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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!
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  • 11/06/18--06:42: Real Self-Care. #BHN

  • Are you ready to commit to your self? Real self-care, real self-love, real self-confidence, real SELF connection? Commit, stay focused, mind yours. ❤️

    Follow @curlynikki on instagram! And sign up for FREE, #BeHerNow reminders and inspo! 

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  • 11/06/18--06:45: What Meditation Is
  •  Continue!>>>


    excerpt from Michael A Singer's 'The Untethered Soul'

    There’s a silence in you that’s seemingly overshadowed by thoughts. Keep reconnecting with it. And in that silence there’s a joy. Keep feeling it. That’s real meditation. True prayer. 

    “I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace - a connection to what matters.”- @oprah

    “Alchemy comes from the inside.” - @deepakchopra

    “Once you have access to the source of creation within you, your health and well being will blossom from within.”- @sadhguru


    Follow @curlynikki on instagram! ✨ And sign up for FREE, #BeHerNow reminders and inspo! 

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    ORLANDO, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 05: Supporters await the arrival of Republican candidate for Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis as they attend a rally at Freedom Pharmacy on the final day of campaigning in the midterm elections on November 5, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. DeSantis is running against Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum to be the next Florida governor. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


    It’s currently 10:38pm here in Houston, TX. My son should be in bed by now, I should be wasting away scrolling through my Instagram feed, but neither of us is following our regular routine this evening. No, this night has taken on a much more somber tone. About 34 minutes ago, I watched Andrew Gillum, one of the strongest candidates Florida Democrats have had on their ticket in years, concede to a man knowingly supported by white supremacists. An hour before that, I watched as Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke did the same, congratulating Republican Ted Cruz on his win. And with exit polls spelling out an unfortunate reality in this country by highlighting the fact that Black voters were the only racial demographic to vote overwhelmingly against blatantly racist candidates, it’s tough to cloak myself in blind optimism and expect a better America for my son. My Black, autistic son that is. I’ve never been totally oblivious to the realities of these United States. Growing up in a socially conscious household resulted in a radical tinge thats only intensified in my adulthood, one that’s become far more acceptable given the “woke” craze. But more recently, I’ve come to accept that I cannot save this country. Not alone, not with my community in tow, and likely not ever. Not because I’m unwilling to put in the work or to sacrifice, but moreso because we lack the support. As we all sit stunned at the results of these mid-term elections, seeing other races vote overwhelmingly in support of candidates who’ve openly expressed their devotion to a racist imbecile, it might be time to accept the fact that we are completely in this fight alone.

    Continue!>>>
    Reluctantly I glanced at the voter breakdowns by race first and then by gender, first for Texas, then for Florida. I wanted to be disappointed in my community, I wanted to chastise Black non-voters and scream at the top of my lungs at all the ultra-woke individuals who couldn’t be bothered to get up and make their votes count. But then I thought about the Black voters that lined the streets waiting for hours to enter voting polls that were full of non-working machines, I thought about those of us who stood in the rain waiting to vote on machines that hadn’t been updated in years, I thought about those of us whose votes were mysteriously changed due to “humidity” causing machines to malfunction. I thought about Black voters whose assigned polls were inaccessible, locked behind closed doors on foreclosed buildings in states where votes can only be cast at designated locations. I thought about the Black voters who showed up to polls only to find machines without power cords. I thought about Black voters who cast provisional ballots because their names had mysteriously disappeared from the voter lists. I thought about the bus loads of elderly Black voters who were forced to abandon their trip halfway due to corrupt police targeting voting efforts in their communities. I thought about all the strategically placed obstacles set up by racists to deter and discount black votes during this election and decided today wasn’t the day to go in on my community. Today wasn’t the day to charge up the 18% of Black men who voted for Cruz or the 18% of Black women who voted for DeSantis. Today wasn’t the day to point fingers at Green Party voters who under other circumstances would be encouraged to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice, not guilted for it. I decided that for once, I wouldn’t blame my community for trying to solve a problem they didn’t create. I accepted that chastising my community wouldn’t change the fact that we couldn’t defeat white supremacy without the help of white people. Unfortunately for us, they’d proven time and time again that they had no interest in doing so.

    The exit polls were a reminder that the unity everyone had been ranting about since our most recent presidential election was a joke, nothing more than a talking point. It wasn’t actually unity the country wanted. If it were, Black people wouldn’t have been the only ones voting for it. With the Latino vote being split in each state’s Senate race, it served as a somber reminder that we cared more about the wellbeing of the other minority communities than they seemed to care about themselves. The Asian communities, the Arab communities, they too split their votes down the middle. Only further exemplifying that these minority communities, the same ones who demand our solidarity anytime an issue arises reminding them of their non-white status in this country, just as quickly chose self-preservation when expected to do the same. With Black people making up only 12% of the population in Texas and 14% of the population in Florida, I thought to myself how the hell were we expected to pull this off alone? Who designated us as the change agents in this country? A country that’s still dragging its feet to recognize our humanity as a whole. It was unrealistic to begin with. And furthermore, it allowed other communities to enter the polls guilt free, with only their nuclear needs on their minds. All while we entered carrying the weight and burden of an entire nation. I shouldn’t be surprised, but every election I sit stunned at the many communities who would demand black bodies at their rallies and call for black voices at their protests just so they can climb on our backs and prop up their own interests when it comes time to return the favor. This was the election for white women to make their voices heard against an administration that seeks to treat women like mindless breeders. This was the election for Hispanic men and women to make their voices heard against an administration that seeks to evict them from lands historically their own. This was the election for everyone to return the unity they’ve had on loan for the past 400 years and once again, we see that was asking too much. If we didn’t know we were on our own before now, this election certainly left no doubt.

    Continue reading, HERE!

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    Caring for your child’s natural hair can be a journey. You spend so much time learning about your own natural hair, what products and styles work for you, and now you have to do the same for your child’s hair. Believe me I know the struggle is real, but it’s totally necessary when caring for your child’s hair. My overall goal for my daughter’s hair is to use products that are not harsh and make sure that I practice low-manipulation styling. I focus on the heath of her hair over anything else.

    I began really focusing on the styling of my daughter’s natural hair when she was about 18 months old. Before then, there was not really much to do to her hair. I didn’t use many products before then. Her routine was simple, which included washing with a mild baby shampoo and applying a little oil to her hair afterwards. I brushed it with a soft brush and that was it. She is 2 years old now and I have developed a regimen that incorporates products. I always get tons of questions about what I use on my daughter’s hair, but it’s equally important to know what I avoid.

    Continue!>>>


    Products with harsh ingredients
    I use the entire EDENBodyworks Kids line on her hair. None of their products contain harsh ingredients. I don’t use any shampoos with sulfates that are drying to textured hair. EDENBodywork products work well for her hair, as her hair continues to retain length and maintain its health.

    Certain hair accessories
    I am not a fan of using a lot of hair accessories on my daughter’s hair. I only like to use headbands and ouch-less bands for her ponytails. I never like to put any barrettes or objects on the ends of her hair. Accessories can cause breakage to children’s hair and should be avoided if possible, especially along her edges. I try to keep it simple and cute.

    Harsh gels
    I prefer not to use gels with extreme hold on my child’s hair. I feel that gels with an extreme hold are too harsh for her hair and will make it very hard. To hold her styles in place I use EDENBodyworks Coco Shea Berry Natural Smoothing Gel. It doesn’t have harsh ingredients like some of the holding gels on the market for adults, and it gives her styles a smooth finish.

    Heat
    I do not use any heat on my daughter’s hair. I also don’t use a blow-dryer or any tools that require heat. She is only 2 years old and I don’t think I will be using heat any time soon. I want to avoid heat damage. Heat is not on my radar for the styling of her hair at this stage.


    What products or tools are a no-go for your little one’s hair?

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    IMAGE BY ISTOCK/SAM74100

    by Marsha B.

    A child’s foundation begins at home, and is further developed in the school system. In the household, children learn core values, manners, self-worth, and much more. School can either reinforce those values, or tear them down. Over the years, the education system has done our kids a disservice by implying that their natural hair or protective styles are unprofessional, distracting, a violation of dress code, unsanitary, and unruly. The traditional and cultural foundation that parents work so hard to establish can be destroyed the minute a school administrator chooses to focus on hair, rather than education.

    Continue!>>>


    Protective styles are more than just a staple in the black community. Braids, extensions, and loccs have traditional and cultural roots to people of color. Today, braids and extensions help protect our hair, and eliminate constant manipulation and styling. For school children, braids serve as a low-maintenance style that can last for 1-2 months.

    In 2017, fifteen-year-old sisters Mya and Deanna Cook were given detention and banned from Latin Club, a sports banquet, and cross country at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Massachusetts, for wearing box braids. According to the school’s handbook, the teens violated the dress code policy which prohibits hair extensions.

    “It makes me feel horrible that the school won’t let me wear my hair," Deanna told NBC news. "The school doesn’t appreciate my culture, which is my hair, and it makes me feel like they just want us out more than just for the reason of our hair. It’s our skin color that they want out of the school.”

    The sisters were prohibited from participating in all extracurricular activities until the braids were removed from their hair. They are taking a stand against the school by maintaining their hairstyles. “We’ve been at the school for 11 years, I’m not going to leave just because they don’t like my hair or my culture, I’m still staying,” Deanna said. “I don’t care if they wanna throw me out, I’m not leaving without a fight either.”

    At the risk of more detentions and suspensions, the Cook sisters stuck to their guns so that school kids after them can wear braids, without being harassed by school administrators. Their perseverance paid off, with school administrators eventually relenting and suspending the controversial rules.

    In August 2018, 6-year-old Clinton Stanley, Jr., was turned away on his first day of school because of a rule in the handbook of A Book’s Christian Academy in Apopka, Florida, that says all boys should wear hairstyles that don’t fall below the ears. The school stood by their policy and offered a solution that involved Clinton unenrolling from the school. He could re-enroll only if he cut his locs. His father declined the offer and took him to a new school that welcomed him, and his hair.


    One week later, 11-year-old Faith Fennidy violated Christ the King Parish School’s policy that states students cannot wear extensions or hairpieces in their hair. Although the student was not expelled or suspended from the New Orleans school, her parents felt it necessary to pull Faith from the school for having such an absurd policy.

    There are many of these situations that go undocumented. Some parents appease the handbook and remove the hairstyles that cause an unnecessary disruption, while others endure the fight to make a change in what is seen as inappropriate. There is a clear lack of cultural understanding when it comes to how people of color style their hair. Situations like this take the focus off of education, and redirects it towards a standard of beauty that is not inclusive to the black community. What are we teaching young children if we tell them their natural hair, or protective style that has cultural roots, is not acceptable?

    What are your thoughts on protective styles in educational and professional settings? Share with us below!

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    These days shea butter is all the rage. You have probably spotted shea butter as a key ingredient in many types of shampoo, conditioners, hot oil treatments, soaps, lotions and creams. This article explores shea, what it is, where it comes from and how curly topped people can reap the benefits of this unique African product.

    Continue!>>>


    THE ORIGIN OF SHEA
    The shea tree is a member of the Sapotaceae family Vitellaria parasoxa C.F. Gaertin., formerly called Butryrosperum paradoxum. Shea trees are found exclusively in the African Sahel, a semi-arid region south of the Sahara Desert. Shea tree is native to Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Togo and Uganda where it is distributed in parklands, dry savannas and forests. Shea trees grow between 150-200 years. The nut of Vitellaria pradoxa is almost 50% fat.

    Shea butter is one of numerous non-timber forest products that make significant contributions to rural African societies. Shea butter, known locally as 'karite' in the Dioula language, is also called Women’s Gold because it brings women significant income. Shea butter has been traded as a commodity at least as early as the 14th century. Today shea butter is the third highest export product in Burkina Faso. It is one of few economic commodities under women’s control in Sahelian Africa. The trees have been tenderly cared for by women farmers and their children for hundreds of years, yet with the steady rise in popularity of shea butter in international markets some concerns have arisen. Agroforestry and environmental organizations fear over-harvesting of shea nuts could contribute to land degradation, eventually leading to desertification. This is one of the reasons I also advocate use of alternative butters such as mango butter, which is almost identical in efficacy and usage.

    While in the west we utilize shea almost exclusively in cosmetics, in Africa it has diverse uses. For the Mossi people of Burkina Faso, shea butter is the sole source of dietary fat. Groups in Burkina Faso and elsewhere use shea to make soap, healing balms, cosmetics, candles, lamp oil and waterproofing putty for housing. Shea wood is used for creating tools, flooring, joinery, chairs, utensils and mortar and pestles. The wood also creates a fierce heat and can be prepared as a substitute for kerosene, yet the trees' destruction for fuel is discouraged because of its more prominent medicinal uses and economic contribution to African villages. The root and bark are used medicinally. Many types of imported chocolates contain shea. Shea butter is exported to Japan and Europe to enhance pastry dough pliability and to enrich chocolate recipes. (Shea tastes buttery and nutty just like it smells, sort of like almond paste. Shea doesn't have a lingering taste and takes on the flavor of other ingredients that is why it is probably so popular as a food additive.)

    In Africa and around the world shea butter is utilized for its ability to soothe children’s skin, soften rough skin, protect against sunburn, chapping, irritation, ulcers and rheumatism.

    THE MAKING OF SHEA BUTTER
    Creating shea butter from nuts is a monumental, labor-intensive task, involving huge amounts of water and wood, as it is made on an open wood fire. Along with the assistance of their children, West African women almost exclusively run the production of shea butter processing. Manufacture takes place during the rainy season. Preparation takes several days. Nuts are collected; boiled; sun dried; hand shelled; roasted and then crushed with a mortar and pestle. Water is added and a paste is formed. Several women knead and beat the paste in a pot until a skim floats to the surface. The fat is cleansed repeatedly, yielding white foam. The foam is boiled for several hours. The top layer is skimmed once more and this yields the white shea butter we commonly use.

    Golden Shea is called ‘women’s gold’ because of the economic benefits woman’s harvesting work brings communities. Recently, I had the opportunity to try a lovely shea with a golden color imported by African Shea Butter Company (Terra Organics). I enjoy the golden shea butter immensely because it retains the smells of the open wood fires on which it is created in Africa.

    A huge drawback to botanical products and natural cosmetics is the connection to people across the globe through plants. Shea butter is a way that all of us can make connections to our sisters in Africa, possibly making a positive impact on certain aspects of village life. Delving into a jar of golden shea can spiritually transport the user back to the African village in which shea butter was processed.

    USING SHEA BUTTER
    Shea butter is remarkably high in unsaponifiables—up to 11% (this varies), giving natural UV protection. This is one of the reasons it is beloved by Africans whose skin and hair is almost constantly exposed to sunny and sometimes harsh weather conditions. The UV protection is useful elsewhere as well. Having some UV protection enables our hair to retain its natural vibrancy, color treatments and softness.

    The emollient, (softening) quality of shea butter makes it useful for hair and body care, as it is easily and quickly absorbed when applied topically. Shea butter is very dense and may be too heavy for oily or certain types of hair. Hair that is thin yet curly or wavy hair may become weighed down from shea. For those enthralled by its benefits who would still like to try it even though they have a lighter-textured hair I recommend using the shea butter as a hot oil treatment (see below) followed by an astringent rinse of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water. People who wear their hair in locs and use shea as a pomade will also find periodic astringent cleansing useful if they want to avoid oily build up that may occur. Oily build-up on locs weighs them down and makes them attract unsightly lint, dust and dirt. For locs, perform the astringent rinse monthly or bi-monthly depending on how frequently you are using shea.

    HOT SHEA BUTTER HAIR TREATMENT
    Still, for most types of hair, shea is a good hot oil treatment, wherein it is melted, cooled slightly, then applied warm to the ends of hair where split ends occur and to the scalp. Using a clean (art) paintbrush is a handy way to apply the warmed oil to scalp. Part hair in sections as you work. Work quickly, before the shea solidifies. Put on a plastic cap; sit out in the sun, if possible, or under a dryer for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, cover head with a bath towel to retain heat. After a half hour shampoo thoroughly and rinse. Shea adds shine and softens.

    HAIR POMADE
    Africans have been using shea butter as a hair dressing for hundreds of years. This application is highly recommended for super thick, curly, kinky or dry hair. * Pomades are useful for those with naturally curly or wavy hair who want to smooth their hair for an elegant up-do like a chignon or French twist -- this works especially well on freshly shampooed, wet hair.

    Scoop out about a teaspoon of shea butter in the palm of hands (use less for short hair and more for longer hair). Place your palms together. Rub gently, using your body heat to melt the shea butter. Once shea transforms from solid to liquid, rub on your hair. Then style as usual. This is fine as a weekly hair dressing pomade for gloss and shine.

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF SHEA BUTTER
    African Shea Butter Company (whose name is changing to Shea Terra Organics) and L’Occitane en Provenece make two of my favorite shea products lines. These two companies' products are created using a unique approach that not only improves the hair and skin but also impacts some rural African village economies. UNIFEM, an organization that helps women in developing countries, helped broker a deal between L’Occitane and a co-op run by African women. L’Occitane buys much of its shea butter directly from Union des groupements Kiswendsida (UGK) a large network of over one hundred shea producers. Without middlemen, all of the profit returns to the villages from which shea butter is harvested and manufactured. L’Occitane offers a full line of products featuring shea butter. These products are expensive, but the rich formulas allow the products to stretch a long way, making a smart beauty investment. The L’Occitane hair care line includes the Ultra Rich Hair Mask, which I have found to be very effective for helping damaged ends and dry hair. Milk Shampoo is moisturizing, useful for all hair types, particularly in winter or summer with the extremes of temperature experienced in many zones. Shea Hair Conditioner is good for normal hair and though there is heavy emphasis placed on ‘damaged’ hair, plenty of naturally curly tops have normal hair that does not need ‘intensive’ treatment. Then there is the Pure Shea Butter that makes an excellent hair pomade, end treatment and hot oil treatment. These products are available all over the country and internationally by mail order. Learn more here, including the story of the collaboration between the company and African women’s shea co-ops. African Shea Butter Company (Shea Terra Organics) is a woman-owned and operated mail order firm. I interviewed Tammie Umbel, founder and sole proprietor of this company. It is apparent that Umbel’s company’s main object is helping African people, through trade, using traditional methods, materials and indigenous plants. Umbel contracts with African soapmakers; wraps her soap line in traditionally dyed African fabric and indigenous papers. African Shea Butter Company sells a variety of high-grade shea butter products that will appeal to the do-it-yourself type as well as though who prefer to purchase prepared products for resale or personal use.Umbel is now reaching out to other women’s cooperatives that harvest and manufacture baobab and black seed oil, lemon grass and bourbon geranium essential oil. Quite impressively as well, the CEO is also the mother of ten children. Dealing with natural oils from Africa is her way of contributing to the well-being of not only her clientele but also of her very large and still growing family. This shop has a website.

    BENEFITS OF USING SHEA BUTTER
    Prevents dryness of the skin & hair
    Protects hair and skin from the sun
    Soothes burns
    Highly moisturizing for skin and hair
    Improve skin softness and suppleness
    Ideal for dry or sensitive skin
    Prevents and treats scalp dryness
    Provides good lubrication for the hair resulting in improved brilliance and manageability
    Soothing, moisturizing and protecting effects
    Anti-aging & anti-wrinkling properties

    Have you tried Shea butter on your hair? How did your hair react? Share in the comments below.


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    Getty

    by Ann Brown via MadameNoire

    Have you often wondered why you haven’t been promoted at work, despite your efforts and knowledge of the job? A new study found that Black women are often overlooked for promotions because of a disconnect that exists between us and our managers.

    It’s a career fact: Black women face many obstacles in the workplace, from dealing with racial challenges to falling victim to gender biases. A new study not only confirms this, but narrows in on the disconnect many Black women in the workplace have with their managers. According to the research commissioned by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co., women of color still “face even more biases and barriers to advancement” than white women.

    Continue!>>>
    While most already know women of color are underrepresented in the workplace, they are far less likely than their peers to be promoted to manager. They are also more likely to have to deal with daily discrimination and most often their managers will not have their back. When there is a disconnect, employees and their managers can’t foster good relationships and this causes staff members to look for employment elsewhere.

    The Women in The Workplace 2018 survey found other interesting facts: “For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 60 Black women are; 40% of Black women have had their judgment questioned in their area of expertise; 27% of men have; only 35% of Black women said their manager promotes their contributions to others; 46% of men said their manager does; 41% of Black women said they never have a substantive interaction with a senior leader about their work; just 27% of men said that” Forbes reported.

    These are dismal stats, but all doesn’t have to be lost. Ashby Fowler, a human resources consultant, says you and your professional peers have power to push back. “Form affinity groups, then contact the CEO directly, saying that you want to be a feedback organization. Then there can be a way to send information about what you and others are experiencing.”

    Affinity groups can offer much-needed support as they can encourage companies to conduct “an equity study on who gets paid what and who is being promoted. You need to get the data so you’re not guessing,” adds Fowler.

    Having such a support system can also help women of color deal with other factors, such as being the “only” women of color in the workplace. Often times, being the “only” means you need to prove yourself more. According to the study, 51% of “Women Onlys” said they need to show they are more competent than others on staff. On the other hand, just 13% of “Men Non-Onlys” felt that way.


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    PHOTO BY JOHN SOMMER/ISTOCK


    If you suffer from an itchy scalp, you’re not alone. Our delicate scalps become itchy and irritated for a huge variety of reasons, making this issue extremely common. But that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.


    An itchy scalp is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, since persistent scratching causes your skin to become red and irritated. And to make things worse, scratching can also create micro-abrasions on the scalp that lead to further inflammation.

    To fight an itchy scalp, you first need to pinpoint the cause. Your scalp might be too dry, but on the other hand, it might be producing too much oil. You could also have a scalp condition, like psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Or you might simply be having an allergic reaction to one of your hair products.

    Whatever the issue, there are ingredients that can help. Look for these 14 ingredients in your shampoo, co-wash, or conditioner to get rid of itchiness once and for all.

    Apple Cider Vinegar
    ACV has both antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it effective against scalp conditions like dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. As an astringent, it thoroughly cleanses the scalp and removes build-up without stripping moisture away. ACV also has the added benefit of balancing the pH level of the scalp.

    Tea Tree Oil
    Tea tree oil is another powerful antibacterial and antifungal ingredient. Since this is an essential oil, it doesn’t take much to be effective, and it relieves itchiness while also fighting the infections that cause itchiness in the first place. When used in the right ratio, tea tree oil is moisturizing instead of drying.

    Coconut Oil
    Is there anything that coconut oil can’t do?! This popular oil is perhaps most well-known for its moisturizing properties, but coconut oil is also a natural antifungal and antimicrobial. In fact, it’s so effective that people use it to prevent and treat infections. If your itchiness is due to a dry scalp, you’re in extra luck – coconut oil is excellent for maintaining moisture.

    Peppermint Oil
    Peppermint oil is extremely effective at combating itchiness, making it a go-to ingredient for when you need immediate relief. This oil naturally soothes inflammation, but its effects are more than just surface-level. It’s also a natural antibacterial and antifungal.

    Neem Oil
    Neem is a powerful antimicrobial ingredient that’s been used for centuries. It clears infections that cause an itchy scalp, which leads to eventual relief.

    Honey
    For some gentle anti-itch action, look for products with honey. Honey helps to alleviate dandruff and other scalp conditions due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. At the same time, it heals the redness and scratches caused by your frequent scratching. It’s also excellent for balancing moisture and locking that moisture in all day long.

    Plantain
    No, not the delicious food. Plantain is also the name for an unrelated herb, which is traditionally used to combat dandruff and flaky scalp. Plantain is an antiseptic and antibacterial ingredient, so it fights the underlying infection that causes itchiness. It’s one of the main ingredients in a popular anti-itch shampoo, SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo.

    Rosemary
    If you’re looking for a gentle herbal solution to itchy scalp, look for rosemary essential oil or extract. It’s effective against both dandruff and dry scalp, in addition to helping to relieve the itchiness from these conditions.

    Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus oil is useful for more than just its calming floral scent. It’s also antimicrobial and antifungal, so it helps to prevent the growth of the bacteria and fungus that cause itchiness. This makes it an excellent natural remedy for dandruff and itchy scalp.

    Chamomile
    Chamomile tea is famous for its ability to soothe and relax the body, but this popular herb also soothes your skin. Chamomile essential oil reduces itching caused by dandruff, dry skin, or even eczema, providing much-needed relief.

    Salicylic Acid
    If you experience itchiness due to a chronic scalp condition, you’ll likely need to reach for something a bit stronger. One option is salicylic acid, an ingredient that’s commonly used for scalp conditions, dry skin, and acne because of its ability to shed dead skin cells. It dissolves all the gunk and combats dryness at the same time.

    Pyrithione Zinc
    If you have itchiness caused by dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, try a shampoo with pyrithione zinc. This popular ingredient is found in many over-the-counter dandruff shampoos, like Head & Shoulders, and it works by reducing the level of histamine on your scalp, which contributes to itchiness. Since these shampoos are basically antihistamines, they’re also effective against scalp itchiness caused by skin allergies. The amount of zinc in each shampoo varies, and too much pyrithione zinc can be drying, so you may have to experiment to see which amount works for you.

    Selenium Sulfide
    Selenium sulfide is found in many anti-dandruff shampoos, such as Selsun Blue. It fights dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis by slowing down the growth of yeast on the scalp while also treating infections. Like most dandruff shampoos, selenium sulfide can be drying, so you may want to alternate with a more gentle cleanser.

    Coal Tar
    Another common ingredient found in over-the-counter dandruff shampoo is coal tar, which is extremely effective against seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. Coal tar reduces inflammation and itching, and it also gets rid of scales and crust. Moreover, it slows the growth of bacteria, which keeps the itchiness at bay for a few days. On the other hand, coal tar doesn’t smell that great, and it makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

    If you’d like to go the DIY route to combat dryness and itchiness, try these at-home remedies.

    Have you tried any products with the above ingredients? Which ones are your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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    PHOTO BY KAZMULKA -- GETTY IMAGES


    Peppermint has a long history of being used as a medicinal herb for issues like stomach problems, muscle pains, and even headaches. Peppermint essential oil, botanical name Mentha piperita, is extracted by steam distillation and is an extremely potent essential oil. It blends well with basil, bergamot, cajeput, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lemon, lime, mandarin, marjoram, niaouli, pine, rosemary, spearmint, and thyme.

    Peppermint oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, insecticidal, antispasmodic, and carminative properties and the entire plant contains menthol. This fragrant oil is often used in aromatherapy, lozenges, toothpastes, balms, and rubs, because of the methanol and menthone components.

    Continue!>>>


    Using peppermint oil
    Because peppermint is an essential oil, and a rather potent one at that, using it in its undiluted form is not recommended. Applying peppermint essential oil directly to the skin can be irritating, so we recommend diluting it with a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil. With its cooling effect and sweet smell, it can be misjudged as safe for everyone but it can trigger side effects in people with sensitivities.

    Benefits of peppermint essential oil
    This oil contains a host of minerals and nutrients including, calcium, copper, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It has omega-3, vitamins A, and C, and due to the menthol, menthone and methyl esters in peppermint essential oil it is widely used in cigarettes, chew gum, teas, ice creams, soaps and shampoos. It is widely used to aid with indigestion, dental care, stress, and even respiratory problems.

    Benefits of peppermint essential oil for hair
    This oil is a powerhouse of nutrients and minerals with some fatty acids and that cooling effect from menthol, which you have probably experienced in shampoo and scalp products. It also has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, which help to cool the scalp, eliminate dandruff and fight lice. It is used in hair products to relieve a dry scalp, stimulate hair growth, and give hair a healthy shine.

    You can mix your own oil for stimulating scalp massages or give your shampoo or conditioner a boost by adding a few drops of oil to them. These treatments help increase blood circulation to the scalp which contributes to stimulating hair growth. This is one of the reasons you find this oil in products for baldness or hair thinning. There are many hair products that carry this great oil in their formula, but you always have the option of creating your own DIY oil yourself.

    How to make your own peppermint oil pre-poo
    If you love the feeling of a tingly scalp (and don't find it irritating) then you can create your own pre-poo mix to harness the scalp stimulating properties of peppermint.

    What you'll need:

    5 drops of peppermint oil
    6 drops of coconut oil

    Apply the oil mixture to your scalp for 20-30 minutes before your normal cleansing routine. Be sure to use the pads of your fingers - you don't want to scratch your scalp at all with your nails. Then rinse your hair and shampoo or co-wash as you normally would. You can learn more about this peppermint oil pre-poo and its benefits here.

    Products with peppermint essential oil
    -EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo
    -Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Peppermint Oil Cooling Jelly Conditioner
    -Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil
    -Oyin Handmade Ginger Mint Co-Wash
    -Darcy's Botanicals Eucalyptus Mint Scalp Conditioning Pomade

    Do you use peppermint oil?

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    Photo Courtesy of Natasha Leeds


    If you notice excessive hair loss all over the scalp, it may be a sign of a nutrient deficiency.

    Hair is a fast-growing tissue that grows one centimeter per month inside pockets called hair follicles. At the base of the follicle is the hair bulb, where cells divide and push their way up to form a single strand of hair. Under the hair bulb lies the dermal papilla, which is responsible for taking nourishment from the body’s blood to keep hair growing and healthy. Other things such as waste, hormones, and drugs are also carried to and from the dermal papilla, which can affect hair growth when there is a big or slight change in the body. This type of hair loss is called diffuse hair loss. It takes place when there is an imbalance within the body. This change in the body can be temporary and the body either corrects it or needs help correcting it.

    Continue!>>>


    This type of hair loss is not permanent. The anagen phase is the hair growth phase is suspended by the internal problem. As a result, more of your hair dives into the resting phase (i.e. the telogen phase) and your hair sheds more than it grows. The hair loss or breakage stops once the problem is addressed and fixed. You may need nutritional supplements or medications to remedy the problem.

    The most common nutritional deficiency that causes diffuse hair loss and hair breakage is iron-deficiency anemia. Low iron can take place after you have a baby, bleeding heavily during menstruation and excessive blood loss. You may feel tired even though you get enough sleep or out of breath doing simple tasks.Even if you are not anemic, you may have low iron levels that can still cause diffuse hair loss. Signs to look out for with your hair include dry, brittle hair that brakes off easily and a lighter hair color.

    Here are other mineral deficiencies, such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium, that contribute to hurting your hair as well.

    -Zinc helps us to have a healthy immune system, producing energy, and protein synthesis. Zinc deficiency causes hair to break off and feel dry. You may notice white spots on your fingernails and scaly, acne-prone skin.
    -Calcium is responsible for us having healthy bones and teeth and aids with the secretion of hormones. Hormones, like androgens, influence hair growth and hair loss by the amounts of androgens present in the hair follicle. Each person’s sensitivity to them.
    -Magnesium helps with energy production, and help nerves operate at their best, but a magnesium deficiency can cause hormone imbalance. For women, it can increase testosterone, which leads to excessive facial hair, diffuse hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

    How do vitamin deficiencies affect hair growth?

    -Vitamin A plays an important role in helping the skin function properly. If you are deficient, you may have scaly skin and dry hair that is prone to breakage.
    -B 12 vitamins are necessary for red blood cell production. If a deficiency is present, it can lead to anemia, which can lead to excessive hair loss.
    -Vitamin C deficiency can lead to excessive hair loss all over the scalp, and dry brittle hair that grows slow. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, and a deficiency can lead to anemia.

    If you feel that you have a mineral or vitamin deficiency that is causing hair loss, breakage, or brittle hair, go to your primary care physician immediately to find out for sure. They will run appropriate test to diagnose and treat you.

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    PHOTO COURTESY OF @SUNITAV_

    Some women feel their most feminine with a cropped pixie, while others love the feeling of long hair flowing down their back. If length is your hair goal right now, then there are a few tried and true methods and suggestions to keep in mind. It is important to keep in mind that there are no guaranteed quick fixes to stimulate hair growth. The key to hair growth is maintaining a healthy head of hair, as well as a healthy scalp. Long hair is a long-term commitment, but the good news is all of these habits are as good for your body as they are for your hair.

    Continue!>>>


    Tip 1. Eat Right!
    When it comes to how to stimulate hair growth, there is no denying the impact of nutrition. Many people think hair care is only about what is on the outside. The truth is the inside matters much more. If you are eating a diet void of the necessary nutrient your hair needs, you will have unhealthy hair. Unhealthy hair struggles to increase length.

    • It is recommended to eat foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients stimulate hair growth by providing strands the protein and keratin they need to stay healthy and strong.
    • Avoid excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and alcohol. They can leave hair unhealthy and impede growth.
    • Stay away from fad diets. The sudden change in eating habits can impact strands for the worst.

    Tip 2. Stay Hydrated!

    Water is your friend. People who do not drink water daily are at risk for dehydration. This can impact your hair and scalp. When you are dehydrated, cell growth stops meaning hair simply won’t grow.

    • Make sure you drink 8-10 glasses of water daily.
    • If you are performing activities that make you sweat, up your intake of H2O.
    • Avoid carbonated beverages, coffee, sugary drinks, and sports drinks. They can actually dehydrate you further.

    Tip 3. Get Your Beauty Rest!
    We all know sleep is essential to our health and beauty rest has a huge impact on our skin in particular. Did you know lack of beauty sleep also affects your strands? Sleep helps our bodies regulate stress and hormones. Without proper sleep, our stress levels rise and hormones go haywire. These factors can disrupt hair growth by affecting the growth cycle.

    • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
    • Avoid sleeping in on weekends. This can disrupt your natural sleep cycle the rest of the week.

    Tip 4. Proper Hair Care
    Caring for your hair on the inside doesn’t mean you can avoid proper care on the outside. Hair still needs to washed and conditioned regularly to keep the scalp clean and moisturized. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind to stimulate hair growth.

    -Regularly treat your scalp with a scalp treatment. Make sure you massage the scalp while applying to aid in cell turnover.

    -Get regular haircuts. Trimmed hair tends to be healthier than hair with split ends.

    -Never brush hair when it is wet without using a conditioner. This keeps hair fortified against breakage and damage that may impede growth.

    -Avoid hairstyles that are very tight as they can weaken strands and make it harder for them to grow.

    What do you do to stimulate and maintain hair growth?!

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    IMAGE VIA @CECILIAGORGON


    Fall is here in all its colorful glory! Here are four stylish ways to keep your head warm whether you’re carving pumpkins or melting smores over a bonfire.


    The Timeless Headwrap

    IMAGE VIA @KILAHMAZING

    I love headwraps! They are a wonderful way to add colour and warmth to your outfit on these cold and gloomy fall days. Grab a scarf from your mom’s closet this fall and make good use of it to ward off the cold. You can wear one to cover up a bad hair day or to spruce up your protective styles, all while keeping your head warm. Don’t forget to wear a satin cap underneath because headwraps made of cotton or polyester will suck up all the moisture from your hair.

    The Classic Beret

    IMAGE VIA @MAUREENPOWEL

    This chic and classic hat will have you looking like you just came from a coffee date at the Eiffel Tower. It can turn any outfit from casual to catchy in just a matter of seconds.

    It’s easier to wear a beret with your hair or braids hanging down over your shoulders, but if you want to wear your hair out curly or wear curly wig, here’s a tip from Spenser Baselice of fashionablehats.com. She says to “position the beret on your head the same way you would for straight hair but style the curly hair so it flows out and around the sides of your face and down your shoulders.”

    There are various beret designs out there to choose from. You can opt for a deeper colour for a bolder look or a white/ivory one for a cleaner, crisper look. Tilt it to the side and wear it with a red lip, trench coat, and some boots for a full-on Parisian look.

    The Good ol’ Beanie
    IMAGE VIA @CECILIAGORGON

    You can always count on a beanie to keep your head warm when temperatures start to drop. They’re just so warm and fuzzy, but just like headwraps, be sure to get one with a satin or silk lining inside to protect your strands. You can be adventurous this season and stray from the dull-colored ones and opt for a pop of color — go for brilliant red or vibrant yellow. Wear them with an over-sized utility coat and some military boots and, girl, you have yourself a look!
    The Bold Baseball Cap

    IMAGE VIA @JD_WINTERS

    Baseball caps are making their way back this fall and I am here for it. Personal stylist Crystal Cave says, "Baseball hats have been more popular in recent years. Think of using it like a graphic tee with a fun design or phrase.” I couldn’t agree more. I love all the different designs I’ve been seeing around and I think it’s such a laid back yet cool way of expressing your style. Pair yours with a basic tee, a denim or leather jacket, a pair of jeans and some sneakers to run your errands or to meet up with the girls.

    Don’t forget to stay warm.

    How do you keep your head warm in the colder months?!

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    getty

    via MadameNoire by Sonya Eskridge

    As we’re finding out on their new reality show, Chad Loves Michelle, Chad Johnson and Michelle Williams may not be a match made in Heaven, after all.

    By now, most of us have seen the clip of the pair having an online counseling session where they spoke about one of their most recent fights. The fact that the couple had a fight is not a shocker. What did raise our collective eyebrows is how these two are fighting. In short: Michelle brought up race, and Chad took a dig at her mental health, neither of which is okay. However, Chad’s response to his fiancée was especially troubling.

    Continue!>>>


    Chad let his privilege get in the way of hearing what Michelle had to say about race. Worse yet, he hit back by suggesting that she might not have been in her right mind when she brought up a fact. Chad used an age-old tactic to avoid talking about race and when people show you who they are, believe them.

    Regardless of what sparked their argument, stating that white people do not know how Black people communicate, as Michelle did, is not offensive. It’s a fact. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Chad to consider that Michelle might have a valid point because the difference in their experiences have shaped them in a number of ways–up to, including, and beyond how they interact with others from their community.

    However, like many white people, Chad felt attacked when race was brought into the conversation. He was way more wrapped up in his being offended than in hearing what Michelle had to say. And he insisted that she correct it before he could move on. As I see it, a lot of that stance seems to come from White privilege because Chad believed his feelings are more important than facts.

    His insistence that he doesn’t care what race a person happens to be is ignorant. It ignores the fact that race changes experiences across the board. People of color don’t get to go through life without the issue of race touching their existence. Chad should have taken a moment to consider that he might have been misinterpreting Michelle. Communication issues are a huge problem that many couples need to work on, and it takes both putting in their best effort to correct those problems. That’s not what Chad did.

    Chad fired back by asking if Michelle took her meds. It was a slick way of calling her crazy. Michelle has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. Neither of those things suggest that she is mentally incapable of seeing racial dynamics for what they are. Neither of those things suggest that she is insane or suffering hallucinations. That’s what he suggested, though. Meeting a discussion about race by questioning her mental stability is not an appropriate response. In fact, it looks a lot like gas lighting, which is old tactic to shut people up.

    When people of color bring up an important issue that disproportionately affects them, or when we point out blatant instances of discrimination (e.g., rampant voter suppression in the midterm elections), we’re often told that we’re seeing things or that we’re pulling the race card. We’re told that we’re crazy. Those who aren’t ready to consider the reality of racism and inequality–and how they benefit from those things–often lean on this tactic to invalidate real concerns.

    Continue reading, HERE>>>>

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    "A retreat is a time to come home inside yourself, where the mind stops and silence of the heart begins." - Ruth Davis


    Daughter. Wife. Partner. Mommy. Sister. Friend. Student. Teacher. Employee. Bawse.  You play many roles, and wear a variety of costumes over the course of a day... over the course of your life.  But who is it that dons these masks? Behind the BB cream, underneath that gorgeous, hooded duster, balanced atop those nude red bottoms, beyond the concept you currently hold of yourself,  there's a stillness, a presence.  Can you feel it?

    "The simple presence is the quiet witness to our entire life. Love's presence in the silence knows who we are even when we do not know ourselves.  This love has already accepted every part of us that we have yet to accept, it loves every part of us we have yet to embrace."- Dr. Bruce Davis, founder of Silent Stay Retreat 

    Knowing the "love in the silence" is real Self-love, true Self-care-- and you deserve nothing less!  You owe it to yourself to remember and consciously connect with this deeper, and more essential YOU. And it can only be noticed right now, right where you are. If you're already home, and you want to go home, what do you have to do?  How do you get there? NOTHING.  You just open your eyes and know the truth. This Presence is here, now. You just can't feel it because your mind is covering it up. And that's where a silent retreat may be useful-- it'll accent the outer silence to make the inner silence more apparent, which quiets the body, which quiets the mind, and when the mind is still, you can feel the inner beauty... the presence.  And in that moment you realize you were always, already home, no matter where you are,  or how far you wander. 


    I just came off of a 4-day silent retreat, on a private, gated estate, in the rolling hills of Northern California.  I had my husband Gene, my cousin PJ, and the two winners from my #BeHerNow Challenge in tow.  I put my phone away, placing it on airplane mode-- only using it to take pictures on occasion, or to type notes to communicate with folks in the house whenever necessary, without breaking the silence. Unplugging from social was a big part of this for me, and I never once felt compelled to check it!  

    I told Gene (and crew) in the Uber on the way up the mountain, "don't look at me, don't try to talk to me, don't touch me! I don't exist to y'all! LOL!"  They respected that (mostly) and we all did our own thing. I ate minimally, drank tons of water and green juice, attended the mandatory twice-a-day guided meditations, took long, hot showers, enjoyed an insightful one-on-one meditation session with co-founder Ruth, ugly cried cleansing tears, and just generally found myself 'lost in Love'.  I also meditatively walked the acres of stunning views, sipped organic teas with honey from bees kept on site, ran from said bees on many occasions, and read books from the extra thorough library.  Founder of Silent StayDr. Bruce says, "as awareness rests in the heart, an indescribable joy from within unfolds...", and truer words were never spoken.


    A great teacher of our time, Dr. Bruce!


    I had stumbled upon this effortless subtle-joy, back in 2015 just before my bestie, Grandma Maxine, transitioned.  I was with her when she took her last breath,  and was tremendously thankful that, as grief descended, there was also a palpable peaceful-joy present in the background.  Without that sense of deep 'okayness' I would've been utterly broken.  I knew I had found something precious, so over the next couple of years, I nurtured this inner peace with attention and love, and knew a retreat would be a great way to further stabilize in the awareness of IT.  Ruth shared that this presence is like the ocean, or the sky, always there, you just have to remember to turn to IT, to feel IT.  I want that for you.  I want this peace for everyone.  It's why you are here.  To remember.  To Love. To Be.

    "All needs can lead us first to more silence. Daily we can remind ourselves to approach the silence first so that everything we need comes so much easier.  When we want shelter we can begin by taking shelter in the quiet presence.  When we want food or companionship we can first nourish ourselves with the stillness and let the silence be our closest companion. As we are open, the natural order of things can answer all our needs either directly or by guiding us to the easiest solution.  The more we fill our needs with the silence, the more love can reach deeper inside us, bringing the perfect shelter, the perfect food, and the perfect companion who expresses most what the silence wishes for us."  - Dr. Bruce Davis from 'Monastery Without Walls'

    Peep the view--

    If I didn't have 2 little humans to care for, I could've easily stayed a week!

    I've been with this guy for nearly 2 decades and just discovered that he whispers HELLA loud! 


    found these gems in the forest... still don't know who did it! You can't tell but those pine cones were the biggest I've ever seen... them jokers were like the size of your head!



    It was so quiet that wild turkey and deer would just roll up on you. I felt like Snow White lol.  All the animals clearly felt very safe.  The squirrels were fat and friendly, the birds would land close, and you could hear the deer ripping the grass from the ground as they ate... that's the kinda of intense, LOUD silence I'm talking about!




    Pics from their website (totally accurate and consistent with my experience, the hermitage was so clean you could eat off the floor!)--

    The gates! 

    Ruth told us to grab groceries from the market before we checked in.  Once you're in, it's best to stay in for the duration of your trip, to keep the silence. I bought easy stuff cause I don't do kitchens, and I wanted to be focused more on meditating and reading, not fighting with the stove and washing dishes.  I also washed and styled my hair before we arrived so I didn't have to spend anytime wrestling that situation either!   I didn't pack a single hair product!  FREEDOM! 





     communal space-

    I spent 90% of my time in that chair on the left, reading,  sipping tea and loving the silence. 

    I just used the microwave sometimes, lol!  

    In addition to our crew of  5, there were 3 other women that joined us on our stay. It felt so powerful being around them without the need to speak or learn about who they were or where they were from!   In a way, there's more love and intimacy in the silence, even with strangers. And then,  they're not so much strangers anymore.  Lots of  smiles and a few notes were shared with them.






     Group meditations (at 9am and 7pm) were held here... the highlight of my retreat.  I'm still (t)here. 

    I had never meditated with a group before. After the initial noise from the mind (mostly worries about my rude stomach grumbles breaking the silence-- I have a very noisy digestive situation haha), I found it extremely powerful.  I've been home for 2 days and continue to sit twice a day, with candles and incense!  Me and hubby as well as Remonde (one of the winners) have vowed to hold each other accountable and to continue this practice no matter what! 

    I wholly recommend a silent retreat, and HIGHLY recommend Silent Stay.  Dr. Bruce and his wife Ruth, and their gentle, effective pointers and guided meditations, will re-introduce you to your true Self, so that you may re-introduce yourself to the world. They radiate love, the views are breath taking, and the loud silence will soothe your Soul.  They also take groups to Bali and Italy each year! Treat yo self! xoxo

    Love,
    Nik

    p.s.  Thanks to Silent Stay and Plentiful Hair Care for sponsoring this magnificent experience!

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    GETTY


    Even though many celebrities today are touting the beauty of a blended family, there is a lot of pain and healing that has to occur before everyone can pose for a happy family photo.

    Gospel star Tamela Mann and her hubby, fellow singer and actor David Mann, are being candid about how David’s baby mama almost ruined their marriage in their new book.

    “The book was inspired by our 30-year journey (of being married),” David told Ebony.“We’ve been saying we were going to do the book for the last five years, since our 25th anniversary. But we just felt like this was the right time.”

    Continue!>>>
    David continued saying, “We just thought it would be good to share our journey and how we made it even in an industry that’s known for divorce. The divorce rate in the entertainment industry is well over the standard (rate in the nation). We just wanted to share how we did it. One of the ways is, she’s my priority and I’m her priority.”

    Tamela revealed that their “happily ever after” didn’t come without road bumps.

    “My career took off with Kirk Franklin and (the mother) came out of the woodwork that he had a daughter,” Tamela said. “I felt like I accepted one child. I can’t accept another child.”

    “I felt like I was alone. I felt like she was leaving me,” David confessed. “She was like, ‘you got this baby mama to deal with and that baby mama to deal with,’ and she was like, ‘Where do I fit in? I’m going to get lost.’ I had to let her know, ‘it’s me and you against all of this stuff. So, it’s you and me against the world.’”

    Continue reading, HERE!>>>

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    One of the questions that I get almost daily is about dry hair. It can be frustrating when you are dealing with dry hair and don’t know what’s causing it. It’s important that we determine first what is making our hair dry and then follow steps to combat those issues. Dry, brittle hair may be the reason you are struggling to retain length, so I have compiled a list five things that make my natural hair dry and solutions to solve those issues.

    continue!>>>


    Not drinking enough water
    I can admit that sometimes I am not good at maintaining my water intake. We sometimes forget that water intake is also important to our hair health. In order to maintain healthy hair, we have to make sure our bodies are properly hydrated.

    Clarifying too often
    Sometimes I get too excited and go overboard with the clarifying shampoo, especially after I take out my protective style. Too much clarifying can lead to dry hair, so this is a no-no. Limit your clarifying shampoo sessions to once per month. Make sure to pre-poo with your favorite oil (I use almond oil) to help retain moisture and decrease tangles before you shampoo.

    Skipping the L.O.C. method
    I have noticed that when I don’t properly moisturize my hair, it’s really dry. The L.O.C. (liquid, oil, and cream) method involves a leave-in, oil, and then sealing moisture in with a cream. Every time I do the L.O.C method my hair thrives. I can tell when I don’t practice this method my hair is dry.

    Not using the proper leave-in moisturizers
    When I don’t use water based leave-in conditioners, my hair is dry. I have low porosity hair, so I have to use conditioners that will easily penetrate my hair strands. Water based leave-in conditioners are good for those with low porosity hair, as they don’t build up the way creamy moisturizers or leave-in conditioners do. I love to use Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-in Conditioner to keep my hair moisturized. Using the proper leave-in conditioners for your hair help penetrate my hair.

    Not protecting my hair at night
    You would think that if this step is missed, then you will be ok. When I don’t protect my hair at night, my hair is in horrible shape the next morning. Protecting your hair at night is a really important step in my natural hair regimen. Make sure that you are keeping your hair protected at night by sleeping on a satin pillowcase or sleeping in a satin bonnet at night. This is how you maintain your style and prevent your cotton bed sheets from absorbing the moisture and oils in your hair.

    Once I was able to determine why my hair was dry, it was easier for me to find out the solutions to my problem. If you are experiencing dry hair, you should first take a look at your regimen and lifestyle and then assess how to combat the issues you are facing.

    Is your natural hair dry? What are you doing to combat the issue?

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    by Emerald Elitou of xonecole.com

    If you're anything like me, you may have found yourself obsessed with getting your eyebrows on fleek thanks to the growing rise of double tap-worthy photos constantly being displayed on our Instagram timelines. But I'll be honest, once I put my pencil to work, let's just say it can be a messy experience.

    Let me give you a visual: Do you remember Helga from the 90s cartoon Hey Arnold? Well, that's how I felt after I tried to fill in my brows, and that's with countless hours of YouTube tutorials.

    Slowly, I found myself giving up hope that I'll ever have brows worth envying. That was until I met the "Queen of Brows", Felicia Hoskins, who gave me all the tips I need to get those Teyana Taylor type brows that stay turning heads.

    As the owner of Madd Love Beauty, located on the west side of Chicago, Felicia knows just how time-consuming and stressful it can be to obtain the most precise brows.

    "No two brows will ever be identical."

    According to Felicia, we are stressing too much about making our brows identical to each other. The best way to achieve perfectly matching eyebrows is with tinting and or brow filling with makeup.
    "It only takes about 3-4 weeks to grow out your brows."

    No matter who you are, it can take about 3-4 weeks to grow out your brows. To help in the progression, try using castor oil every night after cleansing your brows and use a mascara wand to gently brush the brows in the direction of the hair. This stimulates the hair growth and your brows will be back on track in no time.


    "Tweeze in the direction of the hair growth."

    Tweezing doesn't have to be so painful. Just take a steamed towel and place it over your brows for a few minutes. The steam softens the hair follicles and makes tweezing less painful. Be sure to always tweeze in the direction of the hair growth.


    "Highlight the brows, as this will cover any hairs that may have grown in."
    If you are between brow appointments and need a quick touch up, take a brow pencil and fill in your brows using the most product in your arch and end areas, then lightly shade in the corners while stroking upwards.

    Once filled, use a concealer that's a shade or two lighter than your foundation and clean up any residue. Be sure to highlight the brows, as this will cover any hairs that may have grown in and give you a perfect shape until your next appointment.

    continue, HERE!

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    I’ve been rocking with @dr_oz and his amazing team, every season, since our internet breaking episode during the season 5 premiere week! Excited to be back for Season 10!

    Tune in tomorrow for healthy hair tips from me, @jordinsparks and @drjencaudle !!!








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    Source: Marcus Ingram / Getty

    by Veronica Wells via MadameNoire.com

    Earlier this week, we wrote about the comments Pastor John Gray made regarding his 8-year marriage to Aventer Gray and how his wife endured more pain raising him as a man than she did birthing their two children. He spoke about how Aventer was a coat that was two sizes too big for him. He said that to mean that not only was she a covering for him in their relationship, but he had to grow into her.

    Continue!>>>
    He said that because of what she’s done in helping him pursue his dream, he will always honor her.

    I took issue with his comments because he wasn’t clear about what he’d done in the marriage to cover her. And his words read like every stereotypical sermon we’d heard about what Christian women should do in marriages without any responsibility or accountability being placed on Christian men in the context of marriage. His comments focused on and celebrated yet another Black woman had been long-suffering for the benefit of her man.

    We weren’t the only ones who felt a way. While the hosts of “Sister Circle” clapped and shouted about Gray’s testimony, people on Twitter shared our concerns.

    After all of it, Aventer posted the clip on Instagram, clarifying what her husband meant and sharing her two cents about what marriages require. See what she had to say below.


    Wow! @realjohngray! This is beautiful! I’ve seen this floating and had opportunity to see some dialogue. I love dialogue...here is my response...A RIB (wife)...covers vital organs of the body. It’s functionality is for Protection, Support, and Respiration. So, I can see things he can not. God gave us wives heightened discernment to Protect from some of the oblivion that our husbands face. We Support in the best ways...we stand, we build, we give legs to vision, and it isn’t always happily ever after, in fact it’s “Jesus be with me” while this purpose is being birthed...YES BIRTH OF PURPOSE not actual birthing of a man. His mother did that part, but as wives, there are things that life can be given to in ways he may not have been able to produce alone, bringing me to my next function of a rib, the Respiration, meaning the act of breathing. Sometimes, it takes a wife to give the breath to make the vision alive, and it’s taking place simultaneously with the growing, development, and healing of broken places that had nothing to do with us!!! Some pain we walk into based on the upbringing of our husbands or experiences that limited or crippled his process that had nothing to do with us! Pain is a part of the process, not continuous pain, but pain that actually produces fruit and gets us all to Destiny! Don’t tell me one thing about a woman isn’t supposed to cover. One of my degrees is Cardiopulmonary Science and I’m a pastor. I may have a few correlations to share! 🤷🏽‍♀️ (Not a boast, just a truth) Have a blessed and productive Wednesday!~Aventer Monique Cotton Gray #Aveygram #WivesCover #KnowYourRoleifYouWantIt #RibsCoverVitalOrgans #Repost @niecynash1 with @get_repost ・・・ Come on!!! @realjohngray Teach the people 🙌🏽🙏🏽❤️
    A post shared by grayceeme (@grayceeme) on

    Later, she shared an additional revelation about the devil seeking to attack the institution and sacredness of marriage.

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    Today, there’s only one choice that matters. You have to stay conscious enough to choose your ‘go(o)d vibe’ over your ‘shook vibe’, regardless of circumstances.




    Can you stand firm in your go(o)d feels—unbothered, unshook, smiling, and at peace? Or are you gonna seemingly give ‘them’, the power to upset you again, to knock you off balance?

    Don’t let their mood, their energy, bring you down. Don’t let your vibe depend on their vibe. It has nothing to do with you. Mind YOUR business. Don’t dip.

    You have to do something different if you want to see something different, and it will feel unnatural until it doesn’t. You are not a victim. You are waking up to your power. I love you.


    Keep up with Nikki and her #BeHerNow posts on Instagram, and sign up for free, #BeHerNow reminders, HERE!

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    IMAGE: @ALIANA.KING


    Is the notion that hair absorbs ingredients better when it is dry, true? This notion has puzzled us for so long. So, what do we do when we are not sure about something? We try it out to see if we feel a difference. Well, you know how this ends. We tried it, and if you are like me then you tried it once and ended up with no real tangible data to support a yes or a no? So, let’s take a look to see where the truth lies.

    A Little Hair Science
    Hair strands grow from the scalp’s hair follicles that are nourished by the body’s blood vessels and sebaceous glands. To grow strong hair requires a healthy diet and generally a healthy body. However, after the hair sprouts from the bulb of the follicle, it can only be topically nourished by the sebaceous oil producing glands and via topical products. Here is where deep conditioning comes into play. Deep conditioning is extra helpful because its softening, strengthening, and enriching benefits are longer lasting than the common rinse out conditioner formula.

    Continue!>>>


    Basics of Conditioning
    Conditioners help your hair mostly through adsorbing into its outer cuticle. Adsorption refers to ingredients attaching to the surface of the hair. However some deep conditioners have ingredients with a low molecular weight and are designed to absorb beneath the cuticle layer also. To successfully adsorb the elements onto or within the hair requires the attraction of a positive and a negative charge. Conditioners contain cationic surfactants within them that carry this positive charge while the hair itself holds a negative charge. This attraction between the two allows for adsorption to occur.

    Can hair be conditioned when dry?
    The assumption behind conditioning on dry hair is that the hair shaft will better adsorb the ingredients without the water barrier. Technically this bears truth. If you apply a conditioner to the hair strands, the hair’s slightly negative charge will attract to the positively charged conditioner.

    On the other hand, conditioning while dry might have the barrier of product buildup, sebum, or other debris on the hair shaft based on your lifestyle or styling methods.

    Can hair be conditioned while wet?
    The assumption behind conditioning on wet hair assumes the hair has been previously wet or previously shampooed prior to deep conditioning.

    • Water alone can raise the outer cuticle layer of the hair, which is beneficial to the conditioning process. Deep conditioning hair with on a raised cuticle can be helpful, especially on low porosity hair, which has /a difficult time receiving moisture.
    • Shampooing the hair with a negatively charge shampoo (containing anionic surfactants) will strengthen the negative charge of the hair and will raise the pH of the hair, which subsequently raises the cuticle layers of the hair shaft. Shampooing the hair also releases the existing dirt, debris, or buildup on the hair shaft that might inhibit your process.

    So, which option is the best option for you? We consult the experts to help us discern. Susan Walker, founder and creative director of Earthtones Naturals, offers her analysis: " Deep conditioning can be extremely effective for natural hair that is dry, damaged, and breaking. Research shows that to get the most benefits out of the conditioner by way of it adsorbing onto the hair and then allowing specific ingredients to penetrate the hair, it should be done on freshly shampooed, wet hair. Applying the conditioner in this way can greatly increase softness, smoothing of the cuticle and improve moisture."

    So how could this apply to you based on porosity and lifestyle?
    Assess your hair on its level of product buildup and your need for a strong or moderate deep conditioning treatment. Weak, damaged hair (high porosity) tends to attract dirt and could use an adequate cleanse before conditioning. Coarse or low porosity hair needs some assistance with receiving moisture and can benefit from a cuticle-raising cleanse before deep conditioning for enhanced results.

    On the other hand, natural gals that do not use a lot of product, no chemicals, and/or live a sedentary lifestyle without a lot of sweating may find that their hair does not require a heavy deep treatment. They therefore may decide to skip the wet condition and pre-shampoo session before applying their conditioner or they may choose to use a mild shampoo made of non-ionic surfactants or a shampoo with zwitterionic surfactants that hold a positive and negative charge.

    The choice is yours. Add this additional information to your repertoire to make an informed decision on your deep conditioning methods based on your individual hair care needs.

    Do you deep condition on wet or dry hair?

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    by ToyaSharaee via MadameNoire.com

    I had an epiphany a few years ago about the power of loving yourself. It happened while I was employed in a position where I had steadily climbed the ranks of social services being guided by a confident mentor who although was jaded somewhat after working 20+ years in the field, was happy to cultivate and guide young leaders with her experience. It came to a point where my talent was recognized in other areas that weren’t under her leadership and I was promoted to a position under the CEO. Where before, most of my responsibilities were in direct service, education and program management, now I was working in a position where I got to use some of the expertise I had as a professional writing major who was able to manage a side hustle contributing and editing a website for several years.

    Continue!>>>
    A few months into the position, I recognized that my experience with this supervisor was significantly different. I quickly realized I was being micro-managed by someone who was quick to critique my ideas and performance when they didn’t work to her advantage the way she had anticipated, but had zero to no guidance on how to support my efforts because she wasn’t confident at all in her own. She also had no concept of the state of social media, writing and advertising as it stands today but refused to humble herself because she possessed the unshakeable mindset that age equals wisdom and she had nothing to learn from someone younger with less formal education. As much as she admired my accomplishments as a writer she also could be fairly condescending in moments where she felt inept. Before long, the side remarks and patronizing comments came about my side hustle as a writer in the form of, “Not all of us can be a famous blogger.” You would think I was high-fiving Issa Rae every weekend walking into a writer’s room with a six-figure salary in an offshore account somewhere. It was in that moment I realized: Even though someone who supposed to be my superior was older, with a lifetime of experience in her field and a salary that easily made my paycheck look like a cable channel, she was jealous. Jealous of my happiness, my hustle and my confidence. It was then it occurred to me that people can look better than you, make more money than you and/or drive a better car than you. Still, miserable people will find a way to hate on your happiness alone.

    I was reminded of this “Come To Jesus” moment when I came across a comment by TV writer/actress Mindy Kaling. A Yahoo article posted highlights of the Wrinkle In Time star’s appearance at 2018 Glamour Woman of The Year Summit. This year’s theme was “Women Rise” and Kaling was joined by Today Show journalists Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. Kaling shared her thoughts on women being socialized to hate themselves so much that when a woman is happy and confident, it’s almost frowned upon:

    “It’s not that I’m into myself.”

    “It’s that I don’t hate myself. In my career, a lot of people have a problem with being around women who don’t hate themselves. Never hate yourself.”

    The 39-year-old mother and best-selling author also shared that when you’ve done the work you have a right to be confident and there is literally no reason to dim your shine:

    “I always just did the leg work, and it meant I never came to anything unprepared.”

    “The only reason I was able to be confident was because I literally couldn’t not be confident with the amount of research and preparation I did.”

    It was a sobering reminder to the numerous occasions I’ve witnessed, particularly on social media, when people search for the negativity in your situation. I always say that no matter what I write I can expect the most discussion and supportive comments when I’m sharing how frustrated or unhappy in a situation. Unfortunately essays about being in a happy marriage, truly enjoying motherhood (Like posts from new mom Gabrielle Union recently posted on social media) or feeling like you’re killing it on the career ladder don’t resonate nearly as much with audiences as rants about being ghosted or cheated on or being laid off. It can almost make it feel like you have to dim your light and define yourself by your struggle. It’s true: Misery loves company and being happy and confident can sometimes be hella lonely. And more and more it appears that people don’t know how to bond or connect with people outside of sadness or struggle.


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  • 11/19/18--07:38: The Gift of Silence
  • Can you hear this picture? Listen...

    by Dr. Bruce Davis of SilentStay.com via HuffingtonPost

    In silence we can hear our own thoughts. Perhaps more beautiful we can hear the world without the crowded stream of our thoughts. Visiting silence can be an adventure, a pilgrimage, a life changing journey into peace and quiet. We can be quite busy and loud in our attempts to make a more peaceful world. Maybe the peace we seek is not so complicated. Maybe the quiet we want can begin with turning down the noise we routinely live with. Real peace and quiet can be no further then spending some time in silence.

    Continue!>>>
    Silence is more then a break from the traffic of daily life.The stillness is food for our nerves. As we rest in quiet’s gentle blanket we recover from daily stress and much more. We begin the recovery from our loss of self. In all the noise we live with, we contract. We tighten up. We lose our openness and joy. In silence, we are less on survival mode and more free to smile. Despite what many people think, silence is good company.Our separateness decreases. We feel more connected. In peace and quiet we are less alone. As we let go into the great silence, we find ourselves part of something greater. The sounds of the wind, a burning fire, rain and snow all make us feel a part of something more. With less thought, our senses become brighter. Smells, tastes, sights, and of course sounds grow stronger in silence. Our emotions, memory, and imagination are awakened. Many writers and artists begin their work by beginning in a period of silence.

    Turning off our machines,unplugging from our gadgets is just the beginning of coming into silence. Silence is taking a step out of our personal story. We can breathe. Earth, planets, and stars come closer. We are reminded of a larger perspective. Those who pass through the door into much silence find themselves less interested in what others are doing or what they should be doing. Having more or less of everything is not so important. The thousand touches of silence around and within raise our curiosity, heighten our awareness, expand our being.

    Silence speaks for the part of life that is beyond words, beyond description. Sitting for sometime in its sanctuary and we find a place within us that is centered, whole, a place of trust. A walk in silence with a friend or partner can do wonders in joining us together, fresh and renewed. We are much more then our complicated lives and personalities. Silence reminds us of the bonds between friends and family, the golden bonds of everything shared. We are much more then what we do together. We are the culmination of a life of activities shared and shared silence.

    When we give ourselves to silence, we find an intimacy and shelter. Many people find silence as a refuge. The quiet is their private world. Here they live underneath the daily noise. The simplicity of grace visits. The silence is always new, different, inviting.There is a heart beating that is the heart of the trees, rivers, mountains, life all around and within. Silence can pick us up and carry us to incredible destinations if we allow it. And silence can be like a safe harbor where we drop anchor down underneath our desires and challenges to a place of unequaled being and presence.

    Its normal for our personality to get restless in silence looking for something to do. We find our mind wandering off onto old trails of thought and feelings that habitually grab our attention. But if we try to be present,if we actively offer ourselves to silence’s touches,there is a new trail for us to explore. If we can just be and let the quiet lead, our busy mind can find a pure spot, a quiet place. Silence is all about remembering the heart including the heart of life. Mystics through out history have enjoyed the thread of silence leading them to a golden tapestry sitting in an inner temple of vast understanding and light. There is a mystic in each of us that hungers for some of this awe. Nothing else satisfies as much as these moments when we come to silence and dwell for a while.

    With silence, life’s opportunities are seen differently. Our priorities begin to change. What is important and not so pressing become clearer. The heart in stillness calls us. I imagine stores and shopping centers offering gifts of silence wrapped in bright colors and boxes of all sizes. Each box includes instructions how to open and enjoy. Silence is for people of all ages, all incomes, every circumstance in life. What should be the price for these gifts of silence? This is a good question. How much is peace and quiet worth to us? Is silence just another gift to open, briefly hold before going onto something else? Or is the great quiet something to behold and sit with for a long time? Whether for body or soul, silence is patient, waiting, ready,very giving this time of year.

    Read more from Bruce Davis, Ph.D. on his website, SilentStay.com

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    Hola Chicas!

    This will officially be my first Thanksgiving without one (or two) Honey Baked Hams!  I've been vegan since May 2018 and I'm still going hard. Luckily, my parents are also plant based now (still!!!) and hubby is a flexitarian, so we're mostly on the same page! I don't do the kitchen, but I look forward to tasting one of these recipes on Thursday! 

    Vegan Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy








    If you're like me, this should do... especially if you've got some Beyond Burgers on deck, or some Chickenless Chicken Strips from Trader Joes. That, plus some cranberry sauce, and issa hella official Vegan Thanksgiving!!!


     For more recipes, check out this amazing list! And this article from xonecole!

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    "Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ― Kahlil Gibran

    Continue!>>>

    This Light is the real, unfading inner Beauty that can be felt in every moment as a subtle, but powerful current of joy. It's right where you are-- you just can't feel it because the mind is covering it up.

    On Sunday, Dec 2nd, join me for an intimate #BeHerNow pillow sesh, to uncover this Light, and unfold the blueprint for your best life!  Space is super limited so be sure to book your space ASAP!

    Love,
    Nik