I really can’t believe that today is the very first day of March! You mean to tell me we’re already three months into 2019? Seriously, where is time going exactly? As you may know, March is National Women’s History Month. Why only discuss women from the past when there are so many women right at this very moment creating history and doing amazing things! When I look at the women in my family, in my friend circle, or even some I don’t even know personally but follow on Instagram, I’m inspired and motivated. I thought this would be the perfect month to do a mini-series called, “Women Workin’ Wonders”. Each Friday in March, I will be introducing you to women who have been creating their own lanes and doing something they love!Ryen Watkins. I met Ryen in August of 2018 at an event in D.C. where she was the host and I was on the panel. When thinking of women I wanted to talk to for this mini-series, she was one of the first who popped in my head! Ryen is a Baltimore native but went to St. Johns University for undergraduate, went home to complete her Master’s, and then came right back to these NYC streets in 2016 to chase her dreams! She’s such a sweet person and the genuineness of her personality is so apparent. I’m not exaggerating, in the slightest, when I say Ryen’s Instagram presence gives me so much life on a day to day basis. It is filled with so much motivation, black love, vegan(ish) recipes, and so much more!
As an entrepreneur, Ryen wears a number of hats! Freelance Journalist, Radio Personality, Wellness+Lifestyle Content Creator, Blogger, Event Host, I mean let’s be real, what can’t she do? She has worked for big-name companies like Comb Enterprises and Sirius XM, doing everything from executive assisting to production. While the experiences Ryen endured were nothing short of astounding, sometimes our dream jobs aren’t all they seem to be, especially when we are aware of our own dopeness and limitless power. Ryen started by writing for multiple publications and also created her own fitness blog, which was recently revamped to Chapter Harmony. Let’s get into all the feels that Ryen brings us in this new chapter of her life!
Chapter Harmony(the new feature on Instagram that I love and use regularly), so I am able to go back to the post and share my thoughts when I’m not as busy! Chapter Harmony provides you with the daily dose of positive vibes and good feels you need to keep pushing through. Ryen makes it clear that she wants her blog to feel near and dear to the hearts of women in their mid-20’s, who’s single, on her grind, but also knows that it is possible to love and be loved while building a business. There are blogs out there who are tailored specifically to love/relationships or women who are entrepreneurs getting to their coins, but Chapter Harmony is the perfect blend of those two extremes.
The name Chapter Harmony came about in such a cute way! Ryen knew, for sure, she wanted the word “harmony” included somewhere in the title but was having a difficult time coming up with something unique and special to her. In late July at a W.E.E.N. (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network) event all the women were going around writing affirmations in one another’s journals so they would be able to look back on the kind words they received once leaving the event. The Program Director wrote that Ryen embodied harmony and at that moment that’s when she knew! Chapter Harmony has become a safe space where you can come and talk about a wide variety of topics.
I love love, especially black love. Ryen does a fantastic job of reminding myself and others that black love is still alive and well; it is definitely attainable and ready for you when the time is right. Optimism and Hopefulness fill my heart when I see the Black Love segments on Chapter Harmony, always including music snippets of the most soulful singers from Mary J. Blige to Daniel Caesar. One of the missions of Chapter Harmony is for everyone, men have feelings too so yes they are included as well, to know that true love will come, no matter what you’ve dealt with in the past. You don’t have to go out trying to find it, let it come to you naturally.
Ryen and I both named couples that women often wonder what the exact “prayer” was that got them together; examples are Ciara & Russell Wilson, Meagan Good & DeVon Franklin, and my personal favorite Lauren London & Nipsey Hussle. Genuine, long-lasting relationships in our generation rarely seem to be around anymore. Ryen believes that transparency, our life journeys, the different mindsets we all have, and people not wanting to compromise/have restrictions are all just a few reasons why things play out the way they do when you’re trying to be in a relationship in your mid-20s. No matter how down I may get, I’m quickly reminded by Chapter Harmony that my time will come and that love starts within and then branches out.
Wellness – Vegan(ish)-
Since Ryen is a Wellness Content Creator/Blogger, I had to ask what does she do to stay fit and keep her self well, physically, mentally, etc. Working out is one of the main things she does; she had a fitness blog and though she’s not in the gym as much, at least twice a week you’ll see her on her InstaStories at the gym! Taking the time to check in with yourself, knowing when to rest, and scheduling time for yourself is important to Ryen. She knows all too well what it’s like to be depressed and not even being able to talk to her mom, who she’s extremely close with, as much as she’d like because she was overworking herself. Know when you’ve pushed yourself too far and need to take some time out for you.
Creating a healthy balance is very important to Ryen as well. She said, “a salad and pizza are both forms of self-care in their own right”; touché! She also mentioned that it’s perfectly fine to do things that bring you joy. I’m still cracking up and the fact that Ryen told me she was vegan(ish) but I understand completely though. Some people have no problem giving up food deemed unhealthy but Ryen knows herself and understands that the restrictions just aren’t for her. She doesn’t eat red meat or chicken but this goes back to doing things that bring you joy. Ryen is from Baltimore, the city known for its fresh crabs and seafood. At the beginning of her healthy eating journey, she knew on those summer days back home it would be hard to completely give up something she loves. She treats herself every now and then and also loves baking desserts. A few months ago I do remember her putting up a recipe for Jackfruit BBQ sliders, which I recently tried and you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t eating pulled pork/chicken; it was so good. There are so many different substitutes for meat!
Ryen’s simmer pots (pictured above with water strawberries, rosemary, cranberries, and sliced oranges) is one of her DIY projects I need to give a try on my next cleaning day. She loves a warm cozy home aesthetic and when her one roommate who loved to clean moved to Texas, Ryen decided she wanted to take on that leadership role! While she’s cleaning her apartment, she simmers different ingredients in a pot. It produces such an amazing smell, which helps to make her cleaning process a fun one. The simmer pots also create a sorta “wellness vibe”. She remembers being younger and seeing the joy it brought her mom and grandmom to have a clean home and wanted that same experience, especially when she has a family of her own one day.
Pray, pray, and then pray some more. Ryen is a faith-driven woman and we both agreed we have no idea where we’d be without God! Everything Ryen posts to Chapter Harmony will inspire you to be a better you. She encourages you to not give up and keep pushing forward no matter what obstacles, there will always be obstacles, try to come in your way. Writers/Creators block happens to the best of us. We get stuck and it seems as if all our thoughts/ideas have somehow magically disappeared and we’re left feeling empty. A few tools Ryen uses to help to deal with creators block is stepping away and doing something else, listening to music, and recharging.
Since she’s constantly motivating all of us to not give up, I needed to know what exactly keeps her going after what she wants; not being where she wants to be yet is the biggest thing. She can see the goal, what she does brings her so much joy, and she can see herself doing Wellness & Lifestyle events full-time. Ryen is aware that all her dreams are so very capable and she’s gotten this far, why give up now? She’s slightly mentioned a possible skincare line in the future; the product junkie in me is excited about it! I will do numbers for sure. I know I’m not the only person who admires all that she puts into Chapter Harmony and the rest of her work. It’s clear that this amazing platform is so much bigger than her and what she imagined!
I’m going to continue being so happy for Ryen and supporting her in every move she makes! Below are the links to Ryen’s Instagram accounts, I promise you’ll enjoy all the positive energy and good vibes once you click that “follow” button!