Tag Archives: aging

Aging Gracefully

In September 2012 an email with the subject “Aging Gracefully” was forwarded to me by an artist I met briefly prior to this day.  In the body of her email she wrote, “I saw this and immediately thought about your book.”

It was an article written by Madisyn Taylor titled, “Seasons of Beauty: Aging Gracefully“.  Not only did I love the topic (it is the message of Feminine Transitions) but her writing truly caught my attention as it was also graceful.  Beautifully written.

I reached out to Madisyn, to let her know how much I appreciated her article on DailyOM.com (it was my first time knowing about this site as well).  She responded with gratitude and I joined her email list.  I wanted to read more.

Somehow Madisyn’s articles brought me back…

As a child, I used to often journal, write stories and poetry.  It was my creative escape. I loved writing and English was my favorite subject (as long as I was busy creating my own stories).  After I became a mother I seemed to have put that on the back burner.

It was time for a change. I happened to start-up writing  again two weeks prior when I started a blog.

Around the same time, I was actually searching for a ghostwriter to compose the introduction section of Feminine Transitions.  I honestly thought I couldn’t do it.

I just didn’t connect with the writing samples sent to me.   It didn’t feel as if it were me speaking from my experience. It wasn’t heartfelt.

I decided to reached out to Madisyn and ask for a recommendation. She made it real simple, sharing her outlook. She said I do not connect with the writings because I did not write it.  And advised that I take some time out of the house, with a cup of tea and simply begin to write from the heart.

To make a long story short, I did exactly as she said…at Starbuck’s.

Not only did I create an introduction that I sincerely connected with but I gained my confidence in writing once again.

I say all of this to say…thank you Madisyn. You were a tremendous aide in my writing journey…and it continues.

I look forward to one day writing a narrative.

 

Photo meme from Alyscia Cunningham's image from Feminine Transitions along with a quote from writer Madisyn Taylor

Let your Light Shine Through: Celebrate Your Natural Beauty

Image from Feminine Transitions
Image from Feminine Transitions

As young as I can remember, my father always made it a point to tell me I was beautiful, just as I am. He was completely against me altering my hair from its natural state and wearing make-up as a necessity.

Despite my dad’s positive reinforcement, I went through a period of not feeling very beautiful. I was at the beginning stages of puberty and it wasn’t an easy time period. Besides that, when I looked in magazines and viewed TV the “pretty girls” didn’t look anything like me.

After a few years I grew to see the beauty that my father embedded in my head. And although I did perm my hair as a pre-teen, 5 years later I cut it off and went back my natural.

Hearing such positive reinforcement from the first man in my life, prepared me for what I believe would have most likely destroyed me. Society.

Read more…

Alyscia Cunningham Presents At Women’s National Democratic Club

Feminine Transitions book cover
Feminine Transitions book cover

Please join me on Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 6:00-8:00pm for “True Beauty is Natural”.  I will do a presentation on my upcoming book Feminine Transitions: A Photographic Celebration of Natural Beauty.

Women’s National Democratic Club
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm

Visit WNDC website for detailed information.

“True Beauty is Natural” Speaker Reception will be a particularly special evening because two graduating seniors from the School Without Walls will receive Ruth G. Nadel Leadership Awards, based on applications which showed their academic achievements, community activities, and potential for public service. These students participated in the Young Woman’s Leadership Program, WNDC’s partnership with this DC public college-preparatory high school, through which students attend several Club events. Members are urged to attend and meet the award winners, their classmates, and their teacher.

Come out and show your support. I’ll see you there!

UPDATE

If you missed it, here are a few photos from the event.

 

 

Alyscia Cunningham speaking at WNDC
Alyscia Cunningham’s authors talk at the Women’s National Democratic Club
Alyscia Cunningham speaking at WNDC.
Alyscia Cunningham’s authors talk at the Women’s National Democratic Club
Alyscia Cunningham at WNDC
Alyscia Cunningham’s authors talk at the Women’s National Democratic Club
Alyscia Cunningham speaking at WNDC
Alyscia Cunningham’s authors talk at the Women’s National Democratic Club

 

Almost There…

Editing Feminine Transitions

I’m happy to say that Feminine Transitions is almost completed. My team and I are doing the final edits and will be completed this month. I am still expecting to receive the copies in late June (most likely the last week). It’s the worst felling to support a project and never receive updates (for me at least).  With that in mind,  I will continue to keep everyone updated on my progress.

Feminine Transitions postcard

In the meantime, I have received the perk gifts as described on my Indiegogo fundraiser. I’m getting closer and feeling so very excited!  I do look forward to mailing off the actual book and chosen perks to my contributors.

Feminine Transitions book fundraiser perk gifts
Feminine Transitions book fundraiser perk gifts are here!

Didn’t get the chance to support the fundraiser for Feminine Transitions? No problem. Pre-order now and your copy/copies will be shipped with the others.

Thanks again for your continued support!

Crowd Funding Campaign for Feminine Transitions

Image

My Story
Feminine Transitions unmasks women and exquisitely demonstrates that young is beautiful, old is beautiful, and natural is beautiful. Never before has a book so vividly projected the images of women in all stages of life in a way that reveals who they really are as women. Feminine Transitions: A Photographic Celebration of Natural Beauty is a refreshing and inspiring, full-color book of photography. Its pages present a series of portraits that reveal the elegance and subtly honest beauty of female faces between the ages of 7 weeks and 105 years.
Author and photographer Alyscia Cunningham has truly unmasked the natural beauty of aging. “In a world filled with ‘Photoshopped’ images of women who are heavily made up, this book is a breath of fresh air”, says Trista Hendren, author of The Girl God and writer at the blog Elephant Journal.
What I Need

I am so proud and excited to produce my first photography book that is scheduled for release in March 2013, Women’s History Month. I am also coordinating traveling exhibitions showcasing the images from my book. With your help and contributions, I hope to be able to raise the money for my shows and book production. The funds will be used for printing the first 500 copies of my book, rental space, framing, invitations, marketing, installation and all of the other things that go along with launching major solo exhibitions.If I do not reach my entire goal on this round, I will purchase 100 copies using Blurb to publish. However, Blurb’s prices are far higher than going to a traditional printer. Nonetheless, have a few copies in hand will be beneficial as people would rather see a product in hand. From there, I will continue to collect the funds until I reach my goal by holding future funding campaigns. I’ve also submitted applications via my local arts organizations for grants and currently awaiting the status.

How To Contribute

You can make a contribution by visiting my Indiegogo campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/FeminineTransitionsBook/x/123267.

I sincerely thank you for coming to my page to take a look at my project. I want to share the beauty of Feminine Transitions with the world. Your contribution is helping to make this happen.

A Conversation with Paul Carrick Brunson: #Matchmaker #Coach #Author

My husband and I have been together for over 12 years.  The physical attraction between the two of us was evident from our first encounter.  The appeal heightened after a few seconds into our initial conversation.  Soon after we briefly spoke of that fact that we had a deeper mental chemistry. In other words, we were not only attracted to each other physically but found each other mentally stimulating as well. How sexy is that?

I thought today’s blog would relate to the topic of my book, Feminine Transitions: a photographic celebration of natural beauty, relating the appreciation of authenticity when it comes to uniting two people as a matchmaker. However, after interviewing Paul C. Brunson, matchmaker, coach and author of It’s ComplicatedI gained a new understanding of what attraction and connection truly represent to everyone on an individual basis.  Through our conversation I discovered what shaped the very attraction I had for my husband when we first met.

Cover art for Paul C. Brunson's book, It's Complicated.

What are most men looking for in a woman? What are the majority attracted to?
A mans upbringing most likely determines what he is attracted to. Therefore the females that he grows up with play a significant roll in his life when it comes to choosing a partner. For example, if he grew up in a house hold with sisters that often walked topless he will probably like a woman is a free spirit and may even enjoy walking around topless freely at home.  It’s simply comes down to what he was used to and comfortable with growing up.
(Note: this was an AHA moment for me. Paul’s answer put so many things into perspective. I also realized that what I’m attracted to as a woman is a reflection of my relationship with my father. Although my husband and father have different personalities, they have very similar characteristics. Great stuff!)

Read Paul’s article on Essence.com The Top 7 Things That Really Attract Men (and Why!)

What advice do you give your clients before meeting her match for the first time?
I don’t give any advice. I let the chemistry speak for itself. I always recommend a match meet for no more than 30 minutes on the first date.
Why is that? The first attraction is physical attraction and people typically know right of the back if they are attracted to each other. If two people aren’t interested in each other there is not reason to stay on a date any longer than 30 minutes. This way they don’t waste any time.

Is there a particular age range that you work with most?
I work with all ages but, when I first started I the majority of my clients were professionals in their 30’s-40’s. After I started airing on TV and radio the response shifted. Surprisingly I received a larger reaction from individuals in their 20’s. I believe that’s related to the age group of the particular channels as well as radio.

However, there is no age limit. I’ve set a up a successful match for someone that was 68.

Are there any significant differences when matching younger or older women?
From my observation women in their twenties don’t really have a “list” of what they desire in a man.  If they do, it’s pretty short. The twenties is more of a carefree period. Given that they are not completely aware of who they are as individuals they are still searching for what it is they want.

Women in their thirties typically have long “list” of characteristics for their ideal man. Maybe sometimes even unrealistic.  It is specific about what they want from head to toe.

The forties and fifties women seem to retreat back to the twenties group.  Their list is not very long and more direct and indepth. They also tend to go with the flow and are more secure in who they are and what they want.

Do you think being a Matchmaker is what you were born to do?. Most people don’t know that I’m also a coach. I enjoy working with people to help them discover their purpose and accomplish their goals.  I feel most at harmony with life when I’ve changed or influenced someone’s life positively.

What is beautiful you? Life

BIO
Portrait of Paul C. Brunson In the last 3 years, Paul Carrick Brunson (also known as The Modern Day Hitch) has become internationally recognized as one of the most successful matchmakers and relationship coaches. As a pioneering African-American matchmaker in the world, Paul has served over 400 clients directly and collectively through live events and social media, matched over 3,000 people on dates.

Paul’s unparalleled ability for successful matchmaking and coaching comes from really knowing and understanding his clients and their needs. Like his clients, he is cultured, well-traveled, well-educated and trained – he holds a graduate degree from a top business school, as well as additional certifications. His professional career started as an investment banker and most recently included a senior position with a top international firm. He is also a philanthropist who co-founded and chairs a foundation that focuses on school rehabilitations in the U.S. and Jamaica.

Understanding that a matchmaker is truly a guide to help clients achieve self actualization, Paul received his life coaching certification. Next, Paul further immersed himself in the art and science of matchmaking by training with Harvard Business school graduate, New York Times bestselling author, and matchmaker, Rachel Greenwald. Lastly, to ensure he was as knowledgeable as possible about the dynamics of human relationships and love, Paul undertook a literary review of hundreds of books and academic journals on psychology, sociology and behavioral science. Paul then put his acquired learning to the test by practicing pro-bono throughout 2009.

Paul’s expertise and unique understandings of love and relationship have made him a sought after expert on dating, self-actualization and relationships. Paul’s understanding and insights into romantic and lasting relationships have been featured on Dr. Drew’s LifeChangers, ANDERSON, the Washington Post, Essence, Extra, The Root, The Grio, AOL Black Voices, ABC news and Hot 97. In addition to participating in numerous relationship and community-focused panels, Paul also served as the first male speaker for the 2011 Black Enterprise Women of Power Conference and was the keynote speaker for the 2011 iDate Matchmaking Conference, the largest internet dating conferences in the US.  Read Paul’s inspiring biography on his website.

I’m Working!

Feminine Transitions cover design
Newly designed cover for Feminine Transitions.

I haven’t blogged in a while as I’m heavily indulged in Feminine Transitions.  Although I am enjoying the process I must admit it’s bitter-sweet. I love the creative aspect of this journey and I’m truly enjoying the folks I’m meeting along the way. However, I would honestly prefer to leave the technical part into the hands of a professional (in that particular area).  On the bright side, I am learning more than I’ve ever known about book publishing and the energy, time, creative and technical aspects involved in it.

I finally found a graphic artist to layout the design for me. This is where my project is at the moment.  Presently, I’m gathering leads info for online, radio and TV interviews.  As of last week, my press kit is complete. Since writing is not one of my strengths (and I’m not afraid to admit) I’ve had great success hiring contractors from Elance to complete writing materials, including my press kit. A job well done it was!

Here are a few mock-up pages:

Feminine Transitions page layout
Layout 1

Feminine Transitions page layout
Layout 2

Feminine Transitions page layout
Feminine Transitions page Layout 4

Feminine Transitions page layoutFeminine Transitions page layout
Feminine Transitions Layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More work has to be done but Feminine Transitions is closer to its completion. Travel exhibits and speaking tours are to come. I’ll continue to keep you posted along the way. Or feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed by making a donation or pre-order. Know that I am working diligently to publish this baby.

Stay connected via my website and social media pages:

Feminine Transitions Re-Design

Feminine Transitions book cover
Feminine Transitions Re-design

I’M IN LOVE!

No more…”What is Feminine Transitions?”

It was a bit frustrating when I received responses via email or my social media pages  asking, “What exactly is Feminine Transitions?” At first I would pause and say, to myself, “What do you mean? Can’t you tell by the cover?”  In order for me to process this, I had to take myself out of the equation (as the Creator of Feminine Transitions) and look at it as an outsider. My niece really helped me to clarify the difference.  She told me that she liked my old design but, comparing the two, the old resembles a poster and the new looks more like a book.  She also mentioned that the various images above shows a transition of ages and tells a clearer story.

Feminine Transitions Title Spread
The title spread

The new design of the front and back cover as well as the inside page were created by Robin Benson, a retired publications designer from the UK.  I originally contacted someone to do a book review for Feminine Transitions.  However, because this contact does not evaluate photography books, he referred me to Mr. Benson.  After connecting with Robin and sending him a few jpgs of my book layout, which I constructed myself, he informed me that my publication was in need of serious help.

Let me first admit that I AM NOT A DESIGNER! Due to the fact that I am self-published and wearing many hats, I did what I thought was (or should I say looked) best at that moment.  Mr. Benson never said my arrangement was horrible but made very valid points, as a TRUE DESIGNER should, about the consistency, flow and color scheme.  Although I previously hired someone to do the actual pre-press work for me, he never mentioned or made reference to any of Robin’s points. All I can say about that is…ASK FOR WORK SAMPLES before hiring anyone. Lesson learned!

Old sample page layout

New sample page layout

So instead of white type on black pages, Feminine Transitions has a beautiful color spread that really compliments the portraits.  Not to mention, I’ve learned more about design in the two months that I’ve connected with Robin than I have in life thus far. Did I mention, Robin’s helped me free of charge?  When he first introduced that idea of course I was extremely appreciative of his offer.  I also thought, YES! MY GOOD KARMA HAS COME BACK TO ME.  I pride myself on sharing what I’ve learned along the way by passing the torch. What use is it to have a wealth of information and talent and keep it to myself?

Although I loved MY previous design of Feminine Transitions, I AM IN LOVE with the new.  I see growth in it, just as I do in myself. I am so very thankful for the continued blessings that are showered upon me. Mr. Benson is one of them.  I thank you for your sincere advice and guidance and send many blessings back your way.

What are your thoughts?