Confections by Kee - Confectionist / Baking Connoisseur

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Confections by Kee: IG: confectionsbykee - Baking Connoisseur

What was your greatest inspiration/motivation to start Confections by Kee?
My grandmother is the inspiration behind the Confections by Kee brand. As a child, I would stay with my grandmother every summer and whenever she was in the kitchen I was right beside her. I would always ask if I could help her with whatever recipe she was making at that moment and she always allowed me to do so. Once I reached an age to where she felt I was old enough to use the oven, I started doing a lot more baking and developed a new profound love for it. Baking was always one of my favorite pastimes, but I never thought about turning it into a career. I definitely have her to thank for every opportunity I’ve been given so far because had it not been for her being patient with me in the kitchen and giving me the opportunity to learn hands-on, I don’t think Confections by Kee would exist!

What is the overall vision of Confections by Kee?
The overall vision I have for my business is to continuously pursue innovative products and techniques, develop new  recipes and flavors, and engage with consumers in order to satisfy their taste buds one confection at a time!


What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching and maintaining your brand/business?
The biggest challenge I faced was making sure that my brand was as distinctive as possible. Coming up with a name for my business was a little difficult because I didn’t want to focus on one specific dessert type and I wanted the name to embody what I would be catering to. “Confections” is a generic term for sweets so I thought it would be the perfect name because it doesn’t put a limit on what I can do because I do it all (lol) and “Kee” is just a nickname I’ve had since I was little. Once I came up with a name, I had to decide on an actual logo, fonts, colors, who my target market was going to be, flavors, packaging, pricing, website development and the list goes on. It definitely takes a lot of trial and error, time, patience, and passion when it comes to starting a business, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?
The most important tip I have is if you have a favorite hobby that you absolutely love and can’t see yourself not doing it again, take that same passion you have and pursue it as a career. There are tons of people who may have the same passion as you, but everyone has their own unique way of doing it. You have to determine what it is that you will be striving towards and focusing on not letting the competition deter you from succeeding. Ultimately, you just have to stay grounded and true to what your passion is and you can achieve anything!


What are your future plans for Confections by Kee?
My future plans for Confections by Kee are to continue building my brand and catering to Charlotte and surrounding areas. I would also love to have a storefront location that would be here in the heart of the Queen City with the possibility of expansion. I’m really anxious to see what the future holds for Confections by Kee because I’ve received a tremendous amount of support this year from either loved ones or just people who stumble across my Instagram feed. All in all, I’m extremely blessed to have even been able to make it this far!

Deck the Halls with...Boundaries?

Friday, December 14, 2018
You deserve to have a peaceful and joyous holiday! Oftentimes, the holidays can be equal parts joy and stress for many of us, and we feel obligated to engage with our toxic family members or loved ones. Honestly, this isn't just a holiday issue. I'm sure at some point we have all had to deal with the family member that makes inappropriate comments about our weight every time they see us or the mother-in-law that ALWAYS announces that you and your spouse still haven't given her any grandchildren. For some of us, we have to endure familial toxicity (or otherwise intrusiveness) throughout the year for every birthday, holiday or other family gatherings; but, this holiday, I want to share with you a few tips that I have gathered from my own experience over the years that will hopefully be helpful for you as we continue into this holiday season. 

All I Want for Christmas is....
...for YOU to have peace of mind and take care of yourself now and forevermore. [Next to Jesus], your well-being is the most important gift that you can give to yourself and the people you care about; so, practice an extreme amount of self-care this holiday. Don't be afraid to say NO to things that cause you to overextend yourself for the sake of not upsetting your loved ones. This might mean that you decide to spend the holidays in a "non-traditional" way with folks other than your immediate family. This also means remembering that you are not responsible for how your family responds to your new or continued boundaries. 
Make a list and check it twice!
Say what you mean and mean what you say! Make a list of the things you're not willing to discuss or tolerate (like your weight, use of derogatory verbage, questions about your uterus, questions about your relationship status, conversations about unqualified Presidents. you know, the typical stuff) and stick to that list! This will be a comprehensive list of conversations and activities that you are not willing to or comfortable with participating in. Decide what you want/don't want and what you need from your family members in order for your time with them to be positive and delightful. Sidenote: you do not have to print this list and pass it out to every family member at Christmas. just make a mental note for yourself and be prepared if any buttons are pushed. 

Silent Night.
Walk away or just ignore the B.S. I recognize and respect that some people may not feel comfortable with direct and assertive communication or, may not have safe spaces to do so; therefore, you have the right to say everything or absolutely nothing if that is what makes you comfortable. Sometimes, the best method is to say nothing at all - fewer words are often more effective anyway.

Jingle Bells... 
...or ruffle feathers. Chileeee, don't be afraid to stir the pot. Feel empowered to defend yourself or other groups/individuals that you care about! Be firm in setting the boundaries that you made note of (and the ones that you may not consider until you're triggered in conversation). While you implement these boundaries, do not, I repeat, do NOT justify or apologize for the boundaries you are setting.

This Christmas, will be...
Your BEST holiday yet because you are going to choose yourself and your well-being over everything else...with love and grace. Remember that setting boundaries in any relationship is a process and it may take your family some time to adapt to these new lines; so, as long as they are making an honest effort, extend them some grace. 

Sending you love and holiday cheer this season and on, from [part] of my family to your's!


 

With Blessings & Imperfections,

Bre


Natural Hair Chronicles, Part II: Style + Versatility

Sunday, December 9, 2018
Natural hair is SO versatile that we can go from a Blowout to Havana Twists and back to Curly all in a week's time. We can literally have a different hairstyle every day of the week and that's what makes being natural so much fun for me! Before you style, you want to make sure you have a clean and moisturized base to start with; so if you haven't already, check out my Wash Day post for some of my personal tips and my list of must-have products. I know this follow-up post is loooong overdue; but, here we are!

I wanted to ensure that I provided you all with a post that was not only based on my personal experience, but also based on professional knowledge. So, I have called on the Natural Hair Extraordinaire herself, Ms. Kindale Godbee a.k.a. The Heir, to help us navigate the adventure of styling natural hair. For more professional tips and to see the amazing work that Kindale does, follow her on Instagram @_theheir_ and subscribe to her YouTube Channel.

There are so many different styles that we can try (some will pop, some may fall flat, literally); however, in this post, we are going to focus on protective styles, blowouts, braid/twist outs and other curly styles (perm rods, flexi rods, ya know). Although styling natural hair is fun and the results are [usually] worth the process, the process can definitely be a burden! Hopefully these tips will help. A scrolling list of 'products to try' will be at the end of this post for your purchasing pleasure. Let's get started!
Blowouts
Let's start with blowouts. "New hair, who dis?" is always my mood when I get my hair straightened. This is the perfect time to get those ends trimmed or try a new cut. Blowouts typically last me a week or so (depending on how much I work out). If I request that my stylists adds body after straightening, it will last a few days longer. Once I feel like I'm losing volume, I will put about six flexi rods in to add some baaawdy back. The more volume you have from the beginning, the less likely you are to re-style your hair with more heat. When trying to combat frizz, try to stay away from water-based products to keep your hair from reverting back to curly.
Professional Heir Tip: Be sure that you ALWAYS use a heat protectant spray (not oil, oil will burn hair) that can provide protection for up to 450 degrees. Be sure that your flat iron is Titanium to ensure an even distribution of heat and make sure that you go no higher than 350 degrees. After heat styling, wrap or pin curl your hair every night and do not put any more heat on your hair after the styling process. 


Braid/Twist outs
These are the styles that we do on a regular basis! I looove a well-moisturized, defined twist out. These styles may sometimes feel a bit repetitive; however, you can switch it up based on the types of twists you do. My go-to is a flat-twist out - these are essentially the twisted version of cornrows. It can be more time consuming than two-strand twists but the definition is worth the time. Check out this flat-twist out tutorial from one of my favorite naturalistas, Mini Marley! Some of my friends, like Ariel, have amazing results with chunky, two-strand twists! And other friends, like Angelica, achieve flawless definition with two-strand twists also. An important thing to remember when doing your twists, is to detangle your hair all the way through so that your twists are smooth and tangle free. Some of my less desirable twist out results have been due to being lazy with detangling. Once you unravel your twists you can do so many styles: half up-half down, a middle or side part, a curly puff, etc. - the possibilities are endless! Here's a video tutorial!
Professional Heir Tip: Be sure that your use a leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture while doing your twists. After your twists are dry, use your favorite oil to take down your twists and to add moisture in between styles. For oils, Kindale suggests fattier oils like Avocado or Castor - fattier oils will penetrate your hair and retain moisture rather than simply coating the top of the hair.









Protective Styles
Protective styles are great when you want to switch it up or when you want to give your hair a break from frequent manipulation. Box braids and Havana/Marley twists are my summer-time, vacay go-to; but, protective styles are literally perfect for any season! Here's some information on my favorite braider in the Raleigh-Durham area, Ms. Airico. I have found that the prep for protective styles is most important in order to ensure that the style lives up to its name and protects your hair underneath. So your wash day before a protective style is going to make a huge difference. You can refer back to my Wash Day post to read about my routine. I have tried weaves before and keeping my hair moisturized was quite difficult (the weave pat was real).
Professional Heir Tip: Before- Prep your hair by deep conditioning and oiling your scalp. During- Your braids (including with wigs & weaves) should never bee TOO tight; the style is no longer "protective" if there's too much tension on your hair/scalp/edges. You should oil your scalp AT LEAST once a week (lighter oils for sew-ins, fattier oils for braids). After- Make sure that the take down goes well. You should expect shedding, but you don't want to cause breakage. Saturating with detangler and/or conditioner before washing is key!
Other Curly Styles
Now I liiiive for a poppin perm or flexi rod set. I'm not going to lie, these are extremely time consuming but the style is worth it! For flexi-rod sets, I usually blow dry my hair and then apply the flexi rods because I hate sitting under the dryer and it takes my hair FIVEever to dry; however, the style does not hold as long when I do this. When I get a perm rod set done by Kindale at The Heir Salon, it can last me up to 2 weeks (yeah, I was shocked too). I usually don't manipulate/separate my curls until about the third day. At night, I put my hair into 4 "mini pineapples" and in the morning I fluff it back out with my fingers. These styles don't require as much prep or product, but you still want to make sure that you learn a technique to applying perm rods or flexi rods because this can make or break the style. The size of your rods will depend on how big or defined of a curl you are desiring. Here's a perm rod tutorial and here's a flexi rod tutorial (on blow-dried dry hair) to get you started!
Professional Heir Tip: It's best to do these styles on wet hair because less tension is used. Be sure to use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner since you will be sitting under the dryer for this style. Using a wrapping foam will help your style last longer (Kindale prefers ORS'). Before you go under the dryer, spray a heat protectant all over (with rods already in). When taking rods out, your hands should be saturated with an oil of your choice to reduce frizz. Be sure to wrap your hair at night to preserve and protect this style (bonnet or pineapple method).
Flexi Rods
Perm Rods

What is your go-to style??

Products to Try:


 

With Blessing & Imperfections,
Bre

Trinity Labs, LLC - Holistic Music Service

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Trinity Labs, LLC: IG: trinitylabs - Holistic Music Service

What was your greatest inspiration/motivation to start Trinity Labs, LLC?
A: Honestly, it was a mixture a few different things. The main being my love for creating and editing music via production, recording, and engineering. I've been doing heavily involved with these areas for over 5 years now and I wanted to make it legitimate. The final piece is the joy and sense of fulfillment helping others create and being involved in the process.

What is the overall vision of Trinity Labs, LLC?
A: The vision for the lab is a one-stop service for creatives that has all of the necessary resources to create, engineer, distribute, and market their product, as well as brand development consultation.

What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching and maintaining your brand/business?
A: The lab was officially registered back in August of this year, so it's fairly new, but my main challenge is time management. I currently work full-time and am getting my Masters so allocating time to the business has been a challenge I have been navigating. In this business, the clientele base has to be nurtured and many aspects are very time sensitive. This has required me to be very efficient with my scheduling and prioritization.

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?
A: Love what your business is about. Love it to the point that you will invest your last dollar or lose sleep over perfecting it. The amount of effort and energy you put into the business ultimately determine it's success. So be willing to sacrifice and be as strategic as possible.
What are your future plans for Trinity Labs, LLC?
A: To continue to grow and invest in a facility dedicated to business. My ultimate goal is for the lab to be my full-time job and provide for me and my future family. I try to set quarterly and yearly goals for the business to slowly build it into exactly what I envisioned.

#GivingTuesday: #GiveREAL with Aerie Brand Ambassadors and Period at NC State

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I started my menstrual cycle at 9 years old. I was one of the only 4th grade girls in my school that had her period and I was pretty embarrassed whenever I needed additional feminine products; but, I was fortunate enough to have the access to additional feminine products when I needed them. There are many women who are limited to utilizing toilet paper or reusing clothing and unfortunately ruining sole pairs of pants and/or underwear. This is due to the excessive cost of tampons and pads; some women simply can't afford them.


The Aerie Ambassadors at NC State recently partnered with Period at NC State to educate all women on the importance of and need for menstrual products. In support of Aerie's overall mission of giving back to the greater Wake County community and Period at NC State's mission to provide period products to the homeless population in Wake County, they collectively organized a menstrual product donation drive on November 16th, during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. With well over 35,000 students, both organizations felt that such an event would leave a lasting impact on the NC State community as a result, reach the greater Raleigh/Durham community as well. On this day, they raised nearly $200 and received enough product donations to cover 80 periods! All items will be donated to SOAR Outreach and NC State's Feed the Pack Pantry.




Today is Giving Tuesday and NC State's Aerie Brand Ambassadors and Period would like to invite you to their Period Packing Party where they will be organizing the donations they received. They will meet in Talley Student Union room 4280 at 8:00pm. Will you join the cause?

Please find more information about Period and updates about GivingTuesday by following @periodncstate or Aerie Brand Ambassadors (@trinazhodges, @m_ebri or @eliza.bars) on Instagram!

With Blessings & Imperfections,
Bre


Peacefully Profitable - Entrepreneur, Coach + Podcast Host

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Peacefully Profitable: IG: peacefullyprofitable - Entrepreneur, Coach + Podcast Host

What was your greatest inspiration/motivation to start Peacefully Profitable?
My greatest inspiration/motivation to start Peacefully Profitable was freedom!  It's something I need in my life due to the unique circumstances and challenges that have been placed in my path.  Also to create a legacy that would live on when I'm no longer around.  It has always been bigger than me and I think we should all look at our business through a similar lens (legacy)

What is the overall vision of Peacefully Profitable?
Peacefully Profitable is a consulting firm for major corporations so our misson/vision is to help people succeed in their career in a peaceful yet meaningful way. Our goal is to ensure all clients have a clear mindset, positive outlook and the desire to be the very best version of themselves.

We are also here to help business owners sustain retention and bottom-line with profitable productivity strategies, that will in turn help employees be more productive and meet their goals.   



What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching and maintaining your brand/business?
 The biggest challenges have been trying to remain as close as I can to my authentic self, vision + brand.  I say this is a challenge because in order to attract certain clients or gain some business, those potential clients are wanting you to look a certain way or operate in a way that only they are used to.  This can be challenging for someone who prides themselves on staying true to who they are.  My advice:  Stay true to who you are, regardless.  The right customers will always find you.

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?
Tips for consumers that may have the desire to launch a business or their own:  Know your why!  Why do you even want to start a business.  This often times eliminates a lot of the confusion, stress and even some delay in scaling your business.  It's going to be really difficult to succeed if you don't know why you are running a business and who you are servicing.  Also, don't be afraid or too good to serve.  There will be time for you to call yourself a BOSS, but until then, SERVE!!



What are your future plans for Peacefully Profitable?
 My future plans for the business are to scale and grow a successful team and become a household name.  I will no longer be the face of my business and it will be a true BRAND that companies seek out when they are in need of employee development, engagement and growth strategies for their company.

Fall Style Collab with The Strong Suit

Thursday, November 15, 2018
This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

"I could buy designer; but this [
WALMART] fit???"


Yeap, that's right. I've finally collaborated with Angelica, the Content Creator of TheStrongSuit.co and one of my go-to style gurus, to style a few pieces from one of our new favorite places to shop for clothes; Walmart! I personally didn't imagine that I would ever consider Walmart as a prime location for super cute items; but alas, here we are, yall. Their Time and Tru and No Boundaries collections excite me just as much as Target's Wild Fable collection and yall KNOW how hype I was about my Wild Fable Joggers. Lookin' cute and savin' coins simultaneously - my wallet didn't even know such a combination existed.

I was intentional about purchasing pieces specifically for the fall, that could be styled multiple ways and paired with other items that I already had in my closet. I am a summer girl, so I always neglect to properly prepare for the colder months and end up looking cute, cold and crazy. My staple items were a basic turtleneck, a pair of mid-rise skinny jeans, a pair of cinched-ankle sweatpants and a basic cardigan. The two looks you'll see in this post included all 4 of these items + some jewelry from Walmart's Time and Tru collection. 



The first look we styled for one of our favorite events, NC State's Homecoming Tailgate (featuring the grill that I used to make my highly-requested honey-buffalo wings). Angelica and I decided to keep it pretty simple since I was planning to be pretty active. I am always looking to add more jeans into my wardrobe because denim can literally be dressed up or down; however, it's sometimes difficult for me to find jeans that [comfortably] fit my curves, so I usually pay a pretty penny for a quality pair. These jeans fit perfectly (think FashionNova at a much cheaper price) and have already made it into my weekly rotation - I snagged these for $11, yall. And I mean it when I say the fit is comparable to FashionNova. They had other styles/colors in their denim arsenal and the most expensive pair was only $16. I've already paired them with a denim colored button up, for a Canadian tuxedo look, and a pair of Chelsea boots for an evening exploring downtown Durham (I will post that look next time I wear it, lol). 

I paired the jeans with a cutoff NC State tee and this super comfy, double-knit Black cardigan that only cost me $20. This cardigan will likely be featured several times this season because of the great quality and the ability to go from day-to-night with ease. A cardigan like this would probably be double Walmart's price somewhere like H&M or Express; so, I will definitely be going back to get the camel (featured in Angelica's post - thestrongsuit.co) and the olive green colored cardigans just like this one. Here's another one of their maxi length cardigans for only $13 online! As you can see, we kept it simple with accessories; but, the jeans and the cardigan together made for a perfect tailgate 'fit all by themselves.



For this next look, Angelica wanted to style 3 of the 4 pieces all in one outfit and I have to say, this was definitely my favorite look! I wanted a pair of sweatpants that I could dress up and go out in, or pair with sneakers and run errands in and these definitely got the job done. I love basics for that very reason; they're so versatile. We styled these cinched-ankle sweatpants with a maroon/plum colored turtleneck and some Black, chunky-heeled booties from H&M. This turtleneck could be dressed up even more with a fur vest or a knee-length cardigan, high-waist jeans or a button-down skirt. Check out these Cowl Neck Chenille Sweaters - definitely a great addition to your Fall wardrobe! You could also make a statement with a cute pair of drop earrings like the ones I purchased from Walmart. They were only $4!


Comfort and style go hand-in-hand for Angelica and I both, so the Time and Tru and No Boundaries collections are great. I got all of the pieces featured in this post, plus a pair of charcoal gray joggers, for just $60! Guess where I'm headed on payday? Until then, please go check out Angelica's Walmart style post at thestrongsuit.co and let us know what you think about the pieces we got.


With Blessings & Imperfections,
Bre

BlkWomenHustle - Networking Platform

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Blk Women Hustle: IG: blkwomenhustle - Networking Platform

What was your greatest inspiration/motivation to start BlkWomenHustle?
BlkWomenHustle was inspired by a few things-- the disappointment experienced by friends using the services of others, my personal desire to defy stereotypes, and my unwavering love and admiration for the black woman. We're capable of so much and we have lights that are constantly being dimmed every way possible by so many people in society. Black women deserve the attention, love, and support for everything they continue to do, despite their socioeconomic status, titles, and the sizes of their platforms.

What is the overall vision of BlkWomenHustle?
I wanted to create a space that connects and celebrates women across the world, not just celebrities and those in my local area. With today's political climate, we hear and see so much on social media about uniting, supporting black businesses, etc. As a person who advocates for that type of unity, I wanted to bring it to life. Black women are heavily criticized and stereotyped as having attitudes or being catty toward one another, and I wanted this to display who we truly are and all that we have to offer. I wanted BlkWomenHustle to be that space where black women can come and feel loved, appreciated, and supported personally and professionally; but most of all, I wanted them to feel like themselves.

What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching, and maintaining your brand/business?
The biggest challenge of maintaining BlkWomenHustle is keeping up with the growth! You can have dreams and goals, but when the growth of your brand exceeds your expectations and opportunities are presented sooner than expected, you can feel a little unprepared. So, I would say keeping track of it all while trying to provide constant updates is definitely the biggest challenge of them all. The next challenge would just be the creation of content that appeals to such a large audience. It's a bit different when you're appealing to women who've fallen in love with a platform versus your personal page where your content consists of whatever, posted whenever.

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?
If you feel you're ready to transition to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, be prepared to lose lots of sleep, lose touch with some family and friends, always plan ahead, and save your money! The best advice anyone could give you when starting your business? DON'T QUIT. Things might not seem to be working out, but step away for a while. Focus on some other aspects of your business. Work on different goals that will help you progress while you're still working out the kinks. Head back to the drawing board if the plan seems like it's headed for failure; it won't hurt you to start over. Whatever you choose to do, DON'T QUIT. 

What are your future plans for BlkWomenHustle?
I can't tell you that, sis! JK :) We'll be releasing some products, bringing our Networking Mixers to new cities, collaborating with other platforms supporting black women, and planning some major events! I can't elaborate at the moment, but just know that this platform wasn't created without reason. I'm looking forward to providing more events, perks, and opportunities that will benefit every woman connected with BlkWomenHustle.

The BlkWomenHustle Team
(E):  info@blkwomenhustle.com
(M): 980.292.0266
(W): www.blkwomenhustle.com

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Affirmation of the Week

“You have always been a blessed thing, and goodness has no trouble finding you because goodness is what you deserve." – Upile Chisala