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Briana Babineaux: Praise to Purpose

The 21 year old pastor’s daughter, Briana ‘Bri’ Babineaux, is known for her hit single I’ll Be the One. She has taken social media by storm with her anointed voice since being recognized on a YouTube video pouring her heart out to God while singing a rendition of Tonex’s Make Me Over. Since that video her life has just been a whirlwind of events. She was signed to Marquis Boone Enterprises in April 2015 and recently to the label Tyscot.

This powerhouse is truly a kind young woman and she gives all glory to God for the season she is experiencing in life from the fame on social media to the soon to be release of her debut album, “Keys to My Heart.”

-So the Story Goes-

If you grew up in church you may know what it’s like to participate by singing, doing speeches, etc. Some people love it and others not so much. Well, 21 year old p.k. (pastor’s kid) Briana ‘Bri’ Babineaux was the latter. Surprised?!

Things changed for Briana at the end of 2014 when she was attending a worship session with friends in a home setting shortly after returning home from a conference. It was that evening that her life changed in more ways than one.

While Briana was pouring her heart out to God singing a rendition of Tonex’s Make Me Over she began to release all of the emotional hurt she had been experiencing lately due to situations that were going on in her life, she was at a low point. From that evening singing was no longer something she was just gifted to do but the way she expressed her inner most prayers to God. She recalls being able to let go without a care of who was around.

Little did she know, while she was crying out to God through song a friend of hers was recording her and the video went viral on the internet. This video and others of Briana singing were brought to the attention of Marquis Boone, CEO of Boone Enterprises. The college athlete studying Criminal Justice then became a recording artist with a strong following known as Brination.

-Growing Up Bri-

Briana attributes her foundation for a relationship with God to her grandparents. “I guess most people would say my parents being that my dad is a pastor. For me it’s my grandparents. I would wake up to my grandma praying and my grandfather praying,” said Briana. She can recall them singing and praying as they listened to gospel greats such as Mighty Clouds of Joy. Living with her grandparents and being around them they would carry Briana to church with them and lived the life in front of her daily.

At a young age Briana was assigned as leader of praise and worship at her father’s church in Louisiana. When discussing the differences before her life changing moment in winter of 2014 and after she stated, “I had to make sure that I got people engaged in the worship service. I make sure that during the worship service that God is able to meet them and fulfill their needs whereas before I would get up and do my routine and go sit down.”

Briana feels a need to serve the people through her gift of singing. God has blessed her to discern the needs of the people and her prayer when she ministers is that God’s presence comes in the room and moves in the lives of the listeners the same way he moved in her life on the evening she bellowed her prayer to him in 2014.

-The Impact-

The magnitude of the impact she has from sharing on social media is still surprising to Briana. She is known as the social media sweetheart. Even with sharing videos of herself singing she is simply wanting to share moments of her life with those who follow her. She reads the comments that people leave and thanks God that he is able to use her to encourage others. One of her most recent videos that has become viral is the video she shared singing As Long As There’s You written by Donnie McClurkin (The McClurkin Project) at home with her family for New Years Eve 2015 leading into 2016. The video has had over 3.5 million views and nearly 100,000 shares on Facebook alone.

Life has changed in just a short amount of time for Briana. She had to take a break from her college career as she was adjusting to opening her schedule for events and services to sing and her EP has been a hit with single I’ll Be the One topping the charts. Soon she will be returning back to the classroom to complete her studies as she is a senior in college, but has given up her spot as a student athlete on the track team.

Briana is looking forward to the release of her debut album, “Keys to my Heart”, scheduled to drop on March 25th and available for pre-order on January 29th. She can’t wait for fans to hear the entire album. Sha Simpson, Briana’s vocal coach, is the one person who will be collaborating on this album doing the prelude titled I’m Desperate leading into a song written by Briana titled Jacob’s Song.

-Words to Inspire-

Briana’s message to you the readers is not to worry about what your friends or peers may think because of being different and set apart. Even she has to deal with this issue. A phrase that Briana has been holding close to heart is “Be bold for Christ even if it comprises relationships with others our lives aren’t found off it they’re found in Christ. True faith is doing what no else is doing and traveling the road no else traveled.”

Blogger to Vlogger

by: Joi Divine

 

image1 (1)This season is all about family, friends, good food, and (just like every other season for us beauty junkies) makeup. I had the lovely opportunity of chatting with a fellow makeup lover, beauty blogger, and mommy named Shariece Turner-Solis (or Shariece Alisha on YouTube) out of El Paso, TX. I got to know Shariece through a hashtag on Instagram that was started by Shana Moore, another blogger on YouTube. Shana’s hashtag ThePaintedLipsProject came out of the desire to see more women of color represented in the mainstream beauty industry.

Shariece and I have both posted pictures of ourselves in our favorite lip color using the hashtag and we began following one another on Instagram. Soon after I began watching Shariece’s YouTube videos, drawn in by her humor and love for makeup, I realized I wanted to interview someone who is an everyday woman with a passion for beauty.

Joi Divine: How did you get your start on YouTube?

Shariece Turner-Solis: I started my YouTube channel in 2010. I recently bigchopped and wanted to share my hair journey. I took a hiatus for 3 1/2 years. For the past year I’ve been actively posting makeup related videos.
JD: How do you find balance between your family and your YouTube career?
STS: Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out the whole balance thing. If you’ve ever seen my videos you know my dog and child are in the background 99.9% of the time. I TRY to film while my daughter is asleep but we all know how naptime goes.
JD: How would you describe your channel?
STS: Currently, my channel is concentrated on all things beauty. I do makeup tutorials, product reviews, lipstick swatches and more.
JD: What is your favorite makeup item to wear around the holidays?>
STS:
My favorite thing to wear during the holidays and year round is a good, long lasting liquid lipstick. My favorite formula is Kat Von D’s Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick. You can find them at Sephora. I plan on having a swatch video up.
JD: Do you plan to purchase any of the new holiday sets? If so, what has caught your eye?
STS: I’m trying to be good this year and not go crazy with holiday sets. If I were to cave in I’d get the Sephora Favorites: SoKo to Tokyo skincare set, Glamglow Giftsexy Dazzling Hydration set, and the Stila Eternally Yours Liquid Lipstick Set.
JD: Are the festivities more important than your makeup look around the holidays, or do you go all-out?
STS: For me festivities trump a beat face. I most likely will stick to brows, foundation and lipstick.
JD: What’s your favorite look to rock for the holiday season?
STS: If I decide to go all out for a party or other event, I think I’ll go with the classic holiday look, gold eyes and red lip.
JD: Does anyone in your family share your love for makeup?
STS: My daughter loves playing with my makeup. Her current faves to play with are KVD Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw, NYX Butter Gloss in Eclair, all my Becca highlights, any brush she can get her hands on and my beautyblender.  Other than that none of my family is into makeup. I’ve been lucky enough to make a lot of friends with makeup lovers via social media.

Proverbs 31 featuring Chereal J. Wynn Murray

IMG_1990Chereal J. Wynn Murray is the founder and CEO of the School of Esther. The School of Esther is a bible based charm school located on the west coast of the United States. Upon the opportunity to speak with her the editor wants to share a little of the conversation with you, our readers.

 

Editor: Where did the desire come from to have the school of Esther?
CWM: The desire came from growing up in the church and seeing a lot of people who did not have the guidance of their grandmother and the guidance of their mom on how to carry themselves and how to love themselves. They should also know how to speak to people and how to allow other people to speak to them.
Editor: Who were the people who taught you over the years?
CWM: My mom has seven sisters who all individually have given me something. They hold me accountable. They talk to me and tell me how to carry myself as a wife and a mother. My mom’s favorite saying is keep it sweet, keep smiling and keep stepping. I try to live by that.
Editor: How long has this been a dream in the making for you?
CWM: I am a mover and a shaker. So I can think something up and pretty much move on it right then and there. This, I will say, has been in the process for a while. I couldn’t put my finger on how I wanted to do it. I didn’t know if I wanted to do the school or classes. Earlier this year I was just watching t.v. with my husband and God just dropped it in my spirit to do the school of Esther. I didn’t have a name. The name was more so birthed out of the qualities of Esther. Every quality that I was trying to go after and had been passionate about just so happened to be Esther in the bible. This year was when I finally put everything together but the passion behind it has been there for years.
Editor: What steps have you taken this year to have the school of Esther?
CWM: Right now I am in the process of getting my 501c3 because my ultimate goal is to be a non-profit organization so we can partner with schools, partner with churches and give back to our community. I am also in the process of writing my curriculum. I am reaching out to others who want to help and partner with me.
Editor: Did you know all of the details that were involved or did you learn it as you went along?
CWM: I had no idea to the extent I was going to have to learn things . I am doing a lot of this on my own. If anything I have learned that you can not start a business on passion alone. You have to work, you have to research, you have to look. Sometimes we think that our passion is going to get us there alone. Well, no. Your passion is what’s going to get you there even when you don’t want to work. Even when you feel like no one is there in your corner.
Editor: Where would you say you gain your inspiration on a daily basis?
CWM: Reading God’s word and listening to gospel music and praying has been an eye opener to me and given me strength. I have many favorite scriptures. My ultimate favorite scripture is Jeremiah 1:, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” My favorite song is Comforter by CeCe Winans. It just reminds me that he [God] is my comforter.
Editor: What message do you want to leave with our readers?
CWM: Passion can bring beautiful things if it’s paired with work. Take that thing that you’re passionate about and put it together with God given purpose; you can be and do so many things.

On the Bright Side featuring LaTosha Johnson

Patty Maxine owner on finding the bright side.
Patty Maxine owner on finding the bright side.

Meet LaTosha Johnson. She has her master’s degree in health administration and never thought about becoming a seamstress. But, life changes. Through the changes of her life she has an online boutique, Patty Maxine. It started as an addition to her career but she has recently found herself doing this full time since the summer. LaTosha has rolled with the currents on the river of life. Find out what she has to say about this new venture.

Editor: Can you tell me what inspired you to start Patty Maxine?
LJ: Patty and Maxine are both real people. They are my grandmothers. Patty is my dad’s mom. Maxine is my great-grandmother on my mom’s side. They are both fashionistas. It originally started out with thrifting. My grandmothers
would always go and find things and I would go with them. My sister said I always go and find the cutest stuff and I should do it for other people. It was a couple of years ago in 2013 when I started. That December of 2012 social media sort of popped off and everyone was a fashion designer. I kind of have this attitude like, “I can do that.” I was following a lady who was a seamstress and followed her blog on patterns and found things on YouTube and taught myself how to sew. At first it started with re-purposing items that I found in the thrift store. Then I went to shoes. I created Patty Maxine on social media to gain an audience. I then found a retailer and started selling retail. From there I went one by one creating my own  pieces for a line. I am still working to have a full blown collection. Up until now I have just been making things for myself or friends. It’s not my money maker at all even though that’s the direction I am going.
Editor: Have you taken any courses for sewing or self teaching?
LJ: Yes, just self taught. I try to practice sewing as much as I can. I watch a lot of YouTube. I read books about the production process. I have met a lot of people who did go to school for merchandising. They give me tips. Other than that it is trial and error.
Editor: Were you fearful to begin this journey?
LJ: Yes. I know if I do put this out into the universe and it expands I am mostly fearful of meeting the demand. Not necessarily fearful of trying it. It’s a little bit of fear and a little bit of excitement. I try to choose excitement as much as I can.

Fit is the New It!

Yes, Honey! Fit IS the new it! I’m sure it’s the same for all of us… The winter season is the most difficult time of the year to stay #Snatched! This time of year beholds Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day with all that good ‘ol cooking and baking from granny and mama’s kitchen. Not to mention, all the holiday parties at school, work, church and within your acquaintance circles. With all these opportunities to indulge in holiday cheer, its no wonder staying fit during the winter is a task!  Let’s discuss a few ways to enjoy the holiday season and stay on top of your fitness game!

 

1. Moderation: Sure! Have a great meal with the family, but keep in mind that having a well-balanced meal is key. Sometimes I like to fix my plate using “The Plate Method.” It’s the way those living with diabetes are taught to fix their plates to reduce their carbohydrates or sugar intake. I must mention, starchy, sugar and carbohydrate filled foods are the ones that are stored as fat if we don’t burn them when we eat them. Here’s how the plate method works:

 

a. ½ the plate should be non-starchy vegetables (Greens, green beans, asparagus, carrots, salad, peppers, onions, etc)
b. ¼ of the plate should be protein (Chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc). To decrease the amount of fatty foods, it’s best to bake, grill or broil your meat. *Note: If you use beans as your protein, since they are a starch, you’ll have to take away from the starchy food allowance (see below)
c. ¼ of the plate should be carbs, starches or breads (Corn, potatoes, mac and cheese, pasta, rolls, etc)
d. For more information about the Diabetic diet and the plate method, check out my short 3 minute video here: https://youtu.be/b0qGAmv4v58

 

2.  Get Moving!!! What we eat is a large part of the battle, but exercise is definitely a part of the equation.

 

a. It is recommended that we exercise 150 minutes per week. We can break that up however we’d like.
b. A few ideas:
i. Go for a walk or jog on a trail outside
ii. Hit the gym and do some cardio and weights
iii. Go to a class in the community or at the gym
1. I love to dance and I’m an athlete so Zumba and hardcore circuit training classes like Boot Camp are my favorites.
iv. Get a group of friends together and come up with an exercise challenge. Here are some things I’ve done:
1. Some co-workers and I did a 25 minute cardio and strength circuit (squats, jumping jacks, crunches, lunges, etc) between our patient care activities one day.
2. Squat challenge: Do 25 squats each time we go to the restroom. It’s simple, but it keeps us active.
v. Go salsa dancing
vi. Search YouTube for exercise routines. Here’s the link to to one I’ve done:https://youtu.be/ehMxsnh6muo
vii. Join a gym
1. Some gyms have holiday specials. Keep your ear to the ground to see what’s available in your area. I understand that memberships can be quite costly, but keep in mind that some gyms offer financial assistance, like YMCA.
3. Search for  healthy takes on your favorite goodies. When you go to a holiday party, challenge yourself to contribute a healthy dish to share. Here’s a delicious recipe for chocolate chip peanut butter cookies that I’ve tried:
a. Only 4 Ingredients:
i. 2 very ripe bananas,
ii. 1½  cup of quick oats
iii. 1/3 cup of peanut butter
iv. ¼ cup of chocolate chips (or mix-ins of your choice- nuts, raisins, etc)
b. Once you mix it all together place tablespoon sized portions on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350F.
i. Recipe from mydarlingvegan.com

 

Spring Fling

Joy to the World,

I have a dilemma. I am pretty sure I can guess what your response is going to be but I just wanted to write in because I am hoping that the response may be different from what I am anticipating. You see I work with this guy and we went on a date early spring of this year. He was very charming and I was really into him. I thought he was really into me. Then he hits me with lets not push this right now, let’s just be friends and casually see where this goes.

So, I casually just let it drift wherever he allowed it to go….which was no where! Before I knew it summer was over. We barely talked over the phone and hardly text either. Now all of a sudden he won’t speak to me at work and is not returning my text messages. But the thing that is confusing is that a mutual acquaintance came up to me at work the other day and was telling me about all these concerns that the guy has in regards to me. I mean, isn’t that immature? If he has questions about me, shouldn’t he come to me? This isn’t high school. We are adults. Why can’t he be a man, an adult…and come to me and ask me his questions himself. I didn’t even think that he cared what I did or did not do because he wasn’t trying to hang out, not speaking and not replying to my messages. What would you do if you were in my situation?

Hi Anonymous;

Let me first say, it is not wise to have personal relationships with coworkers. They create drama, dissension, and an uncomfortable work environment.  Relationships of this nature can directly or indirectly cost you your job, or worse damage your reputation.

Now, to answer your question, I would go and talk to him. Effective communication is a wonderful skill to have!  When you approach him, leave all the feelings and blaming out.  Leave the 3rd. party AND what they said to you out! Leave all of your assumptions of the motive behind his actions out!  Don’t judge him.

Please take the time to make sure you have moved on from the “spring fling” as well.  You talk as though you left him in your dust.  I’m not so sure you have though.   It would not be wise to approach him in an effort to make peace with a hidden hope to reconcile the relationship.  So please, be honest with yourself by examining what’s deep in your heart.  Then when you are ready, I would approach him and say something like “Hey, things have seemed a little weird between us lately. I am sorry if I did or said anything to offend you.  I just want to clear the air.”  Your expectation should be to bring peace.  That statement should be pure and sincere.  I hope it works out for you!

Thanks for posing your question and sharing your story.

May God bless you with Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding!

Sincerely;

Joy to the World

Fredericks On Stage

Mr. and Mrs. Kevin and Melissa Fredericks are better known on social media as KevOnStage and MrsKevOnStage.  They moved their young family to Los Angeles, California in the latter part of 2013 and since that time their lives have taken off on the course they hoped it would. While Kevin still participates as a PlayMaker his popularity as an individual has grown tremendously. Kevin is well known as a social media comedic personality and his family has been brought on the scene as well. His beautifully spirited wife, Melissa, and two sons Isaiah and Josiah, known as Zay Zay and JoJo, have taken social media by storm.  You have probably seen the family on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and who knows where else. As of this month they can be seen in a family movie titled “The Family Exchange.” Don’t be fooled by the fact that you see them on Periscope several times a day. As Melissa stated during the interview, “they couldn’t be more regular.”

– Meet the Fredericks –

The couple does everything that you or I would do for ourselves. They do not have staff to take care of their day to day needs. They go grocery shopping, fix their own food, and work full time jobs. They were recently excited to participate as presenters for Career Day at their children’s school. Melissa is a Contract Administrator for an Aerospace Company, and Kevin works for All Def Digital – Head of Unscripted Content, under the direction of Russell Simmons.  So you see, they don’t spend EVERY waking moment of their day in front of the camera. Surprised? I was truly surprised. I definitely get several notifications a day for Kevin being on Periscope by himself, one of the boys or he and Melissa. I am sure that many of you have laughed countless times at the video commentary, reenactments, and social media posts that appear on your media outlets. Viewers are able to feel as though they are truly involved in the day to day lives of this family.

There can be many pros and cons to becoming more and more popular. When asking Kevin and Melissa about how they handle allotting family time, Kevin mentioned how he makes sure that even though he is on the road quite a bit for stand up comedy, he blocks out time for family holidays and celebrations. They even have a house rule of no cell phones at the table to allow for communication among each other. For Melissa, with the family being in front of the camera so much, it is the moments without a camera around to capture that are becoming more important.

But, Melissa is not sure that she and Kevin sees themselves as everyone else sees them. She’s just Melissa Fredericks at her job. So it’s still awkward for her to see the excitement that people have when she does something such as commenting on another individual’s status. She wants to remain grounded, even when it comes to raising her children in the star cast city of L.A. She mentions a time when the boys were on set and the items that were available to eat weren’t quite what they wanted at the time. The staff offered to go and get whatever the boys wanted and Melissa let them know that they will eat what is there or they won’t eat. She didn’t say it to be cruel to her children, but she wants them to learn how the real world works. As parents they are not going to train their children to believe that life caters. Melissa continues to be sure to remind herself and her children that they are regular people with a dream and they are trying to make it just like the next person.

-Faith On Fleek-

The family as a whole is strongly influenced by their faith and relationship with God. As if it weren’t obvious that their beliefs influence the videos that Kevin creates from his take on Christian road rage to exemplifying a press conference by a preacher after service. There have even been times when lucrative opportunities have been turned down because they conflict with their beliefs. The Fredericks would rather go without the opportunity than to put their relationship with God in jeopardy all for the sake of money.

While they realize that God is a part of their lives it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a part of everyone else’s.  The boys, Isaiah and Josiah, recently experienced not being able to allow their classmates to preview a trailer for their latest film, “The Family Exchange,” because the movie mentions God and that is against policy for separation of religion in the school. Their parents took that time to let them know that it is more important to live their lives for God on a daily basis so others around them can be drawn to Christ by the example they show. Kevin said it best, “allow your beliefs and relationship with God to be your north star to your compass.”

– The Dream in Action –

The Fredericks continue to adapt to life in sunny California. During the interview Melissa stated that God has blessed them to be where they are and believe that he will continue to bless them for the future. The move to Los Angeles, California was one of faith and planning. The boys’ careers were taking off and with the dream of taking the fame from YouTube to another level Kevin and Melissa packed it up and headed south from their home in Washington. Their h in God is the guiding light to the choices they make.  Melissa recalls moments when she knew God’s hand had definitely been on their lives. Too many testimonies to tell but Melissa did mention a few. It was six months from the time the Fredericks family moved to Los Angeles until Melissa became employed. Kevin went to Russell Simmons to pitch a movie that never came to fruition and ended up getting a job. A testimony of true faith in a dream is when Kevin had the idea to write a movie and use crowd funding. “When Kevin has an idea, it’s not too much time between thought and action,” says Melissa. After six weeks with the goal being nowhere near met, all of a sudden in one weekend Kevin met and surpassed his goal. As Melissa asks Kevin during the sharing of this season of their lives she asked if he thought he would reach $10,000 and Kevin responds, “Of course.” Melissa follows by explaining, “Kevin is dream big or go home and meanwhile I was definitely shaken.” She recognizes that they have a good balance of dreamer and realist between the two of them. While she may plan for the worst case scenario he inspires her to dream a little.

Because of the dreamer and the realist,  a wonderful, family friendly movie with a great message has been released this month. Within the first few days of posting about the film releasing for there were already quite a few orders. The Fredericks understand that at the end of the day the people who watch them on social media do not ‘know’ them personally. They appreciate the hard earned money being donated to support Kevin’s dream to create the movie and not only to create it but now people are purchasing the movie and donating more than the purchase price.

Don’t be quick to put the family in a box quite yet. There are more than several items you can purchase from Kevin’s website, from videos to attire and accessories. Kevin and Melissa have even written a book for married couples, so ladies go ahead and give it a read. The title is 25 Steps For A Healthy Marriage. Melissa expressed a desire to write another book targeted to women to remind themselves that they are a woman who needs to be taken care of in addition to them being a wife and a mother. When asking Melissa if she considered herself funny she chuckled and stated, “I have funny moments, but I am definitely far from a comedian.” Hence many of the times when Melissa is seen on screen it is for conversations about real life topics, especially marriage. Melissa’s passion is to inspire women. “It’s helpful to me and therapeutic to me to help people going through similar situations,” said Melissa. If you don’t follow her on Periscope, you should. She makes the extra effort to not only speak from the experiences she has, but also from many books that have been read as well. She would rather be in front of a group than the camera but understands with the platform that she is blessed to have through Kevin, she can utilize the opportunity to share real moments from their lives with those who will watch and listen.

– Word to the Wise –

Their message to you, our readers, is to dream. “Dream, plan, move in faith. I think those are three key components to anyone living successfully in their dream,” said Melissa. So dream, please dream. But along with your dream make strategic plans for your faith move.