Category Archives: the moxies

creative women pursuing their dreams

child’s play designs by sharlene

niki: give me three words that describe you.
sharlene: i am creative, flamboyant, and i have always been an individual.

niki: how long have you been painting?
sharlene: it started when i bought my first house in 1995. first i  experimented with blending unusual color schemes and trying out different faux wall techniques. then when i gave birth to my daughter in july 1999, i was inspired to create a special room created just for her, a unique gift that would come straight from my heart. a gift she would wake up to everyday and be reminded of the labor of love  i poured into it. i painted a jungle theme mural, made lion shaped valances and designed the room with jungle theme accessories. i was hooked after that. it was such a natural and fulfilling expression of who i am as a person.

niki: what made you choose murals as an artistic expression?
sharlene: painting is such a peaceful and relaxing feeling, developing the perfect image to match a child’s personality satisfies the creative side in me. the most rewarding experience i take away from it is the pure joy i see in a child when they see the final result. the happiness on their faces is so pure and innocent. it’s the kind of joy many of us lose as adults. the simplest things in life can be the most rewarding. i am reminded of that every time i see the light in their eyes when they see the finished project.

niki: where do you draw inspiration for your work?
sharlene: my inspiration comes from children and my own childhood memories . when you think of kids in general what comes to my mind are bright colors, happiness, fun, simplicity, and innocence. i try to bring all of these qualities into every mural i create and every room i design.

niki: what has been your favorite project so far?
sharlene: i really enjoyed creating designs for my children at different stages of their development. they are my most challenging clients. if they don’t like something they have no problems telling me!

niki: what creative power do you wish you had?
sharlene: i wish i had the creative power to make everyone feel comfortable in expressing the creative power within themselves, even if it means not following the crowd. imagine how much more interesting the world would be if everyone dropped the mask and revealed their true, authentic selves.

niki: what music gets your creative juices flowing?
sharlene: it is so funny you are asking me this question. i am a diehard music fan. there’s not a day that goes by when i’m not listening to music, looking up underground artists or trying to expose people to a sound other than the same tired grooves you hear on the radio. i listen to a little of everything really…neo-soul, rap, alternative. my favorite artist is prince. lately i have been listening heavily to bilal, van hunt, nikka costa, eric roberson and the great erykah badu… need i say more?

sharlene lewter-flood and child’s play designs serve the dc metro area (dc, md & va)

for more info call: 240.463.8622

tosha francis :: one groovy photog

niki: give me 3 words that describe you.
tosha: eclectic, fun, groovy

niki: when did you start photography? and what’s been the best/worst things about having your own business?
tosha: i started about 7 years ago just shooting my kids and for friends and family but started my business about 5. the best things are flexibility in my schedule and being able to do what i absolutely love.  the worst is actually managing the business side and stepping out of the creative side of the brain to actually get BUSINESS done.


hip family love

any day now, lady

peace

tickled

niki: where do you draw inspiration for your photo sessions?
tosha: usually  high fashion magazines, pinterest has been a huge huge inspiration and a time killing beast! i try to put a twist on a high fashion ad and make it family friendly. my favorite photos are the ones that speak to me. whenever i can look at it photo and it instantly brings out some type of emotion whether a smile, laughter, an awwwww, an um um um..fierce or even a tear i know i have done my job. the best compliment is when a client writes back after they’ve seen their slideshow and says how it made them cry. mission accomplished. i don’t want to be known for JUST taking pretty pictures, but photographs are art that bring out emotion.

niki: who’s your favorite photog?
tosha: dang just one ;-( well if i had to choose one it would definitely be david lachapelle. i know weird huh, but his over the top and edgy photos and the way he just really thinks outside the box make me scream YES!

niki: what creative power do you wish you had?
tosha: i swear i am waiting for the day that the camera lens was really be my eyeballs and i would be bionic camera woman. i would see the image, set it up in my head, compose the image and blink and bam there would be the photograph saved to the hd in my head.  i know it’s coming and i would sell my firstborn for it (just kidding..or am i!)

niki: best music (song/artist) to get your creative juices flowing?
tosha: hands down deee lite! (told you i am groovy.)

niki: any advice for new photographers?
tosha: be yourself by all means. really try to understand your own style of photography and work the hell out of it! start with a business plan and give equally to both sides of your business, the creative side and the business side and you will be successful fo sho!

we all fall down

the family that plays together

 

find tosha:

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erika williams :: haute caketure

erika made seven different flavors for this cupcake tasting event. cupcakes, wine and milk (of course) made for a really great time.


niki: give me 3 words that describe you.
erika: three words that would describe me are personable—i can get along with just about anyone, energetic—i’m always trying to do something (and i’m a morning person), and dynamic—i’m up for anything—one minute i’m cooking or baking, the next i’m writing, the next i’m partaking in some outdoor adventure. i have to live life while i can!

niki: what made you venture into baking? how long have you been doing it?
erika: baking for others happened by accident really. it’s something that i’ve always loved to do and so i would just do it for friends and family at our bar-b-ques, cookouts and things of that nature. i ended up making a white chocolate cake with a strawberry/raspberry glaze and it was an instant hit. after that a couple of close friends urged me to take my baking to the next level. so here i am. i’ve been baking professionally now for about a year, but for a “hobby” i’ve been doing it forever.

 

l: erika created this lemon cake for a baby shower with fondant bears and baby. the yellow blanket was just like one that she had as a kid and was her own little personal touch.

r: unlike traditional strawberry shortcake, this three-layer shortcake is made of strawberry cake with sliced strawberries, homemade biscuit and homemade whipped topping placed between the layers—all wrapped in a strawberry buttercream frosting, garnished with strawberries, crumbed biscuit and whipped topping.


niki: where do you draw inspiration for your flavors?
erika: i have, of course, the tried and true flavors that everyone goes for—chocolate, white, red velvet, lemon, etc., but being a “haute” type of girl, i wanted to take it to the next level of flavors. so i thought about those standard flavors and thought about how i could enhance flavors by mixing this ingredient and that ingredient. a lot of it is trial and error and sometimes a bunch of cake ends up in the trash, but if it doesn’t move me, i figure it won’t move anyone else. one of the favorites is my crème brulee cupcake which is my interpretation of the classic dessert, in a tiny cake.

 

lemon cupcakes! a robust lemon cake with a lemon filling, topped with lemon buttercream frosting and a fondant flower.

niki: what’s your signature flavor?
erika: i’d have to go with my original cake flavor that started it all. the white chocolate strawberry/raspberry. one of my good friends, sonia, said the flavor was like “an explosion in her mouth.” she should have branded that, because now i hear it a lot with the other cakes as well.

 

double chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and cookies ‘n cream chocolate bar topping.


niki: what creative power do you wish you had?
erika: if i could have a creative power, i would want it to be for me to be able to sculpt cakes. i haven’t learned how to make the eiffel tower, or the michelangelo out of cake yet. so to be able to do that naturally, without training, would be pretty sweet. but with classes and the will to learn, i’m sure i’ll be on that train in no time.

 

red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, red sprinkle garnish and a fondant flower!


niki: what music gets your creative juices flowing?
erika: when i get ready to bake or get my ideas going, i throw on the old school or gospel… gap band, marvin gaye, kirk franklin, mary mary, j.moss—stuff that just makes me feel good on the inside. with those good vibes going, sometimes i begin to dance around the house and sing to my dogs then i’m ready to go. i get full of ideas and can’t wait to start trying whatever combinations that i’ve thought of. certain colors can also inspire me. if i see a bright pink or a green i may think of a watermelon cake, or keylime. it can also hit me in the middle of the night, in which case, my sleeping is over.

 

find erika:

haute caketure

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email: hautecaketure@aol.com