Thursday, February 13, 2014

Toni Daley Encourages us to Support-A-Sista

   Boy, the Northeast has been taking a pounding this winter. New York City is feeling like Rochester this time of year. I never returned to Rochester because of those winters. Mother Nature is showing us who really runs the world. After recovering from snow storms last week and snow this past Sunday evening, we got hit with another storm early this morning. Things are a mess and it was not safe to travel to work so I'm working from home and doing some writing. I wanted to share this vid, shown above, by Toni Daley. I love both her Youtube channels and in her latest cause, she's encouraging us sistas to support each other more and raise awareness of sistas we can purchase from. I know there is more to the world than just sistas, but we need to lift each other up more, because there are still so many that don't want to see us unified. Some never tire of see us acting "Love & Hip Hop" style, let's put our foot down and build each other up.

I try to buy black whenever I can. Through many years in customer service and sales, I am a stickler for quality products and services so if I get both, I'm more than elated to do business. Many of my favorite accessories shops are sista owned and offer amazing service. Below I share some businesses that I enjoy patronizing and that I plan to in the near future. Share in the comments any great sista owned businesses that you enjoy or want to buy from in the future.

Some Sista Owned Shops I Like

Rachel Stewart Jewelry- I've been rockin with Rachel for years now. Never met in person but she seems like she has a wonderful spirit, she sells great pieces that draw inspiration from the Adinkra symbols as well as other sources and her service and fast shipping always exceeds my expectations.

Rachel Stewart Jewelry "Duafe" studs

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Black History Month 2014

{Image Source}

Happy Black History Month! I'm a proud black woman and I celebrate the rich history of our people 365 days of the year but I'm thankful to have a month to celebrate it even more! This year I decided to challenge myself to learn some new things about my beautiful black people and our contributions to America and the world that I didn't know before so I wanted to share 5 facts that aren't as commonly shared this time of the year and that I didn't know before now.

Did you know?

  1. Potato chips, an American snack favorite, were first invented by a Black man named George Crum in 1853. He was a chef in Saratoga Springs, NY, how cool is that? Though he didn't patent them and didn't come  up with the idea to bag them and sell them, he invented them. I don't know about you but I looove potato chips!
  2. Sarah Goode, in 1885, was the first black women to receive a US Patent. She was a freed slave that moved to Chicago and opened her own furniture shop and created a cabinet bed that folded into the wall.
  3. Thomas Edison gets all the credit for inventing the light bulb but he really wasn't. His initial model was a failure using a paper filament. Lewis Latimer, a black man, created a carbon model that contained a carbon filament which made it last longer, which made light bulb production much cheaper and more affordable for people across the country to light their homes.
  4. Philip B. Downing, a black man, created the first protective postal mailbox in 1891. Before then, mailboxes were semi open which exposed mail to thieves stealing it and to being destroyed by the natural elements like rain and snow.
  5. On this day, 5 years ago, Eric Holder was the 1st black Attorney General sworn in.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy MLK Day

Hello and Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! For those that had the day off, I hope you enjoyed it and also got to reflect some on his contributions to black Americans and humanity overall. His positive and passionate energy filled many with hope, purpose and love. Every day, I enjoy the results of his and those he inspired's tireless work. I can walk down the street without the anticipation of being called a nigger, having to use a separate restroom of lesser quality, having my only option of seating on the bus, at a restaurant or theater being in the back or being judged on/denied access to a college or job based off of the color of my skin. I appreciate anything that those with a passion for something positive contribute to the world and I can never say thank you enough to Mr. King for humanity being his passion and inspiring people to walk in love, dignity, respect and unity. Writing this is bringing me to tears. 

We watch the documentaries and see the pictures, say thanks and enjoy the day off but don't always really process this time in history. What Mr. King did was so big! What those demonstrators and black college students did at that time was so big! At that time, black Americans lived in a country that hated them not for their character but because of their skin color- that was the only reason. Whites wanted you DEAD (and could get away with it) just because of how you looked and nothing else. Do you know how many times Mr. King's LIFE was threatened for what he was doing? Seriously imagine being threatened by MANY daily just for wanting positivity! Not many would remain steadfast. His walks, speeches and sit ins resulted in people sometimes dying or being seriously injured. White police man sicked vicious dogs on peaceful demonstrators and used dangerously high pressured water hoses on them. Try really hard right now to imagine what that must have been like. How frightening it must have been. I mean, seriously, imagine yourself in the midst of a totally peaceful demonstration and a white police man looking you dead in your eyes with hate as he then commands his k9 to kill you. We live in a world now that we're able to hide behind a computer and fake alias'. These people were front row and center and risked everything, EVERYTHING, for what was right so we could live better. They didn't a Rolex and a Benz, they just wanted to be treated with dignity damnit; be treated like a human being! We must not ever forget or gloss over how truly heroic these people were. They didn't have the comforts and luxuries we, as black people, now have. I'm thankful they gave everything for us, generations and people they don't even know, to have what we have now. 

Thank you Mr. King and to everyone of that era who risked and lost their lives for your generation and the ones after yours. When it comes to me, your efforts are celebrated every day. Every day I have the luxury of going after my dreams and my race not being an issue (most of the time). Because of you I was able to get a reputable education and be accepted into one of the largest universities in the country. Because of you, I'm able to have a corporate career and not just only being hired to be a maid, housekeeper or nanny. Your life, your efforts and your injuries resulted in greatness. You don't even know me but you loved me and everyone else enough to stand for what was right and not just take bad treatment and cry about it [on Twitter]. You all DID something about it, you sparked changed. You all are my heroes! Every day I push to be the change I want to see. This blog is me being and inspiring the change I want to see. I appreciate what you did so much. Thank you so very much. 

How have Martin Luther King Jr and the crusaders of that era affected you? What positive causes are you passionate about?

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Monday, January 6, 2014

2014: Living in Your Bliss

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season, if you celebrate. I didn't mean to leave you all hanging but life took over and I let myself get swept up in the Holiday magic and savoring the time spent with my family. It's a new year and while any time of the year is the right time for new beginnings, there's nothing like the start of a new year to get pumped, inspired, motivated and focused.

Many of us have dreams that make up our bliss, things we want so bad and they seem so big and far off, we don't know where to start or get discouraged. I want to encourage you to truly identify what you want and then practice visualizing it daily for even just 30 seconds. If you can visualize it and truly believe it in your heart, my experiences have taught me that your brain and the Universe will find a way to make them happen. Brainstorm small steps that will place you in the direction you need to move in towards reaching that dream. Maybe it's your dream to be a chef but you just started learning to cook and culinary school seems too far off, big or expensive. Small steps you can take are to cook more, try all kinds of recipes and challenge yourself to create small sides using your imagination. Burn stuff, make nasty tasting stuf, experiment. Try things. Start a cooking blog or Instagram to document your growth and adventures, watch cooking shows and read cooking blogs. Take cooking classes. Research culinary school tuition costs and scholarships available, create a plan to save for it. These are all small things that you could do right now. Be encouraged. We all have a purpose in our lives. If you don't know what your's are, then immerse yourself into trying new things until you find things that resonate with you. Be open and watch your passions and purpose/s find you.

The theme, for me, this year is living in my bliss. My focus is on totally indulging in my purposes and passions in life, complete tunnel vision. What things make up my bliss? Traveling more is one of them. I'm very excited to going to South Africa in July! Writing is my bliss, I want to write on here more (but may be changing the format soon- I'll explain) and write on my makeup artistry site, Makeup By Milan, more too. Another bliss of mine is being with my Mr. Right and starting a family. That bliss will be found while I'm involved in my other blisses though. My bliss also includes getting deeper in practicing yoga (I joined a studio back in November and it's one of the best things that I could have done!), crystal healing, energy magic, community service, cooking, arts & crafts and doing makeup full time. I have a lot of bliss, lol, really anything creative, helping or inspiring people is my bliss. 2014, for me, is about living wholeheartedly in my bliss because when you are, everything you want (granted it doesn't harm anyone or thing and doesn't infringe upon someone's free will) magically comes together. I'm finally mature and open enough to understand this and I'm ready. 2013 was so good to me and 2014 is going to be even better to me. Let the adventures begin!

What is your theme for 2014? What does living in your bliss mean to you?

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Be Inspired by Beyonce, Don't Covet Her Pt. 2

Beyonce Beyonce album- "Partition" video {Image Source}

 Watching her videos, I didn't want to be or wish that I was Beyonce and I didn't feel less than, I got ideas! I was totally inspired to be the sexiest, most sensual Milan that I can be.

So in part one, I talked about how I respect Beyonce's work ethic and am very inspired by it. If you didn't check it out, you can read it HERE. In part one, I shared that the second takeaway I got from the album was women embracing their femininity, finding power and pride in it, and embracing the fact that we are sexual creatures too and it's not a sin to be- it's an artistic masterpiece (that the right man will get to delight in).

Many conservatives are saying, like we knew they would, that the album is hyper sexualized and there she goes selling sex again but I viewed this album differently. I especially saw the videos as an artistic depiction of and celebration of femininity, sexuality and sensuality. They gave it up for the woman who knows her power and has mastered it. The videos were like mini films and were executed so well, I was impressed with the artistry. Maybe I see it differently because I'm a fairly liberal artist and love exploring the beauty of being a woman in every way, shape and form. I think the world is fine with women being exploited sexually in certain manners because then they can judge them, pity them and feel better about their own shortcomings because at least they aren't THAT low. I think the world doesn't like when a woman finally knows her power and revels in her femininity and sexuality in pure confidence and love for herself; that she can revel in it without having "daddy issues" or that she is searching for love from others with it. When a woman realizes her power and wholly embraces every facet of it without seeking something, then there's problem.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mixtress Chronicles: Hair Mud Wash With an Ayurvedic Twist

I love hair mud washes. They do magical things to my 4a koils like cleanse it without it feeling stripped and leave my hair feeling so soft and luscious that a leave in conditioner afterwards is many times optional. I was on Pinterest recently and found an awesome way to jazz up my current recipe by adding ayurvedic powders to it. Recipe is below, enjoy: 

  • Bentonite clay- 1 TBSP
  • Brahmi powder- 1 TSP
  • Amla powder- 1 TSP
  • Aritha powder- 1 TSP
  • Shikakai powder- 1 TSP
  • Honey- a quick squirt
  • Apple cider vinegar- 1 TBSP
  • Aloe vera juice (or water)
  • Small plastic or glass container or bowl
  • Plastic or glass spoon
Mix all the powders and clay together then add the apple cider vinegar. You will notice the mixture will fizz and bubble up, that is normal. Next pour in enough aloe vera juice or water and stir until a liquid consistency is achieved. Add a quick squirt of honey and stir well again. From here you have options. You can add the mix to a 16 oz applicator bottle and apply it to your scalp to massage it in or you can keep it in the small bowl and dump it over your head in sections and massage it in. I pick either or whenever the mood hits me, lately I like putting it in an applicator bottle better. From there after you felt that you've massaged it in enough, rinse your hair VERY well. I found that the ayurvedic powders are gritty so you want to make sure you rinse them out really well or your hair will airdry with the bits still in your hair! They don't do any damage but it will look like dark flakes coming from your head if you don't and that's no bueno. In fact, if you want to follow up with a light conditioner or cheapie conditioner after rinsing, that will help give the grit something to bind to and remove any remaining. From there you then do what you normally do after cleansing your hair.

I normally condition my hair before I cleanse it so that I'm able to detangle but if you condition after you cleanse your hair then do that. Whatever works for you, there are no rule with this mud wash. Please keep in mind your hair length. My hair is about BSL-MBL length when stretched. So if your hair is longer or shorter than mine, you will want to adjust the recipe accordingly. Please also keep in mind what kind of products have been in your hair. This mud wash works best for hair that not a lot of heavy products have been applied between washes. If you like using heavy stylers, butters or products with a lot of synthetic ingredients frequently, you may find that this wash isn't up to snuff for you. 

CAUTION: Because this recipe involves water, this doesn't store well over long periods of time. I honestly wouldn't try to store this but if you're adventurous, I'd store any leftovers in a closed container in the fridge and if you can't use up any leftovers in a couple days or so, I'd toss and make a new batch for the next time but you can use your own judgement. Homemade things that involve water and are preservative free spoil much faster because, well, that's what natural things are supposed to do! Things are supposed to go bad after a while, ya know, that's natural. lol.

Happy mixing. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fit Brown Girls: Ria Stuart

As a mother, I know it is very easy to put others as priority in front of ourselves. But, if we fail to put ourselves first, ensuring we are healthy, we may not end up being around long enough to take care of the ones we love. This doesn’t mean when we are fifty. I have a very close family member who is fighting for her life because of blood clots. She is only thirty-six years old. She has two babies. The issues she is fighting with could have been prevented by proper nutrition and regular exercise. We have to stop with the excuses about our physical and mental well being and start actively loving ourselves now.

The before pic was in grad school right before we moved to Atlanta. I realized if I was going to be at the forefront of our fitness business I had better play the part.

 I'm excited to finally get this series poppin! Why not start it now as our year is ending to get us pumped to get the momentum going now to launch us into an epic 2014. It humbles and honors me to have our first Fit Brown Girl featured be the lovely Ria Stuart of Sumkindawondrfl. Many of you know her from Youtube and/or her Instagram. This dynamic woman is a huge inspiration to me, she's an entrepreneur; wife and mother, and I hope after this feature you can glean some inspiration from her too!

1)    Please introduce yourself: age if you're comfortable sharing, where you're from/live and what fitness arenas you concentrate in.
My name is Ria Stuart, I’m 30 years old and live in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. I am a personal trainer focusing in strength conditioning and weight loss. I am also a pole fitness student.

2) Share an overview of your fitness journey. Have you always had an active and healthy lifestyle?
I have not always had an active and healthy lifestyle. I grew up with overprotective parents who were afraid I’d get hurt participating in sports or riding my bike around the corner. But I wanted to do more. When I got to college I rode my bike everywhere; to class, to work, even to the bars on the weekend. I thought I was just getting everywhere quicker but I put in serious work getting up the hills of our campus. I’d also do things like hit the racquetball courts or batting cages when I was stressed. Being able to smash those balls was very therapeutic. But it wasn’t until after I married my husband that I got serious about fitness and health. He’s a long jumper for the Bahamas as well as a personal trainer and fitness was his lifestyle long before he met me. It didn’t happen right away but his good habits rubbed off on me eventually.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Be Inspired by Beyonce, Don't Covet Her Pt. 1

{Image Source}
She's done what worked for her and rather any of us like what's working for her, there's still a lesson in that. Do what works for you, have the passion and drive, do the work and it will come together. It's when you start trying to mimic someone else's plan that things get derailed because everyone's journey is different and what's for you and how you get to it is for you.

So Beyonce dropped her latest album, Beyonce, out of nowhere with no promotion or warning last Friday and had the world and all social media outlets falling out on the floor in surprise, over stimulation and glee. Haters were going crazy, the Bey hive was going bananas and those indifferent to her remained indifferent. I used to be a Beyonce fan, not a die hard but a fan none the less. Crazy In Love, is still one of my all time favorite albums to date. She lost me after B Day because I just wasn't feelin any of her projects after it but I gave this album a listen and bought it. I really like it and the videos are an artistic adventure of masterpieces. I think this project was well thought out and well executed. There are two big things that I took away from this project. 1) Embrace your femininity and the fact that you are a sexual creature. 2) Hard work and the right team behind you pays off. This post is going to discuss take away number two and I will talk about the other in a separate post.

In order to create a nice body of work, in this case 14 songs and 17 videos, you have to work. You have to work hard and you have to work smart. Though I am not Beyonce crazed, I have always respected and been inspired by her grind. Before this album I wasn't sure how artistic she was but I always knew that what she lacked in creativity and artistic ability (not to be confused with her ability to sing very well), she made up for in cold, hard work. She's worked hard in that being in her field, she's kept her body and image to be what she's selling and she's always on tour all over the WORLD singing and performing her heart out. She's worked so hard, she had the honor of performing the half time for this year's Super Bowl. She's constantly involved in something and shared that she works too hard sometimes and doesn't know how to turn it off. She's worked smart in that she has an excellent team around her, what she may not know or isn't able to do, please believe someone else in her camp does. This is great inspiration for those following their dreams. You can't just rely on your talent alone, you need drive and savvy too and if you don't know something then you need to learn about it or meet people who do.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turkey Day Hair Flyness

Peaceful greetings. How was everyone's (in America) long holiday weekend? I hope it was well spent with good people in your life. I absolutely loved my long weekend. It was the perfect balance of time with family, friends and myself! I ate all the Thanksgiving goodies like stuffing, turkey, rolls and sweets and still managed to maintain a flat stomach! I think it helped that my portions weren't crazy and I didn't eat until I looked three months pregnant. I was thoroughly impressed with myself and that kept me pumped to make sure I exercised over the break and I did. I ran 5K both Saturday and Sunday breaking my personal record before for completing it each day. Today, is rest day. But let's talk about my hair. I had the absolutely best hair day on Turkey Day.

The night before I set my hair with Sweet Nature by Eddie Journey Hair Milk (this is my favorite hair moisturizer in life! It just does so right by my hair.) and Eco Styler gel-the olive oil one (I'm almost done using it up so I can switch over to a more natural and healthier gel option) into about 6 or 7 flat twists and bantu knotted the loose ends. The next day about 2 hours before heading out to my Thanksgiving dinner destination, I coated my palms and fingers with EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil) and took my hair down. This gave my hair a nice sheen boost overall. Because I'm a medium density diva with fine strands, a hair pik is my best friend to give my locks a volume and fullness boost, so I lightly separated and fluffed my hair and used a pik at the roots.

I was totally feeling myself! It gave me such a pretty curly look, I was so happy with the results. I snapped quite a few pics but I'll spare you and just share these. How did you wear your hair for Turkey Day? Any special way? Though I didn't partake in Small Business Saturday, I hope that some of you did and that you give some small accounts a little more stimulation today since it's Cyber Monday. Many of them are offering awesome discounts and deals, please support them if you have the means to do so.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Law of Attraction: Travel to JoBurg in Summer 2014

{Image Source}

Recently I shared with you all my desire to go to Johannesburg, South Africa with my parents next summer in July. I spoke to my mother last night to get the deets because I want this. It's a package for a 10 day stay in July that includes airfare, lodging and your meals and costs $3,800. How am I going to pay for this? I haven't really the slightest idea just yet. I put my desire out into the Universe and gave thanks for it in advance, the next step is to use energy magic to attract it. My first thought is to attract more makeup gigs, weddings in particular because they pay good. If I can book at least 2 bridal gigs per month between December and June at at least $400 a pop each, I will have $5,600 and it didn't come from my 9-5 money. Or maybe I should just attract an additional $800/month and however the Universe sees fit to deliver it to me, it will. The goal is to not touch my 9-5 money because, well, it's lean these days. Lol. I'm game for however the Universe will fund this trip for me.

So far I have worked successfully through word of mouth with my makeup services, its time to kick it up a notch and get more exposure. Craigslist still is effective so I put up an ad up there. I finished setting up my Style Seat profile and added a Style Seat button to the end of my Craigslist post. I will visit some local bridal shops over the holiday break and, with their permission, leave fliers and/or my business cards in their establishments.

Lastly, I'm going to obsess about this trip to the thin line of being called crazy. Since I decided that I wanted to go, I have thought about JoBurg everyday and look at pictures of it everyday. My desktop on my work computer is an aerial view of the city. A picture of JoBurg is included in my 2014 vision board on my Pinterest and I look at this vision board everyday. I'm going to create another board for this trip mapping out what I'm going to wear, hair ideas while I'm away, things to see and do there and travel tips. It sounds crazy but borderline crazy obsessing over the things you want and taking action towards them really works. It got me my dream apartment this spring, it can work for this trip.

Wishing you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it, with people you love.

Love, light and positivity

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