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Sasha, The Brown Eyed Phoenix.

Your name/ about yourself?

My name is Sasha, however my blog name is The Brown Eyed Phoenix. So feel free to call me by my personal name or the phoenix! (I mean Beyonce’s stage name is Sasha Fierce, so why not have my own?) At the age of twenty-one, I became an entrepreneur opening up a child care centre with my sister. Six years later here we are running our second location and could not love our children and staff more. Six months ago I dove into my own personal blog, which I’m excited to share with each of you. So consider me a daycare owner by day and a blogger by night!

What do you do?

Aside from being a toddler teacher and child care owner, I am a blogger!

Why did you get into that?

After experiencing many bumps in the road, I decided to pour myself into something that could be beneficial to others. I came to the realization that instagram has become the biggest form of social media, it plays a major factor on people's health and well- being such as anxiety, depression, self- identify and body image.

Now, why the name phoenix you probably ask. The past couple of years had been a rollercoaster to say the least. As I sit here, a collection of both wonderful and painful moments, I make the decision each morning to wake up and recreate myself. Much like a phoenix. In simplest terms a phoenix is a magical and bright coloured bird associated with the sun that lives hundreds of years before bursting into flames. Once doing so, it’s reborn from the ashes, and flies away to start a new life. You see, sometimes we need to fall apart, to build ourselves into the person we were meant to be. It’s true when they say there needs to be a crack in order for the light to get in. So ladies, stop being so hard on yourselves. I’ve learned more about myself in the past year, then I ever have before.

How did you get it started?

After coming up with the blog name, I poured myself into writing, as I’ve always been a book worm and found that writing was my best form of expression and healing. I love traveling with my amazing friends and family, when not being a workaholic, so I was excited to share beautiful places and ideas with others. With my supportive tribe by my side, I could say I finally had a blog of my own!

Name 3 words to describe you best

If I had to choose 3 words to describe myself I would say:

Passionate- I spent four years in university graduating with my ECE and my bachelor’s in applied science, while volunteering with children who had special needs for three years. While completing my final exams in my last year at Guelph Humber, I opened up my first centre with my incredible sister. I spend my hours planning and caring for not only our amazing students but their parents so they can leave their most valuable treasure confidently in our hands- their children. All in the meantime taking photos, writing blog posts and thinking of new stories and trends to share with my readers.

Open Armed- yes people often take kindness as a sign of weakness, however I’ve never seemed to view it that way. Each day I strive to have an open mind, heart, and arms to those around me. We are each facing our own battles and struggles, why not be a light for someone who could use an ear to listen or a hand to hold. After all, we rise by lifting others.

Grounded- I spend eleven hours a day Monday to Friday in my classroom working with children under the age of four. If ever walking into my centre, you would never think I’m an owner, which is my goal. I believe I’m an educator just as every girl in my daycare is, we are all equals working toward the common goal of raising these beautiful and special little people to be smart, warm, compassionate and confident. My blog posts are filled with relatable stories and ideas, as all of us females tend to experience similar feelings. After all, your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give. Being humble is something I strongly believe in.

Which females influence you?

There have been a number of female influences who have impacted me along the way. Let’s start with the obvious ones.

Michelle Obama – This power house was not only the first lady, she is a lawyer who graduated from Princeton University. She supports military families, fighting against obesity, international education for girls and has also launched a campaign called “Let’s Move” to raise awareness about healthy living in the United States.

Above all, She has consistently remained the epitome of dignity and poise, not just with her role but with her words.

It doesn’t hurt that she can dance and has an amazing sense of humour .. okay not to mention her and Barack are couple goals! They not only hold each other down, but respect the other whole heartedly.

One of her quotes that I personally live by is …

“We should always have three friends in our lives: one who walks ahead, who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we’ve cleared the way.”

Audrey Hepburn- I would be lying if I said I didn’t have Audrey photos and books displayed in my room! She has been my fashion icon for years. Audrey is known for her class, elegance, passion and her heart being a respected humanitarian. Aside from being known for her great fashion sense, she was known for her compassion, she was much more than just a beautiful face. Despite her father leaving her at a young age, it didn’t stop her from following her dreams first as a ballerina, second as an actress. I’ve always admired how she not only became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, but spent years traveling the world and participating in charity work to benefit children. She helped provide aid to children struggling to stay alive, as well as reported what she saw to the media and world leaders. Her ability to shine a light as a fashion icon, in a classy and kind manner is something I aspire to do.

As she once famously said … “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Jackie Kennedy- This first lady was not only known for her impeccable style, but under her stylish hats hid a mind full of knowledge and wonder. She had love and respect for fashion as an art. Jackie was supportive of a variety of associations, such as the American Association of Maternal and Infant Health, the American Cancer Society, and the Girl Scouts which filled her with compassion. Her love for reading and writing is something that sticks with me. After her husband’s passing, she became an editor. Despite those around her questioning why a wealthy and powerful woman would want to work a 9 to 5 job, she stood her ground and worked like any other middle class woman would. By the time she passed, she edited nearly 100 books.

In the great words of Jackie … “Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it. . . All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words”

Lucia (my sister/business partner)- Working in partnership with a woman you look up to is a blessing in itself, let alone that woman being your sister. Despite her obvious beauty, she is an independent woman who never stops to ask for help, there is simply nothing she cannot do. My sister, best friend and business partner has made me feel like I can accomplish anything in life. Having a strong, smart, beautiful and powerful woman by my side running a business gave me the courage to believe in success. My sister never questioned me or our ability to succeed, it’s what’s kept me on top of each struggle. Her friendship and love has been the greatest gift- she has been my voice of reason and backbone when weak.

Her words that always stick with me are … “ No one can steal your light, they don’t have the power to take something that is yours”

Last but not least ….

Rose (my mother)- I’ve always admired my mother’s selflessness, sacrifices and strength as a woman, like most children have for their mothers. She’s always been strong in her faith and the first to lend a helping hand. But like every fighter, they have many, if not one defining battle with an opponent they’re left to face in the rink. My mom’s opponent in this case, was a six letter word that is laced with kryptonite: cancer. This courageous woman made the decision to make her faith bigger than her fear. She decided she would smile through it all; the pain, the fear and be a constant light for those around her. Despite losing her hair- a piece of her womanhood, she never had a complaint or worry to put on others. This brave woman looks at her cancer journey as a gift, a true testament that nothing can deter her peace. She is a personal reminder to embrace life and love. First as a woman, second as a breast cancer survivor. In simpler terms, she is my guiding light.

One quote she had always said that I stand by is “Time is not mine, it does not belong to me. God is good, this too shall pass.”

What struggles have you overcome and how?

As a female my own insecurities have always been a struggle. Opening a business at twenty one there was of course the initial thought and fear if I would be taken seriously, which to my surprise I was. Beginning and maintaining the blog has been a struggle in itself, as your constantly comparing yourself to others and hoping your content brings value and appeal to your followers.

Growing up, I was in and out of Sick Kid’s Hospital quite a bit. From meningitis at the age of three months after being non-responsive for seventy-two hours, to a thyroid cancer scare at the age of four, I became known as the miracle child. At the age of five, I was diagnosed with a hair loss disorder called Alopecia, which I am one of the fortunate ones for it didn’t last longer than a few months. I had many health scares to follow, leaving me to feel different from most kids around me. I wondered why and when these rare health situations would come to an end. Then I realized, each setback made me softer, more empathetic, more aware of others pain and suffering. By going through hardships, we soften; we’re able to see things, people, life from a different perspective. I take the time to look at other’s health issues not as a label or a diagnosis- but as a component to their natural self that makes them whole, uniquely and perfectly made. God doesn’t make mistakes, He gives us what we can handle.

How do you stay focused and positive?

I maintain by positivity and focus through 3 key things : prayer (faith), good company and work.

My faith gives me the stability, the reason, the focus that I need. I’m finally starting to learn at twenty seven that I don’t have control over many things in life, I’m here for the path and journey that God is sending me on. Praying along with yoga helps me stay positive, focused on the good and the right now- rather than the past or future.

Good company- kind people are my kind of people. I have finally learned to surround myself with only positive and good beings. People of good nature who have the same values and outlook. It’s better to have a small circle, but a loyal one.

Work. I love what I do. Yes I work eleven hour days with two year olds running my life – but I would choose it over and again. I have been given the privilege in creating a safe, warm, happy and loving environment with the most amazing children, co- workers, parents- not to mention having my sister and mom there. My blog keeps me happy and positive. It provides me with an outlet to write- to share my thoughts and ideas and life experience with you amazing people. It pushes me to think outside the box and go outside of my comfort zones.

Any words of advice for future girl bosses following in your footsteps?

My advice for you future girl bosses would be – do not live your life by a mirror- or social media. Let your passion- your beautiful mind- your sense of humour carry you through your greatest achievements. At the end of the day, looks fade, the heart stays the same. Yes the world is full of beautiful girls- but guess what? No one can be you.

I’ve always felt the need to make all those around me happy, I didn’t know how to love myself. I think as females we know how to bring smiles to the faces of others, yet sometimes fake our own. We live in a generation where females who are capable, beautiful and strong have fallen to the deception that they are not enough. We are worthy of love, you being included in that. Once we learn how to love ourselves, everything else starts to fall into place. You are worth finding, knowing and loving, you and all of your million layers. Follow your dreams, be passionate about what you love, and you will be amazed at the light you will become. We are all so desperate to be understood; we often forget to be understanding. If you get tired, learn to rest not quit. Hard work will get you far. Remember to plant your own garden rather than waiting for someone to bring you flowers. You are a strong, beautiful and powerful woman. You can accomplish anything and everything.

As Atticus once said, “she wasn’t looking for a knight, she was looking for a sword” You are your own hero. Be you, entirely you.

When I’m gone, I don’t care to be remembered for how I look. I just hope I’m remembered for my heart.

What is a quote you stand by?

“ In a world where everyone wears a mask, it’s a privilege to see a soul “