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Meet "The Cake Girl" Who's Becoming The Millennial Martha Stewart

People

In an impeccably decorated and meticulously organized Manhattan Uptown apartment, Stephanie Nass without hesitation responds to the final question of our interview, “Free time? I don't know what that means," she says offering another homemade cookie decorated with a Chefanie Sheet. “This is my oxygen. This is my fun."


Nass, known to most only as Chefanie, is the founder and CEO of Victory Club. Launched in 2014, Nass' private club features her culinary art, both in presentation and taste, inspired by the visual arts of the space. She soon followed this venture with the premiere of Chefanie Sheets in 2016, a line of artistic edible premade cake sheets. To succeed in two self-funded business ventures is impressive, but what separates Nass is a determination to achieve so much so young.

"The accomplishments of this young entrepreneur are not only a demonstration of Nass' expertise, but a testimony to the power of conviction" - Photo Courtesy of Chefanie

Having only turned 27 in April, Nass is every bit the entrepreneurial success story. The cultivation of what she describes as “a lifestyle brand that is culinary focused," is a showcase of both her talents as a chef and an artist. However, the accomplishments of this young entrepreneur are not only a demonstration of Nass' expertise, but a testimony to the power of conviction.

When you ask most children what they want to be when they grow up, you'll usually get a carefree and uncertain response. Perhaps one day an astronaut, another day a mermaid, or maybe even a cowboy—but if you had asked a young Nass you would have gotten a definitive answer: a chef.

“I've gone by Chefanie, my nickname, since I was a little girl because I've always loved cooking, passionately since I was very, very young," Nass remarks sitting amongst her practice cakes, always close by in case inspiration strikes. “From the time I was 16 I said, ok I want to do this my whole life, this is going to be my career. So, every decision I've made from that point has been to that end."

Nass' commitment to becoming a chef led her to Brittany, France when she was only 16. Although Nass was too young at the time to attend culinary school, her desire to be fully immersed in French culinary culture inspired her to take every opportunity to learn from various residents of the small town. She spent her free time training informally in local restaurants and snatched every opportunity to eat in Paris.

Upon her return, she attended Columbia University, where she earned her BA in Art History, and she also attended night classes at the International Culinary Center in New York City where she received her Grand Diplôme. But determined to understand business from the ground up, Nass moved to Silicon Valley following graduation to join a fast-growth tech company, “I worked out there for a year [and] learned so much. [I] learned how to do financial models, how to project headcount and all these things I never would have known."

After moving back to New York City Nass began to host dinners in her shoebox apartment for her friends, “these dinners that I was hosting, which I really organized because I wanted to cook for people, I also did because I wanted to way to meet new people," says Nass. “I would tell all my friends please bring one person that everyone can meet, and make new friends. Art was really the springboard for conversation. As you'll see my apartment is full of my artwork, artwork of artist friends, of mine and art pieces I've collected."

From this ritual, Victory Club materialized. Nass began hosting events through the club and has hosted elaborate dinners in New York, the Hamptons, Miami, Nashville, London, Rome and Vienna in just three years. With most of the club members located in New York members pay $100 monthly for invitations to private dinners and discounts to public events. Each event differs in style and format, created and cultivated by Nass who fuses “the culinary [and] visual arts" together. On top of conceptualising the food, she hand paints the menu cards and designs the place settings, to align with the artist's vision.

Following the success of Victory Club, Nass launched Chefanie Sheets. The chef, who jokingly acknowledges her perceived persona as “the cake girl", decided to market the sheets after her dessert accessory began to be popular with her social media following. Since the collection was released, Chefanie Sheets have been featured on the Today Show and Nass has appeared in various digital channels with the product, including Refinery29, Instyle and Business Insider.

Despite Nass' tremendous success, she shows no sign of stopping. In the next five to ten years the young entrepreneur hopes to open her very own store which she describes as “not your typical bakery." But don't expect to only see the baking mogul's signature cakes, as she plans to venture into prepared catering, premade food featuring her family's and her own recipes.

“For me my way to spend a day is taking on a challenging project and completing it," says Nass, whose success stems not only from her talents and artistic ideas, but most of all her dedication to hard work. She is a model of social media success story, networking both in person and electronically to develop a self-identified brand. This may seem like a difficult undertaking, but for Nass this has been her technique from the beginning.

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Health

Patriarchy Stress Disorder is A Real Thing and this Psychologist Is Helping Women Overcome It

For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.


As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.


Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.

What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein

This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.

Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.

While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.

Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.

In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.

"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."

https://www.drvalerie.com/