Guest Blog Post- Millie

Please help us thank Millie for writing a guest blog post by leaving a comment, sharing, or like! Enjoy.

You Are the Secret

You want to know a secret? You have all the answers to your life. You can sit in silence and speak to your higher self asking for guidance. I get folks calling, texting, and emailing me for answers to what is already fully available in them. I am not giving them anything they don’t already know. Sometimes people just want permission from another to go through a change. At other times the crude reality of difficult decisions is too much to handle alone. BUT…but…YOU hold all the answers to your present situation. You get to mold your future.  

We go to counselors, therapists, fortune tellers, religious leaders, gurus, and any one out there with a spec of hope. We give another person the right to tell us what we need to do. We give them our power while diminishing our own guidance. YOU HOLD THE SECRET TO YOUR LIFE. No one else can tell you what needs to happen. We do want confirmation. We do want to know that we are acknowledged and understood. We do want to know that we are not alone on this journey. This is the best part of a support system, but ultimately YOU HOLD THE POWER to your story.

If you continue listening to others’ opinions you might be directed in the wrong path. Listen to your gut. Pay attention to your intuition. If it feels wrong…IT IS! If it feels great follow that. You don’t need me or anyone else telling you what to do.

I am here to listen when I can. I am here to allow you to go through the process of figuring things out…but DO NOT expect answers that you know deep within. I will not tell you what you should do because it isn’t my business to do so. I can give you suggestions, examples of how I’ve lived through similar events, but you can’t hold me responsible for your decision making. I don’t know anything but my own guidance for me.  YOU HOLD THE KEY to everything in your life. Use that key to find the right lock and discover your authentic power. You got this!

Millie Mestril has her own blog called Moments with Millie.

Celebrating Lesbian History Week

Welcome to Lesbian History Week

Date: 27-July-2015



Lesbian History Week

“When we think of gay history in the United States, we tend to think Larry Kramer and the AIDS crisis; we think Harvey Milk; we think the Stonewall riots; we think of the decades-long fight for marriage equality. Gay men — particularly white, cis, affluent gay men — have long since been the popular face of gay rights, and consequently, theirs are the faces most often immortalized in the amorphous archives of LGBT history.

Where did all the lesbians go? We’ve been here all along — even if our hallmark struggles and achievements have been white-washed, pink-washed, and dude-washed in the narrative of queer history. Even Stonewall, a crucial turning point in 1969 for the queer rights movement, is often misremembered — popular culture likes to forget the riots were incited by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

Let’s start remedying that.

Welcome to BuzzFeed LGBT’s Lesbian History Week. In light of the historic SCOTUS decision in favor of marriage equality, we thought it was time to spend a bit of time looking behind us as we figure out what — in terms of the things left to fight for, in terms of preserving/reimagining queer lady culture – lies ahead.

We’re kicking off with a retrospective of influential lesbian magazine Curve in celebration of its 25th anniversary – a glimpse at the past quarter century of lesbian culture as told in print. Throughout this week, check back in for daily pieces about the impact of very different kinds of lesbian icons, like Audre Lorde and Lesley Gore; throwback photo essays of vintage queers living and loving in a time very different, and yet not not so different, from ours; and the last lesbian bar in San Francisco closing its doors, indicative of a larger trend across the country of queer spaces getting priced out and shut down.

These are personal histories, and cultural histories, and hybrid personal/cultural histories. They are only a few pieces of a rich and varied past in which queer women fought, loved, fucked, failed, and triumphed. Read them here.”

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How Forth Chicago Is Fostering a Creative Community for Women and Ideas

Date: 13-July-201t


“Pick a season and this is where you might find the creative community of women changing Chicago: in the sunlit industrial space of a renovated firehouse or creative studio, surrounded by the season’s first blooms of magenta and green, snacking on hors d’oeuvres with flutes of Prosecco in hand.

United by their passions, formally they are brought together by Forth Chicago, a quarterly salon designed to create space for bright ideas curated around a central theme. The samplings of women entrepreneurs come from all corners, ranging from graphic designers to strategists, Etsy shop owners and lawyers. No networking, no skills-trading, no pretense: They are gathered intimately, in groups of ten at a time, and come to meet other like-minded women, learn from each other’s wisdom, and simply talk.

The three founders, Lisa Guillot, Julie Schumacher, and Kelly Allison believe there is a beautiful enough reason to simply prioritize ideas and the women behind them. And when it becomes authentically about the people, friendships are formed, community is made, and the benefits of finding business partners naturally follow.

“I think for so long, women hid behind the book club,” Schumacher said. “That’s where you got together but you don’t talk about the book, you talk about your marriage. Forth is the business equivalent of saying ‘You’re welcome here, let’s just talk.’ And it works.”

Past themes of Forth, a playful nod to the quarterly aspect of the salon that implies momentum, include dealing with change (accented with ombre flowers and food), passion projects (where everything is served “on the side” in side carts), to letting go (complete with a bundle of balloons and wish papers that disappear when lit up). A fall salon with the theme “owning your awesome” featured boastful peacock feathers and a jewel-toned, Moroccan theme.

Forth Founders Kelly Allison, Julie Schumacher, and Lisa Guillot

Forth Founders Kelly Allison, Julie Schumacher, and Lisa Guillot

Unlike the women-specific groups created by all-male trustee boards, usually in reaction to societal pressures rather than authentically-intentioned, Forth has given women a chance to champion for themselves.

“They talk a lot about how women are more prone to the impostor syndrome, and whether it’s us feeling like we can charge the rates we think we’re worth, or calling out someone who’s using language that isn’t acceptable in a meeting, knowing you have a community of women who have your back is so critical to being able to survive,” Schumacher said.

The co-founders of Forth Chicago, a designer, writer, and photographer who call themselves the “three fourths,” get along almost too-harmoniously. Unlike the often-catty, love-hate Instagram competition present amongst the most glamorous lifestyle—something that Guillot admits once being incredibly envious of—they are also surprisingly supportive, down-to-earth, and full of grace.

Forth Chicago started with Guillot, who heads a boutique brand design studio named Step Brightly during her daytime job (“Her spirit animal is Kate Spade,” Schumacher said of her)—during our interview, she quite literally lit up the room, aptly donning a sunflower-yellow peacoat inside a minimalist café. Back in 2012, she had been inspired by an article she read in the New York Times Style section (“Where I find all of my ideas,” she exudes) about the two men behind The Fat Radish, who biked around New York City delivering farm-to-table lunches in hopes of growing their catering service.

They started off going door-to-door, but slowly grew and began catering high-end salons, New York Fashion Week, “and all these magical things kept happening to them” before expanding into a restaurant, Guillot said. It turns out, the chefs were also in relationships with well-connected women—model-actress Dree Hemingway, and a fashion editor—both of whom used their industry connections to help their partners’ business gain momentum.

“It was really the women who created the synergy for this project.” Guillot said. “I kept thinking ‘Wow, that’s so exciting!’ I want to make beautifully styled wonderful things, and invite creative women to join us.”

She recruited Allison, a lifestyle photographer and previous Paper Source coworker, and Schumacher, a writer and friend she met at a Jill Salzman book opening. Together, they launched the inaugural salon in the spring of 2013, based on “starting stories.”

Image via Kelly Allison

Two years later, Forth is thoughtfully scaling the initiative to bring together creative women through public events like workshops on speed mentoring and running an Etsy shop. It has grown to over 100 people, and between salons, the Forth community has stayed close-knit through a private Facebook group, where new friends find business partners, bridesmaids, and after-work cocktail buddies in the mix. Fittingly, Forth’s most recent spring salon in March was about planning the ‘next’ while loving the ‘now,’ which is exactly the crossroads it finds itself at.

But the key to such an organic community is exactly that: organic. Guillot harps on the idea of growing responsibly and being thoughtful about the things that go into each salon, which keeps the community authentic. Forth is anything but networking in the big and corporate sense.

“In part, it’s because we’re all trying to figure out how to enjoy the place we’re at—at Forth we’re all successful and all busy, but we’re also definitely peeking down the block and seeing where we could take this,” Schumacher said. “Figuring out how to be content and hungry at the same time, and staying present and positive is really hard.”

While Forth remains active on its Twitter, sends out regular newsletters, and frequently updates itsblog with features of Forth community members, recipes from past salons, and food for thought, the analog salon experience is one of a kind in Chicago. Still, the founders know that ultimately trust within builds the community at-large.

“It’s that inch-by-inch growth I’d love to be protect of,” Guillot says. “There’s obviously a need here in Chicago that people want to meet and greet, but there’s a lot more heart to it.””

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Freedom of expression under threat

Bloggers in Bangladesh are no strangers to death threats and assassination attempts by religious fanatics/Islamic millitants. There is a hitlist that exists that contains the names of at least 84 bloggers, out of which at 9 have been murdered. Anyone who expresses a critical view of religion is exposed and under watch. Their threats are so common and frequent that they have even stopped counting them.


Rashida Ahmed

Rashida Ahmed remains defiant

Bangladesh is a secular country but over 90% of it’s population is Muslim. Publicly declaring that you’re an atheist is a taboo, in this part of the world. And that’s what Avijit Roy did. He started Mukto-Mona, an online portal that “promote science, rationalism, secularism, freethinking, human rights, religious tolerance, and harmony”. Roy was murdered on his way home from a book fair in Dhaka in an attack that left his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, badly injured.

There hasn’t been a single person charged over these murders even though relatives have filed criminal cases stating that they were killed by “extremist fanatic groups”. But Rashida Ahmed has not let the attacks scare her off; she remains defiant.

Watch her interview with Deutsche Welle here:


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Discovering Brandon Stanton through Humans of New York

After graduating from University of Georgia, young Brandon Stanton joined Chicago Board of Trade where he traded stocks for 3 years. After things took a bad turn, he lost his job and moved to the city of New York to do what he does best: photography. During the summer of 2000, he decided to start Humans of New York, a social media venture and photoblog, where he could showcase all the random strangers’ portraits he took on the streets of New York.


After just a few months into his new hobby, his little project of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers evolved as he started to have conversations with his subjects and decided to include a phrase or a quote along with the portrait. With his vibrant pictures of quirky characters, and insightful and witty captions, Humans of New York became a real success real fast. He went on to become #1 New York Times best selling author after publishing Humans of New York in 2013 and later published Little Humans in 2014.

But Brandon Stanton is not the type to enrich in the popularity he was gaining all for himself. In 2012, DKNY approached him to use 300 of his photos for a fashion campaign but he declined. When DKNY went ahead and used his pictures anyway, in at least one store in Bangkok, he decided against suing them for money that he rightly deserved. Instead, Brandon publicly asked that they donate $100,000 in his name to a YMCA, so they could send a bunch of underprivileged kids to summer camp.

He appeals to all his fans to donate money for various fund-raising campaigns. From relief funds for Hurricane Sandy victims to helping a couple adopt an orphan from Ethiopia, Humans of New York’s admirers were quick to help (within 12 hours and 90 minutes, respectively, to be accurate). Another initiative he set up to raise $100,000 to send 6th graders of a public school on a trip to Harvard University was met within 45 minutes.

Brandon Stanton is an epitome of proof that social media gives every single user a voice. ChronicleMe is a social media interface that provides its users with a positive platform where they can voice their opinions and not worry about negative lash backs. Clearly, there are plenty of Internet users out there who are willing to provide help to those who need it, as we have learnt from the Humans of New York supporters. And ChronicleMe’s main aim is to provide users with an environment where they can feel safe, comfortable and secure, in order to seek help or find support from other users.

Cyberbullying at College

Most people mistakenly believe that bullying/cyberbullying is a problem faced by young adolescents. What they do not know is that studies have shown that 40% of high-schoolers, who have either been bullies or victims or bullying acts, maintain this role even through college. According to a few research studies, cyberbullying amongst college populations ranges from 10% to 27.8%.

Cyber bullying pic

Through a study by University of Washington, where 285 female students (from 4 different colleges) were questioned, researchers found that college-age females were just as likely to suffer the negative effects of cyberbullying as younger adolescents. Moreover, the study found that it could affect girls this age even worse as they are three times more likely to meet the clinical criteria for depression. If the bullying was a form of sexual abuse, the odds of depression doubled. According to Brian Van Brunt, President of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, first year college students and those in the Greek system experience more cases of bullying or “hazing” than other groups. With the advent of social media and anonymous apps, the cases of cyber bullying in the recent past, is at an all time high.

We all know that the psychological effects of cyberbullying causes more emotional damage than traditional bullying because of the wider audience and impact of the Internet. Considering the fact that Internet is a basic necessity for almost all college students, and coupled with the fact that college is generally a high-stress environment, the effects of cyber bullying are multiplied, as are the total number of victims. The University of Washington study has shown that even cyber bullying perpetrators suffer from depression and are more likely to resort to alcohol and substance abuse. In terms of alcohol abuse, bullies suffer much more than victims.

However, there is an upside: most college campuses have counseling offices and victims can easily talk to a counselor in their college clinic. Also, since college campuses provide so many diverse opportunities, Van Brunt is of the opinion that victims have a bigger chance to find a niche somewhere on campus rather than becoming isolated.

Cyber bullying at college clearly cannot be taken lightly as it poses huge problem for a lot of young adults. We, at ChronicleMe, aim to create more awareness about its effects in the hope that bullies will understand the weight of their words and victims will find courage in the fact that they are not alone.

Spotlight on our New Intern #2: Shrenya Salguti

What is your full name?

Shrenya Reddy Salguti

Describe your hometown.

Hyderabad (India) is a crowded but beautiful city. It has a wonderful, well-preserved history: from the rich heritage of the Nizams of Hyderabad to ancient ruins of forts. Despite this, Hyderabad is one of the largest IT hubs on a global level. It also has the best food you can find in the world.

Where are you attending school?

Right now, I am enrolled as a full time grad student at Syracuse University. I graduated high school from Hyderabad Public School or HPS, as we call it. HPS was the home for many notable alumni like Satya Nadella (the current CEO of Microsoft) and many political dignitaries and also sportsmen like Harsha Bhogle.

Why did you apply to work at ChronicleMe?

I have always liked the idea of anonymity on the Internet because it encourages people to post the raw truth and be completely honest. ChronicleMe offers just that and more: it lets users share their stories in a completely judgment-free, safe environment while finding comfort in and supporting each other. It’s a great opportunity to be working with the team that has accomplished this.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I am a huge fan of TV shows. I once binge watched 3 entire seasons of Breaking Bad in less than 48 hours. Best two days of my life.

What do you like most about living in Upstate NY?

To be honest, I have not seen a lot of Upstate NY (yes, I need to get out more). But Syracuse is beautiful during fall. I experienced my first winter (real winter, not the pseudo winters we have in Hyderabad where the temperature hardly goes below 70 degrees) in Syracuse and I have loved every freezing minute of it. Syracuse also has some pretty amazing food places like Alto Cinco, Recess and LoFo.

What is your least favorite thing about living in Upstate NY?

That I haven’t seen all of it? Haha, honestly though, I have no complaints. Except that it rains a little too much.

What interests you about the Tech Garden?

Working at start-ups has always been something that I wanted to do. Tech Garden houses a bunch of offices for start-ups. I have only recently started working here but the atmosphere is electric. I am excited about meeting and working with people who are passionate about what they do and also about the Germinator initiative.

What is your favorite food?

Hyderabadi Biryani, hands down (Hyderabad’s style of traditional biryani, made with rice, spices and meat). I also love New York style pizza, chicken wings (the spicier the better), and Mexican food.

What tabs do you have open on your computer?

Right now? I have Gmail, WordPress, SU’s Blackboard, Facebook, & Twitter.

What do you want to do in 10 years for a career?

10 years is a loong time and I don’t like to plan that far ahead. I am more of a spontaneous, impulsive person. But I see a lot of opportunities in the future and hope to achieve something that I am proud of.

Who is someone you look up to?

There have been a lot of people who’ve influenced me but my biggest inspiration are my parents and brother. I am always looking to them for advice and support.

Spotlight on our new intern #1: Sumedh Vaidya

Q. What is your full name?

Mr. Sumedh Subhash Vaidya

Q. Describe your hometown.

I’m from Mumbai, India, one of the most active, most vibrant, most crowded city; yet filled with the coolest and most helpful ‘Mumbaikars’. Mumbai is the financial capital of India, second largest film industry in the world – “Bollywood”, surrounded by lavishing coast line, runs the busiest railway system (‘super dense crush load’), serves the citizens with the 2nd best police force, an IT hub with jobs from multi-national companies, most scenic during the rainy season, called Monsoon and the list will go on forever.

Q.Where are you attending school?

I’m a graduate student of Information Management, from the iSchool at Syracuse University.I have been able to not only acquire international standard education, but exchange knowledge from people all across the world. Apart from excellent schooling, there are exquisite initiatives and groups like the ICE Box, Mix it up!, Women in Technology, iConsult, Grad Student Organization GSO, Nanhi Kali, and innumerable dance troupes, which I have been actively part of.

Q. Why did you apply to work at ChronicleMe?

I was first introduced to ChronicleMe in the Fall 2014, when I worked as the Project Manager. I met with the team and I enjoyed learning from them. Their thrilling life stories keep inspiring me every single day. Over Summer 2015, I again chose to work with them, as I always wanted to gain exposure in all aspects of business development and project management.

Q. What is a fun fact about yourself?

Dance and cooking are my biggest passions, and I make sure I take out my time for both of them every single day. I have always made a point to worship the art of dance, and today I am the captain of a dance team in Syracuse, named AMAZ. Mainly we perform in various dance forms inclusive of Bollywood, Lyrical hip hop, contemporary, Salsa, Bhangda. I have never learned any style of dance professionally, but I have had tremendous friends who have acted as my Guru.

Q. What do you like most about living in Upstate NY?

The best part about this part of the world is that the people are extremely amiable and warm hearted. Since I love exploring diverse spots of nature, Syracuse has been the center of several picturesque places. Nearby places which I have visited so far, include, world famous Niagara Falls, Watkins Glen Park, Tinker Falls, Green Lake Park, Buttermilk Falls, Skaneateles, and these are the only few I remember :P. There are multiple nightlife bars including Benjamin’s, Al’s, Faegan’s, Empire Brewing Company, and Daisy Dukes.

Q. What is your least favorite thing about living in Upstate NY?

When I was in India, I believed that I can’t stand snow, and my experience actually proved it right. 😀 The way climate keeps varying all the time in Syracuse, it’s a real nuisance. But the more I stay here, it’s going to make me more accustomed to the natural diversity.

Q. What interests you about the Tech Garden?

It’s the place which forms a tremendous bundle of energy from the whole city of Syracuse. The youth receives guidance from the experienced, apply their dynamism and wisdom for a greater cause and help each other grow. Tomorrow’s entrepreneurs are born here, upheld here, and made successful in front of the whole world. It’s a great initiative to support different startups. One of the best initiatives being “the Germinator”, and the business classes offered there to the Tech Garden Employees.

Q. What is your favorite food?

Being a vegetarian gourmet, I love trying vegetarian delicacies from all over the world. But Indian food can never take place of any other food. Paneer (cottage cheese) dishes being my favorite. Come to my place and I will feed you the best vegetarian food, or you always have an option of going out to satiate your hunger at Dosa Grill, Sahota Palace, Samrat. I also love Mexican food which they serve at the Alto Cinco.

Q. What tabs do you have open on your computer?

Bufferapp, Seth’s blog, Twitter, LinkedIn,, Gmail

Q. What do you want to do in 10 years for a career?

Oh 10 years? I wish I had that vision to plan for so much into the future. But wherever I land, whatever I do, I wish to do it with all my heart and happiness.

Q. Who is someone you look up to?

My Father (Subhash Vaidya), Mr. Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India) and Mr. Barack Obama. I am a huge fan of the sport Cricket, and I have grasped my physics lessons from this sport. After learning about the most famous cricketer Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, I was thrilled to know that great personalities are not awesome because of their skills or aptitude, but how powerful yet humble they are!