By Lajeune Hollis
Alisha Moten, exuberant and full-of-joy makeup artist and owner of Golden Adorns Artistry, loves to travel with her husband on vacation. She loves to take in all the sights, sounds and scenes from every excursion, but the feeling of refreshment and vibrancy she adopts quickly dissipates when she returns home. Instead of being stuck in a let-down of post-vacation blues, Moten used her experience as a catalyst and inspiration to launch her online business while on a four-month pandemic-induced job furlough in 2020.
“Golden is for things that bring you joy,” she shared. “Adorns means to beautify. When I think about life, I want it to be golden and bring me joy, travel, art and beauty."
It’s no wonder Moten’s mantra is to live life goldenly. She has a positive mindset and encourages others to do the same by taking just a few minutes a day to de-stress–and her wellness essential oils and candles can help with that.
Golden Adorns Artistry features a variety of travel-inspired products, including candles, décor, skin care and wellness.
"When I think about life, I want it to be golden and bring me joy, travel,
Moten offers 10 signature double-wicked candle scents that are each packaged beautifully in glass tumblers with natural cork lids, and include her Luxe Resort Travel Candle, Destination Travel Candle, Exotic Hiatus Travel Candle, Golden Moments Travel Candle and Vacation Hair Travel Candle.
“Golden Moments is a sugar lemongrass scent, a sweet but lemony zest—a fun scent,” she shared. “You are creating memories while on vacation, hence, Golden Moments.”
And as for her Vacation Hair Travel Candle?
“Ladies are excited to go on vacation, so we get our hair done with twists, braids, pixies and up-dos,” she said. And that memory of the smell of “vacation hair” is what she’s captured.
She also carries Citrus Crème Lip Smoothie, a very popular lip smoothie made with coconut, Shea butter, lemon essential oil and vanilla. This big seller leaves lips feeling not just smooth but moisturized.
As part of her wellness line, Moten carries wellness essential oils. Her Zest aromatherapy blend is made with lemongrass and peppermint essential oils, and provides a feeling of energy and invigoration–a perfect “pick-me-up” from a mid-afternoon slump. Her Bedtime essential oil is made with lavender and frankincense and helps provide a restful sleep, just like the kind you experience while on vacation.
Moten plans to offer specialty boxes—filled with accoutrements—for destination-themed bridal showers and weddings. And, a Golden Candle Travel Club is also on the horizon, where subscribers will receive a monthly candle box—highlighting a different travel destination—and other goodies. What’s more? Moten would like to run her online business on a full-time basis, increasing distribution by expanding her product line into boutiques and home décor shops.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend time with friends, Golden Adorns Artistry offers home parties, themed around beauty, scents and travel. Hosts choose from a list of suggestions and receive many perks, including credit from party merchandise sales.
So, if you seek the feeling that comes from a vacation that never ends—the warmth of the sun, the fresh ocean breeze, the sound of your favorite music playing on the beach—then look no further than Golden Adorns Artistry. They truly “capture the feelings of wanderlust through home fragrance, skincare, style and décor.”
Golden Adorns Artistry is an online business based in West Haven, Connecticut. Shop on their website by clicking here or visit Golden Adorns Artistry on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
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By Sarah Thompson
Shian Earlington is proof that the most beautiful diamonds are created under pressure. At just 20 years old, Earlington is a biochemistry major with the intent of becoming a neonatal surgeon. She is also a community advocate, activist, K-12 STEM tutor, Get LIT Teens Podcast co-host and a business owner.
Earlington always knew she wanted to be her own boss after seeing how her immigrant parents were poorly treated working for other people, and in February 2020, her dream became a reality when she launched her jewelry, accessory, cosmetics and crafts company.
“Bling’d By Kaila is flashy, nice and sassy—it’s all about fun!” she exclaimed.
Her customers, who she gains mostly through social media like TikTok and Instagram, gravitate toward her handmade charm bracelets, purses and bonnets. They love her genuine and friendly nature, and keep coming back for more.
However, being able to thrive in a pandemic has not been easy.
“At first I was in the land of the unknown, so to speak,” she shared. “Because remember, there was a time when everyone was scared to go outside and people were only going outside to get groceries. So I didn’t know if people would trust me to sanitize their products and send them off. Eventually the trust rolled in and that’s how I’ve been getting sale after sale after sale.”
“Bling’d By Kaila is flashy, nice and sassy—it’s all about fun!”
Earlington puts special efforts into ensuring her customer service is top notch by including handwritten notes and extras in each order she packages, and even goes the extra mile to provide one-on-one consultations. Each order gets a little bit of sparkle when it hits a customer’s mailbox.
“When I’m in the process of doing a transaction with a customer, I like to get to know them better,” she explained. “Sometimes I even Facetime them, and get a little more information about them – like, what’s your favorite color? What candies do you like? I show them things they might be interested in. I like to put a smile on their face.”
Earlington is shining bright these days, but it hasn’t come without struggles.
“Growing up my life wasn’t perfect, and it still isn’t. I struggle with anxiety and depression and my life was not a crystal stair,” she shared. “Now that I’m older and I have moved out on my own, my life is in my own hands and I can do what I want with it now. I’m not only loving on myself, I’m loving on other people and other children that need it.”
And spread sparkles she does, in so many ways. From helping tutor inner city youth to encouraging young Black and Brown women on a podcast, she’s determined to show others how through struggles beauty can be born. She also wants to be an example for other young entrepreneurs who are considering starting their own businesses.
"Do it scared, do it afraid, but as long as you’re doing it and doing it with God, you’re going to be fine. No one’s perfect and you can always perfect anything as time goes by,” she encouraged. “2020 shattered me into pieces. Yet, through it all I trusted in God and I am beginning to feel whole again.”
Bling’d By Kaila is an exclusively online business based out of Hartford, Connecticut. Click here to shop, or find Bling’d By Kaila on Instagram or TikTok. Her hours are 8:00am – 5:00pm EST, Monday through Friday.
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By Brenda De Los Santos
At The Green Room, it’s all about family. The New London restaurant and bar that features a welcoming and cozy ambiance, a menu of comfort-soul food along with meticulously thought-up cocktails, opened in July of 2019 to fill a void in southeastern Connecticut. Co-owners Jonai Phillips, Tondra Bryant and Shakim Outler wanted to create something for their community by their community, where patrons could feel like they were at their home away from home.
Phillips, a 2010 graduate of New London High School, joined forces with family friend Bryant and Bryant’s longtime boyfriend, Outler, to remedy the dearth of soul food restaurants in the area. “New London was missing something like this - if you wanted to get food like this, you had to go to Hartford or New Haven - we wanted to fill that void,” says Phillips.
“Our business will always stand apart from others because we are a family and we focus on our customers and what makes them feel comfortable,” says Bryant. With offerings like their popular Rasta Pasta, a jerk alfredo dish with pasta, bell peppers and choice of chicken or shrimp, Chicken n’ Waffle Bites with house spicy maple syrup, and Eggplant Meatballs, The Green Room’s menu offers something for everyone. “We try to put choices on the menu so that people who don’t drink or who are vegetarian or pescatarian have choices too,” says Phillips.
The events that led up to the trio - whose LLC is called “Three’s Company,” a nod to the classic sitcom that featured two women and a man - opening the restaurant seem like they were meant to be. “Tondra is my best friend's mom,” says Phillips, “We got into this idea because I was working at the bistro down the street and she was cooking out of her home and wanted to do brunch, so she came into the bistro.” Phillips, who moved back to the area after an eight year stint in New York City to attend college and begin her career, looked to the future after the bistro closed. “I started looking around and this place fell into my lap. It was perfect.”
“Our business will always stand apart from others because we are a family and we focus on our customers and what makes them feel comfortable."
The restaurateurs put a big emphasis on quality, with attention to fresh ingredients and they maintain high standards when it comes to their menu. “We have a guy - Big Jim - who makes our handmade lump crab cakes, and our scallops are bought locally,” says Phillips. “They [Bryant and Outler] put their soul and family recipes into our menu,” she says.
“My inspiration has been and always will be my grandmother, who taught me everything,” says Bryant. Continuing that legacy was her motivation, “My family keeps me going. I want to have something they can be proud of and leave them in charge of one day.”
Phillips has put meticulous consideration into The Green Room’s drink menu as well. With staples like #HennyThingsPossible, a frozen Hennesy colada, and the Black Mamba, a cocktail of silver rum, blackberry syrup, sugar, lime, mint & soda, their drink menu is eclectic yet accessible. “We make sure everything is consistent and the drinks are strong enough,” says Phillips. “They are not cheap, but are not too expensive. I put a lot of thought into them. Every season has a special drink menu too.”
Greenery is featured prominently in the restaurants’ decor, and the fireplace at the center of the main room contributes to the warm and inviting atmosphere. Their staff of ten consists of mainly friends and family, and Phillips says, “Even if you’re not [friends or family] you end up being that.” That feeling of being family is passed on to patrons, due in large part to the environment that Phillips, Bryant and Outler have painstakingly created. When you visit The Green Room, you’re home.
The Green Room is located at 345 Bank Street, New London, CT. Learn more on their website, Instagram or Facebook.
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