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Women of Color Are Professional Too

Being a black woman in a European society is one of the most fascinating, frustrating, horrifying, saddening, ridiculous, shameful, mentally draining experiences. Working above and far beyond the expectations of my peers to showcase that I am not illiterate, lazy, codependent, ignorant or have poor work ethic (the definition of which is open to a plethora of undefined behavior and actions). Always being overly cautious with my tone of voice and wording so as not to come off as aggressive in mixed company. Severely restricting the mere mention of the fact that I pump breast milk at work three times a day-even though three of my four superiors at work are women, two of which have children-and instead only telling them what area of the campus I’ll be at and for how long when we are co-scheduling. Feeling somewhat ashamed and sorry for success when loved ones are struggling. Refraining from getting real with a colleague who is feeding the stereotype at work and doing it on your watch so in turn also making you look bad. Being a young, female, professional WOC and mother and wife. Trying to be a leader at work and in the home and just wanting a damn hug someday and to not be personally responsible for the outcome of everything and nothing less.

Photo Credit: Google Image

While We’ve Been Away…

We know it’s been a while. Life has been in fast forward as we’ve accustomed to a new year, new baby in our family, and new jobs. Michelle has fallen in love again, with her new baby boy. You know how you can disappear when in love y’all. Janae is exploring a new career industry-the good and the bad-along with her travel dreams. But with all the changes, we guess there’s just been a lot of living going on and not a lot of sharing. Instead of commentators, we’ve become students of our own experiences and feel confident that we’ve come back better and with new insight. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

Water Fast Experience

Have you ever done a fast? If so, what kind of fast? Fasts can be very beneficial when done properly and for the correct reasons. I do not promote fasts solely for weight loss. You may lose weight, but you gain most of it back as soon as you start eating again and fasts are not the solution to long term weight loss. There are a variety of reasons people fast, including to raise spiritual awareness, overcome addictions, and to improve health conditions. Fasts promote detoxification and allow your digestive organs to rest. This allows your body to focus on healing itself from injuries or diseases. I decided to fast because I hadn’t been eating healthy and was feeling weighed down physically and spiritually. I’ve had some unexpected changes in my personal life that didn’t have me in the best mental state and I wanted to reset myself.

I’ve done juice fasts in the past, but I wanted to challenge myself to try something different. I decided to do a water fast for two weeks. I drank a liter of distilled water every day. I read that the first three days are the hardest and after three days your body adjusts to not eating. I didn’t have any problems the first 3 days. My first 5 days I felt pretty good. I didn’t have a ton of energy but I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out. I also attribute meditation and prayer for the success of being able to fast for so long. Every morning I made sure to meditate and say my prayers afterwards. It’s very important that you’re in a positive state of mind while fasting. If your mind is right, your body will follow. I also made sure that I was around positive people that support me. Granted, this isn’t always possible but use your best judgement on who you’re around. You can excuse yourself and have some alone time or just avoid situations all together if you don’t feel up to being around certain individuals. I did not tell anyone besides my husband that I was fasting. It’s your private journey and fasting isn’t well understood or supported in the Western world. I didn’t want anyone judging me or telling me I was doing something wrong so I decided to keep it to myself.

After the first 5 days, things got interesting. This may be too much information for some of you, so you may want to skip this paragraph. My tongue had a thick white film all over it for the duration of the fast. This may sound weird, but I was excited by this because I knew that the fast was doing its job. I was not eating any food and my body was able to focus on healing itself because it has a break from digesting. The white film was toxins that my body was detoxing and getting rid of. Your body will detox in many different forms, including through the tongue.

Besides detoxing physically, I was purging in other ways as well. I had an overwhelming desire to go through my house and get rid of old items that I don’t need and should have probably thrown out years ago. It felt so gratifying to clean out my closets. I felt like I was closing one chapter and opening myself up for new adventures.

The last 3 or 4 days was difficult for me. I kept thinking about being done and eating food. I wasn’t as strong mentally as when I first started. I was really proud of how long I had fasted but I think I was just ready for it to be over. When you break your fast, you have to be careful what you eat. Remember, your stomach has shrunken from not eating and you can’t eat whatever you want. I had smoothies and soup for the first couple of days and slowly incorporated regular food into my diet. I’ve been off the fast for about 5 weeks and I make sure that I eat healthy. I know that my body is no longer used to anything processed and I’ll get sick if I eat it. I also feel better overall. I’ve been much happier and in a positive state of mind.

My takeaways: I will definitely fast again. I feel better. My skin is glowing from drinking all that water. I have more energy and feel more spiritually attuned. Overall, I feel more calm and at peace. I plan on doing a water fast for 7-10 days twice a year. I recommend preparing a few days prior to the fast. Increase your water intake and eat a plant based diet so your body can gradually adjust to the fast. I’m impulsive and like to do things spur of the moment so I didn’t prepare properly, but I do not recommend this. Another good idea is to work your way up to a long term fast. Try doing fasting for a day, then 3 days and so on. Please consult your physician before doing a fast. Some of you have medical conditions that may prevent you from fasting. Make sure to speak with your doctor. I found the book “The Miracle of Fasting: Proven Throughout History for Physical, Mental, & Spiritual Rejuvenation: by Paul and Patricia Bragg to be very insightful on fasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love to All

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in equality. I believe in justice for all. I believe that most of mankind are good people. I believe most humans are compassionate. I believe people want to live a peaceful life. I believe we all love our friends and family. I believe we all have good hearts.

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in everything negative that is happening in the world and feel sad. It’s easy to get emotional. It’s easy to get mad. It’s easy to want to want to retaliate. It’s easy to just react without thinking. We all need love and support. No matter our gender. No matter our race. No matter our national origin. No matter our sexual orientation. We all want the same thing. We want to live our lives peacefully. We want to be able to be ourselves. We want to be able to not be judged. Not to experience biases and prejudices.

We are more alike than we think. I don’t have all of the answers. But, I can’t help to think that nothing will be solved without several real uncomfortable conversations between different parties. Minorities need to be heard and listened. And not with a defensive ear. We need to really be heard and understood of our experiences as people of color.

 

Ashe.

 

The Multiple Benefits of Herbs

Our last post discussed what foods to eat for healthier skin. (https://feelingmyself.net/2016/08/18/eat-colors-for-color/) This post is a follow up of sorts. We’ll discuss herbalism and the great benefits it has to your overall health including hair and skin.

Herbalism is the use of plants as medicine. It’s been around since the beginning of time. Traditionally, it hasn’t been embraced in Western society as much as it has been in other parts of the world. However, this has been changing recently. Many modern medical practitioners are starting to recognize the benefits of alternative treatments. In fact, there are now herbalism schools in the states to become a certified herbalist. Herbalists work with patients that seek them out for alternative medicine or side by side with a traditional doctor to work together on patients overall well-being. Society is starting to realize that we must go back to the natural state of things, aka plants. Now we see it more and more in our hair and beauty products as well as the benefits of eating a plant based diet.

Is it possible to utilize herbs for health AND look better than ever? Of course. Here are a few for everyday use.

Cinnamon. Full of antioxidants, fights sign of aging. Studies have suggested that cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and helps with weight loss as well. So add the grounds to your smoothies, oatmeal or coffee. Tip: Make sure you’re buying pure cinnamon and not cassia. Keep cinnamon in a dark space like your cabinet. It’s most potent when used in the year of purchase.

Aloe. Most of us already know that aloe helps with burns. Aloe also has many nutrients and antioxidants that benefit your body with digestion, arthritis, inflammation and psoriasis. It’s a great moisturizer for hair and skin. Aloe promotes hair growth and helps tame frizziness and itchy scalps.

Rosemary. This herb is packed with iron, calcium and vitamin B6. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system. Rosemary has also been used for centuries to prevent gray hair and to hair loss. It actually works by stimulating the circulation in the scalp thereby resulting to hair growth.

Basil. Restores nervous system to ease stress, anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate symptoms of arthritis, relieves constipation, fights disease and reduces pain. The anti-bacterial properties of basil help skin conditions like acne.

fresh-herb-basket

Photo Credit: Google Image

These are just a few herbs that will have you feeling and looking better. So, don’t forget to eat your herbs and veggies as well as put them on your hair and face!

Eat Colors for Color

To all my bronze skinned beauties, who doesn’t want to look bronzier, glowier, and sexier?! Well, here’s yet another reason to eat your vegetables. As fall, and subsequently winter, grows nearer and nearer you don’t want to lose that beach bunny glow and get all pale and ashy looking, do you? So think carotenoids.

What are carotenoids? They are what makes carrots orange and tomatoes red. It gives all the red, yellow and orange produce their bright, beautiful color. Yes, they are super healthy for your immune system and fight the signs of aging, but did you know they can even make your skin appear tanner (read bronzier).

 

 

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I am always looking for natural ways to make my skin glowy, but I still get paler in the winter so I think this is worth looking into. In the winter I also tend to trade in my fresh summer salads for foods that are more comfort/carb based. Mac n cheese, pasta of all sorts, anything comforting and heavier to chase away the snowy blues. These foods unfortunately do nothing for my complexion.

Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids like watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, oranges, and more will give you that sunshine state glow like no other foods can. Eat them with avocado or avocado oil for maximum absorption. They will make your skin naturally tan better and appear bronzier and therefore more beautiful. This applies to ALL skin shades. Research has found that the tan skin coloring from carotenoids is perceived as more attractive than the tan coloring attributed to actual sun tanning. Plus carotenoids fight cancer versus contributing to it.

 

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Side note: Isn’t it interesting that these carotenoid rich food colors (red, orange, and yellow) also happen to correlate with the chakras that govern creativity? Creativity also includes attraction and reproduction energies (looking good and feeling yourself!). Also, I notice that the Yoruba orisha Oshun, an image of beauty that is said to said to assist with attraction and therefore manifestation, is also believed to favor pumpkins, honey, and watermelon as offerings. Is it possible that all these things could be related?

We know vegetables are good for us and most of us have heard that we should “eat our colors”, but did we know that we could also get bronzier, tanner skin as a result too? I don’t know about you, but I’ll be shopping the rainbow in the produce section from now on. I need that Jada Pinkett-Smith glow!

 

Shea Moisture Hair Color Review

Did you know that Shea Moisture has a hair color line? I stumbled upon this by accident. I was on their website looking at hair products and came across their hair color section. They have all of the colors ranging from blond to black. I usually go to the salon to color my hair but I couldn’t resist the urge to purchase the dark brown for $14.99 and experiment on my hair. I figured I’d save some money and put my curiosity to bed. There are two things I was looking for. Gray coverage (yes, I know I’m too young to have this problem. However, I started getting gray hair in my mid 20’s. Stupid genetics!) The other thing is that I didn’t want any chemicals. I didn’t want my hair to feel over processed and straw like. So, I’m checking that my list of demands can be met and lo and behold, it can. In their own words, “Shea Moisture’s Moisture-Rich, Ammonia-Free Hair Color system gently, yet effectively, colors your hair for a softer, silkier and healthier appearance. A permanent, no drip formula delivers vibrant color, body and shine. Provides excellent gray coverage.”

So, my two major concerns were addressed in the description, but you know I had to read the reviews to see what the customers had to say. The reviews were pretty good, several people commented how well it covered their gray. So, I took the plunge and bought it. The verdict? It worked really well. All my grays disappeared and my hair felt great and my curl pattern remained the same, which is important to me as well. I do have a few suggestions for Shea Moisture.  I ordered the dark brown and my hair is super dark. It doesn’t look brown at all, more like jet black. I inserted some pictures for you to see. It maybe hard to tell, but trust me, it’s black.

I would suggest getting a lighter shade to get the color that you want. I’ll probably get the chestnut or medium brown next time. My other suggestion has to do with the shampoo and conditioner that is provided with the hair color. The packaging is horrible! The product does not want to come out of the container and I had to squeeze the bottles several times to get it to come out; it was very frustrating. My last suggestion is pertaining to the website. I wasn’t able to load the second page of reviews. I think it would be helpful to customers if they are able to access all of the reviews so we can make a informed decision. Another thing to think about is making this  more accessible in Target and other stores so customers do not have to pay shipping fees from your website. Maybe that’s just my geographical area though, I’m in the Midwest and haven’t seen this before.

I loved how healthy my hair feels after coloring it. I also liked that I only needed one box for all of my hair, I typically have to use two because my hair is so thick and long. I will definitely purchase again in the future. Let me know in the comment section what your thoughts are if you’ve used this hair color line.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Shea Moisture. I bought this hair color with my own money and this is my unbiased opinion.

 

 

Honey for Face

Honey makes a great facial beauty product. It is a natural humectant, a moisture locker. It is also an antibacterial that happens to leave your skin feeling baby, buttery soft and smooth. Plus it is easy to use. Just take a couple of teaspoons and get to finger painting on your face! You can add a couple drops of water to make it smear more easily, but if you splash your face beforehand it should be fine.

A note: we are not talking about the honey you see in the plastic honey bear at the store. That stuff is so processed it can barely be called honey anymore. We are talking raw, unfiltered honey. All natural and organic labels don’t mean the same thing and may not be as effective due to processing. Even Wal-mart is known to carry at least 1 or 2 brands of the good stuff now, too.

We absolutely LOVE HONEY for our face. Why:

 

  • Effective Cleanser: Opens pores for deep cleansing
  • Super Moisturizer: Adds a healthy luminescent glow due to deep conditioning
  • Acne fighter: Is a natural Antibacterial so fights and prevents acne
  • Scar Healer: Is a natural healing balm so will heal old scars from acne and other complexion abusers
  • Sexy preserver: Prevents signs of aging due to high antioxidant and vitamin content
  • Cheap: Is pretty inexpensive compared to over the counter cleansers
  • Gentle: Contains no harsh chemicals, perfumes or dyes to irritate your most valuable real estate: your face

 

Besides your face, it has tons of uses so it’s just good to have around. Besides, while you’re pampering your face you can spoon some into your tea too!

 

Honey can be used as a DIY face mask, especially in the winter when the air is so dry and your skin is struggling to rebalance itself. If your skin is like mine, it acts up the most in the winter. Honey can soothe and moisturize, taking some of the stress off your skin and you (who probably freaks out that you’ve lost that radiance of former seasons). Simply smear onto a moist face and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. It is not a drying mask so you can rest easy with those cucumbers over your eyes even if you happen to indulge and catch a cat nap. Gently remove with warm washcloth. Be sure to remove well, especially around those baby hairs.

Honey can also be mixed with a natural exfoliator such as baking soda to make a DIY (and cheap) facial scrub. This is also great to keep oily skin balanced or acne prone pores clear. Your skin will glow and be smoother than you’ve ever felt it!

Honey can also serve as an on the spot acne treatment. Its antibacterial properties help to kill the pimple party in your pores and double as an anti-inflammatory to bring down some of the swelling. It works as kind of a natural Neosporin to soothe acne related issues sooner.  Manuka honey is known to have the highest antibacterial content.

Back to the Neosporin property: Have a cut, bump, bruise, eczema patch, burn or otherwise delicate situation happening on your face? Well, we can’t think of any better cleanser to use than this natural healing balm. It will calm and cleanse and is as gentle as a mother’s touch. Plus it rinses really easily once you splash it with water so you don’t have to scrub or irritate your skin anymore to get it off.

So if you are looking for an all-natural cleanser that is affordable, will have your skin looking bomb, and is time tested to be all help and no hurt, look in your cabinet for some honey. Plus, it fixes boo boos on your kids. Can it get any better?!

 

Our Black Boys

My heart has been torn apart over and over again over the last month. There have been a lot of highs and lows. A high for me was when Jessie Williams gave his acceptance speech for the Humanitarian award at the BET awards. He gave me wisdom and hope. He made me proud to be black and strong. He spoke so eloquently about the struggles we face but also reminded black people that we have to support our community if we want to succeed and be taken seriously. I can respect that he spoke about systemic racism but he also educates black people on what we need to do as a people to be better. As if to say, we’re in a messed up position but we can’t blame everything on them. We have some ownership as well that needs to be addressed and reset.

Unfortunately, there have been so many lows. Unarmed black men are being shot rather than detained for their alleged crimes. Police officers are being targeted and shot based off of their race and profession. Racial tensions are brewing. Our nation is divided. Police are becoming scarier to minorities and more untrustworthy. I’m sure that we’ll see more black people being killed in the near future. It’s a vicious cycle that continues to repeat itself. Enough is enough! We’re never going to get anywhere if we keep shooting random police officers and unarmed people of color.

mama and son

Photo credit: Google image

 

Over the weekend, I found out that I’ll be an aunty to a baby boy. I am beyond exciting because we have no boys in our family and I think it’ll be nice to have some balance. Girls are great, but I’m excited to have a little boy around. Later that night, I started thinking about all our recent current events and all the social injustices I’ve witnessed and experienced, even in 2016! This made my heart drop because I started thinking about that little black boy that will be coming into the world in a few months. I’ve heard the horror stories from friends and colleagues who are moms to black boys and men. One of my friends’ had to go down to the police station and inquire why her son was pulled over every time he was in a certain county. Trayvon Martin anyone? Luckily, she was able to rectify the situation before something tragic happened. This is new territory for our family, because as I stated before, we do not have any boys in our family. I’ve witnessed and am well aware of the struggles of being black man in America. But, when it’s your family, and I think of Tamir Rice and how young he was, it becomes much more real to you.

As excited as I am, I’m also scared to death. I’m nervous of the world he’s being born into. We all want our kids to be happy and healthy and I am no different. I want my nephew to be able to be an innocent little boy. I don’t want anyone to be fearful of him as he grows up or write him off as a criminal in the making. I just want my nephew to be able to grow up in a world where he doesn’t have to second guess if he was mistreated because of his skin color. He doesn’t have to wonder if someone doesn’t like him because of his race and he doesn’t have to fear for his life if he gets pulled over for a broken taillight.

Hopefully, we as a country can get to a place of mutual respect and the senseless murders can stop. If we don’t, I fear for the future.

Will the Real Hip Hop Please Stand Up?!

 

Hip hop is a love of mine- a deep love based on experience and relevance. Just like old friends. It is a savior. It is art.Through the eyes of hip hop many horrible struggles have been transformed into inside jokes with myself.

Hip hop is a chance to exhale and let someone tell your story when you no longer have the energy to. Hip hop fights for us, soothes us. Hip hop is a friend in the dark moments of the soul. Hip hop is not to be confused with some of the fuckery we’ve been hearing lately.

Hip hop is a guide for a sub culture that although not in the media is still a real culture. Hip hop represents us. Hip hop is a protective big brother giving us advise that is relevant. It is a friend that assures us everything will be okay, and tells us why and how.

Hip hop kisses our tears and tells us we are not what they say, we are kings and queens and are worthy.

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Where has my friend gone? Where is the love we shared? Were the words always so hurtful? Or did I not hear them when I was just a girl. Before I had been cheated on. Before I was a woman who yearned to be more than a sex symbol. Before I had children of my own. Is it me who has changed or you?