Friday, November 17, 2017

Mompreneur Efe Cierkowski Discusses Her Holiday Party Perfect Sip and Paint Business

We love to share inspirational stories about women who step out on faith and start their own businesses. And that’s exactly what Efe Cierkowski did when she left behind a lucrative corporate job and opened A Sip of Art, a charitable BYOB painting class studio in West Orange, New Jersey that's perfect for holiday parties. Born in Ghana, Cierkowski was inspired to become an entrepreneur after her second daughter was born prematurely and she needed more control over her schedule. 

Efe Cierkowski, owner of A Sip of Art.
“Maya was born prematurely at 27 weeks and spent two months in the [hospital] in New Jersey. I spent the majority of my maternity leave there and not long after she came home I had to return to work at my corporate job," Efe explained. "That was the moment I knew I wanted more control and flexibility of my time and life, but fear of replacing my income was the biggest thing holding me back.”

The 37-year-old continued: “In 2015 it finally clicked, I needed to redefine what success meant. I decided that success for me was NOT replacing my income, but rather having control of my time and the kind of flexibility where I could put the things I truly valued, i.e. my family, first. From then on, I started the journey to creating and living a life I truly enjoyed and not one that just looked good from the outside - and I continue to make the choices necessary to accomplish that.”

Everything She Wants caught up with the busy mother of four via email.

Everything She Wants: Why did you decide your business would be a painting class studio?

Efe Cierkowski: Although I am not an artist, I have always appreciated art and this business coupled with my love for art and event planning perfectly. Additionally, we host children’s classes and it has been wonderful for my children to have a place where they can go express their creativity as well.


ESW: What motivated her to donate a percentage of the profits from each class?

Efe: To whom much is given, much is required. This quote has always resonated with me and I have always been of the belief that when you get, you give.  So when I finally made the sacrifice to leave my comfort zone and start a business I decided it would be one that had a give back component. That was why I opened A Sip of Art with the mission to give back to St. Barnabas NICU as well as other local non-profits and charities focused on Africa.  I am most proud of the fact that in just a year after opening we had raised $8,261 for charities. Some of the organizations that benefitted from the donations are: St. Barnabas NICU, West Orange Relay for Life, Nikhil Badlani Foundation, Redwood Elementary School (West Orange), South Mountain School (South Orange), Autism Speaks, Wendy Williams’s Hunter Foundation, Pink for Africa, Josh Allen Greenhouse and Adopt One Village.


ESW: What has the West Orange community’s response been to A Sip of Art?  Is it the only business like it in the area? 

Efe: The response has been overwhelmingly positive, not just from West Orange but from the surrounding communities, as well. This is the first of this kind of business in the area, and aside from bars, the only other venue where adults can go to relax, connect and have fun. I initially considered opening in downtown South Orange, but serendipitously happened upon our current (centrally located) location and decided on it. The ample parking as well as easy accessibility to other retailers like Wine Legend, Whole Foods, Staples, Kmart and Frank’s Pizza has been very welcome by our guests, particularly our private party hosts who can quickly run out and pick up a forgotten item if needed.

ESW: What words of encouragement do you have for other entrepreneurial women of color?  

Efe: One of the most important lessons I have learned is to figure out your core values and priorities and use that to guide your decisions and actions.  As an entrepreneur, you will be pulled in many directions and there will be a million things that compete for your attention, but as long as you tune into your inner compass and keep your priorities in focus you will always make the right decisions.  Additionally, as a mom of four, I am especially passionate about inspiring other women to go for their dreams and sharing with them tips, tools and strategies for getting it all done while still maintaining balance in their lives.


I have learned and experienced so much over the last few years in this journey and have so much that I want to share with other entrepreneurs, particularly mompreneurs. I am launching a new coaching business at the end of the year focused on helping women open their own paint and sip businesses or other service-orientated businesses, as well as coaching them to build a life and business that is aligned with their core values. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

NaturallyCurly Founder Michelle Breyer Talks Curly Hair Sisterhood in 'The Curl Revolution'

Michelle Breyer, co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com, has been on the frontlines of the curly hair revolution since 1998. The former business journalist was inspired to start the website after “a lifetime of fighting my curly hair and feeling like I didn't fit the accepted standard of beauty.” Now curly hair sisters of all races and ethnic backgrounds can learn Breyer’s tips of the trade in her first book, The Curl Revolution: Inspiring Stories andPractical Advice from the NaturallyCurly Community.  We caught up with the busy entrepreneur, via email.

Photo courtesy of NaturallyCurly

Everything She Wants: How did the idea for NaturallyCurly.com come about?

Michelle Breyer: [After] a few mimosas at a party. I was working as a reporter at a newspaper with some fellow curly friends and we were complaining about our hair on a humid Austin day. Someone overheard us and thought it was crazy that people could spend so much time talking about their hair. He suggested we start a newspaper or a website. We literally got on a computer at the party and created the URL. We wanted to create a place for people like us.

ESW: Did working as a business reporter lay the foundation for you to become an entrepreneur?

Breyer: It helped that I had covered a wide range of entrepreneurs who all had an idea that they turned into a business - from John Mackey of Whole Foods to Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines - they saw a need and created something to fill that need. But I realize now how little I knew of what it actually took to start a business.

ESW: Since you are Caucasian and have a looser texture of curly hair, in the beginning of NaturallyCurly.com did any women of color with different hair textures voice concern that you wouldn't be able to relate to their hair issues?

Breyer: Because we always talked in terms of texture and not ethnicity, it wasn't really an issue. We found that people were all looking for solutions, and because we attracted such a wide range of people, they found support from women with texture like their own, but they also bonded with people who might look nothing like them. The common bond was that we all felt ignored, and we were all looking for inspiration, education and empowerment. I knew what I had gone through - years of being called names, trying to straighten my hair, the frustration - and I didn't pretend to know exactly what other people had gone through with their hair journey. I think people knew that I came from an authentic place, and our goal was to help people. And we brought a lot of voices to the site; top texture experts and some community members from a wide range of backgrounds.

ESW: What can readers expect from your book, “The Curl Revolution: Inspiring Stories and Practical Advice from the NaturallyCurly Community"? 


Breyer: Readers have told me they found it very powerful to see so many people - both well known and not - who shared their stories. They also liked seeing so many philosophies and perspectives in one place. We don't promote just one technique or one brand. The book takes readers through every step of the curl experience.

ESW: How did your Fashion Week show, Texture on the Runway, come about?

Breyer: When I began covering New York Fashion Week for NaturallyCurly a decade ago, I had a full appreciation of the power of fashion. But with each show, I was increasingly aware of the lack of diversity of the models. Whether the hair was parted down the middle or pulled back in a ponytail, there was barely a curl or kink in sight. And the models were, almost exclusively, white. Never one to accept the status quo, I was back in Austin complaining about the runway looks with our global editor at the time, Cassidy Blackwell, after returning from Fashion Week in 2011. She shared my frustration. We thought, "Why don’t we create a runway show all about curls. Why don’t we celebrate the diversity of texture on the runway!”  If we were going to do it, we wanted to do it big. People told us we'd never be able to get people to a "hair" fashion show during Fashion Week. The venue was packed. Our 2016 show was even bigger and better. And this year's event at Gotham Hall took it to a whole different level!

Photo courtesy of Everything She Wants

ESW: How did you get all of the hair brands/sponsors on board for Texture on the Runway?

Breyer: With brands and retailers looking for unique opportunities to showcase their products for curly and coily hair, Texture on the Runway offers a unique opportunity. Many actually approached us about participating. In fact Sally Beauty attended [a previous] event and asked us to reserve it for them this year. For many brands participating in Fashion Week, it has been frustrating not to have control over the vision for the hair. It's usually up to the fashion designers. So they love the idea of having free rein over the hairstyles they create.
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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Celebrate International Cat Day with These Cute Cat Photos from The ARK at JFK

Sunday, October 29th is International Cat Day.  Here at Everything She Wants, we're all about cats. 

One of the biggest dilemmas cat lovers face is traveling with their feline friends. But if you are flying out of JFK Airport in New York City, you can rest assured that your kitty is in good hands. The state-of-the-art ARK provides pre- and post-travel animal care and veterinary services for pets, including cats, dogs, horses, birds, livestock and exotic animals in a competent and compassionate manner. The ARK provides an efficient, safe and low stress environment for both our human and animal clients.



The facility provides 24/7 access to and from a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facility, enabling the safe handling and efficient delivery of horses, pets, birds and livestock by air. Animals are moved from jets directly into ARK branded transport vehicles and taken to The ARK where they receive immediate care or begin required quarantine. Regardless of the duration of stay, all animals are looked after by accredited veterinary staff and highly-trained and caring handlers, with processes developed under guidance from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.




In addition, The ARK is partnered with the SPCA’s Operation Baghdad Pups Worldwide program (which also includes cats.) For members of the U.S. military stationed on bases all over the world who befriend local animals during deployments (and become their companions), Operation Baghdad Pups rescues and reunites these patriot pets with our service members in the U.S. To date, they have rescued over 650 animals from multiple countries in the Middle East, Central Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa.

The ARK at JFK is located at New York's JFK  in Cargo Area D on 14.4 acres and is opening up in three phases in 2017. As part of Phase 1, The ARK Pet Oasis and Equine Export Center opened January 2, 2017 and have welcomed horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, mice, goats, pot-bellied pig and many other animals. Phase 2 includes The ARK Aviary and Equine Import Quarantine, which recently opened in September 2017. Phase 3 services will include a long-term pet boarding facility in late 2017. Approved by the Board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), The ARK was constructed by ARK Development, LLC and is a $65 million state-of-the-art facility.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Late Summer Picnics Made Perfect with Bumble Bee Seafoods

Summer's not over yet.  So there's still plenty of time to enjoy a picnic in the park, on your rooftop or in your backyard. And no picnic is complete with yummy pasta salad, decadent deviled eggs and delish sammies.  To help you prepare the perfect picnic basket, here are a few healthy recipes from our friends at Bumble Bee Seafoods.






·      No-Mayo Tuna Avocado Salad—Swap avocado and Greek yogurt for mayo in this recipe spin-off.

·       Tuna Salad Deviled Eggs—A fun and easy twist on an all-time favorite.

·       Colorful Tuna Pasta—Pasta salad holds up well and the flavors actually get better with time. Try a whole wheat pasta for extra fiber, plus your favorite veggies, and protein-rich beans or a lean protein, like Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna, and you have yourself a complete picnic meal.

·       Fruit Infused Ice Water— Hydration is extra important when playing and lounging in the heat. Liven up your water by adding frozen fruit cubes. Freeze grapes, watermelon, strawberries or kiwi for a burst of flavor. Or, add slices of citrus fruit like lemon, lime and oranges along with plenty of ice cubes to a large water bottle.

·       Tuna To Go—Lean protein options can be a challenge when packing a portable, picnic-friendly lunch. Try Bumble Bee® Seasoned Tuna Pouches that are already deliciously seasoned and come with a spoon. Pack them as your go-to protein source and enjoy straight from the pouch, paired with whole grain crackers, or atop a green salad.

·       Hummus & Veggies—Veggies are often missing from picnic meals, so packing a variety of easy to eat crudité like carrot sticks, celery, grape tomatoes, snap peas, and cucumbers to dip in hummus or yogurt dip is a perfect way to get a cool crunch. And it’s a great alternative to chips! Plus, most veggies are rich in water too, so you get extra hydration.

·       Caprese Skewers—Spear fresh mini mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, and basil leaves onto small bamboo skewers for a quick and easy snack. You’ll fit in a serving of veggies and pack in protein from the cheese.

·       Watermelon Skewers—Chill cubes of watermelon and thread onto skewers for easy and fun eating outdoors! You can also freeze watermelon and add to freezer bags to use as edible ice cubes in your cooler.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Parties Made Easy with Mionetto Prosecco Mini Bottles (Sponsored)

The weather is hot and party planning can be stressful, but the secret to a successful summertime fête is good wine. Whether you’re planning a barbecue, beach getaway, or an al fresco dinner party there’s really only one thing you need: Mionetto Prosecco Mini Bottles! 

Available in Rosé Extra Dry Sparkling and classic Prosecco Treviso Brut, this delightful drink can be paired with grilled foods, made into delicious cocktails, or served straight up – and it’s perfect for your summer festivities. While anytime is the right time to pop a bottle, here are are few of our fave places to enjoy Mionetto Prosecco Mini Bottles!

Poolside

Making cocktails poolside can be a slight struggle - trying to keep the pitchers full, cool, and free of chlorine water is a full time job! Instead use buckets of Mionetto Prosecco’s mini bottles on ice, ready to grab and go. You can serve the bottles with a matching straw for simple poolside sipping. 

BBQ & Picnics  

Whether you’re grilling fresh fish drizzled with lemon or a spicy entrée, Mionetto Prosecco mini bottles are the perfect accompaniment. Set up a buffet of your delicious creations and don’t forget a tray lined with Mionetto’s mini bottles. Guests can pick them up and sip leisurely on the lawn without having to worry about glassware, so you can relax and enjoy your barbecue or picnic the way you intended.   

Tailgating Parties  

Before you buckle down to endure the crowds of a tailgate, make sure you stock up on Mionetto Prosecco mini bottles. After all, beer has become a horribly boring staple at tailgating events and everyone will welcome something refreshingly new like Prosecco. Pack the mini bottles in a cooler to make sure they’re kept at the deliciously, perfect chilled temperature and serve often.   

Party Favors  

Give guests something adorably sleek that they’ll actually want to take home! Mionetto Prosecco mini bottles are the perfect gift to give your guests, regardless of the occasion. Try printing personalized stickers and a matching thank you card to the neck of the bottle. Nothing says “thank you for enduring my bridal antics” like a chilled bottle of Prosecco. 


Monday, June 5, 2017

Oprah Would Love Rudi's Organic Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Oprah loves bread.  We do, too...but in moderation. And when we get that carb craving we reach for a slice of Rudi's Organic Bakery breads, which are about as healthy and wholesome as bread can get. Rudi's has been baking small batch breads for over thirty-five years and is the leading producer of certified organic breads in the U.S., but Everything She Wants was recently introduced to the brand at an Editor's Showcase in New York City.

Grilled apple and brie sandwich on Rudi's Cinnamon Raisin Bread.
Rudi's graciously sent us a several loaves of its yummy Cinnamon Raisin Bread, with 15 grams of whole grains and loaded with plenty of plump organic raisins and organic sunflower seeds in each slice.

The bread makes a delish sweet and savory snack anytime of the day. We love our slice slathered with crunchy organic almond butter. And Rudi's raisin bread makes great sandwiches and French toast, too.

Check out this fun recipe.

French Toast made with Rudi's Organic Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Triple Sec

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur or frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 Slices of Rudi’s Organic Cinnamon Raisin
  • 4 tablespoons(1/2 stick) butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Warm maple syrup
Preparation
  1. Whisk first 6 ingredients to blend in medium bowl.
  2. Dip each bread slice into egg mixture.  For best results, dip and flip the bread slices in the batter 4-5 times before placing in the skillet.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 bread slices to skillet until cooked through and brown, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Place on baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat cooking with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 4 bread slices. Transfer French toast to 4 plates. Sift powdered sugar over. Serve with maple syrup.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Summer Haircare Tips from Celebrity Stylist Larry Sims

Celebrity hair stylist Larry Sims' work speaks for itself -- Gabrielle Union's sleek tresses; Tracee Ellis Ross's unruly curls; Lupita Nyong'o's tapered natural; and Zendaya's ever-changing mane. Sims, a former dancer and choreographer, is also the star of his own raucous reality show on Bravo, "Invite Only Cabo." 

Larry Sims
To get you ready to sit pretty pool-and-beach-side, we asked the Los Angeles-based hair guru for a few summer hair care tips and product picks.

1. The healthiest way of wearing your hair is embracing your natural texture without using any heat. Use styling products the got2b kinkier collection to add shine and bounce to you curls.

Product pick: Long-lasting curl definition doesn’t have 
to come at the expense of flirty, finger-twirl-able locks. 
got2b kinkier gloss ‘n define curling mousse gives moveable 
and weightless hold for touchable feel and shiny bouncy 
looking curls while helping to control unruly frizz. 
Give curls the ultimate boost with this luxurious mousse. 
Work into towel-dried hair for jaw-dropping ringlets. 
$5.99; available at mass retailers

2. Always use a good heat protectant if you have to use heat. Hot tools should also not surpass 375 degrees.

Product pick

In a world where women battle with heat styling appliances daily, it’s reassuring to know that divine intervention is now available from göt2b guardian angel flat iron balm. Developed with heavenly hair in mind, göt2b unlocks the secret to superior heat protection plus advanced styling support. Each product is formulated with an innovative patented heat-activated polymer technology that delivers proven 425°F 
heat protection with a glossy finish. $5.99; available at mass retailers

3. Do a regular moisturize mask treatment once a week to make sure hair stays hydrated!

Product pick: Schwarzkopf GLISS Ultra Moisture Anti-Breakage Treatment contains a special complex of Keratin Care-19 Complex and penetrates deep into your hair for softness and shine, with up to 95% less hair breakage. $5.99; available at mass retailers




4.  Use shampoos with natural oils and keratin and don’t shampoo your hair on a daily basis, which can strip your hair of oil. If you have buildup, try to rinse and condition. 

Product picks: Long hair brushes against your shoulders or back leaving it weak: often breaking it. To keep hair soft and healthy-looking it needs intense care that deeply restores from length to tip. GLISS™ Oil Nutritive Shampoo & Conditioner is a non-greasy 
formula with eight beauty oils and Keratin that only nourishes the hair, but also deeply repairs stressed hair structure, for fewer split ends.

Schwarzkopf Stylist Tip:

· Rinse with cool water to close the cuticle locking in the caring ingredients provided by this sublime repair conditioner.

· For a deeper treatment use GLISS™ Oil Nutritive Split-End Serum after conditioning.
$5.99; available at mass retailers

5. Don’t go too long without trimming your split and dead ends. The quicker you let them go the healthier and fuller your hair will be. 

Schwarzkopf GLISS Hair Repair Oil Nutritive Split-End Serum

This non-greasy formula with eight Beauty Oils & Keratin not only nourishes the hair, but also deeply repairs stressed hair structure, for fewer split ends. Long hair brushes against your shoulders or back leaving it weak, often breaking it. To keep hair soft and healthy-looking, it needs intense care that deeply restores from length to tip.

Key Benefits:
·   Deep hair repair without weighing hair down
·   Up to 90% fewer split ends*
·   Touchably soft and shiny hair

$5.99; available at mass retailers