NI
Nadia Imafidon
4 days ago

Explore Ecuador: Chocolate and Fleece in the Clouds

Purposeful Nomad is at it again with another ethical adventure off the beaten path. This time in Ecuador, with food, farms, and fleece. If the great outdoors excites you, there’s hiking, zip lining, and breathtaking scenery to immerse yourself in for a full 14 days. Not to mention farms full of deca...
Purposeful Nomad is at it again with another ethical adventure off the beaten path. This time in Ecuador, with food, farms, and fleece. If the great outdoors excites you, there’s hiking, zip lining, and breathtaking scenery to immerse yourself in for a full 14 days. Not to mention farms full of decadent chocolate that walk you through the bean-to-bar process.  
 
Not sure there’s any other information necessary to convince you, but here’s some more, just in case (*wink*).
 
Become a (temporary) local.
Want to see how the locals live? You don’t have to go looking for them. For one night, a family will take you in (in your own private cabin close to the main house) and you’ll spend an afternoon or evening harvesting plants, feeding animals, hanging out with locals, or helping cook dinner.
 
Go to a chocolate farm of dreams.
Not that we’re assuming you even have a “typical farm experience,” but if so, Mashpi Artisanal Chocolate farm is not it…and that’s not even just because you get to eat delicious chocolate while there. You’ll do everything from harvesting and separating beans to learning the cocoa bean-to-bar process. 
 
Of course, in keeping with PN’s mission of making these trips personalized, this farm is owned by an Ecuadorian family they know and love. Spend the night in this peaceful jungle farm, and observe the sights and sounds of the area.
 
Learn about indigenous communities and sustainable tourism.
Meet the leader of Runa Tupari, a tour operator in the Cotacachi region of Ecuador that helps indigenous communities develop sustainable tourism. Learn how they create additional income and jobs for families in rural areas through sustainable, educational and traditional homestays.
 
Eat the freshest fruits and veggies in a chef-prepared meal.
You’ll have lots of opportunities to grab local fruits and vegetables on the journey, from the nearest farmers markets to the Ecuadorian agave fields. You’ll even venture out to meet local women farmers and learn about agave harvesting, which is very popular in Cayambe. 
 
Then, Chef and nutritionist Michelle O. Fried, who’s lived in Ecuador for decades, will help you take the fresh goodies you picked up from the markets and prepare a traditional Ecuadorian meal in a hands-on cooking class.
 
Trek through the clouds.
Okay, so you’ll still technically be on land, but the scenery will make you feel like you’re in a dream. One of the country’s best-kept secrets, the Mindo Cloudforest houses numerous bird species, exotic butterflies, animals, and reptiles for you to stumble upon on your hike. Look out for waterfalls, too (just don’t go chasing them)! 
 
Tube down the rapids or take a canopy tour where you’ll actually zip line over the trees on 10 cables ranging between 500 feet and 1,600 feet long (both of these activities are an additional cost, but, hello, when in cloudforest…).
 
Meet the alpacas.
Is there anything quite as comforting as fleece? Probably only chocolate, but we’ve already done that. Heading to highland communities outside of Riobamba, you’ll meet Felipe Segovia, the owner of Pagocha, a business dedicated to bringing alpacas back to Ecuador. You’ll also meet the women who sheer and spin alpaca fleece to make comfort dreams come true.
 
See some of Ecuador’s greatest wonders.
Even if you aren’t naturally outdoorsy, the terrain will turn you into a mountain woman. Some highlights: hiking or horseback riding around the crater of Lake Cuicocha, and climbing 14,000 feet (via vehicle, don’t panic) along the beautiful Pan-American highway with mountains, volcanoes, and vistas straight out of your Insta-dreams.
 
End with a spa and a smile.
As if you’ve had a hectic trip, you’ll spend the entirety of the last day relaxing at a cliff-side spa in Baños before heading to the airport. Talk about coming home rejuvenated.
 
Price it Out: Alpaca your bags!
Date: June 27-July 10, 2019
Trip price (excluding airfare): $4,200 per person based on double occupancy.
This includes: Lodging, private transportation and driver, bi-lingual guide, most meals where indicated, all excursions listed, entrance fees to parks, community activities, and a cooking class.

*DEAL ALERT* Get $100 off your trip to Ecuador (or any other Purposeful Nomad trip) when you use the code Nav.it at checkout!
NI
Nadia Imafidon
about 1 month ago

See the World and Connect With It—Be a Purposeful Nomad

At a time when you can choose where to spend your money based on how a business contributes to its community, there’s not much left out there that doesn’t come with purpose. And that includes travel.

To me, the best part of exploring a new area is that you can make the trip about so many things: self-care, adventure, meeting new people, philanth...
At a time when you can choose where to spend your money based on how a business contributes to its community, there’s not much left out there that doesn’t come with purpose. And that includes travel.

To me, the best part of exploring a new area is that you can make the trip about so many things: self-care, adventure, meeting new people, philanthropy, getting off the beaten path, eating way too much of the local delicacies…it’s about getting a full experience!

Enter: Purposeful Nomad, a company that creates trip itineraries to bring women together for socially responsible adventures that go beyond the destination’s surface.

Here’s why it’s perfect for us, Nav.igators.*

At the heart of Purposeful Nomad is community engagement.
They believe that if women are given the opportunity to travel safely and securely, they can change the world just by experiencing new things, exchanging ideas, and having meaningful interactions with the local community. (Sound familiar?)
 
The trips—just like women—are not one size fits all.
The itineraries, while a thoughtful, out-of-the-box mix of adventure, relaxation, and community engagement, are not scoped for every moment of everyday. You’ll have time to bring your own personality to your trip and customize it. Follow your own bliss.

Hang out in “secret corners of the world” with the locals.
Purposeful Nomad meets with local community members—often those who do not work in the tourism industry—to establish relationships, then designs in-depth itineraries that take travelers deep into the rich history and local culture. No cookie-cutter tourist traps here.

It’s all-inclusive and all original.
Enough with the Bahamas and Cancun already. These are all-inclusive trips to unique locations that aren’t your typical tour packages. In January 2019, Purposeful Nomad heads to Rajasthan, India for 15 days and enjoys an intimate side of India with a focus on the complex daily lives of women in this part of the world.

Travelers will learn to sew while listening to stories from the women of the non-profit Sambhali Trust; enjoy self-care spa treatments in boutique heritage hotels where they’ll stay; and of course, eat all the yummy food. Sign us up immediately.

Itineraries are tried and true (like ours!).
The activities planned for each trip are researched in advance and tried before going on the itinerary. The ladies behind Purposeful Nomad act as your guinea pigs, so you don’t waste any time on your vacation.

Every part of every trip is intentional, and built with integrity.
While creating a new trip, the founders meet with the communities and/or non-profits that they plan to partner with.

They find out where these organizations get their funding; who benefits from the work they do in these areas; if there are any skills they can share with the travelers; and what the needs are of each community, so they can learn how Purposeful Nomad can be of service.

If they don’t like what they hear during these meetings, they don’t make the partnership. Simple as that.

  • Sample Trip: Discover the Jewels of Rajasthan
  • DATE: January 11th-25th, 2019 (Psst! Can’t go this year? It’ll come back around in 2020, or you can check out Purposeful Nomad's other trips.)
  • PRICE: $3,950 per person based on double occupancy. (Plus $1,500 for a single room.)
  • HIGHLIGHTS: 
    • Engage the community: Experience a village homestay in the Thar desert. Ride a camel, learn to cook by the fire, and dance with the gypsies. 
    • Practice self-care: Get pampered at a spa in a beautiful heritage hotel. 
    • Learn new skills: Learn to sew or block print while engaging with the women of Sambhali Trust. Find inspiration in their soulful stories.
*Nav.igators! Enter code Nav.it at checkout to get $100 off your trip with Purposeful Nomad!

NI
Nadia Imafidon
about 1 month ago

Calling All Photographers: Explore Cuba Through the Lens

Whether you’ve been a professional photographer for years or just got your hands on a Canon Rebel and can’t wait to see what it can do, there’s a trip to Cuba in your future. 
 
Organized by Purposeful Nomad—a company that creates trip itineraries to bring women together to travel socially and ...
Whether you’ve been a professional photographer for years or just got your hands on a Canon Rebel and can’t wait to see what it can do, there’s a trip to Cuba in your future. 
 
Organized by Purposeful Nomad—a company that creates trip itineraries to bring women together to travel socially and responsibly—this “Cuba: Through the Lens” itinerary is a mix of vibrant colors, historic architecture, lush scenic excursions, vintage cars, food, music, and dance (to name a few!). 
 
Sounds like magic, huh? Well, artsy Nav.igators, the time to act is now—there are only two spots left to claim before this photographer’s dream getaway is booked up. Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience if you head to Cuba in March 2019.
 
Hone your skills with a boss lady photographer.
Forget about the fact that you’ll be traversing through a colorful Caribbean island (if you can). This trip offers in-the-field photography instruction focused on composition and lighting by accomplished South African photographer Julia Cumes.
 
Her work has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, and The Chicago Tribune, along with many other publications (*flips hair*). She’s spent much of her time capturing powerful images in Africa and East Asia, particularly of the struggles women and girls face.
 
Grab a camera and get in on this trip. With one-on-one time built into the schedule, there’s no better way to learn the ins and outs of photography than from this pro.
 
Stay with the locals in Old Havana.
High ceilings, picturesque chandeliers, and beautifully restored architecture awaits at your stay in casas particulares in the historic district of Cuba’s capital, Havana. Bring your spongiest attitude to soak up the rich culture. You’ll tour sites like Plaza de la Revolución, Colón Cemetery, Malecón, and Plaza Vieja in classic 1950s vehicles (hello, Instagram of the year). 
 
Savor some coffee, chat with the locals, admire cobblestone streets, and (most importantly) take pictures of everything. At sunset, you’ll walk down the Malecón to catch musicians jamming, young people hanging out, and other intimate moments of Havana life.
 
Eat at an old powerplant-turned-hip venue.
If you’re looking for a younger, edgier experience, you’ll end up at Cuba’s Art Factory—a gallery space and club. Enjoy dinner here, and take in the art, photography, and experimental performers!
 
Get ready to dance (or at least photograph) ballet and salsa.
Spend a couple hours photographing a ballet company’s rehearsal before taking a salsa class of your own. (Then put those new skills to the test when you end up at a salsa bar in Trinidad a couple days later in the trip.) 
 
Explore the Bay of Pigs. 
The excursion to the Zapata National Park is an excellent opportunity for nature lovers to snap landscape photography and the area’s fishing culture. History buffs will appreciate that this is where the famous Bay of Pigs invasion happened in 1961. 
 
But even if history wasn’t your jam in high school, you’ll have no problem appreciating the crystal clear waters where you can snorkel, swim, or simply put your feet in and soak it all in (more sponge metaphors!).
 
Engage the community in Trinidad.
A UNESCO heritage site, Trinidad is a colorful site of markets with artisans, street art, historical architecture, and old-world culture. This is one of the most photogenic spots in Cuba, and you’ll get to capture it. Though you should stop to appreciate it without the camera too.
 
Price it Out: Cuba Through the Lens
Date: March 24-30, 2019
Trip price (excluding airfare): $3875 based on double occupancy (plus $200 for your own room)
This includes: Visa and entry requirements into Cuba, letter of authorization, private transportation and driver, airport transfers, bi-lingual local guide, lodging, all meals except one lunch, all excursions in the itinerary, entrance fees to parks, photo instruction, and one-on-one critiques.

*DEAL ALERT* Get $100 off your trip to Cuba (or any other Purposeful Nomad trip) when you use the code Nav.it at checkout!

NI
Nadia Imafidon
about 1 month ago

Don’t Just Survive, Thrive: How to Ditch the To-Do List and Live Your Life

It’s always on the second to last day of vacation that reality starts creeping back in. The endless to-do list once I return home, the busy work week ahead—it all comes floating back into my brain, ruining those precious final moments of my trip.
 
I find myself wishing my refrigerator would just stock itself, or that I had the Beyoncé-level mon...
It’s always on the second to last day of vacation that reality starts creeping back in. The endless to-do list once I return home, the busy work week ahead—it all comes floating back into my brain, ruining those precious final moments of my trip.
 
I find myself wishing my refrigerator would just stock itself, or that I had the Beyoncé-level money to afford my own personal assistant.
 
And I’m not alone. Danna Redmond, co-founder of HeyThrivy, noticed that she spent all of her free time running errands and not actually doing the things that brought her joy.
 
“As a working professional, I was always crunched for time,” Danna says. “But I was never busy enough (or frankly, making enough money) to hire a full-time or even part-time personal assistant.” 
 
Danna and her co-founder, Dianna Winegarden, couldn’t find anybody offering a solution like what they needed: part-time help from a trusted individual who could make proactive recommendations for home maintenance and not charge per individual task. 
 
“So we decided to create it,” Danna says. 
 
Who needs HeyThrivy? 
The busy urban professional who has an active social life and is looking for ways to find more time to do the things they enjoy so they can get out there and thrive.  
 
How is it different from a traditional personal assistant?
  1. When you subscribe to our service, you’re matched with an assistant who’s an employee of our company. You don’t have to become the employer yourself. 
  2. It’s a flat monthly fee with everything included, so you’re not paying for individual services or by the hour.  
  3. We have a network of vetted home maintenance vendors that we call upon for specialty tasks. 
  4. Our app enables our employees and their clients to communicate easily and efficiently. It also stores the records of every request and home maintenance task. 
  5. We have a team behind all of our home managers/personal assistants. As a client, you aren’t reliant on the skills or knowledge of only one individual; our home managers can rely on the broader team for challenging questions or tasks.
What do your customers need the most help with? 
Things like dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, taking away donations, making store returns, shipping online returns (hello, Amazon), and recycling electronics.  
 
Once a week, we do our Home Booster tasks, which involve organizing closets and pantries, and folding a lot of laundry. We also schedule window washers, landscapers, and—now that winter has come—fireplace and chimney cleanings.  
 
Our goal is to take on the things that need to be handled to keep life humming along but people don’t love doing, so they can get out there and live a bigger, better life in whatever way makes them happy.
 
Can you help Nav.igators plan vacations?
Definitely. We do research on hotels in the cities they’re interested in, or find recommendations for specialty requests in remote locations.
 
For example, we can research recommendations for a ski in/ski out house in Breckenridge for winter break or find a place that rents baby gear in Hawaii. Usually our clients set their budgets and we find solutions that fit their needs.
 
Is there anything you can’t or won’t do? 
We do have some general guidelines: we don’t watch or transport children; we don’t walk or transport pets. We also aren’t housecleaners, but we can help you find a house cleaner.  
 
Why did you decide to include unlimited tasks? 
One of the barriers to getting help is when people have to pay by the task or by the hour. They don’t like feeling nickel-and-dimed.
 
We know that people don’t limit themselves to four tasks a week. Sometimes we have a lot and sometimes we have a little, so I wanted to build a service that could accommodate that need.
 
What makes HeyThrivy truly special? 
We can actually anticipate your needs and be proactive in making recommendations. For example, we know what home tasks and maintenance projects should be done each season. We can have the landscapers scheduled for early spring before they get too booked up.

We are also in our clients’ homes each week, so we can see things that might need attention like a pantry or closet that needs to be organized. We can also help clients plan early for important events like birthday parties or their first Thanksgiving meal. 
  
Price it Out: Live Your Life, Not Your To-Do List
  • Boost ($300 per month): Includes unlimited tasks, vendor referrals, weekly home visit (60 min), and dedicated home manager
  • Thrive ($499 per month): Everything above plus vendor scheduling, home project management, and travel/event planning
  • Thrive Plus ($650 per month): Everything above plus an extra 30 minutes for your weekly house visit (90 min total).
 
EP
Erin Papworth
about 1 month ago

The Nav.it Take on Psychology, Life and Money

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Nav.it has a very specific philosophy regarding psychology, life, and money. To sum it up and as Mr. Dupri said so eloquently: “Money ain’t a thang”

We must begin with the classic proverb: ‘Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will’. Okay, this isn’t really an old adage — it’s a Nelson Mandela quote, and I love it because he was...
N
Nav.it has a very specific philosophy regarding psychology, life, and money. To sum it up and as Mr. Dupri said so eloquently: “Money ain’t a thang”

We must begin with the classic proverb: ‘Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will’. Okay, this isn’t really an old adage — it’s a Nelson Mandela quote, and I love it because he was a society-shifting badass and it represents the Nav.it philosophy. Let me tell you why.

Challenges are a part of Life

Nav.it or the ‘navigating life’ concept says that the human experience is complicated. Shit does happen. We fail, we succeed, we fall, we get up, and life keeps moving. It moves forward, maybe it appears to move backwards, but it surely keeps moving. And perfection? Ha! Humanity is starting to grasp that perfection is an illusion of our social construct and completely relative.

The Psychology of Challenges

So while challenges are a part of life, medical advances over the past century have concluded we have this insanely complex tool to overcome and survive them. Our really amazing brains that can exhibit emotional intelligence.

Using 21st-century technology, psychologists and brain scientists are now able to study how the brain chemically reacts and changes when certain feelings, emotions and characteristics are exhibited. And while much of the 20th century was focused on defining the neuroses and pathologies that make us miserable, over the last 30 years there’s been more of an emphasis on the positive. In fact, science has confirmed not only what emotions and behaviors help us achieve happiness regardless of challenges, but how we can improve and increase our neural pathways (grow brain real estate!) to form habits and beliefs that contribute to decreasing anxiety, fear, worry and increasing self-efficacy, resilience and happiness. Is perfection attainable? Of course not. Is happiness as a state of mind available to us throughout our lives even with the peaks and valleys? Yep, every day.

Nav.it and Money

This leads us back to how Nav.it thinks of psychology and money. A plethora of studies show that certain psychological strengths — such as growth mindset, resilience, grit, perseverance, mindful self-awareness, self-control, and emotional intelligence — all contribute to increasing a person’s ability to “execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainment”, i.e. self-efficacy, or the “confidence in one’s ability to exert control …one’s own motivation, behavior and social environment.” Manifestation, baby. It’s real.

In the current culture-speak, self-efficacy is when you #ownit. This is the empowered, self-assured, confident and knowledgeable person. This is when you are #woke and when you act #likeaboss.

If you look around, this language is everywhere from collegial groups (#LeanIn), to thought-leaders (#Oprah), to the social movements (#blacklivesmatter, #metoo) emerging to push our society forward.

The fact that this language and confidence is seeping into our social dialogue and gives us examples of people overcoming great hardships and injustices, gives me serious hope for the future. The more people develop the neural circuitry that enables them to consistently exhibit resilience and grit in the face of trials, the better our world will become. Cause #diversity, #chill and #love win the long game. Jamaica knew this all along and the U.N. just caught up.

Empowerment and Money

With these concepts in mind when Nav.it looked at current social empowerment undertones, we saw a gaping hole in one specific area of true self-determination. Money. Money is not the end-all, be-all of human achievement. On the contrary, we all know people that have relatively little of it but are wonderfully balance, honest, trustworthy, respectful, and overall the best of humanity. Money is purely a currency of exchange that allows us the freedom to choose our own destiny, it gives us a leg-up on opportunities, and makes the challenges we face in life hella easier. So basically money helps us overcome the survival challenges so we can move onto the psychological and emotional ones. That’s the blessing of being born in this country and we shouldn’t take that for granted.

Now, the data on financial literacy in the U.S., and particularly among young people, is abysmal. Yet money determines our opportunities, lifestyle and social change. Managing money is a significant life “challenge” because our financial system is a labyrinth of pitfalls and ways to lose. It also seems our education system and our social values have deprioritized teaching young people how to navigate it.

On the flip side, the citizens of this country have access to insane amounts of credit and starting a business in our economy is relatively easy, so there is also a lot to possibly gain if you understand how the game is played. Unfortunately, the rules are such that the people who understand the maze have a chance to win enormously, and the ones who don’t often suffer unfairly.

What an ideal place, then, to explore all those self-efficacy traits that psychologists and neuroscientists say determine happiness. The financial system we live in is ready and able to give us challenges. The question is, are we equipped to exhibit the resilience, grit, perseverance, and self-determination necessary to navigate them?

Nav.it Philosophy

Nav.it
views money as a practical part of life that we don’t have a choice but to manage. We also believe that true empowerment (#lifegoals) and the pursuit of happiness (#psychology) in the United States only emerges when we feel confident and can provide for ourselves and our future without fear. So we’re creating products that work on self-efficacy through the management of money. Cause we think everyone can act #likeaboss and be, at minimum, the boss of themselves.


AP
Amanda Page
about 2 months ago

Meet The Digital Nomad Who Doesn’t Believe in the Word “Should”

Nav.it Takeaway: Wanderist Life founder Libyria Jones believes working remotely can empower you to work in ways—and places—that boost your productivity and create a healthier work-life relationship. So she created a travel abroad program that enables adventure-seekers and their families to experience that freedom for themselves.

The end...
Nav.it Takeaway: Wanderist Life founder Libyria Jones believes working remotely can empower you to work in ways—and places—that boost your productivity and create a healthier work-life relationship. So she created a travel abroad program that enables adventure-seekers and their families to experience that freedom for themselves.

The end of vacation often brings a sense of despair as we realize it’s time to return to reality. But what if your vacation setting was your reality? Telecommutes are becoming more and more common as employers realize they can save money—and improve their employees’ quality of life—by not tethering staff to their desks. With the freedom to work from anywhere, the possibilities are suddenly endless (and, albeit, a little overwhelming).
 
For Libyria Jones, the ability to work and roam simultaneously isn’t a plus, it’s a must. Growing up, she was determined to see the world—and she got her first chance while she was in business school at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. A professor hand-selected Jones for a finance internship in China, but she was ultimately told she couldn’t attend because she planned to bring her young daughter along. That rejection would ultimately become the butt of a joke that would alter the course of her life—both professionally and personally.
 
Making Dreams a Reality
Wanderist Life was born when Jones recommended an adult travel abroad program to a friend. Although she was able travel frequently for work, she joked that opportunities like the program didn’t exist for professionals with children. “’Maybe I should just start my own [program], and let people who have kids go on it,’” Jones recalls saying.
 
She couldn’t shake the idea, so she decided to make it a reality. She took a role that enabled her to work remotely, and used her free mornings and evenings to develop a business plan. After just a few months, she launched a website, and in September of 2015, she made her business “Facebook official.” Three months later, she began accepting applications. On July 31, 2016, the first Wander Year group boarded a plane to Prague.
 
Living Like a Local
The Wander Year enables participants, or “Wanderists,” and their families to live and work remotely in four cities around the world for three months at a time. Each destination is carefully vetted by Jones and her team, down to its WiFi connectivity—and before the trip even begins, the Wanderists partake in a 12-week training course to help prepare them for the experience.
 
In addition to scheduling all flights, the Wanderist Life team navigates each country’s entry requirements, and secures apartments in neighborhoods that are equal parts fun, convenient, and safe. Each participant has their own bedroom and workspace, as well as basic necessities like a kitchen, linens, and laundry. The team also organizes social or volunteer opportunities, and hosts networking and “mastermind” sessions so that the Wanderists can make moves, polish business plans, and stay motivated.
 
Having a job isn’t a requirement for the program, but according to Jones, it’s kind of inevitable: by the end of the first Wander Year, three unemployed participants had decided to launch their own businesses. The idea of embarking on a year-long journey abroad, regardless of career status, sounds like an opportunity only afforded to the successful or wealthy. But with Wanderist Life, the experience is within reach.
 
The monthly fee, which covers all program-initiated travel, lodging, and activities, comes in at $2,200. That’s less than the average cost of rent in N.Y.C. and San Francisco, and slightly more than the averages of L.A. and Chicago. In all, the price of a year-long, life-altering experience for one person is $31,400—with a $2,000 refundable deposit.

Embracing Imbalance
For Jones, the best part of being a digital nomad isn’t the ability to roam freely. It’s having the chance to work where she feels most comfortable—and having more time to spend with her family. “People need to have enough space to live their lives,” she says. 
 
Still, finding equilibrium between work, travel, and family is a never-ending quest. And as a business owner, the pressure is doubled. “There’s no such thing as balance, so you’ve got to be able to forgive yourself for not doing everything,” says Jones. “I’ve eliminated ‘should’ from my vocabulary—it’s either ‘I will’ or ‘I won’t’.”
 
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Her daughter joining her on the premier Wander Year made it easier for Jones to wear multiple hats—and stay in check. The experience also made her realize the positive impact mobility can have on education. After her daughter immersed herself in “The Diary of Anne Frank” for a school assignment, Jones decided to bring her along on a quick business trip to Amsterdam. There, she was able to visit the apartment that Frank hid away in, walk through the annex, and see the diary in person. “Having that opportunity truly amplified her learning, in a way that a traditional classroom never could have,” says Jones.
 
Although the Wander Year doesn’t offer a formal education component, Jones and the other two mothers in the program worked together to create plans, hire teachers, and fill any gaps. She was also impressed by the quality and efficiency of the virtual program she enrolled her daughter in, which featured oral exams, weekly phone calls, and live classes. Although she recognizes that not every student would thrive in a virtual environment, the educational benefit is undeniable.
 
“Being tied to a desk is archaic. We live in a time where it’s just not required,” says Jones. 

AP
Amanda Page
about 2 months ago

Change Your Glasses Game at DC's Warby Parker Georgetown

image credit: instagram @warbyparker) 

I’ll admit, I’ve resisted Warby Parker for some time. I’ve seen this brand all over social media for years with friends and bloggers singing the praises of these fashionable, yet reasonably priced frames. I remained a skeptic.

Warby Parker sounded sensible and safe lik...
image credit: instagram @warbyparker) 

I’ll admit, I’ve resisted Warby Parker for some time. I’ve seen this brand all over social media for years with friends and bloggers singing the praises of these fashionable, yet reasonably priced frames. I remained a skeptic.

Warby Parker sounded sensible and safe like a pair of comfortable walking shoes or nude undergarments. That’s just not me. I want the glasses that complement my cool French boho looks as easily as my nerd-chic office vibes.

Call me an elitist, but I need high-quality frames that make a statement. But then I started to wonder, how can designer frames be so much better than the generic brands, if they’re all made out of the same material? Here is where Warby Parker excels.

The price is right.

My new glasses cost $275–a far cry from the $700 designer frames (pre-lenses) I typically fall in love with. And this was on the top end of their frame and lens options. I got the super thin, no glare, x-ray vision upgrades (x-ray vision not really included). A real steal, if you ask me.

The only downer is the insurance they accept is limited.

You buy one, they give one.

Warby Parker really shines when it comes to socially conscious business practices. For every pair of glasses sold, they give a pair to someone in need. They do this in two ways: one is through empowering men and women with training opportunities to give basic eye exams and sell affordable glasses; and the second is simply giving vision care and glasses to school-aged children in need.

I don’t think Chanel is as generous about eye care and outfitting those in need, but I could be wrong.

The glasses look expensive.

What struck me about the store is that it feels designer. The atmosphere is modern, clean and inviting, and has an impressive collection of high-art magazines and books. The second I caught a glimpse of the David Bowie biography, I was sold.

Take all my money. Give it to children so they can buy glasses. What extra sold me were the employees.

I made new best friends.

My favorite part? The sales team. Literally the best customer service of my life.

They were incredibly helpful, and genuinely fun and friendly, making this typically boring task a social outing. I almost invited them over for a wine and cheese party, but then I remembered that I prefer my parties to have a guest list of one (or two, hi husband).

Style-wise, I was surprised and impressed. Lots of current, high-fashion trends to choose from. I ultimately decided on an incredible pair of gold, slightly cat-eye wire frames. Shh, I never said my taste was for everyone.
AP
Amanda Page
about 2 months ago

Lauren Washington: Helping Fellow Black Female Entrepreneurs Launch Billion-Dollar Businesses

Happy Monday Nav.igators! We thought we'd kick off the week with a little Savvy Insider #inspo.  Meet Lauren Washington. She knew from a young age that she was going to own her own business. But while on the path to launching her first company, she encountered obstacles rooted in race and gender discrimination. Inspired to help current and future black female e...
Happy Monday Nav.igators! We thought we'd kick off the week with a little Savvy Insider #inspo.  Meet Lauren Washington. She knew from a young age that she was going to own her own business. But while on the path to launching her first company, she encountered obstacles rooted in race and gender discrimination. Inspired to help current and future black female entrepreneurs find the support and resources they need, she co-founded Black Women Talk Tech, an organization devoted to helping black women create billion-dollar businesses.
 
For many of us growing up, the question of what we wanted to be as an adult elicited responses that ranged from fanciful to downright preposterous. I personally envisioned myself becoming a tornado chaser, à la “Twister,” or a writer. (It turns out that chasing weather patterns isn’t conducive to a homebody’s lifestyle, thus my falling back on my alternate occupation of choice.) For others, the query was simple to answer and instinctual to follow through with because they’ve always known what they were born to be.
 
Lauren Washington doesn’t just fall into the latter category; she basically owns it. As a child, she babysat, sold tomatoes from a neighbor’s garden, and worked at a local candy store. She was driven by the idea of ownership, of creating something from scratch. “No matter where my winding career path took me, I knew I would eventually end up a business owner,” Washington explains.
 
Flash-forward to 2018, and Washington has two businesses to her name—the second of which was inadvertently born from the first.
 
Diving in
Washington was thoughtful and intentional in her launch preparations for KeepUp, an app that aggregates social networks into one seamless feed. She saved enough income to sustain her for a full year, and kept the business as a side-hustle for six months. But when she left her full-time role sooner than anticipated, she was faced with a dilemma: Should she work for someone else, or take a leap with KeepUp?
 
“I had to choose myself,” says Washington. “After I was able to devote 100 percent of my time to the business, things moved much faster; we ended up winning $250,000 in the 43North competition, which let us build a team, and test product and market fit.”
 
Started in 2014, KeepUp simplifies social media for business owners, allowing them to connect with consumers in more meaningful ways. A powerful algorithm is translated into easy-to-use tools that not only empower individuals to manage, engage, and grow their following, but also enables them to reach customers at their point of purchase. It’s a business concept that would have all three investors on “Shark Tank” jumping out of their seats, but when Washington started to pursue traditional funding routes, she was surprised at how difficult the process was.
 
“I couldn’t understand why I followed and exceeded the conventional advice on how to raise money, and still wasn’t making the same progress as others I knew,” says Washington. “I knew women in general were at a disadvantage, but I didn’t realize how dire it was at the intersection of gender and race.”
 
Changing the .2%
In 2016, digitalundivided released Project Diane, a report that detailed the disparities in funding for black women. The report discovered that between 2012 and 2014, the average amount raised for a startup headed by a black woman was $36,000; the average raised by a white male for a startup that ultimately failed was $1.3 million.
 
“That report confirmed my experience and that of many other black women,” says Washington. The data compiled by Project Diane revealed that only 11 startups led by black women had raised more than $1 million in outside funding. Additionally, those contributions were almost all funded by the same three investors.
 
As a black female founder in an industry dominated by white men, Washington noticed a pattern at the tech conferences she attended in 2015: she was one of only three black women in the room. Quickly, she, TresseNoire founder Regina Gwynn, and Co-Sign founder Esosa Ighodaro realized they were having the same experiences—and it wasn’t just a coincidence. “We realized then that if we were [having these conversations], others must be as well. Why not get together and share stories, resources, and support?” says Washington.
 
So the women did. They formed Black Women Talk Tech with the intention of creating a space where founders could come together to glean insights and build networks. But after their first official event at Google, they saw how impactful and cathartic the experience was for attendees. Says Washington, “It was a no-brainer to keep going. We went from just 10 founders at a retreat to almost 500 people at our most recent conference in February.”
 
Progress & the Power of Pressing ‘Pause’
Today, Washington, Gwynn, and Ighodaro are actively finding ways to serve women both in-person and remotely. They’re growing their events and developing an online platform called The Collective, which will give their 500-plus members the chance to engage each other through webinars and virtual programs.
 
“While we haven’t really reached the level of progress that we need to, we’re starting to move in the right direction,” Washington says of the tech industry’s current climate. “There is, at the very least, a growing awareness of the disparities between the funding, resources, and access that minorities and women are getting.”
 
She has expansion in mind for KeepUp, too. They’re building out the platform’s SaaS (software as a service) product, which will enable smaller businesses to get the same return on investment from their social media as larger corporations. Between her two businesses, it seems like Washington is in hustle mode 24/7, 365 days a year. But the entrepreneur has important advice for her fellow movers and shakers. 
 
“I used to beat myself up when I wasn’t as productive as I intended to be, but I’ve learned that it’s my body’s way of saying I need to take some down time,” she says. “You can’t force motivation and inspiration. You can’t just grind all the time. Give your mind the space it needs to be inspired.”

BS
Bekah Stallworth
about 2 months ago

Life Coach and Wellness Advisor Nicole Negron Says Lean into Your Personal Biochemistry to Get Sh*t Done

Nav.it Takeaway: The stress and pressure from our everyday lives is detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing. But we can change that—and the way we live—by understanding the correlation between our cycles and our brains, and how it affects our productivity each month.
 
Being a woman in 2018 is both empowering and exhau...
Nav.it Takeaway: The stress and pressure from our everyday lives is detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing. But we can change that—and the way we live—by understanding the correlation between our cycles and our brains, and how it affects our productivity each month.
 
Being a woman in 2018 is both empowering and exhausting. Every day, we’re affecting changes that we hope will strengthen and afford more opportunities to future generations of women. But every day is also a new fight against the rampant sexism that’s ingrained in our culture.
 
On top of the many external stressors are internal struggles. We know we’re undervalued and underpaid, yet we wonder if there’s more we could do to demonstrate our worth. We’re exhausted, yet we worry we aren’t showing up early enough or staying late enough at work. We’re giving everyone else 100 percent, yet we feel it’s too demanding to ask for that in return. That pressure takes a toll, manifesting in physical and mental health issues that become nearly impossible to pinpoint.
 
Perhaps the worst part is that we’re resigned to deal with all of this in silence. Why? Because the exhaustion and stress has become normalized. Almost every woman is overextended, and the prospect of fighting to feel any other way requires time and energy we just don’t have. Complaining, feeling tired, or being emotional isn’t an option, because it’s attributed to an “inherent” weakness: being female.
 
Nicole Negron, a holistic wellness advisor and life coach, doesn’t believe that women have to submit to patriarchal standards of success to be successful themselves. In fact, she wants us to tap into our feminine superpowers, embrace our sensitivity and intuition, and use them to our own benefit. Here’s how.
 
Sync Your Brain and Cycle
After years of being misdiagnosed and debilitated by PMDD and dysmenorrhea, Negron decided to take her health into her own hands. She studied functional nutrition and earned certifications from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the Integrative Pelvic Health Institute. Using her knowledge of female endocrinology, she tuned into the phases of her monthly cycle, and how they affected her productivity levels. Through extensive research, she developed an approach to women’s health that was based on listening to the female body instead of trying to alter its chemistry.
 
Today, Negron’s life mission is to help other women make sense of—and lean into—their personal biochemistry. She unleashes her clients’ potential by teaching them to understand the correlation between their brain and their monthly cycles. Once their brain and cycle are in sync, productivity isn’t as draining, and mental and physical health comes more naturally. Negron calls it the “Art of the Female Body.”
 
Understand the Art of the Female Body
Rather than simply coaching you on being more efficient, Negron helps strategically prioritize your workload (and life) based on the cyclical shifts in your brain. During the first week of your cycle—the follicular phase—the prefrontal cortex is more active, which means things like planning and decision-making come easier. The following week, which is the ovulation phase, sees heightened activity in the left hemisphere (which controls language, logic, and critical thinking) but diminished activity in the right (which is responsible for creativity, intuition, and emotion). In the third phase, activity in the hemispheres switches; finally, during the fourth phase—menstruation—communication between the right and left brain is at its peak.
 
Strike the Perfect Balance
Synchronizing your brain and monthly cycle isn’t as simple as understanding it. Chemical imbalances have to be righted to maximize both mental and physical output. By studying your cycle and its effect on you, Negron can identify hormonal deficiencies that are potentially throwing your entire system out of whack. Suffering from short-term memory loss or brain fog? You could be lacking in estrogen. Is your sex drive low? Your progesterone levels might be, too. Are you struggling to lose weight? You may have too much (or too little) testosterone.
 
To help set the foundation for full body harmony, Negron also determines your metabolic type and establishes a diet that’s most beneficial to your unique body. Through careful experimentation and fine-tuning, she finds the protein and carbohydrate ratio that’s optimal for your needs, whether it’s losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight.
 
Forget What You Know
To sustain the healthy relationship between body and cycle, there has to be a change in mentality, too. And that’s where Negron’s Principles of the Feminine come into play. Through support and practical advice, she helps reframe the deep-rooted gender norms and expectations that have forced us women to sacrifice our mental and physical health since…well, forever.
 
By embracing your femininity and the emotions you once believed were a hindrance, you can begin to energize. Instead of nurturing others out of obligation or guilt, you learn to set boundaries so that it’s mutually beneficial. Self-care comes without guilt, and expressing yourself comes without fear of retribution. Overall, Negron helps you become the woman you were destined to be: strong, successful, and satisfied.

BS
Bekah Stallworth
3 months ago

9 Podcasts That’ll Make You Think, Laugh, or Feel Inspired This Weekend

The weekend is here! Need something new to listen to? We have podcast picks for true crime fans, beauty nerds, movie buffs, and everyone in between.
 
Discovering a podcast is like falling in love with a new TV show—except you can ostensibly binge on one while you’re sitting at your office desk. (We would never!) The most menia...
The weekend is here! Need something new to listen to? We have podcast picks for true crime fans, beauty nerds, movie buffs, and everyone in between.
 
Discovering a podcast is like falling in love with a new TV show—except you can ostensibly binge on one while you’re sitting at your office desk. (We would never!) The most menial tasks are made bearable by a good podcast, but, similar to your favorite show, the last episode means a sudden end to the dopamine rush. If you’ve been craving audio stimulation or some mindless entertainment, we have a few recommendations that are sure to leave you satisfied. (Just make sure your boss doesn’t catch on.)
 
Late Night Whenever
If you love “2 Dope Queens”—and you should, because Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are, well, queens—then tune into comedian Michelle Buteau’s “Late Night Whenever.” The honorary Dope Queen's live show is funny and relatable. (“A round of applause for yourselves for coming out on a mother f*****g Tuesday night!” she says to the audience during the first episode’s intro.) Sadly, there’s only a handful of episodes since it launched at the beginning of April, but now you have something to look forward to on Tuesday morning. You’re welcome.
 
In the Dark
If you were obsessed with the first season of “Serial,” “In the Dark” could be your next audio addiction. Focused on the almost 30-year-old case of Jacob Wetterling, the series explores how a small Minnesota town’s local law enforcement failed to solve the mystery of young Wetterling’s kidnapping, and the crime’s national impact. Reported by Madeleine Baran, the conclusion of the podcast won’t leave you scouring the internet for theories; as Baran was investigating, the culprit confessed to the secret he’d been harboring for 27 years.
 
P.S. The next season of “In the Dark” comes out May 1.
 
My Dad Wrote a Porno
Yes, this podcast is based on actual events, and yes, it’s horrifying. But it’s also hilarious. Rocky, the author of the aforementioned erotica, has no idea what is actually sexy or arousing, leading to side-splitting commentary from his son and his two friends. Typically, the trio only makes it through one chapter per episode because it takes so long to a.) stop laughing and b.) figure out what Rocky was actually trying to convey. 
 
P.S. The British accents make it slightly easier to stomach phrases that would otherwise make you visibly cringe.

Dirty John
Disclaimer: “Dirty John” is only six episodes long. But there’s good news: Bravo has decided to create its own anthology series, similar to “American Crime Story,” and the first season will cover the premise of this very podcast. Just do yourself a favor: avoid spoilers and listen to it immediately. Like, right now. I won’t even mention why, but once again: you’re welcome.
 
Superficial Magic
Equal parts entertaining and insightful, “Superficial Magic” explores subjects like astrology, spiritual psychology, and reiki through the filter of self-care. It may sound a little lofty, but host Meagan Grainger is so relatable and candid that you feel like you’re listening to a discussion with one of your closest friends. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to meditate or manifest positivity, give the podcast a listen—Grainger speaks to both in the most approachable way possible.
 
Fat Mascara
You don’t have to be a beauty nerd to love “Fat Mascara,” but it does help. Hosted by beauty editors Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein, the podcast takes a high-low approach to the industry: one episode, Matlin and Goldstein will chat about their favorite products, and the next they’ll discuss fragrances as though they’re talking about art. After their interview with stylist Lorraine Massey, I’m inspired to let my silver hairs reign.
 
ID10T with Chris Hardwick
Speaking of nerds…earlier this year, Chris Hardwick rebranded his "Nerdist" show as "ID10T with Chris Hardwick," but little else has changed. The name is proof: ID-Ten-T is tech-speak for a user-generated error; its abbreviation, “ID10T,” resembles the word “idiot.” Hardwick is still “adorkable,” and his conversations with celebrities like Laraine Newman, Joe Manganiello, and Natalie Portman are as endearing (and entertaining) as ever.
 
How Did This Get Made?
Do you love terrible movies? Do you ever wonder how they came to be? Host Paul Scheer doesn’t have the answer, but he attempts to understand how films like “Congo” and “Deep Blue Sea” were made by eviscerating them, scene-by-scene. You may not know Sheer by name, but you’re sure to recognize his voice and humor. Plus, the hilarious commentary provided by co-hosts June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas will probably make you laugh to the point of crying. (Probably best to test this at home before rolling on the floor at work a couple desks away from your boss.)
 
Gen Why
“Gen Why” is a true crime fanatic’s dream. Every single episode explores a different crime or unsolved mystery, from the disappearance of Natalee Holloway to the murder investigation into Casey Anthony to the crash of TWA Flight 800. With hundreds of episodes covering everything from highly publicized cases to urban legends, the show is sure to satisfy your morbid curiosity for the foreseeable future.