Saturday was Sol Sisters‘ first formal workshop at St. Vincent de Paul Wellness Center in San Francisco.

riley center

Sol Sisters,

founded by Christine Shayesteh and Aleli Crutchfield, is an organization and network of professional women who:

“Integrate creative arts + mental health and wellness to empower women of all backgrounds. Through these systems of support, positive self image, emotional well being, and substantial impacts on our community can be achieved.” – solsisters.org

Revival: Bringing Back the Beauty Within

The day consisted of a series of workshops, from daily skin care routines, to expressive art, to wardrobe styling, hair and makeup; and it culminated in a reveal, healing circle and a full course dinner.

Throughout the day the women were encouraged to speak about their intentions and experiences. Women answered these questions in English and Spanish.

Riley Center of San Francisco

Provides survivors of domestic abuse with services such as group therapy, necessities such as toiletries and tampons, and is connected to two shelters that provide emergency and transitional housing.

Eight women, hand picked by The Riley Center, to participate in the Sol Sister’s event, sat in a session with Heather D Collins and Azure’D Nunley, expressing what they wanted out of the session:

“to take care of my body, apprendar mas…. no me gustaria se parece de mi piel….learn how to put on make up and to know what kind of skin I have, I wouldn’t mind help with my skin as it ages…”

Heather explained to the participants that they were “not hiding anything but enhancing what you already have.”

On a white board by the kitchen, a Maya Angelou quote read, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

The women moved on to the expressive arts session with Rachelle Louise. The workshop ended with a sharing of their pieces and a verbal contract where each woman stated “I am a woman who is…” and everyone else affirmed it by saying “yes you are.”

expressive arts Sol Sisters

They were women who are: loving, who have much faith, are warriors.

Next, everyone went up to the grand room of beautifying, where they were assisted by fashion designers and stylists in choosing outfits, got their hair styled and their make up done by professionals including Shahidah Al-Amin, owner of The Beauty Box Style Studio in Oakland, make-up artist Kiera Rowland, fashion designer Xela Gaerlan, and stylist Rachel Hazelman , Jenny Ton, Co-Founder, Creative Director + Stylist of Retrofit Republic and many others.

Shahidah Al-Amin sol sisters

sol sisters rachel hazelman

Next was the big REVEAL! The ladies had not seen themselves all day. Now they were going to come downstairs to confront the image of themselves in a mirror. To see what they could see. To feel what they felt. To share what they wanted to.

Before they came down, all of the volunteers circled up and checked-in. We all shared how the day had been for us so far. These were some of the responses to “I feel…”

“deeply rooted…connected to the creator…content…grateful…impressed….happy….blown-away….honored….humbled…..PHENOMENAL….
sols sisters drawing

The women came downstairs. They formed a circle and held hands. The rest of us circled up around them. Christine told the participants how we appreciated and supported them, that they were our community, the light that Sol Sisters was founded on.

sols sisters reveal 2

Led in more individual reflection by Sol Sister Kamilah Gallofin,the women then made their last reflection of the day. Every woman said thank you. Two women shared that they felt it was time for them to make themselves a priority. Another woman said, “I don’t cry because I’m sad. I cry because I’m happy” to which many of the women nodded in agreement; she continued, “and because we all deserve this.”
sol sisters picture

The full course dinner, prepared by Amanda Lesky, Founder of the Food Education Project, included a watermelon and arugula salad and pasta with a lemon cream sauce. Krizy Osada, founder/baker of Whipt Baked Goods, provided Sol Sisters edible image cookies. Zenaida gave a closing motivational speech, including the seven secrets of a confident woman and stating: “we are here to unlock those secrets in the generations we are raising. Not just in young women but within the young men.” Her fourteen year old daughter was among the faces watching Zenaida as she spoke about our responsibly as women and mothers, and as she recited Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman, strongly, confidently, passionately.

Check out Sol Sisters! Become a part of the organization. Volunteer at their next event. Meet other like-minded women and collaborate.
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Support the creative and compassionate women who made this event possible by volunteering their time and talent on a Saturday.

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