17 December 2011

Soul Spice Tea

A few weeks ago, my sister felt under the weather with a sore throat.  She shared a home remedy for a sore throat posted on the most popular social media site.   The recipe follows:  mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar; a small pinch of cayenne pepper; 1/4 cup of lemon juice; and one teaspoon of honey in a cup of hot water. Drink the tea three times a day or until the infection clears up. 

When I told my sister that I was miserable from allergies, she suggested the recipe and recommended I pick up a bottle of liquid cayenne.   I left work early and headed for the organic market on the way home.  I grabbed the cayenne and honey.  I was exhausted from sneezing hard all day long; I had a headache; tears constantly welled in my eyes; and the skin around my eyes was red, swollen and dry.  I looked like a 3 am drunken mug shot.  My plan was to get home eat some serious carbs and jump under the covers.  I was a draggin’ and moanin’ slug.  I was also dehydrated.  I needed fluids and my favorite drink is a monster sized mug of hot green tea.  Instead of making the sore throat recipe, I just added the ingredients to my tea. 

The recipe in a large mug:

About 14 to 16 ounces hot water
1 organic green tea bag
1 teaspoon of orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon of organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar 
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 to 4 drops of liquid cayenne pepper

I admit that I was not scared to try the tea.  I was desperate and hopeful.  After I drank the huge cup of tea, the itchy burning dry eyes stop bothering me within 15 minutes.  My eyes stopped watering and it was the first time I could see straight in the last four days.  The aching at my left temple subsided and the pressure in my head was relieved.   I felt like I could breathe normal again.  As things improved, I had to blow my nose a few times and I felt much better.  The sneezing was much less frequent and when I did, it was a normal run of the mill sneeze versus the loud and wrong kind of sneeze.   The sneezing helped get all the mucus out of my system, so I did not mind.  I had to keep tissues nearby to catch the unexpected drips.  This recipe works!

Next thing I knew, I felt a little pep in my step.  I started my wifely cleaning chores and never got around to eating the carbs that I wished I had in the house.  The nap went by the wayside.  I felt so much better.

The tea tastes good.  I could taste the lemon and a hint of the apple cider vinegar.  The honey muted the citrus and spice.  The cayenne was not too spicy, but I did taste it a bit after I finished the tea.  The tea was different; an enjoyable experience.  I imagined sitting in a room surrounded by deep red walls; large pillows; and silky vibrant fabrics blissed out listening to Jill Scott circa 2000.  I was a cool neo soul child chillin’ by myself. 

This beverage is so much better than the chemicals on the pharmacy shelves.  In fact, each ingredient is celebrated for its functions to support health and vitality.   Cayenne pepper is important in circulatory system and heart health.  Green tea is an antioxidant and aids immunity.  Honey is an energy booster and has antimicrobial properties.  Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar helps remove toxins from the body.  Lemon juice resolves digestive problems and helps calm anxiety.  I’ll be drinking this tea on the regular.  I don’t need to be ill to reap the benefits of Jill Scott’s vocal expressions and a little soul spice tea.

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

01 November 2011

For Want of Money or Need of What?

Occupy this and occupy that are all over the news.  The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations protest economic inequality; corporate greed; and influence over government.   It’s all about who has it and who doesn’t.  It is interesting that some people are finally upset enough to protest the inequity of American democracy.  Now that jobless and homeless do not commonly define people of color, suddenly these are major problems that need address.  Oh, but where were the protests over last hired, first fired; Diamonte can’t get an interview; wealth disparity; and sentencing unfairness?  Oh, so when the loss of lifestyle affects folks who have the fearless freedom to protest, it’s big news.  They are comforted in the privilege of knowing that an arrest would not crush their financial futures.  What is the difference with the occupiers?  Are they too good to be poor; don’t deserve to be losers in the great society?
Many people of color do not define themselves by their pocketbook or social strata.  We recognize America’s monetary strategies and despite the constant economic beat down, we have survived and prospered.   We are stronger for overcoming economic challenges, whether we like it or not.   Sure, there are many families of color in economic distress, but they make do under circumstances that are their norms.  There are also many families of color who are more financially stable and who have obtained riches.  Fine, great, excellent; for all have survived American historic economic mistreatment.   Now that that the beneficiaries of American style privilege are finding themselves financially stressed, the war is on.

The fight against the bad apples of the 1%ers is unseemly; the protesters want more money to come to themselves via debt forgiveness or closure of the income gap, as well as changes in government policies.   Money, money, money … now, we all know that these changes would not trickle toward folks of color.  The occupiers are protesting about money, which has its own merits, but you can’t breathe stocks; you can’t eat coins; and you can’t drink dollars.   Do they recognize that as long as a small group holds treasure and influence that our future is in their hands?  The moneyed interests do what they want to do in order to make more money.   People, animals, plants and our ecosystem are worth less than the almighty dollar.  The protests should be less about getting money and more about what the chase for money does, not to the people who can afford to protest, but to everyone.   Our environment has suffered tremendously because of the pursuit wealth.   It is cheaper to pollute; less expensive to do things safely; and economical to leave a mess behind.  These things are done because of money.  The protesters should be out there discussing tactics to improve the environment for everyone; clean, air, water and lands for all.  I’d rather us be a poorer and healthier nation than a richer and sicker one.   It’s not about the money people; we need to get our priorities realigned with environmental justice far ahead of economic fair dealings.  Otherwise, our offspring will not only be broke, but gasping for air, thirsty, hungry and soon enough, extinct.  It’s time to liberate Earth from the money chasers.  That is change we should all accept.

09 October 2011


A disaster is a damaging or destructive event that causes severe loss, damage, hardship or death and can result in serious economic cost.  There are many types of disasters and our reaction depends on the proximity to the center of the disaster and the disaster impact level.  We often hear of the more common disasters such as fire, flood, thunderstorms, tornadoes and winter storms.    Some types of disasters are locality based such as landslides, earthquake, hurricanes, tsunamis and volcanoes.  Other types are based on corporate and government decisions to locate certain dangerous facilities and transportation routes such as dam failure; chemical emergencies; hazardous material release; nuclear power plant emergency; or even terrorism.   All of us are vulnerable to a potential disastrous event. 
In the recent months, the east coast of America was hit by an earthquake followed by a hurricane and followed by a tropical storm within a short period.   The southwest has suffered extreme heat and wildfires this summer.  The early spring tornadoes rocked southern America.  Folks were scared!  Many people raced out to the stores when the media announced that a weather storm or natural event was brewing and many of them were too late.   The earthquake took out electricity in many communities and there was a run on batteries and flashlights.  There were rumors that the discount dollar stores were selling batteries for $2.00 each.  When Hurricane Irene arrived, supplies were already short.  Communities were exponentially impacted by multiple natural events and were not prepared for the magnitude of damage.  Buildings and roads were damaged from the earthquake and were not repaired in time for the hurricane and then the tropical storm took out already damaged roads and serviceable roads.  Buildings were still wet from the hurricane and ended up flooded worse during the tropical storm.  Some buildings were declared condemned as a result of the earthquake and rehabilitation work on others had to stop to clean up from the high waters.
Call it what you wish: nature’s payback; mystical transportation; the end of the world as we know it; or revenge of the boogeyman, they are all bad situations that will happen time and time again.   Folks have been helped in the past, but the next time, help may not be there to come.   The financial disaster looms large over how we recover from environmental disasters.  Those who wrought financial terror twisted the minds of the political representatives and they are pushing to exterminate funding for predicting weather and geological events; emergency aid; disaster relief; and recovery.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are in the crosshairs of “limited government” advocates.  These agencies monitor the environment; regulate activities that would adversely impact the ecosystem we inhabit; and provide funding for recovery.   The anti-government zealots want the EPA, NOAA and FEMA to be abolished.
I expect these agencies would remain part of the government; however, I do not expect them to be funded at current levels or to function as currently intended.  Last fiscal year, FEMA funds were moved around from tornado recovery to hurricane aid.  We the people should not expect that we will hear the words, “…we are here to help” in the future.  The next time may come sooner than you think.  Ask yourself, “Are you ready?”  If the answer is anything less than 100 percent, you must get yourself and your family in gear.  You must prepare to do without modern health and safety conditions as well as modern conveniences if disaster strikes.  You must be prepared to stay home or travel to a safer location.  You must be prepared to eat safe foods and drink safe beverages.  You must be prepared to have shelter and protection from temperature extremes.  You must be prepared to protect yourself and your family.  You must be prepared for when your environment suddenly changes.

If you are ready to get started, Black Organic ‘is here to help’.  Black Organic created a comprehensive Survival and Subsistence List that includes items you must have ready and a few tips for surviving and sustaining your life through short and long term emergency situations.   The list covers water; food; food utensils; shelter; tools; supplies; clothing; health and hygiene; entertainment; documents; trade goods/bartering; storage containers; boogie out bags; vehicle preparation; and packing. 
Here is a sample from the list:
….  Layer clothing for comfort and temperature control.  When in the woods or meadows, tuck long sleeve shirts into waist and pants into socks.  Wrap duct tape at ankles, waist and wrist to prevent ticks on skin.  Carry clear tape to stick/pull tiny insects off clothes. 

hat – wool/wide brim
shirts – long/short sleeves
helmet- head gear
shoes – sport style
warmers – hand/foot packs
boots – hiking - waterproof
laces- shoe/boot
socks – wool

The list is the most comprehensive listing for survival and sustenance and can be yours for FREE!  Please send an e-mail request to:  black.organic@yahoo.comYour request will not be used to collect e-mail addresses.
The list is meant as a guide to help you obtain some of the items you most likely may need.  You may not need everything on the list or you may wish to substitute certain items based on your choice, concerns or comfort level.  Many of the items you may already have in your home.  It is recommended that you gather the materials you have and keep them in a place where you can grab them and leave if conditions warrant.
Please share this information with friends and family.  If you have any feedback for Black Organic, please send along.  The list will be updated as more information is obtained or clarification is needed, so please have your friends and family send an e-mail request for the latest version.

11 August 2011

Good Hair

“Good hair!”  Oh, please.  The hair you were born with is good hair.  It’s not about hair color, texture or length.  The only good hair is natural hair; not chemically altered or intertwined with some other form of hair.  In using the term good hair, we express our belief that natural is inferior.  Nature is not substandard.  If unnatural was so good, why is it that man cannot replicate anything in nature?  Man has tried, but cannot recreate, mimic or build anything better than what is natural.  Ask any scientist, engineer, chemist or doctor, “Can your constructed wetland function better than a natural one; can the arm you design work better than a human arm; can the drug you make work better than the plant; can the skin you alter work better than the original…. any of these without causing harm?
Natural hair is not a statement or rejection of the conventional.  It is real honest to goodness nature.  Embrace and celebrate your essence.  We have been indoctrinated to believe that straight, long, and vibrant colored hair is the best.   Your best friend didn’t tell you that.  Corporate media did and they want to make you spend money on their products so you can be the best you can be so they can be the richest.  We buy into this foolishness to the detriment of our self- esteem, health and finances.   Natural heads are the new corporate target.  There are conventions showcasing all kinds of creams and oils; shelves full of stuff to make your natural hair curlier or shinier; and take look at the magazine ads, whew!    Stop it already.  My head is not meant for you to make money, nor is it meant for you to claim value.  Nothing on the shelf is going to make me scream off the mountain top that I have found the best, most expensive elixir to turn my hair into gold.  I refuse to buy a fancy looking bottle of some concoction when I can use the same olive oil and coconut oil that I use to cook or the same shea butter that I slather on my skin.  Any of those ingredients alone or mix and match are used to moisturize my hair and skin; made at home and the do is done.  
We still embrace natural as scary.  We are scared to do the big chop; go through transition; or fear what to do once natural is done.  There are plenty of resources for natural hair.  If we learn anything, the most important is that we should ensure that our children know nothing other than natural.  Our children should know that we are no more presentable with hair opposite of our natural.  Some of us have straight hair and want it curly; curly wishing straight; and wavy wishing straight or curly; and some of us even have straighter hair in the front and curlier in the back and wish for the same consistency all over.  We even fuss over hair length … which is so ridiculous I’m not going to waste brain cells on the thought.
One question in the media sphere is whether flat ironing; blow drying; or braiding is considered natural.  In the strict sense, no; however, temporarily diversifying your look in a way that causes little to no harm is akin to animals temporarily changing coloring; fluffing feathers; or moving in ways to attract mates or ward off enemies.   These temporary acts to enhance do not disrespect nature.   There is simply no benefit to arguing the point of one being more natural than another.  If you think you are the most natural, go take a look at pictures of people who live in Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and those who inhabit the rain forest.  Say what now?
Others may be scared of or upset about our natural manes and they should be ashamed of themselves.  Older folks may proclaim that it looks a mess; it’s nappy; you can’t get a job; blah, blah, blah.  Guys may complain that they cannot run their fingers through it.  Sure they can…. gently.   They can playfully tug on a ringlet and watch it bounce back; tuck a few strands behind your bejeweled ear; pat a few stray curls into place; and smell the arousing scent of your wonderful locks.   As long as you are confident and express pride in your natural do, others will feel the vibe.  Stand up for yourself and call out the ill-informed folk for being ‘nattering nabobs of nat-happy negativity’.  This time, it  is all about you.  Our hair is not a joke; an agenda; cultural statement; or political talking point.  It is what it is… good hair.  Love it or shut it!

08 August 2011

Prosperous US

Congress is cutting and slashing the budget and trashing the economy.  Austerity has finally made its way to America and those of us of in the middle and lower economic classes will bear the brunt of the financial mess caused by American political and business kingpins whom I will not refer to as leaders because they have not earned the title.  Leaders lead with positive values that influence followers in a constructive way.  I’m all for reducing debt and reducing waste.  My concern; however, is the method of the madness.   My family income, as well as many others, has been adversely impacted by the changes over these past few years.  I still have hope and I will make a change.

I want us to be a prosperous us.  We can change our habits and improve our health outlook as well as financial future.  The little adjustments in our day to day lives can make a big difference in how we handle cutbacks in services, income, and opportunities. 

First, we should start with a change in attitude.  Life does not suck.  Life is sweet.  Think positive, things will get better and it is up to us to make it so.  Nobody can make you feel bad, unless you let them.  Rise up, for we have overcome a heck of a lot more than temporary hardship.  If you don’t believe me, pull out a picture of your Great Grandparent and think. 

Second, we should get enough sleep.   Proper rest helps you do what you need to do and to do it well.  There is no reason to stay up late and watch the television; surf the web; play games or party all night long.  Sleep can help you lose weight.  Yes, it’s true.  When we are tired, we eat more carbohydrates and sugars to help us stay awake and we tend to quickly binge eat in hopes of reducing the headache we believe to be the result of not eating.   Change your bedtime so that you get a minimum of 7 hours of nighttime sleep. 

Third, eat small healthy balanced meals and snacks spread throughout the day and drink plenty of fluids.   Our bodies react to our intake.  Eat poorly and feel bad.  Huge meals make you sluggish.  Sugar rushes trigger sudden drops in brain and organ function.  Constant negative pressures on the organs and brain caused by poor eating habits will cause weight gain and ill health.  Improving poor health costs extreme amounts of money.  We are killing ourselves with a knife and fork.  Proper nutrition leads to better brain and body functioning at optimal levels.  You can save time and money by reducing your food intake and consuming life sustaining foods and fluids.

Fourth, we should take action.  Get up and exercise.  Walking and running is free.  Climbing stairs is free.  Dancing is free.  If you are less mobile, move the body parts that you can.  Wiggle in your chair; bop your head; and wave your arms.  Just move!  Being fit enables you to do more and be more productive.  One day, you may have to run for your life.  You will be unable to do so if you are out of shape.  Fitness will allow you to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities. 

Fifth, do it yourself.  If you don’t know how, learn.  Think about the things you have someone do for you on a regular basis.  Body and hair treatments are expensive; make them a treat instead of a routine.  Maintain your own lawn and wash your own dog.  Commercial treatments often contain chemicals that harm our environment.  Products for personal or residential use are much more eco-friendly than commercial applications.  Creations you make at home are even ecologically healthier than their market counterparts.  Do what you can within your abilities.  Trying to do expert work may lead to greater costs if the expert has to come in and repair your damage.  Try to keep things maintained and in good working order.  Make do with what you have.  There is no need to go out and buy the latest greatest gadget or vehicle when the one you have works just fine. 

Last, take responsibility for your financial well-being.  For every dime spent today, there will be less dimes for tomorrow.  Reduce restaurant and entertainment costs.  If you do not need it, don’t buy it.  If you need it, buy the less expensive alternative.  If you can buy the ingredients to make a product, you will save a boatload of dimes.  A few basic items that you can mix to make a product will create more of that product than the pre-packaged item.   Change your mindset towards what costs money.  Leaving the lights on; washing clothes during peak electric use hours; unmaintained machines using more energy to operate; and leaving the water running costs money.   A few small changes will lead to greater changes and soon enough change becomes easy.  Then, you’ll have a lot of spare change.

We cannot become a prosperous people unless we take it upon ourselves to do it and share the news.  Talk to your family, friends and community leaders.  Encourage modification in our individual and collective behaviors.  Nobody will do it for us.  The financial elites are doing their best to put us further in the red and they don’t care as long as they can take the fruits of their policies for themselves.  Don’t enable them!

Okay, I’m jumping off the soapbox now.  Do your thing and do it well.  Green… peace to you all.

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

01 August 2011

Summer Fruit Water

The sun beams burst through the kitchen window early Sunday morning.  Everyone is asleep, except for me.  Precious quiet time sorely needed after a Saturday full of activity.  I have at least an hour to myself before being interrupted by shuffling little feet; demands for pre-breakfast snack; or the sounds of a television.  I like to spend that hour sitting in the kitchen looking at the flowering tree just outside the window.

It’s early and I’m hungry.  My hubby is not due to start breakfast for at least an hour or so.  This is the time when I can eat or drink what I want, without having to worry about making something for someone else.  Sunday morning is my selfish hour because the other waking 126 hours of the week are devoted to my husband and kids; work; or household chores.  

I rumble through the refrigerator and I consider the cream for the coffee.  I’m not ready for coffee.  The bright red strawberries catch my eye.  I grab a few.  The giant grapefruits in the bowl are a bit much.  Hmm, the banana will work.  I eat a quick fruit snack while reading the morning news and staring out the window.  I want something cool to drink.

I like drinking water and I love eating fruit.  It’s summer time and it just seems so cool to be drinking a tall glass of something other than water.  Tea is good, soda is bad.  During the week, I add a little cider to my water and head to work.  On the weekends, I desire a little more twist to go with my morning chill time.  We have a lot of bananas, apples, strawberries, grapefruits and lemons in the house and I’m not sure we can eat it all before they get too ripe.  I saw a recipe once… and made my drink at home.

Summer Fruit Water:  Fill glass pitcher ½ full of water.  Add 1 sliced lemon; 1 peeled and sliced apple; and 5 strawberries with the leaves removed.  Fill the remainder of the pitcher.  Chill for a few hours. 

As you serve the water, refill the container for up to 24 hours.  It’s even better the second day.  After that time, finish up.  Any citrus fruit, berries, and dense fruit can be used for fruit water.  You can also add mint leaves for an extra thrill.  It does not take long before the fruit essence leaches into the water.  A tasty healthy beverage doesn’t have to be fancy or require a lot of effort to create. 

A simple summer recipe made with ingredients you have at home is a chic natural way to go for your next party or cookout.  Give it a fancy name and raise a glass to celebrate.

29 July 2011

Drink Up!

Soda sucks; sucks the life out of you; makes you suck ‘cause it destroys your teeth.  Soda is the root cause of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart ailments and sleep disorders.  Many people drink soda.  It’s sweet; it quenches thirst; boosts alertness; and it’s cheap.  Soda contains carbonated water; citric acid; sugars; high fructose corn syrup; caffeine; coloring agents; starch; and preservatives.  Americans consume more soda annually than any other Country members at a cost of over $70 billion per year.  Soda has no nutritional value whatsoever!  Soda is good for cleaning toilets and car batteries; killing garden pests; removing grease stains; and loosening rusty nuts/bolts. 
We all consume things that aren’t so good for us.  Most of us do so every now and again.  There are some who believe that they cannot get through the day without one, two, four or five sodas.   Some drink a 2-liter bottle during the workday.  I cannot imagine.  “Back away from the bottle.”
It’s time for a change.  It’s hot outside.  We need to hydrate.  We need water.  Water makes up a large percentage of our body weight.  Water is good.  Water is boring.  Eeaarrgh, stop the car!  “Water is boring,” says our daughter.  It does not have to be.  I made her a glass with a bit of lemon juice and tiny bit of stevia. “Um, this is good.”  She has not asked for it since.  Good girl, water is her friend again.  I drink a lot of water.  If I’m not super thirsty or working out, I usually want something other than water to sip.  Every morning before I go to work, I make two 14 ounce cups of hot green tea with organic blue agave syrup and one 16 ounce cup of water with apple cider vinegar.  I sip on these drinks throughout the day instead of taking trips to the coffee shop or soda machine.   I’m so used to drinking water, that juice seems too thick to drink.  I’ve been diluting juice for years, mostly because I’m cheap, but also because I can’t handle the sweetness.  I doctor up water to give it a bit of punch.  Here are a few recipes:
Lemon-Lite:  Fill a glass with water.  Add one tablespoon of lemon juice; one tablespoon of blue agave syrup; half tablespoon organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar.  Stir. 

Alternative Water:  Fill a glass with water.  Pour in about a tablespoon of organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.  Stir.

Boosted Juice:  Fill a glass 2/3 with your favorite 100% fruit juice.  Fill remainder with water.  Add about a tablespoon of organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar.  Stir. 

Green Tea:  Pour a tablespoon of organic blue agave syrup and drop an organic green tea bag into a heat tolerant cup.  Add hot water and stir.

These drinks are refreshing and healthy.  It may take a bit of time for you to get used to the cheery flavor, but all it means is that you drink too much sugar.  Oh, but what about the fruit water drinks on the shelves?  Read the bottle.  The drinks contain no fruit.  “Huh?” (…with furrowed brows and turned up lip).  Save your money.

It’s time to wean from the sodas and it won’t take 12 steps.  Enjoy your health, vitality and a great smile. 
Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

26 July 2011

Don’t Touch…My Hair!

Say that ten times; each command with a different sound, accent, attitude, eye roll or head tilt.   Natural Black hair is back in the news.  CNN published an article about touching our hair.  Oh, my here we go again.  The debate rages on; extremes on both ends, ranging from the early disgusting years of America to letting folks enjoy a cultural experience.   

The article was distressing and many of the comments on the article were unfortunate.  I’ve been natural for 10 years and … so what.  I’m not all that in to me.  Since going natural, I’ve done the wash and go to flat iron straight to some weirdness in between.  I’ve received compliments and, “Do somethin’ with yo hair.” comments from my husband and sister.  My twin sister rocks all sorts of natural do’s.  She’s a bit more daring than I and I think she has cooler hair. 
My hair sometimes speaks volumes about how I feel.  For the last two years, it was sad ‘cause I was stressed over a racial issue.  It’s resolved and I feel free from the situation.  Free!  I finally listened to my sister and another natural mom that I had a conversation with this weekend.  After Karate class, I raced home and washed my hair.  I spent about an hour twisting and super moisturizing with a coconut oil and African shea butter blend.  I wore the twists to work the last two days wearing a half bandana scarf thing ‘cause my parts were all messed up.  My sister told me she just grabs hair and twists, no parts - duly noted.  I have not done the twists in years because I didn’t want to deal with the tangles. 
While driving home from work today, I untwisted my hair and didn’t give two honks about who watched the curls unfurl.  When I got home, I studied it and ended up putting a leather butterfly hair clip at the top to keep it out my face.   I’m looking forward to tomorrow with my bouncin’ and misbehavin’ tresses.  If my friends want to touch it, I won’t mind if they don’t mind, super moisturized fingers.  Anybody else want to touch?  Well, let’s just say, I’m the boss of my space and if I’m not feelin’ it, you ain’t either.  

24 July 2011

It's Hot!

The heat is on!  The news describes a heat dome over the eastern portions of the U.S.!  Heat index over 110 in our Nation’s capital.   There are contests for naming the heat wave; open the door and hit a wall of heat; sweatin’ like pigs; stanky folks wandering around; and everybody complaining about everything.  How did the temperature get turned up to Hell?
Mother Nature’s payback?  I’m not going there.  July is hotter than July.  It is too late to change but, we can manage.   As a society, we need to do so many things.  But as individuals and families, we can do some things to make a difference for ourselves and the environment right now.  The economy and the environment are inextricably linked.  The more damage to the environment, the hotter and polluted it becomes, and the more money comes out of our pockets.   Open your car window on a highway drive and feel the wonderful – cough – outdoors.  Dang, it’s hot.  The heat off the pavement; the heat from the other vehicles; and the hot sun beaming down on treeless areas – hot!   You turn up the AC.  Cha-ching!  You stop at the gas station on the way home.  Gas expands in heat; less liquid for the vehicle - expanded gas costs money, too.  Cha-ching!  You get home and crank up the AC; turn on the lights; turn on the dishwasher; do some laundry; prepare dinner; and then some.  Cha-ching!  Electricity cost more during peak hours.  It’s hot!  More showers; hair a mess, off to the salon; need more to drink – water, juice, tea, cocktail – cha-ching!  Pockets picked by the heat miser.
Oh, what is a sweaty one to do?  If a car trip is not urgent or work related, stay home.  Close all curtains and blinds.  Turn the temperature up in your home and drop some clothes.  If it’s cool enough for you to wear sweats or jeans at home, you are wasting money.  Use fans to supplement the AC.  Do your chores in the evening during off peak hours.  Gas up your car in the early morning.  Whatever you can do, try to reduce your energy use.  We are all taxing the grid.  I’d rather let those who need the energy use it… and save myself a little cha-ching. 
Be safe out there, ya hear!

07 July 2011

I Did It!

I tossed out all of my make-up!  I have not worn cosmetics in a long time, but had been holding on to it, just in case.  I did not decide to go bare, it just happened over the last few years.  No, it’s not lazy face; I was never in to full facial coverings.  Normally, my face tints were limited in application to my eyes and lips using browns, rusts and a little shine.  I never found a lipstick that did not taste weird and lip glosses felt like candy.  I’m not against cosmetics, but I have grown concerned over ingredients and cost. 

It has always been interesting to me how some of us define ourselves by the way we present a colorful picture.  We wear bright hues on our faces and color our hair in funky shades of yellows, reds and sometimes blues.  Colors are a lot of fun.  Color is beautiful.  Shades enhance and shades can hide.  Which is it?  Nevermind. 

I like the way I look.  My natural hair is brown with a few curly strands welcoming me to my age.  My eyes are a mix of browns, greens, yellows and grays.  My skin gets better every day.  Years ago, when I was on vacation with my best friend, we met a local guy.  He said my friend looked exotic and I looked natural.  He was right.  My friend Dian was an Indonesian beauty.  She wore a little bit of eye make-up, but had the most fun with fingernails painted in crazy colors; all at once, each finger different.  I had the wash-and-go look with a little bit of make-up and too much sun.

One of these days, I’ll purchase make-up.  I researched organic, but I just don’t feel like buying mascara for 80 dollars.  There are many companies that claim natural or organic.  The current labeling system has lax requirements, so most of them contain one natural ingredient and a host of harmful chemicals.  Since I cannot make this stuff at home, I’ll search for the ‘most organic’ and limit use to special occasions and when I ‘just feel like it’.  For now, I will try my best to stay out of the cosmetic aisle, until I get to the organic market.  I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store, but if the price is outrageous, I’ll keep my hands in my pockets.  In the meantime, I’ll stick to my routine using an equal mix of coconut oil and shea butter to replace the lotion, hair sheen and lip balm.  I’m happy being natural me.  What you see is what you get.  What I get is confidence with my carefree self.
If your workplace demands a certain face, start a new trend to minimalism; it’s always cool to be the first.   Over the next few weeks, try eliminating a few items from your cosmetic case.   Blush is so fake on brown folks.  You are not fooling a soul.  Synthetic eyelashes, girl please, only for photo shoots.  Powders:  “Ugh, can’t breathe,”…and they don’t match our diverse shades of beauty.  Spider leg lashes with crusty black lumps on the ends are nasty.  There’s a thin line between love and hate; go light on the eye liner.   If I see another chocolate woman with chunks of bright orange sparkly shadow, ‘I’ma’ scream!    

If you think your friends or family will not recognize you without decoration, you done yourself wrong.  What are you going to do first thing in the morning when your partner wants to watch you open your eyes?  You are beautiful.  Treat your pure aesthetic with respect.  Colors running together on your face and smudges on your shoulders are not good looks.  Go natural, less mess.

Warm colors and less is more plays well.  Use your clothes and jewelry to bring out the new you.  Try a few days without make-up.  You might like it and you’ll even save a few bucks.  The next time you put on your face, do so with style.  Don’t cover girl, just play up your beautiful brown eyes, luscious lips and smooth silky skin.  You look good, girl.  Let it glow, let it glow!

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

04 July 2011

Summer Stings!

We got our first wasp sting of the summer this morning.  We were at the park and our son ran, fell, got up and cried screaming, “I got stinged”.  His skin welted and turned red.  The little trooper cried a bit more and then went back to play.  I monitored the bite site and his well-being over the next half hour; all good.  Our daughter could have been a different story.  If you or your child is allergic to insect bites/stings, seek immediate medical attention.

When we got home, I dabbed a paste of baking soda and organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ on the bite.  The swelling and redness soon subsided.  He complained about the smell for a minute and off he ran. 

I watched the kids play in the yard.  By the time we were done, I had several insect bites on my arms and legs.  Oh, they itched.  I dabbed on the apple cider vinegar and the itching ceased immediately.  I wasn’t anxious for the occasion to test out these remedies, but hey, they work.

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

16 June 2011

Snip Deals

I heard about The Learning Channel program Extreme Couponing.  While flipping channels last night, I caught the show.  I was glad to see the couple who worked so hard to make almost a thousand dollar purchase for zero dollars.  They gave it all to charity.  The next show made me frown.  A woman spent many hours and a huge effort to prepare to go to the grocery store.  She got all diva’d up and dragged her husband with her.  She pushed her husband to empty the shelf of mustard; more than 50 bottles.  He then exclaimed, “I don’t even like mustard.”   He had to leave to go to work.  Then she put on more make-up and continued to shop.  After 2 hours of checking out with the cashier manually entering the coupons: bill $1,902.63; cost $103.72.  She took it all to their home.  The next family had a house full of over 6,000 items stuffed under beds; in playrooms; bedrooms; special shelves and then some.  She called her kids a litter.  The family went shopping for carts full of processed foods and paper goods.  The next featured family spent 7 hours in the store, even though they had over twenty thousand dollars value of stockpile at home.  This family created eight transactions in order to purchase over three thousand dollars in items; all to be donated to charity.  My frowned turned upside down.  
Lots of stuff for free.  In the land of the free, we are not really free; free has consequences.  Hobbies turned into obsessions resulting in child labor and hoarding.  Making kids cut coupons and push carts to shop for 130 boxes of couscous, which no one in the family had ever eaten:  really?  How can these families use all of the things they obtain?  I don’t understand this lifestyle, but it is interesting… for about 60 minutes. 
I support the use of coupons for items that are necessary for our health and vitality.  There are many healthy foods that come in cans or bags and many body and cleaning products that are packaged.  Anything in extreme excess is far removed from ordinary and far removed from being environmentally sound.  The fact that American commercialism and consumerism provides the opportunity and basis for the television program is disturbing.  I believe in saving money, but there are ways to save money and being less wasteful of natural resources.  I cannot visualize the amount of trees destroyed and chemicals used to create the newspapers and advertisements from which the coupons were cut; the packages holding the items; the bags that carry the items; and the gas used to lug the weight of the purchases home.  I can imagine my household environmental and monetary savings since we do not buy huge amounts of bottled drinks; boxed sweets; candy; cleaning products; or personal care products like the families featured on the program. 
Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t come in a box.  Products can be purchased for their intended uses that can be mixed to create multiple uses such as baking soda; olive and coconut oils; salt; and vinegar.  Water from the tap is really inexpensive.  Check out some recipes and discover how much you can save.  We try not to spend too much and we stopped stockpiling items some time ago.  There are many families who are much more conservative than us and we always try to reduce our footprints on this earth.  I feel good about our progress over the last few years and recognize we can still do more.  We have fun trying to find environmentally sound practices and products for our future dream green home….only in our dreams.  Dreams do come true; right?
Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net