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.

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Woman Wednesday: Claire

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.            


Q and A with Claire, from Olongapo City, Philippines, living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“You must be able to accept all the choices you made in life, forgive yourself for all of the mistakes you’ve made, move on, and just grow from it.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am a very creative person, so I love to create and visualize things. As a photographer, I am very passionate about capturing the beauty in every person and showing the world their true beauty. I often tell my clients my job is to show the world your true beauty and the beauty you have never seen in yourself before. I do not take pictures; I capture memories and I save them for you. As a life coach, I am very passionate about helping women find their voice, strength, and beauty while overcoming past hurts. With faith in God, I help women and anyone in need fill their God-given purpose in life. I developed these passions solely based on my life experiences on earth; it is what drives me to be the best I can be, so I can help more people in the world. I am currently in the process of finishing my 6 weeks program (Release, Reflect, Release, and Restart), my women’s empowerment BBBM website/blog page, and my book, Broken But Beautifully Made, which is based on my story, the stories that birthed my women’s empowerment platform.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a 3rd world country, the Philippines. Life was very simple, yet hard. My mom did her best raising 3 daughters as a single mother. I grew up in an environment that is all about family. All our relatives were always around and we did everything together…birthdays, holidays, and just simply hanging out after school and eating (Miryenda) afternoon snacks in Tagalog. Mom raised me as a God-fearing woman; I was very active in my home church in the Philippines. I was a worship leader, youth leader, and a vacation Bible school teacher for the kids. I have always been very passionate about helping others and making a difference…no matter how big or small it is. I graduated high school at the young age of 15 years old and college by 16. I love learning, reading, and just trying to become the best version of myself. I saw struggle at such a young age that I promised myself I would do whatever it took to be better than I was yesterday.

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

A: I have learned a lot of lessons from everything I had gone through in life. The one lesson that I find very valuable to me is understanding that it is not selfish to care for yourself first and to set healthy boundaries in your life. I learned to put God and myself first in everything I do in life. I learned to love me for who I was, for who I am now, and who I am to become. This is the one lesson I want anyone to learn from my lesson. You cannot love or help others if you are unable to do that for yourself. You must be able to accept all the choices you made in life, forgive yourself for all of the mistakes you’ve made, move on, and just grow from it.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism for me is fighting for equality for women. Seeing us not by our gender, but by our ability to perform just as any other person can.

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Q: Is there anything else you would like to share? 

A: I am married to my amazing husband of 10 years now; his name is Richard Torres. We have one fur baby kitty named Mew. We have lived in NM for 11 years now, but my husband was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. I am also working on getting my bachelor’s degree and only have 2 years left. I will be graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration with a concertation in project management. I am also publishing my first book in July 2020. I will be coauthoring with 10 other amazing women for a devotional book called The Heart of God for Her.

I am a creative entrepreneur specializing in life coaching and professional photography. As a certified life coach, I specialize in transformational coaching with a keen focus on breaking harmful patterns and overcoming guilt and shame. With a compelling backstory of my own, I am very passionate about helping women find their voice, strength, and beauty while overcoming past hurts. With a backdrop of faith in God, I help women and anyone in need fill their God-given purpose in life. I founded Broken But Beautifully Made Women’s Empowerment Platform in March 2019; God has had this mission in my heart for 2 years. I created BBBM as a platform that allows women to speak, share, and see that she is not alone! I have overcome many trials and tribulations in my life that allows me to relate with other women and to testify how God saved me every single time…As a coach my mantra? “I help you release, reflect, refocus, and restart—Are you ready?”

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

Mailing list 

Broken But Beautifully Made Insta 

Claire May Photography Insta

Claire Cregger Insta


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Woman Wednesday: Lachelle

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Lachelle, Oceanside, California

“I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about my work. In fact, I am a bit of a workaholic. So, when it comes time to find extracurricular activities, my time is often limited. My day job is in marketing analysis. I also am a managing partner at Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar in Oceanside, and I am an avid reader. I love what I do, so immersing myself in my projects helps fuel my passion. I am also passionate about traveling. I like to live in different places for a week. Grab a cup of coffee there, and find a coffee shop to read in. My husband helped me fall in love with comics. I read novels and some comics growing up, but he introduced me to the medium not just as a superhero story but as a way of storytelling that I fell in love with.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My family moved around quite a bit, so I ended up spending my early college years in DLSU and then moved to CSU Monterey Bay, where I graduated in accounting. Before I became glued to a handheld device, the most entertaining mobile device was a book. I loved reading stories and making them. I would tell my siblings stories on long car rides. In a career full of crunching numbers, I believe numbers are giving us a story. I am just reading it. In my day job, that means reading numbers to help my company make sound decisions. In Panels, it helps us understand what people want.

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

A: Don’t give up; embrace the challenge. Nothing is beyond your reach.

I hear people struggle with things they feel are beyond their reach. Saying, “I can’t do the things I want, I can’t start a business, I can’t get this career, I can’t find the right partner…”

I want to address how I found those things in hopes of inspiring others:
I found the right guy because I didn’t waste my time. Before my marriage, I hadn’t celebrated an anniversary with a guy. I didn’t waste time on dates that I didn’t think sparked joy. I didn’t make excuses for them. If we weren’t a fit, I was candid and wasn’t afraid to be alone. I didn’t beg to stay and I didn’t need a conversation when it was over. I hadn’t even planned to stay with my husband initially; I told him my career was important and a priority. Rather than pulling away, he respected that and pursued me.

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I was stuck in some odd jobs before I found one I loved. I pushed myself in all those jobs to move upwards. I was doing front desk/accounting for a hotel and during that time, I created a proper approval process because I noticed the sales reps were spending the marketing budget unchecked. At Panels, I came on as a soft partner and took over responsibilities from my partners when I noticed that it was overwhelming them. I don’t just do my job. I do it as if I was managing myself and then manage upwards to tell my superiors what I want and where I want to be. Recognize needs wherever you work and find ways to rectify it. This will serve you in growing personally and in your career.

When my husband told me on our first date, “I want to open a comic book coffee shop,” I was a bit incredulous. However, as I learned more about him, I was excited to push him towards that dream and told him how much having a business was part of my dreams. We pushed each other, did hours upon hours of research, detailed and checked one another. The biggest lesson from this is that you should work to bring the best out of people. Push them to pursue their dreams and never put those dreams down. Also, find people around you who will push you towards those dreams as well.

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Finally, I have accomplished the things I want because I plan for them. I made less than 30-40k a year after college and I traveled around New England, visited Hawaii, and Big Sur. I was able to do that because I planned for it. Having a life where I get to explore is a priority to me. I read as much as I do because I find an opportunity to. Even if it’s on 15-minute breaks between tasks, I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I have been harassed in and around the workplace for being female. I have been overlooked for opportunities because of male competition. I have been treated differently for being a woman. The primary place this has come from has been other women. The hesitancy to promote women, or treat women differently, or downplay the ability of women, must not come from women. Feminism means promoting pride in our work, being proud of the competitive advantage that we have, and fostering that. We can be our worst enemy, and we have to work to help each other overcome that.

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I’d love to connect with you!

www.panelscoffee.com

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Woman Wednesday: Leire

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.  


 

Q and A with Leire H., Barcelona, Spain (originally from Bilbao, Spain)

 

“Time has made me realize that it is good to try to be the best you can be and give the very best you can, but failure is permitted. And it is failure that made me learn many times.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I try to be passionate about everything I do. I work in Barcelona, Spain, as a human resources recruiter for a Dutch company. I like working with people because I think it is very enriching. There is a quote I love that says, “I learned more of what I know from people than from books.” Very similar to that, I love psychology. I always try to understand why people behave, feel, and think as they do. Apart from that, my real passion is aviation and traveling. My last trip was to Canada last summer, and I am already planning this year’s trips: France and Malaysia!

 

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I am lucky to have an amazing family who loved and supported me more than anybody did and will ever do. My parents were also very strict with me and my studies especially. I remember my childhood as a very happy period, though, and I am convinced that I am who I am today because of them.

 

 

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

A: I have learned to enjoy every moment. I wish I could go back to my 16-year-old self and tell her that nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you think about it. Everything in life moves on and changes, and everything is about different stages.

 

 

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Also, I have always been very self-demanding, and that leads to many frustrations that spawn from me trying to be perfect in all aspects. I used to practice rhythmic gymnastics, which is an extremely hard sport. Time has made me realize that it is good to try to be the best you can be and give the very best you can, but failure is permitted. And it is failure that made me learn many times. I would also recommend everybody to enjoy every moment in life. We tend to look for happiness in our “ideal” world, leaving aside the moments that shape actual happiness. 

 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: For me, feminism is simply the equality of women and men. I think there has been a misconception by a small part of society, who thinks that feminism means hating men and defending women are superior to men. I think they are doing no favor to real feminism. It is much simpler than that: We are all human beings.

 

However, if we [women] are as intelligent, capable, and empowered as men, why can’t we qualify for the same work position in every part of the world? Why do we have to walk afraid when we go back home alone in the night? Education (not only at school, but at home) should have an essential role in achieving equality but unfortunately, we are far from that. I hope we see change in the near future.

 

 

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