January 20, 2022

Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst

Credit: Bit Literacy, Mark Hurst

"Bit Literacy" is essential reading for anyone who has experienced "digital overload": the daily flood of e-mail, multiple to do lists, a cluttered desktop, documents in various file formats, and the constant distraction of cell phones and other devices. More than a quick fix or another "how-to" guide, the book offers an entirely new way of attaining productivity that users at any level of expertise can put into action right away. This is "bit literacy," a method for working more productively in the digital age, with less stress. Mark Hurst - who has reached hundreds of thousands of readers through his Good Experience e-mail newsletter, Uncle Mark technology guides, thisisbroken.com, and other websites - has revealed the way to survive, and thrive, in the digital age: "Let the bits go." Credit: Mark Hurst


Credit: Bit Literacy, Quote

January 14, 2022

I Love The Smell of the Universe in the Morning

"I love the smell of the universe in the morning." 

- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Quote

Credit: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Meet the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in New York City the same week NASA was founded. His interest in the universe traces back to age 9, after a first visit to the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. He was educated in the public schools of New York City through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. And after an BA in Physics from Harvard and a PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia and a Postdoctoral research fellowship at Princeton, Tyson became the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, where he has served since 1996. Learn more here.

Credit: Quote, Neil deGrasse Tyson

January 06, 2022

Nigella Lawson Shares Her Love of Food & Writing

 #Celebration

#Books #Culinary #Cooking #Media #Storytelling #Food

Credit: Author Nigella Lawson

Meet Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson has written eleven bestselling cookery books including the classics How to Eat and How to Be a Domestic Goddess – the book that inspired a whole new generation of bakers. These books, and her TV series, have made her a household name around the world. Credit: Author Overview 

@ 2011

@2017

@2020 Storytelling


Learn more about her @ nigella.com and follow her @Nigella_Lawson.


December 30, 2021

Three Thousand Stitches by Sudha Murty

 

Credit: Three Thousand Stitches, 2017

Book Overview

So often, it's the simplest acts of courage that touch the lives of others. Sudha Murty - through the exceptional work of the Infosys Foundation as well as through her own youth, family life and travels-encounters many such stories . . . and she tells them here in her characteristically clear-eyed, warm-hearted way. She talks candidly about the meaningful impact of her work in the devadasi community, her trials and tribulations as the only female student in her engineering college and the unexpected and inspiring consequences of her father's kindness. From the quiet joy of discovering the reach of Indian cinema and the origins of Indian vegetables to the shallowness of judging others based on appearances, these are everyday struggles and victories, large and small. Unmasking both the beauty and ugliness of human nature, each of the real-life stories in this collection is reflective of a life lived with grace. Credit: Amazon

December 24, 2021

Life & Economics: "Equal is Unfair"

 

Credit: Equal is Unfair | Don Watkins & Yaron Brook

Overview

We’ve all heard that the American Dream is vanishing, and that the cause is rising income inequality. The rich are getting richer by rigging the system in their favor, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep our heads above water. To save the American Dream, we’re told that we need to fight inequality through tax hikes, wealth redistribution schemes, and a far higher minimum wage. But what if that narrative is wrong? What if the real threat to the American Dream isn’t rising income inequality—but an all-out war on success? In Equal is Unfair, a timely and thought-provoking work, Don Watkins and Yaron Brook reveal that almost everything we’ve been taught about inequality is wrong. Credit: Amazon


✒ Meet the Authors

Credit: Don Watkins

Don Watkins is a best-selling author and one of today's most vocal opponents of the welfare state. A fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, Don studies inequality, Social Security, entitlements, and the moral foundations of capitalism. He is a host of the weekly podcast on the entitlement state, The Debt of Dialogues. You can find Don's work @ donswriting.com. Credit: Amazon


Credit: Yaron Brook

Yaron Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute. He wears many hats at the institute and travels extensively as ARI’s spokesman. Brook can be heard weekly on The Yaron Brook Show, which airs live on the BlogTalkRadio podcast. He is also a frequent guest on national radio and television programs. An internationally sought-after speaker and debater, Brook also pens works that make one think. As coauthor, with Don Watkins, of the national best-seller Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, Brook and Watkins argue that the answer to our current economic woes lies not in "trickle-down government" but in Rand's inspiring philosophy of capitalism and self-interest. Last year, Brook and Watkins released a new book, Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality, a book that shows the real key to making America a freer, fairer, more prosperous nation is to protect and celebrate the pursuit of success―not pull down the high fliers in the name of equality. Brook is also contributing author to Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism and Big Tent: The Story of the Conservative Revolution — As Told by the Thinkers and Doers Who Made It Happen. He was a columnist at Forbes.com, and his articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily and many other publications.

Brook was born and raised in Israel. He served as a first sergeant in Israeli military intelligence and earned a BSc in civil engineering from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. In 1987 he moved to the United States where he received his MBA and PhD in finance from the University of Texas at Austin; he became an American citizen in 2003. For seven years he was an award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University, and in 1998 he cofounded BH Equity Research, a private equity and hedge fund manager, of which he is managing founder and director. Profile Summary Credit: Fedsoc.org

December 21, 2021

How 'Flower Fairies' Inspired The Harebell Shop

Credit: Sustainable Fashion with Denise Reddy


Denise, Welcome! As the Founder and CEO of the Harebell Shop, what inspired you to create a sustainable fashion entity to serve earth conscious consumers?

HI! Thank you! I am so happy to be here. Well, the journey started without really knowing I would get involved in the fashion industry. What I really knew for sure is that I wanted to help consumers purchase with values and avoid getting “scammed” by greenwashing practices. I am passionate about sharing all that I know about sustainability and “converting” people who never thought about the consequences of the way they consume into aware consumers. That makes my day! Fashion is based on trends and disposal, needless consumption. It is a really sick industry and the change will happen when conscious CEO’s and businesses get involved in it. I wanted to bring a new perspective to the industry and at the same time help my fellow Latinxs. There is so much going on in Latin America. It is so diverse, so knowledgeable and interesting that being able to represent Latinx sustainable designers in my shop is an honor.

As a fifth generation Argentinian, your anecdotes reference spending quality holiday time in the mountains of Cordoba. ​How do these experiences and memories contribute to creating the Harebell Group?

I was raised in Buenos Aires, the central city and capital of Argentina. But every holiday we went to our family home in the middle of the mountains in Cordoba. I was lucky enough to have parents who enjoyed a month off work so we grabbed our car, some stuff and headed to that beautiful, precary old mud house. We had no electricity there, only oil lamps. No hot water, only the river. No laundry machine, only our feet and a big bowl with soapy water. And so on. These summers were the best of my life and the impact of going there since I was in my mothers tummy until my teenage years, huge. When getting so close to nature at such an early age you learn to love it so deeply. It creates such an awareness! Everyone has different goggles and a personal way of understanding the world that surrounds us. For me it’s all connected and the better care we take of our surroundings, the more beautiful and fair the world is going to be. Harebell is an attempt to leave the world I want for the future generations.

How did you decide what the shop will be named?

When I was founding my company I knew I wanted a name related to plants, because they take from the earth only what they need and give back so much more creating oxygen. Somehow it always felt that’s the type of company I wanted to build. Laying in bed with my son he found a book I was reading about Flower Fairies. I had just started it and it was a Christmas gift from my grandma when I was 13 years old (a long time ago!) I had never really read it. My son found a page with a mark. It was the Harebell Flower Fairy! I read the poem and found out at that precise moment that the book had been a gift from my grandma’s grandma to her. Harebell’s name traveled through five generations and found me. I love it deeply.

Denise, how do you describe 'sustainable fashion' and how is this different from 'fast fashion'?

Sustainable clothing is the antithesis of cheaply made “fast fashion”, which I see as an often exploitative business model that negatively affects everyone from the people who create the clothes to the consumer. I hope that showing how toxic the creation of these clothes can be will lead more people to join me on my mission to have as little impact on the planet as possible, even through something as simple as what we wear.

The fashion found on Harebell’s website is anything but “cheap.” We focus on high quality and unique garments that can be loved and used for many years. There are so many aspects to why sustainable brands are more expensive, the main one being quality and fair wage. If you pay a fair wage to the person who picks the cotton from the fields, to have a two dollar shirt just makes no sense. Those brands are cheaper because someone else is paying the price.

Harebell Shop products aim to yield as little impact to the planet as possible. What are the few principles the shop honors to stay true to its mission?

We focus on many different areas, but I would say quadruple impact sustainability is the best way to describe Harebell’s values. We usually talk about triple impact companies that focus on social, environmental and financial return, but I like to add the cultural impact as well. In our journey we found that helping people and having an impact in Latin American groups was huge, and we chose to prioritize this over working locally in the US. Buying locally is a big practice in my life and for anyone environmentally aware, but when building Harebell Shop I found that helping those designers and entrepreneurs that were working so hard to leave a better world down in Latin America be able to have a voice and sales in the US market carried a heavier weight rather than working only locally. So, we went for it and I can say now that we are helping with a lot of cultural Latin American heritage as well.

How can we change peoples' perception that sustainable and earth friendly products don't mean unfashionable?

Looking at Harebell Shop’s website, LOL! I believe some of this perspective derives from the assumption that people think natural correlates with rustic or handcrafted. Of course there are rustic and handcrafted products, but that does not mean they are precry in any way. If anything, they are unique, they are preserving heritage and traditions, but sustainability is all about the way the products are curated. Also, let’s not underestimate the power of innovation in fashion. There are so many new and fascinating scientific sustainable solutions. Starting with algae fabrics or mushroom leather and following with organic non toxic coating solutions. There is a lot going on and this is definitely the future of fashion.

The Harebell Shop is a Certified B corporation. What does this mean to consumers?

B Corp is the term used for any for-profit entity that is certified by the nonprofit B Lab as voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance. It is a very long and hard questionnaire about different sections such as wages (social), light and water consumption (environmental), inclusion (team) and so on. Having this certification proves that we comply with those strict requirements. It is a way to give an extra peace of mind to our customers. They know when purchasing from a B Corp they are supporting an honest company, with fair wages throughout, with proper garbage disposal, etc.

What makes it unique compared to other "green friendly" businesses?

Having this certification shows that we do what we say. It is a third party stating and evaluating everything we as companies do. I think it is a great added value to have and to avoid greenwashing practices.

What are some realities of fast fashion that consumers overlook when shopping for their next outfit?

“Fast fashion” is an often exploitative business model that mass-produces trendy styles at low costs. If the consumers really knew the dangers of wearing certain types of dyes on your skin, or how toxic the creation of one pair of denim jeans is, I believe they would join us in holding companies accountable. If you pay a fair wage to the person who picks the cotton from the fields, you can’t have a two dollar shirt. It just makes no sense. Those brands are cheaper because someone else is paying the price, and this is a tough reality the consumers don’t know, but once you know it it is hard to keep on purchasing fast fashion. You can’t be an accomplice anymore once you know about modern slavery practices.

How can consumers make better decisions when dressing themselves and their lifestyles?

Reading labels is a key not to fall into greenwashing. The more detailed the label is, the better. Paying attention to the raw materials is also super important. If it has a virgin plastic as a raw material it is not ok. We have so many ways of recycling and reusing that to keep on supporting the oil industry through fashion that it makes no sense. I would suggest going for sustainable, organic, natural raw materials when possible and when not recycled nylon, polyester, etc. Hemp, cotton, bambu are some of the many great options. Econyl does a great job in recycling nylon, many sustainable bathing suit brands use it. Again, there is so much going on and always more to learn! But understanding the most common greenwashing practices help the consumers understand their options.

Sustainable fashion is an investment because it justifies quality and fair wage.

​What are at least two benefits (or reasons) for consumers to invest in a sustainable wardrobe?

Peace of mind!! I love when I can invest in quality items I love that can be used for a long time. I am not a fast fashion consumer and I can not relate with people who buy without thought. We are all different, so it is really about what resonates with you. But, know that supporting sustainable brands helps support adults working for a fair, living wage (and not children or slavery conditions→ read about Bangladesh Dhaka garment factory collapse in 2013 or Garment Worker Centre fights in LA). It helps regenerate the environment with natural dyes and sustainable or recycled/ upcycled raw materials (taking away trash from our landfills. Trash that will contaminate the waters future generations will drink. AKA your children.) I could go on and on, but the main thing is as our slogan says Play Your Part! Every small action is a big wave if we all do it!

The Harebell brand hosts compostable collections that serve different consumer interests. ​What are comas and boobamaras?  Well, we divide our brands in 3 categories: sustainable (natural and organic raw materials), recycled (plastics, Tetra Pack and more) and upcycled (defective fast fashion pieces or old, end of roll fabrics). Comas is a Brazilian upcycling brand. It is one of my favourites because of the creativity it’s designer has into making high quality, amazing looking denim pieces. My favorite is the Esher Dress that has two defective denim dress shirts stitched together. It is amazing!  Boobamara is an argentinean brand that specializes in vegan shoes (some of them are compostable too!) Argentina is a meat country and we have a very old leather tradition. It is great to support our old leather shoe making craft and upgrade it to a new and compassionate raw material use. All of Boobamara’s shoes are PETA certified which I personally love.

As an immigrant entrepreneur celebrating Latinx culture in the United States, how has your personal growth evolved since your first year in the country?

The climb from immigrant to CEO was challenging, including learning a new language and becoming accustomed to a new culture. A culture that isn’t always as friendly to newcomers as it should be. I feel that my immigration journey has strengthened me and made me a better business leader. It is hard to really know how others feel unless you can relate to those feelings based on your own experiences. That is why getting exposed to diversity is a key for being an honest and compassionate boss and business owner. I feel a confidence I’ve never felt before. Harebell opened a gate for me to be my better version and apply my life’s learnings into a company. I am super grateful to have a wonderful team and a very supportive family.

Is there any business lesson you've learned (in the United States or abroad) that has shaped how you view the world today?

Sure, I keep on learning all the time. I am open and receptive to new experiences that can help me and my business grow. I think the hardest thing I learned was to do business more intuitively, trusting your heart more than your mind. The internal talk needs work, feeling deserving, abundant, and learning to see money positively. There were many barriers to break. Usually when becoming a business founder there is a very close relationship between your own personal growth and your business’s.  

Denise, you reference strong and inspirational women in your family that contribute to your resilient & creative presence.  What have these women taught you about life, love and fashion?

In the old days, the role of many women was to be their husbands shadow, always behind men. Many times the only career possible was as an assistant or typewriter. Both of my grandmas would have been awesome at pursuing their own careers, but it was not possible back then. I feel encouraged to move forward and pursue my dreams (and theirs). It is my mission and it empowers me every day. Regarding love, it is hard to find a partner that supports our CEO's life. When I am home I love to play with my son and share quality time together. But being a business woman implies I am not available for home chores and therefore we need to split the work with whoever we live with or hire help if needed. For some men, this is really hard because it is not the “traditional” family structure they learned at home. It actually goes against the “being a good mom/ housewife” stereotype…

When looking at fashion, I am a sensitive soul. I have my grandma's garments that were upcycled into newer, trendier and unique outfits I love. Those special pieces are the best for me. I see fashion as an opportunity to feel better and that is what life is about: learning how to be happy and daring to do so.

How do you nurture your spirituality while balancing the roles you hold from business woman, wife, mother and creator?

Prioritizing myself and those moments that give me joy. Making time to relax and reset. I believe that the more aligned you are as a leader, the better your business will thrive. I keep on working on myself, on my personal growth. I am constantly changing, transmuting and I dare to be as happy as I can be. If I need to say no, I just say it.. No guilt or toxic feelings implied. It took a lot to learn this, but I am very confident now and know that the higher my vibration is, the better for everyone. It is a constant thing, every minute of every day. Learning to check on yourself and taking action when necessary takes practice, but is a great way to live life to its fullest.  

As a parent, what guidance do you have for other parents wanting to teach their children earth-friendly lifestyle habits?

Start small and add up as they grow. Leed with the example. Sometimes it is not about perfection, but about doing what you can at that moment. And that is a lot! Flexibility is the key. Separating garbage is a great start, using rechargeable batteries too! They have fun at any age seeing an electronic device getting charged. There are companies that send you composters in exchange for your food scraps which they then convert into compost. Get creative in ways to get them involved and understand circularity. Everything we do (or don't do) has a consequence. And that is a great lesson we as parents can teach them.

What new and exciting projects is Harebell working on that audiences can follow into the New Year?  

We just launched today our compostable underwear which is a great step, because there are no-elastics in our products. There is no other underwear option out there that has no elastics. We handcrafted our underwear manually, with a lot of love and detail. The raw materials are bamboo which is super fresh and soft and organic cotton. We couldn’t be more proud of our Osun Collection- Harebell by Wunjo Intimates. 2022 will be an exciting year because we are launching our Play Your Part Campaign to support 2 different organizations through the customer’s purchase and our Harebell Homes section in our Shop. We will be participating in many different runways all throughout the country. Keep tuned to our social media and newsletter to know everything we are working on!

Please share with readers where they can support your works. 

You can follow us on Instagram @harebell.shop and @thedenisereddy.
Facebook @harebellshop.
And they can subscribe to our Newsletter here to be the first ones to know any launches and promotions.
We also share sustainable information and tips. ;)
Website: The Harebell Shop

December 18, 2021

Educator Seth Densen on Quality Education

"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

- Quote, Nelson Mandela

Advocate & Educator Seth Densen Joins Sasha in Conversation


Credit: Sasha Talks | Seth Densen


Meet Seth, an advocate and educator with over 20 years in social services and over half a decade in child welfare services. Seth Densen believes in the transformative power of quality education both on an individual level and a macro-level. Devoting resources and funding to education empowers future generations in communities to achieve personal fulfillment, success, and stability.

There are serious issues facing education today, including a lack of funding and resources for districts, schools, and teachers. While Florida receives the third-largest amount of federal K-12 education funding, the state government funds education at a lower per-capita rate. As such, Florida ranks 42nd in spending and 43rd in funding nationally. We can and must do better. He's not only a social worker but also an educator who's committed to advocating for educators and students of all ages in District 86 and across the state. Credit: Seth Densen


Moving Mountains SPOTLIGHT ** Meet Aditya Bhamidipaty, CEO of FirstHive

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Myron Edwards on His Advertising Career & Writing

Credit: Myron Edwards Books   Credit: Myron Edwards Books Learn more about Author Myron Edwards