Woman Wednesday: Priya

Q and A with Priya, Chicago, Illinois

“If you can just take a moment and tune into yourself, you’ll get the answers to the right next step.”

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m a mindset and manifestation coach for women. I love impacting and serving women to live abundant lives powerfully on purpose. I help women work through limiting beliefs, take action towards the life they desire. I also help with business building. I used to run a copywriting business that wasn’t in alignment with it, and it was one of the hardest decisions to let it go to build another business from the ground up. Right now, I’m solely focused on coaching women; however, as my business expands, I’ll be adding food (plant-based) and travel into my business as well as doing in-person events. Right now, I’m in launch for my new program called, “Activating Abundance Mastermind.” This is a 3-month mastermind [course] that teaches women to reprogram their mind, manifest unlimited abundance, and create their big vision. This is for the woman who’s ready to step into her abundant birthright, create her big vision, and attract whatever the hell she wants. In this 3-month mastermind, we’ll have weekly calls on a specific topic or a mastermind call. And you’ll always have an opportunity to ask questions either on a call with me or inside of the private Facebook group. Plus I’m bringing in 6 guest experts. You can find more info here: https://www.xopriyashah.com/

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I have a background in journalism and it’s what I studied in college. I always loved writing and I use a lot of my content skills in my current business. I grew up and still live in Chicago, IL. I’m an only child and I lost my mom as a teenager. It was a really hard time for me to go through; I feel like the loss of my mother really impacted me to be the woman I am today in business and in life, meaning to never stop believing in the things I desire.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: It’s really about the willingness to see things differently. It’s very easy to fall into a “pity party parade,” but the answers and guidance are always inside of you. If you can just take a moment and tune into yourself, you’ll get the answers to the right next step.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means knowing that I have the power within to create whatever life I want. I’m currently single, and I do desire a relationship (working on manifesting my king), and I believe that I’m perfectly capable of providing for myself but still having my kind court me. I’m a big believer that we can have it all (the money, the love, the relationships, the ideal clients, the dream home, all of it).

Thank you for reading!

Connect with me here.

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Annie A.

Q and A with Annie A., South Carolina

“Vulnerability is beautiful.”

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am interested in people. I love intense connections and people who overshare. I’ve also always been drawn towards the spiritual—and I’ve always been an artist. All of those things seemed to funnel me into launching Sweetgrass & Sage.

This year, as violent as it has been for all of us, has been a major catalyst for change for me. I found myself going through an amicable divorce with two sweet babies who I needed to be able to keep at home (both because I am high risk and because my son has special needs), a cross country move, and a 10 year gap in my work history. It was a make it work moment, absolutely. More than that, though, I am a helper, and I realized that I had the opportunity to help other women who are also trying to make it work. We rise by lifting others, and right now so many can use a lift. I believe that the work of women’s hands is it’s own kind of magic, and it is valuable.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and grew up in and around Orangeburg. I went to both public and private schools, my dad was a Methodist minister, my mom was an attorney. They’re both full-time grandparents now.

I was adopted at a day and a half old. I always knew it—my birth mother was a phenomenal woman and force of nature; I met her when I was 16. She was also a pagan, something which kind of spurred on my own quest for understanding, for lack of a better way to put it. I was an anxious child and have always found peace in nature and through working with my hands. I love the smell of sawdust; I think it takes me back to working on projects with my dad as a child.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Don’t try to fit a mold that wasn’t made for you. Authenticity is contagious. Vulnerability is beautiful. Give yourself permission to be you, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Just be as kind as you can along the way.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: I come from a long line of feminists. My grandmother was quite an athlete. She had mostly brothers and thought that she could do anything they could do and refused to be told differently. My mother, her daughter, was the first female sports editor of a daily newspaper in South Carolina. She was the first woman in the Clemson Press Box and in Clemson basketball locker room, and remembers the then coach, Frank Howard, as saying, “They’ll let anybody up here now!” She went on to become an attorney. My aunt, Kate Salley Palmer, was one of only three syndicated political cartoonists in the nation—she worked for the Greenville News. Feminism, to me, means the freedom to follow your happy, however you find it. It means the ability to follow your authentic self, whoever you are. You love traditional gender roles? Excellent! You’re a woman welder? Rock on! My focus was on woodworking in college. Want to mix it up? You do you. Women are strong and capable. The badass in me recognizes the badass in you. Feminism means being able to do your thing and supporting other women doing theirs.

Q: What would you like others to know about Sweetgrass & Sage?

A: Sweetgrass & Sage Box has different business model from others because I find the traditional subscription box model to be a little predatory. Integrity is super important for me. I believe, whole heartedly, in the value of artisan quality work, and whereas most of the big name subscription boxes make the businesses pay to be in the box AND provide their product for free, I pay for the product, and my promotion of the woman-owned small businesses I work for is free. They get a little stimulus from box sales, and new people to try their product. The box recipients get a great deal on things they actually want, and each piece is intended to be something they can have as a tangible reminder of their own inner strength. I’m focused on people over profit, and the quality of each piece is top-notch. You’re not going to wind up with 400 jars of moisturizer you’ll never use.

Spring boxes will be fully customizable and tailored to you so that you only get what you want.

Thank you for reading!

Check out Sweetgrass & Sage here.

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Holiday Gifts From Our Featured Women

Happy Holidays to you, our cherished readers! Wherever you are in the world, we hope that you are safe, cozy, and feeling loved during this special time of year. While this busy time of year can be very stressful, there’s no reason you can’t treat yourself to something you’d enjoy. Here are some gifts for you, free and at (optional) cost. Click on the highlighted text for the corresponding links. Enjoy!

Gifts from women featured on The Woman Wednesday Blog:

Free meditation class. From Maja, available here.

Free weekly recipes that are fresh, tasty, and unlike other mainstream recipes you’ll find online. From Alysha, available here.

Free beauty and special-effects makeup tips. From Kerry Ingram, available here.

A free, PDF downloadable/printable recipe for a delicious spicy shrimp meal. From Annie, available here.

A good romance (free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!) with a spin: merman meets woman. From Dee J. Stone, available here.

A good, science fiction book to read. Only $3.99 on Kindle! From Megan, available here.

A scary movie! (Free for Amazon Prime members!) Based on a story from Ellicott City, Maryland. Featuring our featured actress Rachel! Available here.

A handmade, leather journal made with love. From Mecyll, available here.

Holiday-styled nails (sticker nails!) that are low maintenance and cute. From Miriam with Beauty Kissed Nails, available here.

A book to help cope with loss. From Lorie (and free for Kindle Unlimited users!), available here.

Free, fun video game created by a woman-owned and operated video game company. From Boba Studios, available here.

Cute masks, artwork, tees, coffee cups with handmade designs, and MORE! From Leilani Romero, available here.

A free, printable color page for you (or, if you’re a mother, for your child!) and book series teaching children about friendship and important values while entertaining them. From Stacy! Click here for printable. Click here for Stacy’s book series.

Beautiful artwork. From Ramona, available here.

Real, pre-grown plants! From Sam, available here.

Free to watch, BET comedy series. From Jourdan, available on YouTube.

Rodan + Fields skincare. From Thao, available here.

SeneGence makeup. From Chanel, available here.

A princess subscription box for your little girl so you can play princesses together (if you’re a mother of a daughter). From Kelly, available here.

An online fitness coach. From Mary, available here.

One-of-a-kind, crafted jewelry from Romania. From Ioana, available here.

Free inspirational message via YouTube TEDx video. From Cait Scudder, available here.

We hope you enjoy one, some, or all of these gifts from our past, talented featured women from The Woman Wednesday Blog!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! 😊

Woman Wednesday: Carmene

Q and A with Carmene, Pétion-Ville, Haiti

“When you are making new moves, be careful who you are sharing your thoughts with.”

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m passionate about IT; I love everything related to technology. I never knew that one day I would be my own CEO. I am an introvert, and I didn’t enjoy going out every day to work. I am now an entrepreneur working from home. I do graphic designs and digital marketing. I’m also learning new things like WordPress development and Adobe’s programs.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1f82845c-bb4d-4e3f-891e-c91192e4aaa3.jpg

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in a lovely family, thanks to God. They trusted me and always supported me on my journey. When I left my job to pursue my dreams, they supported me like never before because they know who I am and that I will reach my goals.

Being a Caribbean girl, I love beaches, seafood, and spiced food. Haïti is a wonderful country, even if we have some political issues. I keep enjoying the positive sides of the country.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 76263781-5b1b-47df-8547-64ea56aa250c.jpg

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Trust no one! When you are making new moves, be careful who you are sharing your thoughts with.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_8700.jpg

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: For me, feminism means a lot of things. I don’t know if I can qualify myself as a feminist, but I always support women, especially young women who’re trying to pursue their dreams because we live in a world where women are not allowed to speak.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 8db454f9-07cb-42eb-a46f-a1a042d8a3ea.jpg

Thank you for reading!

You can follow my Insta, click here: www.instagram.com/digitally_virtual.

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Brie

Q and A with Brie, Burnsville, MN, USA

“I don’t want to be known for what I look like, and I don’t want to be treated any differently just because I am a woman.”

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: There are a lot of things I am passionate about. One is my job. I started my career as a correctional officer in a large metropolitan jail in Minnesota. While I loved the setting and population, I decided to leave to pursue higher education and a career in psychology. Thereafter, I earned a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology, and I worked in several state and federal prisons throughout my training. Now, I work as a forensic psychologist. I complete competency, criminal responsibility, civil commitment, patterned sex offender, and risk assessment evaluations. My work consists of reviewing police discovery (e.g., crime scene photographs, video and audio recordings, legal documents) and other records, interviewing defendants, administering and interpreting psychological tests, writing a report, and then testifying in court as an expert witness. Recently, I started a private practice, through which I also provide supervision, serve as a business consultant, and review research proposals. Given that my work can be mentally and emotionally draining, I maintain balance with activities I am passionate about. Specifically, I always need to have both physical and creative outlets. For example, I train in boxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) and I have another business as a freelance makeup artist. Other things I am passionate about are cooking, traveling, salsa dancing, and gardening.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My parents started a business planning performing tours for high school music groups when I was three years old. My father brought my sister and me on the road with him and taught us about the business from an early age. This has hugely impacted my life, as I am now a business owner myself. The business also allowed us to travel as a family. By the time I was 18 years old, I had visited all 50 states and dozens of countries. Aside from travel, however, my parents made sure we were exposed to other cultures, customs, and languages. We had very close friends from Nigeria and three exchange students (they were from Mexico, Argentina, and Poland). I, too, studied abroad twice, spending a semester each in Mexico and Spain. I also backpacked around Europe for one month. I feel so fortunate to have had these opportunities. Travel has taught me independence and confidence. I have gained a new perspective in life and appreciation for what I have. I also learned the value of speaking another language. My goal is to always have traveled to at least as many countries as I am years old.  Another significant and related aspect of my childhood was cooking. My father loves to cook and he shared his love of it with me. It was something we often did together. He cooked two new dishes each week, and often, we tried foods from all over the world. Cooking for friends and family brings people together and is an act of caring and giving. It was also way I could connect with my Italian heritage and explore other cultures.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I hold several important lessons with me. One is to be humble, ask questions, and always be open to feedback. At the same time, however, know your worth, believe in yourself, and walk the world with confidence. Despite holding a doctorate in clinical psychology and being considered an expert witness in court, it took me a long time to feel confident. I always assumed there were so many other, more experienced clinicians than I. Likewise, it has always been hard for me to ask for the compensation I deserve. Nevertheless, you have to be your own best advocate. Second, as an introvert, I hated the idea of networking. It felt so disingenuous. Inevitably, however, most career opportunities arise via word of mouth. Also, it doesn’t have to be inauthentic. Form friendships, reach out, ask questions, and make an effort to stay in touch. Third, it really is a small world. This is especially true in my field. There are only two state agencies that employ forensic psychologists, so we all know one another. This is also the case throughout the country. Therefore, it’s so important to comport yourself professionally and never burn any bridges.

Your reputation matters. Fourth, I have learned I must always find balance. I have taken on a lot of endeavors and am always busy. I work full-time, own two companies, have several side gigs and contracts, develop professional presentations, write manuscripts for publication, and am seeking board certification. I also dedicate my time to several hobbies and need to set time aside for my family, my friends, and myself. This is a constant juggle and I am often overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s important for me to stay in tune with those feelings, self-care, and prioritize so I don’t get burned out. Lastly, I am always pushing myself to do things that scare me or that I don’t believe I can accomplish. Whenever I have doubts, I want to prove to myself that I am capable of achieving what I set out to do, even if it’s hard. As a result, I have earned a doctorate, started two businesses, run an ultra marathon, gone skydiving, and gone scuba diving in narrow cave passages, among other things. It is my perseverance in the face of self-doubt that I am most proud of.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: When I was younger, I hated dresses, the color pink, and anything else I perceived to be “girly.” I felt that the only way I could establish myself on equal footing with the boys and find acceptance was to reject my feminine side. As an adult, I have always worked in male-dominated environments and participated in male-dominant sports (e.g., hockey, mountain biking, boxing, BJJ). This led to a lot of inaccurate assumptions, unwanted attention, and unfair treatment. Being told I couldn’t do something because I was a woman was also a frequent occurrence. An ex-boyfriend once told me I couldn’t be a forensic psychologist, and my uncle told me girls don’t play hockey or box. Unfortunately for them, I like to challenge people’s assumptions and prove them wrong, so I did all three. As a correctional officer, my male co-workers didn’t think I was capable of performing my job as well as they were. I was dismissed as just filling a quota and I was the subject of sexual harassment. When I resigned from my position, they admitted they made bets about how long it would take before I cried and quit. Despite making a significant effort to dress professionally and conservatively while working in prisons, my physical appearance was the topic of conversation. People were always surprised when I told them where I worked, as if I didn’t fit the mold. I once had a female supervisor suggest I wasn’t even like the other female correctional officers because I didn’t play hockey (I did). Similarly, on the mats, men did everything they could to prevent being beat by a woman or they were patronizing. I don’t want to be known for what I look like, and I don’t want to be treated any differently just because I am a woman. Therefore, I am particularly interested in paving the way for other women working in correctional environments or joining male-dominated sports. My goal is to help women garner respect, rather than be patronized or objectified. I make it a point to try to address these issues whenever they come to my attention. I want to challenge people’s assumptions, or at the very least, advocate for what I believe in. I also want women to be able to both embrace their femininity and find success and respect in male-dominated arenas. As cliché as it is, I had to learn to accept myself, rather than trying to prove my worth or and what people expect of me. Who I am is a quiet, unassuming makeup artist who is trained in mixed martial arts and interviews murderers for a living.

Thank you for reading!

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂