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