City Views, Europe

Travel Photo Thursday

November 17, 2016 • By

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During our visit to Prague in 2005, we took this photo of The Vladislav Hall in Prague Castle. We were dwarfed by the incredibly high ceilings and massive chandeliers. We could almost envision the many feasts held here, centuries ago.


Inspiration

One of the best ways to practice self care: a long soothing bath

November 15, 2016 • By

“Information overload.  Overworked, underpaid.  All news seem to be bad news.  Kindness is on the endangered species list.”

When it comes to simply living life, it’s a stressful and complicated endeavor.  If you manage to make it through the day without hearing of some tragedy, you’re already ahead of the curve.  Let’s face it.  Times are tough and it’s not easy to shrug things off and not feel hopeless…to some degree.

Sadly, most of the things that happen around us are out of our control, yet they still manage to affect our mind, body, and spirits in a negative way.  So, how do you rise above it?  How do you find your way off of the daily crazy train with all of your faculties intact?  You must learn the self-sustaining act of “Self Care”.

Self-care is a loving act of carving out time to minister to your personal needs.  Every human being has a breaking point, self-care allows you to take a moment and dial back the stresses of the day and do what is necessary to soothe and protect your own mental health.READ MORE


City Views, Europe

Travel Photo Thursday

November 10, 2016 • By

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We’d decided to take a day trip from Rome. We’d just left the port in Naples and were heading to the “Blue Grotto” at Capri, Italy. Look at that water! My daughter said the color reminded her of Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and I have to agree.


City Views, Europe

Travel Photo Thursday

November 3, 2016 • By

Inside The Vatican

Flashback to our first trip to The Vatican City in March 2003. It was so intimidating to walk these hallowed halls that we had only heard about on the news. I will never forget how resplendent our surroundings were and how fortunate we were to witness it.


Consumer Advice, Lifestyle

How to Have Fabulous Natural Hair

November 1, 2016 • By

Since going natural in July 2009, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my hair. Well, that’s not exactly true. I don’t hate my hair; I was frustrated learning what worked best for it. Despite my hair growing into a thick, beautiful mass of curls, it remained at the same length for a couple of years. After trying what felt like a million different products, I have finally narrowed down a routine that works for me. One that keeps my strands moisturized and my ends split-free. 

Inside Out

Biotin

Naturally, the first step to healthy natural hair is to make sure you’re eating well and staying hydrated. I drink, on average, 80 ounces of water a day and I eat a balanced diet that includes proteins, fresh veggies and fruit. I also take a daily multi-vitamin and biotin. After taking biotin, my hair has grown considerably thicker (which is a feat considering I have 4b/4c hair). Finding ways to reduce stress and getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night will also help to get you on the path to crowning glory.

You Gotta Maintain

A Curly Gurl's best friend

A Curly Gurl’s best friend

Moisture retention is one of the most important aspects of maintaining healthy curls. After washing and conditioning my hair, I use a t-shirt towel to dry it. A t-shirt towel’s surface is soft and smooth which reduces the likelihood of breakage, unlike a terrycloth or microfiber towel. In addition, a t-shirt towel will keep your hair moist for far longer. I’ve delayed styling my hair for up to an hour while having my hair wrapped in a t-shirt towel and my hair was still damp. T-shirt towels also reduce frizz and I find myself spend less time detangling because the fabric doesn’t disrupt the hair cuticle. On Amazon, you can find several towels made out of t-shirt material or repurpose an old t-shirt for a DIY option.

Protection Is The Priority

Protective styles are my go-to. Whether it’s twists, braids or a big afro puff, my hair is usually in one. The goal of these styles is to protect the ends from splitting, which impede length retention. After deep conditioning my hair, I spray a detangler like Creme of Nature’s Straight from Eden Plant Derived Detangling Leave-in Conditioner. If it’s a mid-week touch-up, I use a leave-in conditioner from Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil line. I then part my hair into four sections and comb the product through to my ends. Working one at a time, I split the section into three equal parts. From there, I split each part into two for a twist or three for a braid. Making sure I keep as close to the roots, I twist or braid that section tight, looping the end around my finger to ensure it doesn’t unravel. I also sleep on a silk pillowcase to reduce friction, the number one cause of breakage.

The Thirst Is Real

Deep Conditioning Is The Key

Nothing is worse than dry, curly hair. It’s dull, lifeless and unattractive. Dealing with Atlanta’s infamous humidity, I struggled to find ways to keep my hair healthy and hydrated until I found a regimen that worked for me. Once a week, I deep condition with a hair masque like Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Intensive Strengthening Masque then I twist or braid my hair for curl definition. Afterwards, I apply argan oil to the twists to seal in moisture. When wearing my hair in a big puff or ponytail, I use a daily moisturizer like Silk Elements’ Pure Oils Leave-In Moisturizer. A daily moisturizer will give your curls a soft definition and a slight sheen. A twist out will typically last around four days. After that, I wear my hair in a large puff until it’s time to wash it again, which is usually every two weeks.

Now that I’ve shown you the way that I achieve, big, beautiful natural hair, go forth and prosper! #hairgoals!

 

 


Lifestyle, Reviews

A review of Elevation Chophouse and Skybar in Kennesaw, Georgia

October 18, 2016 • By

I was searching for a unique place to take my daughter, Carisa for her birthday this past weekend.  As luck would have it, I learned about a restaurant that was located in the Cobb County International Airport at McCollum Field.  Okay, that sounded compelling enough for me to want to check it out.

Of course, I didn’t tell her where we were going, so she began to get concerned when we pulled into the airport entrance.  lol  There were plenty of signs directing us where to go, which is a good thing because otherwise, we would have been lost.
 

 
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Travel Advice

Murals and Graffiti over Miami

October 7, 2016 • By

I love art in all of its forms, but nothing is purer than the bold expression of street murals and graffiti renditions.  I can’t say when I became interested in this type of art.  I think it may have something to do with the fact that it’s considered taboo and even criminal in most parts and simply appealed to the rebel in me.

Graffiti, in particular, is the raw expression of social causes, grievances, joys and disdain with the system or government, the world or just the unfiltered state of someone’s mind at a given time.  It’s real and honest and is neither right nor wrong.  It has a purpose and it’s up to the audience to figure it out or not.  At the end of the day, there’s really no consensus needed because the artist isn’t asking for it.  Their message stands on its own merit and isn’t seeking approval from anyone.

It’s fitting that Miami would be open such displays of grandeur; a short drive around the city will quickly inform you that they are not afraid of color or bold statements.  How can you not admire that?


Travel Advice

Travel Photo Wednesday – Amsterdam

October 5, 2016 • By

Carisa and I were taking a leisurely stroll in Amsterdam, Holland, a couple of years ago.  We didn’t really have that much time there, only 24 hours.  However, we couldn’t help but notice these lovely shutters on random row houses as we passed by.

We didn’t understand its utility; it seemed more of a hassle than simply using curtains.  You would have to step outside on a practically non-existent balcony and then reach out on either side with the skill of a high wire artist to close them shut.

Then again, perhaps, that is the point.  It’s not supposed to be easy to close.  As I understand it, the Dutch aren’t shy types and prefer the freedom of using these out-stretched shutters instead of curtains that deprive them of precious sunlight.  However,   I could see that some residents were using Dutch lace in some of the windows.READ MORE