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It's been a tough couple of years, so why not see in 2022 with some beautiful wearable talismans manifesting strength, protection, and perseverance? These bestselling items by LGBTQ jewelry designer Konstantinos Leoussis, founder of KIL N.Y.C., make the perfect unisex fashion statement for now and into the new year.
Based in Brooklyn N.Y., Leoussis, 32, has been passionate about jewelry from an early age. "The first piece of jewelry that was truly my favorite was a kilt pin from the 1850s that I was able to afford with my own money. It was a very sentimental piece of jewelry for years."
He believes that jewelry is not only decorative; "wearing jewelry can be so empowering and strengthening. I do believe jewelry is incredibly talismanic. I try to invoke strength, protection, and inspiration with my designs."
"My jewelry line is inspired by many things: mythology, magic, monsters. I've always loved ancient history since I was a child and I try to add similar elements to my jewelry. The first collection I released was entirely inspired by monsters from Greek mythology," he says.
This is very evident in his beautiful Teras Collection:
The Kelly Sword Pendant and Earrings are two of the new signature styles Leoussis created for the KIL N.Y.C. label. Taking the traditionally masculine symbol of the sword and turning it into one of feminine power, the Kelly Sword design invites you to channel your inner warrior! Light enough to be worn every day, but bold enough to stand out as an accessory in the evening, each piece can be customized with your choice of metal, as well as optional stones set in either the hilt or the blade of the piece. In honor of the strong women who inspired this piece, 10% of each sale before tax will be donated to Equality Now, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for gender equality worldwide.
Kelly Sword Pendant
Leoussis says, "I wanted to create something timeless and unisex, and swords are often seen as symbols of strength and perseverance. I named them Kelly Swords after my friend Kate Kelly, who has dedicated her life to advocating for women's rights. Because of that, we donate 10% of the profits from this piece to organizations that share Kate's ideals.”
Another favorite from his Classics Collection, his Sadboy Pendant, was created to commemorate all the times we really wanted to cry but had to act like we were “too cool.” Now anyone can proudly display their sensitive side no matter what their gender with this luxe piece of jewelry. Available in one’s choice of metal and dangling briolette tears, an extra center stone can be added to the pupil of the eye for added sparkle.
“I was going through my journals from high school and came across a little drawing of an eye crying. In its jewelry form, it's a homage to my 'emo' days and a way of acknowledging that we are all entitled to have bad days,” says Leoussis.
"As an LGBT individual, it is sometimes very hard to get my work out there and sometimes, I am not taken seriously. We still have a very long way to come with LGBT representation especially with POC creators, such as myself. I strive to be inclusive and create designs that break thru the gender binary, and we try to support LGBT organizations with proceeds from select pieces of jewelry," says Leoussis.
But his timeless yet trendy designs are catching on and several celebrities wear his jewelry: Alyssa Milano, Kate Walsh, Carson Kressley, and Michelle Visage of the band Seduction, and judge on RuPaul's Drag Race. "Michelle has been so supportive of our brand and it's always amazing to see her rocking the jewelry," says Leoussis.For more on these beautiful designs follow KIL N.Y.C. on Instagram at @kil_nyc.
The DJ-production drag duo known as Jawbreakers is asking people to take "Just a Taste" of their upcoming EP. That flavorful sample called "Boyfriend" is available now on digital platforms. If you're thinking, hey, didn't Ashlee Simpson have a song of the same name back in 2005? Yes, she did, but this version is a lot more club-friendly with an EDM edge.
The creative process has many layers as most dance songs do these days. It begins with the Jawbreakers producing the music then finding a voice to sing it. In this case, Amunda, formerly of the Australian group Operator Please. The song dismisses its punk roots and evolves into a banger bop with dancefloor disco sass much like its producers.
Kali Forni-Kate and Sabrina Babyslut are those producers and they call themselves Jawbreakers. But you can just call them Kali and Sabrina. Both are in their twenties but refuse to say on which end of the scale. What's abundantly clear is their love of pop culture and tapping into nightclub synergy.
They both live in Melbourne, Australia, or Naarm, as it is called by those who wish to respect traditional Aboriginal names. Kali lives in the southern area where modern artists and modern history collide. That is where the iconic Chapel Street is located. It's known for its shops, restaurants, and popular gay districts. Although they live a stone's throw away from each other, they always end up together.
"There’s a bunch of queer venues and events happening frequently and honestly any venue that books us and supports and uplifts the queer community is iconic in my opinion," Sabrina said.
JawbreakersAndrew Van Dorsselaer
Their pronouns are she and her when in drag, and they and him when out of it. We will refer to them mostly in the former for the purposes of this article. But ultimately they hate labels, "We both identify as queer and slowly trying to move away from labels as much as possible regardless of whether we are in or out of drag."
The two have been friends going on six years. They met each other while doing a Britney Spears tribute show at the deco-inspired historic Greyhound Hotel, now sadly demolished.
There’s a four-to five-year age gap between them; they met when Sabrina was 18 and Kali was 23. "I think we were surprised how instantly we clicked and that we had so much in common for a millennial and Gen Z," they explain. "From there we were inseparable pretty much trying to incorporate each other into every gig and then the rest is history."
In school, Sabrina studied costume design and music theory and she's played saxophone ever since she was seven years old.
Kali was a track and field athlete who admits to being, "a Uni drop out studying musculoskeletal therapy. I also love waterskiing, kneeboarding, and to be honest, still into Pokemon Go," she smirks.
Eventually they let their love of music and style win out over everything else. That makes sense because both have music in their blood. "I dead ass was in primary school listening to sonatas on my iPod Touch but I would listen to literally any genre of music as long as it was on 'Glee,'" said Sabrina who loves how technology has progressed the medium."Music has become a lot more synthesized but people have leaned into that embracing the electronic sounds."
"My dad is a jazz musician," adds Kali, "and mum was a dancer. [My] Sister was an opera singer so I grew up in a very musical industry going to interstate jazz festivals---and I played piano. I went through my pop diva 'Britney Spears in the zone phase,' to my emo My Chemical Romance phase and got my first Ministry of Sound CD when I was 10 years old, which is insane because I had so many CD’s with John Course’s name on them, and now [I'm] supported by his record label."
Which brings us to their latest project: the "Just a Taste" EP and their first single from that album, "Boyfriend." With so much creativity in their vains and drive in their hearts it's curious why they would choose to make an EP that averages four tracks per album rather than the longer format with three-times that.
"'With this EP we’re showing a few different sides of our musical personality ranging from pure pop to more club focused songs and we really wanted to give the listeners ‘Just A Taste’ and use this EP as a metaphorical tasting platter," they explain. The idea is to show their audience they are musically diverse, but still have something succinct. "Since this is our first body of work we're putting out, it would be risky to do a full album. It's better to dip your toe in and see what works and what needs tweaking before releasing an album, which is a huge undertaking."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
Once they had the music track for "Boyfriend" laid down, they needed to find a singer who could not only bring a freshness to the vocals, but also understood what the DJs were trying to do. Upon the advise of Joel Siviour from Seismic Talent, they found that female voice in Amunda, an indie artist who used to sing for the popular Australian band Operator Please.
"Since the original track is a pop rock song from the 2000s we knew we needed something in that realm, so when we were introduced to Amunda we knew it would be the perfect fit because she herself had some big hits with Operator Please which had that pop/alt/rock kinda vibe to it. The track was pretty much done before we sent it to her and we were just looking for a topline and when she agreed to be a part of the project we let her have free reign with the topline and we were so obsessed with what she came back with!"
The completed project was perfect they say. "Boyfriend" is the epitome of who they are, "it’s a high energy dance track that just makes you want to get up and party and have fun! It shows how much we love pop culture referencing the iconic queen Ashlee Simpson but how we recontextualized the track for today's music climate. In the music video you truly get to see us and become part of (what I like to call) the Jawbreaker Cinematic Universe which is just this bubble gum pop world we live in and serve some iconic Y2K looks and be the biggest Y2K divas we can be."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
That's no exaggeration. The video which recently released on YouTube proves it. Bubblicious colors, mod culture designs and 60s era couture, Jawbreakers is just like Kali's Pokedex: ready to evolve. Groovy chic and pink hair showcase the talent of these pop rocks. And the land down under is eating them up.
"The LGBTQIA+ community in Australia is sooo supportive," Sabrina says. "Every city has such an uplifting community that gets behind their up-and-coming artists in queer spaces. From painting, to acting---the sex and drag industry---the community is so insanely supportive. Like, we couldn’t imagine being straight because like there's no community and they don’t hype each other like the LGBT community does."
Jawbreakers is only beginning their reign. With "Girlfriend" finished and the "Just a Taste" EP dropping on April 1, 2022, the duo are poised for stardom. They aren't taking anything for granted either.
"We also have been so lucky to be offered some incredible gigs that are coming up this year. Now that borders are open we are about to head on an Aus tour starting at St Kilda Fest, and then heading on the Summer Camp Tour with a killer queer lineup. We also plan to get back in the studio and keep making new music. We truly are just ready to make the most out of all the opportunities we have been blessed with and do the most to make anyone who has supported us proud."
You can listen to Jawbreakers' debut single "Boyfriend" on digital music platforms and watch the video below.
Their full EP "Just a Taste" will release on April 1, 2022.
Jawbreakers - Boyfriend (ft. AMUNDA) (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
Mental health impacts how you think and feel, affecting all aspects of your life. It also determines how you handle your stress and make important choices. Having good mental health is important for all ages, from children to elders. Here are the most effective ways to boost your mental health.
Staying positive may be easy when you're happy, but it gets more difficult as you encounter stress. Staying positive is something you'll have to learn how to do, but it gets easier with time. Ultimately, it's up to you to see the silver lining when something stressful happens. For example, if you lose your job, you might consider it an opportunity to find a career you enjoy.
Staying positive is all about balancing positive and negative emotions, but it doesn't mean you won't ever feel down. It's important to feel your emotions so you can address them and move past them. However, how you manage those emotions once you feel them depends on you.
Practicing gratitude allows you to actively acknowledge the good things in your life. Practicing gratitude might look different for everyone, but it's typically easiest to keep a gratitude journal that you write in every day. Your journal can be a list of everything you're grateful for, including your family, friends, pet, and even coffee. Don't worry about repeating things in your journal; it's important you continuously recognize the things that make you happy.
Practicing gratitude allows you to see your life in a different light. When you take the time to sit down and think about things that make you happy, you can focus on the positive instead of the negative.
Get into the habit of practicing gratitude by writing in a journal for at least five minutes a day. In addition, writing in your journal at night can help you relieve stress so you can easily fall asleep. t your job, so you must do something you love or have a passion for—being at a job you despise can make you feel like you're wasting your life, which can make you feel depressed. Additionally, having a stressful job can impact your mental and physical health.
If you find yourself feeling drained just at the thought of going to work, consider why your job situation makes you feel down. You might find that you enjoy your job but have a toxic workplace. No matter the case, it's up to you to get out of any job situation that makes you feel stressed or burned out.
Setting goals gives you something to work towards. Then, when you accomplish those goals, you'll feel a sense of purpose that's unbeatable. Setting goals gives you a reason to get up in the morning and stay productive and active all day long. Your goals can be career-based, health-based, or even home-based. For example, you can have a goal for weight loss while also having one to get a promotion by the end of the year.
Whatever your goals are, make sure you also set an action plan that helps you accomplish those goals. You may even have to break your goals up into smaller goals so you can keep accomplishing small tasks until you reach the ultimate goal.
Spend Time With Others
Even if you're an introvert, spending time with others can boost your mental health because it allows you to take your mind off of other things going on. Not only that but your friends and family are your support network, so you'll always have someone to talk to when you're feeling stressed.
Don't Forget About Your Physical Health
Taking care of your physical health can improve your mental health. Your body and mind are connected; the other will be impacted when one doesn't feel well. You can focus on your physical health by:
- Being active
- Getting quality sleep
- Eating well
Find a Purpose
Giving yourself a purpose in life will allow you to wake up feeling energized. Not to mention, it allows you to find something you're passionate about so you can feel connected to the world and yourself. Your purpose in life won't be the same as someone else's. For example, your purpose in life might be your pets or children, while someone else's will be their passion for their hobbies or career.
If you don't know what your purpose is yet, spend time thinking about the things you enjoy. Many people find careers they're excited about while others wake up so they can enjoy their hobbies. It doesn't matter what your purpose is; just make sure it gives you a reason to wake up every day and helps you manage daily stresses.
Take Care of Others
Focusing on others allows you to get out of your head. Whether you volunteer at the local pet shelter or take care of your grandmother, you'll have something to do that makes you feel connected. Not only that, but you'll be able to keep a schedule of helping others that not only makes you feel good but helps others.
Reconsider Your Job
You spend eight or more hours a day at work. If you notice that you've been feeling anxious or depressed for a while, it might be time to seek help from a psychologist or an in person or telepsychiatrist. These professionals can help you learn how to cope with stress while providing you with medication to improve potential chemical imbalances. Seeing a professional is not something to be ashamed about; it's something you should be proud of. Getting the help you need can improve your life and make you feel happier.
Boosting Your Mental Health
There are many ways to boost your mental health. It's up to you to find the ways that work best based on your schedule and needs. For example, while getting a puppy can give you a sense of purpose, it's not a good idea if you're never home. Finding ways to improve your mental health might take experimentation, but you can find something that truly works for you with a little patience.
About the Author
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.
Move, I’m Gay, the podcast starring Francisco and Brendan (better known to listeners as Franny and Brenda) will premiere its 100th episode on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. Taped live each week from their studio in Portland, Oregon, the show has gained a national following for the comical camaraderie between its two seemingly polar-opposite hosts. While Franny dishes on the latest entertainment dirt, and maybe belts out a Top 40 hit or two, Brenda references obscure gay historical facts. There’s also a bit of politics thrown in, as the two banter, laugh and drink their way into listener’s hearts.
“I had never been a fan of podcasts,” admits Francisco. “I have only listened to a couple and most of them have been true crime, so it’s interesting to find myself hosting a comedy show. Honestly, the real reason I’m here is I broke my leg and I needed something to do with my life.”
Brenda and FrannyMykl Fstr
The pair had only hung out with each other casually before starting the Move, I’m Gay podcast in February 2020. “We have very different personalities,” Brendan explains. “Francisco is up on trends and I’m slightly clueless to them, but we seem to mesh well in terms of our interaction and it's nice to have solidified our friendship through two years of weekly recordings.”
The show’s segments are a favorite among listeners. In the “Gay of the Day” segment, they highlight some of the outstanding accomplishments of individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. “We love heaping praise on the bravery of celebs like Lil' Nas X and JoJo Siwa who have come out loud and proud and others like Jeopardy! champ Amy Schneider who are raising LGBTQ+ awareness on unexpected platforms,” says Francisco.
“It’s also encouraging to be able to report on progressive legal news, especially the expanded rights being enjoyed by queer people all around the world,” Brendan adds.
But with the sugar comes the medicine. The pair regularly share their real-life trials and tribulations, like in the “Hog Hunters" episode when Brenda was forced to come to terms with the truth about the man he had been speaking with on Tinder. “I had to be convinced live during the episode that I was being catfished. All of the obvious signs were there but I simply wasn't willing to admit it.”
In their “Bless This Mess” segment, Franny and Brenda lament on the week’s most shameful events. “Some of our most heated shows from last year were centered around transphobia and the right's increasingly unhinged fight against BLM and voter's rights, and their refusal to believe that we’re in the middle of a God damned global pandemic,” says Francisco.
“In the beginning, we didn’t expect the Move, I’m Gay podcast to be so political,” he continues. “It was meant to be more about our shared love of the free Britney movement and detest for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop with maybe a few bits about Wendy Williams burping and farting simultaneously while live on air tossed in for good measure.”
Both agree that being LGBTQ+ today is inherently political. “We realized pretty quickly that avoiding the serious topics would come across as tone deaf, and that’s the last thing we want the show to be,” Brendan explains.
The podcast has been a learning experience for the pair. “I've found that my favorite shows are when we’re our real selves, imperfections and all,” says Francisco.
Brendan agrees. “Being authentic seems to be working for us. Like the great Cheryl Lynn sang in her 1978 self-titled debut studio album, 'Got to Be Real'."