Woman Wednesday: Courtney R.


Q and A with Courtney R., Vancouver, Washington

“We all need a great circle of empowering strong women to push us on all the hard days but also celebrate our wins.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m a mom of three; two boys ages 13 and 11, and a girl age 6. My kids are my whole world. I own a women’s clothing store in Vancouver, Washington, and we specialize in size inclusivity and ethnic fashion. All things girlie is who I am; I love personal shopping and styling my clients and myself (give me all the fun hot tools to play with my hair all day and bright lipstick because it’s a staple) because showing up feeling my best is important. It also empowers other women to do the same.

Personal styling and shopping is what I do because fashion is for everyone and we always feel better when we like our outfit. The store was a dream I had with my best friend from middle school; that’s what bonded us. (Funny story) she didn’t like me but loved my outfit and her mom made her hang out with me [she laughs], we’ve now been best friends for over 17 years! I’m also the girl who loves to get dirty and camp (any outdoor activity hiking and swimming the river is what I do all summer here in the PNW, where I was born and raised). Count me in on long weekends with my girlfriends because we are the tribe we keep! We all need a great circle of empowering strong women to push us on all the hard days but also celebrate our wins. I love to travel. Hawaii is my favorite but Japan, Africa, New York, and Italy are on my long bucket list. I’m also a adrenaline junkie, so skydiving, roller coasters, all those things…count me in. My goal is to have my store in multiple locations where I can shop a little differently for each location. (Depending where its at…weather and all that).


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I have one older brother. My parents are divorced, so childhood was different in each house. At my mom’s, I was an only child. At my dad’s, we had a blended family and I had a step brother and 2 step sisters. I was the oldest. I graduated from high school in 2007 and became a mom shortly after. I stayed home with my kids until I opened my boutique. Coming from a divorced home had its challenges, but it made me the strong, independent mother and friend I am today.


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

A: Being a business owner isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you always go back to your core values and stay humble, you can get through any hard day and you always appreciate the wins. (That’s what I’ve learned.) Believe came about because we wanted to inspire women to follow their dreams (that’s what we did), and when you put your whole heart into something, anything is possible.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, is rejecting stereotypes and expectations put in place centuries ago to keep women in their “place.” And replacing those expectations with love, acceptance, support, and encouragement. There are millions of women in the world and there are millions of ways to embody womanhood. Feminism is cheering for every woman in whatever way she chooses to be a woman.


Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

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Woman Wednesday: Mariam


Q and A with Mariam, Montreal, Canada

I seek out to channel the lessons I’ve learned from Khadija every day.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I love teaching. I’ve always loved teaching because of being able to help people go through breakthrough moments. It has been my passion from a very young age. Writing was always my coping mechanism. My parents were terminally ill since I was a kid, and I wrote poetry to cope with it.

So, I became an English teacher who also wrote copy on the side. Around 2 years ago, Bill 21 came into effect in Quebec, which prompted me to decide to start a business. I started writing copy full time. I realized I was actually developing most of their content strategy as well as doing their copy, and that is when I started studying it even more (I love studying) and ended up doing this full time. Within 3 months, I was able to make more than my 9-to-5 job and quit. Eventually, I started missing teaching. So now, I teach new entrepreneurs how to make a full-time income out of their business.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My upbringing was centered around the fact that my mom had breast cancer and my dad had lymphoma. My mom died when I was 16 from her second cancer and my father from his third when I was 25, so 2 years ago now. 

I’ve always loved writing and have always used that as a coping mechanism. In fact, I have a poetry collection coming out soon entitled, “Eulogy: Our Stories Put to Rest.”


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

A: That you can do anything you set your mind to! That you are literally the one that decides your faith. Focus on what you have control over and move forward collecting the tools (learn) you need for the outcome of your dreams. 


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Everything. When I was young, my father told me the story of Khadija RDA, a historical figure in Islamic heritage. She was a business owner and considered to be the mother of Islam. I was so fascinated by the fact that she had proposed to her husband, the Prophet in our tradition; she was one of the wealthiest individuals of her time and space and also one of the kindest. She was so ahead of her time! She would always put out a green cloth over her entry way so people would know to come to her if they needed help. I seek out to channel the lessons I’ve learned from Khadija every day.

I am a strong woman that has always taken care of herself. That is the backbone of my story. In fact, my life today on Facebook is about the 3 lessons I’ve learned from amazing women. And, I will be focusing on Audrey Hepburn, Khadija RDA (historical figure in Islamic heritage), and my mom.


Thank you for reading!

MORE ABOUT MARIAM: I drive my company and my everyday life on empathy. It is at the core of my philosophy and my business. I set goals to give back. In fact, I have a mastermind coming up next week. 100% of ticket sales is directly going to fund food baskets for families in need.


I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Devin


Q and A with Devin From NY, Living in Austin, Texas

“Discomfort is an important part of growth. When you are pushed to your edge, you learn how much farther you have the capacity to expand.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am an energy worker and an intuition development coach. I help people trust their inner knowing and heal on an energetic and spiritual level. In both my business and person life, I am passionate about empowerment, integrity, and love. My mission is to empower those I work with to look within and discover their unique magic. Maintaining integrity in the spiritual business world means teaching a non-fear based vision and understanding that the human world holds the construct of good and evil, whereas the spirit world holds only love. Lastly, healing requires us to love ourselves, because when we feel that we are worthy of love, our perspective and expectations of life change. When we start to love ourselves, we understand why healing is our right and that we deserve to be treated with respect by both ourselves and others.

By being empowered, practicing with integrity and through love, I am able to show up to my work fully present and ready to receive wisdom. It is through this openness that I am able to practice discernment and be guided towards the people and places I am in the most need of. I began using these principles on my own journey of healing and discovered how important it was to unapologetically love who you are, be empowered to lead your life, and make actions through integrity.

The projects I am currently working on are: developing 1:1 packages and creating a divine self summit with 5 other amazing women. The 1:1 packages are designed as an individualized approach to healing. By committing to either a 3- or 6-month container, you’re saying “yes” to yourself and your healing path. When you make this long-term investment, you’re empowering yourself to make choices that are in line with your integrity and choosing to heal through self-love and compassion. At the end of this journey, expect life changes that include a level up in standards, increased feelings of self-worth, shifts or confirmation on career trajectory, and a deeper, more connected understanding of yourself.

Additionally, I’m working with 5 other women to set up the Divine Self Summit that will run from June 21st-26th. The Divine Self Summit has been created with the intention of shining light onto who you truly are so you can align with your most authentic self and unleash your inner badass. As you gain clarity of your true purpose in this life, you’ll begin to build community and nourish a sense of belonging and true connections with your soul family. To find out more information and sign up for the summit, please visit thedivineselfsummit.com.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My childhood was a bit different from most people in that I grew up on a farm in a small town as an only child and an empath. At a young age, I was taught to respect mother earth and be grateful for what she provides for us. This is a strong value that I’ve held with me over the years and is an important aspect of who I am and what I do today.

When I was younger, I had a deep yearning for the metaphysical world. I could tune in to the energies of plants and animals and had a longing to learn plant medicine as well as develop psychic abilities. I remember offering up to Spirit asking for this knowledge and for mentors who would teach me these skills. Little did I know, I was already practicing these abilities by communicating with nature and reading the energies of the people around me. It wasn’t until I started my spiritual development that I realized I’ve had these abilities my whole life. As I began my journey into the metaphysics, it felt like coming home rather than a new beginning.


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

A: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that everything I need resides within me. Although society has conditioned us to look for answers and healing outside of ourselves, everything we need is within. When we seek wisdom externally, this leaves us open for the involvement of ulterior motives and advice laced with the ego and fear of others. Even when someone has our best interest at heart, their suggestions will be given through their perspective and experiences. It is important to trust your own inner wisdom so that you may be empowered to live according to the path that is best for you and make choices that are for your highest good.

When you are able to not only put your faith in yourself, but trust the divinity you hold within, that is when you start living life on purpose. Learning to trust your gut, intuition, sixth sense, etc. is part of your rights as a human being. Living by this energy will keep you on the path of your soul’s purpose and bring you towards the people and places needed for development, growth, and success.

Additionally, it is important to understand that living through intuition and being spiritual is also about facing adversity and undesired experiences. Discomfort is an important part of growth. When you are pushed to your edge, you learn how much farther you have the capacity to expand.

As an important part of growth, discomfort lies in situations that both happen to you as well as looking at yourself and seeing the way in which your actions impacted someone else. Returning to the necessity of love mentioned above, when you look at your actions through the lens of compassion, you are able to heal without judgement. It is easier to understand that your actions, however misguided at the time, served their purpose to keep you safe. When you’ve learned from your mistakes, you’re then able to move forward with wisdom.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism to me is about accepting everyone’s right to be exactly who they are and live the life they choose. It’s about understanding that empowerment and freedom mean different things to different people and honoring the beauty in that. Feminism isn’t just one thing, it’s everything. It’s about being unapologetically you and giving everyone else the space to live the same way, without judgement.

Additionally, feminism is the understanding that each person has a different perspective and life experience and that what is true for one person may not be so for another. It’s about believing stories and lived experiences of adversity and using your voice to advocate for justice. Feminism is the intersection between all races, religions, and ethnicities. In order to move forward, it is important to support and celebrate one another on our unique journeys.


Thank you for reading!


I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

If you’d like to stay connected, the best places to reach me are through:
Instagram: @spirituallybalanced
My facebook group: The Spiritually Balanced Community for Empaths, Intuitives, and Soul Seekers
Website: spirituallybalanced.com
TikTok: @spirituallybalanced
Clubhouse: @devingrindrod

MORE ABOUT DEVIN: I am a New York native and have called several places home over the last decade, right now I live in Austin, TX, with my husband and our plethora of cats.

Click here: thedivineselfsummit.com

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Jess

*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 Jess, Howard County, Maryland 

“If you have a setback in the process of achieving your goals, and you feel as though you’ve failed, take a moment to reflect on why you weren’t successful and what you can do to ensure that you won’t make the same mistake(s) again. Then forgive yourself and get ready for another try. Self-improvement is not an endgame; it is a constant process.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about self-improvement in all areas of my life. I am constantly reflecting on how I can become the best possible version of myself, the person that I visualize when I think “this is who I want to be.”

As a third-grade teacher, I am always looking for better ways to engage and instruct my students, whether it’s something small like using a magnifying glass to be “Story Problem Detectives,” or something big, like transforming my classroom into a tropical rainforest, complete with a humidifier and real plants. Every lesson that I teach, I ask myself, “What went well?” and “What could I do differently to make this lesson better?” The book that I’m reading now, “The Wild Card: 7 Steps to an Educator’s Creative Breakthrough,” is a great source of inspiration, and it also provides concrete steps to help me improve my teaching.

I strive for self-improvement in other areas of my life as well. I want to be physically stronger, I want to be more organized, I want to be more financially secure, and I want to be more fearless in pursuit of things that excite me. I’m always working on some part of myself.

It can be hard not to beat myself up when I make mistakes that put me further away from reaching my goals. But it’s something that I’ve been working on a lot lately.

 

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Pictured: Jess in her classroom. She does whatever she can to make learning fun for her students. 

 

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

A: Striving for perfection doesn’t work. It’s an absurd amount of pressure to place on yourself, and it’s setting yourself up for failure. You are a human being. You’re not perfect, and you never will be. Perfection is an unattainable goal, and it’s unreasonable to expect it of yourself.

You can, however, always strive for improvement. I personally have started changing my mindset to think “progress, not perfection,” and that has done wonders for my stress level.

I wrote a lot about this in a post about my New Year’s resolutions on my blog, which you can find here if you would like to read it: https://averageadventuress.blogspot.com/2019/01/new-year-new-words.html

 

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Pictured: Jess rock climbing. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: One of the stories I’ve heard the most about my childhood is the one that my dad likes to tell: When I was about three years old, my family was getting ready to leave the house (we may have been going out to dinner or to the park, that’s the part that no one really remembers). I was sent upstairs to get my shoes. After several minutes, my dad hollered up the stairs that if I didn’t come back down with my shoes soon, I would be left behind. No response from three-year-old me. He came up the stairs to investigate, and there I was, on the floor of my room, silent tears streaming down my face as I fiercely struggled to tie my own shoelaces.

I like to say that this story sums up two of my three main personality traits: stubbornly independent (to the point of pigheadedness at times) and a perfectionist, holding myself to high standards (sometimes impossibly high). This simultaneously drives my desire for self-improvement and makes me very anxious.

 

 

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Pictured: Jess at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. 

 

My third main personality trait: I’ve always been an introvert. As a kid, I remember feeling tortured every time my parents made me order my own food at a restaurant or introduce myself to someone new. Speaking to strangers was the absolute bane of my childhood existence.

I started playing the violin in 3rd grade, but I was hands-down the quietest in the entire orchestra until high school when the director decided he was going to bring me out of my shell. Throughout my four years of high school, he pushed me to take on leadership roles within the orchestra, and he even tutored me during the summer (to the point that I became concertmaster of the orchestra and played a solo in the spring concert my senior year). This was something beyond unthinkable to my ninth-grade self.

That one teacher had such a profound impact on my life. The confidence I found in orchestra spilled over into other areas of my life. It also cemented my desire to become a teacher. I want to do for students what my high school orchestra director did for me.

I’m still an introvert. I’m still stubbornly independent. And I’m still a perfectionist. I think these things are the anchors of who I am. But I’ve found ways to make these traits work for me, rather than allowing them to be obstacles between me and my goals; I’m turning them into strengths.

 

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Pictured: Jess playing kronum (a hybrid sport of soccer, handball, and basketball, played on a circular field with 4 goals). 

Q: What would you like others to learn from your story? 

A: To become the person who you want to be, you must make a plan; it’s not just going to happen on its own. I start with the big goals I want to achieve, and I look for small steps to get me closer to achieving that goal, one step at a time.

For example, reducing the amount of trash I send to the landfills is one of the big goals that I’m working on. Small steps toward this goal include using reusable grocery bags and produce bags, using reusable water bottles and coffee cups, and saying “no” to freebies that I don’t need. As I master each “baby step,” I move on to another small goal. Big changes don’t happen all at once; the small changes add up to big change.

If you have a setback in the process of achieving your goals, and you feel as though you’ve failed, take a moment to reflect on why you weren’t successful and what you can do to ensure that you won’t make the same mistake again. Then forgive yourself and get ready for another try. Self-improvement is not an endgame; it is a constant process.

 

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Pictured: Jess during her recent skydiving adventure. 

 

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Pictured: Jess surrounded by Legos in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Justine

*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 Justine, Somerset County, New Jersey

People always ask me how I can afford to travel as much as I do at this age. Something I’d like others to know is that whatever you want to do is possible if you really want to make it happen. I make traveling and seeing the world a priority. This isn’t to say that I spend an extreme amount of money on it either. I budget it into my expenses just like groceries. I need to see the world. And while I love my job, I always feel a constant urge to know that the world and my life is bigger than sitting at a desk or on a train. It’s always worth it, and it is totally possible!”o

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I love my job and the field I am in! I am a book publicist so basically, I get to tell people how great certain books are and then organize events and book tours for authors. I have always loved books; this is absolutely my dream! I majored in creative writing and English, did a bunch of internships, got my master’s in English literature, and was hired at the last company I interned at! Now, I’m working at a company that works with a lot of books in translation that ranges in genre from thrillers to biographies and art books. I love being able to work on all different types of books and just talk about how amazing books are all day.

 

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Pictured: Justine in her element. As a book publicist, she loves reading books and helping authors.

 

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

A: Sometimes you can give something everything you have and work your very hardest and fall short. It doesn’t mean that you failed. So much of adult life is about timing, working hard, and luck. At times, you can go every extra mile, outwork people around you, and still not succeed as quickly or as much as you would like. These shortcomings put things into perspective, and when you can look back on them and actually say, “I gave that everything I had,” then you know you did your very best. Just because the outcome may not be exactly in our favor, we have to take these experiences and use them to make us stronger for the next time. In short, life is not always fair, and you can’t let it break you! Learn from it, and don’t give up! 

 

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Pictured: Justine in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I always liked to keep super busy when I was growing up. I loved shuttling between softball, soccer, basketball, piano, gymnastics, ballet, cross country, track, and any other summer camps or art classes I could weasel my way into. Looking back, I feel so sorry for my parents who had to drive me around everywhere, but I am also so thankful and grateful for them always encouraging me to try everything and practice everything I was doing. I learned about committing to something and following through from a young age, and I also learned how to be part of a team, which is something I think absolutely translates to adult life in work and relationships. Even growing up, I was obsessed with books! I remember being in second grade and spending every free second reading to win more personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut’s Book It program. While pizza initially stimulated my infatuation with reading, I quickly knew that I just loved books! I still very fondly remember my first author event during a first-grade assembly where a children’s book author, Dan Gutman, came to visit us and gave us each a signed copy of his book. I spent all my allowance buying all his books and thought that him coming to visit us was just about the coolest experience ever. Now, I get to go to author events all the time!

 

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Pictured: Justine at the New Jersey Balloon Festival. 

 

A part of my story that I haven’t mentioned yet is my passion for traveling. I love taking vacations to countries that I haven’t been to yet and going on adventures. I do this at least twice a year. People always ask me how I can afford to do this at this age. Something I’d like others to know is that whatever you want to do is possible if you really want to make it happen. I look online on tons of different websites to find the most affordable flights and places to stay. I use my vacation days around small holidays to make the trips longer. I make traveling and seeing the world a priority. This isn’t to say that I spend an extreme amount of money on it either. I budget it into my expenses just like groceries. I need to see the world. And while I love my job, I always feel a constant urge to know that the world and my life is bigger than sitting at a desk or on a train. It’s always worth it, and it is totally possible!

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Pictured: Justine enjoying the water and beautiful views in Italia (Italy). 
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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means equality. I do not like being talked down to by men, being treated like I can’t do something as well as a man can, nor do I like being treated like I am a man’s property. However, to be honest, I’m not big on movements like the women’s march or large scale protests to assert feminism. I think that by showing the men you associate with that you are just as strong and smart(er) as they are, and asserting this belief into who you are is the best way to change the conversation. I think we need men to uplift women just as much as we need women to uplift women.

 

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Pictured: Justine and her significant other, Nick, traveling together in Iceland. 

 

I really think that the conversation about feminism needs to include men. I feel like there are two types of men: men who repress women and men who uplift women. The men who uplift women are able to do this because they are associated with strong women who are their equals. In my opinion, a great example of this is Barack and Michelle Obama. This may not be a popular opinion, but as much as I am rooting for women and “feminism,” I do think there is a lot of hypocrisy. I think that if a woman claims to be a “feminist,” she shouldn’t depend on her dad or her partner to do things like dealing with her car issues or squashing bugs. Once you get to this point, you can’t ignore other things that have become gender norms like men proposing to women, because we all still want our dream proposal and diamond ring. So, it’s not black and white for sure.

 

As a side note, I also believe that “feminism” is the cop-out men have been waiting for, and in 10 years, I believe “stay at home dads” will be the norm. So it’s a conflicting subject, to say the least, and this is a very loaded question. I could go on and on!


I think that this quote from the book,
“How to be Parisian,” sums up how I feel about feminism: “Of course you can open a bottle of wine by yourself. But let him do it. That’s equality too.”

 

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Pictured: Justine taking a stroll in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

 

 

 

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