AESHIA DEVORE BRANCH OF PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT

We’re doing work we love, work that inspires us, and we’re also pursuing our passions and making them priorities. In our latest Working Girl series, I sat down for a little girl talk with my gorgeous sorority sister, dedicated wellness curator and founder of Pretty Girls Sweat Aeshia Devore Branch.  Meet Aeshia....

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger interviews Aeshia Devore Branch of Pretty Girls Sweat

+  HOW DO YOU THINK FITNESS CONTRIBUTES TO SOME OF THE WORLD’S BIGGER CONVERSATIONS AND WHAT ROLE IS YOUR WORK PLAYING IN THIS SHIFT IN THINKING? 

Staying physically fit not only has a profound impact on your personal health but it affects those around you because you influence them to follow your lead. Studies show that exercise increases your self-esteem, improves memory, reduces the odds of heart disease and diabetes, and prevents depression. All of the above influences how happy you are and ultimately the level of success you reach in life. The message PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT radiates is that all women must put in work to reap these benefits and when we love ourselves enough to put our health first, we are capable to be leaders in our home, in the workforce and as global citizens. We gain the confidence to fight for the physical, emotional and mental health of future generations and derail the societal roadblocks and stressors preventing our healthy lifestyles. Check out this feature I did with Pop Sugar that explores this further: 

+ IF YOU COULD WORKOUT WITH 3 PEOPLE WHO WOULD THEY BE, AND WHY?

Beyonce - by being in her positive presence, her dance moves may rub off on me  
Kid Fury / Kevin Hart - They're hilarious!!! A good laugh will not only get me through a workout but it will also activate my stomach muscles :-)
Michelle Obama - not only is the former FLOTUS a HUGE inspiration, but her body is on point after having two kids. #GOALS

+ WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A BRAND, PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT AND TEEN DIARIES GOING INTO THE FUTURE?

My goal is to expand our college programs to 250 schools by 2020, launch our annual fitness festival in September 2017, grow our apparel line to meet the fashionable and financial needs of our customers, provide fun and active jobs for teenagers, and so much more (I can’t reveal everything, but join our mailing list at prettygirlssweat.com and I’ll keep you posted along the way).
 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger interviews Aeshia Devore Branch of Pretty Girls Sweat 

+ WHAT MISTAKES DID YOU MAKE WHEN STARTING YOUR BUSINESS? 

And my quick answer would be: prioritizing my passion over business. Instead of hiring outside contractors, I should have invested in finding partners that could fill voids in areas that I’m not strong in. From web development to graphic design to business operations, I need those missing pieces so I can focus on creative, growth, marketing, and being a spokesperson for the brand.

+ HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE WOMEN WHO ARE MAKERS, CREATIVE/FASHION PROFESSIONALS OR PEOPLE IN GENERAL TO LEAVE IN AN IMPRINT IN THE DIGITAL WORLD JUST BY DOING WHAT THEY LOVE?

Be you! The moment you can authentically reveal who you are to the world and the instant you stop getting in your own way, you can leave an imprint in the digital world. Forget about the fact that you don’t have a fancy camera or you’re unsure of what to say, just start somewhere and improve along the way. The coolest thing is that you are sharing who you are and what you love so you make the rules. Go for it!

 + WHAT ARE 5 OF YOUR DAILY HABITS? 

1. Drinking a glass of water with lemon when I wake up
2. Creating a daily to-do list
3. Answering emails — and endless task :-/
4. Reading with my daughters
5. Laughing with my husband

DO YOU HAVE ANY UNEXPECTED SOURCES OF CREATIVE INSPIRATION, IF SO WHAT ARE THEY?

While I was living in NYC, my favorite pastime was people watching. I enjoyed imagining their unknown stories and getting inspired by their style. Now that I live in Atlanta, my creative sparks come from my friends, Instagram and the many students I am blessed to mentor/coach. 

+ WHAT MISTAKES DID YOU MAKE WHEN STARTING YOUR BUSINESS? 

And my quick answer would be: prioritizing my passion over business. Instead of hiring outside contractors, I should have invested in finding partners that could fill voids in areas that I’m not strong in. From web development to graphic design to business operations, I need those missing pieces so I can focus on creative, growth, marketing, and being a spokesperson for the brand.

+HOW DOES YOUR CURRENT WORK INFLUENCE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? 

I live, work and play in athletic wear and sometimes sleep in it - lol. I love looking cool and comfortable simultaneously so the athleisure trend resonated with me quickly. On the flip side, I attend a lot of private events, professional meetings, concerts, and parent-teacher meets so I can flip my style FAST! Confidence in key so it’s important that my outward appearance reflects how I feel on the inside or the environment I’m in. 
 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger interviews Aeshia Devore Branch of Pretty GIrls Sweat 

Four Ways To Love Yourself More, Every Single Day

We've heard SELF CARE and the idea of doing it a billion times by now. WONDER WHY? It's needed. We have so many demanding roles now and other people and jobs are placed before us, daily. How can we be what we need to be for others if we aren't what we are for ourselves? What if we showed ourselves the love, attention and affection that we showed our children, men, and random people that same amount of love or more. Making self care a daily ritual, we can envision ourselves and become our own biggest fans, every day. Because when we’re taking actions that nourish our own mind, body, and spirit, we can then give our fullest selves to others. Here are four simple ways to show ourselves love every single day to nourish and nurture our mind body and soul.....

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares four ways to love yourself more every day

TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND REFLECT ON YOUR BEAUTY.

Now that some of us may not be "spring chickens" we have arrived at the age where we are pressured to "enhance" our beauty. We apply extra makeup to hide the signs of gracefully aging, the beauty remnants of pregnancy and signs of gravity having it's way with our bodies.  As grown women, we’re so often pushed to “fix ourselves up".  Freeze time and take a look in the mirror before all of the enhancements and reflect on what you love about yourself and the beauty you hold. Do it every morning before the world gets to you. So whether it’s a few minutes or 15, I think it’s important to appreciate yourself just as you are. Look into the mirror and say 5, 10, 15, 20 things you love about yourself. 

GIVE YOURSELF THE PERMISSION TO PLAY WITH YOUR INNER CHILD.

As we grow older we tend to let life experiences shape our decisions. We become less spontaneous, less playful and more reserved, we show less passion and exude more of an automatic, slightly robotic state of being. We are afraid of risks. It is through getting in touch with our inner child that we can begin to take risks, and make the necessary mistakes in order to truly evolve into the woman we are meant to be. Give yourself the permission to rekindle and rediscover your inner child through discovery hobbies or make it simple and play with your inner child. Engage in hobbies like scrap booking, photography, gardening, reading, ceramics class, biking, hula hooping once a week for at least an hour. 

LOVE ON YOURSELF WITH FOOD. 

Food for women like me is nurturing. They don't coin certain food as soul food just because. Food creates connections; it brings us together and is a great way to express care for someone else. And I bet there’s one meal or time of day you enjoy eating the most and a certain kind of recipe you like making. So make that one meal! Enjoy the process as much as the outcome. Whether it’s breakfast, your favorite snack, or cooking a meal with your favorite playlist on at the end of the day, like I do to unwind, show yourself some love from the inside out.

EMBRACE A NIGHTLY RITUAL. 

By the end of the night, our robotic self has a million phrases and conversations going on about what didn't get finished. There are only 24 hours in a day for a reason and it's impossible to think we can build Rome with piles of to do lists.  I think we should love ourselves enough to wind down and take nighttime slower. Turn off the noise every single night and create a ritual system to wind down. Disconnect from the world and create a ritualistic system. It may be lighting candles and taking nice bath with essential oils, reading for 15-30 minutes before bed or a hand mask  and painting your nails. 

GOLD METALLIC DRAPED DRESS

I really love easy dresses  because I can just throw them on with any statement piece accessory and a pair of heels or flats and still look put together. Never mind the chaos prior to getting dressed in five minutes. This gold metallic draped dress I made as a sample review for Brunch and Sew will be one of my go-to pieces for spring because it’s so beyond easy to style.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring 
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring

Added a bold and chunky necklace with a contrasting color with my new favorite hoop earrings and wedges....

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger styles a gold metallic dress for spring
Andrea-Fenise-Gold-Metallic-DRESS

DIY MOTHER'S DAY FLORAL ARRANGEMENT WITH EVERBLOOM DESIGN

This past Saturday, I joined 6 other beautiful women who gathered together at Me & Mrs. Jones to learn how to make a DIY floral arrangement with the talented Kristen Wolter-Canfield of Everbloom Design. I've been an admirer of her work for quite some time and also have longed to learn how to make my very own arrangements as centerpieces or special gifts like Mother's Day. Allow me to help you out if you haven't gotten mom a gift and make her proud because you're still learning. Here's an easy and thoughtful Mother's Day Floral Arrangement.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares a last minute DIY Mothers Day Floral Arrangement

You Need 

VASE

CLEAR TAPE

4 OR MORE VARITIES OF BLOOMS

THINK ABOUT THE FOUR F's 

    + FOLIAGE ( 2 bunches or lots of clippings from your yard)

+ FILLER ( 1 to 2 varieties) 

+ FOCAL FLOWER ( one variety)

+ FINISHING FLOWER ( 1-2 varieties)


It is usually a good idea to stick to a simple color palette of all the same tones. Variations of all pink, or all white. You can be bold and do lots of color if you want though! 

Your FOLIAGE can come from the store but Kristin recommends going out into your yard and gathering interesting foliage from there. Hosta leaves, ferns, cuttings from trees and bushes. This is the key to making your arrangement unique. Be sure and bring enough foliage. Remember more than you think. 

There are two types of FILLER flowers. The first are blooms in a cluster like a hydrangea or have many blooms on one stem like spray roses, mums, wax flower, alstromeria, carnations. Get a few varieties of this type. Other fillers that help create the shape of your arrangement are reaching fillers. These are blooms that have several blooms along the stem like stock and snapdragons.  

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy floral arrangement
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy floral arrangement 

FOCAL flowers are the stars of the show. These are your larger more expensive blooms like roses, peonies, dahlias, large mums. Steer clear of lilies, they are too large for the container we are going to be using. If you get Sunflowers, stick to the small sized ones. 

NOW LET'S BEGIN.... Start by taping your vase with oasis floral tape in a grid then add your greenery. Try to keep the same lengths symmetrical and balanced. So, if you add a long stem keep them balanced by adding all long stems on one side then move around the vase clockwise adding medium then short stems. 

ALflowerArrange2.jpg
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy mothers day floral arrangement
Andrea-Fenise-DIY-Mothers-Day-Floral-Arrangement
Andrea-Fenise-DIY-Mothers-Day-Floral-Arrangement
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy mothers day floral arrangement
Andrea-Fenise-DIY-Mothers-Day-Floral-Arrangement

Fillers are next! There isn't a magical science to placement. Kristin's professional advice is to create dimension and levels placing in 3's and 5's. So if you place 3 hydrangeas in--place 3. SIMPLE!

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy mothers day floral arrangement wit
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy floral arrangement for mother's day
Andrea-Fenise-DIY-Mothers-Day-Floral-Arrangement

The very last step in your DIY arrangement is adding the focal flower, the star of the show. Place your focal flower at the eye's focal point. As someone is admiring the flower their eyes should draw in to the focal flower. I love Kristin's tip of making sure you place one at the top center. I didn't think about it but people love taking photos at birds eye view so make sure the focal can be seen in front, top and the back.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion blogger shares how to make a diy floral arrangement for mothers day
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy mother's day floral arrangement

A beautiful and relaxing day spent outside with creative women & mother and daughter pair learning how to make floral arrangements was a Sunday well spent. I really enjoyed learning something new and gifting myself with a floral arrangement  to enjoy for Mother's Day. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares how to make a diy floral arrangement 

Thank you again to Kristin for sharing and teaching all of us. Be sure to stay connected with Kristin and treat yourself to a floral workshop. They sell out really fast.