• FROM AYESHA
  • PHOTOGRAPHED BY WILLIAMS + HIRAKAWA
  • Kamperett Violetta Slip dress ($895, kamperett.com). Alexander McQueen dress (similar styles available at alexandermcqueen.com). By Far Bota boots ($535, byfar.com).
  • Welcome to Sweet July
  • One of the most common questions asked in the process of goal setting that I’ve received over the years has unanimously been, “Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?” As a young black woman of Jamaican descent from Markham, Ontario, I can honestly say that having my very own magazine did not seem as though it could happen in the foreseeable future. Oprah did it, yes, but Oprah is Oprah. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.
  • That’s the reason I wrapped my arms around this magazine, its ethos, and everything it has to offer. I want young girls to have a big vision for their future knowing that anything, truly, is possible.
  • I read an article a few months ago about Zozibini Tunzi, our current Miss Universe. She spoke about diversity and women not being afraid to take up space. I couldn’t agree with her more. I hope that this magazine is a reflection of just that: women from all walks of life taking up space and owning the heck out of it. I encourage you to flip through the pages again and again, taking in the success stories, failures we can learn from, triumphs to be inspired by, and conversation starters you can use at your dinner table—not to mention the delicious recipes that you’ll want to reference for years to come.
  • Sweet July came about as a feeling of happiness for me, a time when all the things that are good in my life happened. I married my husband of almost nine years in July, and we had all of our children in July (crazy, I know). Needless to say, it is always a whirlwind month of chaos for us, but the most beautiful kind, which I feel is a perfect representation of life. I then began wondering, “Why can’t I find the gratitude, love, and inspiration I have during that month and implement them into every day?” There were no reasons not to and I’ve made it a point to consistently be mindful of the feeling I have in July and find the gratitude to live each day that way. My hope is to encourage everyone to find their own version of Sweet July. It’s a feeling, a thought, a phrase, and I hope it will become a movement.
  • This is my version of art, and I truly encourage everyone to take from it what they will with the hopes that something will inspire a sense of self, change, love, adventure, and gratitude.
  • All right, enough of the sappy stuff. Let’s get into it!
  • STYLING BY BRIT & KARA; HAIR BY KENDALL DORSEY/FACTORYDOWNTOWN.COM FOR DOVE HAIR CARE; MAKEUP BY ASHLEY BIAS; MANICURE BY SONIA MOLINA/LULU CREATIVE; PROP STYLING BY CLAIRE MACK/AUBRI BALK.
  • COMMUNITY
    connected.
    In this column, we get candid with a couple on a relevant topic of their choice. Ayesha and Stephen kick things off with an intimate conversation about emotional expression, and whether “I love you” can go without saying.
    PHOTOGRAPHED BY THAYER GOWDY
    On Stephen: Derek Rose Basel Stretch Micro Modal t-shirt ($125, mrporter.com). On Ayesha: Kiki de Montparnasse Short Sleeve Silk PJ top ($305) Silk PJ shorts ($230, kikidm.com).
    AYESHA: I’m shocked that we’re going to have this talk because we’re in bed. It’s 9:50 p.m. on a Thursday, and typically when we get in bed to have serious conversations, you fall asleep.
    STEPHEN: I could probably fall asleep now. But at 9:50, it’s a decent time to have a legit conversation. What are we talking about?
    A: The topic is: Does “I love you” go without saying? Years ago, I got upset because you didn’t tell me you love me, and I had waited all day to hear it. You said, “You know I love you.” Do you remember?
    S: I do.
    A: Talk a little bit about your perspective on that. Does “I love you” go without saying?
    S: Yes and no. Growing up, the way we showed love was being present, supporting each other. You didn’t necessarily need to say the words.
    A: So that time you said I should just know…
    S: That was one day, right?
    A: Yeah. But then we started to have arguments about it. I was like, “You can’t just expect me to know.” It’s funny, though, because a year ago I would have said I don’t believe it goes without saying. But now, I look back and I realize I was being told “I love you” all the time by my parents. Sometimes they said it to make up for something that should have been done differently, almost to shove an issue under the rug. I think hearing the words “I love you” started to become my crutch. So then when you didn’t say it that day, I was like, “Something must be wrong.” And that was annoying because then I disregarded all of your wonderful actions. It was like the words became more than the actions. But now I know the two go hand in hand. You have to have both.
    S: It also has to be a feeling. You could not say it to me for 10 days and it wouldn’t change the way I felt or my belief that you loved me. If you didn’t cook breakfast for me for two weeks and we were home every day, in my head I’m thinking, something else must be wrong, not that.
    A: You’re saying once you fall in love, the love goes without saying?
    S: When we first got married, we had nothing but each other for a year, and there was more opportunity to do things for each other. Now, if we don’t have the time, it’s because the circumstances have changed and we’ve evolved with them. That defines how we express our love for each other. But the feeling stays the same.
    A: I think you’re right. I used to need to hear it a lot, and now I don’t need to hear it as much because I have all of these moments that allow me to know that you love me. I think at this point for us, love goes without saying.
    S: It goes without saying, but it doesn’t go without doing because every day there are little things that we commit to in terms of holding up our end of the bargain with the family that we’ve created. And if one of us were to do anything that’s selfish or outside of the priorities of our marriage, our kids, and our jobs, in that order, then that’s when we might question it.
    A: That makes sense. “I love you” goes without saying sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t.
    S: Yes.
    A: I love you.
    S: I love you too. See how I said it with energy and excitement and passion and belief and conviction? This concludes our broadcast day.
    FASHION DIRECTION BY SHERRI MCMULLEN; STYLING BY JENEFFER JONES PUNJAN; HAIR BY KENDALL DORSEY/FACTORYDOWNTOWN.COM; MAKEUP BY ALYSSA FONSECA; MANICURE BY SONIA MOLINA/LULU CREATIVE; PROP STYLING BY CLAIRE MACK/AUBRI BALK
  • COMMUNITY
    One In a Million
    Meet Rickey Thompson. He’s technically a social media star (@rickeythompson) known for his funny, uplifting videos, but he’s so much more than that. Thompson, 24, is unapologetically himself—and has a rare talent of bringing light, laughter, joy, and positivity to his millions of followers daily. Here, the Sweet July team asks him how he does it.
    “My goal is to be an actor,” Thompson says. “I’m putting it out there and it’s going to happen.”
    How did you get your start?
    I was 17 and living back home in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I was like, “Hey, I have a lot of things to say.” So, I hopped on the social media wave. I wanted to stay true to myself, and I just talked about anything I was going through. But I did it in a positive way. Because my goal in life is to make sure whatever I do, someone can come away from it happy and smiling.
    Your big break came when Kylie Jenner reposted one of your videos. What was that moment like?
    It was literally everything. I was sitting in sociology class and my phone started going crazy. I looked at the Vine app—that’s what I was on at the time—and I saw all these notifications. Then my friend tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Look who re-Vined you, Kylie Jenner!” And I was like, “Oh, my God.” I will never forget that.
    In school you were bullied. Does that influence what you do?
    I remember when I was going through bullying I would think, “Rickey, one day these bullies are going to appreciate you. Keep your head up.” There were times I wanted to give up. But I kept telling myself it was going to get better, and that I was going to be a star one day. And it happened. That’s a pretty good feeling!
    You’re always so upbeat and confident. How do you do it?
    Whatever I’m dealing with, I tell myself, “It’s going to be OK—you’re going to get through this.” I have noticed that every single time I do that, it always works out. Sometimes I worry, but then I say, “No, Rickey, you got this. Do not be negative ’cause once you are, all the negative vibes come onto you and then bad things will happen.” When it comes to confidence, I always look back at the old me. I remember growing up, being the least confident person and being not happy in my body. So I constantly tell myself: “You’re beautiful; you’re amazing. You never want to be in that dark place ever again. Make sure you are always in the light.”
    What’s it like to bring so much joy to others?
    Oh, my goodness, it’s so amazing! The fact that I get thousands and thousands of comments and messages telling me, “You helped me through a breakup,” or “I didn’t know who to turn to and I scrolled through your Instagram and you made me so happy.” That is the best feeling in the world.
    How can the rest of us learn to spread light?
    Be positive. And always surround yourself with positive people. If you have negative people in your life, get rid of them. They’re not going to change, and it’s not good for you. Also, keep living your dream. Don’t de-cide what you want to do because somebody else says that you can or cannot do it. Always believe in yourself. And don’t be afraid. Oh, my goodness, if I didn’t take a risk, I don’t know what I would be doing. So always, always take risks because you never know what can happen.
    DANIELLE LEVITT/AUGUST
  • TASTE
  • MY EASY
  • WEEKNIGHT
  • DINNERS
  • Preparing the evening meal gives me another opportunity to spend time with my kids. It also serves a second purpose in making them so much more interested in what they’re eating because they had a hand in prepping it. Decades of studies show how impactful a family dinner can be for the development of a child; I know how true that was for me growing up and what an important role the family table played in my upbringing. I want to reignite that spark, get people excited about eating at home, and most of all, take the stress out of it for those who don’t think they have the time or the experience to execute meals on the regular. These recipes are tailor-made to do just that—tried and true, easy and quick—but feature interesting flavor profiles to shake things up.
  • PORTRAITS BY THAYER GOWDY, FOOD PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANTONIS ACHILLEOS
  • On Canon: The Simple Folk The Forest playsuit ($64, thesimplefolk.co). On Stephen: Theory Claey Plaito t-shirt ($95, saksfifthavenue.com). Jacket is Stephen’s own. Rag & Bone Standard Issue Fit 2 Slim jeans ($250, neimanmarcus.com). On Ayesha: Matteau The Open Back Plunge maxi dress ($602, matchesfashion.com). Harwell Godfrey Clear 18K Quartz and Diamond necklace ($2,650, metiersf.com). Louison Fine Gold and Diamond “A” necklace ($1,125, metiersf.com). On Riley: The Simple Folk The Chunky cardigan ($55, thesimplefolk.co). On Ryan: The Simple Folk The Long Sleeve Boxy t-shirt ($28) The Denim Wide Leg overalls ($90, thesimplefolk.co).
  • CREAMY BUCATINI WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND STEAK
  • START TO FINISH: 40 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  •  Kosher salt
  • 1pound sirloin steak
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12ounces uncooked bucatini
  • 2large sweet onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 4bacon slices, diced
  • 1cup beef broth
  • ½cup heavy cream
  • 1cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  •  Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, season the steak generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high. Add the steak and cook until well browned on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the steak registers 140°, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe skillet.
  • 2 While steak cooks, boil the pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta well in a colander, reserving ½ cup cooking water.
  • 3 In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium. Add the onion and bacon and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned and bacon is crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beef broth, heavy cream, and ½ cup Parmesan, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until lightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 4 Add the bucatini and 1 teaspoon salt to the skillet, and cook 1 minute, tossing until coated in sauce, adding cooking water until desired consistency. Divide mixture among 4 shallow bowls.
  • 5 Slice steak thinly against the grain, and place on the bucatini. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan, and garnish with parsley.
  • EASY SHRIMP STIR-FRY WITH GINGER RICE
  • START TO FINISH: 35 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ½tablespoons grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 4teaspoons finely chopped garlic, divided
  • 1cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 ½cups water
  •  Kosher salt
  • 2tablespoons honey
  • 3tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1cup sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
  • 3baby red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3baby yellow bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1pound extra-large (16/20-count) peeled, deveined raw shrimp
  •  Sliced green onion, optional
  •  Black sesame seeds, toasted, optional
  • 1 In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Add the rice, and stir to coat, letting it gently toast, about 3 minutes. Add the water and a pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring once; reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.
  • 2 In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.
  • 3 In a large nonstick skillet, warm the vegetable oil over medium-high. Add the sugar snap peas and bell peppers, and sauté until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 4 Add the shrimp and cook just until pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ginger and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the sauce; remove from heat.
  • 5 Fluff the rice and divide among 4 bowls. Top with the stir-fry, and garnish with the green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
  • PERFECT PASTA PRIMAVERA
  • START TO FINISH: 35 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  •  Kosher salt
  • 8ounces uncooked linguini
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 2tablespoons diced pancetta
  • 1shallot, chopped
  • 3cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½pound asparagus spears, diagonally cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2cups fresh sweet corn (from 3 medium ears)
  • 1teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1small bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves torn into small bite-size pieces
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup of cooking water.
  • 2 Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the pancetta, and cook, stirring occasionally, until rendered, about 5 minutes. Drain and discard half the fat; add the shallot to remaining fat in skillet, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Add the asparagus, corn, and red pepper flakes to the skillet, and sauté about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and allow to blister and break down a little, about 5 minutes. Stir in the kale and cook just until it wilts. Swirl in butter until melted.
  • 3 Toss the pasta in sauce, adding cooking water, ¼ cup at a time, to help the sauce adhere to the pasta.
  • 4 Season to taste with salt. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls, and sprinkle with basil and grated Parmesan.
  • FISH TACOS WITH CHIPOTLE-LIME CREMA AND ZESTY RICE
  • START TO FINISH: 45 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  • 1teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1canned chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
  • 1tablespoon honey
  • ½teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 ½teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼cup, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, divided
  • 3 ½tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1pound cod
  • 1cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 8small flour tortillas
  • ½cup all-purpose flour
  • ½cup Mexican crema
  • 1tablespoon adobo sauce from can
  • 2cups finely sliced cabbage
  • 12ounces cotija cheese
  • 1 Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • 2 In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, chipotle, honey, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and 1 tablespoon lime juice until combined. Pour marinade into a large resealable plastic bag.
  • 3 Cut the cod into 8 evenly sized pieces, and place in the bag with the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • 4 Meanwhile, add the rice, butter, 1½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring once; reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered. Wrap the tortillas in foil, and place in the oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
  • 5 Meanwhile, add the flour to a shallow dish. Remove the fish from the marinade, and transfer to the flour; discard the marinade. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Shake excess flour from the fish and cook in the skillet until golden brown on both sides and the fish flakes with a fork, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • 6 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the crema, adobo sauce, and ½ tablespoon lime juice. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the remaining lime juice and cilantro.
  • 7 To assemble the tacos, place 1 piece of fish in each tortilla, drizzle with spicy crema, and top with cabbage and crumbled cotija. Serve with the rice alongside.
  • STEAK FAJITAS WITH MANGO JALAPEÑO SALSA
  • START TO FINISH: 45 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  • 2red bell peppers
  • 2green bell peppers
  • 2small red onions
  • 1teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4teaspoons chili powder
  • 3teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2mangoes, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2jalapeños, halved lengthwise, seeded, and finely diced
  • 4tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges
  • 2small bunches cilantro, leaves and tender stems chopped, divided
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½pounds skirt steak
  • 4tablespoons olive oil
  • 8small flour tortillas
  •  Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Seed and cut the bell peppers into thin slices, reserving about 1 cup. Thinly slice the onion, reserving about ⅔ cup. In a bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, and 3 teaspoons salt; set spice rub aside.
  • 2 In a medium bowl, combine the mango, jalapeño, lime juice, half of the chopped cilantro, the 1 cup reserved bell pepper slices, and the ⅔ cup reserved onion slices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • 3 Sprinkle the spice rub evenly on both sides of the steak. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining bell peppers slices and onion slices, and cook until tender-crisp, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a bowl.
  • 4 Warm 2 more tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium doneness. Transfer to a cutting board, and let rest 5 minutes.
  • 5 Warm a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 tortilla at a time, heat until lightly browned on both sides, about 30 seconds per side. Stack and wrap tightly in foil. Thinly slice the steak across the grain. Assemble fajitas, adding the steak, bell peppers, and mango salsa. Garnish with lime wedges, the remaining chopped cilantro, and the cotija.
  • TURKEY RICOTTA MEATBALLS AND SPAGHETTI
  • START TO FINISH: 35 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  •  Kosher salt
  • 4tablespoons olive oil
  • 1medium-size yellow onion, diced
  • 5teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 128-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 5tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1pound ground turkey
  • ½cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1pound uncooked spaghetti
  •  Italian parsley, chopped (garnish)
  •  Parmesan cheese, grated (garnish)
  • 1 Preheat the oven to 375°. Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil.
  • 2 To make the marinara, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion, and cook until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 3 teaspoons garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 3 tablespoons basil, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  • 3 While the marinara simmers, make the meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, ricotta, egg, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and remaining garlic and basil until well combined. Shape the mixture into about 12 evenly sized meatballs, about 2 inches each in diameter.
  • 4 Warm the remaining olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, and brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the skillet to preheated oven, and bake until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
  • 5 While the meatballs cook, boil the spaghetti until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
  • 6 Divide spaghetti among 4 bowls and ladle the marinara sauce on top. Top with meatballs, and garnish with parsley and Parmesan.
  • There’s something so rewarding about watching your vision come to life. Starting a business is fueled by passion and engaging your whole self into whatever it is you’re trying to create and achieve. These 12 people have experienced the joys, challenges, failures, and epic successes of entrepreneurship. I find them all inspiring, unique, and determined to make their mark on this world. Most importantly, all of these entrepreneurs invest a portion of their profits and energies back into their communities. I hope their stories inspire business owners everywhere not to lose sight of their vision while also giving back to the communities that embrace them.
  • PHOTOGRAPHED BY WILLIAMS + HIRAKAWA
  • Jenny Bird Rhye Jackets earrings ($75) Mithras ring ($95, jenny-bird.com). Baukjen blouse (similar styles available at baukjen.com). United Wood pants (similar styles available at unitedwood.co). Jennifer Meyer 18K Diamond Border Heart ring ($2,225, jennifermeyer.com).
  • STYLING BY BRIT & KARA; HAIR BY KENDALL DORSEY/FACTORYDOWNTOWN.COM FOR DOVE HAIR CARE; MAKEUP BY ASHLEY BIAS; MANICURE BY SONIA MOLINA/LULU CREATIVE; PROP STYLING BY CLAIRE MACK/AUBRI BALK.
  • IMPACT
    the culinary groundbreaker
    KWAME ONWUACHI
    EXECUTIVE CHEF, KITH/KIN
    S uccess is not a straight line: After a troubled youth, Onwuachi turned his life around in his 20s. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, worked at top New York City restaurants like Per Se and Eleven Madison Park, and became a contestant on Top Chef. In the fall of 2016, he achieved his dream of opening his own restaurant, Shaw Bijou, in Washington, D.C. From the start, however, there were problems. Reviewers took issue with the menu, the portions, the high prices. There was a falling out with his investors. Shaw Bijou closed just weeks after opening. “I was very depressed,” Onwuachi says. “I was smeared on every culinary news outlet.” What helped him get through that rough period was thinking of his mother, a personal chef in the Cayman Islands who taught him how to cook when he was 5. Determined to prove himself, Onwuachi opened Kith/Kin, an Afro-Caribbean restaurant in D.C. in 2017, to critical acclaim, and in 2019, he won the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Today, Onwuachi is working toward a lofty goal: to earn enough so his mother doesn’t have to work anymore. “Once that happens, I’ll feel like I’ve done something,” he says.
    Best lesson learned: “Probably the biggest obstacle or difficulty for any entrepreneur is to keep going,” the chef says. “Keep going when the critics are telling you that you shouldn’t be doing this. Keep going when the people who don’t know you are constantly judging you. But that’s part of the reward as well when you get to the other side.”
    Teaching others: These days, Onwuachi spends much of his limited spare time training aspiring chefs. “When I see a cook doing way better than I ever thought he would do, it definitely reminds me of myself,” he says. “Those are the most inspiring moments.”
    At Kith/Kin, Onwuachi’s Afro-Caribbean cuisine celebrates his heritage.
  • IMPACT
    the trendsetter
    SHERRI MCMULLEN
    OWNER, MCMULLEN
    T he springboard: MCMullen got the idea to open her eponymous boutiques while working as a buyer in corporate retail. “I had moved to Oakland and there is something about the spirit of the city that speaks to my soul,” she says. “It’s a place where women support local businesses, especially those founded by other women.” MCMullen quickly zeroed in on three key objectives: establishing her brand, offering a unique product, and building a client base. “I knew if I covered these, everything else would fall into place.”
    Believe in your mission: “Many banks were reluctant to invest in our first store because retail was considered too risky, especially in 2007, as the country faced a recession,” says MCMullen, who financed the launch with $50,000 loaned to her by family and friends, plus some of her personal savings. Funding remains a struggle—and as a black woman, she feels an extra layer of scrutiny. “I continuously have to prove myself,” she says. “I’ve had people say to me: ‘Let’s talk in a few months once you’ve hit another milestone.’ It’s frustrating and emotionally draining at times.” The most important thing is to stay as lean as possible for as long as possible. “You have to make personal sacrifices to sustain and grow as a business,” says MCMullen. Her hard work is paying off: Today, the two MCMullen boutiques are known as places to shop for fashions created by female designers from all over the world.
    Giving back: To share her success with the community, MCMullen spends her spare time working with organizations that help women, children, and the arts. “It feels good knowing that I can do something to help other women and support where I can,” she says.
  • IMPACT
    small-business booster
    MICHELLE DALZON
    FOUNDER, theBOM (BLACK-OWNED MARKET)
    B uilding a community: In 2016, inspired by her parents who started one of the first successful black-owned businesses in the Boston area, Dalzon founded theBOM to sell products made by black entrepreneurs through a pop-up market and website (ourbom.com). The response was overwhelming: Most of the vendors sold out at the first pop-up.
    Overcoming obstacles: Still, as many entrepreneurs discover, consistent cash flow is a major challenge. “My biggest mistake was spending too much on the first market,” Dalzon says. Today, she’s focused on raising money to open permanent locations in Boston, New York, and L.A., which she’s convinced will be more lucrative than pop-up markets. “I just locked down my first lead investor, and I’m looking to partner with more investors of color,” she says. No matter what, Dalzon is in it for the long haul. “I want theBOM to create legacies for all our vendors,” she says. “They are part of our family. We are constructing a platform for black-owned businesses to thrive.”
  • IMPACT
    fashion with a purpose
    KARLA GALLARDO AND SHILPA SHAH
    FOUNDERS, CUYANA
    T he spark: When Gallardo came to the United States from Ecuador in 2001 to go to college, she was surprised by how much apparel Americans buy. In 2011, she partnered with Shah, another business school student, to launch Cuyana, which sells well-made classic clothing that’s meant to be timeless.
    Standing strong: They based their business on four principles: Commit to your idea with passion; test it as much as possible; work with tenacity; bounce back from any failure quickly. “We developed a way to analyze each mistake and learn from it,” Shah says. “If you don’t, it controls your decisions.” Last year, the pair announced Cuyana’s profitability and secured an additional $30 million in funding.
    Paying it forward: “We are a mission-driven brand that supports the strength and independence of all women,” says Shah. “We want our customers to buy only what they love, and we want to give back to women in need.”
  • IMPACT
    the hair whisperers
    SHANNON KENNARD AND HANNAH CHOI
    CREATORS OF BABY TRESS
    F ollow your instincts: The initial idea for Baby Tress, an elegant edge-styling tool created for women of color to shape the fine hairs along their hairline, came out of a brainstorming session for a marketing client of Kennard and Choi’s. The pair had a feeling the tool was destined for success, so they decided to make it themselves. They worked with a product designer who produced a 3D prototype, which they subsequently manufactured. “Our goal is to equip women of color with the tools to elevate their beauty rituals,” says Kennard.
    Be prepared to pivot: To build awareness, Choi and Kennard attended large beauty conferences, where they gave the tool to hairstylists and influencers. But they realized that smaller events that targeted select customers were more beneficial because they could engage with them. “It’s so gratifying to see Baby Tress resonate with these women, who are strong and successful,” Choi says. “They inspire us to keep doing what we’re doing.”
  • GETTY IMAGES; JOHN CORNELIUS
  • STYLING BY BRIT & KARA; HAIR BY KENDALL DORSEY/FACTORYDOWNTOWN.COM FOR DOVE HAIR CARE; MAKEUP BY ASHLEY BIAS; MANICURE BY SONIA MOLINA/LULU CREATIVE; PROP STYLING BY CLAIRE MACK/AUBRI BALK.
  • SELF-CARE
    How I Stay Present
    Practice makes perfect when it comes to living in the moment. These eight simple techniques are what work best for me.
    PHOTOGRAPHED BY THAYER GOWDY
    On Ayesha: Onzie Front Twist Sleeveless crop top ($54) Sweetheart Midi leggings ($72, neimanmarcus.com).
    Y ou can’t pour from an empty cup. That’s why it’s so important for me to keep my focus on the present. But the meaning behind that saying didn’t crystallize for me until after I gave birth to Canon, my third child.
    I had a really rough pregnancy and I was in and out of the hospital. Less than eight weeks after having Canon, I started working again. I was shooting a TV show, and trying to pump and do all these things simultaneously, and eventually I realized that to be the best me for the people in my life, I needed to stop feeling guilty about taking care of myself.
    So often, we set goals for ourselves, we reach them, and we don’t take the time to bask in them. It’s always, “What’s next?” For me, being present is about enjoying the space you’re in, before it passes you by. Here’s what works for me right now:
    Acknowledge blessings
    The number one thing for me is prayer. I’m Christian and have my beliefs, but no matter what you believe in, it’s vital to stay grounded in something bigger than yourself. I start and end the day with my prayers, a conversation with God. I could be in my car in the middle of the day and just stop and pray. It’s a way for me to show my gratitude for all the blessings that I have, no matter how stressful things get.
    Meditate your way
    I’m not huge on meditation apps because sometimes the voices get on my nerves! But I do use an app called Abide. It’s scripture-based, and it leaves you with something to take into your day, like finding moments of gratitude. I have less anxiety because I know God is always with me.
    Treat yourself from the outside in
    To be there for the people who need me, I have to take care of myself both physically and mentally, no matter how chaotic life gets. Self-neglect has dangerous consequences down the road, so having a routine and taking a little time on my own every day ensures I stay happy and healthy. For me, a consistent skin-care regimen is a big deal. I’m learning not to feel guilty about that because it makes me a better mom—I’m simply more present and engaged.
    Find and nurture a creative outlet
    After the kids are in bed, I’ll sometimes go in the kitchen and create something new. For instance, my husband and kids don’t enjoy chocolate. So I like to get experimental with desserts using really good chocolate late at night when it’s just me who will enjoy it. Whatever your thing is, be sure that you have a creative outlet for it so you don’t get so absorbed by work or “momming” that you forget to nurture yourself.
    Take a heat retreat
    Lately, I’ve enjoyed going into the sauna. It detoxifies my skin and opens up my lungs. Whenever I come out of it, I feel like a new person and I can breathe better. If you don’t have access to a sauna, try the infrared sauna blanket from HigherDose [$499, higherdose.com].
    Feel your feelings
    I went on a mindfulness retreat to ring in the new year. One of the things I learned there is that when we suppress our emotions, they fester and get worse. We’re emotional beings by nature, and it’s important to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling in any given moment, and let it pass on its own.
    Move with focus
    I really like to go horseback riding. I’m able to turn my mind off and focus on what I’m doing. If you’re thinking about anything else—groceries, work, whatever—your horse isn’t going to do a darned thing! It’s called “Equus therapy” for a reason.
    Engage the family
    We have devotionals that we read together as a large, extended family. Right now, we’re reading the Bible on The Bible App. Our family is spread out across the country, so a group text chain is the perfect way for us all to check in. That holds everyone accountable. The Bible App has so many different plans that you can tailor to your needs and pace.
    Click here to download The Bible App.
    FASHION DIRECTION BY SHERRI MCMULLEN; STYLING BY JENEFFER JONES PUNJAN; HAIR BY KENDALL DORSEY/FACTORYDOWNTOWN.COM FOR DOVE HAIR CARE; MAKEUP BY ALYSSA FONSECA; MANICURE BY SONIA MOLINA/LULU CREATIVE; PROP STYLING BY CLAIRE MACK/AUBRI BALK
  • SELF-CARE
    OFF-DUTY
    1. S’well Calacatta Gold 17 oz. bottle ($35, swell.com).
    2. H&M Shimmering Metallic jacket ($50, hm.com).
    3. Telfar Large Oxblood Shopping bag ($257, telfar.net).
    4. Rag & Bone New York Marilyn baseball cap ($125, rag-bone.com).
    5. Tory Sport Double Stripe Wide Leg track pants ($138, toryburch.com).
    6. Alix NYC Cedar Stretch-Jersey bodysuit ($165, net-a-porter.com).
    7. Apple Watch Series 5 Sport Band watch (from $399, apple.com).
    8. Proenza Schouler Arizona Intense 50 ml fragrance ($105, proenzaschouler.com).
    9. Sorel Kinetic Lace sneakers ($130, sorel.com).
  • BONUS CONTENT
  • FROM AYESHA
    These are some crazy, unpredictable times. Life gets turned upside down, and yet, the pace hasn’t slowed. I know how challenging this has been for so many of you, and how isolating it can feel at times. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you from the bottom of my heart, I am proud of you and you’re doing great. And in case you need a little inspiration (or perhaps just a distraction!), I put together a few resources that have helped me along the way, and I hope they can be useful to you.
    Tough times are an opportunity for us to show what we’re really made of, and the outpouring of support and community spirit during this COVID-19 crisis has been overwhelming and inspiring. Thank you to our fearless health care professionals... for putting their own safety and well-being at risk to help those afflicted. Thank you to everyone doing their part to stay home and practice good habits to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
    Wash your hands, wear your masks, kiss your babies, and FaceTime your friends. We’re all in this together, and together we’ll get through it.
  • SELF-CARE
    HOME OFFICE VIBE
    Working from home? We’ve rounded up a list of fabulous finds that are cozy and professional, all at the same time, so you can still look the part from the comfort of your home office (or couch, if you’re anything like us).
    WEB CHIC
    1. Rachel Comey Drill jumpsuit ($475, shopmcmullen.com).
    2. Chiji Positive Energy candles ($40, homeofchiji.com).
    3. Keurig K-Mini Single Serve coffee maker ($80, keurig.com).
    4. HUANUO Lap desk ($63, amazon.com).
    5. Ember Mug2 ($100, ember.com).
    6. Erin Condren Daily Life planner ($33, erincondren.com).
  • BIG COMFY COUCH
    Whether you're curling up with a good book or bingeing the latest Netflix series, here are some of our essentials for staying comfortable and relaxed at home.
    1. Joah Brown Oversized jogger ($138, joahbrown.com).
    2. Eberjey Gisele Long PJ set ($120, eberjey.com).
    3. Calm App (free, calm.com).
    4. UGG Fluff Yeah slides ($100, ugg.com).
    5. CB2 Marta Tasting glass ($1.50, cb2.com).
    6. Helix Weighted blanket, 10 lbs ($100, helixsleep.com).
  • HOW TO NAVIGATE THE NEW NORMAL
    If staying home has been a major disruption to your daily routine, you're not alone. We've assembled a few tips to help you stay sane and safe through this unprecedented time.
    Make your bed
    This simple daily ritual allows you to begin your day having accomplished one thing, and will typically help jump-start your productivity to take on the next task.
    Get dressed
    We know, we know…when you’re stuck at home, the thought seems pointless. However, shedding the pajamas or previous day’s clothes (no judgment!) allows for a fresh start with a new outlook. 
    Plan your meals
    Keeping grocery runs to a minimum can help flatten the curve so we can all get back to it. Planning your meals and grocery lists can help you be a more efficient shopper and cook.
    Buy local
    This is an extremely difficult time for all businesses but especially restaurants. It’s perfectly safe to purchase delivery orders from your favorite local spots, and it will help keep them in business. 
    Set a schedule
    Having structure is key to staying sane and instilling a sense of normalcy in what are very unusual and chaotic times. Set reminders in your calendar for meals, workouts, or a break to read or meditate. Maintaining your normal bed and wake-up times will also ensure your body won’t adjust to poor habits.
    Get moving
    Jumping jacks and a simple core workout on the floor are a great start to staying active. There are also some budget-friendly online apps that have fitness classes you can stream from a computer, phone, or tablet. 
    Drink the wine—eat the bread
    Life right now is stressful enough without feeling guilty about what you’re eating or drinking. Feel free to indulge every now and then. Try out a new recipe! For the more experienced cook, challenge yourself to make things from scratch you ordinarily wouldn’t have time for, such as fresh-baked bread or homemade pasta. Pickling or canning homemade jams are also great ways to use up and preserve any produce that would otherwise go to waste.
    Don't be too hard on yourself
    Don’t feel pressured by people you see online who seemingly have it all figured out. Find your groove, do whatever works for you, and take it one day at a time.
    Don't forget about you
    For those who have small children or elders to care for, it’s important to remember that you matter too. Even if it means taking five minutes for a beauty routine or a moment of mindfulness and prayer.
  • WHAT SJ IS READING
    A good book is a nice retreat from reality, and these titles are some of our top picks to make the most of your time at home.
    Present Over Perfect
    By Shauna Niequist
    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
    By Marie Kondo
    Make Your Bed
    By William H. McRaven
    2 Chairs
    By Bob Beaudine
    Little Fires Everywhere
    By Celeste Ng
    Becoming
    By Michelle Obama
    How to Eat
    By Mark Bittman
    Three Women
    By Lisa Taddeo
    Always Home
    By Fanny Singer
  • COCONUT CHICKPEA CURRY
  • START TO FINISH: 30 MINUTES • SERVES 4
  • 1cup long grain rice
  •  Kosher salt
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 1medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2tablespoons curry powder
  • 1teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 213-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1cup vegetable stock
  • 1medium sweet potato, diced
  • 1cup carrot medallions (frozen or fresh)
  • 1tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1cup broccoli florets (frozen or fresh)
  • 115-ounce can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  •   Lime, for garnish (if you don't have limes, try using 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar to get the same acidity)
  •   Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the rice and a generous pinch of salt, and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit with the lid on for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff gently with a fork before serving.
  • 2 While the rice cooks, prepare the curry. In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt, and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the curry powder, garlic, and thyme, and sauté for a minute more, until the spices have toasted slightly and become aromatic.
  • 3 Stir in the coconut milk and vegetable stock, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan gently to incorporate all the spices. Bring to a boil, then carefully stir in the sweet potatoes, carrots, brown sugar, and cornstarch mixture. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 4 Add the broccoli and chickpeas, and one more generous pinch of salt. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked and the curry has slightly thickened (around 5 to 10 minutes).
  • 5 Serve the curry alongside a generous scoop of rice, and garnish with lime and cilantro if you have it on hand. If you don’t, crushed peanuts would also make a delicious topping.
  • Enjoy!
  • No curry? No problem! Here's a DIY version that uses everyday spices you probably have in your cabinet.
  • "In a Pinch" Curry Powder
    (Yields 2 tablespoons)
    1teaspoon coriander
    1teaspoon ground ginger
    1 ½teaspoons turmeric
    ½teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ½teaspoon chili powder
    1teaspoon cumin
    ½teaspoon black pepper
    Mix all ingredients together. Double the batch and store in an airtight container to  have on hand for future use.
  • APPLE PIE POCKETS
  • START TO FINISH: 20 MINUTES • SERVES 12
  • 1pack frozen puff pastry dough
  • 18-ounce jar (or 2 4-ounce individual cups) chunky all-natural applesauce
  • ¼teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼teaspoon nutmeg
  •  Kosher salt
  • 1egg (optional)
  •  Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 Preheat the oven to 400°. Defrost a package of pastry dough on your kitchen counter until cold but no longer frozen. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • 2 In a small bowl, add the applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Set aside. If using, crack the egg into a separate bowl, and mix well with a fork.
  • 3 Remove the dough from the package. You’ll see each sheet of dough is divided into thirds. Cut along the creases in the dough with a sharp knife, until you have 3 even strips of dough. Take the first strip and fold it in half, and then in half again, pressing down gently to create folds. With your knife, cut along the folds until you have 4 even squares. Repeat with the other 2 strips, and then again with the second sheet of dough, until you have 24 squares.
  • 4 Take your first square of dough, and place 1 dollop of apple filling in the center. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. If you don’t have an egg, cold water will also work. Cover with another square of dough and gently press down all edges. Use a fork to crimp around all edges to ensure you have a nice seal. Repeat with the remaining dough squares.
  • 5 Place the pockets on the sheet tray, evenly spaced (you should be able to fit 6 per batch). If using, brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the dough has puffed up and is golden brown.
  • 6 Let cool slightly, and dust with powdered sugar, if using. Best enjoyed warm and toasty.
  • PRO TIP:
    Many restaurants are offering grocery boxes with fresh produce and pantry staples, available for curbside pickup or delivery. Get the food you need safely and responsibly, and support local businesses. A win-win!
  • KEEP IT CRAFTY
  • You’ve got time to fill—we’ve got ideas. Try out these at-home kits to keep you busy and flex your creative skills.
  • Wool and the Gang You'll Make It, Easy Cross-Stitch Kit ($21, woolandthegang.com)
  • Tulip One-step Tie-Dye Kit (430, amazon.com)
  • Olive & June The Studio Box ($50, oliveandjune.com)
  • Flour Shop Rainbow Explosion Cake kit ($60, williams-sonoma.com)
  • Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 ($100, clickandgrow.com)
  • MoMA Art Making with MoMA: Action Painting Kit ($18, store.moma.org)
  • Obé Fitness ($27/month, obefitness.com)
  • PRO TIP:
    If you have little ones at home, check out Obé Fitness' kid-friendly classes, which are set to Kidz Bop music.
  • THE 411
  • Joah Love White face mask ($20, joahlove.com) @ITSLALADALY
  • Kids' clothing retailer Joah love is selling cloth masks in children's and adult sizes. For every mask purchased, the company will donate one to a medical center.
  • GET INVOLVED: Coming together as a community is now more important than ever, and there are some great organizations doing critical work that are in need of your support.
  • Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies. Every $1 donation provides 10 meals to those in need.
  • One in 7 children in the United States lives with hunger. No Kid Hungry is working to end child hunger in America today by ensuring that all children get the healthy food they need every day to thrive. A $10 donation provides 100 meals for kids.
  • World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010 by chef José Andrés to use the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis and beyond. After launching #ChefsForAmerica last month, WCK’s nationwide response has served 750,000 meals to vulnerable communities facing increasing food insecurity during this crisis.
  • WHERE YOU SOURCE YOUR INFORMATION IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE INFORMATION ITSELF. BE SURE TO GET THE LATEST UPDATES ON THE COVID-19 CRISIS FROM THIS OFFICIAL CHANNEL: CDC.GOV
  • I hope you loved
    this sneak peek of Sweet July. And I'm so excited for you to see the entire magazine! It's available now in stores or you can order your copy online at magazine.store. I can't wait to hear what you think!
    PHOTOGRAPHED BY THAYER GOWDY. FASHION DIRECTION BY SHERRI MCMULLEN; STYLING BY JENEFFER JONES PUNJAN; HAIR BY KENDALL DORSEY/FACTORYDOWNTOWN.COM FOR DOVE HAIR CARE; MAKEUP BY ALYSSA FONSECA; MANICURE BY SONIA MOLINA/LULU CREATIVE; PROP STYLING BY CLAIRE MACK/AUBRI BALK
Done