Sorry, caffeine won’t make you more creative, but it may help you solve problems
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smart afro american girl entrepreneur use computer, work training company career development seminar sit table hold takeout mug coffee in office

Famous authors and artists are commonly photographed alongside a trusty mug of coffee, but that cup of joe is more likely to help the Great American Manager. Caffeine, it turns out, does not improve creativity, but it significantly enhances problem-solving, according to a new study.

This is news, given how strongly we associate coffee with creative occupations and lifestyles. The study, published today in Consciousness and Cognition, followed 80 participants after they consumed either a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of 12 ounces of coffee—and then tracked their problem-solving, creative idea generation, working memory, and mood. While problem-solving abilities improved significantly, the caffeine had no effect on memory or creativity. Subjects also reported feeling “less sad.”

Previous studies have shown that caffeine improves alertness, focus, attention, and motor skills, but little research existed on creativity.

This means that caffeine helps some kinds of thinking, specifically convergent thinking, such as when you need correct answers, for instance, while taking a GRE or MCAT or recalibrating a budget.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Joye Hummel, first woman hired to write Wonder Woman comics, dies at 97
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Joye Hummel at a comic-con convention speaking on a pannel.

By Harrison Smith

In March 1944, shortly before Joye Hummel graduated from the Katharine Gibbs secretarial school in Manhattan, she was invited to meet with one of her instructors, a charismatic psychologist who had been impressed by her essays on a take-home test.

Over tea at the Harvard Club, professor William Moulton Marston offered her a job — not in the classroom or psych lab, but in the office of his 43rd Street art studio. He wanted Ms. Hummel to help him write scripts for Wonder Woman, the Amazonian superhero he had created three years earlier and endowed with a magic lasso, indestructible bracelets, an eye-catching red bustier and a feminist sensibility.

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Ms. Hummel, then 19, had never read Wonder Woman; she had never even read a comic book. But Marston needed an assistant. His character, brought to life on the page by artist H.G. Peter, was appearing in four comic books and was about to star in a syndicated newspaper strip. He was looking for someone young who could write slang and who, perhaps most importantly, shared his philosophy and vision for the character.

“You understand that I want women to feel they have the right to go out, to study, to find something they love to do and get out in the world and do it,” Ms. Hummel recalled his saying. She was “astonished and delighted” by the job offer, according to historian Jill Lepore’s book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” and soon began writing for the comic. “I always did have a big imagination,” she said.

Ms. Hummel worked as a Wonder Woman ghostwriter for the next three years, long before any woman was publicly credited as a writer for the series. As invisible to readers as Wonder Woman’s transparent jet plane, she was increasingly recognized after Lepore interviewed her in 2014. Four years later, she received the Bill Finger Award, given to overlooked or underappreciated comic book writers at the Eisner Awards.

Ms. Hummel, who was known in recent years by her married name, Joye Murchison Kelly, died April 5 at her home in Winter Haven, Fla., a day after turning 97. Her son Robb Murchison confirmed the death but did not know the precise cause.

“Joye was absolutely a pioneer in bringing her own voice into these stories,” Lepore said in a phone interview. “She was then pretty much entirely forgotten. … I sort of think that people hadn’t bothered to find her. I called her up and said, ‘Are you the Joye Hummel who wrote Wonder Woman in the 1940s?’ She nearly dropped the receiver — she was delighted but surprised. It was a story she had told her grandchildren, but they didn’t believe her.”

By the time Ms. Hummel started writing for Wonder Woman, the comics had an audience of 10 million readers. The character debuted in a 1941 issue of All-Star Comics, three years after Superman first lifted a car on the cover of Action Comics and two years after Batman leaped across the pages of Detective Comics.

Together, the three superheroes became linchpins of DC Comics, with Wonder Woman emerging as arguably the world’s most famous female superhero. She appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine’s first issue (“Wonder Woman for President”), inspired a hit 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter and was revitalized for the big screen beginning in 2016, played by Gal Gadot

The character was “created by a whole series of women” who were never publicly credited, Lepore said. Marston — whose psychological research contributed to the development of the lie-detector test — received help from his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, as well as their partner, Olive Byrne, the daughter of radical feminist Ethel Byrne and niece of birth-control activist Margaret Sanger. Both women worked behind the scenes, forming a fruitful creative triad and secret domestic arrangement: one husband, two wives.

After Ms. Hummel became the first woman hired to write for Wonder Woman, Byrne gave her a copy of Sanger’s book “Woman and the New Race,” which advocated for legalized birth control, and told her it contained everything she needed to know about the character.

Ms. Hummel at first typed Marston’s scripts before writing more than 70 scripts of her own, with detailed instructions for the artists. She developed stories that were often more innocent than her boss’s, which showed Wonder Woman fighting fascism while also being bound, tied, lassoed or gagged. Years later, she recalled that when she brought her scripts to editor Sheldon Mayer, “He always OK’d mine faster because I didn’t make mine as sexy.”

All of the early comics were published under a pseudonym, Charles Moulton, invented by Marston. Individual writers were credited in later anthologies by DC, which revealed that Ms. Hummel was behind some of the series’ more fantastical stories, involving beautiful mermaids and winged maidens. “They’re like fairy tales,” said cartoonist and historian Trina Robbins, who later worked on Wonder Woman.

Ms. Hummel stopped writing the comics in late 1947, shortly after she married, deciding to stay home and raise her stepdaughter. Marston had died earlier that year, and the series passed to writers who did away with much of the comic’s feminist messaging, including a regular centerfold feature chronicling the lives of influential women.

The changes infuriated Ms. Hummel, who remained loyal to Marston’s original vision of Wonder Woman as an emblem of free and courageous womanhood. Decades later, she wrote in an email to Lepore: “Even if I had not left because of my new daughter, I would have resigned if I was told I had to make [Wonder Woman] a masculine thinking and acting superwoman.”

Joye Evelyn Hummel was born April 4, 1924, and grew up on Long Island. Her son said that she rarely spoke of her upbringing; at various times, both of her parents apparently managed a grocery store chain.

Read the full article at  The Washington Post.

How a Black Female-Owned Subscription Box Service is Helping Young Girls Feel Loved Every Month
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Three young girls lay on a bed laughing looking at the camera.

by Cassidy Allen Chubb

During Black History Month, the Atlanta Hawks highlighted two Black-owned businesses who played a pivotal role in the launch of the MLK Nike City Edition uniforms. With March being Women’s History Month and wanting to continue to celebrate Black-owned businesses in Atlanta, the Hawks partnered with Chase to tell Kelly Beaty English’s story and how she created SelfE Box.

What started as an idea that came from English’s own experiences growing up as young Black teen turned into helping Black girls feel loved and validated through each month’s curated subscription box. Cassidy Allen Chubb spoke with English about her journey and how she created a self-esteem box that’s delivered to girl’s doorsteps each month.

Tell me about how you got the idea to create SelfE Box.

The idea for SelfE Box was planted in my mind as a tween girl. My parents used to subscribe to tween and teen magazines for me and I remember reading them and thinking “none of these girls in here really look like me, their experiences don’t reflect mine.” They were just talking about things that culturally, I couldn’t relate to. The beauty and grooming advice didn’t necessarily work for me, for my hair texture and things as fundamental as washing your hair every day.

Black girls don’t wash their hair every day and so through things like that, I just felt very othered.

And so, there was that part of me that kind of wished that I could see more Black girls get hair and beauty advice that actually applied to our own lives.

I remember thinking about it like “gosh, if I could just go door to door and just give girls self-esteem.” And then at the time when I first had the idea, subscription boxes had kind of just come onto the scene. I paired the two ideas together and it was like, “Oh, we need a self-esteem box!”

What can girls and parents expect to receive in each box?
very month we pick a theme. Overall, we try to gear the boxes towards health, wellness and growing because that’s such an important topic for girls in that age group. For many of them, it’s the first time they’re starting to have to use products, their grooming habits are changing. We wanted to create a safe space to talk about what’s happening and coach them through that period. The overall theme is about health, wellness and grooming, but we pick a different topic every month. One month we did the move out of your comfort zone issue and we talked about the importance of physical movement and how it’s important to get up and going.
It could also be a theme related to mental health. In one issue we talked about anxiety and being at home and how that has that changed our world. We also have a career profile from a Black woman in every issue. We just try to find a woman who speaks to the topic for that month. We don’t want any particular type of career. We feature everything from women in sports, to women in business, to women in the arts.
Where did you grow up and were you exposed to Black entrepreneurs at a young age?

I’m from Atlanta. I lived in Southwest Atlanta for the first half of my childhood. And then we moved out to the suburbs for the other half of my childhood. My father was an entrepreneur. So it was right here in my household. One great thing about the city of Atlanta and growing up as a Black child here, you have the benefit of seeing Black professionals in all walks of life. My pediatrician was a Black woman who ran her own practice. My dentist was a Black woman who ran her own practice. My parents were very intentional about putting me around Black people where I could see myself in their stories.

What would you say is the most challenging part of being a black business owner?

It takes a crazy amount of self-belief to be an entrepreneur and specifically to be a Black female. I remember going to business summits and business conferences for women and they would have panelists from all of these very well-known brands. The women would be talking about, “Oh, I started this in college” or “I just had this idea and I was able to reach out to my dad’s network and we were able to raise a million dollars” just to test the idea, and for most black people, that’s just not our experience.

I’m an HBCU graduate. I have an incredible network. I’m very blessed to have friends who are doing literally probably anything that you can think of, but we as a people moving through our American journey do not have, for the most part, generations of wealth. So, we don’t just pass down homes and portfolios to our children. When we as Black people go to college and get our first offer letter, we are at the starting point, right? We are just then getting started, but so many of our peers are already years ahead of us, even at the starting line.

How do you continue to overcome those challenges and what keeps you going?

When I get the reaction photos from our SelfE girls and when I get the messages from moms who say their daughters wait at the mailbox at the end of the month and when that package is not there, she’s like, “Where’s my box?” that keeps me going. The impact that it’s made on girls’ lives so early and already….we’re not even a year old at this point. When I get those messages it gives me the fuel to go on. I have to do a whole lot of talking and a whole lot of selling, unfortunately, to get brands to partner with us, but I believe it will come. Because the impact that we’re making in these girl’s individual lives is great and it’s real.

What is something you would tell your younger self knowing where you are today?

I would say, keep going, raise your hand. Don’t question yourself. Don’t doubt. Don’t mask. Don’t try to blend in because everybody that you want to blend in with, is also trying to blend in with you. One of the things that we do as, as girls, and I think, well, until we become young women, is we look to the left and we look to the right. Instead, we need to continue to look straight ahead and look into that mirror and look into our own eyes, looking back at us, in our reflection and concentrate on her. Love her, give to her because everything that is unique about you was created specifically for you. If your hair is big or it’s curly, or it won’t lay down like the other girls, or maybe your body type is different, or your clothes fit differently–

All of the things that you’re trying to hide from people are the very things that are going to make you unstoppable in this world. It’s the very thing that is going to make people seek you out. It’s the very thing that’s going to make you successful. Keep your hand up, keep asking questions, keep not being afraid to be seen, because when you do that, all you’re doing is slowing down your progress later. There’s going to come a moment you’ll go, “you know what? I am great, and I can do this.” And the faster you get to that moment, the faster you get to everything that the world has to offer for you. Be you, be you without apology. You were born here just the way that you were supposed to be, to do all the things that you’re going to do.

Read the full article at NBA.

‘Freeing for me:’ Navajo woman becomes viral sensation with skateboarding videos
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Naiomi Glass is doing a trick on her skateboard in Arizona

by Brady Wakayama

An Arizona woman, born and raised in Navajo Nation, has become a viral sensation, showcasing her skateboarding skills on the reservation. Naiomi Glass hopes, with her growing platform, that a new skate park can be built and will inspire others to pursue their passions.

The 24-year-old, from Rock Point, Arizona, has gained tens of thousands of followers over the year on Instagram and TikTok who can’t get enough of her skateboarding.

Photo: Nexstar Media Wire

“I would see these sandstones and I was like ‘I wonder if I could skate that,’” Glasses said. “So then one day I was just like ‘you know what, let me just try it, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.’”

She learned how to skate when she was 5 years old from her older brother and hasn’t gotten off the board since.

“I’m not a professional at all, by any means, I just like to ride around,” Glasses said. “It’s very freeing for me.”

Glasses says skateboarding is very popular within the Navajo nation, despite the lack of pavement and only five skate parks throughout the area. Because of this, she said she is teaming up with a Navajo-inspired clothing company that plans to build a new skate park in “Two Grey Hills,” which is just two hours away from Glasses’ community.

“I love skateboarding so much and I would just love to bring that joy and love of it to other communities,” said Glasses.

Read the full article at WSPA.

Melody Ehsani Wants to Make Sneakers More Accessible as New Creative Director of Foot Locker’s Women’s Business
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Melody Ehsanisits and smiles as she sit ona couch next to a pink pillow.

By Aria Hughes

Foot Locker recently named Melody Ehsani the Creative Director of its women’s business, but what exactly does that mean?

According to Ehasni, she will be designing capsule collections for the sneaker retailer and curating a selection of Nike and Jordan products—since she’s partnered with Nike, she’s not able to work with competing brands. But for Ehsani, who started her eponymous women’s streetwear and accessories brand Melody Ehsani in 2007, her main goal is to make cool product more accessible to everyone.

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for COACH

“It’s really important for me to democratize cool product,” says Ehsani over the phone. “Just because right now, as it stands, when I work with brands, we’ll do a release, and especially in the sneaker world, it’ll be a limited release, and most of the shoes end up being resold at crazy prices. And it never really gets into the hands of my customer, or my girls. I’ve always priced my things in a way, because there’s a certain community that I like to serve and that I would serve for free if I could. And so I feel like Foot Locker will help me provide that level of product, but to a wider audience where I can actually reach a lot of different girls.”

Ehsani, who says she’s been in talks with Foot Locker about this position for a year, says there will be Melody Ehsani x Foot Locker pop-up shops and their locations will be determined by a digital crowd-sourcing program that will take consumer feedback into consideration. Foot Locker says these pop-ups will open a week in advance of the capsule being available, so the city can shop the experience before it’s dropped globally.

Ehsani has built up the credentials needed to take on this role, which is a completely new position for Foot Locker. She’s worked on sneaker collaborations with Reebok and Nike, and maintained a store on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles—one of the few, if not only, stores catering to women on the streetwear strip—over the past 10 years.

Here, Ehsani speaks about what’s missing in the women’s sneaker market, what it’s been like working with a new investor for her own line, and if she will ever get back to making heels.

Read the full article at COMPLEX.

Costume Designers Francine Jamison-Tanchuck and Charlese Antoinette Jones on Ruth E. Carter’s Oscar Win
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costume designers Francine Jamison-Tanchuck and Charlese Antoinette Jones for oscar awards collage

Francine Jamison-Tanchuck has logged more than 40 years in the industry, with the Civil War epic “Glory” marking her first film as lead designer. But she says she’s often faced skepticism from an industry that sought to pigeonhole her talent. “At one point, there was that
feeling of ‘Does a woman know how to capture a war film?’ I thought, ‘Watch me,’” she recalls.

The pair detail their Hollywood journeys, discussing the triumphs and challenges they faced and revealing how they learned to defy expectations as Black women behind the scenes.

What movie or costume inspired you to become a designer?

Francine Jamison-Tanchuck: I’ve been designing and making costumes since I was 7 years old. I started doing things on my dolls, and I started making my clothes to match, and vice versa. I’ve always been a movie buff. I saw Dorothy Dandridge’s “Carmen Jones,” and I thought, “Wow, what an interesting profession to express yourself.”

Charlese Antoinette Jones: I was into old period films and a couple of epic films. I grew up Christian and was allowed to watch [only] certain movies. I remember watching “Ben-Hur” over and over for the costumes. I didn’t realize this was a career until I moved to New York.

Who opened the door and mentored you?

Jamison-Tanchuck: There was an opportunity that was starting through affirmative action, inviting people of color to come into the industry. I applied and got into the program from 450 applicants. I was an apprentice and had to work at four different studios within a year, and I made $100 a week. My mentors were Bernard Johnson and at one point I worked on a film with the famed Edith Head.

Antoinette Jones: The biggest hurdle for me is the fact that I wasn’t able to secure a mentor. I would see white people who were walked through the steps — getting that help and moving up quickly. [But] I was fine moving at the pace I was moving because I wanted to learn as much as I could.

Charlese, with “Judas and the Black Messiah” you had to re-create the look of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and his followers. How did you go about doing that?

Antoinette Jones: The majority of the clothing was vintage. We were sourcing clothes from all over the country. We were eBaying like crazy, finding vintage pieces. We were shipping clothes from L.A. I went to Fresno and met a vintage dealer. He had a warehouse of ’60s [clothing]. I filled my van. That’s the part of my job that I love. It’s so much fun — the procuring and the research.

Continue to the original article at Variety.

Black Dancer Calls Out Racism in ‘Elitist’ European Ballet World
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dancer chloe lopes gomes performing wearing a black dress ballet

“Our skin color should not be a criteria, only talent should matter,” ballerina Chloé Lopes Gomes told NBC News”

By Adela Suliman for NBC News

Other dancers, including in the United States, have voiced their support for Lopes Gomes, saying that it is high time for the ballet world to address racism and bigotry.

She said that in rehearsals at Berlin’s prestigious Staatsballett, which she joined in 2018, she was told her mistakes stood out because she is Black. In another incident, she said she was mocked when offered a white-colored veil for a show.

For some performances of “Swan Lake” she also said she was made to wear white makeup, despite the school formally dropping this requirement for people of color in the 2018-19 season. Though she acknowledged this was a “tradition” of the show, it was one she deemed outdated.

“Asking not only a Black person but a ballerina to color their skin to look whiter, I don’t think it’s right — I felt very humiliated and very alone,” she told NBC News.

“The harassment kept going, I was very depressed,” she added. During time-off for an injury in 2019, she said the combination of the injury and harassment led to her being prescribed antidepressant drugs. Almost a year after she returned to work, she learned her contract, which is scheduled to end in July, would not be renewed.

Lopes Gomes, whose father is from Cape Verde and mother is French and Algerian, said she made complaints to the company before learning that her contract would not be extended. She added that she felt compelled to go public with her experiences in order to improve the situation for future generations of Black dancers.

Read the full article at NBC News.

‘Muslim Women Are Everything’ Turns the Page on Stereotypes
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“I have wanted to write this book since I was 14, the year I finally understood Muslim women are everything.” — Dr. Seema Yasmin, author of “Muslim Women Are Everything”

Dr. Seema Yasmin’s book, born from her frustration with narrow, one-sided narratives about Muslim women, breaks apart tired old tropes. More than 40 profiles of Muslim women — illustrated by Fahmida Azim — aim to tear down the tiresome tropes of what Muslim women are: what they look like, what they wear, and what they do or don’t do. Page after page dares the reader to say these women cannot, or should not.
As for Dr. Yasmin: She is a Cambridge-trained medical doctor, a specialist in epidemiology, a journalist, and the director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative. She teaches at Stanford and is a visiting professor at U.C.L.A.

 

Image by Fahmida Azim, The New York Times.

She didn’t get there easily. She was born in Britain to a teenage mother, who was stuck in an arranged marriage. When Dr. Yasmin was just 5, her mother left the family to pursue her own education. As Dr. Yasmin tells it, “My mum was like: ‘I’m going to leave everything I know behind. I’m going to find a way to university so that you can have an education.’”

What followed for Dr. Yasmin was a childhood shuttling between worlds — the university where her mother was studying and her family’s conservative Indian Muslim community in the British Midlands. This book was born out of a “frustration that the narratives about Muslim women were so one-sided, so narrow, so unimaginative,” she said.

Continue to The New York Times to read the full article.

 

Latinas on the Rise
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Selena Gomez smiling at the camera at a red carpet event

From the arts to activism, here are five Latina Woman that are making strides, breaking boundaries and that you should be paying attention to.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is an American labor organizer and author. On August 12, 2019, Ramirez announced her intention to challenge incumbent United States Senator John Cornyn in the 2020 United States Senate election in Texas. Tzintzún began organizing with Latino immigrant workers in 2000 in Columbus, Ohio, and then moved to Texas. At graduating from University of Texas, Austin, she helped establish the Workers Defense Project (WDP), serving as its executive director from 2006 to 2016. Following the 2016 election, Ramirez launched Jolt, an organization that works to increase Latino voter turnout. Her bid for the Senate has been endorsed by New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Texas representative Joaquin Castro, and actor Alec Baldwin.

Mariah

A rising star in the male-dominated world of urbano (Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny), Mariah Angeliq, who goes simply by her first name, is here to prove that the girls can be bosses, too. On debut single “Blah,” the Miami-born and raised singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent lets the men know that their money (and their bragging) don’t impress her much, while her latest track “Perreito” is dripping with swag as she boasts about stealing the show with her flow as the one that shoots and never fails.

Lineisy Montero Feliz

Lineisy Montero Feliz is Dominican model known for her work with Prada. She is also known for her natural Afro hair. She currently ranks as one of the “Top 50” models in the fashion industry by models.com, including Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Céline.

Rico Nasty

Rico Nasty is one of the leading voices in the current style of hip-hop that adopts elements from hardcore and punk rock. Rico released a new song in January titled “IDGAF;” it’s built around softly echoing electric piano sounds and finds the DMV rapper in melodious sing-song mode.

Selena Gomez

The singer announced the summer launch of her cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, via Instagram on Feb. 4. The cosmetics company shares a title with her most recent album of the same name.

“Guys, I’ve been working on this special project for two years and can officially say Rare Beauty is launching in @sephora stores in North America this summer,” she captioned in the Instagram video.

“I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand,” the singer says in the video. “I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and start embracing our own uniqueness. You’re not defined by a photo, a like, or a comment. Rare Beauty isn’t about how other people see you. It’s about how you see yourself.”

Selena Gomez Photo: TIBRINA HOBSON/GETTY IMAGES

Making Room with Marie Kondo
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By Sara Salam

Marie Kondo makes room for meaningful objects, people, and experiences.

Literally.

The organizational guru behind her #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Kondo prescribes a simplified approach to organizing space.

The intention behind her decluttering philosophy is to “end up with a clutter-free home that is better able to bring more joy and prosperity into your life.”

Her emphasis on achieving serenity and inspiration sets her apart from other approaches to organizing space, rather than organizing for organizing-sake.

How She Got Started

Kondo began her tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo, where she wrote her capstone project about tidying. For a time, she was an assistant at a Shinto shrine.

By her mid-twenties, her consulting business had a waitlist. It was these prospective clients who encouraged her to write a book, which would become The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

In 2010, Kondo’s book proposal won first prize in a publishing training course called “How to write bestsellers that will be loved for ten years.” Tomohiro Takahashi, an editor at Tokyo self-help and business publisher called Sunmark, made the winning bid.

Coupled with savvy marketing and a TV spot tidying the space of a well-known comedian, Kondo propelled herself into the hearts and minds of what are now considered her “Konverts.”

Today, she is a globally renowned tidying expert. Her journey represents a story of female empowerment, that pursuit of your passion can lead you to remarkable places.

Why is Kondo so popular?

Kondo’s approach encourages moving away from things that do not serve us, things which ultimately induce stress, in favor of a simplified, serene way of living.

Stress By Mess

Kondo knows mess causes stress in people’s lives.

She also knows there are simple things we can do to exert control over our mess, especially in areas such as our living and work spaces.

For example, the physical characteristics of living and work spaces, including features like crowding, clutter, noise, and artificial light, have been shown to affect mood and health in populations ranging from young children to senior citizens, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

In the same study, researchers found women who described their homes as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative.”

Kondo’s KonMari Method addresses these effects head on with her emphasis on tidying and simplifying space, to maximize its manga, or magic.

Her Method

Marie Kondo gives folding lesson to young woman while both seated on the floor
Otti Logan, 16, gets a folding lesson from zen tidiness guru Marie Kondo who comes to the U.S. for the first time and visits the Logan family for her TV show broadcast in Japan. (Photo by Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“The KonMari Method is the foundation of all my work,” Kondo says. “It teaches people that the act of tidying your home will help you identify your values and what sparks joy in you. When you’re equipped with this knowledge, you will begin to improve all aspects of your life.”

Kondo’s mindful approach to organization offers six basic rules of tidying:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  1. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Kondo asks her clients, What does the beginning and end of your day look like? Having a clear image of your ideal life will help you stay motivated and you will begin to create the life you’ve longed for.
  1. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  1. Tidy by category, not location.
  1. Follow the right order. Begin with clothes, followed by books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items.
  1. Ask yourself if each item sparks joy. Thank them with gratitude for their service – then let them go.

Spark Joy

Kondo reiterates the definition of what “sparks joy” varies across individuals. The KonMari Method as a practice does not require living a minimalistic lifestyle.

In an interview with Man Repeller, Kondo addresses the concept of having a lot of stuff.

“It’s not a good or a bad thing, it just stems from a difference in sensitivities and value systems,” Kondo points out. “If you’re someone who owns a lot of things and doesn’t want to let anything go, I would suggest trying to organize your drawers by folding your clothing in the correct way – just once! – and see how you feel. You might be surprised to find that having an organized space actually sparks joy.

“The ultimate goal of tidying is to discover how you’d like to live in your home.

“Less stress, more joy.”

Optimizing Productivity

Kondo uses a zoom-out-zoom-in approach as it relates to optimizing productivity. First, and critically, she considers how she wants to spend her time, starting with years, then narrowing in on quarters, months, week, all the way down to daily routines. This approach lends itself to aligning how she spends her time with her priorities at any given point in her life.

“Currently, my goal is to work as efficiently as possible so I can spend more time with my children,” Kondo says. She shares five tips that help balance time between family and work:

  1. Start your morning with good energy – Kondo’s morning rituals include opening her windows to let fresh air in and burning incense.
  1. Make a daily to-do list – She includes everything on this list, including laundry and email correspondence.
  1. Coordinate with your partner – Sharing what each person undertakes helps you realize the number of tasks necessary to live comfortably together, and what kinds of tasks are best suited for each person, Kondo believes.
  1. Clear your mind – When she needs to reorganize her thoughts, Kondo writes down everything that’s on her mind using a blank sheet of paper. She identifies what she calls tangled feelings, and clarifies which issues she can and can’t control.
  1. Create a nighttime routine Kondo’s nighttime routine consists of spending time with her children, returning items to their designated home, thanking them for their work that day.
Socks and tights are seen arranged in a drawer in small boxes as recommended by Kondo
Socks and tights are seen arranged in a drawer in small boxes as recommended by Kondo. PHOTO BY SARA KAMOUNI / AFP VIA GETTY )

“For me,” Kondo says, “work-life balance is about being aware of what you’re currently working toward and communicating that with your loved ones.”

Kondo has two young children and is married to Takumi Kawahara, whom she met during his college years. They married in 2013. Together, they established KonMari Media, Inc. in 2015, of which Kawahara assumed the role of CEO. He led the global expansion of the business, including the distribution of books, media channels, and the KonMari Consultant program, which is active in over 30 countries. He’s also an executive producer of their Netflix show.

Kondo and Kawahara blend their personal and professional relationship in such a way that balance and happiness are at the center: their kids.

Even their kids participate in tidying.

On her website, Kondo explains using the KonMari Method to expose children early on to the concept of tidying. She suggests to narrate as you tidy, so that the children can learn from you as they’re taking part. Show the children that tidying and playing go together, than after you play, everything has a home to return to. Don’t forget to be mindful that space is finite, so be aware of new toys, diapers, etc.

Applying the KonMari Method

The KonMari Method can be applied to many aspects of life, such as your finances, your career, and your mind.

The common theme? Imagining what you want your life to look like, making a plan, prioritizing, and forgoing anything that doesn’t spark joy.

Finances

“After tidying, my clients are more mindful about what they purchase, and they avoid buying in excess,” Kondo said in a special with NBC News. “I do believe it is important to use this self-awareness to guide your spending habits and let go of any tendencies or habits that are hindering you from meeting your financial goals (and your ideal lifestyle, overall).”

Marie Kondo and Co-founder and CEO of KonMari Media, Inc Takumi Kawahara speak on stage at Cannes
Marie Kondo and Co-founder and CEO of KonMari Media, Inc Takumi Kawahara speak on stage in Cannes, France. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)

Career

In a piece with Her Money, the KonMari Method is applied to streamlining your career trajectory. Some tips include being mindful of taking off-time from your devices, learning to say no to projects or tasks that add stress, making to-do lists, and finally, finding a way of doing more of what brings you joy at work, and off-loading or delegating the things that aren’t consistent with your career goals.

Mind

Kondo sat down for a conversation with best-selling author of Eat Pray Love and Big Magic Liz Gilbert about tidying the mind. Kondo asked Gilbert to share any advice she has for people who want to come to terms with difficult realizations related to living a life you don’t want for yourself.

“You can’t do work on yourself and not do work on the space you live,” Gilbert said. “And you can’t do work on the space you live and not do work on yourself. So, if you’re too afraid to look into the scary attic in your mind, look into the scary attic in your home. It will be a portal, a doorway, that will take you into the parts of yourself that you’ve been afraid to look at.”

Gilbert believes your home is a portrait of yourself; it needs to be treated accordingly.

the life-changing magic of tidying up book cover
New York Times Best Seller List – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Kondo’s “Konverts”

Kondo has garnered over three million followers on Instagram, where she shares “tidy hacks” that help optimize the use of space. One such hack: emptying your dishwasher before guests arrive, so clean-up following their departure is more efficient.

She has nearly 400,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel. Her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was viewed over one million times within two weeks of its launch in January 2019. She also has a free app her fans can utilize.

Kondo recently launched The Shop at KonMari, which includes products ranging from décor and living, tidying and organization, tabletop and entertaining, cooking and kitchen, bath essentials, aromatherapy, and books.

In response to her rise in popularity, Kondo’s company employs over 200 consultants – all certified in the KonMari Method – to meet the demands of clients who seek her organizational expertise. She herself is no longer available for hire due to her commitments running the business.

Fundamentals

Ultimately, Kondo believes expressions of gratitude will lead to a joy-filled life.

“I think you should always be honing your sensitivity to joy and letting go with gratitude of anything that doesn’t contribute to your happiness.

Adelfa Callejo sculpture, Dallas’ first of a Latina, expected to land downtown in Main Street Garden park
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bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo

The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.

A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.

Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.

The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.

Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.

“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.

Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.

Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.

Continue on to the Dallas Morning News to read the complete article.

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