A Man’s World… Or is it

What kind of world do we live in? Who established these social norms? Why has our culture manifested itself in the way that it has?

So many questions, so very little answers…

As a female in today’s society it’s not rare to get barked at by males, be  reduced to the color pants we’re wearing at the current moment, or even be thought of as sexual objects. Unfortunately this is a normality for so many.

Sure, some may argue that if females didn’t wear tight skirts or revealing blouses or the fact that they curled their hair and put on makeup, they wouldn’t get treated as they do. amber-rose-slutwalk-la-october-2015-bellanaija0003But…why does a woman’s attire and physical appearance represent her sexual standing? Too often today do women find themselves in a position that they couldn’t or shouldn’t have imagined that they’d be in. For these reasons, it’s people like Amber Rose that have started the “Slut Walk”, the no-shaming protest to end the rape culture and the dehumanization of women. If a woman is a bit more promiscuous than that of a nun, she’s every name in the book. The cruelty and slander is horrendous.

 

To make matters worse, our potential president-unfortunately, Donald Trump, has been interviewed, quoted, and filmed one to many times about his opinion on the female. Some of his many claims are that women are a distraction; their menstrual cycles, pregnancyy3hcusvl8wkq4l6f7xzgrdl72ejkfbmt4t8yenimkbvvk0ktmf0xjctabnaljim9, and emotional mindsets are far too chaotic, inconvenient and disturbing much less to be considered in any place of power or as president of the United States, referencing Hilary Clinton.

We know the setup, “what’s your name, what’s your sign, you got a man” etc. a timeless opener for males to entice a woman, but if theres a hint of sass given or an attitude underway we’re automatically the worst things walking this Earth. Sure, being dry or straight to the point  may not be the nicest thing to do, but if i’m simply just not interested or don’t want to be bothered why does that make me any less of a person. At a social event, a female was shot, SHOT, in her chest because she declined to give a man her phone number. Though she’s doing alright, it was such an unnecessary measure taken. It’s unclear of how nicely or rudely she may have declined his request, but why would that even be a factor? Why does a woman need to be a gentle lamb just to preserve her life in these types of occurrences???

It sort of reminds me of the senseless killings by the police officers. A man selling CD’s though thought to be suspicious or his activity even illegal, it doesn’t justify his death.He was shot several times at close range while being held down by other police officers.  If you’ve seen some of the comments of the videos that have gone viral you’d see some of thie ignorant nonsense people have posted. “If he wasn’t selling CD’s he wouldn’t have been shot, If he didn’t resist, if he didn’t talk back, if he didn’t stand there, if he didn’t blink, if he didn’t smile, if he wasn’t black….” so many hateful, blood-boiling statements that bring me back to the thought that no one deserves the treatment that society bestowes upon them. Whether it be a woman with tight fitting clothing that drank too much and thus gang raped or an innocent man hustling to feed his family shot and killed, there are no justifications for their resulting consequences.

#AltonSterling #BlackLivesMatter

On a Saturday night out with the girls, all dolled up, men approach you and no matter how nice or rude you try to be it’s like they don’t get it. On a particular occasion, a man bumped into a young woman and was very touchy as he apologized, she requested that he not touch her, and he turned into another person aside from the one that was just trying to apologize so affectionately. “You must think you’re hot S***, you think you’re bad, well you’re not you ugly little b****, that’s why you…”, the slurs, profanity, and insults continued as he walked away. When these types of things happen it makes me wonder if it’s even safe to go out anymore. Who knows what could happen if a male approaches a female now of days.

Males are using whatever tactics they can just to save face and their pride. Chloroform cloths are being heavily used on women, along with date rape drugs- Rohypnol or Roofie, as well as tazers, guns, and other weapons. It wouldn’t be shocking to know that women actually feel some sense of obligation to comply with men and their requests no matter the circumstance just to maintain their safety. To no surprise, campus crimes have increased. A couple of girls walking back to their dorms from the library meeting with their study group, and a male thinks that’s the perfect time to take advantage of the situation. As women, we’re made to feel so small, helpless, weak, and insecure that we need to carry our purse pistols, a shank, mace…and not that that’s a bad idea at all, but why has society made us feel so fearful that we need to utilize these strategies just to make it back home safely?

Recently, well-known, socialite, Kim Kardashian was tied up with taped mouth and blindfold and robbed by two men dressed as police officers while in Paris for fashion week. Kanye West happened to be having a concert in the city that week and when he heard of the news he immediately canceled the show and went to be with her. People were outraged by the cancelation and took it out on Mrs. West herself.  People trolled, made accusations, and called Kim all sorts of names and legitimizing the reason she was robbed claiming that she shouldn’t have “all that money” anyway. Love, like, hate, or indifferent, no one should be made to feel so less than that anything they have can be taken rather it be physical objects or other things. This scenario isn’t too far off from what happens to women everyday.

download.jpegThis isn’t a rant for “men haters”, this isn’t a “women rule the world”-Beyonce combo, this isn’t to possey up and start a mob to start killing them off, this is to establish knowledge about what’s going on, in 2016 where a female can’t be too sure about her life’s state when a man approaches her. It’s all too surreal that our grandmothers were treated like queens when they were young. Given flowers, dated gentlemen who  thought they were lucky to have even have known the lady…times have definitely changed and not for better. As women, we definitely need to be aware of our surroundings, not caught up with capturing the “right light” while trying to take a selfie or other matters. It’s time to get serious. There are hotlines and helpful websites available. Talk to your mother, sister, grandmother, and other women. Talk to the men in your life too. Life is too precious and much to short to have it conflicted due to pride-hurt males.

Stay safe! Stay in the know!

-Domo.Dub

Beauty at a Cost

DIYs and YouTube tutorials have become the go-to guru for all things. From interior decorating, maintenance on vehicles, and beauty needs; there’s a video for everything. Speaking of beauty…sometimes we get so lost in the products and the names and the “skin care routines” that some of our favorite YouTubers utilize that we might do more harm than good.

Did you know, that you should never exfoliate dirty skin?! There are thousands of exfoliant products that are advertised to us, that tell us that we NEED to exfoliate regularly to keep the dead skin to a minimum, but… if you’re face isn’t clean then it makes zero sense to exfoliate. The granulates in the exfoliants actually press the dirt deeper into the skin, creating dark areas, black heads, and clogged pores. We think that we’re cleaning but we’re not. And clean doesn’t just mean splashed with water or lathered with bar soap… An exfoliant is not the same thing as a cleanser and should only be used once a week, give or take the type of skin you may have while cleansers should be used twice a day essentially. Skin types are very important to recognize. From oily, to dry to normal to a combination of the sorts, this recognition helps you to choose products that will work along with your skin rather than against.

Rgiphy-1ule of thumb, if you do nothing else… Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize. Keys that lead to great, clear, firm, supple skin! #staywoke

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“Money doesn’t grow on trees”, we all know that, but pinching pennies could lead to bacteria and even fungus growing in your makeup products. Mascara only has a utilization life of about three months. As air and other matter seeps into the mascara container with each use, it makes it more susceptible for those growths and using the product after its expiration date can cause pink eye, a stye, or other problems. Not washing your makeup brushes is also a dead shot to bacteria build up. Foundation, concealer, bronzers, and other makeup generally only have a “safe” life of about six months to a year, after that it would be a good idea to replace those products.
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One YouTuber who’s caught my eye with her makeup handy tricks and tips is Michelle Phan. She’s gained populairty over the years allowing her to develop her own website, michellephan.com.While watching just a few of her vids, she’s shown me that you don’t need expensive products to make those makeup tutorials come to life. That’s right! Aside from E.L.F and NYX products being just a couple of the more affordable and quality brands,  some of your basic house hold items can be utilized for a lot of beauty tasks. For example, cleaning makeup brushes is a “major key” and sometimes getting that foundation out of those bristles is a stubborn job but a 2:1 ratio of Dawn dish soap and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a super fast and easy way to clean those brushes compared to purchasing a basic solution. Most DIY-Beet-Blush-and-Lip-.jpgmakeup products can be made right at home with just a few simple ingredients, petroleum jelly or moisturizer, eye shadow or other powder, and an essential oil. This combination of ingredients can be used for a few things like a lipstick or gloss, blush, amplified eye shadows, and even a high light or contour cream.

 

There may be tutorials and guidelines all over the web that you can look up, but there’s no law against cutting a few corners or saving a buck. Check out some DIY’s and get creative!!!

 

 

 

Release your inhibitions

In today’s society of social media, selfies, big butts, and Brazilian bundles… chances are scrutiny is everywhere: at home, in the workplace, in clubs and organizations, and even when we’re just out and about. From our hairstyle of choice, to our selection of clothes, down to the God-given quality of our skin, we’re constantly under a magnifying glass by people we don’t even know.

We’re judged on how we talk, how we walk, our demeanor, our orientation, the length of our hair, the tone of our skin, the fullness of our lips, the bone in our hips, and even the ridges in our teeth.

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Because of these close examinations, it’s no wonder we take special care to make sure our hair is neat and tidy, our clothes match and have decent quality, and that we speak with articulation, but at some point we have to realize that enough is enough. Our life is our own and no one should be able to dictate how we should be our own person. From social media to that nosy co-worker to that hating  “friend”there’s always someone trying to dim our light, trying to downplay our highs and broadcast our lows. A promotion, big purchase, new car, closing on a house, acceptance letter, even a new hair color…those people will come around trying to tell you what you “shoulda, coulda, woulda” did and why you made the wrong choice and that they probably could’ve done it too. For some reason people will try to find a way to rain on your parade but it’s you, yourself, and I marching through this thing called life.

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This past Sunday’s church service delivered a great message- “Don’t allow others to trick you out of your blessings”. In short, if you like something, if you want something, if you have your heart set on something and you’re in route to get it…don’t allow someone to talk you out of it. Many will try to tell you what they would do if they were you but the simple, yet humorous fact is… they’re not you.

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If you want to rock a blue afro then shave it off the next week, do it. Do it because that’s what you want to do. WorldStarHipHop, TheShadeRoom, BallerAlert, MediaTakeOut, Tumblr, and many more have been the home for “embarrassing” memes of people getting called out. Whether it was a video that went viral for an obese woman wearing too small clothing, a man receiving a lace front, or someone inside of McDonalds cursing the cashier…sure it’s funny but why do we care? What does it matter that a man wants to feel confident and extend his locks. Who are we to judge a woman who may not be able to purchase a new wardrobe. It may be funny to watch and listen to but, who knows if the man had to really find the money to buy a meal and why shouldn’t he deserve to have it prepared in the way he desired. This viewpoint may be playing the devils advocate, but moral of the story, we’re all living our own life the way we know how, who knows what the other deals with on a daily basis while we pass such harsh judgement.

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If you’ve heard the catchy YouTube hit “She Ratchet”… then you’d recognize the meme included above, and for others…this just may be your mantra…constantly judging people while you’re not such hot stuff yourself. By all means if you want to come outside wearing red weave, green nails, and yellow teeth…go ahead; theoretically speaking (haha!) On the other hand why do we act and live life through others eyes. We might not buy a shirt that we like because someone we know has it or we might not go to the party on Saturday because the outfit we want to wear isn’t “good enough”. If we made decisions based on others opinions throughout life, we’d never find happiness. So many people have harshly judged men in the African American community for pressing or perming their hair. Sure, for some it may seem odd for a man to adjust his natural hair as it’s more accustomed to by women but, if a man chooses to jazz himself up, who is he hurting?

It all starts as fun and games-the teasing and poking fun at the “odd” ones, but what about those that feel conscious about some decisions for fear of what society may say. To some extent we’ve all done it. That second guessing yourself when it comes to a second helping of food, the decision to make a new purchase, or even to wear a bikini.

Who cares about him, her, he she, them, they…

do YOU!

“They don’t want us to eat…”

“They don’t want us to live…”

“They don’t want us to succeed…”

“They don’t want us to win! So, We’re going to win more!”

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Who runs the world

Feminist- /ˈfemənəst/- a person who supports feminism

Feminism- /feməˌnizəm/- the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men

There’s often negative talk about feminists and feminism as if it was the worst thing since World War II. “Stuck up women who feel entitled”…have been some of the nicer words to describe the category of people.

“Because I am a female, I am expected to aspire to marriage, I am expected to make my choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be… a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”

Why should we settle? We should we be content? Are we not allowed to want more than what we’re given? Why should a stay at home mom be all that we aspire? Is it so out of pocket for a woman to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or even want to run for president?

“We say to girls, you should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten The Man.”

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In 2016 women are still being paid less than that of a man… for the same job position. Not factoring in education or experience as it relates to the job, but simply for the plain fact that the candidate is a woman. If the job place wasn’t bad, what about social life? Women are expected to act like princesses, dress in frills, and speak with eloquence at all times all the while men can roll around in mud, compete in testosterone contests, and be absolutely obnoxious for the sake of just being a “man”. Men can be as careless, nonchalant, and promiscuous as they want, getting fist bumps and ego boosts while doing so. Women on the other hand have to be constantly aware at all times. Aware of their surroundings, aware of their clothing as they don’t reveal too much but just enough to still appeal and attract the male counterpart, friendly and bubbly so they won’t be looked at as a prude, sociable but not too much so that they won’t be called  loose… it’s just too much. Who made these rules? Why is this the staple?

“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about our sons’ girlfriends, but our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. But of course when the time is right we expect those girls to bring back the perfect man to be their husband.”

Why are women nearly disowned and shunned because they may have all male friends or even have a list of male partners they’ve been involved with? Why is it the norm for a man to rack up their numbers close to the hundreds? And it’s not about competition, it’s about equality and acceptance. Rather than trying to keep up with the man, why can’t we be equally accepted like the man is… in all realms and aspects.

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“A key that can open many locks is a master key but a lock that can be opened by many keys is useless”

There are so many elements, so many underlying factors, which brings us to the age old question…

Why does society accept men in a way they wouldn’t accept women… why can men do things freely, that women would be scorned upon… why can men do things women can’t do… why is there a double standard?

Sexually, socially, career-wise, family-orientation-wise, women are seemingly “stuck” peering up unto the glass ceiling.

How do we make a way for women? What can we do to make a difference? How do you feel about this topic? Are you a feminist? Do you support feminism?

 

The keys to vacation

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya… Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama… Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go, Jamaica…

“Oooh the places you’ll go” …or at least dream of, but why does it have to be just a thought? Sadly, many people have never left their hometown or even state to travel due to monetary reasons, busy schedules, or simply just unaware of their options. When we think of vacation, we tend to think of a meteor hitting our bank accounts, but “vacaying” doesn’t have to be expensive at all! Sure we all want the luxurious Rolls Royce rental, the Ritz Carlton stay, the Nobu food…but let’s be realistic.

We’re young, we’re free, we’ve got a decent job, and we have nothing but time…what better to do than to travel and see the world? Whether it’s a girl’s trip to Miami, guys being guys in Vegas, or even a baecation to Jamaica… thanks to technology you can predict the costs, book, and plan your trip through a few apps.

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Hopper is a flight prediction app. This app allows users to insert their travel to and from destinations as well as the desired dates and it instantly pops up with a list of flights, beginning with the cheapest. It even shows a color-coded calendar showing when and just how expensive trips will be throughout the months. I recently found a flight for 4 days for just $82…ROUND TRIP. My friends have also been utilizing the app to its full advantage. One of my friends has gone on a trip each weekend last month thanks to hopper. From D.C. to Houston, to New York the flights have been afforded by just a couple weeks of saving.

Flipkey and Airbnb are just a couple of the most popular service apps out there right now. People rent out their homes, condos, apartments, beach houses, lofts…you name it, all for affordable prices. Of course with many other factors involved like your taste, city and area, and amenities prices fluctuate. We all want to be comfortable, especially when onvacation, but who needs a plush boudoir with champagne waiting in the den, when you’re supposed to be out on the town sightseeing and living it up? These apps allow people from all walks of life no matter their circumstance to travel and experience new things. Whether it be for an entire week’s stay or a place to crash for the night until you reach the next city, it’s a great, affordable innovation.

Uber everywhere. Skrr skrr! …and Lyft
You most likely won’t need to rent a car wherever you do vacation to. Sure it’s luxurious, convenient, and something you may be used to, but there are often overnight parking fees, tolls, possibilities of incidents occurring, additional charges from the rental company, gas… by the time you rack up the total, it may have very well surpassed that of the Ubers or Lyfts you could’ve gotten. The Uber and Lyft services also allow you to split the fare with friends while also offering discounts and promotions to users.

These are just a few of my travel faves that can save everyone time and money…

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Senioritis 101

With so many tutorials, tips, and guides on how to survive college for the freshmen…what about those who are approaching their final years? Well, sure, they’ve been at it this long, you’d figure they’d have it down pat by now. But, upper-class is very different from the underclass. Freshman and sophomore year, students are wide-eyed and bushy-tailed…about everything. Their everywhere! At every event, every party, every organization’s meeting, all the cafes…their ready for anything. At some point between sophomore and junior year we get tired, we’ve “seen it all, done it all”, been to every house party, had enough lectures that would seem to last a lifetime, experienced 3 or 4 chaotic finals crisis, and also probably turned 21 J  or quickly approaching it. That 21 year milestone is one that separates us. We’re a bit better, more experienced, not easily amused, a bit more sophisticated…or so we think.

As a senior myself, here are some tips for the oldies to survive their final semesters of undergrad!

  1. Go to as many events as possible

I think it’s a great idea to relive the young years. As soon to be graduates, we’ve turned our nose up at things we used to be so giddy over. Go to the football games. If you’ve never been to the hockey game, go. What about the gymnastics team, did you know your school even had one, go to one of their meets. Go tailgating. Do some things that you hadn’t had the chance to do.

  1. Get gear

Stock up on some merchandise with your school’s mascot plastered right on the front. What better way to show school spirit? Buy a license plate tag, a window decal, a blanket, a few hoodies and sweat pants, heck…even a baby onesie for your niece or nephew. Remember being in the store and seeing that $29.99 price tag for a shirt…A SHIRT?! Well, now’s the time to go get it. The best thing is, after years have passed and you come up on your class reunion, come in town for homecoming, or simply want to turn heads while out and about while showing school pride, that shirt is worth it.

  1. Be spontaneous

Run for homecoming king or queen. Grab your friends and spend the weekend in the next city over. Host a party at your apartment. So what if it’s a school night, go to the bar pull an all-nighter and grab a red bull on the way to your class the next morning.  Paint your face the school’s colors for one of the games. Streak the football field…. Ok maybe not that one, but you get the idea. Start a YouTube channel about your journey to that stage! Start a band or singing group, start a small business. Become the on campus go-to for haircuts and styles. Make memories that will last until you see your classmates again at the reunion.

  1. Be social

There’s nothing worse than leaving college with no memories, no experiences, and no friends… I mean, what was college for (other than to earn a $40,000+ degree)? Sit next to someone in class, start a conversation, invite someone to a party. Join an organization, chances are your school has thousands of them; whether social or business or both. Don’t go directly home after each class, stick around, and go to the student union; see who’s there. Gossip, text, talk, chat, stay in the know, who’s dating who and whatnot. You may think you’re above it all, but with drama eliminated, it’ll keep you entertained and laughing up until you walk across the stage

If you weren’t an adult before, once you graduate you definitely will be one. Responsibilities and bills will hit you…HARD! Live it up. Be a little selfish, buy a new outfit for that party on Saturday. Become a bartender at your favorite bar. Go bungee jumping… maybe too extreme, but again, you get the point. The options are endless. Don’t let these last few classes get you down in the dumps while adulthood creeps up on you. Take pride in your seniority!

Hope these few tips help keep the upperclassmen world-wide uplifted in spirit and motivated this year! Good luck in school and may your GPA be forever in your favor!

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#NOMAKEUP

Soulful, raspy, sensual, humble, curvaceous, stylish, humanitarian, mogul, actress, pianist, director, singer, and mother, are just some of the words used to describe the one and only, Alicia Keys.

She stole our hearts at the peak of the 2000’s with Fallin’ and kept leading us on with songs like Diary, You Don’t Know My Name, No One, and Girl on Fire. She’s taken a break, started a family, begun directing plays, began fighting for human rights, and somehow in between it all she still managed to make music. It seems that she has a new sound and a new outlook on life based on one of her newest singles, “In Common”. It’s a fresh take on a new love. The song talks about the joys, surprise and worry that someone could possibly love her and accept her for who she is.

One of her newest mantras is the no makeup movement. In the world of today, with no shortage of hip, butt, and lip injections, breast augmentations, skin bleaching, weaves, and makeup it’s no surprise that our girls are beginning to look like full blown women at such a young age. Makeup and the other assets is something women indulge in for various reasons, whether it be simple self-expression or possibly concealing a flaw they may not like, but as a young child turning on the television or even going to the store, seeing everyone dolled up, with extreme curves…I can only imagine going through puberty during this epidemic. Now more than ever, seeing these things could lead the youth to develop low self-esteem, absence of confidence among other things with no one to look up to. Thanks to Alicia Keys and many other women in the industry, we can finally find some inspiration for our girls instead of weeding out all the celebrities.

Alicia Keys published a piece in Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter and made several statements that really made me stop and think.

“Does it start somewhere in second grade after picture day when you wear your frizzy hair out ’cause your mama says it’s beautiful but all your “friends” laugh at you?”

Deny as we may, we’ve all had this feeling. Our outfit wasn’t the best, our shoes weren’t the newest, we might’ve been “late bloomers”, we may have had to wear braces, might’ve had acne, our voice may have been a bit funny sounding, our hair wasn’t the longest or straightest, and our skin wasn’t the smoothest or lightest-as society has taught us, or it might’ve just been a bad day and we forgot to care about how we look for others sake.

“You grab the brush and gel and pull your beautiful big hair back into the tightest ponytail you possibly can to contain your unique hair in a bun — hiding a piece of who you are in order to fit into a picture of what others seem to see as perfection.”

I can remember in elementary school seeing movies like Clueless or Bring it On, and even seeing celebrities like Aaliyah and Beyoncé and looking up to them, in a sense kind of wanting to be them, because they’re so beautiful and must live an awesome life. I can remember in high school, if you didn’t have the new Jordan’s, a pair of True Religions, a designer purse, the most “laid” sew in…. well, you know the rest. At such a young age it’s instilled in us, somehow, that we need to look like this, have this, do this, talk like this, walk like this, etc.

“Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.”

I wish I could’ve included the entire article because it was so raw and real. The stigma that Alicia Keys along with many everyday women experience is real! There are many who like putting on a “face” simply because they like it and there are also those who really struggle with their inner happiness and acceptance. They’re not curvy enough so they have to get injections, their butts are a little flatter than some so why not pump it up, lips aren’t as full as her’s: Botox! The list goes on and on. One problem I’ve identified is that we can find 1,000 flaws, but can’t seem to recognize 10 beauties. Alicia Keys wrote a song, “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself”. The lyrics are inspiring: In the morning from the minute that I wake up , What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup, Who says I must conceal what I’m made of , Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem. After receiving so much flack at the recent VMA’s, Alicia Keys tweeted, “Y’all, choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!”.  It seems as though people were confused. Alicia simply means that she no longer wants makeup to be her go-to when it comes to being beautiful. She doesn’t want to feel obligated to plaster it on before she leaves the house. She also doesn’t want to put anyone down if they do choose to indulge in it.

The key is self-worth, confidence, and acceptance. Be unashamed, proud, and unapologetic. If you like it wear it, if you want it get it, but if you’re not happy with yourself then you’ll never be able to accept you for you. TLC may have been the best to say it:

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow

You can fix your nose if he says so

You can buy all the make up

That M.A.C. can make

But if you can’t look inside you

Find out who am I too

Be in the position to make me feel

So damn unpretty

I’ll make you feel unpretty too

Let’s follow in Alicia Keys’ footsteps and set an example for others, including our youth.  Here’s a link to the full article. http://www.lennyletter.com/style/a410/alicia-keys-time-to-uncover/

 

#BlackGirlMagic

#WomenofColorWednesday

 

Going For The Gold

AND THEIR OFF…..

Its mid-August and the summer 2016 Olympics are off to a wonderful start. The USA is in the lead! We currently have 16 gold medals and it’s just the start for the rest to come. With all of the events still going on, there are presently 11 gold medals from swimming, 1 from shooting, 1 in judo, 2 in gymnastics, 1 in cycling, and our USA basketball team, comprised of star players like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving, have a #1 position in the events, to say the least.

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We all know of Donald Trump’s infamous slogan, “Let’s make America great again”, well… If there was ever a time to be a proud American, right now is it.

So, word on the street is that it’s a good day to be a Simone.

If you’ve been under a rock, cramped up in your apartment for the past week, or simply have had no communication with the world, chances are you don’t know what’s going on with the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chances are also slim that you’re unaware of just who “the Simones” are.

For those that don’t know, “the Simones” are made up of two young women, both named Simone, representing the USA in the Olympics. Simone Biles is a 19 year old young woman from Spring, Texas.

Starting gymnastics at just six yeapic.jpgrs old, but according to usagym.org, Simone now holds multiple titles such as, the 2016 Olympic individual all-around champion, three-time world all-around champion, three-time world floor champion, two-time world balance beam champion, four-time United States national all-around champion, and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014, the 2015World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

What a resume! The Olympics are far from over, but Simone is already being called the world’s best gymnast. She even has a signature move named after her that no one has ever completed before. Simone has even received flak from other competitors claiming that they’ve been discriminated against because they aren’t black. Despite trials and tribulations, she’s overcome it all. Simone is just getting started and shows no signs of slowing down!

Simone Manuel, makes up the other half of the dynamic duo. Simone is a 20 year images.jpgold swimmer from Houston, Texas. Simone swam locally within her home town through clubs and organizations. Simone has competed in trials, relays, and other championships, earning multiple silver and bronze medals.

In 2015, Simone became one of the first three African-Americans to place in the top three spots in any women’s division I NCAA Swimming championship. In 2015, Simone had a personal best in the 50 meter freestyle of 24.47.  Simone recently received the gold medal for her swimming event, that’s a first for an African-American woman, with a time of 52.70 in the 100 meter freestyle!

Society has a habit, when concerning sports, to think of men and men only. Some people have even made silly statements saying that there’s no room for women in the athletic world, but women are quickly ending that hysteria. In 2012, Gabriel Douglas, gymnast, made us all proud as she took home the gold. She was welcomed on the covers of magazines, talk shows, marveled by celebrities, even the topic of discussion in songs. This time around, team USA as a whole can be proud of this second reign that “the Simones” bring and African-Americans can look up to these young women who have eliminated the stigma, gone above and beyond, and conquered!

If it weren’t enough to be an African-American, being a woman can be even harder. Double minorities often get the odd end of the stick and too frequently do we settle for what we’re given. Aside from stereotype, stigma, trials and tribulations we all have the ability to ignore the negativity and go for the gold! Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Tracy Ellis Ross, Taraji P. Henson, Toni Morrison, Dominique Dawes, and Gabriel Douglas among many more, are all role models that we can epitomize.

Simone Biles and Simone Manuel can join that list proudly and show off their #Blackgirlmagic! Some of the qualities these athletes have down pat is persistence and humility along with  resiliency, diligence, focus, and  strength. These athletes aren’t simply drafted to compete in the olympics. The olympics is a competition that happens every four years. Athletes train year round, compete in trials, hire the best of coaches, eliminate their social life, and the list goes on. Some may simply see it as a sport but for these competitors it is their dream, all coming true before their eyes.

Instead of Keeping up with the Kardashians, or keeping up with the Jones’s…Keep up with Team USA and the many paved paths these awesome athletes are making! Going for the gold doesn’t necessarily mean to  become the doppleganger to Usain Bolt and win a world title for sprinting, but insted, to simply follow your dreams to the fullest and allow nothing to get in the way of it.

All of this #blackgirlmagic has me proud! Have you been keeping up with #TeamUSA? How do you plan to go for the gold?

 

Smooth Operator

Everyone’s on a health kick these days, from detox flat tummy tea to the infamous waist trainer. As of lately, i’ve discovered a new found love…smoothies!

They’re nothing new, they’ve been around for quite some time but in this hipster age juice bars and smoothie sit downs are popping up all over town. Each cup comes with all “natural and organic” ingredients like kale, spinach, avocado, and other fruits and veggies. Not to mention Omega 3s, chia seeds, and other nutritious vitamins. Each cup also comes with a stinging price tag of at least $7. Though that little $7 may not seem threatening, but to get hooked on a delicious smoothie and buy it a few times a week, it’s hitting pockets for atleast $25.

My favorite smoothie that i’ve recently discovered is called “Alive,” produced by the juice bar, Beyond Juicery + Eatery. The juicery has several locations located in the metro Detroit area. They’ve received wonderful reviews and business is booming for them! Maybe i’m just the DIY type, but to save time and money, i’ve decided to recreate the smoothie i’ve fallen in love with. My rationale: Buy the ingredients for that smoothie and make a cup everyday for two weeks…all for $25!

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I went on a venture for all the ingredients that included

  • almond butter
  • almond milk
  • flax, chia seed mix pack
  • vanilla extract- pure, preffered or imitation
  • peaches-frozen, unsweetened
  • strawberries-frozen, unsweetened
  • orange juice
  • bananas

all ingredients can be found at Meijer, with a grand total of $25

With my single serve blender, I mixed the ingredients to taste

  • 4 strawberries
  • 6 slices of peachesgiphy (1).gif
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  • 1 table spoon of almond butter
  • half of a banana
  • pack of flax, chia seed mix
  • 2 table spoons of almond milk
  • teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of orange juice

Of course, you can substitute any ingredients to your liking but this is what I used and I must say it almost tastes the exact same as the smoothie I bought from the juice bar. These ingredients lasted me about two weeks, allowing me to make a smoothie everyday. The smoothie acts as a “meal in a cup” meaning you can drink the smoothie and feel full, allowing you to have a smaller meal or to skip it entirely.

Try new recipes. Kale, spinach, apple, and pineapple is a popular mix along with bananas, peaches, and pineapple give or take some extra ingredients. Smoothies make you feel light and healthy and are tasty to drink!

Keep cool for the remainder of the summer with a drink in your cup- on your way to class, work, or out and about for the day!

 

To Beat Thy Face, or to not Beat Thy Face

To beat thy Face, or to not beat thy face?

That is the question… in terms of makeup of course!!!!

Beat. Slay. Dust. Snatched. Wacked.

            So many silly terms but they all mean the same thing. The beauty industry has always been a prominent entity. With so many new innovations to keep women “beautiful” and “young”, why wouldn’t it be, especially when that’s how society defines the woman’s “quality”? Somewhere around 2012 makeup changed and would never be the same, it was a new era. It became every girls fascination. YouTubers flooded the scene with how-to’s and Pinterest was swamped with women searching for the perfect makeup and ensemble idea. New techniques, gizmos, gadgets, and tools were all the rave.

With over 20 shades of brown, from pale cream to goldenskin honey  to deep mocha, you would think that there’d be a foundation for every woman but sadly this hasn’t been the case. So many women of color have been wearing the wrong shade of foundations simply due to the fact that their skin shade isn’t offered. Imagine, you being darker skinned having to settle to wear a toffee shade of makeup…the agony! Did you know that more cosmetic brands are just NOW (in 2016) catering to women of color? I guess after drops in sales, complaints of brands having only basic colors offered for the, more fair-skinned counterparts, and the false advertising of “dark cocoa” swatches that were actually caramel colors were drastic enough for brands like L’Oreal and Cover Girl to launch lines of foundations and concealers for the darker skinned women such as the Queen line for Cover Girl, backed by ambassadors like Queen Latifah.

As a woman, we make due with what we have, whether that means creating a concoction mix of powders and liquids to get the best look possible or simply starting our own cosmetic line, it gets handled. A perfect smooth canvas with the right dewy effect, a flawless contour, sexy highlights, lashes for days, and thick, “on-fleek” brows painted by “the gawds” themselves are THEE only way to go.

But, why are women receiving backlash for their newfound love for their artistic expression that is makeup?

Men AND women have given makeup wearers a piece of their mind through social media memes and other postings. From Love and Hip Hop to today’s rap music to the everyday coworker, men have expressed their admiration and hatred for makeup, all the same. They love how it looks on a woman and how it enhances her features when it’s nicely and subtly done, but they fear for when she takes off the painted face because the transformations that makeup has done for some is absolutely astounding…

 

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Now, some makeovers will leave others in total shock but nonetheless…we don’t criticize men for wanting to play sports, getting drunk with buddies, or rolling in the dirt among other things. Why is a woman’s hobby and interest up for debate and critique? In addition to the man’s judgment, of course we have the “one’s who do and one’s who don’t”…everything isn’t for everybody, but is that a reason to condemn the counterpart? Some women who don’t wear makeup actually attack those that do with scowls, a turned up nose, and such comments like “why do you have to wakeup and put on makeup everyday, I’m beautiful enough to go bare” and “I bet if they didn’t have that makeup on they wouldn’t get that attention” and “it’s 12 in the afternoon, where are you going with all that makeup”. Girls will be girls, right, but those who like makeup should be able to wear it freely whenever, however, and wherever they want to wear it. How does my wearing of makeup make you feel any type of way? If you love to be natural and show off beautiful radiant skin, then you should feel so empowered to do so, happily. But, as women should we not high five one another and give a compliment when we look good, makeup or natural? I bet if those bashers of makeup-wearers knew how to do their makeup like the ones they critique, they’d possibly love it too.

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…And then there were the abusers of makeup. Everything in moderation, less is more! The “gawds” want you to be on fleek…*Forever*. Take some time and check off your list…

  • Define your skin type; oily, dry, combination-important for selection of foundation and concealer brand and variety
  • Get matched with the correct foundation and concealer
  • Research and invest in a decent quality of makeup
  • Get the right types of quality brushes for the job AND clean them regularly.
  • Define your style and find eye shadows, liners, highlight, lip colors to compliment you and your skin tone.
  • Stay trendy and in the know-Amy Winehouse eyeliner isn’t popping right now
  • Consult with a professional for tips and suggestions
  • When applying makeup, try to utilize various lighting to be sure of the quality
  • If you’re face feels heavy and a bit tacky by the touch, chances are you’ve applied too much

As cliché as the makeup tutorials are becoming, they are such a FREE and helpful tool to learn and practice doing makeup, from everyday casual makeup to special night out looks. Makeup seminars are so costly, running about $50-$500 a session, depending on the artist or brand and the location. If you do choose to go to a seminar for some extra helpful lessons, MAC has some classes that are held every so often for about $100 a session at various locations.

Visit Ulta lately? Well, it’s only every woman’s Wal-Mart for makeup…THEY HAVE EVERYTHING. From contour kits, brow kits, foundations, eye shadow pallets, face cleansers, and hair nurturing products you can find everything you need and even more that you don’t need but will most likely find a use for. Upon your venture, try not to get swept up in the hype. Anastasia Beverly Hills, NYX, Naked, MAC, NARS, and Urban Decay are all great brands that cater to their customers, but it’s not the end all be all for beauty buys. Eyeliner doesn’t need to cost you $40 nor does foundation need to run you $98. Though, some may argue that it’s so worth it, it’s worth the exploration of different brands to find what works best for you and your pockets. Natural and organic products are the new “thing”. In fact many popular brands have been noted to have lead and other chemicals in their products which has fueled other brands to produce items that are harmless if ingested, not tested on animals, various flavors, and crazy cool colors. I argue, some products are worth spending the extra bucks on while others can be simply bought at the local Walgreens for pocket change.

Makeup has given women all over the world of all ages the confidence and self-esteem they’ve always wanted. Whether it be for a special occasion or an everyday activity they love to indulge in, it’s okay to wear makeup. If you’re good at doing makeup, you may want to start video tutorials, start a small business, become the campus go-to makeup guru, or even come up with new trendy looks. Retail therapy has taken a back seat to makeup rehab, it’s how we express ourselves and possibly even relieve stress. Who doesn’t feel better after knowing they look good.

And for those that have sooooo much to say…. BOY BYE

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We’ve all had our ups and downs, trials and errors with makeup. Starting out, why didn’t our friends tell us our eyebrows were too boxy and too dark? Why didn’t anyone tell us our foundation didn’t match? Nonetheless, just thankful for the glow up!!!

Do you love makeup? Are you one of those makeup bashers? Is it wrong to wear it everyday?

Here’s one youtuber that does a great job displaying her makeup routine. Beginner, intermediate, expert or simply a lover for makeup… indulge!

 

 

STAT-tistics

 

A night out with a bit of too much to drink could lead to some bad decisions. A partner not being truthful with their past history is a taboo in itself. Wanting to be 100% safe and healthy for your own peace of mind. No question about it, these are all reasons to go and get tested.

As young adults, we may indulge in activities that may lead to more consequences than benefits. Statistics show about 36.7 million people in the world are infected with HIV, 1.2 million people in the U.S. alone live with HIV, and 1 in 8 people don’t even know it. The only accurate way of knowing is to GET TESTED, as the symptoms are often absent, leaving a person feeling “normal” while their immune system deteriorates. For those that do experience symptoms, it closely resembles the flu, such as fever, chills, rash, night sweats, aches, and fatigue, to name. In some cases, those who did have the virus didn’t show symptoms for up to 10 years!

To be clear, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which is a virus that can cause an infection and can lead to the development of AIDS, standing for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, causing a severe loss of the body’s cellular immunity.

So many of us are still stuck in the mindset that only gay, white males contract this disease, but the facts are that anyone is susceptible. Going to any run of the mill tattoo artist that doesn’t take priority in safety and health by cleaning their ink needles after EACH customer could definitely leave anyone vulnerable to the disease if there are traces of infected blood left on the tool. Engaging in unsafe sex with a partner not only leaves you wide open to the many STDs but also HIV. The chances of pregnancy are also there, as well as passing the virus to the fetus, without proper medication.

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According to AIDS.gov, African Americans are STILL the leading group infected by HIV/AIDS each year. Some reasons that blacks are measured with HIV/AIDS at such an alarming rate includes lack of information and accessibility to health care, the fact that STDs occurred most within the African American community which makes susceptibility higher, and the distrust within the government resources. It’s time to get serious and time to take responsibility. There are plenty of clinics and medical service units that offer free or discounted testing year round! As always, results are confidential. Though, there are many people who live in the world today with HIV and AIDS and thanks to technology and medical innovations, many are able to still lead a normal life, but there are preventative measures we can all take.

  • Get tested every 3 to 6 months or every time you’re intimate with a new partner; reduce risky sex.
  • Use condoms… EVERYTIME.
  • Talk to your partner about your status; get tested together.
  • Don’t inject drugs; steer clear of them.
  • Take advantage of community programs and organizations.
  • Utilize the many hotlines available.

National Aids Day is December 1!  Make it your goal to know your status by then, if not sooner. Don’t strengthen the stigma, be the standout, go get tested and know where you stand.

There is an abundance of information on this subject- scholarly articles, blogs, books, etc.; get educated, talk to your doctor, a friend, your partner.

For more information visit

https://www.aids.gov/

https://www.blackaids.org/index.php

Do you know your status? Are you vocal about getting tested?

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Summer to Fall Closet Transformation

Days in the sun
And nights in the rain
Summer is over, simple and plain
Found me some fun that’s good for the pain
Already told you, I don’t feel the same
I don’t feel the same

-Word to Drake (Summer’s Over interlude; Views)

 

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Sunny scorching days, and warm humid nights…we’ve been dreaming of these times since the winter, along with the freezing, below 10 degree weather and the 2-10 inches of snow that we trudged through. As the warm weather peaked, guys were happy to bust out the fitted cap and shorts with the matching Jordans that they stood in line and waited hours for. For girls, sun dresses and sandals were the summer staple that could be seen in every color, with the occasional tank top and shorts or even the “bodysuit” and slim fit jeans.

Hope as we might, wish as we will, summer’s slowly coming to an end and fall will soon be upon us. With the change of seasons, many people think that they need to pack away their summer clothes or dish out on a whole new wardrobe for autumn. Sure shopping is always a hobby I can find a reason for…BUT that doesn’t mean fashion stands still! We are currently in the age of Hipsters! Think outside of the box, stay in the know, “REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE” and most of all, BE EDGY! Most of your favorite pieces can still be worn up until that frosty first morning of winter while still being fashionable. Fall has been claimed to be everyone’s “favorite” season. Haunted houses, dressing (or stuffing-depending on where you’re from), horror flicks, pumpkin spice latte back at Starbucks, apple cider … and the ability to layer your clothes til’ your heart’s content; that’s the whole meaning of fall right?

Remember that favorite maxi skirt you wore throughout summer? Pair it with some cute booties, accessorize with a belt, chunky jewelry, a jean jacket…the options are endless, whatever your style may be. While the weather still permits, it’s ok to still wear those shorts; match it with a floor duster cardigan, moccasins or other boots, and a cute fedora or a floppy hat.

At this point in our lives, assuming we’re mature young adults, we shouldn’t be a slave to the name any longer, sure we all love nice things including that designer bag but statements can be made with cute finds at your local thrift store; as surprising as that may be! Plato’s Closet is also a great place to find new pieces. A good jean jacket, boots, sweater, and a belt can be the ultimate pieces that can accessorize any look and transform your summer fit to a fall favorite look. Get creative! Bring those plum and maroon lipsticks to the forefront of your cabinet, take advantage of the fall sales and stock up on cute light weight scarves, and you can’t get enough of that online shopping with sales on cute sweaters.

Don’t let summer’s fun coming to an end make you drab, stay fashionable and innovative with your looks.

Here’s a video that could give you some ideas to keep the closet looks in rotation.

-domo.dub

Get Edumacated

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It’s 7am, and first hour has just begun. Sleepy eyed and groggy with a bag full of books, we were probably dreading the rest of the day and counting down the days until graduation and also thinking how the Pythagorean theorem or the periodic table of elements was going to help us in our everyday life.

How many times have we promised ourselves we were just going to get a factory job to avoid the stress?

Who has ever joked with their friends about finding a “sugar mama” or “sugar daddy” to support their lifestyles?

First start. Preschool. Kindergarten. Elementary school. Middle school. High school and, not to mention, latchkey and day care.

Education is so important, and it would be a relentless job to stress the many reasons why.

So many people argue that school isn’t for everyone. And though, this much is true, considering the 300 million people in America, chances are there’s something for everyone.

According to Findlaw.com, compulsory education is the requirement of all children in the United States to be educated, at least until the reach of high school, then the child has the “choice” to continue on or not.

I went to a public school within my hometown. The school received an exemplary status from the city’s school board but I wasn’t too moved by it, I thought the teachings were pretty common and that we all knew the same kinds of things…but I was wrong.

Coming to college has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as well as an experience that has widely opened my eyes. Sitting in the student union one day, catching up on an assignment while I wait for my next class, I overhear a conversation. Someone asks what country the Olympics were being held in. The other said “the one with the blue and yellow flag”, “ooh, you mean Portuguese”. My face instantly drooped; I was dumbfounded.

Firstly, the 2016 Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their flag’s colors are blue, green, yellow, and white. Portuguese is NOT a country, but it is the language that the Brazil natives speak. Portugal is a country located in Europe, next to Spain, that colonized Brazil and… UGH. I could’ve gone on and on inside my brain. Social media has made it a game to post math problems relative to 5th grade learning that so many people have failed at answering. Some of the comments people post implore that their answer is right and that they know P.E.M.D.A.S and other math tools. Having conversations with people can be frustrating as well. They may try to include more complex words that they may have heard or possibly have read up on but they use it or pronounce it so incorrectly, its horrifying. “He had the odacitely (audacity) to ask me that”, but they know every word to Future’s new song, and can tell you how to “cook and move work” and go “OT” providing Young Dolph and Gucci Mane’s instructions.

Sure, others paid more attention in history class than others, but these things are common knowledge that I thought everyone had. Sort of like comma usage, proper grammar practice, the differences between to, too, and two-their, they’re, there- rather, whether… UGH there I go again…I could go on.

Some argue that college is a conspiracy and that they’d just prefer to become an entrepreneur and open their own business. While you don’t need a degree to do so, higher education provides classes, training, and networking opportunities for the fields of interest. How can one be a business owner with no known knowledge of a business plan or how to manage nonetheless keep track of gross and net income?

A four-year university is not the end all-be all like our families, teachers, or media has lead us to believe. There are shorter-term education options that can still give us a desirable outcome. Community colleges, trade/vocational schools, realty classes, culinary schools, CNA or other medical licensing, schools for beauty and barber… the list goes on and on.

Education is important. There are no ifs ands or buts. Education allows for learning, growth, new opportunities, networking, chances to earn better pay, flexible schedules and programs, online options, and great experiences are just some of the pros for seeking a higher education. Even if you don’t finish out, or seek a degree per se, but simply desire some new useful knowledge and skill sets, there’s something for everyone.

In the world of today, with Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump running for president, the #blacklivesmatter movement, as well as the police brutality epidemic at large, why wouldn’t you want to #staywoke and educated?

What do you think? Is school worth the hassle? Should there be a law requiring everyone to receive education? Have you found yourself constantly correcting others?

B Educated!

Among other things,

B Honest B Humble B You!

-domo.dub