Category Archives: Uncategorized

Miscellaneous.

Instagrammers I Double Tap <3

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Scrolling through Instagram is one of my favorite, time-wasting activities. There is always a lot of visually stunning photos and good information to go around.

When “stories” first hit, I had to admit that I wasn’t sold on the idea. Fast forward to now as I often find myself re-watching certain stories over and over again. It’s shameless, really.

Here are some of my favorite ‘grammers that you might want to check out.

@myleik: Myleik is a business person, inspiration-maven and a go-getter. I’ve long been a fan of her work and business (Curl Box). There’s plenty to admire. But with her newest venture My Taught You, Myleik delves deep into inspiration, personal and business growth. You’ll often find inspiring or thoughtful quotes on her page. And her stories are also pretty good at giving you a sneak peek of her home life, day-to-day boss status and RECIPES. She also has a podcast that is well worth a listen (yours truly was also a guest!).

@prestonkonrad: I’ve always been a fan of style but not the super avant-garde stuff. Give me a classic and straightforward look any time. That’s why I’m so used to double-tapping Preston Konrad’s account. I first came across Preston on his TLC show Style by Jury, which was essentially my new updated What Not to Wear. I was sad when that show ended and was all too happy to discover Preston’s fashion-centered Instagram account. I ran into Preston at an event a few months ago and awkwardly introduced myself to him. He’s stylish and gracious in person, which isn’t something you always encounter in the style industry. If you need some fashion inspiration, he could be your new go-to guy.

@skinnywashere: This guy works hard, travels a lot and parties hard too! If you’re looking for a good time with pictures of some pretty attractive people and gorgeous locations, then you should be following Skinny. He’s a talented photographer and seems to have a whole lot of fun too!

@_jamesthor: Me and James go way back to my days in NC. We’ve both relocated since those college days and I’m incredibly proud to see the work that he’s been doing. His photos of some of the most beautiful people is always inspired and interesting to view.

@becauseofthem: Let’s be honest, these days we all need an extra dose of inspiration, don’t we? Because of Them We Can is one of my favorite Instagram accounts for that reason. The posts drip with pride in the Black experience and it’s always so wonderful to see young kids embody some of the greatest figures in Black American history. Not only are the pictures often adorable, they’re also educational which is saying a lot for a platform mostly used to show pretty faces and bodies (not that there is anything wrong with that…see above!).

@humansofny: If you’re not a New Yorker you may not know about this one. Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York, is not only a photographer but a storyteller. His series of posts highlighting NYers (and people he meets on his travels) is at all times riveting. It’s occasionally exciting, romantic, and at times heartbreaking. It’s hard to mindlessly scroll through Instagram when you have something so special in your feed. Follow this account. I promise you won’t regret it.

And a special shout out to Victoria of Victoria McGinley Studio for the inspiration for this post!

Who do you like to follow on Instagram the most? Weigh in!

Talking Beards, Equality & Activism with Musician Civil JustUs

Civil Justus is a Brooklyn based rap artist and creative. The self-described thirst trap connoisseur initially attracts due to his lush beard and good looks, but it’s what comes out of his mouth that keeps your attention. I recently took some time to talk with Civil about his beard, music and social media presence. Check it out!

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MANE MAN::Thanks for joining me here and taking some time to answer a few questions for me. ​I’m sure that one of the things that ​immediately ​gets people’s attention is that you maintain what some might call a pretty ​serious beard. It looks so well cared for! ​ I think that a lot of men are embracing more facial hair and beards again. ​What initially inspired you to grow one and how do you ​typically ​maintain it?

Civil Justus: I started growing it during Hurricane Sandy because I couldn’t get to my barber for a few weeks. But I liked it and the attention I got for it and kept it. Posted some selfies and my following went from 300- 1000 in a month. I knew the beard was there to stay. As far as maintenance, I don’t really do anything outside of the norm other than just keep it conditioned and oiled. I have this peppermint conditioner I used that keeps my beard feeling cool and never itchy. Saves me from ever having the urge to shave it.

MM: I’ve been following you for a while​ now​ and noticed that you speak out a lot on social and political issues, especially on Twitter. What ​motivates you to use your voice in this way​?

CJ: I feel like those of us who have a platform kind of have a responsibility to use our voice for good. Though as an Afrolatino living in the US I’m marginalized myself, there are plenty of folks going through worse and I just want to provide a voice as well as be someone who amplifies the voices of more marginalized individuals.

MM:​ One of the things that stands out to me about your online presence is that you talk openly about equality. You’ve spoken not only about race and feminism but also seem to be accepting of LGBTQ communities as well. Was that equality-based perspective something that you always had in your environment growing up? If not, how did you gain that exposure and comfort with people whose experiences may seem very different from yours?

CJ: There’s no reason not to be accepting. I have love for all members of my community and alienating people and further marginalizing members of our community does nothing for any of us. Everyone should have a right to love and lust who they want as well as be who they are. I think a lack of comfort folks have with people who are different than them is really a lack of comfort with themselves.

MM: You’ve also done some modeling work for different brands. Is that something that you always saw yourself doing, or wanted to do?

CJ: Not really to be honest, but I definitely can’t say I’m mad about it. I’ve been getting more and more opportunities to work with different brands and I think it’s dope. Never would have thought it. People wouldn’t believe it, but I’m not even that big on taking photos of myself. I do it more for the reception. Also, working with these brands helps me feel like I can still keep my integrity as an artist and get my name out. There’s so much opportunity out there and I’m happy I can stay true while exploring those.

MM: I want to go back to your online presence a bit. Social media is how I got to know you and your work both as a musician and an activist and it’s obviously a big part of our lives these days. ​What​ would you say is ​your favorite thing about social media?

CJ: I think the best thing is the ability to connect with people. I’ve grown a lot over the years due to the many people I’ve met through social media. I’ve also been able to get my voice out in ways I would have never thought possible. My mom’s coworkers even follow me. I think it’s such a powerful and necessary tool today.

MM: AGREED. You’ve also recently talked about how sometimes it can be easy to burnout on social media, especially with all of the political coverage floating around. How do you strike that balance about being informed, using your voice and practicing good self-care?

CJ: It’s hard to be honest. Sometimes I just take a step back. I take periodic breaks and just focus on other things that have nothing to do with what’s going on out there at the moment. We are in this for the long haul so we have to be careful not to burn ourselves out. Trump is going to say some stupid shit at least 3 times a day so I think its okay to watch Bob’s Burgers every now and then.

MM: Good point! And what can the readers look forward to next from you?

CJ: I’ve been working hard on some new tracks and putting together my debut album. Also been preparing some dope visuals for that which we’re looking to put out in the spring. I’m really excited about this year and what I have in store.

It looks like we’ll all have plenty more of Civil JustUs to enjoy in 2017!  To learn more about Civil and his work, visit his website at civiljustus.com. You can also keep up with him on Twitter and Instagram @CivilJustus.

A Reflection on Friday, January 20, 2017

I’m not sure what to write today as I know so many of us are feeling so many different emotions.  I’m with you. While we certainly have some challenges to face in the coming days, months, and years here in the States I also have to say that I am encouraged by the intelligent and cogent discourse that I have witnessed, and been a part of,  recently about our political system.

In some ways I am not surprised by the current dynamics of our country and the labeling of some rights as irresponsible “special interests”. It’s been coming for a while. I did, like many of you, feel shocked on November 8. It was a tough night. After watching interviews and confirmation hearings recently, I’m still in awe of the status of our country and what has come to be known as generally acceptable or tolerable from our representatives.

We are all responsible for what happens next. Continue to fight for what’s right and stay involved. If you haven’t been involved, get involved. And most of all, RESIST.

 

Photo credit: Library of Congress
Artist: Charles T Webber

6 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe this Winter

I know that many of you out there have pets that you care for, so much that you might consider them your fur babies. As we’re now in the winter months and dealing with some real cold as of late I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on taking care of your pups in the colder months.

I’ve touched base with expert Erin Askeland from Camp Bow Wow for her tips for smart winter pet care. Check out her tips below!

Never let your dog off the leash in snow or ice. Although it may seem like a fun option to let your pup frolic in the snow, it can prove to be extremely dangerous. Dogs tend to lose their sense of smell in extremely cold weather and become lost. Believe it or not, winter has the highest rates for lost dogs!

Thoroughly wipe down your dog when he comes back into the house after being in the snow. It is common for dogs to ingest salts for melting ice as well as anti-freeze, which can prove to be very toxic. Not only is ingesting toxins a problem, but snow being left between your dogs’ toes can cause ice chunks to freeze on their fur, possibly causing your dog to rip their fur or pads.

Use Dog-Friendly/Pet Safe Ice Melt whenever de-icing outdoors. Again, the toxins in most products are NOT safe for pets or humans to ingest.

Similar to how you should never leave your dog in the car during the summer, the same goes for the winter; a car can act almost like a freezer in the winter, trapping heat outside and causing your pet to freeze to death. Likewise, a shelter is always a necessity! Whether always an outdoor dog or just outside to play, make sure to have a shelter for them from the wind and snow.

Consider getting your pup a seasonal jacket or sweater to help ensure they are both comfortable and fashionable as the temperatures drop.

Fresh water is a must at all times, as your dog may be more likely to lick ice and eat snow if he/she is thirsty from lack of water. Similar to the above point, it is common for dogs to ingest snow-melting-salts and antifreeze.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 Deals & Steals

Black Friday is quickly approaching and if you’re planning on spending any money, then this post will help provide you with some of the best deals related to grooming and style.  Check out the list below for deals what will be good for yourself and help you put away some holiday gifts for other as well.  I’ll update as new deals and information rolls in so keep checking back for updates!

Skin Care & Beauty

Bétèrre Skin+Care

  • Black Friday & Cyber Monday: Enjoy 40% off all products

Boscia (sale Friday, 11/25 5AM PST – Sunday, 11/27 at 11:59PM PST)

  • BOGO 50% OFF, Select Masks & Cleaner: Use promo code YESPLEASE
  • Buy 2, Get 1 FREE Cleansing Cloth/Select Konjac Cleansing Sponge: Use promo code WANTMORE
  • 50% OFF Select Blotting Linens

TheBetterSkinCo.com

  • Buy One Get One Free: Mirakle Cream

PerriconeMD

  • Receive 50% off select Perricone MD products with exclusive Daily Deal specials each day (Black Friday and Cyber Monday – 11/23 – 11/28)

FOREO

  •  25% off site wide (excludes all holiday gift sets). Includes LUNA 1 range, LUNA 2 range, Day Cleanser, Night Cleanser, Cleanser for Men, ISSA, ISSA accessories, and IRIS (11/24 – 11/28)

Cos Bar

  • Black Friday & Cyber Monday (in store too!): Gift with purchase (t-shirt) of $150 purchase in-stores and online; 6 samples (2x) with in-store and online purchase and free shipping!

Mineral Fusion

  • Enjoy 40% off Mineral Fusion products (11/28)

Hair Care

Oyin

  • 30% of entire site, no coupon code needed!

Hair La Vie All Natural Haircare Products

  • Doorbuster deals up to 30% off

WEN Hair & Body Care by Chaz Dean

  • 20% off using code FRIDAY2016 (11/25-11/28)

LAFCO

  • 11/25 receive 20% off all items using code “LAFCO2016” at checkout

Ulta

  • Ultra CHI flat irons and blow dryers, $74.96 ($149.95 value)

Original Moxie

  • Purchases of $35 or more will receive 30% off with promo code BFOM2016 (11/25-11/28)

Body Care

Jack Black

  • Pick up Jack Black’s All-Over Wash for Face, Hair & Body in a luxury-size 33 oz. bottle for just $30, available exclusively at Nordstrom (a $46 value).
  • The Jack Black Clean Start set includes Deep Dive® Glycolic Facial Cleanser, new Clean Break™ Oil-Free Moisturizer and Turbo Wash® Energizing Cleanser.  Available 11/25/16 exclusively at Sephora ($15 – $33 value).
  • JackBlack Body Works available for $20 at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, ULTA Beauty, Sephora and GetJackBlack.com (11/25-11/28).
  • Jack Black Best Of Jack set (ULTA Beauty Black Friday Exclusive!) Covers body, face and lip care at an unbeatable value. Availability: Exclusively at ULTA for $12 (11/25-11/28).

Style

Keds

  •  30% off all full priced styles (no exclusions) & 10% of sale styles (11/22-11/29)
  • Cyber Monday Deal (offer valid 11/22-11/29) · 30% off all full priced styles (no exclusions) & 10% of sale styles & $10 off your next purchase with any purchase made on Cyber Monday (11/28)

Dock and Bay

  • 30% off site wide with promo code ROAMFREE (11/24 – 11/28)

Frank+Oak

  • 30% of everything (Black Friday)
  • Enjoy an additional 20% off on sale items, for up to 70% off (Cyber Monday)

United By Blue

  • 25% off sitewide plus free US shipping (11/ 25-11/28)
  • Daily Cyber Week Deals, 15% off storewide + free shipping on us orders (11/29 – 12/2)

Mott & Bow

  • 10, 20 or 30% off (depending on amount spent) using code BLACKFRIDAY (deals live now until 11/25 at midnight)

Food & Drink

Exquisito Chocolates (SO GOOD!)

  • 50% off EVERYTHING using code: BLACKFRIDAY (11/25)

You can also check out WalletHubs list of 2016’s Best Things to Buy on Black Friday to see more deals (and possibly brainstorm on some gifts). Happy shopping!

 

 

3 Reasons Luke Cage Should be Your Next Binge-worthy TV Adventure

On September 30, Netflix presented its newest Marvel offering, the much-anticipated Luke Cage. It’s the show you should be watching!

Metro black culture is put front and center

One of the coolest things about new Netflix show Luke Cage is that it so boldly celebrates Harlem, NYC and the black experience that we don’t see too often on mainstream television.  Filming was completed in New York City so residents of the concrete jungle will find a lot of familiar sights in the series. In addition, soul, r&b and hip hop music play a big part in series. If the conversations among my friends are any indication, I think that a soundtrack to the series would be highly desired.   If you have love for any of these things, it’s hard to imagine that you wouldn’t appreciate what Luke Cage brings to the table. The show also features an overwhelmingly Black cast which is something we don’t often get to witness.

It’s so popular it crashed Netflix streaming in at least 3 countries

The premier of Luke Cage has been highly anticipated. Most of us (who aren’t die-hard comic book fans) first got a glimpse of Luke in Netflix’s AKA Jessica Jones series starring Krysten Ritter.  As fans marveled at Daredevil, then AKA Jessica Jones, our appetites were not so subtly anticipating the arrival of Luke Cage. So much so apparently many of us started streaming it at the same time!  There are reports that streaming was interrupted in the US, UK and Ireland as everyone took time to start the binge-worthy series upon its release. Given its popularity, there’s something to be said for just giving the show a try.

You get to reconnect with some familiar faces

Not only do you get to enjoy Mike Colter as the virtually indestructible Luke Cage, but there are also some other familiar faces (and new ones too) that will help you commit to the series.  Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, the show’s main villain is a face familiar to many Netflix aficionados.  He’s most recognizable as the character Remy from that other hit Netflix show, House of Cards.  In tow, as Cottonmouth’s inspired but misguided business partner of sorts, is the incomparable Alfre Woodard who seems to deliver each line with conviction even though she initially seems much shadier than she’s letting on.  Sons of Anarchy fans will also appreciate the appearance of Theo Rossi who was known as Juice in the series.

Luke Cage is streaming on Netflix now. You can check out the trailer below for a pre-binge sneak peek:

People use hairspray for what?!

Good morning all! It’s been a little while since I did a weekly obsessions post so I thought I would bring it back because the things that I’ve been obsessing over this week are too good to not share with you.

If you need a little break from #Elections2016 or the #Stanford sexual assault case you might find some solace in these cool and otherwise lighthearted obsessions this week.

First up, is this hilarious video of a mother talking about how she’s upset with Black folks for hiding the butters. WHO FINALLY TOLD HER?! 😉  I feel very strongly about my shea butter for pretty everything and it seems like this woman now does too.. Enjoy!

For those of you who are looking to keep your beard looking amazing just like friend-in-my-head rapper CivilJustus, you may want to check out this beard care regimen from Birchbox. It’s fantastic and has some product recommendations for you to try as well. Unfortunately, I can’t classify myself as a part of the #beardgang because I never grow out my facial hair quite that much, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a well-groomed one.  Also, the first beard oil I ever tried smells amazing and I would highly recommend it. You can find my review of Corktown Beard Oil here.

One of my favorite finds over the past week has to be People Keep Mistaking African-Caribbean Hairspray for Cooking Oil via Buzzfeed. This will never not be funny.

Also, I’m not too often about that petty life but this is just too funny.

And finally, Father’s Day is getting close! If you’re looking for some ideas to consider for pops, check out 19 Incredible Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day (plus a bonus option!).

19 Incredible Gifts for Dad!

The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family. – Reed Markham

Father’s Day is almost here!  It’s about a month away at this point, that’s right it’s June 19th this year, so I know some of you are already thinking about the best way to honor pops on this day.

There’s not one right way to be a father. From the outdoorsy type to the corporate Dad, fathers come in all styles, shapes and sizes. It’s important to show them that we care this upcoming Father’s Day!

For some of us Father’s Day means letting Dad have the day off and just letting him drink beer and watch baseball, for others Father’s Day might mean a day full of gifts or exciting adventures. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and wanted to share with you a collection of gift ideas that covers almost every kind of Dad out there.

Today, I’m sharing with you my collection of 19 Incredible Gifts for Father’s Day.  From grooming to gadgets, to bacon (of course) and booze, you’ll definitely find some much-needed inspiration here. Here are some of my favorite picks that are featured in the collection:

  • The Original Baconkit (Make you own bacon at home!)
  • Art of Shaving Starter Kit
  • Uncommon Greens NYC Street Maps Rocks cocktail glasses (I have these too!)
  • Cooperstown Distillery’s Triple Play Baseball Decanters
  • A custom wood desk organizer via Etsy

You’ll find all these gifts, and plenty others, in the collection at the beginning of this post. Check it out!

 

What’s Trending: Adult Coloring Books

This title sounds a lot more scandalous than it actually is!
put me in the story
A customized coloring book courtesy of Put Me in The Story.

You’ve probably heard about adult coloring books and while “adult” can mean one thing it doesn’t mean THAT in this context. Adult coloring books have gained a lot of popularity over the past year or so, most notably for their ability to help reduce stress and promote mindfulness and focused attention. That’s a lot to be said for using a crayon.

As I thought about ordering one for myself, the folks over at Put Me in The Story reached out with one of their custom coloring books for me to try. I don’t know that it necessarily helped me reduce my stress levels but I certainly found myself very quickly in a very focused state, much like what happens when I write or listen to a really good song.  It kind of just captures you and time escapes for just a little while.

I know that for a lot of you that time is hard to come by. It is for me too. But, I think that even with all the responsibilities that we have as adults, we have to MAKE time for us to do things like color, listen to a good song, or anything that can help us reduce stress and decompress. And if you find that you can’t get that solo time because you have to look after children, you can bring in your own, advanced coloring book while they dive into the world of coloring dinosaurs and pandas.  And just to be clear, I’m NOT saying you should avoid those coloring books 🙂 . I’m just saying that Put Me in The Story might just be more your style.

A fair warning to the newbies out there, I was and am still a bit intimidated by the pages in my adult coloring book. Not because it’s hard but it’s a far cry from what you’re used to when it comes to kids’ books. These images are DETAILED! I think that is intentional on the publisher’s part because it forces our busy and complex minds to focus on the minutia on the page. Children typically don’t have that worry. I believe it is those tiny details which help you enter that trance-like relaxed state.

My recommendation is that you purchase some colored pencils or thin-tip markers to go with your coloring book. Turn on some instrumental soothing music and go to town. If you don’t feel these great effects of stress reduction when you’re done, that’s OK. At least you know that you’ve given yourself 10 minutes of peace and quiet. And who knows, maybe at the end of the day you may have a nicely colored picture to hang on your fridge.

If you’re interested in learning more about adult coloring books, you should check out these links:

 

Disclosure: Put Me In the Story was kind enough to create a custom book for me for the purposes of this post. All opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone.

My 2016 Grooming Resolutions

Welcome to 2016!

I hope that all of you have taken some time to enjoy your time with family and loved ones over the holidays the past few weeks. I’ve definitely taken some time to enjoy the down time. It goes without saying that I’ve been eating good and getting a little extra sleep 🙂

Now everyone is back into the swing of things in the new year. Happy 2016! This time of year is always a time of reflection and new beginnings. I love the sense of promise that the new year brings and the feeling of hope of achieving new things and tackling new challenges.

I’ve got some grooming resolutions for the new year that I wanted to share with you. Some of these are new while others are about maintaining some tried and true grooming practices.  Feel free to join in on the conversation with me and let me know your resolutions too!

  • Get a professional manicure/pedicure once a month.
  • Trim my hair every quarter as opposed to twice yearly as I’ve been doing the past few years.
  • Take the time to lotion up after EVERY shower. After all, having itchy, dry skin is not the business.
  • Get a nice, professional hot shave or facial once every quarter because why not?!
  • Continue to drink plenty of water to keep my skin looking great.

What’s on your list of grooming resolutions for the new year?

Image source