started to get our dairy delivered from a farm.  Once our eldest daughter was old enough to eat “real food” my husband and I became uber-conscious of the additives and GMOs and preservatives being added to our food.  [I have Laurie David to thank for much of it!] We’ve tried to eat organic or grass-fed or hormone-free and to read labels and to be mindful about our food selections. But even and still – it’s HARD. What makes it so frustrating, is that it’s unnecessary and dangerous.  We’ve all seen the documentaries and heard the research and are being made aware of a new toxin in our foods regularly.  Having been raised in Canada, by Caribbean parents, I’ve experienced first-hand how food can and should be. It’s my wish that by 2030 (or sooner!) my children will be able to have confidence that their government is feeding them – and their kids – food that is healthy and safe.  {My related wish is that all who need food will have access to it.}

That in 2030, my children will be able to trust their environment.  Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Fires. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Water shortages. Crazy allergies. Melting glaciers. Poor air quality.  All never seen before to this magnitude. Snow in May and sweltering temps in December.  Our environment is screaming and yelling for our attention and we’re ignoring it, while reporting on unbelievable weather and natural disasters.  We’re destroying our planet and I’m panicked at what our children and their children will be dealing with when our generation is long gone.  We recycle. We conserve water. We bring our own bags to the grocery. But it doesn’t feel like enough. It’s not enough. I’m going to figure out what more we can do – starting with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.  Our babies deserve clean air and water and protection from preventable natural disasters. A planet they can trust.

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Photo Credit: Then Again Photography 

What kind of world do you want for your family in 2030?

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About The Global Moms Relay

From May 1 to June 19, 2015 (just before Mother’s Day through Father’s Day), each day a celebrity, community leader, or everyday mom and dad, will share a personal story on the kind of future they want for their family and the world, and then “pass the baton” to the next contributor.

You share, they give: The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe. Each time you ‘like’ or share a Global Moms Relay post via the social media icons or comment, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $300,000, to improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMAShot@LifeUNICEFand Girl Up. You can also use the Donate A Photo app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or UNICEF, up to $100,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone. Visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.

About The Global Moms Challenge

The Global Moms Challenge connects us with people and programs helping moms from Peru to Pakistan, to boost health and happiness for moms and babies everywhere. The community supports the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child movement to help women and children lead healthy lives. The Global Moms Challenge is an initiative of the United Nations Foundation, which connects people ideas and resources to support the UN and its causes, and is made possible by support from Johnson & Johnson, which is committed to showing that small acts of care can grow into a world of difference.

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things to do: may

ThingsToDoMay

It’s like I turned around two times at it was already May 12th!! When did that happen?

This month, here are my things to do:

Open registration for Blogalicious Weekend 2015.  The streets have been asking! So many details and moving parts go into opening the ticket sales – you wouldn’t believe. But I think Team Blogalicious is cloooose! Plus, we have a special surprise this year. Well, several. See? MOVING PARTS.

Plan Something Fun for Memorial Day Weekend. My kiddos are far from deprived – in fact, they live the Life of Riley even if they have no clue. But I still am bummed that they haven’t had a vacation since last summer because they attend three different schools and don’t share the same spring break dates.  So even on their off weeks, they were relegated to hanging out with me at home, running errands and other such pleasantries. So I’d like to plan an l’il sumthin’ sumthin’ for the long weekend. They lobbying for Hershey Park (well, they are actually lobbying for Atlantis – see? Life of Riley) but that ain’t happening so they’ll have to go somewhere fun, but local and be happy about it.

Enjoy My Weekends.  If I showed you my summer calendar, you might cry.  Or laugh. Either way, you’ll experience an intense emption stemming from disbelief.  I am literally traveling 3 weekends in June  and 5 weekends in July!! So May looks like it for me until August (and then it will be countdown to B7, ha ha).

Catch Up On All My eCourses.  I looooove learning. And books. And conferences. And eCourses. I have no less than 7 (4 of which are paid) that I have signed up for but have not had the time to listen to. I started on Mother’s Day and got through the JINGLE! course by @DrShanteBishop and now I’m talking @TalktoAmber’s “How to Speak with Less Fear and More Finesse” webinar series and I’m loving them. Just 5 more to go!

Practice Mindful Eating + Daily Movement.  I’m done (I think) with the radical diets and extreme workouts. I’m going to take it day by day and be present and intentional and force myself to MOVE. That has to work, right?

How’s your May coming? Have anything planned that you need accountability with? Holla at me.

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Celebrate My Runway Moment! Saturday 5/16 @ Macy’s at The Mall at Columbia (MD) #MacysEmme #Sponsored

Note: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Join me & Super Model Emme (1)

 

That’s right! Your eyes aren’t deceiving you – yours truly will have the honor of sharing the runway on Saturday, May 16th @ 2pm at Macy’s in The Mall at Columbia with the iconic plus-size Supermodel, Emme!!

I am so very excited and humbled (and terrified!) at this opportunity.  Not only because I love fashion and I love what Emme has stood for when it comes to positive body image for women everywhere; but I also appreciate this special opportunity to embrace and flaunt my curves.  After becoming a mom – almost 11 years ago! – my body has changed. And changed. And changed.  I’m no longer the hourglass size 8 that I once was and I’ve been struggling with that for some time.  But I AM curvy and shapely and proud of what my body has done and everything it gives me daily. So I’m considering this fashion show a celebration of my body! And I’d love for my friends in the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas to come to the show on Saturday and help me to celebrate.
It’s FREE and I can guarantee it will be loads of FUN and you’ll get to participate in a Q&A with Emme!! We can celebrate ourselves together.

The Event Details.

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Come see the season’s hottest looks at a special runway show, and afterward get the chance to meet* celebrated plus-size supermodel Emme at a discussion highlighting positive body image. Pick the brain of a leading voice in the fashion industry and a globally recognized advocate for self-esteem at Emme’s Q&A. Enjoy refreshments while you’re here and receive an exclusive cosmetics travel bag with any Macy’s Women purchase of $75 or more**.

The Event will take place at Macy’s The Mall In Columbia (Columbia, MD) – May 16th at 2pm 

Event subject to change or cancellation. *While time permits. ** While supplies last. Limit one per customer receipt.

RSVP IS REQUIRED

MAKE SURE TO RSVP HERE!

Stay Connected to the #MacysEmme Event.

Macy’s - @Macys (Twitter/IG/Facebook)
Emme – @SupermodelEmme (Twitter/IG) @EmmeNation (Facebook)
Everywhere – @BeEverywhere (Twitter/Facebook)

 

About Macy’s

Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at macys.com. Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy’s offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy’s flagship stores including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, and Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California are known internationally and are leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers, employees and Macy’s Foundation, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $70 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.

Note: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

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PODCAST: Building A Successful Conference #SmartBrownVoices

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Ever wonder what it takes to pull off a successful conference? Or best practices for securing sponsorships? Listen to my recent podcast interview with Smart Brown Voices founder Mike Street for my insight and advice on the subject. We also talk about all things Blogalicious! A huge thank you to SBV for featuring me – and congrats on the launch of this important platform.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST INTERVIEW.

To listen on iTunes, CLICK HERE and select the episode from 4/28.

 

 

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Things To Do: April

 

ThingsToDoApril
I hope everyone had a lovely and reflective Easter Sunday!  Ours was especially lovely because we didn’t do much of anything other than relaxing with family.  The kids had a sleepover with their cousins and spent the day egg hunting and playing outside because it was a clear, sunshine-filled day. We ended the day breaking bread with an easy breezy dinner. A delightful Resurrection Sunday.  Now that we’re into the first full week of April, I decided to memorialize some goals for this month in a To Do list – here goes:

Update Haircolor.  Back in October, I dyed my hair a navy blue. I loooved it – you could only really see it under certain lighting angles, but it was fresh and fun.  It’s now 5 months later and that dark blue color has gone from navy to bright blue to teal.  I was speaking with a hair colorist last week at the #MMIcon event in D.C. and she told me in no uncertain terms that: “the next phase of that color is lime green.”  I’m not sure if I’m about that life. And so I have an appointment to get my hair color updated on 4/28. I have no idea what I’ll do. She’s asked me to create an Pinterest board of inspiration, so I’ll work on that in the meantime.

Announce B7.  You would think that the Blogalicious Weekend conference planning would get easier each year! Some of it does, but the venue selection and contract negotiation process is still complicated – there’s levels to this! But we’ve got our dates and our location and are getting ready to announce – there’s so many pieces that go into this part too: designing a logo, updating the website, coming up with a theme and on. We’re getting there though – I can’t believe it’s almost Blogalicious season already!

Make It to All 12 Remaining Bootcamp Sessions. Can you believe it? I don’t have any travel scheduled for the month of April! I’m happy, not only because it means weekends to relax, but also I’ve got not major excuse not to make it to bootcamp 3x/week.  I missed all of last week because of a girls’ trip to Philly and the #MMIcon event and then an accident on the main road that takes me to the gym (I literally had to turn around because it was bumper to bumper). Summer’s just around the corner and I’ve got to get my fitness life!

Launch Specialty June Event.  My team and I are working on an exclusive in-person event for the month of June in Washington, DC.  It’s both nerve-wracking and exciting and so we’re working on all of the components now.  Once I get the conference announcement underway, I’ll be sharing the details about this event next. Never a dull moment for ’round these parts.

Plan Summer Activity Calendar for the Kids.  Summer will be here before we know it. And what the heck am I doing with these children! We’ve been doing #CampMom for the last couple of summers since summer camp prices are exorbitant in our area but they’re at that age where they need a little more than trips to the park or the pool. I’ve already got them signed up for a free VBS and we’ll be heading to Miami for a week. That leaves, oh, 8 weeks left to plan out. I’m taking ideas…

What’s on tap for you this month?

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PODCAST: But Are You Making Any Money?

HPH-Podcast-Ep-9-Marley-Majcher-Stacey-Ferguson

Last week I had the great pleasure of co-hosting a podcast with Her Power Hustle founder, Michelle Y. Talbert with special guest, Marley Majcher, The Party Goddess!  It was a coup for me, for more reasons than one – you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out why…It’s a good one.  During the episode, we cover the following topics:

  • Best practices for making sure that we [get] keep our finances in order
  • Facing Impostor Syndrome
  • How to set prices without under pricing and how to price whether providing goods or services
  • Taking what you’ve learned to teach others to help save time and frustration
  • Firing clients while ‘taking the high road’
  • And so much more!

Thanks so much to Michelle for the invitation – here’s to getting our money right!

Click HERE to Listen to HPH 009 -
But Are You Making Any Money? Parties & Profits with Marley Majcher and Stacey Ferguson

 

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lessons in entrepreneurship from haiti #bloggers4haiti

Time flies when you’re dealing with work, snow days and wifi outages. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I traveled to Haiti with #bloggers4haiti to visit the artisans involved in the Macy’s Heart of Haiti initiative.  There’s just so much to share that it’s hard to decide where to start, so I thought I’d begin with some of the lessons in entrepreneurship that stood out to me during my time there.  What I love about blogging is that each of us can enjoy the same experience, but because we filter everything through our own lenses, the takeaways will be vastly different.  For example, Leticia of TechSavvyMama and her daughter, Emily, were my travel companions and their experience centered around global citizenship; Nicole of ThirdEyeMom joined us as well and recognized the important role of women in Haitian society, and the country’s future.  And I, with my entrepreneur hat always perched on my head, couldn’t help but notice the work ethic, passion and craft mastery that was present at every turn.

Here are some of my takeaways:

1. Be Resourceful.

Art is everywhere in Haiti. And I mean everywhere. What stood out to me right away was the Tap-Tap buses that were colorfully painted and decorated with flashing lights and blasting festive music.  What a better way to add a spot of cheer to the streets than to make public transportation works of art? Such a small thing, but it spoke magnitudes to me. And the art of the Tap-Taps isn’t garden variety artwork – it’s vibrant and funny and creative; we saw everything from portraits of Justin Bieber to Jesus…and everything in between!
TapTap Collage

Image Credit: ThirdEyeMom.com

The very first day of our trip, we visited the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, a community famous for its metalwork.  The pieces are stunning.  Everything from wall hangings to masks to storefront signage and lampposts and jewelry are hand crafted from discarded oil barrels that have been sanitized by controlled burning and then hammered flat.  The artisans – almost exclusively men for this kind of artwork – then craft the pieces using a hammer and chisel on a metal work area while sitting on the dirt floor and turn out gorgeous pieces like you wouldn’t believe.

Croix Des Bouquets

Image Credit: TechSavvyMama.com

So the next time someone tells you they have writer’s block or have run out of ideas or can’t move forward in their business without this or that, you remind them of the metalwork artisans in Cros-des-Bouquets. Because #noexcuses. Be resourceful.

2. Master Your Craft.

Haiti is a country of artists. I’ve never been anywhere like it.  The people take such pride in their craft and are either naturally gifted or are exceptional apprentices – or both! In Croix-des-Bouquets (above) the skill is metalwork; in the beach town of Jacmel, the skill is papier-mâché; in yet another area, the skill is horn and bone; and then there’s soapstone, beading, soap making, card making, and painting on canvas, and on and on.  It was so lovely to see the pride in ownership in a particular craft in each area; it’s clear that the art forms are cherished and taught and passed down to generations.  Focusing on one specialty allows the artisans to master their craft – and it shows.

Artforms

Image Credit: TechSavvyMama.com

It can be so tempting to position yourself as an expert in multiple areas – we all think that more is better; but consider owning your niche.  Being a Jack of All Trades and master of none is success suicide for a business owner.  If you’re great at graphic design, be GREAT at that – don’t try to also be a life coach and a beauty vlogger, as tempting as it all may be.  And this is not to say that you can’t be multipassionate, because I’m THE proponent of that mindset – what I’m saying is that you should achieve a certain level of mastery of each before piling on another. Master your craft.

3. Honor Yourself.

Each piece of Haitian artwork reflects the culture of the island.  From the colors to the symbols, you can see and feel the spirit of Haiti in each vase, wall hanging and mask.  The lesson in this for me is to honor yourself in all that you do.  Whether you’re a baker who makes cakes and uses a family recipe or if you’re a software developer who sees the world in black and white and is able to problem solve easily because of it, you can and should honor yourself and your heritage in your work.  Not only will your pride in your work shine through, you’ll also be sharing a little bit of your gift with all those who cross paths with it.

No one personified this concept for me more than Pascale Théard, a Haitian-born artisan who honed her leatherwork and beading craftsmanship abroad in Paris.  Her pieces are to-die-for! I drooled over the fun and fashionable sandals that were creatively displayed in picture frames in her workshop, and equally at the buttery leather totebags that were calling my name. I brought home a braided leather cuff to take piece of the luxury with me, but my heart is back at her studio.  Her time spent in Paris learning from the greats is apparent in her work, however she is decidedly committed to showcasing Haitian culture in each piece.  I asked her what made her return to Haiti after spending so much time in Paris, which I imagine to be a mecca for anyone in fashion, and she said: “Because it’s home.”  Her mission is to show the world that Haitian art can be stylish and upscale and wearable.

PascaleTheard

Image Credit: ThirdEyeMom.com

Honor yourself in your work, friends.  It is your gift to the world.

4. Teach.

“Each one, teach one.” Right? The culture of apprenticeships in the U.S. has dwindled significantly – at least until the recent growth of the Maker Movement.  I’m here to say that apprenticeships are alive and well in Haiti!  The more experienced artisans in the community make it their mission to teach the younger generations about the craft; and the students are willing and more than able.  I found this to be particularly meaningful given the state of the education system in Haiti.  The schools are privately owned and run and therefore costs to attend – even basic costs like uniforms and books – place education far out of reach for most.  That the youth have art to pursue as a potential means of survival is crucial.  At each workshop we visited, we saw the students working under the direction of the master artisans and I was reminded that we all have the responsibility to mentor and reach back in our entrepreneurial endeavors.  In fact, this year I made a personal commitment to be more intentional about providing value to my mentees, so I whittled down my group to 2 and came up with a solid plan.  Mattie and Nikki are fireworks in their own right, but if I can support their journeys in any way and share my learnings in the blogger media space, I’m more than happy to do so.

Teach.

HaitiTeach

Image Credit: ThirdEyeMom

Disclosure: The lovelies at Everywhere helped to cover much of my trip expenses to Haiti to visit Artisan Business Network artists who create products for the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line.  All opinions are my own!

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