Why Art & Music Should Stay in Schools

Whenever school boards are faced with budget cuts the first thing on the chopping block are the electives courses.

I beg to differ.

Music is more than entertainment. Growing up practicing a few musical instruments, music contains many elements. In music you learn its history. Counting beats is mathematics. Arranging requires organizational skills. Music sheets are dialogues/scripts. Composing involves grammar, spelling and writing skills. Sound engineering and instrument tuning is science. Streamline music and digital uploads requires technology knowledge.

Art covers a wide range of things from crafts to writing to drawing to painting. Just because art isn’t scientific doesn’t mean there’s a lessor importance. As a matter of fact, the arts improve correlation, cognitive skills, and social skills in children. Crafts have helped those who have been in rehabilitation center regain movement of the joints. Arts involve counting materials, following instructions, learning history, and much more! Another thing about art is that it help children who are visual learners and those with special needs.

On a scale beyond the classroom setting, electives can serve as the foundation of career objectives. Not everyone was put on earth to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or police officer.

If more people speak out against eliminating electives from school curriculum, decision makers might be less inclined to use electives as a first resort when it comes down to budget cuts.

What are your thoughts? 

Creatively Yours,

Carriece Jefferson

5 Ways to Grow in Crafting

Crafts have played a major role in my life since the days of being a Girl Scout where most of my badges were earned through hobby related projects. Now that my business is in the handmade market, I am constantly learning new things.

Learning a new craft is fun and exciting, but it can also be overwhelming and let’s not forget expensive depending on the hobby genre. In order to grow you have to invest both time and money.

Here are five ways to grow in your crafts:

  1. Tutorials: Online, print, paid or free. Tutorials enables you to learn new tools, techniques, tips, and designs. Instructional materials can be found in libraries, used bookstores, magazines, newsletters, craft related sites, and YouTube.
  2. Meetups: A great source to join groups of individuals who share similar interests. You also have a chance to interact, make new friends, and try new things.
  3. Reading Materials:  Periodicals give insight into the related industry but they also feature articles on industry experts, suppliers, trends, and tutorials.
  4. Social Media: Various platforms have groups where you can ask questions, exchange ideas, share photos, and receive feedback in real time.
  5. Subscription Boxes: These are an excellent way to grow in crafts. Boxes come to your doorstep monthly inclusive of necessary items to complete a project. You save both time and money.

 

Creatively Yours,

Carriece Jefferson

Why Crafty Hands Club was Formed

Crafty Hands Club is a monthly subscription box service for individuals who want to connect and create through the means of jewelry making. 2012 was the year when I got back into jewelry making. At the time my focus was primarily Chainmaille. Anyone who does chainmaille can attest that it’s a time consuming media. The demand was beginning to outweigh the time I had to contribute, causing me to decline orders.

On a much larger scale I had to ask myself the question: Will making jewelry alone get me to the big picture. The answer was no. For a time, I thought subscription boxes was just a fad but here it is 2016 and they are still around. As a matter of fact, there’s more today than it has ever been.

Why a subscription box?

As a consumer I became tired and frustrated with starting a project only to run out of materials and/or break tools Searching online and driving across the Chicagoland area to replenish tools and supplies took a chunk of my time. What was even more frustrating was a lot of times, stores would either not have items in stock or they were discontinued. That’s when I decided to create a subscription box saving craft enthusiasts money and time by providing them with everything needed in order to complete a single project.

Visit Crafty Hands Club at www.craftyhandsclub.com or follow on social media.

FB: www.facebook.com/CHCSubscriptionBox

IG: craftyhandsclub

Twitter: @craftyhandsclub

Creatively Yours,

Carriece Jeffeson

Business Lessons from the 2016 NBA Finals

I love the game of basketball. In the beginning of the playoff season, I had two wishes. First, there would be a game 7 in the finals. My second wish was that the Cleveland Cavaliers win it all the way.

Both of them came true!

Why would I want the NBA Finals to go all 7 games?

Any team can thrive and make poster worthy plays when leading by a landslide. But the when a game is on the line, you see the real deal. Either both teams put everything they have on the hardwood or one throws in the towel. Thank goodness both teams made the series worthwhile. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, a tight game allows you to see how players work under pressure, figure out ways to navigate the court without foul trouble, bad calls, and missed plays.

Not to take anything away from the Warriors because they gave it everything they got and in the semi-finals, they overcame a deficit and beat the OKC Thunder. When Golden State overcame the odds, many NBA fans concluded that the team was on their way to clinching the title.

What the NBA Finals taught us about business:

  • Make Adjustments: Business is about learning and growing. Last year was Cleveland’s first time back to the finals since the devastating sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007. Not only that but the team had to get used to the return of LeBron James, a new coach, and the addition of Bob Love. The loss of the finals last year allowed the organization to reflect, restructure, and re-engineer. This season they gained a new coach, traded old players, acquired new players, and both Kyrie Irving and Bob Love weren’t injured, unlike the last season. Also, play adjustments were made; since Golden State has the speed and good offensive play, the Cavaliers had the physicality and good defense. Plays were adjusted and they used their strengths to their advantage.
    Overcome Adversity: The head coach of the Cavaliers, Tyronn Lue was the Los Angeles Lakers guard who got stepped over by Allen Iverson in game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. He went on to win two championships and furthered his career being an assistant coach for a couple teams before landing job as head coach for the Cavaliers. Now he has another ring but this time as a coach!
    Numbers don’t lie: As much as many fans threw around the words “cheating”, “rigged”, and “game fixing” the numbers don’t lie. Statistics in sports are calculated in real time and statisticians have to follow regulations of the American Statistic Association. I don’t think anyone loves a ball player or game that much to not only lose their job but face prison time.
    Maximize Opportunity: LBJ is the player that most people hate (even though in my opinion it’s extreme considering most of us only know of him) but he’s a genius when it comes to branding and making money. I bet millions watched the game and thousands attended Oracle Area wanting to see him lose to the defending champs a second time in a row. Say what you want but because of being the “most hated player in the league”, the ratings were high, the tickets sell went through the roof, and he’s crying to the bank!
    Be Consistent: There’s a quote, “Success is the sum of efforts made daily.” In order to be successful, you have to work at goals even if things seem impossible. When Golden State had the 3-1 advantage, many fans assumed it was a wrap but the Cavaliers believed that they could win. There are times in business where your competitors are dominating the marketplace but if you know your audience, the value of your goods/service and the brand awareness, your business will be able to stand the test of time. Every business reaches a crossroad but choosing the path to cross is what matters.
    Nice and Business don’t Mix Well: Beyonce could’ve said it a better way in one of her earlier interviews. In one game LBJ yelled at Bob Love for an inappropriate play that was made. In business depending on the type of error made, you can lose money. When you know what it takes to succeed you have to hold others accountable.
    The path is never straight and narrow: Many people go into business, set goals, and think the way to achieve them is clear and straight. Sometimes in business, you take falls, backward steps, forward steps, detours, jumps, and leaps. At first, the chance of Cleveland breaking the 52-year drought seemed impossible and then something shift, the opportunity presented itself and they took advantage.
    Address issues that don’t directly relate to the business: There were many opinions about the suspension of Draymond Green but the bottom line is there has to be accountability for actions. As a business owner, you might have to terminate an employee that was a good worker but their practices didn’t align with the company’s vision. Your business has to be protected at all cost, including making those hard decisions.
    • Show a Human Side: At the end of game 7, James, Lue, Smith, and several of the teammates shed tears, gave testimonials at the press conference, acknowledged God, and expressed gratitude. In business, it’s ok to show compassion and tell your story of humble beginnings. Sharing your struggle gives hope to those who are walking in the same shoes you once did.
  • Prepare for your Season: When James returned home, his goal was to bring a championship back home. Two years later it happened. His teammate Richard Jefferson had two opportunities in 2002 and 2003 when the New Jersey Nets were in the finals. Unfortunately they came up empty handed. Thirteen years later he has a ring! When you give it your all rather you are being noticed or overlooked, your time will come. Every season isn’t going to bring you a harvest but in the meantime you prepare so that when it’s your season, you will be prepared.
  • Gain Necessary Tools: When James went to Miami, many fans from Ohio felt betrayed but he had a desire to win a championship and besides he never said he would retire a Cavalier. When he went to Miami, he gained skills, developed as a player, learned to support D. Wade instead of carrying an entire team on his back. Once he acquired the tools he needed, he was able to bring them back to Cleveland and make contract demands. In business, there are times where you have to go outside of your organization in order to grow. It may be through networking, attending conferences, forming partnerships, or gaining investors.

What did you gain from this post? Please share your thoughts below.

Carriece Jefferson

Respect My Name

A little over two decades before I was born the What’s My Name boxing match between the lates Muhammad Ali and Ernie Terrell is still memorable with most fans to this day. My first mind thought it was petty to inflict physical brutality against someone over a name.

Now I understand.

Ali told his opponent during promos several times what his new name was but Terrell chose to ignore the fact. I’m not advocating that we should go out and give people a TKO over a name being mispronounced but it’ does comes down to respect.

I can’t tell you the number of times that people intentionally or unintentionally mispronounced it. For years I didn’t bother to correct anyone until something clicked. I started listening to the pitch and tones used whenever my name was uttered.

Now days I have no problem correcting others about my name and I take it seriously. If someone truly can’t pronounce your name, they will ask you. When you allow others to butcher your name, you’re also allowing them to treat your name as if it has no value.

How do you feel when others intentionally mispronounce your name?

Lesson #8: If people can’t respect you enough to pronounce your name, they don’t respect anything else about you.

Carriece Jefferson

Book Alert: Love Theories Short Stories

In November of last year, I self-published my first book, Love Theories Stories Collection. It has been a wonderful experience. I’ve been writing plays, poetry, and everything else for years but writing a book is a different ballgame. It really does take a village to make your concept come to life.

Ever since it’s been released, Love Theories has gained attention and reached a new audience. I was featured in the local community newspaper, have done blog radio interviews, performed a book reading, started a Facebook page under the book name and readers have posted reviews on amazon.

The biggest accomplishment occurred recently when University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) purchased a copy of Love Theories!

That’s right, a self-published author in Chicago has their first book in a university library? I don’t know about you but that’s totally awesome!

Later this month, Love Theories will be going on a blog tour. Tour dates and blog information will be posted as it gets closer to the time.

However, In the meantime you may join the mailing list, read a free excerpt, and read blogs at, http://www.dawritediva.com

I’m also on social media.

FB: C Clark Jefferson, Love Theories Book

IG: cclarkjefferson

Twitter: @cclarkjefferson

Love Theories is also available for purchase at Amazon and Createspace.

 

The Truth about Winning

Sports championships, trophies, popularity, awards, prizes, first place, gold medals, and titles are all terms we associated with winning. Growing up I was told “if I don’t win, you might as well not play the game.” For a long time I believed that until I saw the drawbacks of such thinking. Because I had such thought process, I was afraid of challenges especially if the odds were high.

To sum it all up, I was defeated before trying.

A message like that makes a child feel in order to try something or do anything worthwhile, there has to be some type of prize attached at the end. What happens when the child becomes an adult and face real world challenges? Two things can happen. They will either shut down if they think don’t have a huge advantage of winning or they will accept mediocre opportunities because it’s something they can win at. The later is more harmful because they will never reach their fullest potential.

Life isn’t always giving us a pat on the back for a job well done but it doesn’t mean we are losing.

When you look at social media postings you see comments made about losing teams (or certain players thereof) or people who have been deemed “unpopular” in the eyes of society. Winning has nothing to do with prizes and accolades. Winning is about finishing the race and making progress. Losing only counts when there’s no effort. Even if you try something and it doesn’t work doesn’t make you a loser. You just learned what not to do the next time around.

Have you ever had narrow thinking when it comes to winning? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Lesson learned #7: Winning is about staying and finishing the course; Accolades are a bonus!

Carriece Jefferson

My Thoughts on Skin Bleaching

Due to the age of online access we’re seeing an astronomical amount of Black and Latino females doing everything from undergoing surgery to using creams and taking pills just to have the “lighter look”.

I have mixed emotions. A part of me is surprised that things have come down to being defined by our physical features. Another part of me is sad because of the damaging effects skin bleaching has in the long run. The bigger part of me is angry but it’s hypocritical of me to feel that way. How can I be angry at women and girls for wanting to be lighter versions of themselves I once told my own mother that I hated my dark skin? I selfishly prayed for lighter skin. I used cocoa butter three times a day to try making my skin less dark. I purposely chose lighter friends to feel better about myself. Thankfully those inferior thoughts eventually changed.One of the ways I overcame feeling inadequate about my skin color is that I had a village of elderly women who provided positive images of beautiful women with the same skin complexion as mine. I was constantly reminded that I’m beautiful and uniquely made. Also, I had to dig deep within self to see where the root of my prejudice.

The desire of being light skinned has been around since the oppressive times of bondage where mulatto slaves worked in the house while the darker ones were in the fields. Even though slavery ended centuries ago, the mechanisms passed down from tormentors have been recycled within our own generations. Some of us as children we were told, to stay out of the sun to avoid being dark. Parents have told their sons not to bring anyone darker than them home. Those with less melanin felt it was a badge of honor to pass for another ethnicity. Most of the music videos have the same girl: light-skinned, decent body (thanks to cosmetic enhancements), long hair and a combination of exotic features.

With the images displayed on television and the verbal expressions of family and friends, no wonder women and girls are made to feel of lessor value. I know plenty of dark-skinned women who have accepted condescending comments disguised as compliments. “You’re pretty for a dark skinned girl”, “I normally don’t date dark women but I’ll give you a chance”, and “For you to be dark skinned, your makeup looks nice on you.” Has the self-esteem of women depreciated so much that they feel mediocre is acceptable?

Skin bleaching is heavily practiced in the United States, the Caribbean, and within several countries in the African and Asian continents.

Recently I had the chance to speak with a Haitian guy and his thoughts on the subject matter far exceeded mine. In his country, lighter Haitians are considered well off. He’s been in the states for five years and has seen women and girls from his homeland migrate here and adopt the same “lighter is better” attitude.

The only difference between light and dark skin is melanin. Melanin is what makes up our skin complexion with sunlight exposure.

Ghana recently made news stating that it will ban skin bleaching. As much as my heart was overfilled with joy there was a deeper question inside. How are you going to get females who’ve been conditioned to think dark skin has a stigma to developing healthy self-esteem of appreciating their skin regardless of the color tone?

One way to help change the problem is raising the awareness about the dangers of skin bleaching. The epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat make up our skin layers. The epidermis is the outer layer, what we see. It contains both living and dead cells The dermis is the thicker layer underneath the epidermis, made up of living cells. The subcutaneous fat is the bottom skin layer that controls our body temperature, and stores fat. Can you image the damage of chemicals and steroids contained in skin bleaching products doing to the living cells, blood vessels, nerve cells and body fat?

Having lighter skin doesn’t erase the limited belief that’s already there. In order to appreciate the skin you’re in, you have to believe that you’re more than enough and that you skin complexion doesn’t define who you are.

Women and girls are influenced by magazines, television, and social media to fit into society standards of beauty but it comes at a high cost.

What are your thoughts about skin bleaching?

Carriece Jefferson

 

Miami Experience

Last month my husband and I celebrated our eighth year anniversary in south Florida.

One of the things we do on each trip is to mix tourism with locals.

Not only does Miami have a good public transportation system it’s also clean and quiet. Since the hotel we were booked at has an airport shuttle, we used it to get us to the airport, bought a daily pass (cost only $5.65), and commuted around town by rails and buses.

Depending on the destination public transportation is better than car rentals because you’re exercising, seeing things outside of tourist attractions, and blending in with locals.

Another thing we do on vacation is avoid dining at restaurants we have back home (even though my husband was curious about the whopper bar at a  South Beach Burger King).

We had conversations with people from Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. They all had incredible stories to share and were grateful that we were willing to listen. Whenever we asked directions (local areas and tourist spots), people gave them without hesitation.

During our stay, we went over to South Beach, Sunny Isles (Little Moscow), CoCo Walk, Biscayne Bay, Downtown Miami, Diamond District, Art District, and finished with riding the ‘Millionaires Row” Cruise.

Added bonus: We won a free trip to anywhere in the world and because the car service was an hour late, we were given two trips costing us nothing except the taxes…..what a way to go out with a bang on your anniversary trip!

Miami in a nutshell: sexy, pretty, fun, trendy, reserve, colorful, a playground for the rich, real estate driven, semi-island culture, has neighborhoods semi modeled after Haiti and Havana, health industry focused, and known for its art and the University. One thing I will say is that the Miami Heat couldn’t have a more appropriate name for their team. We were soaking wet walking around in Miami in eighty degree weather.

To say we had a blast would be an understatement.

Carriece Jefferson