People Always Confuse My Daughter For Being My Sister

This always happens to me. My mother is pretty. Where else do you think I get my stunning good looks from? (Joke)

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She was one of the finalists for Mrs. Atlanta 2002 hosted in Atlanta.

I’m used to it and it really doesn’t bother me. It’s a great conversation starter too. It’s more of a complement really.

Sometimes I’ll use it to my advantage. If I know I’m going to have a conversation with someone who’s going to give me a hard time, I’ll keep my phone visible. Her photo is my lock screen wallpaper and the other person will inevitably comment. Sometime like “oh I didn’t know you had a girlfriend”. I’ll say that it’s my mom’s picture and other person will get a bit flushed, embarrassed and apologize. Out of innocent guilt, he’ll go easy on me. Win win!

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With thousands of people suffering daily from acne, eczema, redness, and dryness, it may seem almost impossible to bring back that youthful glow. But having gorgeous radiant skin isn’t impossible! With a few simple tweaks to your diet and skin care routine, you can have amazing skin.

Your skin is like the gatekeeper of beauty. It’s really the first thing that comes in contact with the outside world, environmental pollution, toxins and well, just about anything. In fact, the outermost layers of your skin are vital to your immune system.

Your skin has a hydro lipid barrier, which acts as a waterproof seal and also contains an acid mantle, which is a very thin film of acidic fluid that sits on top of the skin. This acidity is important and helps to neutralize bacteria and other contaminants you come in contact with.

Unfortunately, all chemical and synthetic skin care products disrupt this delicate hydro lipid barrier and acid mantle, leaving us and our skin vulnerable to disease, infection, and toxins, and increasing the risks of imbalanced skin (either oily or dry), wrinkles, acne, and other skin conditions.

Store shelves are filled with skin care products that promise flawless and radiant skin, reduced wrinkles and barely-there pores. Oh how marketing can lure us in! With photoshopped women who have not a single pore or blemish, its no wonder we spend hundreds of dollars to achieve the impossible.

Pore-less skin does not exist and many of these store bought brands contain the very ingredients that ruin and destroy our skin in the first place.

It really becomes a catch-22. We want radiant skin so we reach for chemical filled products, and in turn cause more damage which has us purchasing more chemical filled product. For years, I personally repeated this cycle over and over and finally stopped after doing my research.

It’s important to be able to decipher those chemical cosmetic ingredients. Here are 12 undesirable ingredients to watch out for:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Urea
  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance or Parfum
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • FD&C Colors and Pigments
  • Water or Distillates
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan

So what should we be using on our skin?

Using pure plant oils is an ancient method of cleansing and exfoliating the skin that leaves the precious outer layer of the skin intact. This means more glow, radiance and youthfulness.

The anti-microbial properties of essential oils combined with the gentle dirt dissolving fatty oils and citrus oils lift away the daily accumulation of dirt, toxins and makeup while healing, not harming, the skin’s surface.

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Creme of Nature Introduces nature-inspired hair care

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Leading hair care brand Creme of Nature is inviting consumers to experience “nourishing and strengthening hair products infused with high-quality, natural ingredients.”

The new Creme of Nature Certified Natural Ingredients hair care collections include shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioners and a treatment masque that cater to all hair types using certified natural ingredients.

“More than ever, we are working hard to improve our formulas and deliver products that our consumers can rely on using the best quality natural ingredients available,” stated Teneya Gholston, Creme of Nature Director of Marketing. “We aim to provide both new and existing customers with top quality, innovative ingredients in all of our products and are proud of the formulations of the new Creme of Nature Certified Natural Ingredients. Not only will these new products moisturize the hair, but they will also give the hair a fresh, fruity and tropical fragrance. It will be like falling in love with Creme of Nature all over again.”

The Creme of Nature Certified Natural Ingredients hair care line includes:

  • Coconut Milk, infused with certified natural coconut oil to soften and improve manageability. Creme of Nature® Detangling and Conditioning Shampoo with Coconut Milk is infused with certified natural coconut oil to nourish and cleanse hair while detangling and adding moisture. ($4.99; 12 oz.). Creme of Nature Detangling and Conditioning Conditioner with Coconut Milk is a creamy detangling conditioner that nourishes hair while imparting shine. ($4.99; 12 oz.). Creme of Nature® Coconut Milk Leave-In can be used on damp hair to soften, detangle, and condition hair while protecting against damage. ($4.49; 8.45 oz.)
  • Mango & Shea Butter, infused with certified natural mango, which conditions and protects while certified natural shea butter moisturizes and softens. Creme of Nature Ultra-Moisturizing Shampoo with Mango and Shea Butter gently cleanses and conditions, while infusing dehydrated hair with moisture. ($4.99; 12 oz.). Creme of Nature Ultra-Moisturizing Conditioner with Mango and Shea Butter is infused with certified natural mango and shea butter to condition and nourish hair. ($4.99; 12 oz.). Mango & Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner is enriched with certified natural mango and shea butter to instantly soften, detangle, and condition. ($4.49; 8.45 oz.).
  • Acai Berry & Keratin for strengthening. Keratin aids in hair repair while certified natural acai berries help prevent damage. Creme of Nature Strengthening Shampoo with Acai Berry & Keratin is infused with certified natural acai berries plus keratin to gently cleanse and aid in hair repair to strengthen and smooth dry or damaged hair. ($4.99; 12 oz.). Creme of Nature Strengthening Hair Masque with Acai Berry & Keratin was designed to revitalize dry, damaged hair using certified natural acai berries plus keratin to repair, strengthen and smooth thirsty hair. ($1.79; 1.75 oz.).

10 Muscle Building Foods

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1. Skinless Chicken: High in protein it is ideal for muscle repair and maintenance. It also helps you in weight management. The skin basically constitutes of all the fat, therefore when removed it cuts down large amounts of calories.

2. Cottage Cheese: Contains casein protein which being a slow digesting protein helps in muscle maintenance. Also a great source for Vitamin B12 and calcium.

3. Eggs: Contain high quality protein, it is ideal for muscle building. Also contains amino acids, choline and the right fat needed for the body.

4. Whey Protein: One of the best protein supplements that help you gain muscle mass at an affordable price. Can simply be consumed by adding them to whole foods. However one should not become entirely dependent on them.

5. Tuna Fish: Excellent for protein and low in fat, they serve as an amazing muscle building food. They contain omega-3 fatty acids that boost metabolism and help in proper functioning of the body along with weight loss.

6. Oatmeal: Perfect for carbs and low in glycemic index value, they help reduce cholesterol levels. They enhance the immune systems response to infection.

7. Brown Rice: These are considered to be whole grains that haven’t lost their fibre content. The fibre is what reduces the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. It is considered to benefit our nervous and reproductive systems. They help lose weight as they make the process of digestion very easy.

8. Spinach: It is a rich source of glutamine , the amino acid that increases muscle strength and endurance.

9. Cantaloupe: Popularly known as musk melon. This melon counts for one of the very fast digesting carbs due to its low fructose content. Recommended to be eaten post workout for its ability to induce energy.

10. Beetroot: The nitrates present in beetroot convert into nitric oxide which is responsible for improved heart health and muscle strength. Beets contains anti- oxidants that help reduce blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

Japan’s high life expectancy linked to diet, study finds

The high life expectancy enjoyed in Japan is largely down to the nation’s healthy diet, according to a new study.

The population of the island nation, which has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world, eat diets high in certain carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits as well as fish and meat.

Such foods make for a diet low in saturated fats, processed foods and high in carbohydrates gained from both rice and vegetables.

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The Japanese government outlined a recommended food guide for the nation in 2005.

Around a decade later, researchers at the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo investigated how following the food guide affected the country’s mortality rate.

The team analysed food and lifestyle questionnaires completed by 36,624 men and 42,920 women aged between 45 and 75, who had no history of cancer, stroke, heart or chronic liver diseases. The participants were tracked for 15 years.

Researchers found that participants who closely followed the food guide had a 15 per cent lower mortality rate.

Such participants were less likely to have cerebrovascular vascular disease: a term used to describe conditions caused by problem with blood supply to the brain.

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The study concluded: “Our findings suggest that balanced consumption of energy, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, dairy products, confectionaries, and alcoholic beverages can contribute to longevity by decreasing the risk of death, predominantly from cardiovascular disease, in the Japanese population.”

James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute who was not involved in the study, told the Huffington Post: “We can learn a lot about how to be healthy from the Japanese, and it really comes down to ‘eat real food’ and ‘exercise.”

He added that the combination high quality foods low in saturated fats was particularly important.

Shattering Three Generations of Beauty Myths

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My mother is an exceptionally beautiful woman who does not know it. Or, rather, she does not care about it and never has. Beauty is irrelevant to her. I remember as a child being hypnotized by something in her presence but not being able to name it. It was something deeper, fiercer, than the drunk, obsessive love a small child has for a mother who’s always working. I realize now: Oh. She was beautiful.

By the time I was born, I think the world had gotten used to my mother’s nonchalance about her beauty—certainly, when I was a child, it was never overtly mentioned. There was a portrait of her on my grandparents’ mantel—her high school senior portrait, touched up to look like an oil painting. My mother hated that picture. The photographer had assumed that that my mother was white, or maybe Italian with a tan, and so had shaded her skin lighter and recolored her eyes green. Oh, how my mother loathed that picture, but my grandmother kept it in a place of honor, and it did not move from the mantel as long as she was alive. After my grandmother died, the picture disappeared from our family’s possessions and I have not seen it since.

HIS MIND WAS GONE BUT HER BEAUTY REMAINED; IT SHONE EVEN THROUGH THE FOG AND THE TERROR. HER BEAUTY WAS STRONGER THAN HIS VERY LOSS OF SELF.

My grandmother, everyone agreed, was the beauty. My mother always said, “Oh, but Grandma was beautiful. She was like a black Liz Taylor.” My grandmother did care about her beauty, but not in a way that seemed obsessive. She liked fine things—thick Persian rugs and chandeliers and white Cadillacs and tasteful tea-colored antiques. She had all those things, plus a beautiful face and a very tiny waist and a blooming breast line, and she covered herself in well-chosen dresses and slacks (that’s what she called them, never pants) and leopard- and beaver-skin coats. It followed logic that a person who loved beauty like that would also be physically beautiful.

She was so pretty, we told each other, that when my grandfather was eventually hospitalized for Alzheimer’s and she would go and visit him, he would hold her arm tightly, not wanting the other men in the hospital to hone in. His mind was gone but her beauty remained; it shone even through the fog and the terror. Her beauty was stronger than his very loss of self.

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We didn’t have mirrors in the house growing up. My sister likes to tell a story—once she said to my mother, “My friend’s mother doesn’t have mirrors because she says her kids are too beautiful and would become too vain.” “Oh, that makes sense,” my mother said distractedly. Then, after a beat, “Good thing we don’t have that problem here.”

She didn’t think we were ugly, to be clear. And I think at that point my mother was so used to her daughters’ verbal traps and insistent questions that she answered with jokes to privately amuse herself. We thought it was funny, too—we screeched with laughter, and still do, at this joke.

Me, she always told me my skin was beautiful. We had a ritual that lasted far too long, probably till I was 11 or 12. She wanted me to keep my skin beautiful. “You have beautiful skin,” she told me over and over. So much so that it was a shock, in my late twenties, to realize colorism was still very much a thing, to realize that some people secretly and not-so-secretly think my skin is ugly at worst or unfortunate at best. For my mother, my dark skin was a prize to be treasured.

Our ritual was this—after every bath, she dotted my skin with white lotion, like a pox, and then I would have to rub it in to keep my skin healthy and gleaming. I loved this ritual, probably because it was a time of day when I had her undivided attention. And also, being told that something you have is beautiful, so beautiful that you have to take care of it like a rare diamond or a temperamental show cat, is very gratifying. “Your skin is so beautiful,” she said, she says, even now, when I’m in my thirties.

IT WAS A SHOCK, IN MY LATE TWENTIES, TO REALIZE COLORISM WAS STILL VERY MUCH A THING, TO REALIZE THAT SOME PEOPLE SECRETLY AND NOT-SO-SECRETLY THINK MY SKIN IS UGLY AT WORST OR UNFORTUNATE AT BEST.

My grandmother, the great beauty, was as dark or darker than I, darker than her daughter. Only recently I’ve found pictures of her in her twenties—impossibly petite and dainty in cinched belts and full skirts, very dark skin gleaming in the sun. A relative said once to me, proudly, “She was the first dark-skinned woman elected president of our community’s Jack and Jill,” and it seemed, has always seemed, a tainted accomplishment to claim. My grandfather was much lighter than her.

All of this, no one in the family talked about. Color was never discussed, not in the ways I’ve read about in other black American families. It wasn’t even mentioned, except in that positive way, in the longing of my mother’s voice: “Your skin is so beautiful.” I’m profoundly grateful that this subject was avoided when I was a child, that my instinct is always to go darker, that I’ve never once looked in the mirror and wished for lighter skin. I think of my mother’s portrait in its place of honor, the skin painted over to an almost sickly khaki, how my mother would roll her eyes at it.

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My grandmother’s parents took pride in her beauty, just as she took pride in my mother’s and I take pride in theirs. When my mother was younger, my grandmother groomed her—debutante classes and white lace gloves. My mother knows how to set a formal table and which fork to use and how to sip from a bowl of soup. It was wished that she would marry well. My mother tells me that when she was in high school, if she was out at a party, my grandmother would call the house where the party was being held to check on her, and then ask her to stay on the phone and describe the scene to her. If no one answered when my grandmother called, she would ring the house over and over until somebody picked up, until somebody put my mother on the line.

There is a picture that I think sums them up perfectly—my grandmother, demure in a ’50s circle skirt, hair curled neat and glossy, smiling into the camera and my mother, her daughter, beside her, in dungarees, a blur, grinning, pigtails flying, the very picture of a tomboy.

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When I reached adolescence, I became convinced that my mother wanted a different daughter than me, that she found me an embarrassment. By that point I had gained something like 80 or 100 pounds over the course of a year—a feat that felt as though it happened in a dream. I had always looked to my eyes exactly the same, but the doctor insisted that I had changed, that my skin was splitting open and folding over from the pressure. At this time, my best friend, my only friend by then, was a girl who was the physical opposite of me—tall and white and very thin. She could eat anything—garlic pizza for three days straight or drink nothing but Coca-Cola, and not gain a pound. It seemed my mother had this magical ability as well. But I did not. I remember thinking if I just didn’t care about it, my body would somehow sense my nonchalance and sigh and give up this campaign to humiliate me and in its final act of surrender, a kind of peace treaty between me and my gut, my body would give me the metabolism of the unconcerned. Worse than being fat, I felt, was caring about it, was trying to change it and failing miserably.

I REMEMBER THINKING IF I JUST DIDN’T CARE ABOUT IT, MY BODY WOULD SOMEHOW SENSE MY NONCHALANCE AND SIGH AND GIVE UP THIS CAMPAIGN TO HUMILIATE ME.

I gained the weight, in part, because I was on antidepressants. This was in the early 1990s, so understanding of antidepressants and teenagers was pretty minimal. I was given sertraline. I remember being unable to concentrate and I remember feeling sadder than ever. Everyone told me there must be something wrong with me for being so sad, despite the fact that a lot of depressing things had just happened to me in the space of a few months—we were evicted for the second time; my much-loved older sister left for college; we made what then seemed like a terrible step, a move into the projects; I was starting a new school without any friends and my former friends were, understandably, growing apart from me. Instead of talking about any of this, I was given sertraline, one oblong pill I was supposed to break in half and swallow every morning. I promptly started eating even more mindlessly until there were the hundred extra pounds. But I didn’t notice because I was so numb by then, I couldn’t feel any of it.

Despite all that extra weight, I was secretly convinced that underneath it I was a great beauty, like my mother, like my grandmother. I would lie on the couch and look at my reflection in the television. If I lay on my side and held my leg over my head and turned it just so, it became as satisfyingly shapely as my mother’s legs in shorts or my grandmother’s in her stockings. If I cocked my head to the side and let the fat of my cheeks shift back, there were my cheekbones, the same as my mother’s and my grandmother’s, high and dramatic and dangerous. I did these exercises furtively, when no one was in the house. I would have been mortified if I was caught. It was enough to know, it was deeply gratifying to know, that beauty was a possibility, dimly glimpsed in the concave, dull, black eye of a darkened screen.

Beauty is always coming. When I am 40 pounds thinner, when my dreads have grown long enough to lie flat all the way down my back, when the dress that I ordered arrives in the mail. Beauty is not in the here and now. Beauty is a future state.

I found out just recently that my grandmother’s effortlessness was all for show. “She was on a diet all her life. She was always gaining and losing weight,” my sister pointed out. And if I look at the old pictures, yes, I can see it. I remember her impossibly chic lunches of a single oversize scallop, fried on her stovetop and then laid on a gilt-rimmed antique saucer set on a crisp white tablecloth in her golden and cream-colored dining room. I think of how hungry she must have been. I think of her in a dusky living room, on a damask divan, dialing the number of a house one town over, waiting for her daughter to get on the line and describe to her what it feels like to be a pretty girl at a party.

Kelly Rowland teases skin care line after makeup collection announcement

Kelly Rowland wants to cater to you. Yes, you, chocolate girls.

The original Destiny’s Child, Grammy Award-winning solo artist and Chasing Destiny host had the Internet jumpin’ jumpin’ this week after Essence magazine announced her makeup collection, which she will co-launch with her partner, Sheika Daley.

On the heels of the reveal, the #bosslady sat down with USA TODAY to chat about the line, which specifically caters to “chocolate girls.” And while she paid homage to the designers who have developed products for women of color, she maintained that navigating the market is still exasperating for darker-skinned women.

“What’s frustrating, I think, about that whole process is when (a line) is just discontinued. Or, you know, a lot of other makeup lines will get brought out by the bigger companies and the makeup completely changes or the color that you like will completely change,” she said. “I’m so happy that Iman’s line is still as powerful as it is. That line is so amazing to me. Bobbi Brown also has a really good line. You know, she’s not a woman of color but she’s really mastered it in my opinion. And there are other smaller lines, but there’s so much room in the marketplace for another line that caters to women of color. My partner, Sheika, and I — our makeup line is going to be for every woman, but we want to make sure that we get the women of color right.”

Rowland knows the struggle of collections getting it wrong all too well.

Reflecting on her Destiny’s Child days, she bemoaned how makeup artists struggled to match her skin tone. “I remember just being pink, a little on the olive side, maybe a little too fair, you know what I mean? So, I just want to get it right. I’d just like to keep it authentic and keep it real and keep it beautiful.”

Stay tuned for the debut date on her makeup line… and potentially, a skin care line.

“I’m also the type of person that feels like we don’t need to be covered up all the time, so I want to eventually get into skin care as well, but I got to pace myself,” she said, laughing. “I keep having all these great ideas. Like, they’re all on my vision board, but I have to pace myself.”