Friday, February 24, 2012

Heart Disease- It's Not Your Grandmother's Illness

By Lisa Brown-Hall 

Raijean Stroud, Founder Bleeding Heart Project

During my recent trip to NY Fashion Week, I had the distinct pleasure of networking with several of my favorite fashion and beauty bloggers from across the country. One blogger in particular, Raijean Stroud of Swa-Rai Blog made such an indelible impression on me as she shared her testimony not only about her experience with heart disease but her transparency about her life in general. She lights up a room and clearly draws people in with her warm, fun-loving personality. Because we had become familiar via social media, I was somewhat aware of her battle with heart disease-however, she is a classic example of  “not looking like what she’s been through”.  She is a survivor and thrives in spite of her battle with heart disease.   I was so struck by her that I thought it would be a great opportunity for Her Style TV readers to see that heart disease is not just your “grandmothers disease”.

The entire month of February is dedicated to heart health, education and awareness about heart disease.  Many churches and non-profit organizations pay homage to this silent but deadly killer in the form of setting aside one Sunday of the month to wear red dresses as an acknowledgment of just how prevalent this disease is among women.   However, besides donning our favorite red dress there is very little education about the effects of the disease, symptoms to be aware of and most importantly- prevention.   Raijean suffers from both Congestive Heart Failure as well as Cardio Myopathy and she is fiercely passionate about educating others about the disease. 

Here’s my interview with Raijean:

Her Style TV: Tell me about your diagnosis:
Raijean: I was diagnosed with cardio myopathy back in January of 2009 and then 6 months later my disease progressed to congestive heart failure (CHF). Essentially my heart function was at 28% (50% is optimal) I was graduating with my master’s degree and I had to be rushed to the hospital with CHF.  I felt light headed and tired and just out of breath on the day of my gradation.

Her Style TV: Tell me about your initial symptoms
Raijean: I started feeling sick with just a dry cough that went away after a day or two. A week later, I was carrying my son (then only 2 months old) to visit my grandmother and I could not lift my son to carry him up the steps.  I could not breathe doing regular things so I decided to go to the doctor. I had already diagnosed myself with pneumonia so I went to the doctor telling them what was wrong with me and asking for meds so I could get out of there.  I had already previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure and I was working a very stressful job.

Her Style TV: Tell me about The Bleeding Heart Project
Raijean:  6 months after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, my doctor told me that I might need a defibrillator. I kept thinking I was going to get better  ( and did not want to have the surgery) but I finally gave in and decided to go through with the surgery.  After getting the initial defibrillator it broke and I had to get a new one.  I asked God why is this happening to me and that’s when I realized that other people (dealing with heart disease) needed support so I created the Bleeding Health Project which basically acts as a support system for other people with heart disease.  We also focus on education and awareness.

Her Style TV: What key messages would you like our readers to come away with as it relates to heart disease?

1. Listen to your body I was one of the lucky ones
2. Take care of your body
2. Find someone to talk to (for support)
3.Take your medicine- that was one of the big mistakes I made early on because I was young and did not want to admit I was sick.
4.Heart disease can be genetic but it doesn’t have a certain “look” it is not your grandmothers disease.

For more information on heart health please visit
Follow Raijean on twitter @swaraiblog or @BHeartProj

Friday, January 13, 2012

Her Style Tweet and Greet- The Complexion Conversation

The ladies of Her Style TV are back with a vengeance with an aim to make the last Tuesday of the month- a "Can't Miss" event; on January 31st team Her Style will be hosting their first tweet and greet of the year - The Complexion Conversation at Cafe Calypso in Baltimore.

Here are the details:

Cafe Calypso 
771 Washington Boulevard BaltimoreMD 21230

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (PT)

Check out the video promo of the video and DO NOT MISS the opportunity to weigh in on this controversial topic and please use the link below in order to register today!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Her Style TV- LIVE Tweet and Greet

Join the ladies of Her Style TV for our very first Tweet and Greet! Essentially the show you have come to know and love will be live and in person, so join us for an evening of networking and fun.   The topic for the evening's show is open relationships, so you do not want to miss this evening of provocative conversation!

What: Her Style Tweet and Greet
When: Tuesday, December 27th 7-10pm
Where: Tailor Made Cafe 6 Poppleton St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Registration for this event is required:

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Gift of Presence

by Lisa Brown-Hall
December is in full swing and with the close of the year comes holiday celebrations and the tremendous pressure to come bearing gifts.  This past cyber Monday, retailers saw the highest revenues since this holiday shopping day second only to Black Friday was created.  
During this holiday season, it is important to remember the best gift is one of “presence”.    Why close out the year over-spending, depleting your resources and derailing any budget plans all in the name of purchasing a gift?
Instead of joining in the hype of the gift-buying frenzy, spend some quality time tapping into your gifts and talents in order to bring a smile to your loved ones face.

Her Style Gift of Presence Guide
Hostess gift-if you find yourself faced with attending a holiday party and in need of the perfect hostess gift, why not make cookies or homemade fudge?  Visit the dollar store and find a holiday-themed tin, buy some tissue paper and use your culinary skills to whip up a gift that’s sure to bring a smile to your hostesses face.  Check online for great recipes and the effort you took will be greatly appreciated.

Homemade Hallmark- to this day, with all of the gifts from Tiffany, Nordstrom and other major retailers I’ve received from my husband, one of my  favorite gifts from him is a Valentine’s day card he made when we were young, broke and newly in  love.  Whenever I happen to come upon it, that card still brings a smile to my face. Visit your local crafts store and use your rhyming skills to come up with verses that are personal to your loved one with so much more impact than anything Hallmark makes.

You Say Hello- Beyond a shadow of a doubt we have become a society hooked on texting, Facebook status updates and tweets; we are more “social” in media and cyber-space and have lost the art of face to face conversation.  Put the phone down, log off the computer, grab a bottle of wine (or several!) and get your girlfriends together for some quality time in person. Trust me, the conversations will be rich and you will realize just how much you miss the connection that drew you together in the first place.

Visit and older loved one- we always assume that someone else is taking care of Auntie or our favorite uncle; why not pop in on them with a plate (either prepared or store bought) a DVD and spend some time with them- Not only will they appreciate the gesture, the wisdom imparted and laughs you are bound to have will be priceless.

Do you have a low-cost way of celebrating your friends and family during the holidays?  Then we want to hear from you.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Loss Art of Self-Seduction

by Lisa Brown-Hall
I am a big fan of women knowing how to please themselves.  In fact, how can you expect anyone else to know how to please you if you have not had an opportunity to make your eyes roll in the back of your head at your own hands?  Self-seduction has been frowned upon largely because society has incorrectly taught us that touching or pleasing ourselves is wrong, therefore making the topic virtually taboo.  
There is power in self seduction, the art of knowing and appreciating your body.     Between social media and our constant need to be “on” the ability to truly unwind has become a bit of a loss art.
I asked a cross-section of dynamic women ranging in ages from 28-59 to define self-seduction and here’s what they came up with.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Aaliyah said : “The art of self-seduction is not to omit the presence of another , but in all honesty, you know you best.  The way you love to smell, feel, and taste and hear embodies self-seduction. My guilty self-seduction is a bath with bath bombs, candles, IPod on shuffle, jet stream tub and let’s just say Tweet’s song  oops there goes my… summarizes it best.”

Carla focused on the pleasure principal : “ self-seduction means pleasuring oneself sexually, me myself and I.”

Shayla  views self-seduction as an opportunity to date yourself “ Do things that appeal to your senses,  your favorite glass of wine, the feel of some sexy lingerie  and a little mood music.  It could be foreplay before the real thing or it could lead to a date with your B.O.B.” ( Battery operated boyfriend).

Marsha  ties her definition of self-seduction to self- worth.  “ For me it’s about taking those things to or for yourself that heighten your self-worth and self-esteem. Things that make you feel beautiful from within.”

Although learning how to please yourself via orgasm or physical release is  a huge part of self-seduction, it is not the only key to this loss art. Understanding what brings you a sense of wholeness, relaxation, restoration  and renewal are the true goal.

Here some key ways to  assist with your self-seduction as well as get your  3 R’s- relaxation, renewal, restoration:
Let’s call him B.O.B. ( battery operated boyfriend) 

 If a pleasure filled release is what you seek, the fastest way to reach your pinnacle is by purchasing a vibrator.  I recognize this is a huge leap for some, but vibrators can be a liberating way to thoroughly please yourself. If you really want to go the extra mile, Kandi Burruss of Atlanta Housewives fame has developed a line of vibrators that can be plugged into your IPod and will stimulate to the beat of your favorite music.

Music in general  can soothe the soul and provide an instant state of relaxation. Create a play list of music that heightens your senses and places you fully in the moment for the ultimate seduction.

Candlelight and you
Candles offer the  ultimate sensual experience. The dim light combined with a fragrance can be an immediate mood enhancer, even when you are alone.  Do not underestimate the power of a hot bath, combined with a candle in your favorite fragrance as an ultimate player in your self-seduction.

Unfortunately for many, self-seduction is more of a theoretical philosophy versus something that is actually  practiced. Change the course of the perception of this very healthy way to keep your balance, find pleasure and stimulate your senses.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Suffering in Silence- Depression

by Lisa Brown-Hall
"Sick and tired of being sick and tired" is a universal lamentation of women everywhere. We often don our capes and will gladly take on the role of superwoman but at what cost to our own personal well- being? Weariness is likely a part of our DNA as we readily play the role of mother, wife, sister, lover setting our needs aside to our great personal detriment.

Depression is sometimes difficult to recognize in women because we often have so much on our plates that we rarely take a critical look at our symptoms in order to recognize just how deep the cracks beneath our well-hidden, silent crisis run.

What causes depression?

Depression is a complex disease and can be caused by a number of factors. The loss of a loved one, medications, or even certain illnesses can play a role in the manifestation of the disease.  The important thing is to "be still" long enough to recognize a problem may be emerging.

Recognize the signs of depression 

I had a friend who practically prayed that a recent visit to the doctor would not only result in the need for surgery, but a long recovery period. She saw nothing wrong with this as she was so tired from her daily routine she viewed surgery, followed by mandatory bed rest as an escape.  Though it is normal to “feel a little blue” when you are facing health problems the need to escape from daily life could very well be the sign of something deeper.  When I suggested to this friend she may actually be depressed, she fervently denied it and said she simply needed a vacation.  My question to her was why not take one then?

Besides needing an escape from daily life, other signs of depression include:
  • Weight gain, or increased appetite
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite  
  • Fatigue or very little desire to engage in activities that once gave you pleasure
  • A sense of worthlessness
  • Withdrawing from friends and family

Seek help

Admitting that you have a problem is crucial to healing when you are suffering in silence. For many women, this bridge is the most difficult to cross because we see the need to ask for help as an admission of failure or a sign of weakness. This is particularly true of African-American women as the myth of the superwoman is so pervasive in our culture we have sadly begun to believe our own hype. Compound this super woman myth with our tendency to only seek spiritual help and many of us are left suffering from clinical depression that could clearly benefit from the right dose of medication. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, but prayer combined with the medicine to treat your illness is what will lead to a greater since of well-being.

There is great power in being self aware and recognizing your need for help. Here are some additional resources to help you get back on a path to wholeness.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kate Spade Contest: WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

Thanks to all who participated in the first Her Style Contest. We are happy to announce that Portia is the lucky winner of the delectable Kate Spade Twirl fragrance.  We will be in contact with you in order to provide you with details for claiming your prize.

Congrats from the Her Style Team!!!