TECHnically Female - Tech Female Enthusiast

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Jasmine Jarvis
TECHnically Female - Tech Female Enthusiast: IG: technicallyfemale

What was your greatest inspiration/motivation to start TECHnically Female?
My greatest motivation to start TECHnically Female came after I was asked to be the Guest Speaker for the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network (NC-MSEN) Pre-College Program's annual Awards Day Ceremony this year. I had the opportunity to speak with middle and high school students about my academic and career journey, the importance of sacrifice plus dedication and how pursuing STEM has positively impacted my life. Post-speech, I had several young girls show their appreciation for my candid advice and ask for photo-ops as they too were currently the "token black girl" currently in their STEM courses as I alluded that I had always been growing up and even today in Corporate America. As I reflected, I remembered how I was told that I was not a "good fit" for engineering, I was the only Black girl in advanced math and science course, and now I am consistently the only woman that has no problem speaking the truth in a conference room full of men. This was my defining moment. I knew that more young girls (who am I kidding, even grown women) need to hear from me and other successful STEMinists they could aspire to be in order to stay motivated and encouraged to change our world by pursuing STEM careers. As a result, TECHnically Female was born :)

What is the overall mission of TECHnically Female?
TECHnically Female is a community empowering women of all ages interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM). It exists to provide useful advice to inspire women to slay in a male shaped society, to motivate females to pursue STEM courses and career pathways, and to create a community of like-minded STEMinists and tech girl bosses!

What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching and maintaining your brand/business?
My biggest challenge so far launching TECHnically Female is definitely determining what content to present to the commununity as so many topics exist that can be discussed in regards to emphasizing female empowerment in STEM. I have received an overwhelming response from fellow STEMinists who want to be a part of this movement and who see the importance of this community, which is extremely exciting and truly has made the nervousness of taking this leap of faith to launch TECHnically Female less intimidating. This Black Girl Magic boss is ready to build her empire, but every great empire needs support to be successful.

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?

Start now and don't talk yourself out of launching! There will never be a "right time" nor will you have everything you need resource wise and you will never have everyone's support. At the end of the day your business belongs to you and always bet on yourself first. As long as you continue to pursue a business that allows you to pursue your passion you can never go wrong.

What are your future plans for TECHnically Female?
Wow future plans... great question! Short-term I definitely hope to grow this community in capacity to as wide as I can possibly reach in order to provide the greatest impact. Long-term I would love to continue the conversations in person by hosting annual conferences that bring the TECHnically Female community together to provide useful resources to ensure growth in STEM, strengthen our relationships through networking, and improve our overall personal/professional development needs as women. So if you are or know a female, young or older, who loves STEM and would like to join our TECHnically Female community please follow or encourage them to follow us on Instagram at @technicallyfemale !

TECHnicallyFemale - Managed by Jasmine Jarvis
"An Instagram community empowering women of all ages interested in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics (STEM)"

Natural Hair Chronicles, Part I: Wash Day + Staple Products

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The beginning of my commitment to natural.
The most important thing to note while reading this post, is that everyone's hair is different. What works for me, may not work for you and that is okay! The best part about natural hair, is the freedom to try new products and new styles and the opportunity to share that with your curly frans (like me).

My natural hair journey began in 2012 when I first entered undergrad. Honestly, I was slightly forced into being natural. I was a broke college student who 1) didn't know anyone in Raleigh who I could trust to put a relaxer in my hair and 2) couldn't even afford to maintain relaxed hair if I did know anyone.  But nonetheless, going natural has been one of the best decisions I've made!
Circa 2013/14 - before the blonde and before the length.

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.*

This post will detail my wash-day routine. Wash-day typically takes me about 2 to 2.5 hours from start to finish (honestly, it probably takes longer than this because I take quite a few social media breaks AND my arms be hurtin', y'all. lol). Depending on the style that you are trying to achieve OR the style you are transitioning from, you could spend more or less time on wash day. For example, if my hair is in a puff on wash day, it takes me a significant amount of time to detangle my hair from that style and if I want lots of definition, it's going to take me longer to twist my hair than it would if I wanted to do a chunky twist out or something. So, basically you can take the estimated finish time with a grain of salt; just go get your Denman brush and mark your calendar as "busy" for a while.
My must have products:

These are the products that give me a slight heart attack when I realize how close to the bottom I am when I sit down for wash-day after I just got back from the store and forgot to get more...yeah, it's that bad.
The products that you use will definitely depend on your hair type. I honestly have no idea what my hair type is; but, for reference, if I had to guess, I'd say that I have somewhere between 4A and 4C. You can learn more about hair types here. Certain products work better in certain hair types - most Cantu products do not work well for me and I believe this is a result of my hair type, and the fact that I've bleached my hair (we'll talk color later). 
I'm not too picky about the shampoos and conditioners I use, but I always know when I don't like a shampoo/conditioner. I do prefer conditioners with LOTS of slip though because my hair is very thick and very dry, so I need all of the moisture I can get. Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Curls NEVER disappoints. I also have a very dry scalp; so, shampoos that contain tea-tree oil are always my go-to (if you have issues with dry scalp/dandruff, read about the benefits of tea-tree oil here). Again, Shea Moisture comes through with what I need; their new African Water Mint & Ginger Detox Shampoo both clarifies and moisturizes my hair and scalp (I know I sound like an ad, but I promise you this shampoo is the truth!). I've only found it on Amazon and at Bed, Bath & Beyond; but, you can find the OGX dupe pretty much anywhere and it's half the price - Target has it here. I start with the Aussie Conditioner, wash my hair twice with the Detox Shampoo, then, because the Detox Shampoo pretty much strips my hair of all oils/product, I wash once with Not Your Mother's Natural High Moisture Shampoo  and then condition once more with Aussie or the Not Your Mother's Natural High Moisture Conditioner.

For most of my styles (except blowouts because that is a style that requires little to no product), I utilize the L.O.C. method (liquid-oil-cream). This is a method a lot of naturals use to retain moisture by hydrating the hair, sealing in moisture and preventing the loss of that moisture by closing the hair cuticle. I spray each section of hair with water and then apply a generous amount of the Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner. Then, I apply an oil (I love the Anaya Hair Butter, but I usually just use whatever oil I have at the time which is usually a mix of a few different oils such as olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil and tea tree oil). My favorite cream to use after I've applied my oil is Shea Moisture Smoothie. The Denman brush is a staple tool because it detangles while also evenly distributing product(s) through so I swear by it! 

After I've completed the L.O.C. method, my go-to style is typically a flat twist out (and it never dries - *insert eye roll here*); but, we'll talk more about styles in Part II of the Natural Hair Chronicles. 

Was this helpful?? What are some of your go-to products for wash-day? How long does your process usually take? I wanna know!

With Blessings & Imperfections,

Six Podcasts You NEED in Your Life!

Friday, October 19, 2018

So, I KNOW that most of us stay totally and completely focused during the work day; but, this post is for those of us who need a little extra something(s) to get us through the day when we are otherwise supposed to be consumed by work stuff. Here are my recommendations for hilarious, thought-provoking, brand-building, insightful and necessary podcasts that will help motivate you as you continue working to change the email at a time.

(Hang in there, friend; it'll be 5 o'clock before you know it. Enjoy!)

Woman Evolve w/ Sarah Jakes Roberts - this podcast is one of my Top Three personal FAVORITE podcasts! SJR has this incredible way of mixing Pop Culture with The Word of God and it makes for an informative, hilarious and encouraging listen.
Woman Evolve with Sarah Jakes Roberts

Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham - this podcast is fairly new; but, Ashley Graham's willingness to "go there" and to discuss important issues (like issues around race, gender and sexuality) with some of pop culture's most influential people, is quite refreshing.
Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham

Small Doses with Amanda Seales - y'all. This is another one of my top 3 favorite podcasts. Amanda Seales is HILARIOUSSSS, y'all. She can take the most serious issue and somehow make it so funny that you understand that topic more than you did before you even considered laughing about it. LOL, will not be disappointed after subscribing to this podcast!
Small Doses with Amanda Seales 

1A by NPR

1A by NPR - I often miss out on the most important issues happening in the world because I [admittedly] allow Shaderoom news to take over my life (not proud, but well-informed on celebrity celebrations and misfortunes). 1A gives me the opportunity to stay informed with the topics that matter like updates on labor shortages and the midterm elections (speaking of: are you registered to vote on November 6th?).

Paychecks & Balances with Rich and Marcus
Paychecks & Balances - Listen. If you KNOW me, then you KNOW that I have no concept of budgeting and I desperately need to yesterday. This podcast was created to provide millennials with a fun and relatable way to learn about finances and receive career advice you can apply practically.  

Peacefully Profitable with Shermikia Lemon
Peacefully Profitable with Shermikia Lemon - Last but not least, the third of my top three favorite podcasts of ALL time belongs to one of my favorite auntie/bestie/sister girl. Peacefully Profitable gives current and future entrepreneurs the keys and the tools to turn passion into profit, all while learning the work-life balance that helps to maintain your PEACE. 

What are some of your favorite podcasts? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

With Blessings & Imperfections,

All Caked Up CupCakery - Baker/Cupcake Connoisseur

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

All Caked Up CupCakery: IG:  allcakedupcupakery - Baker/Cupcake Connoisseur

What is your greatest inspiration/motivation to start All Caked Up?
My grandmother (she passed in June) and my daughter. My grandmother taught me how to bake growing up and she’s the one who taught me how to make chocolate icing from scratch. Then I went off to school to major in fashion & retail, only to come home and start a cupcake business lol. I feel like it’s something my grandmother wanted me to do. And my daughter just inspires me to do anything I put my mind to & I want her to grow up in the kitchen with me, teaching her everything I was taught and just always have that bond with her. 

What is the overall vision for All Caked Up?
I hadn’t really thought too much about it honestly, I just stared doing basic cupcakes and now I try and do any recipe I come across and perfect it into my own. Everybody loves sweets, so why not give the people what they want lol. I love the reactions/feedback I get when people try my cupcakes and it just makes me want to create more and create new flavors for them to love. 
What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching, and maintaining your brand/business?

The biggest challenge I have right now is eating all the left over cupcakes 😂 sometimes I can’t believe how good they are, so I’ll have another and another lol. But the one thing I’m really trying to do is start shipping my cupcakes because I’m based in VA and a lot of my Charlotte friends want cupcakes. Overnight shipping is expensive but also , I just don’t trust that they’ll take care of my babies (my cupcakes) once they get on the truck and I don’t want anyone to receive any smushed cupcakes from me. 

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?
Honestly when I started , it was just kind of a random, let’s see where it goes type of thing. But now it’s like wow, people really like my baking. So I would tell anyone that has a desire to just go for it! You never know until you try and my boyfriend and my family are sooooo supportive (I literally make them try every cupcake 😂). A good support system is very necessary, you can do whatever you put your mind to when you have a few good people in your corner rooting for you. 

What are your future plans for All Caked Up?
I just want to continue to satisfy people’s sweet tooth with my baking and try many many many more crazy flavors. I also plan on (haven’t told anyone this yet) adding sugar cookies to the menu. Like the ones in the magazines, lol so stay tuned. 

Design by Shanta - Brand Strategist & Web Designer

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Design by Shanta: IG: designbyshanta - Brand Strategist & Web Designer

What is your greatest inspiration/motivation to start Design by Shanta?
Having the opportunity to not only do what I love but being able to take that very thing to help others to excel in their business.

What is the overall vision of Design by Shanta?
To be a leader and influencer in the industry — the go-to for professional, clean, and attractive websites!

What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching, and maintaining your brand/business?
Staying focused and not getting overly-flustered when things don't go as planned. It's really easy to watch what others are doing and lose track of your vision. And while our plans may be well-mapped out, nothing is guaranteed and being able to pivot when necessary is critical!

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?
Take the time to do the research! My background is in accounting, and I taught myself how to design and code by spending countless hours on Google! Nothing is going to come easy, and you will have to put in the time and pay your dues!

And most importantly, don't focus so much on what the next person is doing, stay true to who you are and what you stand for! Your uniqueness is what sets you apart from the crowd!

RDU Black Professionals - Community Organization

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

RDU Black Professionals: IG: rdu.bp - Community Organization
What was your greatest inspiration/motivation to start RDU Black Professionals?

My motivation for creating RDU BP was the lack of a unified, young black professional community in the area. A few colleagues and I moved to the Triangle 2 years ago and discovered a scarce young professional social scene. We decided to create a platform that would allow us to bring together our individual networks of professionals, and the platform grew organically from there.

What is the overall vision of RDU Black Professionals?

RDU BP is a network of over 1000 young black professionals in the RDU area. We connect professionals by way of social networking events, community service and personal and professional development events. 

What have been the biggest challenges of creating, launching and maintaining your brand/business?

The biggest challenge we’ve faced while maintaining the brand is time allocation. Having a full time job and other responsibilities takes away time needed to allocate to growing a brand. To overcome this challenge, we have established committees to delegate tasks and have more resources on deck.

What tips do you have for your consumers that may desire to launch a business of their own?

The advice that I have for those wishing to launch their own brand or business is...DO IT! There will be doubt, there will be fears, but the first step to chasing a dream is to take the first step.

What are your future plans for RDU Black Professionals?

RDU BP will be a staple networking platform in the RDU community for young black professionals within the next few years. We will have recurring community service events throughout the year. We will be the 1st resort for incoming young professionals while they are acclimating to The Triangle.

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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