It's the end of the year, which means holiday season is here! Black girls are a gift, so of course they deserve gifts. If you're having trouble coming up with a gift for the magical Black girl in your life (especially if she's so amazing, you can't possibly imagine what you can impress her with), we're here to help. Special treat: Every single thing on this list is from a black-owned business. So, shop away and thank us later. 1. Black Girls Are Magic T-Shirt This one is a no-brainer. If you're a magical Black girl, you have to say it with your chest. 2. Because Of Them We Can Dream Journal
Eunique Jones' "Because Of Them We Can" brand celebrates black history and excellence everyday. This is a great gift for the magical Black girl with dreams... so she could be referenced as one of "them" making a path for "we." 3. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Foil A magical Black girl has to have a magical palette. Cue RiRi. 4. Ivy Park Flat Knit Hooded Bomber Jacket Beyoncé now owns 100% of Ivy Park -- what can be more magical Black girl than that? 5. Mess In A Bottle Autocorrect Tee We all have our autocorrect woes -- magical Black girls always means "yaaaaass" over "yes." 6. Zuvaa Rali Long Jacket Every magical Black girl needs to make an entrance when they join a room. This jacket will do the trick. 7. Premme Marissa Wrap Top & Pant This is for our magical Black girl with curves, from the brand founded by Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason. Plus, this fit looks comfy af without sacrificing the fly. 8. Royal House Of Wraps The City Of London Mommie And Me Set This one is for two generations of magical Black girls. That head wrap is a much-needed accessory to take your fashion game to the next level. 9. The Crayon Case Add LashesMagical Black girls can't just have typical cases, they have to have ones that stand out from the rest. Plus, the founder, Supa Cent impressively made $1 million in just 90 minutes! 10. Becoming By Michelle Obama It's our Forever First Lady, also known as one of the most magical Black girls to ever do it. Enough said. 11. Netflix Subscription Three words: Strong Black Lead. So many magical Black girls to binge watch, from Samantha White to Prudence Night. 12. Passports And Purpose Becoming The Person I Once Needed Hoodie Black girls know the power behind personal evolution. Here's a way to rock the significant affirmation via a cute hoodie. 13. Coloring Pins Bonnet Emoji Every magical Black girl has certain things in her arsenal and one of the major components is her bonnet. Pins are still pretty hot this year, and this pin would be a dope conversation starter. 14. Oyin Handmade New Rich Moisture Collection, 5-Product Bundle Oyin's Hemp Honey products have been fan favorites so the brand recently came out with a new moisture collection so those follicles can flourish. 15. Sanctuary Decor Chunky Merino Wool Blanket / Throw What's better than a magical Black girl? A comfy magical Black girl! This will be the perfect gift for the woman in your life who is coming home after braving those Nor'easters. You can customize the primary color, too! 16. Shuri: The Search For Black Panther Comic Book We were already super-excited about the Nnedi Okorafor-written release so it's the perfect time to continue Princess Shuri's popularity reign for the holiday season. 17. Kashmir.VIII HBEYCU Clutch We've had so many magical Black girl moments this year and one of the top moments was Beychella. This is why you should turn to Kashmir.VIII for a boss clutch, honoring the moment. 18. The Lip Bar 2018 Holiday Collection The set comes with non-drying matte lipstick (major key!), metallic gloss and metallic lipstick. 19. Lisa Nail Lacquer Mango Tango We stan a cruelty-free, non-toxic beauty product. Because Black girls pretty much invented bright colors, we had to choose the brightest color in the palette for our recommendation. 20. LIT Brooklyn JOY Candle We love Black Girl Magic and we also love Black Girl Joy. This candle smells of citrus and bergamot and the brand suggests starting your day with its lovely scent. 21. Alikay Naturals Essential 17 Hair Growth Oil Alikay managed to combine 17 essential oils and still managed to keep this a lightweight product! Lord knows Black women don't need anything else burdening them. 22. Spotify Premium A magical Black girl needs her soundtrack, so she would love if you got her an ad-free version of Spotify so she can stream Anderson Paak's Oxnard without interruption. 23. Aminah Abdul Jillil Fuschia Open Toe Heel Talk about a statement shoe! Like we said above, bold colors or nothing. 24. Addie Rawr Take Me Away Print A visual of a magical Black girl wrapped in bright yellow and surrounded by butterflies for the wall? Take us away, indeed.25. Lakay Designs Africa Pillow Represent the motherland right in your living room. Accent pillows always make a statement on a plain couch, and this one is sure to catch everyone's eye. BONUS: We couldn't let you go without recommending Blavity boss lady Morgan DeBaun's skincare line, M.Roze Essentials! The current collection includes an eye cream, moisturizer and vitamin C serum. Glow girl, glow! Happy Holidays! And may your 2019 be filled with magic. Liking this content? Check these out: 7 Great Holiday Gift Ideas For The Young Black MillennialBlavity's Favorite Things: Some Of The Best Black-Owned Companies To Gift From This Holiday Season44 Black-owned businesses to support during the...
Even though I practice alternative spirituality now, I'll still pop in to regular ol' church every now and then. A few weeks ago, I went to my mom's church with her and found that the regulars are still in attendance, no matter how large or small the membership is. Here are our church regulars, and don't forget to list yours in the comments! The Unstudied Minister
This is the guy (usually older) who feels his age automatically has given him the right to "minister" to the congregation. He brings his bible to the podium, but never references any actual scriptures, opting instead for church phrases and trying to disguise them as scriptures. "The bible says, 'when praises go up, BLESSINGS come down!'" Um, no sir, it doesn't. The Sweet Church Mother
She always has some encouraging words for you, the good mints, is dressed to the nines, and can sing like no other! Whenever you're in attendance, you look forward to seeing this mother. She gives advice based on her experience and not her bias, and never judges you for the mistakes you make. She knows that being spiritual doesn't mean having a boring or strict life, and she encourages you to have fun and create adventures for yourself. This mother is an expert at creating safe spaces, and everyone loves her. The Mean Church Mother
You reconsider your dress three times before you leave the house because of this mother's ire. She'll call you a Jezebel in a second and lecture you on why you need not tempt the ministers of the church with your wayward wardrobe. She wrote the book on respectability politics, and will cite every violation of it she sees fit. She's also a master shade thrower. People put up with her because of the mythical and vaguely described "hard life" she's had, and because she can sing as well (if not better) than the sweet mother. She calls out all of the choir's mistakes at their next practice, and acts like the (amazing) Sunday dinner doesn't have enough seasoning. You try to avoid her at all costs. The Church Chef
Preparing for Sunday to be your cheat meal is a MUST, knowing he/she is going to throw down a massive and delicious Sunday dinner after service. You smell the chicken frying (and during the summer, the grill going) in the back kitchen area around offering time, and might even try to slip out for a second. This chef has all of the best stories and lets you be their taste tester, should you make it past the ushers to chat it up while they mix it up. The Misbehaving Child
If it was morally or legally right to punch a child, you might do it to this one. They sneeze on you, break your tambourine for the fifth time, step all over your feet while play shouting, and of course, ask to play on your phone when they're finally tired out enough to sit down somewhere. Most times, they are dropped off by their parent who wants some free child care and knows the church folk will look after the kid, but even when the parent decides to also attend, they can't keep this child under control. Your mantra is always spanking is not the answer. Spanking is NOT the answer. Of course, their friends encourage the misbehavior. The Longwinded Testifier
You never know who this person is going to be, because it's usually a visitor who doesn't know the rules. They're also prone to say something highly inappropriate, provoke a church sigh, and eventually be cut off by the music or whomever is officiating the service. They're good for a laugh, but you wish you could skip this person every time you show up. The Musician-in-Training
While this person annoys most people, you actually enjoy seeing their progression over time. Yes, that first year or so of hitting the wrong chords or being utterly unable to stay in the pocket on the drums is frustrating, but then you show up one week and notice how much better they've become. It makes you proud to see a young person stick with something that they are passionate about, and actually get good at it. They even become skilled enough that you hire them (and their friends) for your next office holiday party. The Prodigal Son/Daughter
They're a semi-regular. They go out into the world, do their "dirt," feel guilty, and come back and get "saved" again. It's a toss up whether or not you'll see them when you stop in, but you hope you do because you want to be one of the people in their lives who isn't judging their life choices. You just want them to become the best person they can be, regardless of where and how that happens. The Money Deacon
He gives all of the kids a dollar every Sunday after service, drives the longest Cadillac you've ever seen, is always matching the loudest colors, and is the sweetest guy on earth. He and his wife let you crash in their guest house the semester you couldn't afford to live in the dorms, and he always made sure you had pocket change for a movie out or to get something to eat with friends. Always standing up for anyone in the warpath of the mean church mother, he's like everyone's favorite uncle, good with making money, smart with how he's spends it, and a giving person. You never suggest he hire a stylist because you don't want to offend him. The ChristianMingle.com Deacon
He's been married at least five times, and this somehow qualifies him as the unofficial marriage counselor of the church. He walks around with this holier-than-thou attitude, until someone "accidentally" hyperlinks his ChristianMingle.com profile in the weekly church bulletin, and everyone sees his greased up topless profile picture. He comes to church next week without shame, current wife giving a rousing testimony about how a wife's job is to stand by her husband and make sure she always slays, while getting the side-eye from every woman in the church who her husband has hollered at (which is basically the entire membership base). Definitely perfect for a laugh. The Candy Lady
Always with the best outfits, the best candy in her purse, knows everybody's business but won't spread it. The children's choir director, who sits up front with the mothers because she takes care of her grandmother and that's where her grandmother sits. She's like everyone young person's favorite auntie, the beautifully successful and single woman that every guy wants to ask out, and the sister who never throws shade at anyone. The women of the church both love her and are jealous of her, but no one dares disrespect her, lest they be cut off from her smile and her candy supply when service runs long. Want more roundups like this? Sign up for our daily...
When I finished my bachelor's degree, reducing my monthly expenses was not a priority.I was a young woman with two good-paying jobs. I bought what I wanted, when I wanted, including a used car and nice things to fill the house.To finish my my aforementioned degree, I took out a student loan to continue my education from a good university. To turned out to be a problem when, unfortunately, I lost one of my good-paying jobs. This obviously meant paychecks would drop drastically while the bills kept coming. Unless I made some extreme changes in my home, my debt level would continue to climb.I sat down and thought about how I could live off with low income AND pay off my debt. It boiled down to one daunting task: cutting my monthly expenses in half.There are many ways to ensure that you’re living within your means, but it can sometimes be difficult to see what one should be doing in today’s hectic world that simply predisposes us to constant spending. But I believed as long as I took an organized approach to this, I would be able to see improvements almost immediately.Here are 10 effective ways I reduced my monthly expenses.1. Make A ListI now know exactly what I’m spending and how it compares to my income. It’s as simple as making a list of expenses and breaking it down by days, weeks and months! There are even free apps on the market today that helped me with this. I downloaded an awesome money managing app from Mint.com.2. Trim The WasteThere are plenty of expenses we all make on a daily basis that we don’t even pay much attention to, but they can quickly stack up over time. That five dollar cup of coffee you get on your way to work every day? Another five dollars for an occasional bagel — these things can become very expensive very fast. And if you're not careful, they might even overtake your regular monthly expenses!3. Use Alternative Transportation MethodsIf you have a good public transportation network, make use of it. The same goes for a place that allows for easy navigation on a bicycle. There are many ways to cut down on your expenses when it comes to moving around, and sometimes you’d be surprised. I personally go with carpooling, which is a great option if your local community has programs in place for that.4. Prepare Lunch In AdvanceSpending a lot of money for your work lunch is another major factor that people tend to overlook. Preparing your own and bringing it with you can be a surprisingly refreshing experience, not just in terms of savings, but also in regard to the variety of your food!5. Shop In BulkI look out for deals and special discounts and take full advantage of them. There is often no shortage of opportunities to get a better deal on your most commonly bought items, as long as you take the time to look around the market more carefully. This can benefit you a lot in the long run if you do it regularly.6. Re-Evaluate Your InsuranceWhether its life, health or auto insurance, shop around, compare prices and make sure you’re getting the best deal for the least amount of money. But remember, the cheapest does not always equal the best. I did my research and finally bought car insurance after reading this article about how to find cheap car insurance.7. Save Your ChangeDon’t just toss those small coins away! Keep change in a jar or something similar, and every once in a while you’ll be able to add a few dollars – or more – when paying the bill. This can be a surprisingly simple, yet effective way to improve your spending habits and save a little money in the long run! Recently when I counted those small coins, I had $300 in my jar.8. Get A Better Deal On ServicesOccasionally check if you can’t get a better deal on things like insurance, your internet contract, phone plan and more. You’d be surprised at how much you can save by simply asking companies to renegotiate on those things, even if nothing specific has recently changed in their terms. The prospect of losing a customer is a pretty bad one for any business, and they never want to go that far.9. Be Careful With LoansAnother common mistake that many people in difficult situations tend to make is to rely too heavily on loans, especially when it comes to more predatory ones, like payday loans. Be careful about what you’re doing to get yourself out of a difficult situation, and never put yourself in a position that will be more compromising in the long run just to make ends meet now!10. Earn Extra Cash With Freelancing JobsIf you're an IT or computer literate, or good at writing, you can earn quick extra bucks by taking some freelancing jobs from Freelancer.com or Upwork. I’m earning handsome money by teaching online English classes...
If you avoid checking your bank account after a day of spending, this one’s for you. As a college student or young professional, it might be hard to think about money, especially if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck. However, it’s best to try to end bad financial habits as early as possible. Here are four simple (and almost painless) things that you can do right now to get your money right:1. Begin to track your spending Do you know how much money you spend on clothes, food or entertainment each month? You’d be surprised to know where you’re wasting your money. You can start tracking your spending manually or by finding an app that does it for you. If you prefer the latter, get started here. Pro-tip: Every month you should work on reducing a different place where you overspend.2. Make a budgetNow that you know what you’re spending and on what, you should make a budget. Budgets are about planning how you spend your money so that you don’t overspend or leave yourself without enough funds to pay bills. Some really great financial management apps will help you create a budget. Pro-tip: Create a personal minimum that you’d like to have in your checking and or savings account at all times, if feasible.3. Plan for financial stability
In your budget, you can work out how much you’d like to save each month. If you need help doing this, you can pay a visit to your bank and talk with a representative about creating a savings plan. You can use your financial management app to plan goals as well.Pro-tip: Trick yourself into saving by direct-depositing a percentage of your paycheck into a savings account that isn’t immediately accessible. 4. Pick up a side hustleThe best way to make sure that your finances will always be in order is to have multiple streams of income. You can create own your side hustle by freelancing, or you can opt for picking up a part-time job. Just remember to only invest in what you’re truly able to do. Pro-tip: If you can find a side hustle where you can make money passively, you’ve hit gold.Do you have any tips for improving financial health and stability? Share them with us below. If not, try these out and let us know how they work for...
Gratitude: Noun. The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness“You have to think about how far you have come. Last year around this time you were in a bad place in life. You have progressed. Show gratitude by celebrating your present.”That’s the advice I gave to my younger brother as he dwelled on how far he has to go to accomplish his dreams.I now realize that I needed that advice more than him.I have always been the nostalgic-futuristic type. I love to learn about the history (more like the fashion and music styles) of the generations past. I must admit that I also love the Facebook app that allows you to track your posts from the previous years. It allows me to see what I was concerned about in 2008. In addition, I am obsessed with future plans and creating a better future for the next generations.Yearning for past experiences, lovers, friends and moments has created an illusion in my mind. As I reflect, “things weren’t so bad” fogs my mindset. I used to think I had the worse childhood ever, then I realized once I was older that I had a lit childhood, being surrounded by eight siblings all the time. At times, I try to recreate those moments.I've had great friendships that have ended with an argument or amicably, but as I look back at the moments, we had really great times together. I question whether the argument was worth it. Older and wiser me says it wasn’t. So I begin to dwell on whether I should restart a new friendship with the same person.I broke up with the man I thought I was going to marry and have kids with. As I dwelled on our relationship, the words that came to mind were, “things weren’t so bad.” They weren’t. He is a good man and we had great times and I want to recreate those times. Immediately, I kept thinking that I would recreate these times with a different man (and I probably will) but there I was, thinking about the future. My mind drastically went from past to future without thinking about the present.Traveling has been a passion of mine since I was five, but I immediately started looking for a summer job before my teaching gig ended (thinking of the future). I went on vacation to celebrate my first year of teaching and realized that I do not need to work during the summer. I have enough money saved up to travel and pay living expenses for the next 3 months. So, I decided to live in the present and travel.Traveling and seeing different cultures and sceneries has allowed me to reflect with a different lens. With those new lenses, I have learned to live in the present and show gratitude for what I do have and to stop dwelling so much about the past. If I am dwelling on the past or worrying about my future, I am unable to be gracious about my present circumstances.Cherishing the memories, friendships and lovers that I had does not mean going backwards. I cannot recreate those moments and I should not try to recreate those moments. Some of those friendships and lovers were meant to end. Most importantly, take the lessons from those past experiences and apply them to my present.Be that great friend to the friends I have now.Love my family and friends who I do have an opportunity to still love.Be PRESENT for those who are in my life, and show gratitude to God and others who have helped me attain my goals.My future will come and be greater than my past, but to get to my future, I must stay gracious to my...
All you suckers for cornrows and manicured toes, listen up. As the summer season approaches, the Blavity team knows you’re ready to sip a cold beer and chomp down on some grilled meat and veggies. But before heading out to your Memorial Day cookouts, BBQs, family reunions, kickbacks, rooftop soirées or pool parties, you better not get caught doing any of these 13 things this cookout season.1. Come empty-handed but expect to eat and drink everybody else’s contributions. Or not buy food and then complain about the food selection. Or not buy alcohol but then complain about the alcohol selection. If you don't bring something to eat or drink, at the very least bring some paper plates, napkins or ice — you can never have too much ice!
2. Bring all your cousins 'n' 'em without letting the hosts know.
3. Be that annoying loud, drunk person who won't shut the hell up. Save yourself the embarrassment of going past your limit. 4. Bring a main dish like mac n’ cheese or potato salad when everyone knows your ass doesn’t cook.
"Them ribs tender like I boiled em, ain't they???...I ain't boil them ribs!" pic.twitter.com/abBoic7niR — Lord Luxenaire™ (@JayLuxenaire) May 3, 2015
5. Try to influence the DJ to play your homie's mixtape (bruh... this is a cookout, not a promo tour).
6. Neglect to say hello to your elders. This offense has started feuds in my family. You better speak to Big Ma when you arrive.
7. Try to get in on a game of dominoes, spades or anything else when you don’t know how to play and then expect the oldheads to teach you, which is a waste of their time. Enough said — go sit down if you don't want to be embarrassed.
8. Show up in a club outfit... like where are you going?
9. Make a to-go plate and take it to the car, then come back and fix a plate to actually eat. I know I just put some of you all on blast. Don’t do this. Wait until the end like everyone else.
10. Eat a veggie burger if you're not a vegetarian and you know they only made two of them! https://i.imgur.com/73fo3uW.webm 11. Not know how to cupid shuffle. It’s cookout season. Go ahead and learn all the line dances.
It’s all in fun folks. Get out on the dance floor and get all your grooves on. What are some of the worst cookout offenses you’ve seen? Join the conversation by using the #blavitycookout hashtag.want more hilarious content like this? subscribe to our weekly digest below....
Whether you're in need of a cute pair of mom jeans for a 90s themed party, remixing your closet or shopping for affordable, vintage home decor, thrift store giant Goodwill Industries International has got you.Aside from the donations and cute finds, did you know buying from or donating to your local Goodwill store serves the community?
#Repost @faceovermatter Love this! 💙 #goodwillfinds ・・・ Outfit details are tagged 🌻 #ootd #faceovermatter
A post shared by Goodwill (@goodwillintl) on May 9, 2018 at 6:03pm PDTMore than 87 percent of Goodwills’ total revenue goes toward job training and placement programs, and other career services which provide credentials and certifications for participants. The organization also serves as a resource offering community-based programs such as financial education and transportation to help people support themselves and families. Brad Turner Little, Director of Mission Strategy at Goodwill, told Blavity that this year alone, Goodwill shoppers have helped place more than 288,000 people into jobs."You’re taking the things that you used to love, giving them a second life, and turning them into resources to be reinvested back into the community," Turner said.By doing this, you are helping those who are unemployed, under-employed, and want to improve their quality of life.
That looks great on you! Did you know that when you shop at #Goodwill, you’re helping people gain job skills and advance in their #careers? This Goodwill Industries Week, find out how you are helping change lives: bit.ly/gw_week18 💙 #GoodwillWeek #WhyGoodwill #Thrift #NonProfit #GivingBack #Community #Employment #Thrifted #GoodwillFinds #Thrifting
A post shared by Goodwill (@goodwillintl) on May 11, 2018 at 7:43pm PDTTurner also noted a recent study by Engage for Good shows nearly two thirds of millennials express a preference for brands that stand for something. Last year, millennials donated nearly four billion pounds of items to local Goodwills. Those contributions alone helped Goodwill provide more than 69 million services for people including, child care, mock interviews, dress etiquette, computer training, digital skills training and more.
Get ready to #declutter with these 6 simple steps! Make space and #reorganize in no time, plus when you #donate with #Goodwill you also help people find jobs in your community. 💙 #springcleaning #getorganized #givingback @loriemarrero
A post shared by Goodwill (@goodwillintl) on May 11, 2018 at 3:27pm PDTIt is important to support one another, and Goodwill helps us do just that. Check out the video below to get a better understanding of the magnitude of your impact.To find your local Goodwill, call 1-800-GOODWILL, visit http://www.goodwill.org and be sure to follow @GoodwillIntl....
And just like that.. summer is around the corner, which means: barbecues, beach nights, and you're ready to start wearing less and going out more. Now you're excited, yet slowly but surely anxiety kicks in when you realize you forgot about your summer body all winter. How are you going to get in the best possible in just a few weeks? Fortunately for you, I exist and I'm going to help you. In 50 days you can reach La Marina greatness in just 6 easy, actionable steps and you won't need Flat Tummy Tea to get there. Get to work, stay committed and you can get the summer body you really want. By the way, please understand if you follow this list, I want to be tagged on all your Instagram "show off" pictures , let's dig in!: Photo: Real pHousewives of AtlantaSet tangible goals :The hardest part of all of this is finding ways to stay motivated. You're racing against the clock and your original goal of being down 6 dress sizes didn't exactly happen. So now it's time to reshape your goals to more tangible ones. Perhaps we target going down 1 size by the summer (possible), or losing a few inches in a certain area (also possible). With realistic goals and belief in your ability you will get there. Approach this optimistically. No talk about "purchasing" your dream body- let's make a healthier version of the body you already have your new dream. At this point in the game, throw the scale away and go with goals that will make you happier this summer. Take a break from alcohol:I know this sounds crazy especially with Memorial weekend right around the corner, but Spring isn't where we want to waste our potential. Take a break from your wine, vodka, gin, and especially beer! Alcohol not only bloats you, but it is also full of empty calories. Which means that before you even purchased that bathing suit, you're already stuck with the "beer belly" So, cut out the alcohol, replace it with water and once you get your summer body you’ll deserve the ticket to HennyPalooza. Avoid falling into the “quick fix” trap and make small changes consistently.Instead of jumping on the next ten-day juice cleanse or trying to give get rid of carbs forever (that never lasts) create healthy consistent changes. If you focus on slow and steady lifestyle changes you'll have an easier time sustaining it. Anything from eating a better breakfast to adding one more workout day to your weekly program. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we have a couple days weeks left to play with until summer comes. Ramp up the intensity:Don't be scared to push through. If you've been going to the gym 5 days a week, make it 6. If you normally spend 60 minutes in the gym, step it up to 75min now. Changing to a more aggressive routine will be a huge help in dropping that last pesky 5 pounds, or finally seeing those abs poke through. Time is ticking, so take advantage of it and really hit the ground running. You have to do more work now so we can do less in June.Get your squad: You and your friends already have summer plans lined up, from trips to Greece to pool kickbacks, so add a fitness goal. Create a group fitness challenge that everyone can commit to so you can all kill the summer scenes together. Wether it's staring a group chat for tips, setting days to go to the gym together, or even just holding each other accountable by setting a weekly goal. Accountability is key here and the support system will go a long way when it comes to getting in shape. Stay on track and once summer hits you'll be closer to that "you a bad girl and ya friends bad too" Instagram caption.Stay consistent: As the weather breaks, parties, events, and just deciding to go out happens 300% more than it did in the winter. When that happens it becomes really easy to say "I'll go to the gym tomorrow " and not go, or "I'll start eating clean Sunday" and never do it. Create a schedule and meal plan that is easy to follow and will allow you to be consistent. You can still have fun, but remember you're pressed for time and your commitment to yourself is the most important here. Once you've established that, this will all be easy. All of this sounds easier said than done, and to be honest- it is. However fitness is more about what the mind can do than what the body can do. Notice I didn't give you a series of ab workouts or a super crazy 300-squat per day challenge. That's not what wins here and it won't work. Before you know it, you'll give up from frustration and try again next year. This is truly mind over matter. For 50 days (and beyond) you have to believe you're strong enough. I know you're strong enough. Don't be afraid of the amazing results that you want- they're attainable and they're...
You probably read this title and said, "Man, WHAT?!" Just hear me out. Keep in mind that this is my story, but perhaps someone will be able to draw similarities or identify parallels to their own life.I grew up in a decent two-ish family household in a nicer part of Detroit. Growing up, my mom worked and my stepdad made that good auto plant money. True to his generational teachings, he sat me down at age 17 and told me to figure out a job I wanted to do for 30 years — and get ready to work until I could retire. I gave him my best, "whatever," and did my own thing. In the 10 plus years since that conversation, I have worked making minimum wage in retail, made more than my college grad peers working for the government, did a stint as a "self-employed" fashion designer and then worked for pennies on the dollar as a commercial flight attendant. When I tell you that the time I spent making the least amount of money has been the most freeing time of my life ... LISTEN!I've always been good at making money; not so great at saving it. I found that the more money I made, the more I felt the need to fill my life with the things that "seemed" appropriate for someone making that kind of money. I felt that I had to have a brand new car every two years (despite a ridiculous car note) and that a one bedroom townhouse wouldn't suffice, so I got a townhouse complete with a full basement that I went in, maybe, twice. Combine poor money management with high monthly expenses, and you have a recipe for disaster. While my bills were always paid on time, I'd built this revolving life of working to pay for this crap I'd convinced myself I required. I was miserable. On a clusterfuck quest for happiness and contentment, let's fast forward to my time working for pennies (by my standards). I've now managed to enjoy the basics. I enjoy life for the blessing it is and not the stuff I've filled it with. I was making three times what I make now years ago, and I was stuck in a loop of monotony and unhappiness, so much that the money didn't matter. I even went through a serious battle with depression during that time. I'm happy now. I'm designing on a regular basis. I'm pursuing my dreams and traveling.While I understand that these circumstances might not be ideal for most, life has managed to take me up and bring me out of it all with a positive disposition and an optimism about the future that I'm not sure I would've found had I been solely focused on the dollar...
It's Black History Month, y'all!There's no better time than now to brush up on your knowledge of black history, and a great way to start is a good book. Despite what you may have been taught in school, black people have a rich history that doesn't start with slavery and end with former President Barack Obama.Whether you want to learn about our past or the people that are currently making moves, here are a few books to help you out:1. Negroland: A Memoir, by Margo JeffersonThis memoir follows critic Margo Jefferson’s life growing up among the black elite in 1950s and '60s Chicago. The daughter of a doctor and socialite, Jefferson’s experience was a unique one. Not only did she have to grapple with racism from white people, but she also struggled to fit in with most black people because of her economic class. I’m sure many of you can identify with feeling too black or not black enough but imagine dealing with that during segregation and Jim Crow.2. Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo," by Zora Neale HurstonZora Neal Hurston is one of the GOAT when it comes to feminist black writers, and this new title won’t disappoint. The book is based on a series of interviews Hurston did with Cudjo Lewis, the last known survivor of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Hurston conducted the interviews over three months in 1931. The book won’t be released until May but you can pre-order it!3. They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement, by Wesley LoweryThey Can’t Kill Us All examines the results of racial unrest in places like Ferguson and Baltimore from the eyes of journalist Wesley Lowery. Lowery isn’t just another pundit: he was on the frontlines during the protests and was even arrested during his coverage. He's about that life, and this book is proof. In addition to conducting scores of interviews across the country, Lowery describes his own experiences as a young journalist during such a vulnerable time in America.4. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel WilkersonThe Great Migration is one of the lesser-explored aspects of black history even though 6 million people made the journey north. Thankfully, Wilkerson took up the cause with this book. The Warmth of Other Suns follows three people as they travel from the South to the North and Midwest, while also examining the migration movement overall. This book is great for anyone who might not be from the South, but who wants insight into how their Southern ancestors lived.5. The Blood of Emmett Till, by Timothy B. TysonIn the Black Lives Matter era, the deaths of young black men are at the forefront of our minds, and the fallen often draw comparisons to Emmett Till. Till’s story is often analyzed based on what his death did to push the Civil Rights Movement, but the details of the case itself are often ignored. In this book, Tyson explores the case and how race played a part in its outcome.6. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard RothsteinWhen we think of segregation, we typically think of water fountains, buses and schools. Rothstein explores how the government actively kept neighborhoods segregated using various methods including policy, public housing and violence. If gentrification is your cause, read this book.7. The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South, by Michael W. TwittyFew things are cherished in the black community more than food. Not only do we eat it, but we laugh, cry and celebrate around it. The origins of our beloved soul food are constantly debated yet largely unexplored. Twitty, a culinary historian, traces this foods' history using recipes, science and oral histories.8. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America, by Paula J GiddingsGiddings examines various social movements and historical figures to illustrate how complicated the black female experience is in relation to social change. She also illustrates how black women have changed the world despite dealing with the double whammy of sexism and racism. This book is full of black girl magic and is a great introduction for someone who wants to learn about black feminism. 9. The Radical King, edited by Cornel WestEvery time MLK Day rolls around, a sanitized version of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is presented to the nation. We’re taught that he was just a nice man who liked to march and wanted peace. Even worse, there are black people that don’t think he was truly radical. West has curated this book, which features King's own words, to shows there's more to the civil rights leader than nonviolence and a dream.10. The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance, by Shane VogelThe Harlem Renaissance is one of the most celebrated eras of black history, but, sadly, a large part of what made it so great is ignored. Queer black people were the tastemakers and trendsetters of Harlem in those days. Vogel gives the LGTBQ+ community the credit it deserves, while exploring how the Harlem Renaissance broke the rules of respectability, sexuality and blackness during the 1920s.11. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha BandeleBlack Lives Matter is arguably our modern Civil Rights Movement, and one of its architects has put her story on paper. Before we didn’t know much about the women behind the movement outside of their names. This book changes that, with Patrisse Khan-Cullors telling her own story without the noise and debate that typically surrounds that famous hashtag.12. Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party And The Fight Against Medical Discrimination, by Alondra NelsonThe Black Panther Party is known for black berets, afros and guns, but their activism went far beyond those things. Although we frequently praise the Panthers' breakfast program, one lesser-known aspect of the Black Panthers' work is their health care activism. The group established free health clinics, accompanied people to doctors’ visits and did a host of other things to help underserved populations. This book explores those initiatives along with the issues that inspired the Panthers to do this...
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy as a civil rights icon lives on in the heart of many who aspire to continue his dream of making America a better place for all. As many know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. What better way to remember King's sacrifice than to give back to the community and enrich yourself and your loved ones by partaking in one of the many events in King's hometown: the ATL. Here are a few ways you can celebrate the holiday: 1. Day of Service Community group Hands On Atlanta will mobilize an estimated 3,000 volunteers to help local communities, schools and nonprofits as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. There is still time to sign up for one of the 25 service projects around the Atlanta area. For volunteering opportunities, please contact Hands on Atlanta at (404) 979-2820.2. MLK Day March & RallyProbably one of the best ways to honor MLK is through activism. On Jan. 15, representatives from labor unions, youth groups, business people, families and churches, the LGBT community, civic groups, colleges, fraternities and sororities will come together to stand for the rights of all people. As President Donald Trump continues to launch racist assaults on the nation's most vulnerable groups, the MLK holiday is the perfect time to combat bigotry. The march begins at the King Center at 1:15 p.m. Side note: The King Center will also be open to the public. 3. "The Meeting" Play This play depicts the legendary meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to debate the future of the civil rights movement. Even though many of us weren't able to meet these great men, this fictional drama is the next best thing. Both evening shows are sold out but there are $10 tickets available for the 1 p.m. showing at the Mark Squared Studios in Tucker, Ga. 4. MLK 5K Drum RunA great way to give back this MLK holiday and get in shape is to take part in the MLK 5k Drum Run. Local high school drum lines will be out keeping the rhythm as ATLiens get their run on. More than 250 drummers will be at Piedmont Park starting at 8 a.m. The race serves as a fundraiser for Atlanta-area schools, churches, businesses and community organizations. Registration is only $5 and race lineup is at 8:45 a.m.5. Free National Park Day In Georgia On four days in 2018, the National Park Service will waive admission fees, including on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This special also includes free entrance to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.6. Atlanta History Center The Atlanta History Center will waive admission on the King holiday to give the public an opportunity to learn about the contributions of African Americans in Atlanta. There will be a film screening and a conversation with the director of “The Trek to the River’s Edge” about the Atlanta Student...
A few months ago I came up with the bright idea to take a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico with some of my closest friends for my 30th birthday. The idea came from my favorite Bravo summer series: Invite Only Cabo. Invite Only Cabo is a reality show which detailed a group vacation planned by celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims. Sims traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with six of his closest friends who had never met. The show prepared me for what was to come, or so I thought.Here are four things I learned after planning my first group trip:1) Everyone who RSVPs will not actually attendThere will be people who confirm right away, while others will give you strong maybes. In addition to those confirmations, there will be people who do not respond at all or decide within weeks of the trip that they will not attend. Whether you have ten RSVPs or two, do not take it personally. People have the right to accept or decline your invitation. Whatever happens, it will not be the end of the world. Thankfully for me, most people who RSVP’d actually attended. Those who did not attend had prior commitments, and I did not take it personally.2) Weather is unpredictableYou can pick the hotel, the activities, and the restaurants, but unfortunately, you cannot choose the weather. For example, if you’re traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season (June 1 - November 30) expect the unexpected. Days before my friends and I were scheduled to fly to Puerto Rico, my weather app had assured me that there would be nothing but sunny skies. Hurricane Irma had skirted Puerto Rico a week prior, so I was certain that things would be just fine. Little did I know, Hurricane Maria was brewing east of the Caribbean and planning to make landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20th. My friends and I were scheduled to be in Puerto Rico from September 16- 20, but due to the unexpected hurricane, we had to head out a day earlier. Thank God for Southwest Airlines!3) Just because the trip is your idea, does not mean you’re the bossYou may have selected the destination, the hotel, and the dates, but that does not mean you are the captain of the vacation ship. The best part of vacationing with friends are the memories that you will share for a lifetime. Remember that your friends are taking time off work to travel with you, so just because you want to go on an underwater excursion does not mean they do too. If there is something you really want to do on vacation do it, even if no one else wants to. What worked so well during my trip to Puerto Rico, was that everybody did what they wanted. On some days, groups of people went exploring, while others went to the beach. No one felt left out, which made the experience more enjoyable.Confession time.....in hindsight, I have to admit that I was somewhat bossy in the early stages of planning. The Virgo in me wanted the trip to be perfect, so when I asserted myself it sometimes came across wrong. Thank God for friends who put me in my place. After a quick come to Jesus meeting, all was well. 4) More is not always merrierThe sad but hard truth is that everybody is not meant to share your vacation splendor. Sure you may have shared great laughs in the states with friends, but that does not mean you should travel thousands of miles away with them. Considering how stressful travel can be in general, it is best to sometimes keep it simple. Travel can ruin already fractured relationships. Rather than test the boughs, it is sometimes best not to take that chance with friendships that may be in weird phases. Of course, you save money when you travel with more people, but cheap does not always equal quality. Fortunately, with the exception of few plus ones, the group was pretty solid in Puerto Rico. Everyone got along great and was able to make it out of Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria actually hit. All in all, my friends and I had a great time. Sure the inclement weather shortened our trip, but my 30th birthday ended up being one for the books.A word of advice, travel should be fun. When you are planning a group trip invite the people who would be the most fun to be around for an extended amount of time. Remember, some things you can control and others you just cannot. Lastly, there is no need to stress the small stuff; pick a destination, send out the invites, and see where the chips fall.If all else fails, join the Black Travel Movement Group on Facebook for solo travel...