Sunday, September 14, 2014


She is both warp and weft;
When fibers fray, she deftly weaves
Them whole. At times, she grieves
Lost freedom, and fears she’s less than
Kind. Still, her care joins man,
Child, elders; through her hands run ties
To church, state, world. She lives
In the jeweled net the wise ones teach
Of: facets shine as each
Reflects all others. Reaching far
And deep, her arms and heart
Ache with love--- tender, weary, blessed.

Kimberly G. Jackson studied literature at Yale and New York University, but now reads and writes poetry just for the love of it. 

She lives in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Creating a Heart-Centered Business from Mum and Dad’s kitchen

Post by Victoria Olubi for the Kindness in Business series.

photo courtesy of penmaster-jay-r on

In 2010 I was a struggling university graduate with no job, no money and more time on my hands than I could handle. In the midst of stressing out because I was jobless and clueless about which direction I wanted my career to go in, my hair began to break incessantly. At that point in time it seemed as if life had handed me two plates of stress and I struggled to figure out which one I’d deal with first. I decided (perhaps naively) to focus on my hair. After all, job hunting wasn’t exactly the most riveting of exercises. As the days went by, more and more strands of hair began to shed and I became increasingly more determined to find out what was causing the damage. Was it the cold weather, the stress of being jobless or my diet? Determined to find a solution, I began doing some research that led me to scouring the web and reading all sorts of trichology journals. I soon discovered that some of the products that I had been pouring onto my hair day in and day out were actually harmful. Many included ingredients that were linked to various illnesses and ailments including cancer. There was even research that suggested the products that claimed to heal my hair could actually destroy it. I couldn’t believe that a multi-billion dollar industry was benefiting from selling women products that claimed to help and heal their hair when in actuality these very products could destroy not just one’s hair but their health as well. I was mortified.

Armed with my new found knowledge I began telling everyone I knew about the dangers of many of the harsh chemicals that are found in mainstream hair products and I began to look for ways to get gorgeous hair without using such products. Soon enough, I discovered that women in ancient India used wholesome ingredients like coconut oil to beautify their hair while in West Africa shea butter had for centuries been used as a natural moisturizer for nurturing one’s hair and skin. These wonderful, beautiful, natural ingredients were staples among women in the developing world and yet, Western women were, for the most part, unaware of them. I didn’t quite expect to start a business but I knew deep down that these sorts of ingredients could help me to potentially solve my hair woes.

Kitchen Beautician: How I Started My Hair Care Brand From Mum and Dad's Kitchen

I can honestly say that I have spent almost my whole life struggling to tame my hair and after a stressful final year at university, it was in dire condition. After graduating from Durham University, I spent several months unemployed and struggling to find work. Any moment where I was not applying for jobs was often spent obsessing over my hair. I browsed hair shops stocked with hundreds of products claiming to provide a cure for dry, damaged hair but none of these products seemed to work for me. Fed up with searching for the perfect cure, I began researching hair care products wanting to figure out if any product could provide a solution to my hair woes. I purchased a concoction of organic and natural ingredients online and began mixing them together to see what I could come up with. After much experimentation (and a lot of mess), I created three products. The first was a moisturizing shampoo called The Cleansing Cream, which was silicone and sulphate free. Then came the Coco Curly Conditioner - a name inspired by one of the product’s primary ingredients - coconut oil. I wanted the conditioner to be incredibly nourishing but not heavy or greasy. After creating these two products I realized that something was missing. I needed a product that would moisturize and soften one’s hair without weighing it down. I began by combining some of my favorite ingredients, which included honey, coconut oil and rose water and came up with the formula for my biggest-selling product - The Curl Smoothie. A business idea was born and I decided to call it My Curls.

Along with creating products that were filled with healthy ingredients and were effective, I wanted to also ensure that my business was heart-centered and ethically aware. I therefore decided to test my products on humans only and not on animals or vulnerable creatures of any sort. Furthermore, one of the key beliefs behind my business was the idea that women should embrace and love their hair no matter what texture. I chose to inspire my social media fans and customers by posting inspirational messages and positive quotes on my social media handles and in my monthly newsletter. I wanted to ensure that wherever possible, my business would inspire women rather than making them feel as if their hair or looks aren’t good enough.

My business journey hasn’t been the typical one. I didn’t start with investors or a fancy office; instead I started in my mum and dad’s kitchen with an idea which turned into a vision. While most business books encourage us to add up or measure risks, I did the opposite. I ignored them and made decisions based on my gut instincts. Put simply, if it doesn’t feel right or isn’t heart-centered then it’s not for me. It was this way of thinking that led me to applying for the Marie Forleo International B-School scholarship in 2013. My gut instinct was to apply. I did and was blessed with a $2,000 scholarship.

During my time as an entrepreneur I’ve learned three key lessons, which I’d like to share with you today.

Lesson #1 
Be kind to yourself. During my time as an entrepreneur I’ve discovered that most of us are our own worst critics. We find it easy to compliment and uplift others but we struggle to love ourselves and treat ourselves with the highest degree of respect. I realized a few months back that women have a habit of bullying ourselves, which causes self-sabotage, low self-esteem and unhappiness. Rather than dwelling on your flaws or weaknesses, focus on your assets and strengths. What makes you great? What do you love about you?

Lesson #2 
Be kind to strangers. Don’t write people off because they look a certain way or because they don’t fit into your idea of a friend, business partner, client or colleague. Some of the people who seemed most unlike me turned out to be fantastic friends, clients and associates. When meeting new people go with the goal of giving to them first, educate, inspire or empower them and focus less on just talking to them because you want to get something. As Billy Blanks wisely said, “You have to give something to get something.” Give first and so many wonderful blessings will fall into place.

Lesson #3 
Be kind in business - always. The life of an entrepreneur isn’t easy. There are pitfalls at almost every corner and it’s therefore easy to feel jealous, distressed or far away from your goals. Be kind to your business by accepting that it will take time to get to where you want to be. You and your business are exactly where you’re meant to be at this point in time. Take time to think about where you are, where you’d like to be and the action steps that you’ll need to take to move your business and life forward.

Most importantly, believe that kindness overrules negative emotions and always come from a place of love and abundance rather than scarcity or fear.

Victoria Olubi is the founder of; a hair care company for women with natural hair. 
Starting in her parents’ kitchen, Victoria began hand-making hair products using high-quality and high-performing natural ingredients. Victoria’s newsletter, articles and blog have inspired women in over 94 countries to love and nurture their hair. 
For more information and to get Victoria’s free newsletter, visit
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

I remember

print of a Banksy piece that hangs in my kitchen

I remember where I was 13 years ago today, and probably always will. I worked in suburban Philadelphia, and the man who is now my husband, worked with me. He was in Albany, NY in a class for work, that day.

The tragedies that day happened before offices had TVs and while the internet was great, it wasn't what it is today. I remember getting a call from someone who told me that a plane flew into one of the twin towers. I remember telling a coworker that this person thought it could be terrorist activity, and I remember that coworker telling me that was crazy.

If only he had been right.

I remember learning the name of the terrorist leader who was responsible. I refuse to put it in writing, because he doesn't deserve the recognition.

I remember my friend's brother who thankfully was late to work that day, at a book store in World Trade.

I remember the internet grinding to a halt and cell service being completely jammed up. I went home and glued myself to the TV. I couldn't stop watching.

I remember reading blogs of NY-ers who shared their personal story of that day, the absolute kindness and generosity of strangers during the most horrific incident in many of our lifetimes.

I remember the intense sense of gratitude that everyone I loved was safe.

Today, 13 years later, it's business as usual for most of us. To those of you suffering on this day, remembering losses, my heart goes out to you. To the rest of us, I invite you to remember the suffering. Remember the loss. Remember the kindness and generosity of strangers.

Please join me in taking a quiet moment of gratitude today.
❤, Lara

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

7 Wonders

Post by Taralee Hurff for the Kind Kindred series.

sign by MasonCreations2012 on

Joy Garrison Wasson was an English teacher in Muncie, IN for over 30 years. I read a lesson she did with her class that resonated so deeply with me I was brought to tears. I cried heavy tears because I know how many people forget about the simple and what they may deem as ordinary things in their lives. I watch people and can see they have lost interest in really living and enjoying the amazing life they have been given. I am witness to so many who focus on the bad of each day instead of the good.

Ms. Wasson asked her students to name the 7 Wonders of the World. Most of her students replied with the following answers: Egypt’s Great Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Panama Canal, The Empire State Building, and St. Peter’s Basilica. As she continued reading the responses Ms. Wasson noticed one student was not finished. This young lady said she could not decide on just 7 as there were so many to choose from, so she was asked to read hers aloud to see if the class could help her with the answer.

The following were her answers…
1. The ability to SEE
2. The ability to HEAR
3. The ability to TASTE
4. The ability to TOUCH
5. The ability to FEEL
6. The ability to LAUGH
7. The ability to LOVE

The class was silent.

Those 7 simple and ordinary things are actually 7 of the most beautiful gifts we are given as human beings. They are often overlooked and taken for granted. Our world has become very self-centered and materialistic, thus causing so many to miss out daily on these true 7 Wonders of the World.

The heavy tears I wept came from a place deep in my soul because I have watched a significant person in my life lose their interest in really living and enjoying their life. I have watched them overlook and dismiss those 7 Wonders the student in Ms. Wasson’s class listed. Even with all my best efforts to help this person emerge from this dark place, my soul sits lost yet filled with abundant prayer for them to find their own light again; to enjoy these 7 Wonders once more.

Can you imagine if not only this person but everyone took a moment to sit and reflect on these 7 Wonders?

1. The ability to SEE…
Wake up every day and truly see the dawn as the light of a new day. Have you taken the time to really see the blue sky or the gorgeous rose bush you walk by everyday on the way into work? What about really seeing the people you interact with every day (this includes the barista at Starbucks)?

2. The ability to HEAR…
Do you listen, I mean really become still and listen intently to the world around you? How many sounds do you miss each day - the buzz of a bee, a bird’s song, the quiet of a library, your favorite song on the radio, a stranger’s thank you for holding the door for them, the happy chatter in a school’s lunchroom?
What about listening with no intent? Listening without an interruption of checking the text message that just came through? Do you listen without running your current to-do list through your head? Do you listen without trying to plan what your response will be?

3. The ability to TASTE…
Sounds silly right? But is it? Imagine biting into a juicy peach and its juice dribbles down your chin. You quickly grab a napkin and as you wipe off your chin you savor that last sweet taste of summer. What about making your deceased Grandmother’s famous sauce? When you take that first taste you are immediately transported back to Grandma’s kitchen. Savor your bites and their tastes, they become memories.

4. The ability to TOUCH…
I think we can all relate to when a simple hug can make all the world’s problems disappear and, if only for that moment, we are at peace.
What about becoming a parent? You will never forget holding your baby for the first time. An ordinary squeeze of the hand while listening to the doctor deliver scary test results can be the one thing that holds you together at that moment.
What about the comfort found in being greeted by wet, sloppy puppy kisses? Or sitting quietly on the couch petting your cat?

5. The ability to FEEL…
My mother feels every emotion with so much passion, yet I am not sure anyone ever truly knows how my father is feeling. What about you? Do you give yourself permission to feel - from the depths of your soul right through to your fingertips? All too often our true feelings are shoved into a bottle that is being shaken and by the time the cap is taken off and the “fizz of feelings” shoots out all over the kitchen, we are just trying to clean up the mess rather than experience the emotion.
Why do you think Pharrell Williams song “Happy” was such a craze? Because when we are feeling joy and happiness we exude positive energy and a light that is contagious, so not only do we feel good but others feel good too!
Allow yourself to not apologize for any of your feelings but embrace them and learn from them – both the good and bad. Feel in the moment or during a quiet reflection.

6. The ability to LAUGH…
Let’s be honest here. What is better than experiencing a hearty belly laugh; the kind that leaves you breathless with tears running out of your eyes. The smiles that come with laughter are some of the biggest and brightest you will see.

7. The ability to LOVE…
Love is such a complicated and yet simple thing. Love is a free gift that you can give someone. Love can be felt through the smallest gesture and those small gestures are what can keep the spark in marriages, keep the lines of communication open in relationships, keep the monsters out from under the bed, help someone feel safe, and most importantly let someone know they matter. Love is a glue that binds families, friends, communities and nations.
Love can be seen, heard, tasted, and felt. Love is a basic need and carries an almost tangible energy. Hearing the words “I Love You,” 3 simple words, can change a moment, a day or a lifetime.

I challenge you to write these 7 Wonders on a piece of paper and carry them with you. Think about them. Take a hard look if they are a part of your daily life, if you are sharing them and if you are excepting them. Slow down and enjoy the simple and ordinary gifts that are actually extraordinary.

We all are fighting battles the other doesn’t know about, be kind.

Taralee received a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology and Criminal Justice from Moravian College. She received her Special Education Teacher certification from DeSales University. Taralee is a NJ certified Teacher of the Handicapped, and has been working in the home and school settings for over 15 years. Taralee is currently President of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Regional New Jersey Early Intervention Collaborative, she is serving in her fourth year as a Board member. 
Taralee’s most important job is raising her three creative and inquisitive children (ages 9, 7, and 4) in Southern NJ. 
Taralee's book "100 Things To Do Before You Are 10" was published in April 2014. 
Please visit her Facebook page or send an e-mail for ordering information.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Magic Beans

Post by Lynn DeVasto for the Kind Kindred series.

photo courtesy of

I'm often asked if I sell the magic beans to weight loss. And no, I don't sell them. I do, however, know where you can find them, and I'm going to help you find them too.

Are you ready? First we need to do a little work, because otherwise, it won't do you any good to have the answers if you don't know the questions.

My BIG question for you is: “Why do you eat?”

I eat because:
     ~ I'm bored
     ~ I'm sad
     ~ I'm lonely
     ~ I'm hurt
     ~ I'm with friends or family
     ~ I'm celebrating
     ~ I'm hungry (?)
     ~ It's breakfast, lunch or dinner time
     ~ I'm sitting on my sofa
     ~ I'm busy and who knows when I may be able to eat again

This is just a partial list, only what I can come up with at the moment, but you get the idea. Only one of these is valid, and it's the hunger. But thinking about that, I can convince myself I'm hungry 90% of the time, even if I've just eaten. It's the nasty tricks of the brain with a food addict person, so when I think I'm hungry, I really need to check in with my body and not just my brain.

That leaves the rest of the reasons to eat. In every one of them, the eating all stems from our feelings. We live in a society where are feelings are to be feared, and we will do almost anything to avoid them. Yes, even happiness. In my former life (ahem, marriage)...I was told I was annoying when I was happy. As I was a people pleaser and didn't want to be annoying, I did my best to not be too happy. Which, by the way, is easy to do when I set my mind to it! My way to avoid my feelings was to eat myself into a semi-comatose state, in which I really don't care much about anything.

What happens when instead of self medicating, we feel our feelings? Well, the world doesn't end, although I feel like it might. I get so anxious, I want to jump out of my skin, I cry, sometimes I have to talk it out, sometimes I need to exercise it out, sleep it off, write it down. Sometimes I just need to sit, feel and let it pass. Every feeling and every situation is different. But the underlying answer is to allow yourself to feel it. I know, I know, this sucks. But beyond the suckdom is the knowledge that no matter how badly you feel in the moment, it will pass. And you will be, better than okay, you'll be a rock star. Because when you allow yourself the honor of feeling your feelings, you are honoring yourself, your body and your life.

To healthy and happy,

Lynn DeVasto is the owner of Live and Love Your Life, which helps you deal with the trifecta of Food, Fitness and Feelings. She has taken her experience of losing 90 pounds and her certifications in Personal Training, Holistic Wellness Coaching, Sports Nutrition and Barre to create a premium coaching experience. This allows you manage your health in a way that works for you instead of against you. Click HERE to get her juicy tips to Live and Love Your Life!
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Meet people halfway

photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

Henry Boye talks about the most important trip you may ever make - meeting someone halfway - but I think it can also be one of the hardest trips to make.

If you're anything like me, you're a little stubborn. You like to be right. Compromise is important, and something you strive for, but it's not exactly your first reaction. Are you with me? :-)

So, for all of my like-minded, a little bit stubborn friends out there, here's what I can offer:
~~~What feels better? Being right, or being happy?

This question helps. In those moments when I just want to dig my heels in and do anything but compromise, I remember that I want to live a life that feels good, not just one that looks good

(Let's just get really real for a moment and acknowledge that being right often isn't either of those things.) 

Starting today, I invite you on this most important (and difficult) trip. Meet someone halfway. Someone important to you. Someone with whom you want to increase connection. Someone who makes you feel good. Just give it a try, and see if meeting someone halfway just might feel better than being right.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.
❤, Lara

CLICK TO TWEET today's Monday Motivator: Meet people halfway.
CLICK TO TWEET: Join @KindOverMatter and live a life that feels good, not just one that looks good.

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