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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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    Liza Jessie Peterson by Yoshinori Hashimoto
    By Sharon Pendana 

    Liza Jessie Peterson is an "artivist," her art and her activism conjoined. With a deep sense of justice, it is her Libran calling to balance its scales. "I’m an artist, but my advocacy is channeled through my art," she says. "Everything I write about, everything I perform is through that lens." Her decades-long entrenchment in the carceral system spans from making the trek upstate from her Brooklyn home to visit her jailed former lover to teaching incarcerated youths at New York City's notorious Rikers Island Correctional Facility.



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    These experiences inform her profound one-woman show, The Peculiar Patriot,exploring the human impact of mass incarceration, not just on inmates, but their intimates who brave the cramped, hours-long bus rides to prison visits in revolutionary acts of loyalty and commitment, "navigating love between barbed wire." She toured the show to over 30 prisons across the country to standing ovations and black power salutes before premiering it to the general public in a sold-out run at Harlem’s National Black Theatre.


    In All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island, Liza mines her old journals and indelible memories to deftly chronicle her experience of being the classroom teacher, all day from 7:50 am - 2:30 pm to adolescent boys locked in a system more punitive than rehabilitative. With humor and pathos, she gives voice to these young men swept into the penal maelstrom and exposes the glaring disparity in corrections approaches between kids of color and white.


    She started working at Rikers Island in 1998 to conduct a poetry workshop and was surprised to discover "the overwhelmingly disproportionate amount of Black and Latino adolescents" incarcerated there. She says, 
    "It was astounding! I wasn't aware of the prison industrial complex— it was not in the zeitgeist— this was 1998. Mass incarceration was not even a phrase that people used back then. I was going in without any context. I had no idea about the cash bail system; I had no idea about the privatization of prisons. A corrections officer pointed to the boys and referred to them as the ‘new cotton’– that I was working on the plantation and the boys were the crops."
    She would learn that Black and Latino children are targeted for arrest and criminalized for typical adolescent behavior. 
    "Adolescents are always going to buck up against the system; they are still going to challenge authority. They are going through a stage of psychological differentiation separation, where they are exerting their independence, moving away from family toward friends and testing boundaries. It's a natural phase of adolescent development."
    While working with incarcerated adolescent girls, she learned that most had histories of sexual abuse. "A lot of their acting-out comes from the unhealed wounds and unaddressed trauma in their lives," she says. As rampant revelations of sexual assault surface in this country, Liza hopes that "this heightened national dialogue will give young girls the courage to come forward and speak out about what has happened to them and know that it isn't their fault; their cries are valid, and they have support." She says that although women who have spoken out about it have been "dismissed, ignored, denied, chastised, threatened and attacked, now we’re seeing the tide turning, and men are being called to task and being held accountable for their reprehensible behavior."


    She remains hopeful that the social justice pendulum will swing toward what is right and just—that the normalization of sexual misconduct will reverse, and prison reforms put an end to race-based arrests and draconian sentencing. She shares how others can effect change: "first people need to get educated on what white supremacy is — what it looks like and how it works. And vote, not just in the big elections, but the smaller local elections, too." She adds that many community-based organizations rely on donations to keep their doors open. "There are organizations already on the ground doing the work. If you have money, find out who they are and support them. Of philanthropist Agnes Gund's recent endowment she adds, "Be like Agnes; write a check."




    An "interrupter of recidivism," Liza stays in contact with several of the kids and works to help them once they are released. "I’m always going to have that connection to the youth–helping them to stay alive and free and out of the grip of the criminal justice system. But I’m an artist first. I’m creating; I’m writing plays, I’m writing books, I’m writing content for television that will encapsulate my advocacy."

    Photo: Garlia C. Jones-Ly


    ***********

    Sharon Pendana is the creator of THE TROVE, author of Secret Washington DC and on a relentless quest to discover treasures, human and otherwise. Find her on Instagram, Medium,Twitter or binging on Netflix and Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps.

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    Sherri Newson
    Naturally Glam is baaaaaack with a new twist! In addition to chatting it up about our fav topic-HAIR- we’re diving in a little deeper, finding out more about the beautiful baddies that make up CurlyNikki! Up next we have Sherri, originally from North Carolina, currently residing in San Jose, CA. What makes this mama naturally glam is a combination of beauty and her work in the mental health field. Listen in as we chat about her gorgeous mane, as well as advice on what we can do if we find ourselves going through a mental struggle.


    How long have you been natural
    I have been natural since my big chop in May of 2014. After hearing Curly Nikki on the Morning Show, talking about being “natural” my first reaction was “Aint nobody got time for that” lol. I quickly devoured everything that was on Curlynikki.com and decided that weekend that I was done with the chemicals.

    Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
    I use Cantu Shea butter for my family and I, as well as few Mielle Organics products.


    What's the best part about wearing your hair natural?
    I love the fact that once I decided to go natural-I never had one thought to return back to the creamy crack. I was the only one in my immediate family with relaxed hair. My mom and two sisters, never relaxed their hair; so when I went natural, I didn’t receive any negative or mixed feelings from family. Even though my hair was healthy while relaxed, it always seemed so limp to me. I love volume and doing different things with my hair. I like that I have been able to do new styles without the use of heat all the time.


    How has having natural hair contributed to your life?
    I would say it has helped me rid my body of unnecessary chemicals. When I was pregnant and nursing, I hated relaxing my hair. I, like most pregnant mothers, was concerned with what I was putting in and on my body. After relaxing my hair for 16+ years, it feels good not to HAVE to do it anymore.

    What do you do and why do you love it?
    I currently work for my county, in the Mental Health department as a Healthcare Program Analyst. I love what I do because we provide a valuable service to so many people. I think it is extremely important and courageous to seek help mentally when necessary. Issues regarding mental health should not be swept under the rug, or disregarded because of fear or lack of knowledge.

    How long have you worked in mental health and why did you get in the field?

    I have worked in the mental health field for 11 years. At first, it was just to get my father out of my ear, and to obtain a job after graduating college. I have switched jobs within the field a few times, and I can finally see that what I do, can and does help others. It is not an easy field to work in, and constantly giving of yourself is hard when you don’t always feel or see a tangible return. But knowing that I am helping someone is what matters most.

    What are a few things we need to know about mental illness?
    Mental Illness can affect anybody in many different ways. Often, people try to hide or disguise things about themselves because they are afraid of what others may think. There is no harm in seeking an outside source that is able to provide you with an unbiased opinion. If you start to notice that you are having unwelcome thoughts, or feeling down or sad most of the time- reach out. There are so many aspects of life today that can be stressful. If you do not feel comfortable with a stranger, grab your closest girlfriend and have a wine/vent date, lol. Sometimes you just need a sounding board to release your frustrations. If it is more serious, and things in your life get to the point where you need help mentally, don’t be afraid to seek help with a trained mental health specialist.

    What should we do if we or a loved one needs help mentally?
    If you are looking for help and do not know where to start, a good place would be to look up your county services. If you have a Medicaid plan for your state, or are uninsured, there are services and classes that you may be able to attend or obtain free-of-charge. If you have a private plan, you definitely want to call to see if you have behavioral health/mental health coverage on your plan. You may be able to seek physicians, classes, or counseling by just paying a simple co-pay. It may take some effort on your end whether the services are for yourself, or a loved one; but knowing that you have the help you need can be a life changer.

    Indeed! Thanks Sherri!


    If you'd like to be featured in Naturally Glam- whether you live here or abroad- submit your photos to naturallyglam@curlynikki.com and answer these questions!

    1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural?
    2) Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
    3) What do you do and why do you love it?
    5) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, a job in a field you'd like to talk about, have initiatives and organizations you'd like to highlight, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
    6) How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem?
    7) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?

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    Photo via Scarsandspots.com
    By Jashima Wadehra

    Do you know how you ALWAYS wish you had listened to what your mama told you when you were young? “Don’t wear foundation too young,” she said. “Don’t rub your eyes, you’ll get wrinkles."“Wash your hands every time you come from outside.” (I know you don’t do it EVERYtime either, don’t judge me!)

    Well, I️ may not have listened to Mama every time, but I️ sure do employ her wisdom now. Like any Indian mother, my mom was always in the kitchen and would come out with some gnarly looking stuff on her face. None of that, “pretty green monster “ stuff. I’m talking real (sometimes smelly) goop.

    Now before y’all start booing and ewwing, hear me out, one of the key ingredients that I️ don’t see promoted in western media is one of my holy grail kitchen to skin products; licorice root. #Canigetahollaforadollahoney!

    Not only is this ingredient easy to find in any South Asian grocery store under the name of “Mulethi” it’s also fairly inexpensive and is essentially magic. I’m not kidding.
     
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    Licorice powder
    Licorice root and Amla powder were the two key ingredients in the face mask my mother applied twice a week for most of my life. She has impeccable skin and I️ truly hope one day I️ too can say, I️ get it from my mama.

    Licorice root has INCREDIBLE benefits, it contains brightening properties that assist in fading scars and blemishes as well as medicinal uses for health conditions like asthma. Get the lowdown on all the licorice benefits here.

    Amla powder
    Amla or Indian Gooseberry is rich in antioxidants and can help lower cholesterol, and has major hair benefits. Check out a CurlyNikki piece on Amla here. 

    How to make the Goop:

    2 teaspoons licorice root powder

    1 teaspoon Amla powder

    Pinch of turmeric

    Squeeze of raw honey

    Add water according to consistency.

    Now before you go mixing ingredients trying to make your facial brew, understand that licorice root powder doesn’t thicken as much in liquid where as Amla does, try to find a happy medium. You’re looking for the consistency to resemble a thin paste.

    Step 1. Remove your makeup and cleanse your skin prior to applying. Pro Indian Mom tip: use an oil to remove makeup (my fave is jojoba) and then milk or a steaming hot towel to get the gunk off your face sans chemicals and face wash!

    Step 2. Apply the goop. Take disturbing Snapchat selfies, scare your children and spouse, clean up your mess and THENNNNN use warm water to soften the mask and begin exfoliating your skin with its remnants in circular motions as you rinse it off.

    Step 3. Admire your soft as a baby’s bottom and brighter than sunshine skin.

    Step 3. Take #NaturallyGlam selfies

    Step 4. Tone with rose water and witch hazel and moisturize with Rosehip seed oil!

    Mama is 53 and #SLAYING thanks to licorice root!



    Let me know what you think of this monster mask or share your mama’s favorite skincare tips and tricks!

    Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com.  

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    Jasmine aka CurlyGaisha 
    Winter is upon us and already you may have noticed that your curls are feeling the chill. No worries! CurlyGaisha has got you with this easy and affordable DIY protein treatment that is sure to bring bounce, pep and step to your limp curls! Check out her video and let us know in the comment section how this treatment worked for you!





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    Anita Hill
    By Veronica Wells

    These past few months have been consumed with talk of sexual harassment. For the rest of his life, at least in the public space, Harvey Weinstein will be this generation's poster child for sexual assault and harassment. Even though he was far from the first or last man to use his power to intimidate women, he's the one who opened up the floor for everyone else to be exposed. And since his downfall, we've seen men like Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Louis C.K., Russell Simmons (and I'm sure more to come) meet similar fates.

    Most women, the group who have been the most affected and impacted by sexual assault, from the beginning of humanity, recognize that this reckoning is long overdue. Finally, the nation is having very real and uncomfortable conversations. And while I think that a majority of people understand the necessary ramifications behind sexual assault and harassment: firings, oustings, loss in income, being exposed, etc.; I've learned that not everyone gets it.

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    IndigoStyle Vintage in BK
    By Erickka Sy Savané, Styled by Dani G.

    I'm a vintage girl. Always have been. There's something about finding gently-used gems that no one else will have at a fraction of the retail price that turns me on. So when Sheryl Roberts- a woman I've known for years on the commercial and TV circuit, she's shot a zillion TV commercials and ads so perhaps you've seen her face- opened a vintage boutique in Bedsty, Brooklyn, I knew one day I'd make the trip there. Well, it's the holidays so no better time than now to find holiday inspiration!  Here are a few fun looks that my bff/stylist Dani G., and I, put together. Hope you like!

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    Indigostyle Vintage owner Sheryl Roberts
    Indigostyle Vintage was a Pop Up Shop for 4 years before Sheryl opened the boutique located at 401 Tompkins Ave. in Brooklyn, last April. She loves fashion and believes that it shouldn't have to cost a fortune. Amen to that!


    If you love "fur" and leopard, this coat ($125) is your holiday show stopper! We belted it and paired it with these leather boots I got on sale at Macy's recently for just $29.99. You'll look and feel so good walking into that holiday party that you may not want to take this coat off! And why should you? Just wear something light underneath.


    This 80's Cosby Show-inspired multi-colored fuzzy coat will bring color to those drab winter days ($125). The knitted clutch keeps the color poppin' ($50), as do the aqua skirt ($60), the peach sweatshirt, ($50), and the white leather boots (size 9) that complete this look ($50).

    Jeffrey Campbell ($150 left) & Karl Lagerfield ($100 right)

    Can we just take a moment to salivate over these shoes! Maybe, they're not the most practical, but when it comes to making a statement, these babies will do it every time! Watch out Santa, mama is coming through! 


    If you want something that feels festive, girly, and shows off a little leg, pair a short skirt like this gold one from American Apparel ($35), and a colorful jacket like this pink floral bolero jacket ($70), and throw on some black leather ankle boots like these ($50).


    This skirt was so cute we had to do it twice! This time for a sportier look we added my own black leggings (after all, it's winter right?! Grab some from Old Navy), a black puffer vest ($65), Longchamp leopard heels ($75), this Blackbird Dillinger graffiti cross body purse ($195-$375), and this black Kangol hat ($35). 

    We hope you enjoyed these looks! Everything displayed in this post is available to buy (except for the leopard coat, which I believe got SOLD!). Thanks Sheryl, for allowing us to play in your boutique  and we'll be back for some more inspiration in the Spring! In the meantime, Happy Holiday Everyone!

    What will you be rocking this holiday season?


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  • 12/08/17--10:04: Do Men Feel Entitled To Sex?

  • By Veronica Wells

    A couple of months ago, I was interviewing three women about sex over the age of 50, for my websiteNoSugarNoCream. During the conversation, the youngest woman in the group explained that she was so thankful that when she’s not in the mood, her husband doesn’t cop an attitude. She said, “A man can be very mean when he can’t get what he wants.” For some reason, the words and the sentiment behind the words stuck with me. There were nods and grunts of agreement from the other two women, and it made me wonder, was this something other women had experienced as well?

    The responses were sparse because it’s a sensitive and intimate topic, women don’t want their man to look bad, they don’t want their sex lives to become a case study. I get it. But there were a brave few who decided to share, anonymously of course.

    First, I started with a friend named Yvonne. Yvonne is single at the moment but has been in more than a few non-committed or loosely defined relationships. So I asked her if the men from her past ever copped an attitude when she refused sex.

    She said, one man, Peter*, used her unwillingness to have sex as a way to attack her character.
    “He said I wasn’t affectionate enough and he resented the fact that I wouldn’t send him pictures of myself. He would use my lack of emotion/not being sexual with him when he demanded as an excuse for him to ignore me. He would say sh*t like ‘he’s a man” and he isn’t going to beg me to be a woman for him because other women would do it at the drop of a dime.”
    I should note that while Peter made all types of requests from Yvonne, she couldn’t even get him to return a text message. She concluded that this man viewed her as a toy.

    The women of “The Real,” addressed this topic on their show one day and said that the men in their lives had been known to get a little attitude but nothing like what Yvonne described.

    I’m not here to play relationship hierarchy. But the women who were in more committed, defined relationships had different experiences. One woman, Shanice, who had been with her man, the father of her children for over ten years, spoke about how her mental state affects her desire for sex for extended periods of time and how her man responds to that.
    “I often put off having sex because my moods are so inconsistent. I'm bipolar manic, (and untreated because I refuse to take meds, but that's another story), so it can take the smallest thing to just turn me off and not want to have sex for long periods of time, or it can be opposite and I want it a lot. However, Kareem* has never acted out against it, or done catty things. He has a very mild temper and just goes with the flow. However, when it does begin to bother him that I won't have sex with him he speaks out on it. He just makes comments about how he has needs too. Or he’ll say something like, ‘Who knows when I'll have sex again.’ So I'll feel bad and give up the booty within 48 hours. There are also times where I promise it, and then say, ‘Oh I'm tired. Etc.’ It makes me feel like crap at times, but sometimes I don't care. He just takes his frustrations to sleep. I don't have any experience where he has been cruel, or made threats about getting it elsewhere.”
    This state of sleep theme came up more than once in my little focus group. I spoke to a man, about one of his married male friends. I should note that while this man is an excellent father, he’s a serial cheater. He told our mutual friend that when his wife refuses sex, he sleeps peacefully because he knows he has options, options he’ll act on. I don’t issue that as a cautionary tale. I’m willing to bet that even if his wife never rejected him, he would still be out here. It’s just interesting to note that he’s not pressed.

    Another married woman, Karen, who’s been with her husband for 13 years said that while her husband never does or says anything cruel to her, she can tell that he gets a little “crunchy.”
    “If it's been a while, say like a week or two, he gets irritable. Sex in general, for us, takes off the edge. Without it, we both get crunchy. After we connect, issues seem to calm down. He's never gotten mad though if I say no, and there are definitely times when I'm just not in the mood. If I'm not, sometimes I'll go ahead anyway- because once we get started, I’m good- but I don't always give in.”
    Like Shanice, Karen spoke more about the pressure women feel when they’re not in the mood...at all, but also want to satisfy their husbands.
    “I have never really felt the need to have sex after having my two babies, but did because I know that he'd been waiting and he was clear about his excitement once the doctor gave us the go ahead. (The recommended time for sex after childbirth is four-six weeks.) I didn't want to make him keep waiting, and I also wondered if I'd ever 'feel' like it after a baby. I didn't want to become one of those women who has the baby and they lose their sex drive altogether. Now did he 'pressure' me? Maybe a little because he wasn't necessarily asking me how I really felt. But never has my husband acted like I have no choice, or treated me mean when I've said no."
    Obviously my sample size was particularly small, still the relationships that had weathered some "life," who had experienced the real, messy, practical elements of the real world understood that life can affect their partner's sex drive. And while they weren't always happy about it, their partner's refusal didn't warrant cruelty.


    Do you think men in committed relationships have more realistic expectations about how life can influence sexual desire for their partners?


    Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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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?

    Continue!>>>


    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

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  • 12/10/17--16:13: How to Instantly Level Up.

  • The instant you consciously choose to shift from feeling like yourself to feeling like yourSELF, your whole life trajectory changes. You level up.

    Let’s do it together, right now. Notice your breath. In. Out. Nice! Smile, 😊 BIGGER 😆 Now, listen for the silence. Keep smiling. Don’t think about it, just listen. Cock that left ear and listen for the silence that’s under all the thoughts. Listen like you’re listening to see if you hear the baby stirring in the other room. Listen like it’s after 1am and you’re waiting to see when Bae is gonna try to creep in after a night out. Listen to the silence and the space that allows all the other noises to be. Listen for the silence, listen to the space— it’s in you and all around you. That’s where the joy is. And you’re feeling it now— subtly, in your chest as you stay aware of your smile. You feel the peace, the joy in the silence as you breathe in and out. It’s getting stronger. You’re breathing in the joy. You feel the joy as the silence. That joy you’re feeling right now, it’s always here! It’s you. This is HER. You’re being HER, now.

    Continue!>>>


    And when you’re being HER, you ‘die to your past’ (your thoughts were the only thing keeping it alive, anyway) and your future, once predictable, is now teeming with endless possibilities. You notice that you’re thinking her empowering thoughts, feeling her feels, living her confidence. If you stay here longer you’ll be taking her actions— responding to her life situations. And if you make being HER (aka feeling go(o)d)) a habit, the ‘out there’, will begin reflecting HER beliefs, her world, back to you. You are now living HER life, your true potential. You are being fully yourSELF for the first time. Welcome home.

    Smile, girl. You’re getting this. Smile. Shift. Stay. Like nothing else matters.

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    Taitu's Botanicals Tea Tree & Lavender Hair & Body Bundle

    Happy Monday Ladies!

    Are you ready to find out the two winners of the Taitu's Botanicals Tea Tree & Lavender Hair & Body Bundle?!?!


    Allison

    Congrats Winners! You have 1 week to claim your prize. Please email nikki@curlynikki.com with your full name and address using Taitu's Botanicals Winner in the subject line. Enjoy the products, and stay tuned because we'll be announcing another giveaway tomorrow!!! 

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    By Cia Edwards

    And they lived happily ever after…

    Or maybe they didn’t. As soon as our hormones kick in, we tend to gravitate to the notion that we have to find our “soul mate.” Or even the idea that there is someone out there who matches our personality and characteristics perfectly, which make them our perfect match.

    However, how many of us who are in exclusive relationships can really say we’ve met our soulmate? And for the percentage of us who think we have met our “soul mates,” how many of us can say that they are 100% perfect in every aspect of their being?

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    Coming from a biblical standpoint, there is nowhere in the Bible that states that God has made us a soul mate that we must be with. Before you stick a pitchfork in my mouth, and start shouting Adam and Eve, let’s go back and dissect that story briefly.

    God created Eve because He stated that, man should not live alone. NOT that man has to have a perfect match! However there are multiple places in the Bible that states that God’s love is sufficient for us.

    Song of Solomon 3:4 - “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” <- - - - - (not soul mate!)

    Granted, there are many scriptures that do highlight the concept of our souls loving another but it doesn’t always have a romantic connotation to the meaning.

    So do “Soul Mates” exist in the Bible? No, you’re welcome.

    Now that we have the biblical piece set aside let’s go into the reasons as to why you should probably stop searching for your “happy ever after” to marry.


    1. Searching for your soul mate can possibly inhibit you from truly understanding to love yourself first. 

    Though we may try to be the best versions of ourselves, if we are focused on something else we cannot possibly be giving ourselves 100%. Try to remember a time where you have lost your phone, you’ve done the very best while being thorough and retracing your steps to find where it was last seen. You’re giving it your all to find that iPhone you cherish so much, then you give up and figure that you’ll never find it. What happens to your emotions? You get really upset, you may start to wallow and temporarily you may even be disappointed in yourself because you tried your best to find your beloved. Now let’s apply this to your search for your soul mate. You go on a couple dates, reassuring yourself that he or she is the “one.” Then when they reveal to you that they still live at home with their parents and aren’t really sure of what they want to do with their career, you start to fall perhaps into a minor sad state where your hopes were so high to match your already established career. This is the very reason why when you’re on your search for your soul mate it can really be draining and deplete the energy needed to be the best you!

    2. You may have a person that matches you perfectly, but they may be permanently friend zoned.

    You ask a person to describe their soul mate their responses typically go something like this, “He connects with me on all levels, he’s my perfect match.” Or “She is like the missing half of me, it’s like she looks into my soul.” Well my friends, what you have described may be a disaster because those qualities don’t indicate any source of individuality. If you describe your soul mate as your “twin” or other half you could also be describing a friend. Most of our friendships exists because they immediately connect with us and sometimes act as our twins. So please be aware that your perfect match doesn’t always have to be your next Husband or Wife! Sometimes the people who we feel the most connected to is there just to serve a specific purpose, not to give you your next 24 karat ring! #FACTS




    3. Life is not meant to be a fairy tale where as soon as a problem arises it’s fixed and the end stays happy forever.

    If you truly believe finding a soul mate will make your life the next fairy tale, please pinch yourself…twice. When was the last time you had a fight with your best friend? Did you not end up in an argument probably a few months down the line? If you truly believe finding the perfect guy will solve the repetitive pattern you’ve had with relationship qualms, you’re wrong. Fairy tales are meant to be just that, Fairy-Enchanted Tale-Myth.

    Arguments will come, and so will solutions! There is no Prince Charming or Princess Tiana in the world that will substitute the lessons learned from trials.

    4. With 7.5 billion people in the world how will you connect with them all on your tedious “search.”


    Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat does in fact help us connect with different people from all walks of the earth but there is no way we can possibly connect with them all! Some may say, “God will most likely put my soul mate in my vicinity.” Well, I may say something like, “So you’re gonna go out with every female in Brooklyn?” Most likely the answer is no. There are way too many people out there who are similar to us, that may even be our counterpart doppelganger. This does not change the fact that the entire nation is populated with over 7 billion potential “soul mates” that you would have to sift through to “find” yours. So stop looking, because if someone is meant for you, trust me, you won’t have to search.

    5. You may pass on great opportunities with connections if you’re too fixated on your soul mate.


    It’s simple. If you’re too focused on not dating that girl because she doesn’t have the same ethnic background as you, or that guy because he’s a janitor and not a lawyer, then you are limiting yourself! These people you may pass by, could be your next ticket to a billion dollar idea, but it won’t be your billion dollar idea because you refused to date or even network with them. Don’t ever be too fixated on finding your “soul mate.” They don’t really exist.


    So do you still believe soul mates exist? Let’s chat. Leave me a comment below.
    My name is Felicia, but almost everyone refers to me as Cia E. I love all things hair and can be considered a hairaholic. I dabble in hair styling and makeup unprofessionally from time to time. I'm a full time therapist and a full time enthusiast. I hope you enjoy the information I provide as you travel along this journey I call LIFE! Follow my blog at Nearly Hair.

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    Photo via nbcnews.com
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Like many, I have been following the Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones Senate race in Alabama. One minute, Democrat Doug Jones is ‘leading’ in polls in this state that Dems haven’t carried since 1992. Then two seconds later, Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexually assaulting multiple teenage girls when he was a grown ass man in his 30’s, starts looking like a shoe-in. How can this be? Well, we have to thank Conservative white women for that. Recent polls show that over 60% of white women support Roy Moore. These are the same women who threw their full support behind the Head P*ssy Grabber in Chief, Donald Trump. I’m looking at these women voting against themselves- in fact, one of the women who accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16, is a Republican who actually voted for Trump, and recently acknowledged that his support of Moore is disappointing- wondering if they got dropped on their heads when they were babies. Why are they voting like this?

    For the answer, I go straight to white women. Since I only know a hand-full, and none of them voted for Trump (at least, not openly), I have to ask my white female liberal friends. What follows is white female Liberal's take on the voting logic of Conservative white women... 

    So I turn to Facebook to reach out to Anne who lives in LA, and is originally from Boulder, Colorado. Anne has two bi-racial daughters, and her sister has bi-racial kids as well. When asked to explain the voting logic of Conservative white women Anne said,
    “Great question my friend! I am so far removed from anyone that would think like this. My guess is that it’s a brainwashed Southern thing.”
    So my next question is how did she grow up? She says that her family was very liberal.
    “We celebrated different cultures and ways of life and freedom to be. My mother was Quaker and my father came from a Christian background, but won’t touch religion with a 10-foot-pole. He’s more of a Spiritual poet.”
    It would explain Anne and her sister’s open-mindedness. Very interesting. But I still need to find out why white women keep voting for Pedophiles!

    I reach out to Nancy* from a mommy group I belong to here in Jersey City. This group mixes women from all types of different backgrounds, and a lot of them are politically active. Though Nancy says she can’t say 100 percent, she goes straight for what we might consider the obvious.

    “I think it all circles back to racism, but some not even intentional, meaning they aren't even aware that they are being racist. So you have your flat out racists who hear the dog-whistle comments and are totally thinking that THESE guys get it. They are going to make sure that they keep out those Mexicans and stop giving money to those welfare babies. Then there's this big portion- and I know this because I see people I knew in high school that really don't understand- who don't view themselves as racists. They do however completely suffer from white privilege. They are white, middle class, have never lived in an urban area, they love their black friends and co-workers (see, they have black friends so they aren't racist wink-wink), they are, however, finding it harder to stay middle class. There aren't as many jobs, their pay isn't increasing, they are struggling to keep up with the Jones's. All their lives they've voted Conservative. Their parents were in unions, they go to church, they've worked hard and have reaped the rewards. They haven't faced the same obstacles P.O.C. have. So they, in their bubble, don't understand how you didn't just work hard and get ahead. If you aren't, you’re just not trying hard enough. It's a formula that's always worked for them. Except now, it's not. They haven't yet put together that the Republican party isn't looking out for them. That it's their policies that have failed them. They are still thinking that if they stay with a Conservative party that the cream will rise to the top.”
    She also points to Conservative “Christian” values.
    “Good women are docile and support their men no matter what. Men can't control their impulses when women of ill repute tempt them. All bullshit, but I've heard this nonsense. Unless it’s happened to them, they think that a lot of women ask for it. It’s a complete disconnect from reality, but their bubble is safe.”
    She concludes by saying that she believes a lot of Christian white women will go down with the ship. 

    Photo via The Atlantic
    This idea that white Conservative white women have that they are somehow being 'protected' is echoed by Ang*, another mom from the mommy group. Ang says that she’s been trying to figure out why women in her demographic vote for nasty predators, but her guess is fear. 
    “Its fear of losing a way of life that they understand even though it may not serve them best, fear of losing the protection and support of their spouses who are voting for the embodiment of evil because that evil preserves their supremacy.”
    She goes on to compare it to a woman staying in an abusive relationship.
    “Maybe they hope that by throwing others under the bus they will be spared the same fate. White women are caught in this place between privileged and oppressed, andit’s easier to pretend that we are on the side of power than under the boot.”
    She then turns the question around to ask me if I know anyone who has voted against themselves?

    My answer is no. I don’t know any black women who supported Trump, and I hope that none I know would vote for a Roy Moore, however, I know people who still support Bill Cosby, though more than 50 women have accused him of some form of sexual assault. I know black women still flock to R. Kelly concerts though it’s well-known that he’s had sexual relations with minors, making him a Pedophile. There’s also Clarence Thomas. We could also do better, and hopefully as more women continue to come forward with their stories of assault (#metoo), we will stop supporting those who don't support us. Clearly, there is work to do, though this is not about comparing. As it relates to the Senate race taking place tomorrow in Alabama, it's anyone's guess what the outcome will be. But it will be a telling sign as to what direction women, at least Conservative and white, are heading.

    Do you think Conservative white women will turn the page anytime soon? 
    Erickka Sy Savané is a wife, mom, and managing editor of CurlyNikki.com. Based in Jersey, City, NJ, her work has appeared in Essence.com,Ebony.comMadamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram orErickkaSySavane.com

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    The "Holiday"& "Langston" Candle
    It's another Tuesday, another chance to win day!

    Wouldn't it be nice to fill your home with the scent of Billie Holiday or Langston Hughes? Imagine the inspiration it could bring...Well, all you have to do is tell us what you love about your work- whether you're in school, a stay-at-home mom, a social worker, teacher, blogger, or starting your own business- it's all good, just inspire us with what makes it so great! In return, we're giving away 4 candles from the amazing Harlem Candle Company! Good Luck!

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    Holiday 

    Billie Holiday started singing in nightclubs in Harlem in the 1930’s, and the world stopped and listened. Completely enthralled, her admirers nicknamed her “Lady Day” and worshipped every note that came from her lips. Billie wore signature white gardenias in her shiny black hair and had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing that is still evident today. The Holiday candle is inspired by Billie’s favorite perfume, Emeraude, an aromatic green blend of fresh Winter spruce, pine needles, mint-infused eucalyptus, fir balsam and spicy cedarwood developing into a feminine heart of ethereal blue hyacinth. Strong and full-bodied, yet fragile and dreamy… just like Lady Day. Sets a beautiful mood for holiday time and all year round.

    Langston 
    Jazz poet, playwright and storyteller of life Langston Hughes loved the energy of the street and all its characters. And what impassioned him most were the sidewalks of Harlem, an overflowing source of inspiration for his vibrant tales. He was the spin-doctor of the Harlem Renaissance, the man who saw the unified future of art, culture and social expression through multicolored lenses.

    The Langston candle celebrates his unwavering optimism and his creative vision with an accord reflecting some of the strong symbols in his life… the worn vintage leather of his favorite armchair, aromatic tobacco laced with a hint of clove and vanilla from the pipes of neighborhood men wafting through his open window, and the sweet ambery incense that recalls his many visits to churches in Mexico.

    Tell us what you like about your work in the comment section below and 4 lucky winners will be given either a Langston or Holiday candle from HarlemCandleCompany.com! They have THE BEST candles so by all means, check them out! Winners will be announced on Monday, December 18th! Good Luck! 

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    YoGurlJoJo 
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    So the other day, we ran out of deodorant. My 8-year-old, who loves youtube says, 'let's make some ourselves!' At first I'm all, is she crazy? Why do that when I can just buy it? Then she finds this video, and it all began to make so much sense. Regular deodorants have aluminum in them, which are known to cause disease, plus they cost more in the long run than getting these ingredients that you probably already have in your home. Think about it, let's keep that money and stay healthy! 

    Thanks JoJo


    Will you try it?



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    By Nikki Igbo

    On my mother’s side of the family tree, we can trace certain roots back to the 16th century. The lineage leads to a collection of nobles and landed gentry who had the power and resources to literally own people. Other than the discovery that Barack Obama and I share a common ancestor, I can’t say I’m thrilled with these revelations. As if anyone cares how these people relate to me. As if anyone would classify me as White or European because of it.

    I wanted to know about the people who gave me my Black identity so I decided to test my DNA.


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    When I first learned of Black celebs like Danny Glover and Forest Whitaker being able to trace their lineage back to their specific African origins, I wanted to learn my truth as well but I thought I’d have to get rich first and/or rob a bank. Luckily DNA testing has advanced considerably in capability and affordability. Taking advantage of today’s brave new world, I recently received my results.

    Turns out that my African ancestry accounts for 85% of my heritage. I’m 53% Nigerian and 13% Senegalese with some Bantu, Beninese and Togolese ties. Learning this about myself left me with some great emotional highs but also a few misgivings. After chatting with a fellow friend and writer, Afropunk editorialist Erin White, I found I wasn’t alone.

    PRO: Pride and joy in knowing.

    “The results made me want to purchase all sorts of things with the Cameroonian flag on it,” Erin said of her initial reaction to her 30% Cameroonian, 19% Beninese/Togolese, 17% Ivorian/Ghanaian heritage. I knew exactly what she was saying. I felt as if I’d gained entrance to an exclusive, elite membership—as if I’d learned I was heir to a great kingdom. And still that doesn’t quite describe my happiness. I am connected to Nigeria in marriage, motherhood and within my own blood. To think that the life I’ve built indicates that I somehow already knew brings me to tears every time I think about it.

    PRO: Seeing myself with new eyes.

    I am Nigerian. That feeling I got after I read 'Things Fall Apart' in third grade. My infatuation with egusi soup and jollof rice. My deep appreciation for language and storytelling. My obsession with entrepreneurship. The way strong family and community means everything to me. The way my rare periaucular sinuses match my husband, my in-laws and a whole lot of people in Afikpo. Yeah, that’s straight up Naija. My husband always told me to say “I’m Nigerian” whenever anyone asked my background. Until the test, I always felt the need to explain why I claimed to be Nigerian. “I’m from California, I’m African-American married to a Nigerian man, yadda.” I felt like I was perpetrating if I didn’t. These days I’m just waiting for the next person to ask me. I wonder how it will feel to say it then.

    PRO: The question mark ends with me. 

    I know. My sons will know and the rest of the world will know. My book is already in the works.

    ***

    CON: The adjustment of owning a newly-discovered heritage.

    “I felt a slight uneasiness over the implication of the presence of Whiteness in my DNA," Erin confided. “It’s still not totally clear to me what context these White people were ‘involved’ with my family, outside of being from two of my great grand-parents. Were these consensual interracial relationships near the turn of the 20th century? Doubtful.”

    That troubled me somewhat as well. 

    CON: The need to know more.

    I put off taking the test for a pretty lengthy amount of time because I wondered if I would be satisfied with simply knowing my ethnic makeup only. Before the test, I wondered about the language and dialect my ancestors spoke, the clothing they wore, the songs they sang, the recipes they loved, the way they braided or wrapped their hair, the witty little sayings and proverbs they passed down to each other.

    Erin noted, “Getting the results of your DNA test will likely lead to more questions, and that can be a lot of fun, but to get real answers, it can cost a lot of money, too.”

    For now, it’s enough for me to know this puzzle piece. I have a strong identity in being African-American. Nigerian-American. I don’t know how long it will take for me to get used to saying it, to get comfortable inside this marriage of histories...what I’ve gained in the knowledge, and the baggage I’ve lost.

    Have you gotten your DNA tested? If so, what were your feelings?
    Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.

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    By Jashia Wadehra

    It’s that time of year! The grocery shopping never ends and neither do the school bake sales, friendsgivings, secret Santa’s or gift exchanges.

    As a kid, I️ LOVED bringing my friends treats for every holiday and my birthday. And when money was tight and the $0.99 store was within walking distance, I️ learned to be resourceful. I’d start by hoarding my mom’s Trader Joe or other pretty grocery store bags post her shopping excursions. Then I’d make my way to the dollar store and pick up some standard thin glossy ribbon.

    This DIY craft project is perfect to do with the your kids during the holiday season, or even for various holiday events! This year I intend on making a handful and filling them with travel-sized toiletries for a local shelter- get creative! 



    How To:
    What you'll need: brown paper bag, ribbon, scissors, hole puncher!

    Step 1: 
    If you’re doing this project with your kids, perhaps whip out the safety scissors. I’d cut out two pieces of the bag in the shape of a stocking and proceed to hole punch around the perimeter of both pieces. The size of the stocking is entirely up to how much you intend on stuffing it with! 



    Step 2: 
    String your desired ribbon through and create little handles at the top. There you have it, adorable DIY reused Christmas treat stockings! Feel free to loop through with multiple colored ribbons for extra festiveness! 



    Step 3: 
    I️ love to stuff them with these vegan chocolate coconut truffles (recipe here!) or some little knick knacks for my nieces and nephews. If we’re being honest here, I️ have used them as adult party favors and they’re still a hit sooooooo, I’m just sayin.



    Do you do any arts and crafts with your kids for the holidays ? Share your projects with me in the comments !
    Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com

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    Photo via appforhealth.com
    By Winnie Gaturu

    It's holiday time, and you know what that means, LOTS OF FOOD! And it's not just ordinary food, it's the delicacies that make your mouth water just by the mention of their names. That's why most Americans end up gaining a pound or two during the festive period. Although this doesn't seem like much, most people don’t shed off the weight gained during the festive period. The pounds gradually keep piling up year-after-year. You don't have to fall for that trap any more. You can still enjoy all the delicious food without adding any extra pounds. Here's what you need to do.

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    Photo flickr.com
    Limit your Alcohol intake
    Alcohol and weight management don't go well together. First of all, alcoholic drinks are full of calories which we often ignore. This means that alcohol has its own share of calories you should look out for. Secondly, alcohol lowers your self-control when it comes to eating. You might find yourself going for seconds and thirds when you're intoxicated. So stay away from alcohol or limit your alcohol intake during the holidays.

    Focus on having fun
    There's much more to holidays than food. It is time to catch up with friends and family and have some fun. This holiday season, focus on having fun instead of directing all your energy on food. Dance, talk, laugh and move around. Make sure you have a great time. Engaging yourself in many activities will automatically make you eat less food while also burning some calories. Simply enjoy yourself and have a great time.



    Stay away from the food

    Seriously! Stay away from the food especially at holiday parties. Your proximity to it makes it easier to binge eat. It's always safe to stay as far as possible from the kitchen or the table where the food is. To make this more manageable, ensure that you don't attend a holiday party while hungry. Always eat some food or a nutritious snack to make it easier for you to manage your eating habits. You can also drink a glass of water beforehand just to fill up your stomach a bit.

    Balance in the proteins and fiber

    Holiday meals are full of carbs which translates to a lot of calories. With this in mind, you should make a conscious decision to eat more protein and fiber rich foods. Good sources of protein include poultry, legumes, fish and red meat. You can get fiber from legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. For every serving of carbs you eat, ensure you eat a serving or two of proteins and fiber. Eating proteins automatically reduces the amount of calories you eat by increasing the levels of appetite-reducing hormones to reduce appetite and also increases your metabolism. On the other hand, fiber induces fullness thus making you eat less.

    Pick a smaller plate

    Always pick a small plate whenever possible especially at a buffet. This means that you'll need less food to fill your plate hence making you eat less. Choosing a smaller plate makes it easier to control your portions easily. You'll be able to enjoy your meal without overindulging yourself with the calories. If you can't find a smaller plate, use your best judgement to estimate food portions that are appropriate for you.



    Manage your stress levels
    Holidays can be really stressful, especially if you're organizing and hosting parties. You have to find a way to keep those stress levels down. Research has shown that stress prompts the increase of a hormone called cortisol in the body. Cortisol has been linked to triggering high appetite and cravings which lead to overeating and weight gain. Some of the things you can do to control your stress levels include deep breathing, meditation, yoga and exercise.

    Make your own food

    If you want to control the calories during the holiday season, make your own food as often as you can. Although it might be more convenient to buy boxed mashed potatoes and other processed holiday foods, they contain unhealthy fats and excess sugar. These are definitely not good for you if your aim is weight management. Instead of the boxed food, focus on making your own meals from scratch so that you can control the ingredients and stay on top of your weight.

    Following these tips will help you avoid gaining extra pounds during the holidays. However, it is normal to slip up once or twice. The important thing is not to give up and get back on track even after you let your guard down.


    What do you do to help you control your weight during the holidays?
     https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DnsMSFjLFNw/We9aV3iBeiI/AAAAAAAADII/F9HbMPX6PfYe6aCJqc-eDi3Wgmu41YE4wCLcBGAs/s1600/Winnie%2BG..jpg
    Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.

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    By Kanisha Parks

    Self-care is a topic that is becoming increasingly popular throughout social media, and I’m all the way here for it. As black women, self-care is something we often put on the backburner, if we even make time for it at all. We’re caregivers and caretakers—strong, hard-working, mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, and friends. We’re out here grinding, trying to build something we can be proud of. Some of us wear so many hats, it’s a wonder we ever get any sleep, let alone find the time to give even a few minutes to ourselves.



    As a single woman, self-care is no less important than it would be if you were in a relationship. This is the time for you—getting to know you, improving you, accepting and loving yourself for who you are and all that you have to offer. When you don’t have a significant other or children to care for, it may seem you should have more time to embrace self-care but that isn’t necessarily the case. We all have responsibilities, some greater than others, and someone or something is constantly beckoning for our attention (even social media!).


    But as you endeavor to be your best self, it starts with you. Aside from the immediate gratification, self-care has several benefits that affect your life as a whole:


    1. Self-care helps reinforce your self-esteem. 
    As a single woman, you have to take care of yourself. I mean, who else is going to do it? But what’s more is, before getting involved in a relationship, it’s important to have a firm foundation of self. Incorporating self-care into your daily routine only serves to reinforce your self-esteem, making you less likely to pursue a relationship for the wrong reasons—such as, validation. Self-care is a way of reminding yourself that you are important, you are enough, and you deserve to be treated as such. Ultimately, you’ll be less likely to settle for anything other than being treated like the Queen you are!

    Alex Elle, a writer and self-care advocate, shares: 
    “Sometimes it feels easier to let others do our hard work for us. But at the end of the day, learning how to lean into our self-love, stand tall in our self-care, and understand that we too are capable of loving ourselves just as hard as an outsider may, we have to show up. We have to do the work and become self-aware. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when we don’t want to. No one can love you like you can. Outside love validation feels good, it’s needed sometimes. But that internal self-acceptance matters. Learning how to love yourself when no one is looking or there to say “good job” is necessary as you journey through life. Don’t let the fear of facing your truth stop you from showing up for yourself in the way you deserve.”
    2. You’ll be better equipped to handle your relationships. 
    Outside of romantic relationships, we all have multiple relationships in our lives with our families, friends, and those we work with. Even though self-care is first and foremost for you, the act of caring for yourself (or not taking care of yourself) directly affects those around you. “Putting yourself first" is a concept that we’ve been taught to deem as selfish, when it’s actually an act that shows you’re considerate of your relationships. You will be less irritable, stressed, short, and sarcastic when you’ve had time to reflect, release, and regroup. That’s what self-care does for you.


    3. When you try multiple forms of self-care, you’ll know what appeals to you. There are so many self-care practices. In fact, TinyBuddha.comhas a list of 45 practices for the mind, body, and soul. It could be something as simple as taking a relaxing bath instead of a quick shower, cloud-watching, praying, or writing. Self-care is all about being intentional when life is constantly beckoning for your attention to do something else.


    So spend time with you. Make self-care a habit, not a chore. Discover new practices that make you feel loved, refreshed, and at peace. Know yourself, love yourself, and cherish self-care in your singlehood.


    Do you take time for self-care?

    Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at kanishaparks@gmail.com 

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    By Jashima Wadehra

    Fine lines and wrinkles ? I’m all too familiar.
    Thanks to hours in front of my laptop and years of atopic eczema and variations of chronic dermatitis, I, in my early 20’s, suffer from fine under eye lines and wrinkly lids. While I have yet to find a cure for this, I have found a home remedy that has decreased the depth, visibility and reoccurrence of my wrinkles!

    Tell your man or woman to get you some ROSES because baby, you’re going to need a bouquet!



    You heard me! Roses! You may have seen and tried rose water as a skin toner or aromatic setting spray but have you tried rose hip seed oil?

    Rose contains vitamin A which help promote new skin cells and tightening. I discovered this remedy when I was tired of applying immunosuppressants and steroids to my skin for the eczema and retinol for the wrinkles. The sun sensitivity, inflammation and redness were more unsightly than the root cause itself!

    Oils tend to find their way from our faces into our hair lines...I have found that rose hip seed absorbs without leaving a greasy residue unlike other oils, and it doesn't agitate my skin like coconut oil does.

    The best part is the scent is very subtle. It does not have an overwhelming rose scent at all.



    Here is one of my favorite brands Majestic Pure Rosehip Oil for Face, Nails, Hair and Skin, Pure & Natural, Cold Pressed Premium Rose Hip Seed Oil, 4 oz.

    Stay patient and persistent. Results for me started to show around day 10. This has been a constant part of my skincare routine for about 3 months!

    This won’t eradicate your lines, but it will definitely help! Ain’t nothing wrong with aging gracefully..... I’m just trying to, you know, put it on layaway?!

    Have you tried rose hip oil for wrinkles?


    Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com

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    Photo: Olushola Bashorun
    By Lenora Houseworth

    The year of 2017 has been a doozy, no doubt. From the ever-exhausting, ridiculous excuse for a President, rampant sexual assault scandals, to the numerous crimes against humanity, Black women have been the silent bright spot in an otherwise dark socio-political landscape. 


    Recently an article published on ABCNews.com asserted black women have a newfound “hope” after the news of Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry. Now I won’t go into here why that is an extremely flawed (Read: wack) argument, but I will say personally my only real takeaway from the article was that the struggling, desperate, unloveable black woman narrative is tired, overdone and quite frankly FALSE. 
    Do we still get paid 64 cents to every dollar a white male gets? Yep.
    Do we still hold less than 2% of senior leadership positions in major corporations? Yep.
    Do we still have to work twice as hard as a double minority for the same recognition and success compared to our white counterparts? Yep.
    Yet, and still we thrive.

    This year more than ever before, proved the power, resilience and brilliance of black women in every area of society, and I loved watching every minute of it. Both in my inner circle and beyond, black women are creating, flourishing and fighting like only we know how despite all of the societal and institutional roadblocks, all while staying moisturized and melanated. 

    To that, I have compiled a list showcasing that indeed #BlackGirlMagic is real and dispelling a few myths about the current condition of African-American women. 

    Photo via daremebeautiful
    1. For the first time in American history, Black women are the most educated group in the country according to the National Center for Education Statistics despite major wage gap inequalities. 




    2. We continuously fight against injustice using our vote. With more than 95% voting against morally corrupt talking heads likes Donald Trump and Roy Moore, black women prove repeatedly we are a political force. 


    Vi Lyles
    3. Along with that, we are breaking political ceilings. From Charlotte North Carolina's first Black woman mayor, Vi Lyles, to New Jersey’s first Black Lieutenant mayor Sheila Oliver, black women are changing history.



    4. Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs adding an estimated 340,000 jobs to the U.S. economy since 2007 thus helping revive a struggling American economy.




    5. We start movements that dispel the stigma of sexual violence. A decade before hashtags and celebrity support, Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement to tackle sexual predators head on.


    Letoya Luckett & husband Tommicus Walker
    6. Black woman are in love and getting married. According to census data, 75% of Black women are getting married before 35 with more than 80% of educated, established black men marrying black women. 




    Founders of the Black Lives Matter movement- From left: Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi. | Ben Baker for Politico Magazine/Redux Pictures

    7. Black women fight and protest relentlessly for human rights and the disenfranchised.

    What moment in 2017 made you most proud of African-American women? Tell us below! 

    Lenora Houseworth-Weston is a social media strategist and writer based in Jersey City, NJ by way of the Windy City. Her work has been seen in places such as Yahoo.com, Glaad.org and BlackEnterprise.com. Jay-Z lyrics and avocados are her life. Follow her adventures on Instagram @LenoraSheWrote!

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    By Tiffy Kink

    I didn’t really grow up in the most “Sex Positive” household. In fact, I remember the “The Sex Talk” being very brief. I was never formally introduced to masturbation. I imagined it would have been quite an awkward conversation to have with my parents in the first place. So when I discovered that masturbation was called “Masturbation,” I had no idea that I had already been doing it for years. Now that I think about it, I didn’t really have a word for what I was doing. All I knew was that it made me feel good.

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    It wasn’t until I saw how others (specifically those in the black community) viewed masturbation that I began to feel a bit self-conscious about what I was doing. I felt guilty. As if I were committing a crime every time I rubbed one out. Then I came to an exciting realization: Almost everyone has masturbated at some point and time in their lives and those who look down upon the practice may have already had those thoughts installed into their minds from young. So let’s talk about some misconceptions about masturbation that you may have heard, and why you should ultimately try it at least once.

    1.If you have to Masturbate, it’s because you can’t find someone to sleep with you.
    Masturbation in most cases has nothing to do with others and is more so about pleasuring the self rather than another person. Let's face it, sex is everywhere. Finding someone to sleep with in this day and age is not a hard task. Masturbation is reserved for those who want to do it. Partner or no partner.

    2.Your partner won’t be able to please you if you masturbate too much.
    This is a load of BS. Masturbation is about discovering what makes you feel good, so you can communicate that to your partner. Of course it’s a given that the more you do it, the better you become at giving yourself an orgasm. It makes sense doesn’t it? I mean, how can you pleasure others if you don’t know what pleases you? Let’s also talk about the fact that not every woman has the ability to orgasm from sexual penetration, and a wide majority of women usually find their climax through different methods. The most popular being clitoral stimulation.

    3.You are weird and pathetic if you own sex toys. 
    Sex toys aren’t pathetic, they're pleasure enhancing tools. During my senior year in high school, I started to think about the day I would be able to purchase my first sex toy. I wasn’t vibrator crazy or anything. I was still a virgin who had made a conscious decision that losing my virginity in high school wasn’t the experience I wanted to have. I believed when the time was right, it would happen. Till then, I could get myself off.

    4.You’re going to hell if you masturbate.
     How do I say this nicely without insulting someone? Oh wait, I can’t. The issue with these “Holier than thou” types is more complicated than you think. These individuals think for some strange reason they are entitled to issue judgment on those who deviate from the “norm” when it comes to sex and religion. I would like to additionally note that masturbation is not considered a deviant act and does not make you a “Freak.”

    In short, masturbation is not “wrong” or “sinful.” We as Women of Color are severely underserved when it comes to the topic of sex. Masturbation is one of those things we keep on the hush hush and we have suffered tremendously from it. We are having less orgasms, many of us don’t know how to articulate ourselves in the bedroom and we feel guilt towards having desires that are not only normal, but a part of human nature.

    Am I trying to convince you to masturbate every day? Of course not. I think any woman that has any negative feelings or views towards masturbation should sit down and have a conversation with themselves on why the idea of self-pleasure is so bothersome. Masturbation is not a guilty pleasure. Its pleasure, its self-love, it’s your time to be selfish because you deserve it.

    Do you feel guilty about masturbation? 


    About Tiffy
    Tiffy kink is a New York based Sex Blogger whose goal is to spread sex positivity and break down barriers for the sexually deprived and repressed through her blog posts and sex toy reviews where she not only talks about her interactions with sex and masturbation, but she also introduces her readers to body-safe sex toys and advice.
    If you like what you’ve read and would like to see more, visit her blog Aquakink.com
    Follow her on Twitter @Theaquakink

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    By Jashima Wadehra

    My first experience of what I️ like to call “innocent, unintentional racism” was when I️ was 15 at my very first job. I️ lived in Arizona, and despite the excruciating heat and palm trees decorated with lights I️ was determined to invoke a little NYC Christmas spirit into my life. I️ decided my first job would be as an Elf on the Santa set at the mall. It was great, my boss let us work as much as we could, we snuck pretzels under the register, children screamed, vomited and snotted on me, and overworked and underpaid parents screamed at me but I️ loved it.

    One day, during a busy Saturday evening, I️ stood in my red apron guiding the kids to Santa and placing them on his lap. As one child is up next, I️ hear him telling his mother that he knows that this is not the real Santa and that she’s lying. The mother, doe-eyed asked, “Well, honey why on earth do you think he’s not Santa,” and the sweet boy responds, “Because Santa don’t have brown elves!”

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    I literally start laughing out loud, and had to contain myself given the other customers, but this poor woman was mortified and mouthing, “I’m so sorry.” I️ shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well I’ve never seen one either, we are a rare breed.”
    It occurred to me that in every Hallmark movie and Christmas story I️ read in the last 20 years, I️ have never once seen a brown Santa, or brown or black elves. No color. While we make strides in integrating people of color into mainstream adolescent and adult media, we don’t nearly put enough emphasis on integration and influences for children.This little boy did not now any better. He did not think less of me, he had just never seen a brown elf! He probably never even saw a tan, white one either.

    We always say that children don’t see color. The problem is they do when it comes to recognizing that no one looks like them in notable roles. When I was young shows like Barney and Cyberchase had fairly diverse casts, they encouraged the same things as religiously rooted pieces do, good manners, love, peace and giving. Even a show like Caillou featured a little boy with cancer, so if we integrate other life issues or help normalize certain occurrences, why don't we normalize color?

    Given that holidays are religiously affiliated one could assume that if you don't practice said religion, you need not worry. I, however, believe these holidays are also a cultural statement and I intend on raising my kids with the knowledge that every role in life comes in color, naturally. If we teach our kids that all people are created equal and that there is no hierarchy then shouldn't we instill that in EVERY aspect of life? I was not offended by the lack of representation, but rather sad that there was such marginal change between my childhood exposure to color in media and this little boy’s several years later. My kids will celebrate Diwali, Christmas and anything else we see fit, but they’ll know people come in all shapes, sizes and colors. 


    Do you find that kid's media is still lacking color representation?

    Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com

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  • 12/15/17--10:02: Lets Talk About Rape, Baby

  • By Brittney M. Walker

    He raped me.
    Well, I was under the influence. Plus, I was being extremely flirtatious.
    But he was sober. Older. Much older. Married. Has three nearly grown kids.
    I took off my panties in the back seat of the car, though.
    It was an invitation. An invitation.
    He's a man. Why would he refuse it?
    But I wasn't myself. I was high. Higher than I've ever been.
    He drugged me.
    I asked for it.
    He took pictures of my vagina.
    He said I told him to.
    I performed oral sex on him.
    He said I demanded it.
    I trusted him.

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    I meet up with a friend who has been experimenting with cannabis infusion recipes for dinner parties. As I am gearing up to launch my business, we discuss creating an immersive experience around cannabis cooking. So, we schedule a date to chat and test out product.

    My friend is a chef and owner of a high end catering service. His clients are those bougie white people that talk about art and fashion around long rectangular tables while scandalously slathering themselves with gossip about the host on the other side of the room.

    We meet up at his house, where he imparts the first recipe - espresso with cannabis infused coconut oil. There's some nutmeg and other fun ingredients in there too. But before receiving my first sample, I share a marvelous prologue about how this would be my first time consuming cannabis this way and that I was basically a baby to the whole herb thing, despite being from Los Angeles. I smoked my first blunt as I was edging out of my 20s. Take it easy, is what I told him. I don't want to be high all day.

    As I drank the infused coffee concoction, he shared another sample of his work, an infused goat cheese stuffed date. I didn't like it. Too rich.

    Our plan is to meet at his house, then carpool to our destination city, four hours away. This trip is an exploratory journey to discuss business, ideas etc, etc.

    About an hour into the journey, I feel something. He told me at the beginning I had about that amount of time before it kicked in.

    Almost immediately after noticing the cannabis had activated in my system, I become very anxious. I start panicking, but only in my head. My imagination runs wild and the internal dialogue is erratic. I even become severely sad and scared that I'd be high for the rest of my life.

    The day goes on. Most of it I don't remember. I am scheduled to see a relative during the day when we reach the destination city, but somehow it grew dark and I am still with my friend.

    I remember going to a restaurant where we have a few mimosas. We sit close to each other. I am giggly. He says we kissed. But I am not attracted to him.

    I remember getting to the car, his. I sit down in the front passenger seat and then climb to the back. I don't know why. I tear off my panties. He joins me in the back.

    I remember a few distinct things back there: His dick is out. I suck it. I stop suddenly.

    The next I remember, we arrive to my relative's house. I don't know how in my insobriety I am able to remember how to find her address and direct him there.

    I can remember feeling a sense of relief and joy to see family. We all sit in the kitchen and talk and eat his infused scallops. I speak loudly, like a drunkard.

    I pass out on the couch, tired from the day. He leaves.

    The next morning, I wake before the sun comes up. I don't feel high, but I feel I have a terrible hang over. I don't want to move, afraid the feeling will come back. But I have to pee.

    I am dizzy, frustrated, unable to see clearly. I fall twice. Hit my head and pass out in the bathroom. I somehow wake up before anyone could find me there. I manage to get back to my couch palate before sunrise.

    I feel miserable. I feel like I was accidentally resurrected from the dead. My revival wasn't done properly. Whoever performed the ritual skipped a line in the spell.

    My friend is my ride home. I don't really want to go with him, but I don't really know why. On the way back we stop, stroll on a harbor, sit and chat. He pulls out his phone and asks me if I remember what happened the day before. He shows me pictures of my bare ass in the air between two seats over a car’s center consul; there is my naked, unshaven vagina, my squinty eyes and sloppy smile. Unable to give a proper reaction, my stomach quietly knots inside of me. I feel exposed, violated, confused, wondering how this happened, why it had, if we had sex, if I was pregnant, if he wore protection.

    He laughs as he swipes through the pictures, his head in my lap like a lover. I am uncomfortable with all of this. I don't want him. I never did. But he's my ride home.

    After getting back to my rented Brooklyn bedroom within an eyesore of a dilapidated brownstone owned by an older woman, I sit silently, listlessly staring at the ceiling, out the window, at the blank wall, trying to understand or forget everything. He says we didn't have sex, but I asked for "the dick."

    He says I am lucky I was with someone I could trust. He says I was in good hands.

    --------

    I confront him months later.

    He never apologizes for his actions, says that it was a consensual stream of sexual events. His language convinces me he knows his actions were indeed an amalgamated violation. He speaks as if premeditated, a lawyer coached his words. He says sorry I feel violated, but is firm he did nothing wrong. He says he wasn't exactly sober either, as his 6'4", nearly 300 pound self had consumed two mimosas that day.

    I share this story, in a more crass, matter of fact way with my audience in my blog. My story is nearly void of feelings and reflections, as if to simply tell a story. The reactions from young women were particularly disturbing, as most only laughed at my recount of events, somehow ignoring the rape that occurred. I thought maybe it was the way the story was told. But men, the few that did respond, however, showed concern, asking if I was okay, using the word rape, despite me never mentioning the word.

    I, in fact, strayed from the term because using it seemed to violate the experiences so many other people have had. The penetration, the violent nature of it, the lifelong trauma. Besides, I don't want to be yet another statistic, dirtied by something like rape.

    While I had not been beaten or even forced physically to do anything, I realized that in my insobriety I was taken advantage of, easily coaxed into acts that I wouldn't normally perform, except with a lover, someone who I had primed, grown with in some capacity. He was a friend. Social. Someone with whom I'd be doing business. I never shared any words that alluded to attraction. I had even invited him to dinner with a boyfriend and me once.

    It was a guy friend of mine who used the word via text. It stood out like a scarlet letter on my tiny iPhone 5s screen "RAPE." The other words he sent didn't exist. I think someone else had implied the idea once. But he wrote it out plainly. I was forced to sit with this reality.

    I had been raped.

    Do you believe that most women tend to blame the victim?

    Brittney M. Walker is a journalist based out of New York. She writes on social justice issues within the Black community, travel, business, and a few other topics. These days she’s focusing on holistic living through experiences and storytelling via her blog, Unapologetically Brittney M. Walker.

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    KeKe
    Naturally Glam- the reboot- is back and we're putting you in the spotlight! Up this week is certified hairstylist and instructor Ikea- aka- KeKe! Styling for over 17 years, this DC woman who spent most of her childhood in Georgia, knows a thing or two about expressing her creativity through innovative hair styles. Check out some of her most creative looks and find out why being natural is a lifestyle!

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    How long have you been natural?
    Everything about my lifestyle has been natural for as long as I can remember. My mom was the headwrap Queen everywhere we lived so you can get an idea of what type of household I was raised in. She taught me to be a forward thinking, self-loving naturalista through her actions; not just her words. I can attribute much about my personality and style to her powerful influence. She never put chemicals in my hair. She let me try getting it pressed out once when I was about 9, but she burned my forehead so bad, that I never asked her to do it again, lol. It wasn't till I was 16 years old that I attempted to give straight hair another try. I had already been renting a booth for 2 years, in a local salon, as a braider. In addition to braiding though, I also had a chance to learn from the master stylists working around me. With their help, I figured I could make this "perm" thing work- despite all the horror stories I had heard. Long story short, my hair was "technically" healthy for all of 1 year. The additional "perm" year I endured was spent trying to save my poor over-processed lifeless hair. So after my high-school graduation, I decided to ditch the creamy crack and go-BACK natural. Our hair is SO much stronger in its natural state. In my humble opinion, altered hair is often weaker and much more fragile.

    Hair styles by KeKe
    What do you do and why do you love it?
    My entire career has been about promoting healthy resilient hair for all ethnicities. My clientele includes men, women and children from all demographics. My specialties are textured hair and braiding, but I provide all other types of styling as well. I love to create unorthodox styles using my own specialized techniques, mixed media and rare colors.

    Do you have any favorite black-owned products?
    As for black-owned products, growing up, I favored the usual classic brands like Creme of Nature, Dudley's, and Luster's pink oil moisturizer...but since completing Trichology training (Trichology is the study of the conditions and diseases of the human hair and scalp), I've realized that healthy hair is about more than just using products simply because they are made by people that look like you. Now to clarify, supporting black-owned businesses is nothing new to me. My mother raised me around positive figures with pro-black dispositions, so I've been hip to the power of the Black dollar for quite some time. With that being said though, the brand that I prefer to use on myself, all my family members, and that I recommend to all my clientele is Monat. They provide all natural, anti-aging haircare product systems that rectify a wide range of hair and scalp issues, such as the many forms of alopecia, Psoriasis, eczema, thinning, shedding, split ends, curl management, etc. The list goes on and on. It's just really good for natural black hair textures, as well as other textures, which is why I became a market partner within the company. My Trichology instructor once described beauty supply store products as "band-aids," able to calm the symptoms of the true problems. These days, I've focused my attention more on finding the "cures." Nothing at all against any entrepreneurs killing it in the beauty industry right now, but the unprecedented results I've seen from Monat speak for themselves. I like to recommend Talia Waajid and Design Essentials products as well :-)

    What's the best part about what you do?
    I am a hair restoration specialist and I absolutely love what I do! There is no greater feeling than to share a client's progress with them. I live for time-lapse "reveal" days and being bombarded with questions about hair health. Many stylists aren't receptive to questions, and don't share brand or up-keep knowledge with clients from what I hear. I try my hardest everyday to be the opposite of that. I'm an open-book with my clients and anyone who'd like help achieving their optimal hair goals. 


    Has having natural hair contributed to you meeting your life goals? 
    Having natural hair has definitely contributed to me meeting my life goals so far ;-). I'm a walking billboard. My quirky, game-changing hair styles that are floating around on social media were first tested on myself. I couldn't attempt even a portion of the styles I’ve done without having the resilience of natural hair. Also, I love the look on the faces of other women of color, when they see the eclectic styles and colors I mash together. Many (if not all) tell me, they never would've imagined my styles on dark-skinned women. I WANT TO CHANGE THAT!

    What's been the best part of your natural hair journey and what hair advice do you give other women?
    The best part of my hair journey has been the experience and expertise I've gained over the years, that I can share with other people.

    The most rewarding thing to me, about styling is, the creative freedom. Ideas are constantly blooming in my head and I feel really lucky to have the open-minded type of clientele to unleash them on. I love creating trends.

    The best hair advice I can give to women is: please take care of your mind and your body. Stress is the #1 hair killer outside of dehydration. It short circuits the hair follicles, essentially frying them from the root- aka- the quickest way to hair loss. As for your body, drink Alkaline water. Alkaline water neutralizes acidity and inflammation within the body. 90% of what's happening to your hair is because of imbalances WITHIN the body.

    THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity to share my opinions!!!

    Keep up with KeKe on her instagram @rebel_svage

    ***************
    If you'd like to be featured in Naturally Glam- whether you live here or abroad- submit your photos to naturallyglam@curlynikki.com and answer these questions!

    1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural?
    2) Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
    3) What do you do and why do you love it?
    5) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, a job in a field you'd like to talk about, have initiatives and organizations you'd like to highlight, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
    6) How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem?
    7) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?

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    Last night was amazing! Thank you D.C. for coming out (in the snow ❄️ ) to my first #BeHerNow Workshop. Thank you for being open to the experience. Thank you for speaking your truth. Thank you for allowing me to speak mine. The energy in the room was absolutely powerful and I hope you’re loving and living from that presence today. I love you all and can’t wait to do it again!

    Continue!>>>
    More pics to come!

    Thank you @photographybysimo for the 📸 and for your tireless work setting everything up! Invaluable.

    Thanks @allisonfaxbeauty for the beat! You have a beautiful soul. Pics to come!!!!