The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women. Empowering Change.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Danielle

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

Loving myself is an everyday struggle. I have always had the ability to slap on a cute outfit, keep my hair done, and my lip gloss poppin’, but that’s all it was — just slap on, never matching the inside.

After having a major life change and wanting to set a great example for my son. I make it a habit to remind myself how DOPE I am. If I notice I’m walking around with my head down, I will whisper to myself, “Hold your head up, Boo, it will get better.”

Loving myself means accepting all of my flaws, imperfections, fears and life struggles, and not allowing those things to get in the way of living my life to the fullest.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

I have three habits I make sure I do once a week:

  1. I must listen to music that at some point feeds my soul. Be it hip hop, reggae, soul, house music or even some jazz. I need it like I need food.
  2. Dancing. I must dance!!! I’m no Debbie Allen, but I love to dance. My parents started the tradition that every Saturday night (after fish and grits) we danced. I have now passed that on to my son.
  3. My version of Super Soul Sundays. I wake up Sunday mornings before my son and make a very large cup of coffee, open the blinds in my living room, let the sun hit my face, and just BE, be happy in the moment, not worrying about what I have to do for the day, not focused on “Why me? Where’s my man, Lord? How much is this bill?” Just BE.

Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

I would never give myself credit for anything I achieved in my life. I would always compare my accomplishments to other people’s accomplishments. I have learned that my accomplishments are a part of my journey in life, and I need to be proud of what I have achieved no matter how small it may be.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love is the hardest love to give, but it is necessary in order to receive the love you deserve from others.


Love Yourself First! Friday. Phenomenal women who fiercely and unapologetically demonstrate self-love in action share their stories – powerful, honest, heartfelt stories that shed light on diverse ways to make self care, healing and whole living daily priorities.

Join the tribe! Share your story. Send an email HERE.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line of your email, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Sheree

 

Sheree_LYFF[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Sheree:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

Loving myself is a practice, a daily practice, a moment by moment practice mixed with a lot of patience and self-compassion.

Loving myself is becoming more aware of my thoughts, my feelings, my behaviors and actions. Through this I am aware of the woman I am becoming. There is not an end product, no finished version of me to love. I am on a constant journey. Now, I’m on the right path of self-love and there’s no way I can get off. I am aware of the difference between self-hate and self-sabotage in comparison to self-love, and I don’t want to go back.

It’s telling myself that I am loved. It’s about getting out of my own way to allow the love that I hold within to flow through me, to flow through my heart, body, mind and soul for myself, for others, and for the world at large. It is about being open and vulnerable, and growing in strength by giving and receiving. It means not taking on anyone else’s hang-ups while at the same time dealing with my own.

Loving myself first does mean changing my narrative, changing the stories I have been telling myself and living by. I accept that within life, as I move forward attempting to become the best version of me, there will be difficulties and struggles. It will be messy and I won’t do things perfectly. Acknowledging my fears, mistakes, doubts and struggles, and sitting with them (not denying them) means loving myself enough as I am: the ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’. It means cutting myself some slack if I’m having a bad day. It’s about praising myself, as well as chastising myself, but still being able to believe in myself, always.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul?

The mind is a powerful tool if we use it as such. It controls all that we do and don’t do. It affects our thinking, feelings, actions and behaviors. It doesn’t matter how much I want to do something: go for a run, eat healthily, go to a yoga class; if my mind isn’t into it, it ain’t happening.

It’s a constant practice and battle to keep my mind in the zone – focused and motivated. It gets tired, disheartened, distressed, and frustrated. My practice to ward against this happening too often is to meditate on the page. I call it my Morning Pages (thanks to Julia Cameron) or simply journaling. Every day I have to work out on the page. Each day I show up by writing out how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, dreaming, stressing. I’m connecting with myself on the deepest of levels or even shallowest of levels when I provide the time and space to have this daily inner conversation.

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Journal Collage created by Sheree Angela Matthews

This writing practice is deepened by walking, running, wild swimming and eating consciously. But these other self-care practices go out the window when I’m disconnected from myself, when I haven’t been checking in with myself on a regular basis. The person I am becoming and how I present my being within the world is constantly changing. I’m inconsistent, so having the means to check in with myself keeps me sane.

Self-care for my soul comes through my creativity. Creativity is my jam. Whatever medium is calling me – pen on paper, keyboard, painting, collaging, knitting, dancing, singing, cooking – I need to make things, bring things into existence that were not here before I started the process. There’s a feeling as if something, some kind of energy is flowing through me when I create. I’m in the zone. I’m working intuitively. I’m creating and am at peace. I’m joyful.

This doesn’t happen every time I take the time to create, but I keep showing up in the hope that these feelings, this experience will happen again and again. It’s not about the end product; it’s the process. It’s the practice with patience, of course.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would spin open.” -Muriel Rukeyer

There comes a time in everybody’s life when the unspeakable happens. To say it hasn’t happened or won’t happen to you is a lie. You’re kidding yourself. Believe me.

In May 2015, the unspeakable happened to me. There was a public shaming. My whole world fell apart the day I was accused of being a plagiarist on Facebook by a ‘so-called’ friend and fellow poet. He wrote that he’d found whole scale “borrowings” from other writers’ words, phrases, and structures within my latest collection of poetry. He said that he was just doing his duty for the poetry community by bringing it to everyone’s attention. What followed was what I chose to call a public lynching of me as a writer, poet and person. This was the unspeakable that happened to me. But funny enough, I am speaking about it here, as well as writing a creative non-fiction book about this whole experience. Everything I knew, all I was, how I thought myself to be was taken from me in that public posting. I issued an apology regarding my unintentional mistakes and withdrew from the public realm. At one point, death looked a very promising course of action, but I had my family and some supportive friends who helped me.

Within the Chakra system there is a heart center called Anahata Chakra. In Sanskrit, Anahata means “Unstruck.” For me this speaks to the resilient nature of the human heart. I believe, wholeheartedly, that there is a place within my heart that is absolutely unbreakable.

This experience did break my heart, stopped me from loving, and shut me down and out. However, there was a minute part that kept pulsing, kept the light on for me. Maybe it was my belief in self, my self-love that got me through each day.

Each day has not been wasted. I have taken this experience as a wake-up call, a wake-up to explore and claim my authenticity. Afterwards, I had nothing. I couldn’t even look myself in the face at one point. But writing my book and starting to take photographs of myself have supported me in my climb up. I can’t say climb ‘back’, because who or what I am becoming, I do not know. I have never met this woman. I do know that love and self-love, first and foremost, are at the center of this journey.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love has to come from me. Obviously, right? But it is probably the hardest thing we try to do, have to do. It is difficult, because maybe we are not given the tools to love ourselves, so we struggle to practice it. I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to please others, trying to make them like and love me. I thought this was the route to travel in order to develop self-love.

I’ve spent multiple lifetimes making others comfortable at the expense of making myself uncomfortable. I just wanted to be loved. I wanted to be accepted and validated. I wanted to be enough, good enough. In the process of pleasing others I’ve silenced myself. I put versions of me into storage, buried them away. I’ve censored myself because I haven’t loved or believed in myself enough to show up in the world as me. I’ve thought,”If I’m truly myself people won’t like or love me.” They’d see my ugliness and disown me. As things have transpired, I have been disowned when I least expected it. When I thought I was accepted. Now, I’ve got nothing to lose except myself. Out of fear I disowned myself, but not anymore.

This past year of reaching rock bottom meant I had nothing but myself to count on. It meant I had to go within, search within the shadows, within my darkness to find my light, to find me. And it’s source is love.

I’m not here to write ‘the happy ever after’, as that just happens in fairy tales. In real life, self-love doesn’t show up every day. It isn’t a constant. Some days I feel worthless, useless and such a failure.

Henry David Thoreau said, “There is no beginning too small.” This I do know.

Each new day is a beginning, so if I fail this day. I can begin again the next day. Simple.

I keep making small beginnings over and over again. In the process, I am learning to love myself more and more.

Self-love is a practice with massive heaps of patience and compassion, but it’s worth it. No. I’m worth it.

___

Share your thoughts about Sheree’s powerfully honest self-love story in the comments. And, to learn more about Sheree and Wild Soul Woman, follow her: IGwildsoulwoman; FBfacebook.com/wildsoulwoman; Twitterawildsoulwoman

 


Do you want to share your self-love story? Send an email HERE.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line of your email, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate. Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Lilac

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Lilac:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

I love myself by practicing forgiveness towards myself on a daily basis. Life is so demanding, and we all have our goals we want to achieve, things we need to get done. I have the tendency to be hard on myself, which is not always a bad thing, until it goes out of balance. I have realized I take so much joy in being active and on-the-go, to the point where I can carry the world on my shoulders and just keep pushing, forgetting my well-being in the process. I am very driven by passion but I think still, at times, there is some perfectionism and fear involved, which can then easily make me ill if I don’t stop and listen. The love I practice for myself is through tuning back in, and listening to my mind and my body.

Self-love is also practiced through sharing my struggles with others, instead of trying to prove I can do it all by myself. I know if I forget, they can quickly remind me and help me get back on track.

IMG_0430What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul?

A 30-minute daily morning session of meditation and yoga really helps in listening, focusing and maintaining balance. I have also learned to accept those days when I feel like I just can’t get anything done, so instead of battling it and getting even more frustrated – I just take the day off and go outside, watch some telly or cook something. I absolutely love cooking great healthy recipes with my partner; eating healthy is so gratifying. Friday is my Spa Day. I do yoga, Pilates, and then a spa session of steam room and Jacuzzi. It brings me back to life.

At times of need I am loving myself by creating change in my life and opening new doors of possibility through therapy sessions, guided imagery and holistic therapy. I have recently started a free Sunday meditation group, and I find the collective energy of people meditating together and sharing experiences, unique, powerful and even healing.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

My childhood was immersed in trauma of different sorts and that has put me on a long path of self-abuse through different eating disorders and over exercising. These also led to other physical issues such as IBS, lower back pain, torn knee meniscus and arm tendonitis. I have had to undergo different types of therapy and treatments over the years to help re-shape my core of self and learn to forgive the past and move on from it as a stronger human being who is compassionate and accepting towards herself and others. Throughout my life, music has been a core strength in this process: writing, composing, playing, singing, performing. It’s given me an identity and a sense of self. I am still learning how to enjoy the healing power of music without focusing on material success.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love teaches me something new every day, in learning to accept others and myself. It has taught me to look at myself first – for better AND for worst. The love starts from within, and if I want my surroundings to change, I first have to change my own perception, behavior and patterns. Self-love has taught me to tune-in closely on judgment, and realize that the things I dislike about myself – will be quickly reflected back to me through others. I have even learned self-love and inner peace from my cat, who easily shows me how life can be joyful and relaxed when you can give and receive unconditional love. By learning to love myself, I can completely change the way I view the world every day, which eventually results in a better world for myself. Because I deserve it.

—-

Lilac Sheer is a singer/songwriter; learn more here. Her new project Zoe, is a music video created to promote women’s self love and acceptance for International Women’s Day 2016. “The song refers to those days when we don’t love the reflection in the mirror, only to realize that our imperfections are exactly what make each of us unique. 40 courageous women chose to take part in this project with me, to help create a heartfelt human testimony, for which I am both humbled and grateful.” Check out the video.

 


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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The Golden Rules of Eating Holistically

Eating Holistically[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like eating healthy is a great mystery? And if you add eating holistically into your quest, the journey can seem even more mysterious and intimidating.

Many don’t know where to start outside of upping their spinach or kale in-take when it comes to pursuing more balanced nutrition.

Taking a holistic approach to eating healthier is simple. It just requires gaining awareness about a few golden rules to get you on your way to Holistic Goddess status.

Eat as close to whole foods as possible

Eating holistically in essence means taking your nutrition to a deeper but also more basic level at the same time. When the choice is available opt to eat whole foods.

Meaning, instead of canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, get them straight from the produce section. Or instead of frozen Lean Cuisine lasagna, make a simple tomato and mozzarella whole wheat pasta dinner.

Herbs Heal

Herbs serve as the foundation for eating holistically. To truly reap the benefits of adding herbs into your holistic eating endeavors, there are three categories of herbs to keep stocked in your kitchen.

Adaptogen herbs strengthen your immune system.

Common adaptogens to have on hand include:

  • Ginger Root
  • Maca Root (enhances physical performance)
  • Maitake Mushrooms

Anti-Inflammatory herbs balance out your digestive system.

Common anti-inflammatory herbs to have on hand include:

  • Alfalfa (helps to regulate estrogen levels in women)
  • Cumin
  • Echinacea

Anti-Bacterial herbs are used in response to a health issue or to prevent them; colds, viruses and allergies, for example.

Common anti-bacterial herbs to have on hand include:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Eucalyptus (a strong cold and flu fighter)
  • Lemon grass

You can add these herbs into your diet in a number of ways from adding them to your food, to your tea or organic fair trade coffee or water, to taking them in pill form as a supplement.

Eat Throughout The Day

Eating throughout the day is necessary because it helps you to burn calories faster and boosts your metabolism.

A quick eating rule is this:

Eat five small meals a day or three meals and two fruit and vegetable smoothies along with 2-3 glasses of detox water. Ideal detox water combinations include lemons and limes, raw honey and ginger or cucumbers and curry.

To truly take your eating to a holistic level, end your day with a cup of herbal green tea and lemon juice.

Eat Meats That Were Fed A Vegetarian Diet

The phrase, “We are what we eat” couldn’t be more true than it is today. Modern diets now consist of eating meats that are filled with hormones and antibiotics. And if you are eating meats that have been fed processed foods that contain harmful chemicals, then I am sure you can only imagine the unhealthy strain that doing so puts on your body.

However, as consumers we do have choices available to us when it comes to the meats we eat. When shopping buy meats that have the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) seal of “Vegetarian Fed” or “Grass Fed” on the packaging.

Eating meats that meet this standard is a chief golden rule of eating holistically, because you are eating food that is as close to whole foods as possible. You are eliminating excess toxins from your diet this way, which leads to the next golden rule.

Eat Certified Organic Fruits and Vegetables

The same logic with meats applies to fruits and vegetables as well when eating holistically. When you eat organic fruits and vegetables you are giving your body the opportunity to be nourished at the highest level for optimal health.

To be considered USDA certified organic, fruits and vegetables must contain no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and have not been exposed to sewage.

They are easy to spot because they will have the 100% USDA Organic sticker on them.

To discover the highest concentration of 100% certified organic fruits and vegetables, visit your area’s Farmers Market. Most Farmers Markets carry a much higher percentage of certified organic produce versus most major grocery stores, where only about 4% of their produce is certified organic.

Ditch The Guilt

This will sound counter intuitive to eating holistically because doing so requires a higher level of self-awareness, but I am going to go ahead and say it, ditch the guilt.

Meaning,

  • It doesn’t matter if you get your groceries from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or the corner bodega.
  • If you didn’t buy grass fed ground chuck this week, don’t sweat it.
  • Skip your green smoothie if the idea of eating spinach one more time this week bores you to tears.

Getting healthier and eating holistically can feel like a race towards wellness where bragging rights and self-image are the ultimate wins. However, going that route can lead you to a rabbit hole of choices that may result in guilt when you do have to deviate from your perfect holistic plan.

Ditching guilt is by far one of the most important golden rules of eating holistically for long-term benefits of living healthy.

The golden rules to eating holistically do require some mindful application and commitment, but doing so will allow you to strengthen the foundation of your health.

During your journey keep in mind the ultimate benefits of eating holistically: less stress, better sleep, glowing skin and a balanced digestive system, to name a few.

Once you get into the rhythm of eating holistically your body, mind and spirit will experience newfound radiance, and that is simply golden.

 


About the Contributor

CJChildressCoachCJ Childress is a holistic health coach, indie author and owner of a healthy meal delivery service in Houston, Texas. She began her journey with healthy living as a child by drinking green smoothies and eating organic peanut butter. But after watching her young mother die in 2012 from a rare autoimmune disease she became more convinced than ever that food really is medicine. She works with women to break their addiction to dangerous foods and heal their relationship with their bodies through a fun and focused 60-day transformational program.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.

 


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Candi

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This is the first self-love story of 2016, and it’s exciting to bring it your way.

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s brave Phoenix to kick off the new year is Candi:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

Loving myself means giving myself exactly what I need. I do this by acknowledging how I feel in every moment and staying conscious of my inner dialogue. I pamper myself and also take myself out on self-love dates.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc).

I practice a vegan diet, exercise, meditate, journal, spend time in nature and create art.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?

The most recent obstacle I’ve faced was starting my business; I had no idea how to, and I have little to no support. But my persistence and authenticity kept me going, so along the way I’ve been adopted by many soul sisters. Overcoming this fear made me appreciate my creativity, and I proved to myself that I can be in business and be myself: kind. It made me trust myself more and my intuition.

What have you learned from self-love?

That it’s not how others treat me that matters; it’s how I treat myself that counts.

 

Candi is Founder/Creator of Lioness Healing Arts. Be sure to check her out and also follow her inspiration and newest jewelry creations on Instagram.

 


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

 


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Gratitude, Courage, and Wisdom: Your Gifts for the New Year

The Phoenix Rising Collective[Affirmation]

Think about all you’ve achieved and overcome this year. It’s amazing and so are you. Own it! Affirm it. You’re moving forward with more courage and in gratitude, using the wisdom you’ve gained from your experiences in 2015. It’s most certainly a gift!

You are self-love in action, Phoenix! Happy New Year.

 


 

Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder, workshop leader, and personal empowerment coach for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be working with contributing writers to provide resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.

Join The Phoenix Rising Collective on Facebook and Instagram.

 


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Be Honest About What You Really Want and Life Map + Goal Set Your Way to It

Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide [Phoenix Rising Collective]

It has been a whirlwind couple of months for me winding down the year and preparing The Phoenix Rising Collective’s calendar for 2016. Needless to say, I’ve been busy in a good way, very productive. It’s the kind of busyness I enjoy because I’m doing things that I absolutely love like giving you this awesome gift!

The Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide is a life mapping and goal setting tool to support you in creating a new year that aligns with your personal vision of joy, happiness, wellness, and success.

The guide helps you chart the course of your personal and professional goals, as a significant part of being self-love in action is taking responsibility for your choices so that you strengthen your ability to manifest what you really want and open up opportunities that are in alignment with who you are.

visionboardworkshop2015[ThePhoenixRisingCollective]

Manifesting Her Happiness Vision Board Workshop 2015

In fact, I’ve been sharing FOM this year with women who’ve attended my leadership and self-care workshops and the feedback has been so positive because it really helps to create action plans that work! For example, in November I led Manifesting Her Happiness, a vision board workshop (check out more photos), and before making the vision boards I guided attendees through FOM so they could identify specific objectives to fulfill rather than, as one participant put it, “creating a vision board full of wishes.”

The key to the guide is being honest about what you really want for your life, the kind of honesty that brings clarity and creates experiences you desire personally and professionally. It’s time to dive in. Seriously. No more back tracking, what-ifs, and second guessing your decisions; instead keep your attention on your intentions and build an inspiring workable plan you can bring to fruition one day at a time.

Don’t wait until January. Start now! This is self-love in action.

OK, download your gift: The Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide.  You’re ready!  Let’s truly make 2016 a happy new year.

 


 

 

Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder, workshop leader, and personal empowerment coach for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be working with contributing writers to provide resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.

Join The Phoenix Rising Collective on Facebook and Instagram.