Elevate w/ Euphorium Dispensary

During my recent trip to California I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Charlita Brown, owner of the only cannabis concierge service in Oakland, California. She takes pride in being a woman of color in the cannabis industry and hopes to inspire more women to join the industry. Her dispensary known as Euphorium is a non-profit cannabis collective and delivery service run by Charlita and a small professional group of team members with the same vision. That vision being to provide high quality, holistic, and well-researched products and experiences on demand. Brown started her career in the pharmaceutical industry where she spent over 20 years in her career before deciding to leave it all behind to start a medical business of her own in 2016. She is a strong believer in the holistic way of living and has done her fair share of research on the industry of cannabis and the wonderful powers this beautiful god given plant has to offer. Her services include a fully loaded menu of cartridges, edibles, pre-rolls, oils, concentrates, sativas, indicas, hybrids, topicals, and accessories. Which are all carefully cultivated and selected prior to sale. In the wisely spoken words of Charlita herself, “The benefits of cannabis are undeniable, and I wanted to provide a sustainable solution to improve healthcare in my communities. As the industry has matured and prohibition came to an end, I saw a greater opportunity to serve more people like yourself.” She has a goal to share the benefits of cannabis, and create a more positive meaning behind the products. Her dedication to providing knowledgeable experiences to her patients is very admirable because she is not only doing this to make money but she is genuinely interested creating unique yet enlightened encounters. So if you are ever in the East Bay area please support her business and elevate your mind, body & soul while you’re at it.

Contact Euphorium (Boutique Cannabis Delivery):

Email: info@tryeuphorium.com

Website: http://www.tryeuphorium.com

Instagram: @tryeuphorium

 

D.I.Y. Sunscreen Recipe (Sensitive Skin Friendly)

With the warmer seasons quickly approaching we have to make sure that we stay on top of our skin care.  As bad as we can’t wait for fun in the sun let’s not forget that the hot summer sun is anxiously awaiting to beam on us and potentially burn us. And although you may think you don’t need sunscreen…you do! Black, white, Mexican, Indian, Asian, it doesn’t matter honestly because your skin can and will dry out with too much exposure to the suns uv rays and not enough moisture. So allow me to introduce my d.i.y. sunscreen recipe filled with  nothing but nature’s goodness. Take the time out to prep your skin by applying something natural to enhance that natural glow that the sun is waiting to gift us with. Take a peak below to view the step by step and ingredient list to the recipe I created. A simple, all natural, homemade sunscreen that smells amazing, is sensitive skin friendly, and guaranteed to keep your skin healthy, moisturized and smooth all spring/summer long!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil (unrefined)

2 tablespoons zinc oxide

1/8 cup beeswax (can substitute with candelilla wax if allergic but use half 1/8)

1/2 cup almond or olive oil (feel free to infuse with herbs first if desired)

1 teaspoon red raspberry seed oil (optional)

1 teaspoon carrot seed oil (optional)

2 tablespoons shea butter, natural SPF 4-5 (optional)

2-3 drops of vanilla extract essential oil or other natural extracts to suit your preference

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with a 1/6 cups of water and place over medium heat.
  3. Loosely adjust the lid on the jar and place it in the pan with the pan with water.
  4. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Stir occasionally to mix them.
  5. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage.
  6. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is mixed in well.
  7. Store at room temperature

Please note that this sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied after. Discard after 6 months.

Checking In w/ Yourself

How are my favorite readers doing? 😌 I hope you’re doing well and enjoying life. Before we get into our mental health segment I wanna clear the air really quick and ask that you all forgive my short absence. If you know me personally or follow me on social media then you know I have been going through some changes. Between moving, working (like hell), networking, & traveling I have neglected the blog for a few weeks. Having a life is not an excuse but it’s just that I couldn’t put another thing on my plate without possibly going loco! Plus I’d hate to give you all some half-assed blog posts so yeah thank you for your patience and understanding! We all need to take time from those and things that we love every now and then in order to protect our mental state, physical wellness, and emotional/hormonal health. And that’s exactly what I did. Do I feel bad about it? Nah, not one bit! Self-care is not selfish so don’t let anyone tell you different or try to make you feel bad about it. We often look to other to “check on us” or we are constantly over extending ourselves to “check on others” and end up forgetting about checking in with who matters most (YOU)! Happiness is the ultimate goal of life and you can’t be happy while neglecting yourself or by putting things or others before self. So turn off your phone, turn off the tv, exclude yourself from others energies and focus on taking time for you. Now go turn on your favorite song really loud, dance in your room, mediate, stretch, light a candle, roll a joint, read a book, write in your journal, finish that painting, take a nap, smile at yourself in the mirror, etc. Do whatever it is that brings you peace, happiness, or serenity and feel good while doing it because you deserve it!

 

Questions to ask yourself, checking in:

Are you happy right now in this very moment?

In which environments do you find yourself the happiest?

Are you making an effort to put yourself in those places?

What could you be doing better to benefit yourself?

Are you honestly taking care of yourself or just running on auto-pilot?

Have you been getting enough rest?

Are you eating clean and being physically active?

Are you feeling purposeful?

How is the progression of your personal goals going?

Are you putting in the work to achieve your goals or have you been distracted?

Please be truthful to yourself when answering the questions, and if the answer isn’t ideal then YOU have to power to change that! Do your best to stay motivated, take care of yourself always, and remember that you matter.

 

 

 

Here’s Why You Should Consider Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting can mean different things to different people but in this case I am going to let you in on the most achievable and comfortable method in my opinion,  the 16/8 fast. During the 16/8 fast you have an 8 hour window of eating (but this doesn’t mean to go crazy) and during the remaining 16 hours you fast, only drinking water or herbal tea with no sweeteners. Now I know what you’re probably thinking 16 hours without eating??? That’s insane! But relax, those 16 hours of fasting should be split up evenly if possible to half (8) before and the remaining half (8) after your window of eating, and 6 or more should actually be used during sleep. My schedule for example goes like this, from 6am-12pm fasting, drinking water or tea only, from 12pm-8pm I consume 1-2 meals and lots of water, and after 8pm I’m fasting again only drinking water or tea again until noon the next day.  So you see the 16/8 method is very simple although it may seem tough starting out. The key is to base the concept around your personal schedule and find out what works best for you.

The concept of intermittent fasting has been around for well over five decades, however it isn’t as popular as I think it should be especially considering the benefits and the logic behind it. But for some reason American society has taught us that we need to eat 3 meals a day (plus snacks), which if you think about it doesn’t really make any sense. Your body doesn’t even have enough time in between meals to fully digest and break down the food. It takes between 6-8 hours for an average meal (protein, grains, and veggies/fruit) to fully digest, from mouth to rectum. So while one meal is just starting the digestion process, here we go piling more and more on top. Our addictions to food on demand, added preservatives, artificial sugars, highly processed foods, and a million other unnecessary chemicals being added to our food are reasons why we all should consider intermittent fasting. Let’s take a minute and think about it, if your bath tub is full do you running the water? Nope! You have to empty or drain it before you can start properly using it again. And the same rules apply for your body, it takes more than just a trip to the bathroom to completely empty or reboot your body’s system. Like everything else that consumes energy, your body also needs a break from working.

5 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

  1. An increase in the growth of new neurons, protecting the brain from damage, also increasing memory skills.
  2. A major increase of energy because your body is no longer being overworked or weighed down by excessive amounts of food.
  3. Boosts fat burning and improve metabolic efficiency.
  4. Helps to improve overall immunity health.
  5. Lower risks for diseases and even has been linked to reversing diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.

 

Fruit Peelings for Your Skin

Wait!!! Before you throw away that “leftover” fruit let’s take advantage of its full potential ;). The skin or peeling from each fruit has just as much if not more nutrients as the actual fruit. Think about it, how could the flesh stay so fresh, juicy and sweet without a strong & nutrient filled guard protecting it? Each fruit has many beneficial uses and it only make sense to make the most of your next fruit indulging experience.  Exfoliating, brightening, reducing excess oil, reducing redness/swelling, balancing PH levels, reducing wrinkles, evening your complexions, and so much more all can be done by simply rubbing the peelings of your favorite fruit on your skin (face & body)! Don’t let the nourishment go to waste, before you throw away that pile of peelings take some time out to show your skin a little love. It’s simple, the hard part is already done. Look below for a few of my favorite fruit and the benefits of their peelings!

  1. Papaya- Papaya skin is perfect for rejuvenation! If you notice that your skin is looking a bit dull this peeling will surely help to brighten it back up. The peeling has natural collagen boosting properties, which will give you a natural glow and help to tighten loose skin. It can also be blended to make a paste and used as a mask!
  2. Banana- The peelings of bananas contains a high amount of proteins and vitamins that are perfect for evening skin with blotches or patches of various skin colors. Softly rubbing the inner peeling from a banana on your skin twice a day will guarantee faster results.
  3. Avocado (yep it’s a fruit) -The inner rind of an avocado is an excellent and pure substitute for a moisturizer. If you suffer from dry skin (scalp included), then you should give avocado peelings a try. They contain naturally oily and fatty properties that your skin will lock in without clogging pores.
  4. Orange (limes, lemons, mandarin)- Citrus fruit peelings are excellent for exfoliating, brightening dark spots and getting rid of excess oil. The texture of the skin is idea for exfoliating because it’s rough yet soft enough to rub on your skin without irritating it. They can also be sun dried and coated with a bit of honey or agave and then used directly on the face as an exfoliator.

Take care of your skin, it’s a reflection of your overall health!

 

3 Easy & Fulfilling Plant-based Lunch/Dinner Ideas

I’m back with some more bomb plant-based recipes! Eating is about allowing your tastebuds to explore and enjoy different cuisines and flavors. There’s way too many recipes waiting to be created, on top of the millions already out there. Nothing beats a home cooked meal and when it’s filled with natures garden not only does it satisfy your tastebuds but your body benefits as well! Take a step into the kitchen with me and get started with some fresh ideas that your tastebuds have been waiting for. With all the flavor packed ideas I have coming your way I am more than positive that I can make you forget all about consuming animal products. Let’s create healthy habits and eat to live!

Tikka Masala—- Hands down one of my favorite meals! This Indian cuisine will have leave you wondering why you never tried it before. Chunky veggies covered in a tomato-y, savory, creamy sauce that’s slightly sweet but also packed with lots of spices and herbs on top of steamed rice with side of naan bread…I can’t even think of a word to describe this meal!

Veggie Spring Rolls & Sweet & Sour Soup—- Spring Rolls and sweet-spicy soup are my   go-to! Perfect as a snack, lunch or dinner. The light crispy crunch of well seasoned stir-fried veggies wrapped in a thin flaky crust along the side of some hot, fresh hot and sour soup…yum!

Falafel Wrap & Fries—- Falafel by it’s self is already good, but dressed up with some veggies, tahini sauce, stuffed in a warm pita wrap with a side of fries (sweet or regular)…ah-maz-ing! Deep fried (can also be baked) patties made from chickpeas mixed with scallions, red onions, parsley, cumin, garlic, etc. The scrumptious combination of herbs and spices topped with a tangy creamy tahini sauce is unmatched!

Click the link below for full recipes:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kyGhrLiS1uJzKAQwStDvxZevcPN8f1-Yrwy6v6PVf3Q/edit?usp=sharing

P.S.: Tell your tastebuds I said you’re welcome!

 

How Essential Oils Help to Relieve Stress, Improve Memorization Skills, & Etc.

Smells are important, they help us process memories, warn us of danger, and most importantly affect our emotions, among many other things. You know how certain smells make you feel all warm & fuzzy inside? Like fresh baked sweets, or a familiar scent from grandmas house! Yes! I’m talking about those smells that bring you somewhat of an automatic comfortable and happy feeling. Or how about when you take a whiff of an alcoholic drink that gave you the worst hangover of your life? Those smells that give you instant regrets and make you gag. Giving you a flashback of the not so favorable times in life, lol. I think that the sense of smell and its ability to connect us to things/situation is really interesting so on top of hours of research I’ve also done my own experiment and found out how out incredibly beneficial aromatherapy can be. Aromatherapy is a holistic practice that uses natural plant extracts (flowers, fruit, herbs, tree bark, etc), and other aroma compounds (essential oils), to promote both psychological and physical well-being. Essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, sweet orange, etc. are in essence stimulants, and when “inhaled” they activate various nerves and bodily functions. The olfactory nerve, which gives us the sense of smell sends signals to our limbic system and amygdala, which controls our memory, emotions/mood and our nervous system. When smells enter your body they either alert the amygdala which is the reason we have fear, our autonomic nervous system, which triggers our fight-or-flight response, quickens our breath, and raises heart rate and blood pressure or by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, which soothes and relaxes us!

 

FYI:

Sage, clears sinuses and relieves headaches. Lavender, calm and soothes you, also known as an anti-depressant. Lemon, boosts immune system and increases focus/concentration. Chamomile, reduces anxiety and insomnia. Eucalyptus, eases joint and muscle pain and clears respiratory passages. Cinnamon, improves blood circulation. Ginger, helps with digestive issues. Basil, increases energy levels. Sweet orange, helps to increase mood and memorization.

 

 

Through my own experience I’ve used sweet orange oil (a refreshing, somewhat of a powerful, unforgettable scent) to help me remember phrases of a language I was practicing. I created a mixture of sweet oil, honey, and water and poured it into a small 2oz spray bottle so that I could easily carry it around with me. I tested this theory by spraying the mixture into a napkin and taking a small whiff of it before meeting up with some bilingual associates. And low and behold, I was able to remember everything I’d practice the day before. But to make sure that it wasn’t just a coincidence I tried the method a few other times in different situations and got the same results. I saw an automatic improvement in my memorization skills, something that I’ve never experienced before. I am a believer of aromatherapy and I believe that everyone can benefit from it. Look up your symptoms or issues, look for an essential oil to help and test out the method for yourself!

Meet the Creator of Blavity.com: Morgan DeBaun

This woman here, Morgan DeBaun is the true definition of an inspiration! A highly intelligent, beautiful, powerful, yet relatable, entrepreneur. Morgan DeBaun, also known as the CEO and creator of Blavity.com (Black Gravity). She began as a passionate business and technology student who made her career start into corporate America, but she quickly noticed that corporate America was not in her best interest. After leaving her promising career behind Morgan decided to take a leap of faith that would change her life forever! Morgan recognized that her generation (black millennials) were not being represented enough in the mainstream media and was determined to change that by taking matters into her own hands. Along with her co-founder Aaron Samuels, the two came together and created Blavity.com (July 2014),  a website filled with content made for and by black people! Blavity.com was created to bring black people together, educate us on the latest black current events, and uplight us (especially the millennials). From covering stories relating to the Black Lives Matter movement (including the protest of the national anthem), to inspiring and supporting us to do the work we love, Blavity.com has us covered. Morgan is without a doubt for her people, and since launching Blavity she has also founded four other companies for us, known as Afro Tech ,Travel Niore, 21Ninety, and Shadow And Act! AfroTech.com, started off as a conference in Silicon Valley, California for African American startup founders, designers, engineers and operators. TravelNiore.com, is a website that offers traveling tips, courses on how to get paid to travel, and advice specifically for us black millennials. 21Ninety.com, is a lifestyle wellness brand focused on the betterment of women of color. And Shadowandact.com, provides breaking news, exclusive interviews, and analysis on the scope of Black entertainment today as well promoting creative content from the rising directors, writers, and producers of tomorrow. So it’s safe to say that Morgan’s been working hard and her good deeds surely have not gone unnoticed. Morgan has been featured on Forbes 30 under 30 list, listed on The Roots top 100 most influential African Americans, and again on Forbes Top 50 American Women in Tech! Wow, see what I mean? How could you read this and not be inspired? I’m rooting for you Morgan and I truly believe in your brands and their longevity! Continue to inspire and change lives one day at time. To my readers please be sure to check out her businesses and support at least one of the many platforms she has made possible for us to enjoy! Whether it’s just a view, an email subscription, a job inquiry, or a purchase, let’s just support one another.

Contact Morgan DeBaun :

Email: team@blavity.com

Website: http://www.morgandebaun.com

Instagram: @morgandebaun

Twitter: @morgandebaun

Happy Black History Month, btw 😌✊🏾

Treat Yo Self W/ Zandra Beauty

Zandra Beauty is a newly launched skin-care line by the young and beautiful entrepeneur, Zandra Cunningham of Buffalo, New York, U.S. But, Zandra is more than just an entrepreneur, she is also an influencer who serves to empower and encourage confidence to young girls and women from all over the world. Since a young girl she has aspired to create natural products that inspires girls & women to feel beautiful! In the words of Zandra herself ” My fascination with entrepreneurship began when I was just 9 years old. It was totally the result of my dad’s refusal to buy me my beloved lip balm. His NO forced me to do the work and make my own.” She then made her start in the summer of 2010 by making a few products (lip balms & body butters) at home & selling them at the local farmer market in her area. And as she got older she decided to expand her products after she began to use popular products from the mall and found that those products left her skin dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. (Many mainstream products are filled with unhealthy ingredients that often just smell good and that’s about it, no other benefits.) Fed up with having to choose between smelling good or having itchy & irritated skin Zandra made it her mission to create products that not only smell good but also make her skin feel nice & smooth as well! Now here we are in 2019 & she has successfully launched her very own skin-care line that is eco-friendly, 100% plant-based, cruelty-free & “yuck-free” (toxic chemical ingredient free). Her line offers hair & body butters, exfoliating body scrubs, deodorants, lotions, soaps, and lip balms that will be distributed nationwide on her official website. But that’s not all, she also has an exclusive “Treat Yo Self” gift box currently being sold only at Target! This is just the beginning for Zandra and I am anxious to see her and her brand grow and flourish! So let’s all support her and purchase some products, if not for yourself then maybe as a gift for a loved one. As if she isn’t amazing enough she also donates 10% of the net value of each product purchased towards girl’s education! For more information on Zandra & her brand or products please use the contacts provided below. Stay yuck-free! ✌🏾

Contact Zandra Beauty:

Website: http://www.zandrabeauty.com

Email: orders@zandrabeauty.com

Facebook: @ZandraBeauty

Instagram: @ZandraBeauty

Twitter: @ZandraBeauty

D.I.Y. Lemon Lime Pink Salt Face & Body Scrub

Nothing’s more refreshing than exfoliating, it literally feels like you’re washing all of your sins away! Scrubbing away old dead skin cells, smoothing out your top layer of skin, and receiving a rejuvenating glow, all sounds like wins to me. Now imagine all of that plus the citrusy smell of lemon & lime, the soft yet even roughness of Himalayan pink salt crystals, silky smooth olive oil, and the sweet succulent smell of fresh honey all mixed together anxiously awaiting to make you feel brand new 😏. Oh and did I mention that it’s incredibly simple to make, includes natural, inexpensive ingredients, and that it will be easy store away and preserve? Very tempting right? If so just follow my D.I.Y. ingredient and instruction list below, and get to exfoliating and showing your beautiful skin some loving!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pink salt (aka Himalayan rock salt)
  • 1/4 cup of your choice of oil* (I use olive oil)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp of honey

Instructions: 3-4 uses

  1. Measure out salt into a medium sized plastic tupperware style bowl
  2. Squeeze the juice from one fresh lemon and one fresh lime on top of the salt in the bowl
  3. Scoop in the 3 tbsps of honey
  4. Add the oil of your choice and mix all the ingredients together
  5. Let the scrub settle in a cool environment for 25 minutes before using
  6. Apply scrub to a freshly washed face or if using on body in the shower in bath wash your skin before applying for best results
  7. Rub scrub into skin soft in a circular motion for a few minutes
  8. Rinse with lukewarm/cool water
  9. Pat dry skin afterward to avoid irritation
  10. Moisturize skin with shea butter or an oil of choice

 

Storage: Place lid on bowl and store in a dark cool place until next use. Be sure to discard after 30 days.

Choosing the “Diet” for Your Lifestyle

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, lactovarian, fruitarian, pescatarian, or have no preference, a diet isn’t something that should be equated to a temporary intake or quick fix to lose/gain weight. Your diet should be your way of life, in other words it should be consistent and beneficial. I personally think that we should throw away this whole idea of “going on diets” and transition our intake to foods that are more reasonable and responsible. Your diet should consists of foods that makes you comfortable (tastes good & makes you feel good), caters to your health, and provides a balance to your digestive system. Labeling yourself as vegan, vegetarian, or whatever doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily “eating right” or that you even feel 100% good about the decision that you made. At the end of the day the food that you consume should benefit you, be eaten in moderation, and shouldn’t make you feel bad or create side effects. And by side effects I mean acne (most commonly caused by sodas, white bread & rice, & dairy), high blood pressure (most commonly caused by fried food, sodium filled food & canned food), and digestive issues (most commonly caused by red meats, dairy products & high amounts of fructose). What we eat not only affects our bodies, but our minds and spirits are heavily influenced as well. So you should always take into consideration the foods you choose to intake because they certainly play a major role in the future of your health, just saying! Which is why transitioning to the plant-based diet is the most realistic, comfortable, beneficial, and effortless decision that one can make. Think about it, by going plant-based you don’t have to restrict yourself to certain foods or even refrain from the ones you enjoy (just as long as you eat it occasionally or at MAX in moderation). To be plant-based simply means that you’re eating MOSTLY delicious, naturally grown products given to us from our bountiful and beautiful earth (beans, grains and oats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, soy, etc) but with a the option of flexibility. Basically you won’t have to cut off animal products but definitely cut back on them. If you’re someone who eats meat or any animal product (milk, cheese, eggs, honey, etc) everyday then start by going a few days without them, and eventually attempt to only eating animal based products a few times a month or every once in a while (every couple of months or so). It’s challenging (only in the in the beginning), but not impossible. Remember that your health is wealth, and that without it you won’t be worth a damn, (I said what I said🤷🏽‍♀️)!

 

Need help with plant-based recipes?

Use the search bar below and type in “recipes” for some of my favorite plant-based meals, feel free to add your spin on them!

 

3 More Beginner Yoga Poses & Their Benefits

When I bring up yoga to those who don’t practice it I generally get the same reactions, “Oh, I could never do that”, “I’m not flexible enough”, “It seems too hard” or something along the negative route. I get it, yoga can be intimidating but only at first. You’ll get better over time, just as any other new thing in life it will take some time to master. Don’t let your negative conscience, or fear cheat you out of working on your posture, flexibility, and balance. To be honest yoga isn’t even all about the poses, yeah sure they look pretty cool but it’s more so about gaining full body strength and stretching those neglected muscles out! So I’m back again with 3 more beginner poses that almost anyone can do. And don’t be so hard on yourself because many people stay in the beginner phase for a while. So just continue to practice until you become comfortable enough to move on to more challenging poses!


Wheel Pose- also known as urdhva dhanurasana is the perfect pose for stretching your entire body at once. It stretches the muscles of the chest, stomach, hips and legs, while also captivating the muscles on the back of your body.


Side Plank- also known as vasisthasana helps to prevent joint and bone diseases and complications (arthritis, frequent popping, scoliosis, carpal tunnel, etc) by strengthening your wrists, forearms, shoulders, and spine. It also increases the flexibility of your hips and hamstrings and increases focus skills.


Shoulder Stand- also known as salamba sarvangasana is the ideal pose because it stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system which then helps to decrease depression and anxiety. This pose calms the brain, relieves stress, reduces insomnia, alleviates fatigue, while also helping to stretch your neck and shoulder muscles and toning your butt and legs.


Happy practicing! Don’t forget to breathe, think positive, and be patient with yourself.

Befriending Failure

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!

D.I.Y. Black Charcoal Mask

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!

Ingredients:

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:

  1. In a medium bowl (glass preferably) mix in charcoal powder and baking soda
  2. Pour in ACV and oil, mix together well
  3. Mix in clay
  4. Mix for about 60 seconds
  5. Let mask settle and thicken

How to apply to the masks:

  1. Wash hands and fash (use a gentle soap-free cleanser)
  2. Pat face dry
  3. Apply mask by even spreading it all over your face (be careful to avoid eyebrows and hairline)
  4. Allow mask to dry and tighten (15-20 mins)
  5. Start peeling the mask off (upwards) at lower cheek or jawline
  6. Wipe face with a lukewarm rag to remove leftover particles
  7. Pat face dry
  8. 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 🙂

Online Encouragement from @Plantbasedvibes/ @Greenwithin

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.

Tomayto, Tomahto: 5 Undeniably Tasty Tomato Based Recipes

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 😋

  1. Spicy pico de gallo & tortilla chips
  2. Creamy tomato & sweet basil pasta sauce
  3. Fried green tomatoes with vegan ranch
  4. Stewed tomato spinach grits
  5. Ricotta tomato toast (can be made vegan)

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ThbcgvD2l7lpuPzkemtvLQjhP3oGPEUIlH5oICmp5jU/edit?usp=sharing

Using Peroxide to Treat Oily & Acne Prone Skin

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.

The Importance of Discipline: How to Build Your Mental Strength

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.)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Versatility of Beans/Peas/Lentils: 6 Un”bean”lievable Recipies

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:

  1. Old fashioned red beans & rice
  2. Garlic & herb string beans
  3. Spicy black beans burgers
  4. Curried lentils
  5. Mediterranean roasted chickpea salad
  6. Teriyaki glazed snap peas

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PimCkZPyjh3OOSCF0oVB2VnvVgKs4yvXaRlpZxv34Ps/edit?usp=sharing

Your Weekly Dose of Mental Hygiene W/ The Friend Zone Podcast!

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.

Contact:

Twitter: @FriendZonePod

Facebook: @TheFriendZonePodcast

Website: http://loudspeakersnetwork.com/shows/the-friend-zone/#.XDovPc8zaT8

Email: TheFriendZone@loudspeakersnetwork.com