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 🙂

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

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

Why You Should Be Eating More Colorful Foods

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.

Introducing: Atlanta’s Very Own Urban Sprout Farms

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)

Website: https://www.urbansproutfarms.com

Facebook, IG & Twitter: @urbansproutfarms

 

 

These Feet Were Made For…

Have you ever stopped to think about how important your feet are? Where have your feet taken you so far? Where will they take you next? And most importantly are you taking proper care of them? I mean after all, without them life can become pretty challenging! And no I’m not talking about that pedicure you get once a month (if that, I know people who don’t get them at all…no comment). Do you properly moisturize them? When traveling do you wear proper shoes and or socks? These are all things that you should really think about because if you don’t know already your feet are your foundation. They do more than walk, run, jump, and skip. They are connected to every part of your body, from your liver and kidneys to your ears and eyes. Over 7,000 nerves from major organs and functions of the body end in your feet. Those nerves are known as reflexes and they are more important than you’ll ever know. Your feet literally have feelings (those nerves we just talked about), so please don’t neglect them! Stop leaving them all dry and crusty after your shower, take some time to moisturize (look below for a very beneficial D.I.Y. foot mask). Stop trying to be cute, and be comfortable. Don’t wear tight shoes and socks, your feet need to breathe, they need wiggle room. Be sure to stretch your feet out and also massage them, avoid foot cramps and don’t ever “crack” your toes! Take into consideration how important your feet are and start treating them how they deserve. You wouldn’t be the same without so treat them as if your life depends on them….because it sorta does. If you can’t afford to go get a pedicure it’s not that hard to do your own (I’ll leave instructions on how to perform one below). Don’t make excuses, you need your feet so take care of them, please!

Your feet were made for more than just walking, take care of them and they will take care of you.

How to do your own pedicure:

1. Soak your feet in warm water for about 5-10 minutes (feel free to add Epsom salt to the water to relax your feet a bit)

2. Remove any polish  (if this applies to you)

3. Scrub feet with a soft foot brush, apply soap or sugar scrub to wet feet and then scrub each foot thoroughly  and then rinse or dip back in the water

4. Apply more soap for sugar scrub directly to feet and use a pumice stone and scrub the dead skin cells on the bottom and back of your feet

5. Rinse or dip feet back in the water and then dry them

6. Clip your toenails evenly and file them (optional)

7. Apply oil to your cuticles and massage in

8. Press your cuticles back using a cuticle tool (don’t be too rough)

9. Trim your cuticles (excess skin)

10. Apply a foot cream or oil and massage/ moisturize both feet thoroughly (about 5-10 mins)

Oatmeal and Brown Sugar D.I.Y. Foot Mask:

1. In a blender or food processor mix 1/4 cups of rolled oats, 1/4 of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tbsp of fresh lemon or lime juice, and one tbsp of olive oil

2. Once fully mixed scoop mixture evenly into two separate plastic bags (ziplock, grocery bags, etc doesn’t matter)

3. Place one foot in each bag and sit for 10-15 mins.

4. Rinse feet in warm water

5. Gently dry feet then moisturize and  with olive oil

D.I.Y. All Natural Body Mists for Women & Men

Smelling good instantly gives me an extra boost of confidence! When I smell good I am happier, giving out more hugs, feeling “sexier”, as my mom would say I start “smelling myself” lol. But what I don’t love is having to settle for a strong, overbearing, chemical filled, skin, nose, and eye burning fragrance that’s sold to me at a ridiculous price. Call me cheap but I would NEVER pay $50+ for poison…oops I mean perfume/cologne just because it smells “good” or because it’s made by a designer or a famous brand! *shrugs* Especially when I can make my own amazingly smelling fragrances that are 100% natural and skin benefiting with inexpensive ingredients in under 15 minutes. I personally love making my own products because I know what’s in them and can feel confident about the benefits behind my products. You can smell good all day long without any chemical side effects, without exposing your brain to potential damage, (yep, your brain is responsible for your sense of smell, so think about that the next time you take a sniff your favorite chemical filled cologne/perfume) and for under $10 USD. Below you will find instructions and ingredients for making your own “scent”sational body mist. Smell ya later!

Ingredients:

  1. Essential Oil(s)
  2. 1 cup of distilled water
  3. 2 tbsps of witch hazel

How to get specific scents:

“Fruity/Girly”-sweet orange oil, lavender oil, vanilla oil, rose oil, neroli oil, juniper berry oil

“Masculine”-cedarwood oil, patchouli oil, vetiver oil, eucalyptus oil, ginger oil

“Refreshing” (unisex)-peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, balsam fir oil

“Calming” (unisex)-lavender oil, rose oil, coriander seed oil, sweet basil oil

Instructions:

  1. Pour witch hazel into an 8oz spray bottle (glass preferred)
  2. Add 6 drops of 3-4 essential oils (one by one)
  3. Swirl bottle around to mix the witch hazel and oils together
  4. Pour the distilled water into a bottle
  5. Twist on the cap, shake well
  6. Allow to settle for 5 minutes and store in a cool dry place until ready to use

Salty, Sweet, Crunchy, Guilt-free Goodness

Ok, so last week I let you all in on a little secret of mine! Yes, I too eat junk food from time to time but the point of that post was just to relate to those who are reluctant to make the transition into plant-based eating. So yes although those snacks listed on my previous post are considered junk-food they are still in fact made without any meat or dairy products. Now this I would like to introduce two of my healthier favorite go-to snacks, sea salted maple popcorn and dark chocolate drizzled peanut butter granola bars. Both packed than enough flavors to satisfy your snack cravings, easy recipes that won’t take much time, and inexpensive ingredients! Simple, healthy, and delicious, sounds like the perfect snacks to me, don’t you agree? Um hm, I knew you would. 🙂 Below you will find the ingredients and instructions on how to prepare both of these delightful snacks!

Sea Salted Sweet Maple Popcorn

Ingredients: 2/3 cups of plain popcorn kernels, 1/3-1/2 cups of butter (use margarine or oil of choice if vegan), 3-4 tbsp of original maple syrup, pinch or 2 of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot melt 1/3-1/2 cups of butter or margarine on medium heat
  2. Add 3-4 tbsp of maple syrup and a large pinch of sea salt (more can be added later)
  3. Use a spoon to mix everything and wait until the mixture starts to foam
  4. Once it foams add the popcorn kernels and cover pot for 4-7 minutes
  5. Shake the pot regularly so that kernels cook evenly
  6. Take lid off and allow popcorn to cool for 1-2 minutes and enjoy

Add more sea salted syrup if desired, simply recreate mixture in a pot and pour over popcorn, allow to settle and enjoy.

 

Dark Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Granola Bars (no baking required)

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats, 1/4 cup of nuts (finely chopped if you can find if not combined all desired nuts and gently smash with a hammer or canned good), 1/4 seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, etc.), 1/4 cups dried fruits (optional), as many chocolate chips as you’d like (optional…dark chocolate if vegan), a pinch of salt salt, 1/2 cup of sweetener (agave, maple syrup, or honey), 2/3 cups of peanut butter or any nut butter of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Mix oats, seeds, chocolate chips, and dried fruit in a large bowl
  2. In another bowl mix together nut butter, sweetener, and salt
  3. Pour second mixture into oat mixture, and mix well until everything is sticky and combined. (if too dry, add more sweetener)
  4. Scoop and press mixture well into a shallow baking dish, lined with foil or saran wrap
  5. Drizzle with chocolate sauce or syrup
  6. Cover with more foil/saran, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours
  7. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated till ready to eat

 

The bars will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the fridge and one week if left out. Keep covered at all times to remain freshness! I hope you enjoy these easy to make healthy but delicious snacks.

 

       Happy snacking!

Having a Hard Time Getting Rid of Dark and or Red Spots?

We all know how annoying and inconvenient acne can be, from popping up at the absolute worst times to the after-scarring it tends to leave. Sure, I could easily throw some make-up over it and go on about my day but at the end of the day those marks and scars will be still be there when I remove it. I’d personally prefer a permanent solution rather than a temporary or quick fix. A lot factors play into how your skin grows and flourishes such as using the proper products for your skin type, regularly changing your bed sheets and pillow cases, diet, etc. But the one factor most people drop the ball on is taking the time to find the right product for their specific skin type. Many people go for store brand or popular products that everyone is using when they should be going the more natural route. I strongly encourage everyone to try experimenting with natural chemical free products to cleanse and protect your beautiful faces before going out spending a fortune on products that will only further damage your skin! Bringing me to my next point, ACV, also known as apple cider vinegar…the products of many benefits. Yes it stinks lol, but it can be safely used all over the body, as a blood sugar balancer, as a cleaning product, as a salad dressing, and as so many other things. So honestly you have nothing to lose by trying this method, it’s extremely cheap and even if it doesn’t work out as a toner for you (which I am 100% sure that it will, unless you’re allergic) you can always use it for something else! All you need is distilled water, acv, cotton balls, and a glass or plastic container for storage.

Instructions on using acv as a toner:

  1. Pour one part acv into container
  2. Mix two parts distilled water
  3. Shake the container to evenly mix
  4. Dip cotton ball or pad into mixture
  5. Apply to a freshly washed face and allow to dry (avoid contact with eyes and inside of nose)
  6. Moisturize your face as normal

*Always dilute acv when using it on the skin, it’s very strong and can burn*

Do this twice a day and you’ll see results in as quickly as two weeks. Store in a dark, cool place, may also be refrigerated. Discard at the end of each month and make a new batch.

Confidently get rid of spotting with a multi-use, inexpensive, natural product.