Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beauty on a Budget: Homemade Beauty Products



So we all know beauty products can be expensive especially if you buy alot of them. Why not save a little money and treat your body to all natural products that can be made in your kitchen? Below we have highlighted some of the best recipes we found:


1. Yogurt, Honey, and Oatmeal Face Mask.
                 
All you need for this is exactly what's in the name: oatmeal, yogurt, and honey. Mix 1 tablespoon of finely ground oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of yogurt, and a half a teaspoon of honey. Let the mask sit on your face for 10 minutes and wash off. It will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth and more importantly, it's cheap!!


2. Homemade Shaving Cream


For this recipe you'll need 100% shea butter, coconut oil, and virgin olive oil (or sweet almond or jojoba oil). Melt 1/3 cup of shea butter and 1/3 cup of coconut oil on low heat, pour into a container and add in 1/4 cup of olive oil and stir. Place container in the fridge to harden. Once it's solid (it should look like a block of butter), whip it or blend it until it get the consistency in the picture above. Store in a cool, dark place. This cream smells awesome and is better for your skin than store-bought shave cream! 


3. Candy Flavored Lip Balm

Now this is a basic solid lip balm but it looks kinda glossy when you put it on. Here's what you'll need: 1 teaspoon of grated parafin wax (or beeswax), 4 teaspoons of coconut oil, 4 teaspoons of petroleum jelly,  1/2 a teaspoon of candy flavoring, and 1/2 a teaspoon of whatever food coloring you choose (optional if you want to add color). Mix all ingredients together in a Ziploc bag. Place the bag in a bowl of very hot water and allow all the ingredients to melt together. Cut a small corner of the Ziploc bag to be able to pour liquid into whatever container you choose. Put container(s) in the fridge and allow to cool completely. And Voila! You made your own tasty lip balm perfect for keeping your lips soft!



4. Banana Sugar Scrub

So instead of throwing away those brown bananas that no one wants to eat put them to use! For this recipe you need: 1 ripe banana, 3 tablespoons of organic granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Mix ingredients together with a fork to keep it from getting too thin. Then use it in the shower to exfoliate and moisturize your skin (not your face)!
*If you want to try it on your face, take out the sugar!

These are just a few of soooo many products you can make at home. So what do you think about making homemade products? Is it just too natural for you, or would you give it a try?



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ride or Die Women: Is It Love or Stupidity?




So what does it mean to be a ride or die chick? It means "riding" with your man no matter what happens or what he does, even if you it kills you or you "die" because of it. Love is the motivation for most women who claim this title. No matter what their man does, whether it be abusing them, drug dealing, going in and out of jail, murder, cheating, or whatever else, she will be right there to "hold" him down. She will take charges for him, hide dope for him, and even fight or kill for him. She is the Bonnie to his Clyde. 

Ride or die takes through thick and thin to a whole other level. I think that for the most part a strong woman who is vested in her relationship will stick it out through certain things. But that ride or die woman will stay no matter what. There have even been women in the media who are seen as ride or die like Hillary Clinton who stayed with Bill Cinton after the Monica Lewinski scandal or Tameka 'Tiny' Cottle who stayed with T.I. after multiple prison sentences. Some might even venture to say Rihanna who went back to Chris Brown after being beat up. 

But how much is too much? Is it showing loyalty, love, and dedication to ride or die? Or does it depend on how far you let it go? Do you think it's stupid to ride or die? Does it make a difference if you are a girlfriend or wife? Do you feel like wives are supposed to ride or die? Talk to me...



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Is the 'N-Word' Just a Word?


Never has one word sparked so much controversy. And for it to be such a controversial, forbidden word, why is it that we still hear it so much? How is it that a word with roots so deep in disrespect and hate, is used today as a term of comradery or endearment? And more importantly, why is it only acceptable if used by people of a certain skin color? These are all questions that I have asked myself time and time again and have never found the answers. 

When you think about the history of the word and the many people before us that fought to make it unacceptable, it is hard to imagine that someone would want to use it to refer to a friend. But that's what has happened. You can walk down the street and hear a guy say, "Yea me and my n*ggas playin ball today". Or you can turn on the radio and hear it in many songs (bleeped out, but clearly used). 

It has become a part of everyday conversation. That is, if you're black. Even though the word was used to degrade and belittle our ancestors, we call each other it. Even though we demand respect and racial equality, we keep a word alive that represents a time period of the opposite. 

But here's the thing: How is it okay for African Americans to call each other n*ggas, but its not okay for other races to use it? Don't get me wrong, not by any means am I saying that it should be okay for other races to use it. I am simply making a point that it is not okay for ANYONE to use. I am a big believer in showing others how you want to be treated, by how you treat yourself. If we are throwing such a hateful word at each other and saying that it's okay, logically, why wouldn't everyone else believe it's okay? For example, think about the b-word. Some women today take on self-proclaimed titles of "bad b*tches". Now when a man calls you a b*tch, which you have already called yourself, how can you get mad? It's same thing with the n-word!

So, Gwyneth Paltrow was on stage at a Jay-Z and Kanye West concert in Paris in early June. She took a pic of herself and the two rappers and later tweeted 'N*ggas in Paris for real'. Wait... before you get upset, "N*ggas in Paris" is the name of the song the duo was performing when she took the pic. Now does that make her tweet okay? No, but this is what I'm saying about using the word casually. In the song, the rappers are refering to being two African American males ballin' out in expensive Paris. This is something they feel is celebratory. But yet they chose to use that ugly word. So, they were on stage performing this popular song with the crowd going crazy probably rapping along with them, and Gwyneth felt super comfortable tweeting what she did. Go figure people! 

So I ask you to think about this... if she was another actress, let's say Sanaa Lathan, would she be getting backlash from her fans? Again, I want to make this clear: I am not saying that other races should be forgiven for using the word because black people use it. I would just like us to realize that we are helping to keep the word going. In an interview, Jay-Z told Oprah that people put too much behind the word. He said if we use it like its nothing, we are taking the power out of it. But what he fails to realize is that the word has history, and that cannot be taken away. No matter how many times we tell ourselves that WE are changing the word by using it, it doesn't change the meaning or cut away its roots. 

But what do you think? Do you agree with Jay? With all the words out there, why do people choose to use the n-word?  



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Healthy Living: Best Superfoods and Recipes


Hey there fellow foodies! I hope you are all keeping up with your clean eating. I know it's hard at times, especially when you ride pass a McDonald's and it calls your name... Seriously I think it calls out my name lol. But just remember that eating the bad stuff does more damage than good! Speaking of damaging foods, how about we talk about foods that prevent damage in your body?? I'm talking about superfoods. These foods that have been deemed "super" because of the amazing positive effects it has on your body. We will highlight a few, outline the benefits, and include a yummy recipe. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                              
Avacado



Avacados are actually a fruit (most think it's a veggie). They are high in healthy monounsaturated fat and glutathione- a powerful antioxidant that is known to help block over 30 different carcinogens. They are also said to help with anti-aging. Avacados taste good as a spread on sandwiches, with eggs in the morning, or as a dip.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Guacamole

Ingredients: 3 cloves of garlic, 3 medium avacados, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional), 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt. 

Preparation: Cook garlic in a skillet until soft (you can use a little extra virgin olive oil). Let garlic cool and chop finely. Cut avacados in half and scoop flesh into a bowl. Add garlic, cilantro, and lime juice and mash together. Season with sea salt. Serve Chilled. 

Pair this dip with Trader Joe's organic white corn tortilla chips!

                                                                                                                                                            
Kale


Kale is like the ULTIMATE superfood. It is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, Calcium, manganese, and potassium. One cup of kale is only 36 calories and contains 192% of the daily value of vitamin A. One cup also provides almost 90% of the daily value of vitamin C, which helps prevent damage inside and outside of the cells in your body. And with high amounts of calcium, kale is especially good for those who oppose dairy as a source of calcium. 

Recipe: Sauteed Kale

Ingredients: 2 cups of washed Kale, 1/2 cup organic vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves garlic sliced in half, half onion diced, and 1 tablespoon Trader Joe's 21 Seasonings. 

Preparation: Heat olive oil in skillet with garlic and chopped onions on medium heat. Add vegetable stock and then kale once stock starts to boil. Add 21 seasonings and sautee for 5-7 minutes or until desired tenderness. 

This dish goes well with grilled salmon or eat it by itself!

                                                                                                                                                           
Sweet Potatoes


Sweet Potatoes are rich in vitamins C, D, and B6, iron, and magnesium, which make them better for you than white potatoes. They are also versatile as you can put them in soups, grill or bake them, or add them to a smoothie. 

Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients: 3 sweet potatoes without skin, 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and coconut sugar or honey.

Preparation: Cut sweet potatoes into small pieces (the smaller the faster it cooks). Bring 4 cups of water (or enough water to cover the potatoes) to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Drain potatoes once cooked and leave in pot (with the flame off). Add vanilla almond milk, ground cinnamon, lemon juice, and ground nutmeg to potatoes. Mash with a fork or potatoe masher. Add coconut sugar or honey to taste (depends on how sweet you want it but don't over-do it). 

Mashed sweet potatoes are awesome with pan seared chicken!

                                                                                                                                                           
Blueberries

Blueberries not only taste great, they are a powerful antioxidant! They have the highest antioxidant capacity out of all fruits. In other words, these babies help boost your immune system and prevent infections. They also neutralize free radicals in your body that can cause disease and affect aging. 

Recipe: Blueberry, Banana, and Spinach Smoothie (single serving)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 cup almond milk (if you want it thinner add more milk), 1 teaspoon honey or to taste. 

Preparation: Put blueberries, banana, spinach, almond milk, and honey in blender and blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. 

Add ice for a chilled smoothie!


So what do you think about the recipes? Will you try any of them? What other superfoods do you enjoy? Talk to me!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Fashion: Make It Your Own



Hey there Beauties!! It's about to be summer so let's talk about what to wear! My approach to summer style and style in general is that it's all about preference. If you find something you like... wear it! Your style should represent you, not the latest trends. And if you decide to buy that trendy piece (we all fall victim) add your own flair! From tops to dresses to shoes to accessories, we'll highlight some of the hottest basic pieces that you can mix and match with your own unique style.



Twist-back Muscle Tank: I love muscle tees! My favorite way to wear it is with a printed or colorful bandeau. This particular one is unique because it let's you put a twist on a classic!


$24.00 at Nordstrom









Cuff Sandal: Who doesn't like sandals? They are the perfect addition to any summer outfit. Spice up dark blue skinnies and a plain tee with these babies!


$59.95 at Steve Madden





White Jeans: It's after Labor Day so go ahead... showout! Just don't spill anything on them lol. But seriously white jeans are great with a colorful top and some cute wedges.

$39.99 at Zappos (Levi's 535 Legging)






Maxi Dress: There's something so graceful about a free flowing dress that barely touches the ground as you walk. If you feel the same then you must be a fellow maxi dress lover... Add a couple slits and a few cutouts and you've added a little edge to a timeless piece!


$32.80 at Forever21


Handbag: I love love love this handbag. I can think of atleadt 10 outfits I'd wear it with! This bag can be paired with a simplest outfit or with your best threads! A good handbag does everything for your outfit!

$55.00 at Aldo





So what's your favorite piece ladies?? What unique pieces would you add to these items? Is it easier to style for the summer or the winter? Talk to me...


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Taking Care of Your Hair: Protective Styling


Hello there loves! It's summa summa summa time!! Well almost. But the sun is out, the birds are chirpping, and the flowers have bloomed! It's time for the beach, water parks, and BBQ's! And while it's personally my favorite season, for alot of us this time of the year means frizz, kinks, and hair that just won't behave.



Some women turn to braids or twists and others to weaves. No matter what style you choose they not only keep you from having to manage your own hair, they also protect your hair. Whether you are relaxed or natural, it is very important to keep your hair protected from constant heat, combing, and anything else that can cause breakage and drying with overuse.







But you can still be cute and protect your hair at the same time! Here are my three favorite protective styling trends:


Bantu knot out:

Ladies this is an easy, heat-free way to get soft, beautiful curls. This style is becoming more and more popular because it is so very cute! You just knot your hair at night with a holding pomade and in the morning voila! Below is the link to a step by step tutorial of how to achieve this look:


http://www.beautybylee.com/2012/08/bantu-knot-out.html


Havana Twists:


This style is sooo pretty! It's personally one of my favorites and I can't wait to try it! These twists are different from twists like Senegalese because they are bigger and use a different, thicker type of hair (either havana hair or marley hair). I love the versatility of this style! You can wear it down, up in a bun, or get creative...




Sew-in Weave:


This is my go-to hairstyle. I love a good sew-in. My favorite part about weaves nowadays is that you can wear a lace closure to avoid damaging your leave-out (yes the woman in the picture has one). If managed correctly, this hairstyle can last for 8 weeks. However you do want to be careful wearing it that long. You want to make sure that with any protective style, you are checking on your hair every 6 weeks. You need to maintain your deep conditioning so that the style does not damage your hair.



So ladies what do you think? Are these cute protective styles? Easy to maintain? What other protective styles have you tried and what's your fav?? Talk to me!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Is It Okay For Men To Cry?



If your man cries... is he sexy, sensitive, and caring? Or a cry baby, wuss, and a sissy?? Should he "man up" or let his softer side show? This is a topic I argue with friends about alot because they generally feel one extreme or the other. I always hear: "Grown men don't cry" or "Real men cry". So which one is it?? Is there a middle ground? I stand by this statement and believe it wholeheartedly: It depends. Lol. I truly believe its not one or the other. I think that too much crying is annoying and feminine, and no emotion at all is not healthy. If a man is crying for good reason, let him have his moment. But if he's crying because you turned from ESPN... well... that's just a shame. Lol.

But seriously, who is it that made up the rule that men should never ever cry? I've seen my male cousins get punched in the chest when they cried because they were being "girls". That's right. Hit because they were supposed to be tough and showed a moment of weakness. It's crazy to me! Society puts this stigma on men like they are never supposed to need anyone and never supposed to show that they're hurt, sad, or feel pain. But then we wonder why we have so many crazies running around! I feel that if men felt comfortable talking about things and didn't feel pressure to be so macho, maybe some of the recent shootings and the bombings could have been prevented. When we as humans are left with built up pain or hurt, our bodies can't handle it. It really doesn't surprise me that some people just snap. A man is just that-- huMAN. If a man needs to cry, let that release happen instead of making it worse by telling him he's wrong for feeling. Just a thought...

So what do you think? Should men never cry under any circumstance? Should he "man up" and hold his feelings in? What if the roles were reveresed and we as women were told it's something wrong with us if we cry? Can you imagine? We'd be "punks" everytime we see Titantic! Talk to me...