by Dionne M. Lackey

While overworking seems to be popular these days, it’s extremely damaging. There’s absolutely no reason to overdo it, even if you have bills to pay. In fact, the harder you push yourself, the closer you get to the end of the line.

It’s important to learn how to balance all the aspects of your life without just focusing on work. Sure, work is extremely important. It keeps your brain active. And yes, it also provides the income necessary for you and your family to survive. But it also wears you down, especially if you tend to go non-stop.

There is a way to help manage your self-care and create a better balance with work and the other areas in your life that matter most to you.  Here is a 20-minute exercise that can easily be incorporated into your day: 


  1. Five minutes of meditation. This exercise at the beginning of each day is crucial. Meditating can mean the difference between attacking your day with ferocity and approaching it with an aura of calmness.
  • Meditation centers your mind and calms your spirit. It also helps relieve any tension you feel about the day ahead.
  • Meditation can help you focus on your inner power and remind you that you’re important to others.
  1. Five minutes for planning. Once you’ve meditated, it’s time to plan your day. Planning means organizing your tasks in such a way that you can be productive without abusing yourself.
  • Prioritize your tasks based on their importance.
  • Try your best to stick to the plan for the day. Having a clear plan for what you want to accomplish helps to keep you focused and stress-free.
  1. Five minutes for checking in. I like to call this the “self-check”.  Whether all at once or in one-minute intervals, check up on yourself. Assess how well you’ve been able to stick to your plan for the day. Have you accomplished your important tasks? Have you been able to manage your day without losing your cool?
  • There may be times when you’ll have to readjust your list of tasks. This is perfectly fine, as there are bound to be unforeseen circumstances. But what’s important is that you take them in stride.
  • Avoid letting unexpected events throw your plan out completely. Take a moment to change your approach. Learn how to go with the flow.
  1. Five minutes for winding down. Now that you’ve come to the end of the day, it’s time to wind down. You’ve probably never allowed yourself the opportunity to do that before. Or maybe you haven’t fully mastered the art of winding down.  Taking time to wind down is the best way to relieve the stress of the day.
  • Engage in some relaxing activities. Do you like yoga or would you prefer to sit quietly and listen to jazz music? Let go of what happened today and get ready for tomorrow.
  • Winding down also opens you up to spending quality time with loved ones. You’ll probably agree that at the end of a busy day, you may be too tired to interact with anyone.  That will change when you allow yourself time to wind down each day.


Once you try it, you’ll realize that this approach works. Designating these 20 minutes each day can help you maintain a balance between your professional and personal lives. Learn to be present in each moment, as it can help you manage all other aspects of your life with relative ease. You’ll enjoy a calmer existence that you didn’t think was possible.

Dionne M. Lackey, CLSC, LMT is the founder of Wholistic Insight Now, LLC, focusing on self-care and wellness solutions with a commitment to healing, educating and empowering.  Her mantra: We are here to serve.

Follow her on social media at:




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What better way to follow an epic 2019 Red Dress Gala in Houston than with an intimate Sit & Sip brunch affair attended by the Houston members and Classy Living Society Founding Sisters. On Saturday, February 22, at The Annie Café & Bar in Houston, Texas, the Founding Sisters wore their emerald green attire and were able to greet the Houston sisterhood, who donned blush pink or cream, with complimentary glasses of mimosa.

Not only was it time to meet the Houston sisters and share more about CLS, but as always, it was sisterhood bonding and festivities with a cause. Each member was asked to bring two pair of new or gently used earrings to be donated to The Cottage Shop, a resale boutique owned and operated by The Women’s Home, a Houston residential treatment and transitional housing program for victims of domestic violence.

A representative was in attendance to collect donated items and talk about
more ways CLS can get involved, including volunteer hosting a game day later this year which will feature fun activities and food designed to help restore hope and confidence to women and families.
The Women’s Home will join CLS’s family of 250 community partners worldwide.

The weekend also served a dual purpose for the CLS Founding Sisters, as they were able to get
out into the greater Houston community and make some powerful connections. They also used the
time as a mini-retreat to strategize and finalize other Classy Living Society business.

Overall, it was another CLS affair for the record book, ladies! We left no stone unturned in
Houston in furthering CLS’s mission to change the world and make a difference in the lives of those in the communities we have the privilege to serve.

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In 2013, they met as strangers with their own dreams, experiences and talents, with a common heart for serving those in need. From this chance meeting, Classy Living Society was formed. Today, the CLS Founding Sisters are a collective of the four most formidable, innovative and community-focused women you will ever meet. Over the past seven years, they have pooled those passions and talents to serve the world, together. With these ladies at the helm, CLS membership has grown from 10 to more than 500. Along with nearly 250 community partners, they work in sisterhood to serve communities throughout 12 U.S. states and 2 countries, including Croatia and Dubai. Momentum will continue over the next few years with the launch of chapters in New York, Arizona and District of Columbia.


Meet CLS Founding Sister, Tarrah Smith-Gales

Advisory Committee

Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Tarrah Smith-Gales considers herself a Georgia Peach! Tarrah has over 17 years of transactional legal experience working for Fortune 100 & 500 companies and large law firms. She currently works for a publicly-traded company in its Corporate & Securities Practice, where she manages corporate governance and compliance with the company’s insider trading policy.

Inspired by her spirited 93-year old grandfather who instilled in her as a child the values of “service and giving back”, she has continually worked alongside various organizations and charities promoting civic engagement and volunteerism. In her spare time, Tarrah is a lover of books, enjoys vintage & consignment shopping, delights in honing her culinary skills, and appreciates a day at the spa!

Tarrah holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University in Washington, DC and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Strayer University in Atlanta.

What is your WHY?
Purpose is not static. Purpose is dynamic! Purpose continues to be applied throughout your life. My “why” stems from wanting to be of service. As I continue to evolve, I am committed to be a change agent for social good; and my curiosity for a better understanding of cultures around the diaspora fuels my desire to make a difference in the lives of women and girls in underrepresented/underserved communities around the globe.

What do you want your legacy to be?
That I sought to “be the change” I want to see in the world, by making the spaces I occupy while on this planet better and being an example of what it looks like to live your best and most authentic life.

What brings you joy?
Days at home spent with my family doing simple things, such as cooking a big breakfast, binge-watching a new series, taking in a movie or reading a good book. As long as we are together, I feel pure and complete joy in those moments. Self-care, such as yoga, eating well, pampering myself at the spa or just laughing with my girlfriends is also critical to maintaining my joy.

Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why? How so?
My mother. Intellectually, I understand that grieving is the physical, emotional and psychological demonstration of my loss. However, coping with her recent passing has been like climbing a hill at a slow yet steady and intense pace. I know that I must keep going, but sometimes the journey is rough! What I am most remarked by is that she lived her life on her own terms without apology or regret, and that is to be admired. In the 3 months since her passing, I have learned a great deal about the woman who was also my mother. I am in awe of her as a woman. She had beautiful friendships with men and women alike, and they were deep, special and solid. She was beloved by her neighbors and community. She had interests of which I was unaware and some that were surprisingly well suited to her endless curiosity. She touched so many people leaving a legacy of friendship, respect, loyalty and love, as well as the deepest connection to family that I’ve ever witnessed up close. My mother taught me everything a mother should teach her daughter, and she did it with an abundance of love and excitement around being chosen as my mother. She took this God-given assignment seriously, and she made me her life. For this I am eternally grateful. My mother was fiercely protective, while allowing me the independence and space to walk into adolescence and womanhood confidently and assured. She sparked my interest, desires and inquisitiveness with history, travel and culture.

In which areas of your life do you need to be more present? Where can you slow down?
I can slow down with respect to feeling like I must check off so many boxes of “to dos” and do better with being present and in the moment where I find myself. Learning to enjoy and appreciate now is truly a gift and I am working on that. Just being fully in the moment and not wishing I could change the past or worrying about or trying to anticipate the future… simply living fully in the moment.


Meet CLS Founding Sister, Valérie Alerte Kavanagh, MBA

Valérie has extensive experience in Sales and Marketing. Valérie is passionate about volunteering and using her skill sets to best assist non-profits and organizations in any capacity. She has served on Executive Boards in Georgia in addition to holding committee positions.

Valérie is a Haitian-American, multi-lingual New York native and mother of two beautiful children who are better known and referred to as the (#KavanaghKuties). She loves all things vintage and classy and enjoys giving back to the community.

Valérie transplanted to Georgia in 2012 and brought with her an affinity for hosting annual social events for her friends and family at her home. She finds complete fulfillment and enjoyment in the fellowship which that provides.

Valérie is a philanthropist at heart. Serving alongside fellow like-minded women to make a difference in all lives in the community is a critical part of what makes up the spiritual fabric of who Valérie is as a God-fearing woman. She believes in the adage, “If YOU do your best, HE will do the rest!”

What is your WHY? 

My “why” is to exist in a world where harmony lives and people thrive as a result of working side by side with others who want to make this world a more tranquil and safe place for all, regardless of sex, religion or creed.

What do you want your legacy to be?
A legacy is defined by the story of someone’s life, the things they did, places they went, goals they accomplished, their failures and more. My legacy will be that of a spirited, joyful, beautiful survivor who believes in putting others before herself for the greater good.

What brings you joy?
Unequivocally, I would have to say seeing the smiles which beam across my children’s faces whenever they are most excited about embarking on our many weekend adventures together.

Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why? How so?

This may sound cliché, but my mother is the most influential person in my life. As I grew from a teenager, to a young woman, and finally a mother myself, I came to realize that the very essence of what makes me the person I am in many ways has been directly connected to my mother and the emotional and spiritual bond I have always shared with her. She is the epitome of love, compassion and insurmountable strength. She is and continues to be the person I am most shaped by in this world.

In which areas of your life do you need to be more present? Where can you slow down?
I need to be more present in my relationship with God and take the time to connect more with the spirit within me. Life is busy for all of us, this I know. But I also know that I haven’t given the adequate time I need to connect with my Savior on a level that is most worthy, above all things. I pray, fast and thank Him for all things quickly by rote. I identify that I honestly need to meditate and connect more with Him, to allow me to connect more with me!


Meet CLS Founding Sister, ShaRhonda Elizabeth Simmons

Born in Harlem, New York and raised in Pikeville, Kentucky, ShaRhonda relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1990’s and began a 20-year career in the customer service industry as a flight attendant, bartender and beauty consultant. As a flight attendant, fifteen years were spent at thirty thousand feet in the air working for domestic and international airlines. ShaRhonda is proud of her tenure “in the air” and boasts providing passengers with outstanding customer service and having the opportunity to serve our troops as they were being transported around the world to protect and serve our country as some of the most fulfilling moments of her experience.

As a “fashionista” and beauty maven, ShaRhonda enjoys helping all women discover their outer beauty and look their best, which allows all women to stand in the fullness of who they are and express their real beauty – what lies in their hearts. ShaRhonda is not only flawless in her personal style, but also in her soul and feels bringing smiles to others is her true passion.

Having traveled the world as a flight attendant, ShaRhonda now stays close to home spending quiet time with two beautiful twin boys, perfecting her new found passion for cooking, watching movies and her favorite show, Scandal; yes, she is a Gladiator!

What is your WHY? 

To leave a mark on the world where positivity, support and fellowship transcends the negativity.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my boys to always know that I gave all of myself to anyone I encountered and would gladly give the shirt off my back if it would help someone.

What brings you joy?

There was a time when open time traveling was truly the joy of my life, being a flight attendant traveling to third-world countries and volunteering in Africa. Now my joy truly is in raising and growing with my twin boys. I learn more from them every day, And I’m super grateful for them.

Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why? How so?

My aunt is the most influential person in my life. She stopped using drugs after being on them for over 30 years, then went back to college to accomplish not just undergraduate school but her MBA as well. She gives me hope that no matter what one goes through, you can do anything you want at any age, as long as you do the work and have determination.

In which areas of your life do you need to be more present? Where can you slow down?

I need to be more present with doing what I love, giving back more and spending more time with others, instead of always just living from day to day. I can slow down with working so much and not make that my priority.



Meet CLS Founding Sister, LaShanda D. Pitts

Founder & CEO

All roads in LaShanda Pitts’ journey have led to the founding of Classy Living Society. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, LaShanda Pitts moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1994. She brought with her a boundless spirit of originality and free thinking, coupled with experience from a vast professional background acquired through her employment with a number of major U.S. companies.

LaShanda has always had a passion for community service and volunteerism. From an early age, her family participated in ongoing “family adoptions” and she accompanied her parents to numerous charitable events. These experiences helped build the foundation for her strong desire to give back to those in need.

She merged networking skills gained from networking with various professionals, her passion for one-of-a-kind event planning and deep determination to proactively contribute to society and founded Classy Living Society in 2013. LaShanda is proud of CLS, its members, and their many past, present and ongoing personal and professional accomplishments.

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Have you heard the phrase, “Your accessories can make or break your outfit”? Better yet, while getting dressed for work, have you looked in the mirror and thought, “My look needs a little something to make it pop?” Well, the good news is adding ethnic accessories to your professional wardrobe not only enhances your look, it’s also a great conversation starter that allows you to bring another piece of your authentic self to work.

Ethnic accessories refers to jewelry, bags, and footwear that are connected to a specific location, language, and or heritage. These articles are also seen as walking artwork as they tell a story, have a rich heritage, and carry a sense of pride. When you add these pieces to your professional look, they add character to your outfit.  You can build your wardrobe with classic pieces that are brought to life by vibrant hues and three-dimensional art. In a recent poll, 72% of respondents stated they wear ethnic accessories to work. Yes, wearing ethnic accessories to work is good for you!

Let’s take a look at an example: you decide to wear a tunic with pants and you add a Native American Squash Blossom necklace that is popping with color…you discover it suddenly brings your look to LIFE! Then, look at what happens next – you are at work and head into the break room to grab your lunch when someone who normally doesn’t speak to you, says, “I love that necklace” and this begins an organic conversation! In responding to the compliment, you give the history of the necklace and before you know it, you’re networking with the person and you find out about job openings in their group!

How did this happen? The answer is simple; accessories open opportunities for others to compliment you and vice versa.  Your accessories lead to “water cooler” conversations, the building of trust and before you know it you’re connecting with someone you’ve never spoken to before. Going a step further, ethnic pieces paired with business dress allows us to shed the monolithic look that many companies are slowing moving away from and promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. If you haven’t done so before, try it…add an ethnic piece to your outfit and notice an extra feeling of pride when you step off the elevator or enter a room.  Experience the magic that happens next! On the flip side, take those gracious compliments and pay them forward – when you see someone wearing their ethnic accessories…whether it be a tie or necklace, start a conversation…After all, it’s good for you!


Nyota Byfield is the owner of Frugal Chics Roc, a women’s online boutique. Nyota has 20+ years experience in corporate America and holds a B.A. in Political Science from New York University and an M.B.A in Organization Management from Georgia State University. She enjoys reading, working out, volunteering, traveling, all things fashion, and spending time with her loved ones both furry and human!

Connect with Nyota on social media:

IG: Instagram/frugalchicsrocc

FB: Facebook/frugalchicsroc

Tw: Twitter/frugalchicsroc

Pin: Pinterest/frugalchicsroc


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The Benefits of Volunteering in Your Community

By: Dionne M. Lackey

It feels great to volunteer and give back to the community…but did you know that doing so is also an important part of self-care?  When it comes to self-care, volunteering has several benefits. Volunteering in your community is a win-win situation. Not only do you help someone, but you also receive many benefits as well – both personal and professional.  Volunteering brings knowledge, experience and positivity to your life as you pour into others and is also good for your mind and body.  It provides many benefits to both your mental and physical health.

Here are a few benefits of volunteering and the value it can bring to your self-care:

  1. Strengthen your confidence. Because you’re helping others, you’ll feel more positive about yourself.
  2. Helping others is a wonderful thing to do. It does your heart, mind and soul good to reach out to help others.
  3. Gain work experience. Depending on the type of community work you do, you could learn something that will help you in your current job or future work.  The skills obtained can be added to your resume.
  4. Make new business contacts. Getting out and giving back to your community will help you meet more people. Because each person has a network of their own, you never know how far your positive influence could travel – bringing you new prospects, clients, or even job offers.
  5. Make new friends. Because you’ll encounter so many new people, you could meet people that you become friends with and expand your circle of like minded people.
  6. Brings fun and fulfillment to your life – it’s a great way to explore interests or find new ones and can provide a sense of renewed creativity, motivation and vision that can enhance both your personal and professional life.
  7. Strengthen your community. Volunteering contributes to your community by uplifting others in the community.
  8. Know that you make a positive difference. Volunteering makes a difference to you, to the agency you volunteer for, and to your community.
  9. We don’t operate in a vacuum. Living your best life involves making and maintaining connections with others. Giving back to your community develops a network of resources you’ll be able to access when you need them.
  10. Volunteering is a real-life experience that can’t be had in the classroom. Some college instructors recommend “service learning” which is another term for “volunteering” or “giving back to your community.” Service learning provides a real-world experience to students that would be impossible to learn in the classroom.

As you can see, being a part of something bigger than yourself is rewarding and can serve as a reminder of the impact you can make on others, while also discovering the impact others can make on YOU.  Therefore, be intentional about your self-care and service to your community by volunteering. Tune in to the world around you, see life happening and take action where you can make a difference. You’ll be inspired!

Dionne M. Lackey, CLSC, LMT is the founder of Wholistic Insight Now, LLC, focusing on self-care and wellness solutions with a commitment to healing, educating and empowering.  Her mantra: We are here to serve.

Follow her on social media at:




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A sea of 200 beautiful ladies in red dresses converged upon the Le Meridien Downtown Houston Hotel on Sunday, October 13 for Classy Living Society’s 6th Annual Red Dress Gala and CLS’s launch in Houston, Texas! What an affair! The energy in the Grand Ballroom on the hotel’s 22nd floor was electric and positive, festive and magical!

VIP guests arrived early for a meet and greet reception in the gallery outside of the Ballroom, where the bubbly was flowing and a harpist played tranquil melodies. The VIPs had the opportunity to snap a few photos on the beautiful step & repeat which was covered with a bevy of red roses!

Inside the ballroom, Houston R&B artists Prodigy and Jazz sang a few songs, providing a soulful backdrop to the early beginnings of the event. Excitement and anticipation was in the air! And oh, the decor! Simple, classy, beautiful, perfect. Laik Experiences does it again – designer of luxurious decor. Marble plates, hot pink napkins with festive customized napkin rings adorned with the words “RDG 2019”, drinking glasses were clipped with affirmation cards (“You Go Girl”, “She Ready”, “You Rock”…) and a vase of red, pink, and purple roses as a centerpiece. VIP tables were resplendent in shades of off white with rose gold accessories and utensils. Then the Gala began…

Spoken Word by Kathleen. Powerful is the best way to describe the message celebrating who and what phenomenal women are. Via video on the big screen, Kathleen flowed through “#WeLEADPhenomenally”, a spoken word video that is dedicated to empowering phenomenal women of color “who have accomplished with or without resources, overcoming stigma, breaking through glass ceilings, cultural disparities and at times overwhelmed, battling depression or anxiety.” ( The video was befitting in its content, as the theme of the 6th Annual Red Dress Gala was Access Taken…

With the theme Access Taken, CLS honored and celebrated women who are pioneers in their fields, who have succeeded in the face of adversity and who have defied the odds and used past failures to propel them to amazing successes! The women saluted are bold, fierce, passionate, and strong… #WeLEADPhenomenally

The Gala was hosted by hilarious Atlanta Comedian Lady Q who introduced Singer/Songwriter Jessica Forrest, who sang a rousing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Then, CLS Founder LaShanda Pitts welcomed everyone and shared the honor of receiving a letter from the Mayor of Houston, the Honorable Sylvester Turner. In short, through this correspondence, the Mayor and City Council celebrated Classy Living Society and its Red Dress Gala, welcomed all attendees of the Gala, recognized those honored and expressed gratitude for the commitment of CLS and its impact on the Houston community and the community at large.

At the end of LaShanda’s speech, she introduced a Second Line Band! They played “When The Saints Go Marching In” and walked throughout the crowd playing, and it was one of many times the ladies were on their feet dancing, including during the music segments featuring Prodigy and Jazz! Speaking of music, CLS paid homage to hometown star, Beyonce by playing many of her hits as theme songs! Music was provided by Houston DJ Tay Powers on the one’s and two’s! Ladies, now let’s get in formation, ’cause I slay… The Selfie Challenge was also a big hit! It was a fun and exciting icebreaker. Each attendee was challenged to get out of their seats and take selfies with as many other women in the room as they could! It was amazing!

The honors were many! Crystal Danzey, a member of CLS’s Events Team received the Founder’s Award for her dedication and excellence as a valued member of the team! Much deserved!

CLS Founding Sister Tarrah Smith introduced each honored Access Taken guest/keynote speaker. These four amazing Houston area women CEOs received the Access Taken award, which celebrates the Woman CEO who has literally taken her own access in the business arena. She is inspiring the future Women CEOs – the young girls and women who look up to her as a model of self-confidence, creativity and innovation.

Access Taken Award recipients included:
Khaliah Guillory, Founder and CEO of the Nap Bar
Dr. Bridgette Jenkins, President and CEO of Houston Chapter of Black Nurses Rock
Kim Roxie, CEO and Founder of Lamik Beauty
Tyla-Simone Crayton, 16-year-old CEO of Sienna Sauce

Each took the stage and spoke about the struggles, triumphs, lessons, roadblocks and successes involved in their entrepreneurial journeys. Tyla-Simone Crayton, a 16-year-old entrepreneur spoke about “Access Given” – that she feels honored to have been given access to become who she is today. The voice of our future!

Khaliah Guillory, a spirited motivational speaker, truly electrified the energy in the room; sharing 10 nuggets of knowledge that she learned along her journey as an entrepreneur.

Dr. Bridgette Jenkins, a/k/a Dr. B, and Kim Roxie each shared a story of overcoming adversities that would have caused most to lose their way and give up… yet here they are – phenomenal women who cannot be stopped!

Additional honors included the presentation of the Keep Going Award to three Houston area women who are shining their light in a big way! The Keep Going Award is designed to recognize and give accolades to those who represent excellence in their tireless efforts in giving back to the community and otherwise providing inspiration to succeed. Recipients of this award are chosen from those highlighted in the Chronicles Too! CLS believes in providing support to these individuals – to let them know we are behind them all the way and to encourage them to #keepgoing.

Keep Going Award honorees include:

Dr. Glenda Demas, Pearls of Change, LLC
Carissa Stephens, She’s
Bri Braggs, Fertile Alchemy

Last but not least, Classy Living Society’s coveted Classy Living Award was presented to Sock Out Poverty, a nonprofit organization which is the brainchild of 15-year-old Princess Jackson with her mother, Phyllis Burton at the helm! There was not a dry eye in the place as Princess Jackson spoke; she was overcome with gratitude and her energy filled the room! Attendees of the 6th Annual Red Dress Gala donated pairs of socks that were given to Sock Out Poverty to further their efforts in the community. Additional donations were given, and are still open for giving; follow the link to donate:

Read about these remarkable women and girls in their features in this CLS on the Move edition!

Congratulations are also in order for Volunteer of the Year! The Founding Sisters of CLS presented this honor to Sabrena Thomas and for her dedication to the organization and service to the community, Sabrena was gifted with a $500 travel gift card toward travel sponsored by CLS Travels.

Speaking of membership…membership is now open for Houston area women! Visit the Classy Living Society website and click “Become a Member” – Built on sisterhood; igniting change…

It was a beautiful day of smiles and laughter, love, hugs, sisterhood bonding, magic, music, dancing, luxurious decor, great food and red dresses! Like-minded women networked and mingled and new friendships and alliances were forged. Thank you, Houston for your gracious hospitality and a Red Dress Gala we all will never forget!

Kim Roxie
LAMIK Beauty Founder and CEO

Kim Roxie has been at the forefront of celebrating the beauty of multicultural women since she founded LAMIK in 2004, while still a college student in Atlanta. She didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur at 21 but was inspired to create her own line when she researched the ingredients in the brands available to her customers while working at a cosmetics counter part-time while in school. Dismayed by the unhealthy ingredients she uncovered, Kim decided to become the change she was looking for and founded LAMIK, an environmentally conscious cosmetics line that would not only look good on women of color but also be good for them. By naming her brand LAMIK, which means Love And Makeup in Kindness, Kim signaled that her brand was about more than makeup. She believes in promoting a deeper meaning of beauty, that it emanates from the inside out.

Khaliah Guillory
Founder and CEO, Nap Bar

The creative mind behind Nap Bar is Khaliah O. Guillory. As a previous C-level executive, she knows a thing or two about handling stress.

Nap Bar, the first hospital-grade napping experience in Texas, offers communities and companies onsite and in-suite rest services to help reduce sleep deprivation and increase productivity.

Nap Bar’s mission is to turn sustainable rest into sustainable productivity for the health-conscious professionals, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents and travelers.

Based on Khaliah’s philanthropy work in the community, Mayor Sylvester Turner declared October 29 as Khaliah Guillory Day.

Dr. Bridgette Jenkins
President and CEO, Houston Chapter of Black Nurses Rock

Dr. Bridgette has over 20 years of nursing and healthcare experience and has worked in many different areas of nursing throughout her career. She is currently a Professor at Houston Baptist University. She is the author of three books and will be releasing her fourth book this fall. She is also a radio show host; her show, Bounce Back Monday’s with Dr. B can be heard on & on Facebook Live each Monday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

She is the CEO & President of the Houston Chapter of Black Nurses Rock and is committed to changing the lives of the citizens in the Houston area and surrounding communities through service and education. She has been an Ambassador and Instructor with the American Heart Association since 2006. She is a trained speaker and certified instructor with the capabilities of teaching life saving courses to healthcare professionals and to the community.

Tyla-Simone Crayton
CEO, Sienna Sauce

Tyla-Simone Crayton is the fifteen-year-old CEO of a Houston, Texas based company called Sienna Sauce in Houston, Texas. The young foodie relocated from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York to the Sienna Plantation area of Texas, hence the brand name Sienna Sauce. In an effort to recreate a flavor of sauce she missed from back home, she experimented and stirred up some flavors that she enjoyed far superior! Tyla-Simone has always had a creative spirit and decided that selling sauce would be a great idea; and in the spring of 2017, she launched Sienna Sauce from her home kitchen.

The company currently has grown in flavors. Since launching, Sienna Sauce has already been recognized for its taste and quality. The brand participated, and won, “Best Sauce” in the 2018 and 2019 Sauce-A-Holic Fest, competing against 15 competitive brands! The young CEO says the sauce is multi-purpose, and can be used on anything! It’s great on meat, fish and vegetables.

Tyla-Simone is an honor student at Ridge Point High School receiving awards in academic excellence and critical thinking. Outside of the classroom she plays basketball, is a member of student council, serves as a board member of the Black History Club, a member of the American Sign Language club (ASL), and she is a community volunteer.

Dr. Glenda Demas
Founder, Pearls of Change

Glenda Evette Demas is a native Houstonian whose inspiration and passion for raising awareness over the importance of mental health came from her own personal struggles, and desire to ensure that others know that mental illness is not a stigma. Her efforts are spent working with individuals struggling with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal Ideations, Bi-Polar Disorder, and Substance Abuse Disorders just to name a few. In addition, she holds a contract as an At-Risk High School Counselor. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional specializing in PTSD, ART Therapy, Conflict Resolution, Crisis Intervention, Behavioral Health, and Anger-Management.

Carissa Stephens

As a serial entrepreneur, Carissa is the Owner of, an inspirational lifestyle blog and store dedicated to inspiring “the charismatic woman” in all of us, co-Founder of NaturallyGG, a natural hair/ health brand with over 83,000 YouTube subscribers, founding member of TXture Tribe LLC and is the Director of Business Development and Client Relations for her and her husband’s commercial law firm, Stephens PLLC.

Carissa reaches a global audience as a beauty influencer, hostess and public speaker. She has worked with many national brands to include L’Oréal Paris USA, CURLS and Shea Moisture to mention a few, and has also achieved partnerships with global brands such as Amazon. She recently had the opportunity to host the Beauty and Style stage at ESSENCE Festival. She’s received such honors as Who’s Who in Black Houston by the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce and has been featured as “Woman of Houston”.

Bri Braggs
Founder, Fertile Alchemy

Bri Braggs is a content curator and the founder of Fertile Alchemy – she is passionate about fertility, delicious food, and making wellness accessible to all women.

Born in Oklahoma City, Bri packed her bags and relocated to Houston, Texas in 2013. Having a background in the fashion and retail industry, Bri worked with small locally owned businesses as a retail buyer and social media manager. After she was let go from her job in 2014, Bri decided to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

After working with many different clients, Bri decided to expand her reach and launch her signature Aromatic Oil. After great success, in 2018 she decided to shift her focus from working with clients to creating amazing products and finally writing her much awaited book.

Princess Jackson
Founder, Sock Out Poverty

Each year, the Red Dress Gala serves to honor and applaud the extraordinary work of organizations we are passionate about. This year we honored Sock Out Poverty with the 2019 Classy Living Award!

Sock Out Poverty is a nonprofit organization that was birthed by fifteen-year-old actress and model, Princess Jackson. Because of her passion to give back to the community and her fondness for socks, Sock Out Poverty was created. Princess gives the most needed, yet overlooked, item to the less fortunate, and that’s a new pair of socks. Her goal is to reduce poverty and provide socks for the less fortunate, therefore Socking Out Poverty One Step At A Time!

To date, Sock Out Poverty, Inc. has given out more than 10,000 pairs of new socks in the Houston, Beaumont, San Antonio, Dallas, Atlanta and California areas. Our goal is to go global and “Sock Out Poverty” all over the world.

Sock Out Poverty, Inc. has received donations from national businesses including Walmart, Sam’s Club, The Floyd Mayweather Jr Foundation, and comedian and TV host Steve Harvey.

Congratulations, Sock Out Poverty! We applaud and celebrate you for your tremendous contribution to society!

For more information on Sock Out Poverty, including donation information, visit their website:

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Studies have shown that laughter is the best medicine…combine laughter and giggles with music, food, fun, dancing, singing and socializing and what do you get?  Why, it’s Games & Giggles, that’s what!

CLS hosted a Games & Giggles event on Saturday, August 10 at the Taylor-Brawner House located in Downtown Smyrna, Georgia.  This event included a potluck meal – a veritable feast was on the table!  Prepared by CLS members and guests who attended, each item was served from dishes and platters made of ceramic, glass, stoneware, you name it – in old school style just like we remember from cookouts and family dinners back in the day!  Everything was delicious and there were a number of exquisite desserts as well.

The ladies played card games, Connect Four, Monopoly, trivia games, jacks (yes, remember playing jacks?!), Jenga, backgammon, dominoes and more.  A number of vendors were in the building offering jewelry and accessories because it’s always fun to shop too!  DJ Beelax (Don’t Relax, Beelax!) was on the 1’s and 2’s spinning popular music from all genres.  There was dancing and singing, and even Karaoke!  Everyone looked beautiful in their prettiest white tops and blouses.  It was an evening of sisterhood bonding in the inimitable and traditional style of CLS.

Speaking of tradition, as always, there was a giveback initiative involved in the event.  Yellow bags filled with toiletry items, colorful washcloth/towel sets, encouraging notes and other personal items were donated to Wellspring Living. Wellspring Living’s mission is to transform the lives of those at risk or victimized by sexual exploitation. They offer restoration programs including safe residential environments and other support. They also cultivate partnerships with other like organizations across the nation and train, equip and educate developing organizations on the issues of trafficking.  A representative of Wellspring was in attendance to accept the donations and tell everyone what the organization is doing in the community with respect to caring for victims of trafficking.

Lakia Brandenburg, who will be speaking to us via Zoom video in an interactive session on Wednesday for CLS’s first CLS Talks session, was in attendance as well.  She will be speaking on the subject “4 Ways to Prepare for What You’ve Been Praying For.”

Everyone enjoyed the event, and as the summer draws to a close, an outing such as this was just what everyone needed.  Fun, games, laughter, sisterhood – Games & Giggles!

Wellspring Living:

Janine Lattimore


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Summer is officially here!  Time for lazy lounging by the pool or at the beach, barbecues, picnics, flip flops, long walks, and fun in the sun!

Aside from maintaining summer haircare and skincare, getting enough rest and indulging in nutritious foods, take the time during these beautiful summer days to pep up your mental and emotional health as well.

The sun is a natural producer of Vitamin D, one of the many nutrients essential to boosting your mood and warding off the blues.  Get creative – and take some of your indoor activities outside!  Given the longer hours of daylight, there’s lots more opportunity to get some sunshine!

Mental Health First Aid USA, a division of the National Council for Behavioral Health lists 15 activities to keep you feeling your best this summer.

  1. Ditch the couch and relax outdoors.
  2. Go out for a stroll.
  3. Explore your local farmer’s markets.
  4. Join a community garden – or start your own!
  5. Tidy one small space at a time.
  6. Make a summer feel-good playlist of your favorite music.
  7. Try a new exercise (swimming, anyone?)
  8. Dine al fresco – have a picnic!
  9. Look for interesting things going on in your community.
  10. Start or continue a journal.
  11. Reconnect with a relative or friend.
  12. Practice mindfulness – take a yoga class or begin meditation sessions.
  13. Do an at-home spa day.
  14. Explore new places in your town.
  15. Do a weekly personal needs assessment.

Self-care is important; and when you are intentional about taking care of yourself – mind, body and spirit – you tend to feel more connected to yourself and others.

Click on the link below for more from Mental Health First Aid USA on the 15 tips to make your summer a season of self-care for you!

15 Activities for Your Summer Self-Care Checklist

-written by Janine Lattimore
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The weather will soon be warm and spring is right around the corner, and Classy Living Society is taking the first step to help its members take their wellness goals to a whole new level!

Self-care is the name of the game, and the hashtag for this new health and wellness initiative is #Classy’NFit.  As CLS continues to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle, we will present plans and programs that will promote strong bodies and foster amazing minds.

A strong volunteer organization cannot exist without healthy volunteers.  Statistics show that exercise and a well-balanced healthy diet is one of the best preventive health measures against many diseases. Towards that end, in the coming months, CLS will host health and wellness events that will help its members turn their attention to being whole, getting strong, and staying that way! Stay tuned as we report our progress and our amazing events in the name of health and wellness!

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Obesity is a disorder involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems.  A few facts about obesity:

  1. More than 1/3 of adults in America are obese.
  2. Obesity affects 1 in 6 children in the United States.
  3. Obesity is linked to more than 60 diseases.
  4. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults.
  5. Your waist size increases your risk for diabetes.
  6. Obesity causes more deaths than being underweight.
  7. Obesity is costly; people with obesity pay over $1000 a year more in medical costs
  8. Ethnicity can affect your likelihood of obesity.
  9. Obesity is most common in middle age.
  10. Older women are more likely to be obese than men.
  11. Americans are eating more calories than ever before.


The health risks associated with obesity are many; they include an overall increased risk of death from all causes, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, and mental illness.

Because obesity is associated with such a wide range of health issues, understanding the numbers behind this trend is more important than ever.

Currently, about 36 percent of American adults are obese — more than 1 in 3. And, globally, more than 1 in 10 humans are obese.

*Medical News Today:

According to Everyday Health’s website, here’s what you can do to lose weight or avoid becoming overweight or obese:

  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Exercise, even moderately, for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Cut down your consumption of fatty and sugary foods.
  • Use vegetable-based oils rather than animal-based fats.

So walk a little more, eat a little less — and do what you need to do to maintain a healthy weight.

*Everyday Health:

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Welcome to the NEW Classy Chronicles!

Formerly, the Classy Chronicles was the official online digital magazine of Classy Living Society. The newly revamped Classy Chronicles is now a platform housed on the Classy Living Society website! Through easy-to-navigate dropdown menus, the Classy Chronicles provides an outlet to many subjects of interest at the click of a mouse – articles and features that highlight people who are doing amazing things in the community, health and wellness, work-life balance, beauty and fashion and more!

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