So many of us are afraid of failure, so much so that we come up with the most ridiculous excuses as to why we can’t or won’t do whatever it is that we “claim” we want to do. “Oh, it doesn’t feel like the right time; I don’t have enough money; I’m already too stressed out; My schedule is already hectic; I don’t feel like I’ll have enough support.” No matter how you put it an excuse is an excuse. We tend to use excuses when we are afraid. But why? Why is failure such a big bad scary thing? It’s literally something that everyone goes through. The problem is that too much of the time we look at failure as a negative outcome when it should be viewed as motivation and inspiration to move forward. Failure builds character, failure increases wisdom, failure is necessary, failure is inevitable, but last but not least failure is your friend. We have to start embracing every challenge or obstacle along the way in order to reach that final goal. Several times in life I’ve heard the saying “rules are meant to be broken”, well I’m not sure if I agree with that completely but what I do believe is that “lessons are meant to be learned”; but how can you do that without going forward with your plan? Ummm yeah, you kinda can’t! So even if/when your plan doesn’t turn how you imagined it to just take it as a learning experience and simply try again. DO NOT let failure defeat you. Why are you letting failure stop you to starting or finishing something? If you didn’t fail did you even really try? Just because you failed once or hell maybe even a few times doesn’t mean that you can’t try again. Relax, take it back to the drawing board, make a note of what’s working and what has played a role into the failure, revise, implement new ideas, seek out advice from others in your field, smile and try again. Success does NOT happen overnight although it may seem that way these days, especially on social media. Take those chances, learn those lessons, gain that wisdom, and don’t give up! Do yourself a favor and befriend failure; I would even say anticipate it but change your perspective, remain determined and learn to enjoy your journey!
Black charcoal masks are the internets latest skin-care trend, but when I tell you that they really live up to the hype please believe me! Unless you’ve been lost in the Himalayas there’s no way you haven’t seen a picture or a video involving the infamous black charcoal facial mask. These trendy masks are known for giving your skin an instant glow and detoxing your top layers of skin but, the benefits go wayyy beyond just a little glow. Black charcoal masks help to remove acne-causing dirt that gets clogged in your pores, they exfoliate the skin (removing old dead skin cells when you peel it off), and they also regulate and balance oil secretion of your skin. They are very vital to my personal skin care regime, so much so that I’ve created my own version of black charcoal masks. My version is fresh, 100% natural, it’s also fun and easy to make! Sure you can go out and buy a pack of it already made but you never know how long it’s been sitting on that shelf & don’t forget about all the extra ingredients they include to extend that shelf life. Now I don’t know about you but I’d rather fully know what I’m putting both on and in my body. If I can’t read the ingredients 9/10 I will not purchase it lol. But anyway below you will find my ingredient list along with instructions on how to make and use the mask and also how to preserve the leftovers!
Activated charcoal powder (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make), Aztec or bentonite clay (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make), one pinch of baking soda (one pinch per mak you plan to make), apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make), coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make)
How to make the masks:
- In a medium bowl (glass preferably) mix in charcoal powder and baking soda
- Pour in ACV and oil, mix together well
- Mix in clay
- Mix for about 60 seconds
- Let mask settle and thicken
How to apply to the masks:
- Wash hands and fash (use a gentle soap-free cleanser)
- Pat face dry
- Apply mask by even spreading it all over your face (be careful to avoid eyebrows and hairline)
- Allow mask to dry and tighten (15-20 mins)
- Start peeling the mask off (upwards) at lower cheek or jawline
- Wipe face with a lukewarm rag to remove leftover particles
- Pat face dry
- Moisturize face
How to preserve the masks:
If you have leftovers scoop them into a ziplock bag and put them in the refrigerator. Can’t be kept in fresh for up to 3 weeks. If the mask is too thick, add a 1/2 teaspoon of lukewarm water and squish around until it softens to desired texture.
SN: These masks can be a great way to bond with your spouse, family, or friends, having a spa or self-care day at home! Make the masks together, apply them together, laugh at how silly you look, laugh at the screams and looks on each other faces when taking them off (won’t lie sometimes they get super tight and hard to peel off…haha), just enjoy a nice simple time with those that you love! Oh and don’t forget to moisturize afterward 🙂
The accounts you follow online play a lot into your mental health whether you notice it or not! Following friends and family is the norm but when you start following mostly celebrities and gossip sites you’re opening your world up to a bunch of negativity, including anger, jealousy, discouragement, depression, & anxiety just to name a few. And yeah sure you can feel those emotions without being on social media however you have a greater chance of being affected the more that you’re online. Think about it, every time you log on you’re seeing these negative posts focused on embarrassing or exposing a celebrity (who are people with feelings too smh), posts about some BS “lose weight quick” products, a bunch of unhealthy “good looking” foods being posted, people engaging in unnecessary drama, people constantly bullying and shaming each other, and don’t even get me started on the comment section of almost any social media platform 🤦🏾♀️. Let’s all just take a moment to evaluate who we’re following online, unfollow or remove all of the negative and start following more pages that are uplifting. When I first followed @Plantbasedvibes (Twitter) & @greenwithin (Instagram) she made such a difference in my day! Her posts are not the super corny typical motivation “do the right thing” type of posts. She posts about relatable everyday type of situations, delicious plant-based food pictures, and recipes, mental & physical health tips, & she’s constantly reminding us to drink water and to be nice. Her focus is for the betterment of people and that’s the type of positivity and encouragement I like to see on my timeline. She interacts with her followers, gives us the best advice, and even gives out goodies from time to time (free food…yum). She’s based in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area, yet she has helped to encourage & motivate people from all over the country and even some across the world! If you aren’t already following her then please do now, her page is such a breath of fresh air & I actually look forward to seeing her posts whenever I’m online.
Before we get started…question! Have you really heard anyone pronounce tomato like “tomahto”? Yeah me neither lol. But no matter how you pronounce it, nothing can take away from the savory, tangy, deliciousness of this lovely “fruit” we call the tomato! Thanks to tomatoes we have pizza, pasta sauces, better salads, chunky chili, and several delicious dips, just to name a few things! But I have to be honest here for a quick second, growing up I could NOT stand tomatoes lol. Aside from ketchup, I would not eat anything with tomatoes in it. But as I grew older somehow my taste buds started to evolve and I can now happily say that I love them, mostly cooked though; I still can’t eat too many raw lol smh but hey baby steps right? After giving them a second chance I realized that they can be used in many ways and I thought it’d be cool to share a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them along with detailed recipes! Click the link below 😋
- Spicy pico de gallo & tortilla chips
- Creamy tomato & sweet basil pasta sauce
- Fried green tomatoes with vegan ranch
- Stewed tomato spinach grits
- Ricotta tomato toast (can be made vegan)
As I always say natural is the best way to go when attempting to get improved results from troublesome skin. And I encourage you to exhaust every natural option there is before going over to the dark side (toxic chemical filled products), whether it gets prescribed to you from a doctor or it’s something from the cosmetic aisle at Walmart. Give nature an opportunity to heal you before you go out spending unnecessary money on products that may not even work and have horrible side effects. Peroxide is one of the oldest methods in the books for treating acne yet it’s not really what comes to mind when you think of skin-care. When one thinks of peroxide they think of healing a wound or an infection but if you think about it that’s what pimples/bumps/acne are. Or at least one waiting to happen, infections are caused by bacteria & viruses and acne just so happens to be a build-up of bad bacteria trapped underneath your skin. So just as you would use peroxide for a cut on your leg to avoid infection you should do that same for the blemishes on your face. By just simply wiping your face with a hydrogen peroxide soaked cotton ball twice a day, morning and night you will start to notice the reduced number of new breakouts and less visibility of oil on your face. Be sure to only get the peroxide that is 3% hydrogen, anything higher will burn your skin. You should also be cautious that peroxide can have a drying effect after a while so be sure to use a gentle moisturizer on your face following the peroxide. For best result only apply peroxide to a freshly washed face, and don’t apply more than twice a day. Hydrogen peroxide can be used safely all over the body so if you’re having acne issues elsewhere it’s ok to apply it there. Peroxide can be used for many other things such mouth wash, to lighten the color of hair, soothing sore a throat, curing ear infections, curing vaginal infections, removing stains, cleaning fruits & vegetables, growing plants, and so much more. Nature is here to help us in many ways so let’s take advantage of that! Take care of your skin the natural way and let the results speak for themselves.
Talk is cheap, so cheap that it’s actually free. Anyone can say anything, but who are they trying to convince? Everyone else or themselves? You see it’s the action that captures the attention of not only your own consciousness but of others as well. It’s okay to voice your goals and aspirations but if you’re not putting forward effort into making them reality then what’s the point? Once you’ve come to an agreement with yourself on something you want to do whether it’s singing, modeling, photography, starting a catering business or whatever it is that you want to do, here are a few questions I want you to answer to yourself. Do you really want this? Are you willing to make sacrifices to make it happen? Does this make you happy? Ok now, 9/10 the answer to those question was yes but how about these: Do you believe that I can really accomplish this goal? (If you don’t believe it then it won’t happen…point blank period.) If you don’t accomplish this goal before a certain time frame will you continue or give up? (Don’t put yourself on a time schedule, be patient with the process, nothing’s more fulfilling than when your time comes organically.) Are you mentally prepared for the challenges to come? (If you think it’s gonna be easy then think again my dear, some days you’re gonna wanna quit but don’t. You’ll look back and appreciate the beauty of the struggle.) Will you allow negativity to consume you when things don’t go your way? (To get in an occasional funk is to be expected but to stay there? Ehhh. Not beneficial. Even when things aren’t ok just tell yourself that they are :). ) Are you secretly competing with or comparing yourself to your peers in the same field? (Don’t ever do this! You don’t know their story. Worry about you! Maybe reach out to them for advice? Learn from their strategies & combine them with your game plan. Maybe even suggest a collab? After all, you’re in the same field. I don’t see the issue.)
- Believe- If you don’t believe what you’re saying then you’re just wasting your time, energy and breath. You can endure anything along the way, you just have to convince your mind that it’s possible.
- Practice what you preach- Very simple, mean what you say, say what you mean! Do it! Don’t lose focus trying to look like you’re making moves and actually make them. Let your actions lead the way and everything else shall follow.
- Find an inspiration/motivation- Instead of comparing or competing why not look at them as motivation or inspiration? Tell yourself “That’s where [I wanna/ I’m gonna] be one day” instead of “How did they get this before me?”. Find someone in your field that you can learn from and don’t stop working!
- Patience- Learn patience if you don’t learn anything else. It’s the only thing that will keep you sane. Anything worthwhile takes hard work, dedication and endurance so keep that in mind for the next time you’re feeling like throwing the towel in.
- Positivity- Don’t dwell. Shit happens, take that L (lesson in this case), take what you need from it and move on. Be happy that you get another chance to do it, now with even more knowledge than before. Take control of your emotions and learn to be optimistic. Let go of the “all or nothing” attitude and instead practice gratitude!
The legume family, also known as bean, pea & lentil family are an affordable source of protein, fiber, and vitamins that also happens to offers many health benefits. Such as being natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, stabilizing blood glucose levels, reducing digestive issues, lowering cholesterol, and providing zinc, iron, magnesium, and fiber. And on top of all the many benefits, they’re so versatile and delicious! Oh, the tasty things you can do with beans/peas/lentils. The endless possibilities, limitless flavor combinations, and the guarantee of a filling satisfactory ending. 100% natural, gluten-free, (unless you’re eating canned beans…another topic for another day) yet savory, scrumptious, and nutritious. From old fashioned red beans & rice to garlic n’ herb string beans to spicy black bean burgers to curried lentils to mediterranean style roasted chickpea salads, to teriyaki glazed sugar snap peas, the bean, lentil, & pea family can be used as a protein replacement in almost any meal you can think of. I just made you hungry huh? Well no worries, I won’t leave you hanging. Allow me to share with you a few recipes that you will want to make, then fall in love with & end up wanting to share with the world!
Click the link below to full recipes and instructions:
- Old fashioned red beans & rice
- Garlic & herb string beans
- Spicy black beans burgers
- Curried lentils
- Mediterranean roasted chickpea salad
- Teriyaki glazed snap peas
The Friend Zone Podcast hosted by the three beautiful souls known as Hey Fran Hey, Assante, & Dustin Ross was created back in 2015 and their progress, to say the least, is inspiring! They are the most hilarious, talented, educated, and down to earth group of internet friends that you never knew you needed! When I listen to their podcast I often find myself talking back to them, as if they can really hear me LOL. They really have you engaged, from the various topics to random sidebars, I just really love tuning in to The Friend Zone Podcast. So much so that I have incorporated TFZ into my weekly list of “feel good” activities. Every week, on Wednesdays a new show is released, they start off with a recap from the last show then they touch on several topics during 5 specific segments, ” The Wellness Segment” presented by Fran, “Mr. Music Man Segment” by Assante’, “TV Land” by actor Dustin Ross, “Black Business of the Week Segment”, and lastly the “Asking For a Friend Segment”.
During Frans “Wellness Segment” she gives the listeners tips on how to relieve stress, how to and reasons to eat clean, growing and becoming comfortable with yourself, skin-care, and so much more but to sum it up overall lifestyle wellness tips. The “Mr. Music Man” segment hosted is by Assante’ as he puts us on to the some of the best upcoming artists, he seriously has put me on to so many singers & rappers that has changed my life (Ari Lennox, Sango, Tobe Nwigwe, & Doja Cat just to name a few)! His taste in music is definitely on point, and he’s even kind enough to make monthly playlists for the listeners on Spotify and Apple. The “TV Land” segment by actor and comedian, Mr. Dustin Ross will have you rolling! During his segment, he gives his honest reviews on the latest tv shows, movies, and series. He has also put me on to many shows and series that I more than likely wouldn’t have given a chance such as Married to Medicine, Handmade Tales, Star, and many more. And after the three main segments, they end the show by shouting out a black business and then answering a few questions from the listeners via email. Whether the business is local or across the world, I command them because they are doing an amazing thing by giving people a chance to promote their business for free on their platform. And last but not least the “Asking For a Friend Segment” where our questions are answered, with some great advice from all three hosts. So there you have it your weekly dose of everything mental health, mental wellness, and mental hygiene because who in the hell wants a musty brain? Be sure to tune in this week and every week going forward! You can listen on Soundcloud, Spotify, or Apple Music by searching The Friend Zone Podcast.
Life is all about flexibility and balance, both literally and physically. Without balance you will notice that your life can quickly become uncomfortable, frustrating and can even be deemed undesirable. And without mastering the skill of flexibility you can kiss progression goodbye, these days you have to be comfortable with “stretching” yourself, that is if success if a goal of yours. Just as you need flexibility and balance in your life to keep things going smoothly the same goes for your body. Balance and flexibility, in my opinion, are very underrated principles of everyday life. We often overlook how without balance we wouldn’t be able to walk upright or prevent injury (falling, breaking or spraining bones, etc). Flexibility is also an overlooked but very important factor in everyday mobility. Improving your flexibility not only helps to relieve stress and tension but it also prevents injuries. Continuous neglect of stretching out your muscle will cause them to tighten, making it harder for your body to function normally. When’s the last time you stretched? When’s the last time you focused on your coordination? If you have to really think about those then chances are you could use some guidance in improving both of those. Don’t wait until you rip a muscle or randomly find yourself off balance and falling over. Stay ahead of the game, taking proper care of your body is about prevention, not treatment or solution. Allow me to give you a few tips on how to your flexibility and balance (attempt daily for better results).
Improving your balance:
- Walking head to toe- Simply stand straight up facing north with your shoulders up, breathe in, breathe out, place the right leg in front of the left, and repeat for 20-30 steps.
- Standing on one leg- Periodically throughout your day (2-4 times a day) stand straight, stretch and elongate your back, straighten and tighten your legs, lift left or right leg and hold pose for at least 15-30 seconds, lower leg repeat with opposite leg.
- Hip marching- Sit in a chair with your back touching the back of the chair, place your hands on your legs then slowly lift your left leg straight up (leave your knee bent), then hold for 5 seconds, then place your foot to the floor and repeat with the other leg.
Improving your flexibility:
- Standing hamstring stretch- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, arms by your sides, bend hips forward, lower your head toward the floor, relax head, neck and shoulders, then wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold for 45-60 seconds (stretches neck, back, butt, hamstrings & calves)
- Frog stretch- Start on all fours, slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart, shift your hips back toward your heels, move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, hold for 60 seconds and repeat. (stretches hips/groin & lower back)
- Butterfly stretch- Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, bend knees out to sides, hold onto your ankles, lightly squeeze abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor, then simply press your knees down, hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. (stretches thighs, hips, entire back, & butt)
Every day we should be “tasting the rainbow” and no not from a bag of skittles. The color of each fruit and vegetable has a direct connection to the many benefits and nutrients packed inside of them. The most colorful foods are known to strengthen your immune system, stabilize PH balances, reduce digestive problems and for being the most detoxifying. Our bodies benefit from variety and utilize everything consumed so be good to your body and eat all of your colors. Be sure that you’re eating foods based on them being in seasons (when they are the brightest and ripest) to guarantee that you’re getting the maximum nutritional value and of course the best flavor! Below I’ve listed my favorite fruits and vegetables of each color group along with a few benefits. Brighten your plate and your health will brighten as well 🙂
Blues/Purples: Blackberries, blueberries, plums, grapes, red cabbage, eggplant, beets, etc.
The fruit and vegetables of the darker tint are known to be filled with the most antioxidants (super-foods). They’re good for reducing inflammation, strengthening cells, and promoting the brain and heart functions.
Oranges/Yellows: Papaya, oranges, mango, apricot, carrots, squash, pumpkin, yams, etc.
These fruit and vegetables are essential to the health of your retina and other parts of the eyes (linked to improving vision). They also help improve joint and bone health (arthritis, carpal tunnel, cracking knees, etc) and supports the immune system (packed with vitamin C).
Whites: bananas, pear & apple flesh, cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, onions, mushroom, etc.
Although these fruit and vegetables don’t necessarily have a color they are just as important. They are known for reducing cholesterol and inflammation throughout the body, and most importantly for containing natural cancer-fighting agents (specifically garlic and onion).
Greens: Kiwi, honeydew, lime, broccoli, leafy greens (spinach/kale/lettuce), zucchini, etc.
The fruits and vegetables of the greenish tint are full of chlorophyll, which helps to create more blood cells and detox your blood, eliminate funguses and bad odors, energize your body, and so much more. Green is the color of life and should be a major part of your diet, being that it’s the MOST beneficial of the color groups.
Reds: Strawberries, watermelon, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes, red peppers, etc.
Red fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamin A and C. They’re full of folic acid which is a good intake for reducing birth defects and complications. Reds are a good source of fiber and potassium, helping with the digestive system and creating more electrolytes improving mood and energy levels.
And on his farm he had a…..plentiful vegetation, a market, free yoga sessions, bonfires, movie nights, workshops, community events, & etc! Urban Sprout Farms and its’ founders (Nuri Icogren and his beautiful wife Safia) are nothing less than phenomenal. Urban Sprout Farms was founded in 2012 when Nuri really took nothing and made it something. Prior to this amazing farm that we witness today, the location was actually an abandoned motel and parking lot. He had a vision, put in the work and turned it into reality. I can honestly say that Urban Sprout Farms is a gem and it’s greatly appreciated by the community of Atlanta and its’ surrounding cities. Urban Sprout is a 5 acre certified organic farm, nursery, and market that also serves as an event space. It’s located in the neighbor of Polar Rock (Lakewood Heights) near downtown Atlanta, just a few miles south. The farm/market sells flowers, seeds, soil, and plants (edible and non-edible), on top of growing about 8,600 pounds of produce a year! Wow, it’s just so amazing thinking about the progress the farm has made since I first came across it. I’ve known about Urban Sprout for about 3 years now and my first encounter blew my mind, no exaggeration. I took a tour of the farm, (it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the plants and the random artwork and posters), made a few purchases and had an educating conversation with Nuri before leaving. The farm was still in its’ beginning stages but still pretty impressive. And to top it off Nuri is super down to earth, kind, and knowledgable. Since then I’ve been back countless times and even have introduced several of my friends to this extraordinary place. Urban Sprout Farms is always hosting events (the yoga classes and bonfires are my personal favorites) and looking for volunteers to help keep up the farm & nursery. So if you’re interested in shopping/visiting, volunteering, hosting an event or donating feel free to check them out using the information below.
Urban Sprout Farms
Address: 2200 Reynolds Dr. SW, Atlanta GA 30315
Hours: Saturday 9AM-1PM (shopping)
Facebook, IG & Twitter: @urbansproutfarms
Let’s face it (pun intended LOL)! No one likes acne, dry skin, redness, or facial scarring. And I believe I can speak for most when I say that acne tends to show up at the absolute worse times or shows up more once you make more effort to improve it. Skin-care is a tricky thing and as I stated before different things work for different people. So first things first step away from the toxic chemical filled products and tap into mother nature. Natural is the best route to take when it comes to getting results and minimizing acne. Dirt and build-up is the number one cause of acne so make it your mission to clean your skin at least twice a day without over drying it in the process. Dry skin and dead skin are also top reasons for acne breakouts. What better way to find out what works for you than by starting off with a simple 100% natural method, such as facial steaming. Facial steaming is a relaxing yet very beneficial method that helps to reduce acne, increase circulation, and dilate blood vessels. Facial steaming opens your pores, making it easy to remove the build-up of dirt, softens blackhead, making them easy to remove, and it’s very hydrating and soothing to your skin. But although it has many benefits facial steaming isn’t something that should be done too often, I’d say once per week max. If it’s done too often it may dry out your skin which will then defeat the purpose. (Don’t wash your face in the shower, especially if you shower with hot water, it’s the worst thing you could do to your skin.) To ensure clean, clear skin without drying calls for a weekly routine. Every Sunday end your night by washing your face, steaming for 10-15 mins, toning face afterward, rubbing face with an ice cube for 2 minutes, and ending with a gentle facial massage with a small amount of moisturizer (shea butter, an oil, Cetaphil, etc). Facial steaming is a natural and fast acting method of reducing acne. I personally saw results within the first couple of steams. Try it for yourself and see!
Facial Steam Directions:
- Boil a pot of water ( 1-2 cups)
- While the water is boiling, wash your face with a mild/gentle soap, and pat face dry (Only steam with a fresh clean face, remove all makeup, oils, sweat, dirt, etc.)
- Pour boiling water into a glass or ceramic bowl (plastic bowls will leave molecules from the plastic)
- Put a herbal tea bag or a few drops of essential oil into the water (optional but if you decide to mint and chai are my go to’s)
- Grab a towel and a chair
- Place face over the bowl, close your eyes and place towel over your head
- Enjoy the steam for 10-15 minutes
- After 10-15 gently pat face dry
- Tone face (cotton ball and toner of your choice)
- Rub face an ice cube all over face for 2 minutes (closes pores back up)
- Gently pat face dry
- Gently massage face with a moisturizer of choice