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wellness

Beauty, Wellness

Black-Owned Beauty + Wellness Brands You Should Know About

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*Featured Image via Shutterstock

With protests taking place, important elections, and a pandemic you might be tempted to think that beauty is the last thing you should be focused on, but I’m here to tell you that it is essential.  Beauty products and regimens play a huge role in self-care; something we could all use during times that threaten to take so much and leave us on empty mentally, physically, and spiritually.  It can be seriously draining. 

In response to the murder of George Floyd, and other black women and men due to racism and police brutality, there has also been much conversation around other effective ways to support the ongoing fight against systemic racism and inequality.  Using our dollars to buy Black is another great way to fuel and support our communities.   

Here are some black-owned beauty and wellness brands that will take your self-care to the next level. And because we must also being mindful of what we put on our bodies, these brands make it their mission to provide products with quality, non-toxic ingredients and materials that cater to the unique needs of all shades on the melanin spectrum.

1.   Be Transcendent– a plant-based, all-natural skincare that addresses the needs of all skin types and shades.  

Price: $10 to $25

2. Honey Pot Co.-  the first complete feminine care system powered by herbs.

Price: $7 to $20

3. Black Girl Sunscreen– finally a sunscreen for melanated skin, full of natural ingredients but, without the white residue.

Price: $10 to $25

4. BLK + GRN– your one-stop shop for natural products by black artisans.

Price: $12 to $49

5. Mented Cosmetics– their foundations and nude lipsticks are the perfect shades for all skin tones, and are free of parabens and toxins. 

Price: $15 to $50

6. Alexandra Winbush– because nothing says self-care quite like lit soy candles and loose leaf tea. 

Price: $12 to $26

Sometimes we feel pressured to do, be, and say all the things society desires of us but, remember to put yourself first with no apologies. Rest when you need to.  Get up and check something off your to-do list when you need to.  Find ways to rejuvenate and unplug when you have to.  You can’t pour from an empty cup. 

What are some of your favorite self-care products?


Wellness

Advice to My Younger Self

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Ever since watching the Black Girls Rock awards show on BET back in 2011, I’ve made it a habit to do something every year that has helped me in more ways than one. Along with the major style and hair inspiration I got, one of the highlights for me was when Tatyana Ali (you may remember her as Ashley from the show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), received the ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ award.  During her acceptance speech, she read a letter that she wrote to her younger self. If you didn’t see it, click here.

It was a beautiful letter which prompted me to write my own letter to my younger self that day and I have been doing it every year since then.

I usually jot it down in my journal and it feels like therapy for me without the bill at the end. Anyway, here it goes:

Dear Candice,

God really has your back! Learn how to have a real relationship with Him.  When you focus on Him, everything else really does fall into place.  It is the starting point to learning how to truly love yourself and others, and be better equipped to recognize what real love is when it presents itself.

The right man will come along, and he will know how to respect and love you in all of the ways you ever imagined.  Just be patient and know that he will come. In the meantime, you may come across some ‘frogs’. Take it as a learning experience that will help you to recognize and appreciate the one who God has sent.

When he comes you will know and there won’t be any second-guessing.

Surround yourself with people who are ambitious, encouraging and have your best interest at heart.  Having a great “team”, no matter how small, is  one of the keys to a successful life.  With positive and inspiring people around you, you will be able to accomplish anything.

Learn to love your big hair, slender frame, high forehead and reserved demeanor.  It is what makes you Candice. One day you will want all of that hair and slender frame back. Lol!

Get to know you and what it is to truly love yourself. 

Safeguard your body and your mind. I really can’t stress this enough. These are the two components that make up your very existence.  Be very mindful of who you give your body to and who you allow to influence your mind. 

Not everyone who comes willing is worthy.  Once they have misused these two things, your spirit will forever be changed.

Save your money, learn all you can about investing, and don’t be afraid to ask for the salary you want! Every once in a while, buy those fly shoes, and go on vacations.

Be confident in your abilities and talents, learn from your mistakes, learn how to forgive yourself and others, and always strive to fulfill all of wildest dreams.  There may be some dark days when it feels like the world is on your shoulders but know that things always get better if you have faith and persevere until the end. 

You were created for a special purpose;  carry yourself as such every day.  Don’t sweat the small stuff (and trust me, most of it is small stuff). Lastly, have fun and make the most of each day!

Love,

Your 39 year-old happily married, mommy of one, fully chasing big goals self

What advice would you give to your younger self?


Wellness

Mommy Feature: Carmen Watkins

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How one mompreneur is providing much needed support to pregnant mothers during the pandemic.

When you first found out you were pregnant, what comes to mind? For me, it was excitement, gratitude, and a little disbelief!

Then came the nausea, nursery decor shopping, picking out baby names, and late-night cravings! But with the recent pandemic, expecting mothers have much more to think about and deal with than ever before.

Carmen Watkins is a pregnant mother of two (soon to be 3) who created the online safe space, #MaskedMotherhood, for other expecting mothers. Here is what she had to say about the vision behind creating this online community and how she juggles being a mother, wife, and entrepreneur.

Terri Nash photography

Tell us a little bit (or a lot!) about yourself.

My name is Carmen Watkins. I’m a wife, mama times 3, and a stay-at-home mompreneur navigating through life with a bunch of grace. 

In 2014, I started a social media campaign called RunYourVision which became  a nonprofit 501c3 in 2016. We encourage young girls in grades 7 through 12 to pursue purpose by first pursuing Christ. 

In addition to RunYourVision, I am the creator of #EveryGirlsMap, a prayer journal designed to help you make a prayer strategy over every area of your life. I enjoy shipping out journals to young girl and women all across the US. It’s been such a life changing experience to see the journals being used to by girls and women who desire to go deeper in prayer and grow in their daily walk with Jesus. Journals are available for purchase at www.carmenwatkins.com, and shipped out weekly.

Along with being an entrepreneur, my greatest role is being a wife and mother. I absolutely love being with my family even if it’s just enjoying the simple things like a walk through the neighborhood, binge watching shows with my husband, letting my oldest help me cook my “experimental dinners”, supporting my husband’s hobby as a youth baseball coach, or running around the kitchen island as we all pretend to be “dinosaurs”. (chuckles) 

Those are my days and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

Terri Nash photography

How far along are you in your pregnancy?

Today marks the start of week 29. I’m expecting my third child, a son. We are still at a toss-up on his first name, but I’m sure it will come to us once we see his little face! It’s a moment I’m so excited about.

It has been an interesting pregnancy; a little more challenging than my first two. I’ve experienced a few scares such as hemorrhaging in my first trimester and an emergency surgery to correct a wound dehiscence from a prior thyroidectomy. Then with sheltering-in-place due to Covid-19, and civil unrest across the US it has truly taken a lot of adjustments. This is what motivated me to create a space for other women who are pregnant during this season.

Terri Nash Photography

Tell us more about Masked Motherhood and where did the vision for it begin?

Masked Motherhood was created out of a longing for community. We are a small group of expecting moms who are pregnant during Covid-19.

The idea came about as I was reading through the book of Esther, and a particular part of the passage jumped out at me, “…Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

I desired to create a safe space for moms who are navigating pregnancy in a time of such uncertainty.  Through weekly online gatherings, we share our experiences (challenges and praise reports), grow through prayer and devotion, and we also have healthcare professionals and therapists who join our weekly calls to encourage and prepare us for labor and delivery.

Many of the women are first time mothers, so they’ve missed the opportunity to join birthing classes, take hospital tours, or even have a baby shower. Having a space like Masked Motherhood gives them a chance to hear from professionals who can offer tips and information, and also allow the moms to release some of their frustrations, fears, and anxieties! 

As a group of both first time mothers and moms of multiple children, none of us have experienced pregnancy, labor and delivery in a pandemic. The encouragement and resources has been a breath of fresh air for us all. We also have a lot of fun together, we start our calls with fun icebreakers and give-a-ways. We’ve even had a chiropractor in the Atlanta area provide complimentary services to some of our mothers.

I never envisioned Masked Motherhood having the impact it has had. I only desired to help a few moms and provide what I felt I was lacking in this season.Our group has become a family. We talk everyday through texts and phone calls. It’s really a beautiful season and I’m grateful to God to have this moment.

To connect with Carmen and get more information about Masked Motherhood and Run Your Vision, follow her on Instagram and on her blog: www.carmenwatkins.com


Eats, Wellness

Coronavirus: How to Protect and Prepare Holistically

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In this season of the flu and coronavirus, it is difficult to know what the next best steps are.  On Instagram this morning, my favorite nutritionist and health coach, Gessie Thompson shared the five things you can do to help protect yourself and your family. 

  1. Boost your immunity.   Your immune system is the defense that helps to fight off viruses, diseases, and so much more.  Therefore, doing things to make sure your resistance is strong, is so important. 

What you can take:

The Breathe supplement from thedetoxnow.com. This supplement helps to boost and repair the respiratory system. Also, consume foods that boost your immune system like elderberry, black mulberries (packed with iron and vitamin C), and camu camu (the highest source of vitamin C), and ginger.

2. Boost your gut health.  Your gut health is directly linked to having a strong immune system.  Prebiotics and probiotics are important in nourishing thegood bacteria found in your gut and put back good bacteria into your gut.

What you can take:

If you have daily bloating and constipation, healing is important first. Detox30 and Detox7 protocols from The Detox Now program.   

After healing your gut, getting a good prebiotic and probiotic will help your gut flora to be in balance.

Prebiotic- Manuka honey

Probiotic- Coconut yogurt by Coconut Cult

3. Good hygiene habits.

Wash, wash, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 10 to 20 seconds.

4.  Stock up on supplies the electric way.  In the event that stores are closed or people have to be quarantined, you want to have enough food, toiletries, and water.  We typically think of stocking up on non-perishable items like canned foods but, they are usually laced with BPA (a heavy toxin).

What you can do:

Get frozen organic vegetables and fruits. For a list of the electric, non-inflammatory fruits and veggies, download your free list at thedetoxnow.com.   From the good food list, what you can’t find frozen, you can buy them fresh and wash with a fruit and veggie wash (food -grade hydrogen peroxide and distilled water).  Then, cut them up and place them in BPA-free freezer bags. 

Buy grains, lentils, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, etc.

5.  Boost your peace. 
Whatever you do, protect your peace.  We want to be proactive, not stressed out and panicked.  With all the constant news updates, social media posts, and everyone’s opinions and speculations, it can be overwhelming and send you into anxiety mode.  Finding ways to be at peace will lower cortisol levels, cut down inflammation, and help keep you healthy. 

What you can do:

Pray, meditate, exercise, practice breathing exercises, recite positive affirmations and scriptures, and journal.  Also, being mindful about the information you take in and how often you are allowing it into your mind.   

Check out the full video below and follow Gessie on Instagram, @coachgessie.

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#CORONAVIRUS — GET PROTECTED & PREPARED HOLISTICALLY WATCH THE FULL VIDEO! Today, as I’m readying my family for the outbreak that is spreading way too quickly, I wanted to share 5 TIPS with you to help you BOOST your way through this biological storm: ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ 1. BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY: My go to Immunity Booster is our supplement Breathe (available at www.TheDeToxNow.com 🔗in BIO)! I take it daily and also give it to my 8 year old daughter. You can also build your immunity with foods like Elderberries, Black Mulberries, Ginger, Camu Camu and others. ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ 2. BOOST YOUR GUT HEALTH: 80% of our Immune System is in our GUT and healthy bowel movements are evidence of a productive digestive system. If you deal with frequent bloating and or constipation, I highly recommend you do ou @TheDeToxNow DETOX 7 Mini-Cleanse or our DETOX 30 Fruit DeTox — depending on how severe your case is. If you simply need to boost your gut health, I recommend you add electric prebiotic and probiotics to your diet (watch the video for my picks!) ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ 3. BOOST YOUR HYGIENE: Wash Your Hands for 10 to 20 seconds after any activity that involves other people, places and your own bodily fluids (like going to the bathroom, wiping your nose, touching your eyes, blowing your nose). ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ 4. BOOST YOUR SUPPLIES: Stock Up on foods, household, toiletries, cleaning items so that you have more than a 2 week supply in case you have to be restricted to your home for your own protection. Watch the full video for my breakdown of tips on ensuring your foods are as healthy as possible! ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ 5. BOOST YOUR PEACE! Maintain a Positive & Peaceful mindset. If we let it, the news cycle of updates will suck us into a vortex of fear, anxiety and downright terror — all of which trigger cortisol causing inflammation! So, PRAY/MEDITATE and trust God! Need help REVERSING or PREVENTING a health issue or not sure which DETOX is for you? START HERE: REGISTER for our FREE DETOX Weekly Group Consult at www.TheDeToxNow.com/CONSULT to have our team review your case and recommend the best plan for you!

A post shared by Coach Gessie Thompson (@coachgessie) on