Naja Lingerie From Colombia Combats Industry Control

Building a business is one of the hardest things to do, especially when one is trying to build a business bigger than Victoria’s Secret, who owns 50 percent of the lingerie industry. But, Catalina Girald, founder of Naja Lingerie is setting out to do just that.

Going for Soul Not Sex - changing the lingerie industry one pair at a time : Inside Naja Lingerie by Catalina Girald
Going for Soul Not Sex – changing the lingerie industry one pair at a time : Inside Naja Lingerie by Catalina Girald

Headquartered in Medellin, Colombia, with offices in San Francisco and New York, Catalina found a niche in the already dominated lingerie industry. Having worn Victoria’s Secret for most of her life it was when she became a professional that she started to see that the highly popular brand overly sexualized women. As a business woman, Catalina no longer felt comfortable wearing such lingerie and decided to design her own. “My aim is beyond making high-quality bras and panties. I want to create a lifestyle brand. I see it as the Athleta of what happens in your bedroom and bath.”

Her mission to create an alternative lingerie brand for women has a long journey ahead, but Catalina remains focused. Seeing beyond the needs of women and staying in tune with the digital force of today’s society, Ms. Girald’s small yet powerful brand, Naja Lingerie is changing the game in more ways than one. With quotes printed inside each of the panties, designed to empower women and the brand going completely e commerce, Naja lingerie is for women who want to be radically different. Never forgetting the core of her mission, the company’s Underwear for Hope program donates a percentage of purchases to the Golondrinas Foundation in Medellin, where Girald was born. The foundation teaches impoverished women, skills such as sewing which allows them to support their families. They sew the wash-bags that come with each Naja purchase.

Each collection is inspired by the founder’s travels around the world. From living with nomads in Mongolia to learning about the weaving process in Indonesia and living amongst the Hmong people in Vietnam, Catalina’s 18 month spiritual journey throughout Asia brought ideas and life to Naja lingerie. It wasn’t always that way for Catalina who was once at the top of her career as an attorney over at Skadden Arps, one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. Looking to create something greater, Catalina Girald started attending the acclaimed New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology–literally sneaking off to classes in between meetings at Skadden.  Ultimately, she left Skadden to pursue her MBA at Stanford University where the Colombian born entrepreneur founded one of the first venture-funded fashion sites (MOXSIE) for independent designers which was later acquired.

Catalina Lingerie

Introducing Naja, the inventive online lingerie brand that speaks volumes

Naja, a digitally driven, forward-thinking innovator in the lingerie industry, has officially launched to rave reviews. Naja, billed as the “radically different, thoughtful lingerie brand for smart, courageous and sexy women”, was pioneered by Colombian-born CEO, Catalina Girald. No stranger to the fashion and technology industries, Catalina founded MOXSIE, one of the first venture-funded fashion sites for independent designers which was later sold to Naja is a breath of fresh air in an industry that hasn’t changed appreciably in decades. When asked about the direction of the new firm, Founder Catalina Girald answered, “We celebrate strong women. We’ve done away with fans blowing fake wind into our models’ hair, and old, dated lingerie designs. Our fresh designs, pricing and mission to empower women are challenging the industry, and we’re building the first billion-dollar online lingerie brand for the next generation woman.”

Today, women looking for fashionable bras under $80 [US dollars]  have limited choices, including Victoria’s Secret. However, a growing number of shoppers have expressed dissatisfaction with the mass retailer, citing a lack of innovative designs, low construction quality, and environmental impact amongst their concerns. Naja changes all of that.   The company offers exclusive designs paired with the highest quality of fabrics, placing significant focus on structural changes and better product design. Features reserved almost exclusively for luxury lingerie, such as breathable memory foam cups and ultrasonic sealed straps, are now being brought to consumers at fair prices. Naja uses Peruvian sourced Pima cotton for the softest feel and intelligent fabrics with odor and sweat wicking properties for real women with performance needs, all while remaining health and eco-conscious by using no phthalate materials and water based dyes.

The capsule collection, inspired by Tattoos and Japanese Shunga, consists of a basic line and three groups including “The Secret Lives of Sparrows”, “One Night in Cashmere”, and “Miyoko Loves a Dragon”. The collection is characterized by innovative and surprising prints on the interior of all the bra cups, so that every woman can carry her own little secret. All of the fabrics are exclusively designed for Naja by a local San Francisco Tattoo artist and are individually hand printed making each piece slightly unique. In keeping with Catalina’s vision of making great design accessible, the collection is fairly priced with bras ranging from [US dollars ] $45 to $70 and panties ranging from $12 to $22.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Naja is the company’s dedication to changing women’s lives. Through Naja’s Underwear for Hope program, the company donates a percentage of profits to training women in the poorest and most violent areas of the world to sew. Naja then employs them so that they can help themselves and their children. With each purchase of Naja, consumers can feel good knowing that they are contributing to changing a woman’s life.   To learn more about the company’s lingerie, social mission or what sets Naja apart from others in the industry, visit .


Women Of 1970s And 1980s Punk Rock Scene

Z.Z. “Carrot Woman” Howell

The punk rock scene of the 1970s and ’80s in Southern California is widely acknowledged as one of the most vibrant and creative periods in rock and roll. Over the years, many books have come out exploring this explosive time in music and culture, but none have exclusively focused on the vitality and influence of the women who played such a crucial role in this incredibly dynamic movement.

IN THE SUMMER OF 2012, I attended an oral history workshop by the social justice organization Voice of Witness. I’m a librarian and professor at Santa Ana College and I participated in the workshop to discover projects I could do with students. I ended up imagining something entirely different: interviewing other women like me, now in our middle or later years, who grew up in the punk rock scene in Southern California. Did punk rock influence the rest of their lives? What attracted them to punk rock and how did they get involved? What was it like being a woman in the scene?

What you are holding in your hands is the final result of a project that took several years and countless hours to complete. How did I do it? I created a flyer about the project. I posted the flyer a few places around Orange County and Los Angeles and on Facebook. Women started contacting me to participate. I wrote up a list of questions and bought two digital recorders. I emailed some women directly and asked if they would be willing to participate. Then I started calling women and meeting them, mostly in their homes. A friend called it “punk rock anthropology.” I had no idea what an amazing experience this would be.

Stacy Russo has created a unique book about the punk rock era, focusing on the women who were such a huge part of it. We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women From the 1970s & 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene (Santa Monica Press/2017) captures the stories of women who were active in the punk rock scene in Southern California during this historic time, adding an important voice to the cultural and musical record. Recommended reading. For the Silo, Trina Kaye.

Body Check America Study Shows Natural Is New Sexy

A new study of the dating app Jaumo concludes that superficiality in online dating is just a preconceived prejudice. A survey among North American users shows that the majority of participants do find athleticism attractive but a couple of extra pounds on the hips will not necessarily decrease your chances of finding a date.

What attracts Jaumo users? 
What is it, that attracts one person to another? Which body features are most important to most people? To answer these questions, Jaumo carried out a survey among more than 4,400 Jaumo users from the US. Jaumo interviewed them over a period of 4 weeks about their preferences in regards to their own body and personal ideals required of a partner. Users could agree or disagree with the statements outlined in the survey.


Jaumo users are not only active flirters.
63 percent of the users find an athletic partner attractive and more than half of the respondents don’t mind a couple of extra pounds on their significant other’s hips. It is noticeable that significantly fewer users, namely 42 percent, consider an athletic body sexy. And the sexes even completely agree on this question!

Raw data from Jaumo Survey.




Hairy is not scary.
On the subject of body hair, the female users are pretty much in total agreement: 76% think chest hair belongs on the male body. The male users see this somewhat differently, but nonetheless, 64 percent of respondents agree. A natural look is also preferred in the downstairs department. 63 percent find a hairy pubic area perfectly acceptable and a total of 70% of the women prefer to see hair when they look down.

The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.
Vegan, vegetarian, low-carb or meat-eater – with so many varied eating preferences, it may be difficult to find a partner with the same nutritional routine. For 77 percent of the Jaumo users, however, a compatible diet with their partner is seen as a must. For the Silo, Racheal A. Mack.

Jaumo founders Jens Kammerer and Benjamin Roth.

About Jaumo
Jaumo is a dating app founded by Jens Kammerer and Benjamin Roth in 2011. Jaumo has 20 million users in 180 countries around the world, more than 2 million of them in the USA and Canada. The dating app is available for free for iOS at the Apple Store and Android at the Google Play Store. The driving force of the two friends from Germany is to offer an uncomplicated and user-oriented product that binds satisfied customers.


Bravo TV Star Asa Soltan Rahmati Launches Sacred Rituals For Women Book

Asa Soltan Rahmati has had many lives. From fleeing Iran as a child and living as a refugee in Germany and then the U.S. to becoming a celebrated reality television star on Bravo TV’s Shahs of Sunset; from launching a successful designer line of women’s kaftans to becoming a brand new parent with beau Jermaine Jackson Jr. – she is a master of reinvention and personal-betterment. In her newest life – as a published author – she sets out to empower other women to truly love themselves and take control of their own destinies.

Her book GOLDEN: Empowering Rituals to Conjure Your Inner Priestess is hitting bookstore shelves now. In it she shares seven sacred rituals that she developed throughout her life as she went from refugee (twice) to “artsy” to the Persian Pop Priestess that fans of Shahs of Sunset have grown to admire. I’d love to send you a copy of the new book for consideration of coverage in an upcoming story.

Asa’s life has been a filled with great challenges and deep loss, but through it – and through her outsider status – she learned to face life fearlessly and with her own style. From her self-love ritual to her chapter on confidence (“Radiate Beauty from the Inside Out”), Asa provides readers with the ultimate “green juice, master cleanse and z pack” for life. It all starts with her Priestess Detox, the total mind, body, soul cleanse to get the reader in touch with her own Inner Priestess. Asa’s ability to translate her rituals have helped hundreds of thousands of her fans become more empowered. GOLDEN is her gift to them and to anybody who is ready to take control, learn to love themselves, and face the future with confidence and strength.

When I was in college at UCLA, I worked part-time at an African art store in Santa Monica. One day Maya Angelou came into the store. I have always been a huge fan of hers and I was completely starstruck. She walked straight toward me, took my hand in hers, looked me directly in the eyes, and said, “stay golden, my child.”

– Asa Soltan, from GOLDEN

GOLDEN by Asa Soltan

Empowering Rituals to Conjure
Your Inner Priestess

Available Now

Asa Soltan Rahmati – Persian Pop Priestess, Spiritual Gangsta, and beloved star of Bravo TV’s hit reality show, Shahs of Sunset – shares seven sacred rituals that she has developed throughout her life in GOLDEN: Empowering Rituals to Conjure Your Inner Priestess (North Star Way; May 9, 2017; $25.99 USD).

Asa was eight years old when her family fled their war-torn country of Iran to seek refuge in Germany. To say she experienced culture shock after arriving is an understatement. She had never seen anyone that looked and acted so different from her, and she didn’t speak a word of German or English. She felt completely cast off from her land, her culture, and her people.

Feeling a need to connect to her culture and herself, she created rituals that she practiced every day. At first they were a simple way to create a sacred space for herself so she could go within and remember who she really was. But when she became a refugee for the second time moving from Germany to Los Angeles, those rituals — on beauty, love, career, family, and friendships–kept her deeply connected to her Inner Priestess, the authentic version of herself that existed without ego, baggage, or attachments to material things.

Asa’s own personal journey to find peace and self-acceptance helped her marry her artistic side with her business acumen and led her to launch a highly successful kaftan business, create a line of jewelry for Home Shopping Network and, of course, the television show. GOLDEN will help readers find their own power with inspirational quotes, stories and photos from her childhood to illustrate the impact her rituals can have. Whether you choose to focus on one ritual separately or all of them at once, GOLDEN can guide you to a state of glamorous, gorgeous mindfulness and a chance to live the life of your dreams.

Since the first season of Shahs aired, Asa has gained a loyal legion of fans who refer to her as the Spiritual Gangsta. Many of them write her to seek answers to their most personal questions. They often ask how to feel confident and feel good about their bodies in a world that’s hyper critical of women’s looks, how to gain the courage to follow their dreams, and how to stay true to their culture and traditions yet remain a modern woman. Asa’s ability to translate her rituals have helped hundreds of thousands of her fans become more empowered. GOLDEN is her gift to them.

Golden by Asa Soltan

About Asa Soltan Rahmati
Asa Soltan Rahmati, also known as the Persian Pop Priestess and Spiritual Gangsta, is the star of Bravo’s hit realty show, Shahs of Sunset. Asa lived on three continents and spoke four languages by the time she moved to the United States at fifteen. The Islamic revolution and decade-long war were the backdrop of her early childhood, and paved the way for her own personal revolution to build confidence, spirituality, and remain at peace among life’s daily trials and tribulations. Known for her glamour and down-to-earth spirituality, Asa is also an internationally recognized multimedia artist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. In 2014 Asa launched her highly anticipated luxury kaftan line, Asa Kaftans, which celebrities and her international fan-base adore. Asa is committed to using her unique blend of high-art, pop-culture, glamour, and spirituality to make the world a more beautiful and positive place. For the Silo, Jason Southerland.

About North Star Way
North Star Way is an imprint dedicated to publishing “information to make your life better.”  With a non-fiction editorial focus in the areas of motivation, inspiration and books that advise and inform, North Star Way aims to connect readers with thought leaders through a variety of new media formats including books and e-books, on-line courses and subscriptions, speaking engagements, mobile applications, original video and audio books, sponsorships and business partnerships, podcasts. North Star Way authors include John O’Leary, Maya Penn, Amanda Steinberg, JJ Virgin, and Keke Palmer.

VieVité Cotes de Provence Is Ideal French Rosé Wine For A Hot Weather Day

For many people, an ideal Victoria Day in Canada or Memorial Day in America depends on two essential things: SUN and BOOZE. VieVité’s Rosé #ROSEALLDAY is the weekend’s beach towel, boat, or post-brunch bag’s best friend. I mean.. is there really another way to kick off Summer celebrations?

“Perfectly pale pink. That perfectly chilled, hot weather day rosé is the ultimate dream.” – Women everywhere.

NEW YORK – The acclaimed Côtes de Provence region in France has long been known for its exceptional climate, soil and as the world leader in the production of premium rosé wines. VieVité (pronounced Vee-Veetay) is created at Domaine Sainte Marie, a renowned vineyard dating back to the 18th century and known for its true expressions of Provencal Rosé wine.
Located just 21 kilometers west of Saint Tropez, Domaine Sainte Marie stretches over 45 hectares of land; with bountiful southern exposure and land rich in filterable siliceous soil containing michaschists, schists, and white quartz, adding to the depth and quality of VieVité Rosé. Year after year, Domaine Sainte Marie receives critical acclaim and industry award recognition for its consistently excellent wines, which benefit from the soft gradient slopes, and hot, dry days and cool summer nights.

As one of the leading wines within the esteemed portfolio of Turquoise Life Beverage Brands, VieVité is offered in two varietals: the fresh and delicate VieVité and the limited cask VieVité Extraordinaire, sourced from older, time-tested vines. Both exceptional expressions of Provencal Rosé wine pride themselves on their unique vinicultural history, with the wines exemplifying the rare and old Grenache vines from which they are harvested.

VieVité is produced from grapevines averaging 25 years old, and offers a fresh and delicate aroma of cherries and strawberries coupled with notes of spice to create a satisfying sensation on the palate with a forward fruit nose of peach, grape and apricot.

VieVité Extraordinaire is sourced from 80-year grapevines and produced in smaller quantities, capturing the attention of true rosé connoisseurs for its opulent fruit flavors and exuberant panache. This deliciously vibrant Rosé delights with its intense and well- balanced fruit flavors, dominant with strawberries and berries, and structured with an intensity that highlights the old vines it is made from. Both wines have been declared as exceptional examples of true Cotes De Provence Rosé by wine lovers and critics alike.

Rosé wine has been gaining in popularity in the U.S. each year as more and more new wine drinkers are educated about the production methods used to make it; how the process of allowing the red skins of the grapes to macerate for a shortened amount of time gives it its signature hue. Not to be confused with the similarly colored White Zinfandel wine of years past, true Rosé wines are absent of an overly sweet taste, which allows their quality and flavors to shine.

Turquoise Life Beverage Brands offers both VieVité and VieVité Extraordinaire across the United States in fine restaurants & bars, luxury resorts and hotels as well as wine boutiques. VieVité is also available internationally in the Netherlands, Turkey, and Greece.

Whether paired with a brunch, dinner, an ocean breeze, a poolside lounge, yachting or barbequing, VieVité is an ideal choice — any day — and all day. For the Silo, Jessica Kirk.

NARAL Hand Drawn Playing Cards Celebrate Trailblazing American Women

In honor of Women’s History Month and coinciding with worldwide activities marking International Women’s Day, NARAL is relaunching The Gender Cards—a deck of illustrated playing cards that celebrate trailblazing American women. Each card is hand-drawn and unique, and recalls the incredible women—past and present—who have helped define the American spirit.

NARAL cards animation

These cards feature some of the strong leaders, brilliant thinkers, fierce competitors, brave risk takers, and trailblazing innovators who achieved great things while always moving the nation forward.

“Now more than ever, it’s time to celebrate the trailblazing women who have always made America great,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “One of my favorite things about The Gender Cards is seeing my friends and family post photos of their kids playing with the cards. These cards are not only beautiful to play with, they help us learn more about the women whose lives help tell the American Story. These really are the perfect gift.”

The Gender Cards make a great gift for friends and family, and are available only through NARAL. Get yours today at

Some of the amazing American women featured on the 54 hand-drawn cards include:

  • Rosa Parks
  • The Women of the Supreme Court
  • Black Lives Matter leaders
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Helen Keller
  • Rachel Carson
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Dolores Huerta
  • Sojourner Truth
  • The Suffragists
  • Sheryl Sandberg
  • Beyoncé
  • Michelle Obama
  • Sally Ride
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Laverne Cox
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • and many more!
For the Silo, Bianca Rosales.
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”
naral prochoice america logo

Cutting Through the Madness of Menopause

According to Nashville-based, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Founder of Ageless Solutions, Dr. Nicholas Sieveking, “menopause can surely be a crazy time in a woman’s life.  Not only does it signal the fact that she can no longer procreate, she will most likely suffer from some symptoms; physical, mental or both.  As the body is depleted of estrogen, bones lose calcium and become more brittle which can lead to osteoporosis, hormonal fluctuations prompt hot flashes and night sweats and vaginal dryness can become a problem.”

Aging And Menopause

And of course, as with anything, there are myths floating around about menopause from when it will hit to the best way to combat its symptoms. Here’s are some things I hear from patients which serve as a relatable rundown to help women navigate their way through what can be, a very confusing time.


  1. “I just had my last baby 4 years ago! I’m only 40! How can I be perimenopausal? “

While it’s been largely believed that menopause begins at 50, this just isn’t true.  The average age to begin menopause tends to be 52, but women can actually begin anywhere from their 30’s to 60’s.  Perimenopause, the shift leading up to menopause, can begin anywhere from a few months until a year before actual menopause starts. Symptoms include but aren’t limited to night sweats, trouble sleeping through the night, shorter or irregular periods, crashing fatigue, sore muscles, dizziness, changes in nails and hair. It’s important for women to keep a health log of any changes they notice in their bodies after age 35 and mention them to their doctors during checkups.

 Menopause Hot Pepper Metaphor

  1. “I’m not menopausal! I haven’t even had one hot flash.”

Hot flashes and menopause seem to go hand in hand. But they are not always the first sign. While most women experience hot flashes not every woman does so if they aren’t aware of the other emotional or mental changes they may solely focus on the physical changes.  The start of menopause can also be signaled by anxiety, depression, fuzzy or unclear thinking with inability to focus, low libido, forgetfulness, short temperedness or irritability. Pay attention to how you are feeling day to day. The more attuned you are to your body the sooner you’ll flag any changes.


  1. “Weight gain comes with the territory. Nothing I can do will change that.”

As estrogen is depleted, the body may experience hormonal imbalance.  The body often responds by trying to protect itself and a main way of doing that is storing fat.  But women don’t have to gain weight without a fight.  Some ways to keep a well-maintained weight are:


  • Look for high-fiber foods. They can help with constipation, which is often associated with menopause because lack of estrogen can decrease bowel activity.


  • Eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D-rich foods, like low-fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables, beans and fish. They help to keep bones strong.


  • Give soy a try. Soy contains estrogen.  While the jury is still out on whether soy can actually help, it can’t hurt.  Add it to your diet for a month or so and see if it has any effect.  Drink 1-2 cups of soy milk or eat a cup of edamame on a daily basis.


  • Women need 1,000 – 1,500 mg daily of calcium and 800 units of vitamin D daily.  It’s very hard to get that much through food alone.  Supplements are very helpful.


  • In addition to helping battle the bulge, walking, jogging and strength training can help stimulate bone growth and increase bone density. Balancing exercises can help with strength and will make you less likely to fall.  Falling during and after menopause increases chances of breaking a bone.


  1. “I can handle my liquor besides; red wine is good for me.”

Understand that during the onset of and stages of menopause, the body will not experience alcohol and caffeine as it always has. Alcohol, especially red wine, can trigger hot flashes. It can also diminish calcium absorption and inhibit live enzymes that activate vitamin D.  Caffeine increases calcium excretion and reduces how much of it the body can absorb. Both alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating stimulants that can make night sweats even worse.


  1. “I yelled at the dog and then I cried about it for an hour.”

Changes in progesterone and estrogen levels may cause mood swings.  Things seem to set you off. You may fee rage then sadness. Drops in progesterone may cause increased irritability and moodiness. Also, don’t underestimate the power of what menopause really means.  With childrearing days behind them, many women begin to think about the rest of their lives.  No doubt, these thoughts can trigger feelings of anxiety and depression.


  1. “I got my period when I was 16 so I won’t be menopausal until later.”

An older age at first period doesn’t automatically mean a later start to menopause. Actually, the opposite tends to be true.  If a girl gets her period on the later side, she may begin menopause on the earlier side.  However, predicting the age a woman will begin menopause is difficult. Pay attention to your body. After age 40 you’ll notice more and more changes and symptoms of menopause.

The process of menopause is a part of a woman’s life. Work closely with your doctor to create a plan that combines healthy foods, exercises, stress management and a commitment to enjoying life to its fullest. There is so much to look forward to. Having a positive outlook is the key to looking your best regardless of age and stage.

Dr. Nicholas Sieveking is a board certified plastic surgeon who completed his training in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University. After Stanford, he received additional fellowship training in Aesthetic Surgery in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil. In addition to his plastic surgery board certification, Dr. Sieveking is also board certified with advanced fellowship training in Anti-Aging and Functional Medicine. This double board certification enables Dr. Sieveking to be the most complete anti-aging surgeon and physician to treat his patients age-related needs, from the inside to the outside. Dr. Sieveking’s comprehensive solo practice includes advanced cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries, state of the art cosmetic laser and skin care services, Bio-identical hormone replacement therapies, medically-supervised weight loss programs, and cutting edge laboratory testing for hormone, amino acid, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies as well as toxin analysis and food and chemical sensitivities testing.

Dr. Sieveking has operated and lectured around the world on topics of face lifts, breast surgery, and cleft lip and palate repair. He has authored a chapter on Rhinoplasty in one of the major training textbooks for plastic surgery residents. In 2012 and 2013, he was voted “Top Plastic Surgeon in Nashville” in two Readers Polls by the citizens of Nashville. For the Silo, Jennifer Cypen Kaplan

Ontario Amethyst winner Meriflor Toneatto explains ‘women-money emotions’

"Understanding Underlying Feelings Can Free Women for  Financial & Personal Success." Meriflor Toneatto
“Understanding Underlying Feelings Can Free Women for
Financial & Personal Success.” Meriflor Toneatto

Everyone has a relationship with money, but for women, it’s much more fraught with emotion, says Meriflor Toneatto.

When we avoid and ignore those emotions, we allow them to quietly guide our decision-making – which inevitably holds us back.

“Understanding our emotions, fears and doubts about money and how they affect our behavior can help us heal them so we can experience
financial and personal freedom,” says Toneatto, an entrepreneur,  certified business and life coach, and author of  “Money, Manifestation &
Miracles: 8 Principles for Transforming Women’s Relationship with Money,”  (

“For women, money is an emotional currency. It’s tied to our sense of self-worth and self-confidence, and our feelings of safety and security. These feelings often translate into self-limiting decisions.”

The effect can be profound. Consider female entrepreneurs:

“The number of women-owned U.S. businesses is growing 1.5 times faster than the national average, but a 2013 report found that they’re still contributing less than 4 percent of overall business revenues, about the same as in 2007,” Toneatto says.

“Our businesses are smaller because we’re less likely than men to borrow in order to expand. We’re afraid to take financial risks,” she says citing a U.S. Department of Commerce report..

And in the corporate world:

Women comprise half the workforce, yet hold the majority of lower-wage jobs in the United States, according to the 2014 State of the Union

What are the emotions shaping so many of our decisions? Toneatto cites five:

Fear: The most common emotion among women is fear. With money, we fear not having enough of it; that we’ll lose it all and never get it back. Nearly including those according to the 2013 Women, Money and Power Study.

And we fear an abundance of money. We may fail to negotiate a higher salary because we fear we can’t live up to it. Successful women may be reluctant to reach higher because we fear failure — and losing it all.

These fears often have roots in situations we were exposed worth. They send a strong signal that we need to root out their source and heal it.

Guilt: People who say things like, “I feel guilty when I spend instead of save” or “I never buy anything unless it’s on sale” have guilt feelings associated with money. These, too, are often rooted in the fears and messages we saw and heard in childhood about not having enough money. Many of us are natural nurturers who’ve gotten the message that “good” women are selfless, and so we may freely, even recklessly, spend on others while withholding from ourselves.

Shame: This painful emotion cuts whether worthy and deserving. We avoid talking about shame, and so it exerts control over us. With money, shame is commonly connected to amassing a lot of debt and hiding it because we fear being judged, humiliated, and disliked.

Anger: This emotion repels money, opportunities and people because it can leave us closed off emotionally and physically from others. It’s based in a belief in the unfairness of life and/or the unfairness of money. A person who becomes angry about money may be angry at herself for missing an opportunity or for mishandling money in the past. Anger can lead to trust issues and to over-protecting every cent – even hoarding money.

Blame: Anger and blame often go hand in hand. hand in hand. It stems from feeling disappointed or wronged because you believe your life would have been easier and/or better if someone – maybe parents or a spouse — had been able to provide you with more money. Blame can
sabotage relationships with both people and money for years.

“At some point in our lives, we all have felt one or more of these emotions,” Toneatto says. “The good thing is, once you begin to recognize
them, they’re like a flashing yellow ‘caution!’ light.”

About Meriflor Toneatto

Meriflor Toneatto is the founder and CEO of Power With Soul, a company dedicated to empowering female entrepreneurs and professionals by
helping them transform their relationship with money. The author of “Money, Manifestation & Miracles: 8 Principles for Transforming Women’s Relationship with Money.” Toneatto holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and management and graduate certifications in personal, professional and financial coaching. A former corporate executive, she is a recipient of the Amethyst Award for Excellence and Outstanding Achievement from the government of Ontario, Canada.


What’s In A Dildo? Confessions Of An Adult Toy Tester


When I tell people I used to be a sex toy tester I am mostly met with two different reactions.  Men are intrigued and ask what my favourite toy or dildo is.  Women ask where they sign up to do the same job.  There is one other reaction though, and that is disbelief.  It’s a joke, isn’t it?  Nobody really does that, do they?  Well, the answer is yes, they do. 

Sex toy testing won’t be advertised on recruitment websites.  You have to seek out this job.  To become a tester you must promote yourself as such, by blogging reviews of toys or signing up to affiliate programs on the retailer’s website.  Most testers are salespeople employed by retailers.  One perk of selling them is that you have to try the product, so you can give a learned opinion. 

The truth is, very few people, if any, will make a career of sex toy testing.  I’ve heard stories about making five figure sums testing toys.  I don’t doubt these stories are true, but I think you’d have to be extremely dedicated to make such a high sum in this job and no manufacturer I know pays that kind of money.

So what motivates women to test sex toys?  I can assure you, it’s not as fun as it sounds.  You have to test the bad as well as the good.  Even when you’re feeling less than hot, the job must still be done.  And there’s nothing more off-putting for you and your partner than having to reach for a pen seconds after you’ve tested the item to record your thoughts, feelings and sensations.  It’s the kind of job you tire of very quickly.

Many women begin testing for fun and because they like the image.  My own experience was slightly different.  I suffered from vaginismus, a condition that causes the muscles of the vagina to contract upon any type of stimulation, making intercourse or internal examinations excruciatingly painful or even impossible.  There is usually no physical problem so it’s difficult to treat.  In my quest to overcome this condition I tried physiotherapy, hypnosis, muscle relaxants and just grinding my teeth and telling myself it was normal.  While many women have this problem as a result of trauma or bad experiences, others don’t have a reason.  It’s just what happens.

Indy author, Silo contributor and adult-toy tester Lacie Dearie.
Indy author and adult-toy tester Lacie Dearie.

Some women choose to suffer in silence or avoid relationships with men.  Others try treatments like Botox to prevent the muscles from clamping.  I thought sex toys would help me train the muscles and practice for the real thing in a safe, controlled environment.  Although few healthcare professionals would recommend ordering sex toys online and experimenting to treat vaginismus, some of the gynaecologists I’ve spoken to believe certain, “devices,” as they put it, are useful.  Applying to become a tester meant I was having fun and getting freebies as well as doing something beneficial for my health.

Like many women’s health issues, vaginismus is something people don’t talk about due to embarrassment or ignorance.  However, reports have indicated more adults suffer from vaginismus than from schizophrenia.  Very few people have heard of vaginismus, while many a book, movie or news report mentions people suffering from schizophrenia.

I can’t say sex toys, and especially testing them, will help all sufferers, but a happy, fulfilling relationship and even children became possible for me.  Vaginismus has to be talked about so that sufferers don’t feel like there is a stigma attached to it and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For the Silo, by Lacey Dearie.