Songstress/Songwriter Charlie Vox’s New Journey
Written by Isis Nicole

Singer/songwriter Charlie Vox, by way of Jersey City, N.J., is making her big break this year from behind the scenes and onto the front stage. Having opened for Destiny’s Child, as well as penning songs for artists like Rihanna and Melanie Fiona, Charlie is finally letting her own voice be heard. In this interview, she discusses her start in the music business, why it’s easier to “lie instead,” and her commitment to music.


GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): How did you get your start in the music business?

Charlie Vox: Funny enough, I began performing my own material and fell into songwriting. Songwriting found me. I was working on my demo, and the first song I wrote got placed. I never stopped performing while writing for other artists.

GMO: You wrote for Rihanna and Melanie Fiona, and even opened for Destiny’s Child! What was that experience like?

Charlie: It was surreal performing alongside major acts, and songwriting for other artist was amazing.

GMO: What is it like being so involved with music magic behind the scenes?

Charlie: I feel blessed to be able to give artists a voice. Everyone is not able to draw the picture for others to color it. I feel lucky to be able to do that. It’s an honor to share my stories through song for others to enjoy.

GMO: When and why did you decide to transition your voice from songwriter to singer?

Charlie: I always knew I was supposed to be an artist, and I never gave up that dream as I continued to write for other artists. Now when everything else came along, the songwriting and producing, I had no idea that would be apart of my journey. I could’ve never lived with the regret if I had given up on my dream along the way.

GMO: Is it ever a challenge to balance the two?

Charlie: No, it’s not difficult. I can flip the switch on and off between artist and writer. It’s like being two different people. It’s kind of cool.

GMO: What’s your most prized accomplishment(s) to date?

Charlie: Last week, we shot my video, and I dreamt of that day all my life. That was truly an accomplishment. It was definitely a day to remember!

GMO: Since you are an established artist, do you feel like you pretty much know the ropes or are you at times outside of your comfort zone?

Charlie: No, I feel like everyday is a chance for me to learn something new. Even though I’ve been doing this for a while, I feel like I’m finally getting my artist career off the ground. So, I’m learning new things everyday.

GMO: What was the inspiration behind your song “Lie Instead?”

Charlie: Fresh out of a relationship where I wasn’t sure if we were together or apart. Friends and family would constantly ask if we were still together and I decided to “Lie Instead!” It was much easier to lie than explain our status.

GMO: When is your album Things I Never Said scheduled to release?

Charlie: Spring 2012

GMO: I read in an article that you will be exploring the ups and downs of relationships. Is love and heartbreak a subject you’re all too familiar with?

Charlie: I’m a little too familiar with heartbreak in relationships (laughs). What can I say? I love “love,” and I love hard. But what I’ve learned is that the nature of all relationships, whether they are romantic, platonic or even relationships with your family––they all have the same core. It begins and ends with respect.

GMO: These days, do you write most of your songs or do you have a favorite songwriter to help you out a little?

Charlie: I love collaborating. I enjoy incorporating my point of view with someone else’s. Together we can paint a picture from different perspectives. I often collaborate with Curtis Richardson, my longtime writing and production partner, the writing team Jackson/Croft, and Angelique Cinelu.

GMO: How do you set yourself apart from other R&B artists?

Charlie: I am committed to doing things my way. I don’t look to other artist to set the pace for my career. Lastly, I am honest with my lyrics and won’t sing a song if I have not experienced whatever the lyrics are conveying.

GMO: What music trends would you like to see disappear?

Charlie: Nothing in music really bothers me right now.

GMO: What Internet trends would you like to see disappear?

Charlie: I’m not sure if this counts as a trend but I know “e-bullying” is a huge issue. I’ve worked with youth groups, so I’m very passionate about issues affecting the next generation.

GMO: What is the craziest thing that happened to you while on previous tours?

Charlie: While performing, there was a power outage. The drummer kept playing, the horns never stopped, and I kept on singing! It was great!

GMO: Any future music videos, tours, or projects you care to share with us?

Charlie: I’m excited for the world to see my video “Lie Instead,” please stay tuned! It’s gonna be amazing! And of course my album is due out spring of next year.

GMO: What can listeners expect to hear from you as start your new chapter as an artist?

Charlie: Along with great music, I’m excited to kick off my after school mentoring program for teen girls. I just want to be an inspiration to anyone who has ever had a dream. It took me a minute to get here, and I want to inspire others to go for it.

GMO: Any advice to aspiring artists?

Charlie: Never, ever, ever, quit.

(via isis-nicole)

isis-nicole:

Written by Isis Nicole


Nail art has gone far beyond salons and straight into fashion shoots, music videos, parties, retail shops and galleries.

Let’s face it, manicures aren’t just about a simple polish these days. It’s the “nail art” that accessorizes fingertips into phenomenal fashion statements.

I got a chance to catch up with celebrity manicurist Hasani or “Sani Macc” to discuss her success in the nail business, as well as her inspirations and challenges today. Based in Los Angeles, Hasani has worked with Dawn Richard of P. Diddy’s “Dirty Money,” Tae Heckard of “The Game”, Draya of “Basketball Wives of LA”, and a list of other entertainers. Her designs are high-key, super glossy and often full of embellishment. When I see Hasani nails I think lavish femininity; in other words, BLING BLING!!


Name: Hasani

Hometown: Los Angeles

Blog: Saninails.tumblr.com

Most Known For: Nail Art

Unknown For: I love to do itineraries when I travel.

The Interview:

GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): Who gets the best gossip, the hairstylist or the nail artist?

Hasani: Hairstylist

GMO: When did you start designing nails and why?

Hasani: One of my good friends sent me a tutorial on cheetah nails. I watched it and said to myself “I can do that.”  I’ve been designing ever since.

GMO: What’s a day in the life of a celebrity nail artist and how has your creativity matured from this experience?

Hasani: ON THE GO! Being a celebrity nail artist, you have to stay ready because you never know when you’re going to get a call to work. Creatively, being a celebrity nail artist pushes you to always be at your best. You have to know how to do all the latest trends.

GMO: Who have you designed for?

Hasani: Dawn Richard of [music group] Dirty Money, Tae Heckard of ”The Game,” Eve, Raina of ”Next Top Model Cycle 14,” Draya of ”Basketball Wives of LA,” and a host of models.

GMO: What’s your favorite piece of nail art you’ve coined or created?

Hasani: My Swarovski Crystal Bow. Everyone that comes to me wants that blinged-out bow!

GMO: Any nail trends you’d like to see die?

Hasani: French Tip

GMO: How do you set yourself apart from other nail artists out there?

Hasani: I don’t try to set myself apart from other nail artists. I believe that’s there more than enough out there for any and everyone to have a great career. I love what I do, and I think that loves comes across in the quality of my work.

GMO: What’s your biggest challenge so far?

Hasani: Being shy. I’m not the most outspoken person at first, so I gotta get out of that!

GMO: What’s your most prized accomplishment(s)?

Hasani: Getting my manicurist license is one of my prized accomplishments. I stuck it to the man, quit my job, went to school, let go and let God, and what a great journey I am on!

GMO: Do you have pop up nail art events around LA or outside of it?

Hasani: Not as of yet, but I would so love to be apart of one!

GMO: Since you’re an established nail artist do you feel like you pretty much know the ropes, or are you at times outside of your comfort zone?

Hasani: ”Know the ropes” (laughs). For me, everyday is a learning experience!

GMO: Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share?!

Hasani: I wanna start doing tutorials and a day in the life. So look out for a Youtube channel from me soon.

GMO: You’re freaking Money Makin Sani Macc! What’s your secret to success?

Hasani: Faith. I have faith in my talent and my career. I only allow myself to think positively.

GMO: Who, besides a family member, do you find inspirational and why?

Hasani: My mentor Naja. She has taken me in and taught me so much. She has had a lot of success and encourages me to do my best. I’m also inspired by Sophy Robson and Kimmie Keys.

GMO: If you could design nails for anyone, who would it be and why?

Hasani: Beyonce! She’s fly and a trendsetter, and I would love to create fly nails for her!

GMO: What’s the craziest nail request you’ve had from someone?

Hasani: I once had someone ask for paper! They wanted all kinds of paper hanging off the nail. It was crazy but, nothing is too bizarre for me.

GMO: Any advice to aspiring artists?

Hasani: My advice would be to follow your dream! I know it seems a bit cliché but when you do what you love you’ll be so happy! Oh, and whenever you have the opportunity to learn and grow…take advantage of it!

Find Hasani:

Twitter: @SaniMacc

Located: 8000 Sunset Blvd. Suite 36

Los Angeles, CA 90046

For appointments: Hasani.nails@gmail.com

(via isis-nicole)

Songstress/Songwriter Charlie Vox’s New Journey
Written by Isis Nicole

Singer/songwriter Charlie Vox, by way of Jersey City, N.J., is making her big break this year from behind the scenes and onto the front stage. Having opened for Destiny’s Child, as well as penning songs for artists like Rihanna and Melanie Fiona, Charlie is finally letting her own voice be heard. In this interview, she discusses her start in the music business, why it’s easier to “lie instead,” and her commitment to music.


GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): How did you get your start in the music business?

Charlie Vox: Funny enough, I began performing my own material and fell into songwriting. Songwriting found me. I was working on my demo, and the first song I wrote got placed. I never stopped performing while writing for other artists.

GMO: You wrote for Rihanna and Melanie Fiona, and even opened for Destiny’s Child! What was that experience like?

Charlie: It was surreal performing alongside major acts, and songwriting for other artist was amazing.

GMO: What is it like being so involved with music magic behind the scenes?

Charlie: I feel blessed to be able to give artists a voice. Everyone is not able to draw the picture for others to color it. I feel lucky to be able to do that. It’s an honor to share my stories through song for others to enjoy.

GMO: When and why did you decide to transition your voice from songwriter to singer?

Charlie: I always knew I was supposed to be an artist, and I never gave up that dream as I continued to write for other artists. Now when everything else came along, the songwriting and producing, I had no idea that would be apart of my journey. I could’ve never lived with the regret if I had given up on my dream along the way.

GMO: Is it ever a challenge to balance the two?

Charlie: No, it’s not difficult. I can flip the switch on and off between artist and writer. It’s like being two different people. It’s kind of cool.

GMO: What’s your most prized accomplishment(s) to date?

Charlie: Last week, we shot my video, and I dreamt of that day all my life. That was truly an accomplishment. It was definitely a day to remember!

GMO: Since you are an established artist, do you feel like you pretty much know the ropes or are you at times outside of your comfort zone?

Charlie: No, I feel like everyday is a chance for me to learn something new. Even though I’ve been doing this for a while, I feel like I’m finally getting my artist career off the ground. So, I’m learning new things everyday.

GMO: What was the inspiration behind your song “Lie Instead?”

Charlie: Fresh out of a relationship where I wasn’t sure if we were together or apart. Friends and family would constantly ask if we were still together and I decided to “Lie Instead!” It was much easier to lie than explain our status.

GMO: When is your album Things I Never Said scheduled to release?

Charlie: Spring 2012

GMO: I read in an article that you will be exploring the ups and downs of relationships. Is love and heartbreak a subject you’re all too familiar with?

Charlie: I’m a little too familiar with heartbreak in relationships (laughs). What can I say? I love “love,” and I love hard. But what I’ve learned is that the nature of all relationships, whether they are romantic, platonic or even relationships with your family––they all have the same core. It begins and ends with respect.

GMO: These days, do you write most of your songs or do you have a favorite songwriter to help you out a little?

Charlie: I love collaborating. I enjoy incorporating my point of view with someone else’s. Together we can paint a picture from different perspectives. I often collaborate with Curtis Richardson, my longtime writing and production partner, the writing team Jackson/Croft, and Angelique Cinelu.

GMO: How do you set yourself apart from other R&B artists?

Charlie: I am committed to doing things my way. I don’t look to other artist to set the pace for my career. Lastly, I am honest with my lyrics and won’t sing a song if I have not experienced whatever the lyrics are conveying.

GMO: What music trends would you like to see disappear?

Charlie: Nothing in music really bothers me right now.

GMO: What Internet trends would you like to see disappear?

Charlie: I’m not sure if this counts as a trend but I know “e-bullying” is a huge issue. I’ve worked with youth groups, so I’m very passionate about issues affecting the next generation.

GMO: What is the craziest thing that happened to you while on previous tours?

Charlie: While performing, there was a power outage. The drummer kept playing, the horns never stopped, and I kept on singing! It was great!

GMO: Any future music videos, tours, or projects you care to share with us?

Charlie: I’m excited for the world to see my video “Lie Instead,” please stay tuned! It’s gonna be amazing! And of course my album is due out spring of next year.

GMO: What can listeners expect to hear from you as start your new chapter as an artist?

Charlie: Along with great music, I’m excited to kick off my after school mentoring program for teen girls. I just want to be an inspiration to anyone who has ever had a dream. It took me a minute to get here, and I want to inspire others to go for it.

GMO: Any advice to aspiring artists?

Charlie: Never, ever, ever, quit.

isis-nicole:

By: Isis Nicole

It is the age old question: can women and men be just friends? While this is one question that has plagued people for generations, I’m going to settle all of the disputes. I’m just going to come right out and say it. Yes, it is possible for men and women to just be friends. Who am I to say that the thought is unimaginable or impossible? The fact that two people aren’t the same sex shouldn’t necessarily mean that they are incapable of having a platonic relationship. 



With that said, the best way to maintain a healthy friendship that involves members of the opposite sex is to eliminate and/or conquer the physical attraction. Oftentimes, this is easier said than done, but if you can get around this tiny detail, it could possibly be smooth sailing from that moment until forever. Now, let’s break it down for a second. Getting past the physical can mean a lot of different things. However, it boils down to whether or not you’re going to act on “it” or not. 


Back in the day, when there was absolutely no pressure that came along with being friends with the opposite sex, we found a way to make it work, right? That was the time when boys and girls were buddies and pals. So, why can’t the same be true in adulthood? Friendship does not have to mean romance. We have the choice to either allow a friendship to transition into something more or to uphold its genuine emotion. 


In my case, I like the fact that my friendship with males aren’t romantic at all. My male friends are like brothers. They are there when I need advice and my partners in crime. Sure they may witness a heartbreak and may even try to mend it, but that’s as far as it goes.


In the words of Don O’Meara, Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati-Raymond Walters College, “Platonic love does exist.” We just have to decide for ourselves what’s appropriate and what’s not.

(via isis-nicole)

Written by Isis Nicole


Nail art has gone far beyond salons and straight into fashion shoots, music videos, parties, retail shops and galleries.

Let’s face it, manicures aren’t just about a simple polish these days. It’s the “nail art” that accessorizes fingertips into phenomenal fashion statements.

I got a chance to catch up with celebrity manicurist Hasani or “Sani Macc” to discuss her success in the nail business, as well as her inspirations and challenges today. Based in Los Angeles, Hasani has worked with Dawn Richard of P. Diddy’s “Dirty Money,” Tae Heckard of “The Game”, Draya of “Basketball Wives of LA”, and a list of other entertainers. Her designs are high-key, super glossy and often full of embellishment. When I see Hasani nails I think lavish femininity; in other words, BLING BLING!!


Name: Hasani

Hometown: Los Angeles

Blog: Saninails.tumblr.com

Most Known For: Nail Art

Unknown For: I love to do itineraries when I travel.

The Interview:

GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): Who gets the best gossip, the hairstylist or the nail artist?

Hasani: Hairstylist

GMO: When did you start designing nails and why?

Hasani: One of my good friends sent me a tutorial on cheetah nails. I watched it and said to myself “I can do that.”  I’ve been designing ever since.

GMO: What’s a day in the life of a celebrity nail artist and how has your creativity matured from this experience?

Hasani: ON THE GO! Being a celebrity nail artist, you have to stay ready because you never know when you’re going to get a call to work. Creatively, being a celebrity nail artist pushes you to always be at your best. You have to know how to do all the latest trends.

GMO: Who have you designed for?

Hasani: Dawn Richard of [music group] Dirty Money, Tae Heckard of ”The Game,” Eve, Raina of ”Next Top Model Cycle 14,” Draya of ”Basketball Wives of LA,” and a host of models.

GMO: What’s your favorite piece of nail art you’ve coined or created?

Hasani: My Swarovski Crystal Bow. Everyone that comes to me wants that blinged-out bow!

GMO: Any nail trends you’d like to see die?

Hasani: French Tip

GMO: How do you set yourself apart from other nail artists out there?

Hasani: I don’t try to set myself apart from other nail artists. I believe that’s there more than enough out there for any and everyone to have a great career. I love what I do, and I think that loves comes across in the quality of my work.

GMO: What’s your biggest challenge so far?

Hasani: Being shy. I’m not the most outspoken person at first, so I gotta get out of that!

GMO: What’s your most prized accomplishment(s)?

Hasani: Getting my manicurist license is one of my prized accomplishments. I stuck it to the man, quit my job, went to school, let go and let God, and what a great journey I am on!

GMO: Do you have pop up nail art events around LA or outside of it?

Hasani: Not as of yet, but I would so love to be apart of one!

GMO: Since you’re an established nail artist do you feel like you pretty much know the ropes, or are you at times outside of your comfort zone?

Hasani: ”Know the ropes” (laughs). For me, everyday is a learning experience!

GMO: Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share?!

Hasani: I wanna start doing tutorials and a day in the life. So look out for a Youtube channel from me soon.

GMO: You’re freaking Money Makin Sani Macc! What’s your secret to success?

Hasani: Faith. I have faith in my talent and my career. I only allow myself to think positively.

GMO: Who, besides a family member, do you find inspirational and why?

Hasani: My mentor Naja. She has taken me in and taught me so much. She has had a lot of success and encourages me to do my best. I’m also inspired by Sophy Robson and Kimmie Keys.

GMO: If you could design nails for anyone, who would it be and why?

Hasani: Beyonce! She’s fly and a trendsetter, and I would love to create fly nails for her!

GMO: What’s the craziest nail request you’ve had from someone?

Hasani: I once had someone ask for paper! They wanted all kinds of paper hanging off the nail. It was crazy but, nothing is too bizarre for me.

GMO: Any advice to aspiring artists?

Hasani: My advice would be to follow your dream! I know it seems a bit cliché but when you do what you love you’ll be so happy! Oh, and whenever you have the opportunity to learn and grow…take advantage of it!

Find Hasani:

Twitter: @SaniMacc

Located: 8000 Sunset Blvd. Suite 36

Los Angeles, CA 90046

For appointments: Hasani.nails@gmail.com

Preventing Makeup Mishaps: Tips for Putting Your Best Face Forward

Written by  Isis Nicole

Makeup is often a decision between enhancing beauty and or covering flaws. And no matter the choice, you always want to look good, not cheap. Here are some tips that will help you look your best.

So often many women have a hard time applying a natural foundation, which causes the makeup to look overdone and tacky. It’s best to apply a foundation that blends with your skin to compliment the face rather than add a darker shade that does not match.

Also, when wearing eye shadow, be gentle with the amount of colors used. Unless you are an expert with experiments, stick to a minimum of three shades that enhance your eyes. Popular trends among women include earth tones such as browns, golds, grays and dark greens. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot try out bright colors like purple, blue and orange, but it also does not mean to be garish and look like you’re about to perform in a day long circus.

Be sure to apply what’s flattering to your face. If you choose to go with a brighter color lipstick, make sure your eyes are soft to avoid unbalance. According to makeup specialist Lady Art Looks, you want to play up one or the other. When going with nude lips, a good choice will be to makeup the eyes. Go for darker liners like black and apply it with lighter shimmering shadows.

Have a minimum of three coats of mascara on top and/or bottom lashes, and if you’re considering adding on false lashes, please, please, please put them on right! No one wants to see the glue or the outline of the fake sitting on top of your eyelids. There is a full set of false lashes that will create more volume or you can purchase a small individual set of lashes to add thickness. Before you begin to apply your eyelashes, make sure your eyes are clean of any makeup. Curl your natural lashes with an eyelash curler then apply a liner (preferably liquid) to your eyes to conceal the roots of your eyelash.

For individual lashes, place a small amount of eyelash glue onto a surface and allow it to dry until it becomes tacky. With tweezers, pick up your eyelashes and dip the root into the adhesive. With your fingers, apply the lashes onto the lid as close to the roots as possible starting from the outer corner of the eye. For a full set, all that is needed is a thin strip of glue along the base of the false lashes, and again, wait for the glue to dry a bit. When you put on individual lashes, you want to start at the outer corner of the eyes, and with your tweezers, wedge the glued false eyelash into your natural lashes. A trick is to stay as close to the root of your real lashes as possible and to leave a natural space between the lashes, and you’re now ready to go out and be gorgeous!

Makeup is not a question of wearing less or more, it’s a question about what’s appropriate for the occasion, as well as for your face. You can play it safe or go bold, just keep away from slapdash makeup mishaps.

By Isis Nicole

Jan Buckner Walker, creator of the number one family crossword Kids Across Parents Down, took some time out with GlossMagazineOnline (GMO) to share a bit of her story as a puzzle maker recognized across the country. She is a gifted businesswoman full of humor and grace from Silver Spring, MD, who finds joy in making puzzles to bring smiles to others. Walker was acknowledged by President Obama after being asked to create custom Kids Across Parents Down puzzles for gift bags in regards to the Children’s Inaugural Ball and the State of Illinois Ball, and continues to create puzzles which run weekly in newspapers throughout the United States.

What inspired you to create Kids Across Parents Down?

 I have always been a bit of a “word nerd” dating back to the days when I was a child. I majored in journalism while at Howard and word games were always fun for me. After going to law school and working in corporate, I began tutoring at Cabrini Green here in Chicago. In working with my assigned student –– a bright, but easily distracted and largely disinterested second grader –– I found myself always trying to find a way to make learning a bit more exciting. I’d make up word games and other activities to get him engaged.

Years later, out of the blue, Kids Across Parents Down came to me as a brainstorm –– a crossword that families could do together with “across” clues for kids and “down” clues for parents that would run in the Sunday comics section of the newspaper. It came to my mind as a complete package and was so vivid that I thought I had seen it somewhere before. It is and was, in the truest sense, a gift from God.

How much time does it take to put into creating your puzzles?

Making puzzles takes different lengths of time depending on the theme, the target age level and the size of the grid. Usually, it’s a couple of hours. If you think about a crossword grid, you can see that it’s really the result of weaving together words. In my work under the KAPD brand, all of the words and clues must share a common theme. So after constructing the grid, I add clues that are fun or funny to create an experience that lets both the kids and parents learn a little, laugh a bit, and win together.

Have you received any criticism or positive feedback about any of your creations?

Our puzzles run weekly in newspapers across the country from Los Angeles to Alaska and many kids know us as a regularly featured activity in kids menus in various restaurants or from our popular book series. So, I receive numerous emails from kids and parents all the time. They are overwhelmingly positive –– kids will write in to say that they love the crosswords or that the puzzles are ‘making my mom very smart’ and parents report that the crosswords have become part of a family ritual. Occasionally, a solver will complain about a particular puzzle. I’ve had parents object to reference a particular celebrity whose conduct they find objectionable, such as Jamie Lynn Spears after her pregnancy was revealed or Tiger Woods following his well publicized scandal. As the puzzle is nationally syndicated, I receive feedback from a staff of editors, which minimizes the likelihood of errors slipping through.

What is your biggest challenge as a puzzle maker?

The biggest challenge is ensuring that every puzzle satisfies our fun guarantee. Each one has to contain a fresh, lively theme and clues that deliver an experience a family can count on as fun every time.

Is there ever a moment you feel limited in your creation? If yes, what do you do to get pass that bump? If no, how do you always posse that creative energy?

[Laughs] Yes, there is such a thing as puzzler’s block. It’s writer’s block’s lesser known and even eviler cousin. Making puzzles is part art and science. The grid is the science and the clues are the artistic part.

There are days when the grid comes easily but the clues don’t flow or vice versa. That’s why I try to stay ahead of deadline and give every puzzle a cooling period until it has the right look, tone and personality.

What does it take for you to succeed and survive in your profession?

It’s a blessing to be able to do what you love and be paid for it. In the puzzling world, there are only a handful of people who enjoy this opportunity, and I am grateful for it. To make it as a cruciverbalist, which is a fancy word for crossword constructor, it’s important to keep your creative juices flowing. Pay attention to the world around you for relatable experiences and remember what it is that makes your puzzles unique. On the business side, it’s important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities where a puzzle should exist but doesn’t, then you have to engage the decision maker to help him or her see your vision which is not always easy.

Outside of Kids Across Parents Down, is there anything else you work on?

Yes. In addition to the family crosswords, I create standard puzzles for organizations ranging from the Boston Celtics to Essence Magazine. With regard to the latter, it’s especially exciting to see black people embracing crosswords as never before. I’m happy to be able to create inclusive puzzles that uniquely focus on African-American trivia, pop culture, literature, and events. Having spawned a flurry of interest in puzzles in our community, I am now in talks with several outlets to deliver interactive online puzzles with black themes.


What is your most prized accomplishment?

The most thrilling moment since we began was being asked to create custom Kids Across Parents Down puzzles for inclusion the gift bags for the Children’s Inaugural Ball and the State of Illinois Ball when President Obama took office. We heard that the Obamas were aware of the puzzle because of the fact that it had run for years in the Chicago Tribune and as I was and am a big fan of the president, it was an exciting honor to be a part of that historic event.


What is your least favorite puzzle trend?

Personally, I don’t like puzzles that contain information so obscure and arcane that most people don’t know it and don’t care. I like to say that my puzzles are mind-tickling, not brain-busting. That’s not to say that there’s not a place for all types of puzzles because there is. And there’s nothing wrong with a rigorous challenge. But for my part, life is hard enough without a puzzle to put lines in your forehead. I’d rather create smile lines.

Any advice to aspiring artists?

My advice is not new, but it’s true enough to repeat: Do what you love. To put it better, work at what you love. It’s like singing –– many people are gifted with a beautiful voice, but if you want to do it professionally, it takes more than singing in the shower. In every creative endeavor you have to find your unique voice and if it is to be a business, figure out whether there’s an audience out there for the sound you’re making. Then, continually work to get better and better. And never take no for an answer.

By: Isis Nicole

As autumn nears, I’m starting to freak out about the start of the semester. After all, it will be my fourth year as a college student. When I was a senior in high school, I looked at graduation as a golden ticket to paradise, with paradise being college, or as I like to call it, my home away from home. Now that I’m a senior in college, home away from home seems like the gateway to responsibilities. Bills on top of bills, bank loan denials, career struggles, and less time to catch up on my much-needed beauty sleep. It’s weird how you wait your entire childhood to become “grown,” but when you get there, it’s an entirely different story. Most of your adulthood, your wishing you were a kid again, right? However, if you look at the bigger picture, growing up doesn’t have to suck. I’ve seen adults before me make the impossible, possible, and I’ll be damned if I get wrinkles and gray hairs by the age of 22. In my eyes, life after college will mainly be determined by how I make the most out of it. Today is going to be treated like a blessing. I have faith in the evidence of things not seen…don’t you?

By: Isis Nicole


Ever wonder about the old folks of the past? You know, those who were born in the good old days; the wise generation that are pre-technology, social networks, and all that other good stuff. There was once upon a time when “Granny” use to be that little old lady in a floral nightgown, bright lipstick, and her hair adorn with flakes of grey. She also had an insane amount of photo albums, and not to mention, she had stories to tell that went back for what seems like ages. Grandpa was never too far away. You know, that sweet, wrinkled old man?

Well, not anymore. I guess I should say at least not my grandparents. Out with the rocking chairs and in with the wonders of youth, because grandparents all over are more vibrant than ever. Now they are re-defining what it means to be a grandparent by throwing parties, vacationing on their terms, and even taking up the risk of online dating. Yes, DATING!!! Honestly, I’m proud of this transition. It puts a smile on my face when I see a 70+ year old grocery shopping or exercising at the crack of dawn. One of my grandmother’s is fairly young, so for the sake of argument let’s not include her.  However, my great grandmother is a different story. I went to her house a few weeks ago, and she left such an impression on me. She’s healthy and active, and she even tried to offer me a “drink!” It’s definitely motivating to see that life is still fun for those who aren’t physically young. Mark Twain said it best, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

By: Isis Nicole

As a single, young lady, the occasional date is easily becoming a favorite past time of mine. However, summer flings are like water parks that I don’t care to visit. You know how water parks look awesome from afar, they even look fun for those people who aren’t deathly afraid of water. For me, it’s terrifying, because I can’t swim. So, quite naturally, I could drown. The same is true when it comes to summer flings. They are just not my thing. The act of falling in love is something that should definitely be cherished and not taken for granted just to occupy a season. It’s easy to become infatuated with someone during the warmer months. The weather is near perfect, their are minimal obligations for some, there’s lots of travel, and during the summer you can be someone else for a short period of time, if that’s your choice. In a sense, the summer is a fantasy. When the weather breaks, reality hits.So, are seasonal flings intended to stay just as that, or is it allowed to grow into something more when the weather starts to change and the leaves began to fall? I’m pretty curious myself because what happens when these “flings” still have that flame well into the next season? If the compatibility and chemistry is out of this world, must the romance end when September rolls around? I suppose calling it off isn’t totally out of the question if two lovers make their intentions crystal clear. Oftentimes, a summer fling lives off distance and adventure, only useful to ignite sensuality. What a shame and waste of something so good!

By: Isis Nicole

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they’ll face jealously, backstabbing, and and just low down dirty hate..But what few girls will ever come to accept are those three horrendous truths from the likes of their closest friends also known as the FREMENY.

Frenemies can be the worst people you’ve ever encountered, if and only if, you do not know how to cooperate and or end all things dealing with their senselessness. They are in every way pointless relationships and only want to keep you around for sabotage or personal pleasure of dislike.

What’s even more interesting is that the ones who are the closest to you tend to hate the most. The most unappealing aspect of having a friend who also happens to be an enemy is that you may not realize that in the end, they don’t have your best interest at heart.

How to spot one? Well for one, “frenemies” do not typically pop up like an unnoticed stain on your new outfit, although the situation may indeed feel that way. They are much more clever. Unfortunately, they blossom over time; therefore, there’s a great possibility that they are very aware of your secrets and weaknesses. What was once a health girl to girl powwow turns into a biter broken relationship.

How to deal? You can call them out, facing the issue head on. An alternative is for you to get even, but once you’re past a certain age, that can be thought of as immature. Plus, you would be wasting your precious time and energy. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

By: Isis Nicole

It is the age old question: can women and men be just friends? While this is one question that has plagued people for generations, I’m going to settle all of the disputes. I’m just going to come right out and say it. Yes, it is possible for men and women to just be friends. Who am I to say that the thought is unimaginable or impossible? The fact that two people aren’t the same sex shouldn’t necessarily mean that they are incapable of having a platonic relationship. 



With that said, the best way to maintain a healthy friendship that involves members of the opposite sex is to eliminate and/or conquer the physical attraction. Oftentimes, this is easier said than done, but if you can get around this tiny detail, it could possibly be smooth sailing from that moment until forever. Now, let’s break it down for a second. Getting past the physical can mean a lot of different things. However, it boils down to whether or not you’re going to act on “it” or not. 


Back in the day, when there was absolutely no pressure that came along with being friends with the opposite sex, we found a way to make it work, right? That was the time when boys and girls were buddies and pals. So, why can’t the same be true in adulthood? Friendship does not have to mean romance. We have the choice to either allow a friendship to transition into something more or to uphold its genuine emotion. 


In my case, I like the fact that my friendship with males aren’t romantic at all. My male friends are like brothers. They are there when I need advice and my partners in crime. Sure they may witness a heartbreak and may even try to mend it, but that’s as far as it goes.


In the words of Don O’Meara, Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati-Raymond Walters College, “Platonic love does exist.” We just have to decide for ourselves what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Are Children Growing Up Too Fast?

By: Isis Nicole

The day I returned to my hometown, I was amazed at the sight of my 7-year-old brother playing with his Nintendo DSi. I tried to be the cool older sister so I decided to share my gadget owning days in an effort to relate. Back in the day, I had a Gameboy Color and a Polaroid i-Zone. I went on and on about my experiences and to my surprise, he interrupted my story with a click of a button. My photograph was taken instantly and morphed right onto the screen. He made my image look deformed, laughed, and said, “Ice, I’m gonna put you on YouTube.” I wondered, how in the world does he know about YouTube? Furthermore, how does he know about blackmail? More importantly, why does he have internet access?! He’s only seven!

Not too long after the run in with my younger brother, we both met up with our six-year-old sister. She wasn’t flashing pictures in an effort to blackmail me, but she was having a fit about her Nintendo DSi battery dying. “I need to connect to Jordan,” she said. I was confused. It was mind bottling that they were so comfortable with technology, like mini experts.



Here I am, a 20-year-old college student with a box full of stuffed animals, trolls, and notes, while my younger siblings are already concerned with social networks and video games. I can’t be too upset, because unlike most children their age, they still play outside for hours. As long as they still get fresh air and a chance to use their imagination, I’m okay with them having a blast playing Mario. I mean, all I got were board games, cheap graphics, and plastic.

By Isis Nicole


It’s no secret that body and beauty can go a long way in the entertainment industry, but for singer and model Tanya T6 (T=Tanya, 6=six pack), success and respect means much more than looks. Dedicated to keeping her music versatile and fun, Tanya explores R&B, pop and hip hop as a way to keep listeners on their toes and to express her love for melodic sounds. She credits Bone Thugs & Harmony as her number one inspiration in music, taking what she learned from them to perfect becoming a sort of smooth singer and rapper. 

In some ways, Tanya is like “one of the guys,” except she comes with a lovely voice, six pack and breast.

After spending a lot of time in the studio with rappers, she became aware of the negativity that is attached to being a woman of color in the entertainment industry, but this hasn’t stopped her shine.

“Being pretty and around guys, people always want to know why she [T6] is down. I’m not being out there and everything is straight business. I proved myself, but there is still more work to do,” says Tanya.

Aside from some of the drama that comes with being a star, Tanya takes pride in being an inspiration to people of any age group through her music and personal blog (thebestoftanya.com/blog)—both of which are used to offer advice. They include encouraging pieces and some of Tanya’s learned experiences.

“I try to post a lot of things to inspire,” she says.

Currently, Tanya continues to work on expanding her fan base, setting future tour dates and releasing more music. Her latest EP, “Pieces,” is now available on iTunes. However, she always updates her Twitter (@Tanyat6) feed with free, new music.

Ultimately, Tanya would like to collaborate with artists such as Prince, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Drake and Nicki Minaj. But for now, it’s all about hustling hard and enjoying life.

“No matter what anyone tells you, if you’re hot, you’re hot. Stay focused,” says Tanya.

Find out more about Tanya by visiting her website: TheBestofTanya.com and check out her promo video for the single “Fly Away" and listen to the single "Silhouette."

Isis Nicole’s Facts: Isis Nicole is a Cincinnati native majoring in Journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She can be contacted at Isis@glossmagazineonline.com and on her blog, isis-nicole.tumblr.com.

By Isis Nicole

It takes a lot of courage to be a black woman who rocks, literally, in an industry that often boxes artists in. But singer/songwriter Melody Angel, former contestant on “P. Diddy’s Starmaker,” makes it her main goal to set herself apart from the stereotypes of what music should be and shares her story with GlossMagazineOnline (GMO).

GMO: What was it like being on “P. Diddy’s Starmaker?” 
Melody: You have to put everything on the line to be on one of these singing competitions. You have to quit your job and leave your family. So being on the show was very stressful for me.

You have this combination of folk, rock and soul in your music. How did this influence come about and are you interested in adding new genres to your sound? 
Everybody calls my music different things, but I just call it rock. Maroon 5 has to be one of the most soulful [groups] in the game and most of their songs sound like R&B. However, they are labeled Alternative Rock. Kings of Leon also has a soulful lead singer and their songs have blues and country elements to it, yet they are just seen as a rock band. And so it’s frustrating to have different rules set out for me. I’ve been fighting against stereotypes my whole life. 

I read in previous interviews that at a young age you would sing on the sidewalks of Chicago. What was that like, and what was the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you during your performance?  
Singing on the street corners in downtown Chicago was probably the scariest stage I’ve ever performed on. Anything can happen out there. People just walk by until they hear that “song” that turns them around so it became like a game for me to figure out what they wanted to hear as they passed by. 

What was your process in teaching yourself the guitar? How dedicated does one have to be to master this? 
Most people lack the discipline it takes to teach themselves any instrument, but it can be done. See, I play by ear and that means I would listen to the radio all day and try to find the notes to each song. I have been practicing every day since I was 15 without fail. There is always something new to learn in music.

How has the viral world/online social media influenced your career? 
Social media is the only reason I’m able to build a career now. YouTube has been the biggest help to me. Most, if not all, of my fans found me on YouTube. I get emails from people every day from all over the world and it’s amazing. 

What is your most prized accomplishment to date? 
My biggest accomplishment to date was graduating college. Knowledge is power, so when I walk into a business meeting with some big name in the industry, I must be confident that I know my business well. That’s the thing about education: You take it with you in every situation. 

What got you interested into talking about HIV? 
HIV is an epidemic among black females. My generation is dying before their time, and it can be avoided. I figure the more we are informed about how close this disease is to us all, then maybe it’s not too late to change this generation’s outcome. I felt inspired and wrote a song called, “The Death of Me.”

What would you say your biggest challenge or fear is being a music artist? 
The biggest challenge being a music artist is getting continued support from your fans. You wonder if they’re still listening, if they will come out to your show, or will they even buy your record. I wonder these things all the time. 

What trends in music would you like to see disappear?
I hope one day music will be free of stereotypes, and then maybe a black girl from the South Side of Chicago can be free to become a rock star.

What is the best advice you can give to aspiring artists?
My advice to aspiring artists is, don’t change who you are to be an artist because you’ll hate every minute of your success. I’ve met a lot of big names in the industry so far and rarely do I meet someone who is actually happy with their lives. Remember that and keep God first, and you’ll be alright.

 

Follow Melody Angel on Twitter: @MelodyAngel and check out her YouTube Video for "The Death of Me" and click the link below to download your copy of the song: Download www.MelodyAngelMusic.com - The Death Of Me.




Isis Nicole’s Facts: Isis Nicole is a Cincinnati native majoring in Journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She can be contacted at Isis@glossmagazineonline.com and on her blog, isis-nicole.tumblr.com.