What Self-Care Looks Like For Jet-Setting Attorney Cynthia Andrew
In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
Life is a balancing act: one that takes patience, self-care, and a heart full of hustle to truly master.
New York-based blogger and attorney Cynthia Andrew, best known as Simply Cyn, has spent the majority of her time over the past few weeks jet-setting and living out every single one of our #TravelGoals but it's important to know that with a life full of so much spontaneity, Cyn still makes self-care one of her top priorities. From Amsterdam and Anguilla to Thailand and The Maldives, there's no shortage of airline miles when it comes to this fashion blogging paralegal's quest for freedom, abundance, and ultimately, balance.
We got to sit down with Cyn, who gave us all the tea on how she creates a sense of equilibrium while still living a life that's full of adventure. Whether it's going all out on a manicure at the nail shop or curling up with her hubby to binge-watch The Great British Bakeoff, Cyn says finding time to wind down is her secret to the ultimate level-up. Here's what we learned:
What’s been the driving force behind all of the hats that you wear these days? What is your “why”?
I love sharing experiences with others. I think we can all learn a lot from each other. It's also why I love to travel so much.
At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause and finding balance in both your personal and professional life?
Probably more recently, I've always been on go, go, go. But I actually had to take some time from my office gig to recenter myself and to explore a few options for myself especially in light of all the opportunities I now get because of my blog and social media.
What are some ways you stay focused on the positive when things get hard?
I just remember that it always seems insurmountable, but past experience has shown that it gets better. You can survive the biggest challenges. We are stronger than we think and it's never really as bad as it feels in the moment.
"You can survive the biggest challenges. We are stronger than we think and it's never really as bad as it feels in the moment."
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
A little while ago, it was: get up early enough to post social media content, go to work meetings and more meetings, leave the office sometime around 6 p.m. (or much later depending on the project) and then, as soon as I get home, work on my blog and Instagram content. Then, I would schedule shoots for the weekend and manage brand collaboration emails and deliverables. But the past two months, I have been traveling nonstop––Amsterdam, Italy, Maldives, Anguilla, Thailand, Vegas––so it's been extremely unusual.
What are your mornings like?
I'm up around 5-6 a.m. I wish I could say I work out, but it's been a space where I struggle with inconsistency. It's mostly emails and more emails. Breakfast happens somewhere around 10 am and it's either avocado on toast or yogurt.
How do you wind down at night?
Wind down… (laughs), what's that? I try to have something soothing in the background while I work––jazz, comedy. I also love what I do, which is key. So I can keep at it for quite a while.
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
Mondays can be quite brutal because everyone is back on the grind and it's the emails that can distract me from completing actual work and projects. I usually have lots of photos and videos to edit. I also have to write blog posts, product reviews or copy for brand collabs. Again, this is completely separate and apart from my other responsibilities when I'm at the office––a completely different universe of responsibilities from the social media universe.
Do you practice self-care? What does that look like for you?
I understand the importance of self-care and I practice it in certain ways. For example, I sometimes just stop and watch TV, that relaxes me. This usually means The Great British Bake Off; I call my sister and friends or stop by their place. But to be completely honest, I'm in a busy season. I wanted this season and it won't be forever so at this moment, self-care time is less than optimal. If I was giving advice to myself, I would recommend just a little bit more.
"To be completely honest, I'm in a busy season. I wanted this season and it won't be forever so at this moment, self-care time is less than optimal. If I was giving advice to myself, I would recommend just a little bit more."
What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?
I think a little is better than none, so my minimal downtime helps me refocus. It's like the power nap, a little bit can go a long way in recharging you. Something else I do for self-care is I get a mani-pedi and I completely put my phone away. I don't try to get any work done during that time. Get one of those hand treatments where your hands are unusable or go all in and get that hour massage. Also, put an away message on your email if you need some time. Just say you're indisposed and will get back to them when you can. Set realistic deadlines and if you have the ability to control this, be honest and firm.
How do you find balance with:
Monthly dinner plans, group chats, and photos to update each other on what's going on. My friends are the best though, they set things up and they completely understand the season I'm in and they don't judge or make me feel guilty if I'm late or have to miss get-togethers.
The hubby is my partner in crime, so I'm lucky. He supports me so much in so many ways and will be the one to call a timeout for me if he thinks I'm doing too much. We like good dinner plans together.
Exercise? Does it happen?
The hubby and I sometimes work out together. To be most accurate, we head over to the gym together and do completely different things but our plans have more recently been derailed by travel.
Do you cook or find yourself eating out more often?
Love to cook but been I've been ordering out lately. Sometimes I just get sweet plantains and roast them with hot sauce and that's it. Now that it's getting colder, I'll probably go back to my fave thing which is making huge pots of soup that last all week––chicken soup, cow foot soup, and more.
Do you ever detox? What does that consist of?
I don't detox, but I consciously eat clean more often than not. We generally don't have snacks lying around, we eat fruits, salads. Keep it simple.
What does happiness mean to you?
Less worries, less fear. I'm not sure you can completely eliminate worries and fear and I think that's actually a good thing for balance.
To keep up with Cyn, check out her Instagram @SimplyCyn!
Featured image by SimplyCyn/Instagram.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
From TikTok Breakthrough To Sold-Out Success: Stormi Steele Spills Tea On Dominating The Digital Market
In a world where going viral holds a lot of weight in the content creation space, many creators and brands strive for the coveted title, but not everyone can have that impact. Stormi Steele did what many brands struggle to do: create a product that resonates with its target audience, has ingenious packaging, and sells out. After founding Canvas Beauty in 2018, the entrepreneur expanded her brand, which was known for selling hair care products, and introduced a body butter that has had TikTok in a chokehold. The Body Glaze was Canvas Beauty’s first product on TikTok Shop, and now it's the number one selling product on the platform after going viral.
“It's surreal, honestly, and I'm really thankful for this moment,” Stormi tells xoNecole. “As far as it finally going viral, I wouldn't say that I thought it would, but I believed that it would. Like even when I was making videos, I kept telling everybody, I'm gonna go viral on TikTok. I'm gonna go viral on TikTok. Even when I came up with the idea and the packaging for the Body Glaze, I did it from a mindset of I wanted it to be viral like I want it to catch on. Like the way it feels, the way it works, the way it looks, it’s aesthetic. So, I went in with the intention and the belief that that was for me.”
And there’s more where that came from. The Love and Marriage: Huntsville reality star is expanding Canvas Beauty by including cosmetics and possibly products for the home. While she will still use TikTok, Stormi is also looking to create long-form content on YouTube. Stormi says Canvas Beauty is a lifestyle brand and will continue to listen to its customers to fulfill their needs. “I feel like just by listening to the consumer and becoming and building this lifestyle brand like we're just gonna slowly enter, you know, home spaces. Cosmetics,” she reveals. “Me and my colleague, we were talking about skincare just last night, so there's a lot of things that we have in the works because I really want to bring products to the market that is for a person's entire canvas, like anything that is canvas related.”
After seeing astronomical success with Body Glaze on TikTok, Stormi is paying it forward by sharing her four tips on how to market products on the popular platform.
BODY GLAZE SOLD OUT IN 8 minutes 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
Stormi’s first tip is storytelling because, according to her, people enjoy watching your journey. “TikTok is like one of the most friendliest platform as it comes to just people and authenticity,” she says. “So I will tell an entrepreneur, especially if their hands on with their brand, like show people the heart behind it, storytell.”
Build a Community Versus Selling
While selling products is the name of the game for any product-based business, the Canvas Beauty CEO shares the best way to do it. “Behind the scenes are always great and focus on like building a community and not more so just selling a product. So for us, like, I was selling the product, but I wasn’t saying like, ‘oh, go buy this’ or ‘buy this,’” she explains.
“I'm more so taking people on a journey with the growth of our brand and I think people resonate with that more so than, you know, just saying sell, sell, sell, and TikTok platform is very conducive to very like low-fi and just organic, real content.”
Authenticity is Key
Stormi implores that sharing your journey is optimal in growing your brand on TikTok, and one of the ways to do that is by being authentic. “I would tell people, you don't have to overthink it. You don't have to think ‘oh, I don't have this type of aesthetic’ or ‘I don't have this type of setup’ because it's (TikTok) very friendly to the growing and scaling entrepreneur,” Stormi says.
“So like realistic type of content, not the type of content that's like, you know, like overly glamorized people just love to see people in their journey. So I would tell any entrepreneur, especially if you're hands on, you’re the face of your brand, just show your journey, tell your story. And this is the one platform that highlights that and celebrates that.”
Don’t Count Yourself Out
Last but not least, the hairstylist turned beauty entrepreneur encourages others not to get discouraged. “Don't ever think that even if you're a small business, what you're doing is not big enough because it's big enough to someone, and on the TikTok platform, it’s like so perfect for the Gen-Z audience,” she explains. “They love to see that type of stuff.”
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Feature image courtesy