Saturday, June 30, 2018

How I built my skincare routine

I may not wear a lot of makeup, but when it comes to skincare, I gladly go all in.

Some of you have been asking me how to create a skincare regimen. But before we do that, let's talk some basics:

First, consult a dermatologist for your own individual skin needs. I am not a dermatologist, but a humble blogger who has tried a bunch of different things. 'Nuff said.

Determine what your skin type is. As I transitioned from my twenties to my thirties, my skin has gone from dry all over to combination, and I have had to adjust my routine accordingly.

Good skin only comes from a good diet. Taking care of your body shows in your skin first. So make sure you are drinking your water, eating quality produce, and limiting the amount of junk food. Your skin will indeed thank you.

To start your skincare routine, you're going to need a few things:

Cleanser: I have been using Black Soap for a few years now on my face and it has blessed me. Black soap fades discoloration and has antibacterial properties that help it in the fight against acne. I also use Neutrogena's Deep Clean once in a while to get that tingly dream clean.

Toner: I love rose water as a toner. I typically spray a few sprays on after washing my face. It has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce irritated skin, fight acne, eczema, and dermatitis. If you're adventurous, you can always make your own rose water.

Serum: The serum you need should be based upon your skin's own individual needs. I really like Peter Thomas Roth's Potent C Power serum. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties (ascorbic acid) and plays a vital role in collagen synthesis. Another great Vitamin C serum is the Derma E Concentrated C serum that will still give you the benefits of pricier Vitamin C serums but for pennies.

A moisturizer: Nobody wants a dull dry looking face. So you're going to need a quality moisturizer. I like the beauty classic, CeraVe. I also like Kiehl's Ultra Face Cream. Just a tiny bit and my skin is nice and dewy for the day. I also love Chuda healing and hydration cream. During the colder, dryer months, this cream kept my dry leaning face in lovely shape and is also great for dry spots, skin injuries, and sunburns.

Speaking of sunburns...

SPF: You. Must. Protect. Your. Skin! Therefore, SPF! If you're using a moisturizer that already has SPF, you are on the right track. A good example of this is Chuda's sheer hydrating lotion SPF. I also like Derma E's Sun Protection Mineral Powder. It's light and easy to apply.

Some other honorable mentions:

A jade roller: I have already told you all the wonders of jade rolling. Originating in ancient China as a beauty tool for aristocracy, stone rollers, the most popular being the Jade roller, comes with supposed huge benefits. These rollers, used for a cool (as in temperature) facial massage, and are said to help "sculpt" your features by encouraging facial drainage (by encouraging your lymphatic system’s natural detoxification process), “brightening” your face (by increasing circulation and blood flow beneath your skin, creating a very visible glow), depuffing, and even toning slackening muscles.

A good mask: After a long week, why not pamper your pretty face with a mask. Right now, I am loving Aveda's Wedding Overnight eye and face mask. Sheet masks are also awesome and I really am liking the YesTo Sheet masks that come in a pack of six.

Micellar water: There is a lot of debate going on about the usefulness of micellar water, but I am here to confirm that my skin loves it. Micelles, the things that make up micellar water, draw out dirt and oil without drying out the skin. In essence, this makes micellar water effective as a makeup remover, a face wash, and a moisturizer all in oneMy favorites right now are the Derma E Micellar Water and the Caudalie Micellar.

Scrubs: I love a good scrub. Exfoliation is key for healthy skin. I try to do a weekly gentle scrub of my face, typically with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. Cannot go wrong with a classic.

Things I haven't tried yet:

Peels: I haven't tried these because the videos of these look horrifying. The idea of peeling something off of my face frightens me, to say the least, but I would be willing to give it a go once.

Essences: I have been hearing about the benefits of essences, but I haven't had the chance to really try any. (Amore Pacific just sent me their Vintage Extract essence that I will be playing with so I will keep you updated on that.)

Some things worth noting:

Prepare seasonal specific skin care. Skin needs different things in different seasons. In winter, it's all about moisturizing; in the summer, it's all about protection. Be willing to try different things at different seasons.

Everything doesn't work for everybody. Be willing to find the products that woke best for you.

Be careful which products you use together! Some products do not work well with others so be mindful as you experiment.

Have fun! Skincare is fun. Watching the benefits of different products is fun and creating your own custom skin routine is very exciting. Have fun with it!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Today's Readables feature the goodies on sale at Dermastore right now, best 4th of July Sephora sale, how to keep your bedroom completely decluttered, 32 4th recipes for your 4th of July wedding, and 13 affordable finds to copy from bloggers.

Man Repeller: How to keep your bedroom completely decluttered
BuzzFeed: 32 4th recipes for your 4th of July wedding
The Cut: The goodies on sale at Dermastore right now
Refinery29: Best 4th of July Sephora sale
WhoWhatWear: 13 affordable finds to copy from bloggers

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Money Tips and Tweets

It's Financial Literacy Month and here on the blog, you already know we have a weekly discussionon finances, savings, investing etc. For many of us, that means looking some hard truths about ourselves in the face, particularly around our own personal finances.

Well, you will be glad to know that you are not alone in your money struggles. Social media is full of folks who have some serious advice and accidents when it comes to money. Here are some hilarious, smart, and inspiring money tips straight from Twitter:

Reclaimed Readables

Happy Thursday beauts and beaus.

Today's Readables feature why your favorite 'Sex & The City' character was $1 Million in debt, how millennials are actually better at managing money than most think, the trait that determines if you are good money, why you might want to consider a 'micro' wedding, 5 of the best investing apps.

BuzzFeed: Your favorite 'Sex & The City' character was $1 Million in debt
Relevant Mag: Millennials are actually better at managing money than most think
The Cut: The trait that determines if you are good money
Refinery29: Why you might want to consider a 'micro' wedding
My Domaine: 5 of the best investing apps

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

National Sunglasses Day with Quay

Today may be #TuesdayShoesDay here on The Reclaimed, but it's also National Sunglasses Day!

Sunnies are one of my favorite accessories. For me, they complete the look, add a little extra flair, and a drop of cool to whatever I am wearing.

Of course, it's a grey and dreary day here in Philly, but we have a whole lot of summer to rock our faves.

Today the shades featured are by Quay Australia. I like Quay. Their shades are high quality like more popular high-end brands but without the high-end price (which is great if you're like me and tend to misplace your pairs from time to time.) Also, Quay has a wide variety of shades for every face and taste, so trend loves and classic cravers can have both your appetites satisfied.

Here are my top picks from Quay:
Quay If Only Sunglasses
Quay Maximus Sunglasses
Quay Outside Squad Shades

Quay Hollywood Nights

Quay Capricorn Sunglasses

Quay Playa Sunglasses
Quay OTLII Sunglasses
Quay It's My Way Sunglasses

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

This week's #WomanCrushWednesday features 'Self' Mag talks health and body positivity, Rashida Jones just made a PSA about workplace harassment we all need, the 28-year-old at the center of one of the most exciting primaries, before Rihanna and Teyana, there was Anita, and how 1 woman's self-taught braiding is now her big business.

Fashionista: 'Self' Mag talks health and body positivity
Refinery29: Before Rihanna and Teyana, there was Anita, how 1 woman's self-taught braiding is now her big business
BuzzFeed: Rashida Jones just made a PSA about workplace harassment we all need
The Cut: The 28-year-old at the center of one of the most exciting primaries

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The difference between being a Savior and Being an Ally

I think it goes without saying that the current political climate has indeed awakened and shaken the populous.

As a culture, we used to make fun of the person who was "woke" often clad with a vintage protest tee, a printed kufi and was the perpetual buzz kill of any party, bbq, or social gathering. But the last few years has changed that dynamic, and now being woke is something to espouse to. We have seen this shift in our conversations, on social media, hell, most of our cool tees and the popularization of pin and patch culture, all bearing some politically charged message, show the shift of the culture; that even our fashion speaks for us.

To be honest, there are enough issues for every person of the woke ilk to chose one and support it. But there is a social selfishness that pervades even our wokeness. We only support or speak on issues that directly affect our own communities. And while communal advocacy is vital, indeed essential, for that communities survival, there is something even more powerful when we can bring similar passion to conversations that have little or nothing to do directly with our own communities.

We need to care about each other. But in doing so, we also need to be responsible in that caring. Part of that responsibility is understanding the differences between being a savior and being an ally.

savior is defined as "a person who saves, rescues, or delivers." The "savior" can be seen as the person who goes to underprivileged communities to "help" and are trying to "save" the people there. It is the Michelle Pfeiffers in Dangerous Minds, the Kevin Costners of Dances With Wolves, the Tom Cruises of The Last Samurai, the Hilary Swanks of Freedom Writers.

These people, who happen to be somehow connected to the oppressing community, seeking out the chance to save those who are oppressed, usually without knowing, understanding, or belonging to that community. In addition, these are the folks who place themselves in the center of the narrative. These are people who somehow seek to dominate those whom they are supposed to be helping. They typically do not ask those whom they are helping anything about their communities, their needs, or even themselves. In this, they render themselves unneeded and unwanted.

To be honest, the only savior I have ever needed is Jesus Christ.

An ally is defined as "a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose; a person who associates or cooperates with another; supporter." This is the straight, cisgender person who goes to the LGBTQIA+ marches and rallies, the White people financially supporting Black Live Matter, the man who talks to his friends about street harassment and why its wrong. These are people who have deliberately placed themselves in a position of support, rather than in the position of savior. Allies seek to understand the struggles and look for ways they can add their voice to the dialogue, rather than dominate it.

Here is Amanda Seales with an interesting (and of course hilarious take on the Savior/ Ally narrative as in pertains to White and Black People:

Being an ally means:

Recognizing that we are all in the same family. Interestingly enough, the term ally also carries a biological definition: "a plant, animal, or other organism bearing an evolutionary relationship to another, often as a member of the same family." Meditate on that "...bearing an evolutionary relationship to another, often as a member of the same family." Being an ally is to see the relatedness of us all, the interconnectivity of us all and operating therein.

Recognizing when to shut up and listen. The main difference between allyship and savior-ship is that allies arrive to the conversation while saviors seek to control it. Allies come and listen while saviors come to talk. Allies come to participate, saviors come to dominate. To be an ally, you have to know when to shut your mouth and open your ears.

Recognizing the power of your own voice in a fight that is not yours. Every one of us has a voice. And our voices are powerful, but especially when we are speaking up for others. A man telling another bro "naw, it's not cool for you to talk to women out here like that.", a Christian standing up and saying that a Muslim ban is wrong, citizens defending those who are seeking asylum at our borders, are all powerful moments where allyship is exemplified.

Recognizing your own privilege and wielding it well. We all have privilege. I am a cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, employed, Christian with a platform. All of those are forms of privilege that if we had more time, I could prove are privileges simply by flipping the script on each and showing you the opposite. In each of those, I can enter rooms and conversations that those who are not those things cannot, and affect change there, not to be their savior, but to lead to their already collective voice, and express their needs in a way that has been expressed to me by my involvement with them.

In short, Jesus is the only one who saves. Don't be a savior, be an ally.

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

Happy Tuesday, good people!

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay feature 20 pairs of white canvas sneakers for summer, 31 head-turning pairs, 14 of the top women's sneakers, the $10 sandals that look super expensive, and the $10 Amazon blister miracle.

WhoWhatWear: 20 pairs of white canvas sneakers, the $10 Amazon blister miracle
BuzzFeed: 31 head-turning pairs, the $10 sandals that look super expensive
The Cut: 14 of the top women's sneakers

Monday, June 25, 2018

Things I learned from a car accident

We were having a great Sunday. Earl had just led our church in worship for the first time and to stay that I am proud of him is a major understatement. We decided to skip out on our normal, post-church haunts and try something new. He took me to an airy, plant-filled healthy fast food place. The food was good, the sun was shining. The birds were chirping. Life was really feeling good.

As we headed back to the city to prep for another event, we took 76. If you're from Philly or anywhere in the surrounding areas, you hate 76. It is a windy interstate where the traffic can be free-flowing one moment and come to a very sudden stop the next. 

Well, that happened. We barely had the chance to stop behind a red car. But the people behind us managed to swerve around us into the next lane. The white car behind them, not so lucky. I just knew they were about to slam into the back of us at 50+ miles per hour. 


That didn't happen. I cannot explain it, and as I write this, I'm getting pretty emotional, because, somehow, the car behind us slid between us and the median on the left side of the car, just grazing Earl's mirror, and then slammed into the red car in front of us.

I couldn't speak for a few moments, fearing the worst. The doors of the white car opened and two passengers popped out, upset, understandably, but ok. The red car had managed to pull over, as did we. Everyone was fine. 

Things I learned:

God is real.  
I say that knowing full well that he is. But the common saying in Black church "He protects us from dangers seen and unseen really came alive for me in that very moment. That accident could have been way worse. But everyone walked away from it with our bodies intact. That alone is a blessing.

Life happens fast.
We were literally just chugging along, happily prattling on about something mundane or funny. I was playing on my phone and looking around at the road when we came to that sudden stop. there were milliseconds between that stop and the accident that ensued. Life can be this way. Situations shift quickly. Life can change in only moments and you may not have time to react or think or shift. It makes you appreciate those boring, mundane days even more. It makes those petty fights or arguments, those nasty moments, those gross parts of life seem so small in the grand scheme of things.

I expect the worst and that I need to stop that. 
Life, up until yesterday, has been pretty sweet. There had been too much good happening and, like the accident meter at a factory or job, as the days ticked past without incident, I realize that subconsciously, I had been anticipating the worst. And this accident was going to be it. I expected another car to come and finish the job that the white car missed. I expected to be spending the afternoon in a hospital or worse. But none of that happened. In fact, no one was hurt. This showed me an area of my thinking that I need to really do some work on.

Be ready to help.
I watched my boyfriend jump out of his car and make his way quickly to check on the other cars. I saw him hand out waters to the other three people involved. I watched him push the white car out of the road so that traffic could resume, in his dress clothes no less. He taught me, in that moment, to be ready to help, to be open to help, and to be willing to help.

These are all things yesterday's incident taught me. I'm sure, as I continue to process this, I will learn some more things, but for now, these are the four largest lessons for me.

Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday

This week's #MindfulMoney features 28 satisfying summer recipes that happen to be vegan, 6 Monday morning rituals to help you feel more successful, 15 incredible banned books you definitely should be reading, 3 breathing exercises for anxiety to help keep you calm, and 11 life-changing beauty products to try.

BuzzFeed: 28 satisfying summer recipes that happen to be vegan, 15 incredible banned books
As/Is: 11 life-changing beauty products to try
Career Girl Daily: 6 Monday morning rituals to help you feel more successful
My Domaine: 3 breathing exercises for anxiety to help keep you calm

Friday, June 22, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Today's Readables feature the lipstick that us helping reunite families at the border, here is how to actually help detained families, 7 most versatile summer pieces that you probably already own, the rise of plus-size minimalism, and 9 affordable summer style tips and looks.

BuzzFeed: 9 affordable summer style tips and looks
The EveryGirl: 7 most versatile summer pieces that you probably already own
The Cut: The rise of plus-size minimalism
Refinery29: The lipstick that is helping reunite families at the border
Man Repeller: Here is how to help detained families

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Beyoncé has been trying to teach you how to get wealth. We probably should listen.

"Gimme my check. Put some respeck on my check. Or pay me in equity, pay me in equity, and watch me reverse out of debt." Beyoncé has been trying to tell her people how they can enter into a world or not just the rich, but the wealthy.

She, a patron saint (see what I did there) of equal pay (she did write an entire op-ed on the subject that is totally worth the read) upgrades us by littering her own songs with money references. Beyoncé is after all, the one who told us in "Formation" lyric "always stay gracious, best revenge is you paper."

However, the above lyric has caused some stir of disagreement. Recently, Refinery29 released a piece saying that you do not want to be paid in equity, saying;
"Many employers would love nothing more than if you asked to be paid in equity! They'd make it rain in useless stock options that'll never see the light of vesting. For most people, getting good cold, hard cash is best unless you really want to go apeshit. You can be sure, though, that neither "Black Bill Gates in the making" grew their net worth on equity alone — and you shouldn't either."

When asking Forbes writer William Baldwin about equity, he explains how equity works for us normal people; "Say [your option award] is for 10,000 shares. You are entitled to nothing if you quit (or get axed) within 12 months. You get 2,500 options at the one-year anniversary and further amounts monthly or quarterly. The fact that people job-hop makes options less valuable than they appear to be."

While I (and you know, actual financial experts) will tell you that equity alone is not the way to build wealth or to make big bucks right now, it is a smart money move for the future. Playing smart and for the long term is the key.

Equity, in essence is ownership in the company. When a company offers its employees equity, they are giving stock options to the employees that grant them the ability to purchase shares in the company they work for at a discounted price.

I think that this article understands what BeyoncĂ© is telling us subliminally; ownership is the key. I don't think BeyoncĂ© is telling you or I to only accept stock options. I think she is saying that if you are getting a check, respect your check and get some options as well. We don't big up ownership and diverse portfolios enough. Think about the benefits of ownership;  future stock options and ultimately, partial ownership in the company you're working for.

If you are planning to be at your company for longer than a year, it might be beneficial to take on some equity. Yes, it's risky, in the same way cooking bacon on a stove is risky for grease burns (it happens, but if you are paying attention, are patient, and are careful, the end result is a tasty breakfast.) And while you, as a normal person, should still be collecting your checks, ownership and options are not a bad thing, like this article expresses.

What it boils down to is paying attention, being smart, and trusting your judgement.

I mean, if we are going to take financial advice from an entertainer, why wouldn't it be Beyoncé? After all, she did say, "My great-great grand children already rich. That's a lot of brown chil'ren on your Forbes list."

Reclaimed Readables

Happy First Day of Summer, loves! Ready for another financial focused Readable?

Today's Readables feature what people with unconventional careers are tired of hearing, 10 women who have successful careers that have noting to do with their degrees, unexpected savings tips, the astounding amount of money you can save by cooking at home, and 20 cents more for clothes could make a living wage for factory workers.

The Cut: 20 cents more for clothes could make a living wage for factory workers
My Domaine: The astounding amount of money you can save by cooking at home
The EveryGirl: What people with unconventional careers are tired of hearing
Refinery29: 10 women who have successful careers that have noting to do with their degrees, unexpected savings tips

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dear Kim Kardashian West: Please stop. Signed Black Culture

Kim Kardashian West wants to be a Black Woman.

It’s been obvious for some time now. The specific body enhancement of her backside and the constant appropriation of African hairstyles supports the theory. Not too long ago, Vogue published the article by Patricia Garcia “The Dawn of the Butt”, which has caused some major issues between communities of color and the publication. ( side note: if you want a good laugh, go on Twitter and type in #voguearticles…amazing.)

But even before that, CNN correspondent Dr. Anthony Youn stated back in February of 2013 that “Kim Kardashian is still the poster child for a large and shapely backside.”

Now, put this along side of the hundreds of years of criticism against Black Woman's bodies, it makes things even more ironic. Even Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” song begins with one White women grossly disgusted at the size and shape of a passing by Black black woman’s physique, ending with her tirade to Becky saying “She’s so…BLACK!”

We see tangible examples of this simultaneous fascination and disgust over Black physiques in history. In the early 19th century, a kidnapped and enslaved woman by the name Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman was purchased as part of a circus sideshow. Born to a Khoisan family in South Africa, Saartjie had a genetic medical condition called steatopygia, a condition caused by concentrated amounts of fat in the buttocks and sometimes extends to the front of the thighs and knees, a genetic characteristic in the Khoisan and Bantu tribes of South Africa.

Sarrtjie was convinced in 1810 by a British doctor to travel to London, England where should become very wealthy due to her extravagant looks. She instead was paraded around as a freak show oddity, usually naked.

This humiliation lasted until public attention wore thin. She then went into prostitution which, it is said, led to her dying of syphilis in December of 1815.

Her exhibition continued even in death. Instead of being given a proper burial, Saartjie’s body was dissected, then put on display for over 150 years. Museum goers could view her brain, skeleton, and even her genitals before her remains were laid to rest. Interestingly enough, during this time, White Women had begun wearing “bustles” a device that mimicked a large, round backside. How ironic that the White Women who were going to see Sarrtijie’s “gross characteristics” would have been wearing a device to mimic them.

For years, black girls were told that big butts were unsightly on one end, but on the other end there were entire albums throughout the decades dedicated to the derriĂšre (and the ability to rhythmically bounce it). Now all of the sudden, because of Kim K and an Iggy Azelia song, it’s the “year of the booty”?

I’m just going to go ahead and say it so we can all move on from here: BIG BUTTS WERE GREAT LONG BEFORE WHITE PEOPLE DECIDED THEY WERE. And just because popular culture has decided they are ok really doesn’t affect how we currently feel about our booties. Booties will be great long after the fad of them wears off in popular culture. Before Kim K paid for hers or Iggy made everyone comfortable with the idea of the big butt, they were more than ok in the black community and they will continue to be. As far as many are concerned, every year could be the year of the booty.

Butts have been have been big for years. Curvy girls have been owning it for longer than these popular yet somewhat pretentious publications have even been around.

Beyond the booty, Kim has frequently, despite all types of backlash and outrage, continued to appropriate hairstyles from Black culture.

It seems almost ironic that as type these words, Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair begins playing on my shuffled music.

The lyrics, “Don’t touch my hair, when it’s the feelings I wear. Don’t touch my soul, when it’s the rhythm I know. Don’t touch my crown. They say the vision I’ve found. Don’t touch what’s there, when it’s the feelings I wear. They don’t understand what it means to me, where we chose to go, where we’ve been to know. You know this hair is my shit, rolled the rod, I gave it time
But this here is mine.” are the perfect backdrop for our discussion today on Kim K and her recent appropriation.

That’s right. Another week, another Kardashian/ Jenner Black appropriation story. (I feel like since I have been writing publicly, my posts have seen more than its share of culture-vulturing from this clan, and it’s beyond enough.)

I find myself in a difficult place with Kim K. On one hand, I don’t like her because I find her problematic from a feminism stance, and from an authenticity space because I find her fake at times.

To be honest, it would be easy for me not to like her. Given the fact that I feel that she personally responsible for the demise of one of the culture’s most prolific musicians to ever rap (shout out to Kanye’s College Drop Out and Late Registration days) and sent him straight to the sunken place.

Then there are times when I am legitimately rooting for her. When she took the time to educate her followers on the Armenian genocide and donates to positive causes, how she lobbied for Alice Johnson to get out of prison, those are the times I want Kim to win.

As of this week, I don’t particularly care for her.

Instagram @KimKardashian
Kim showed up to the MTV Awards clad in cornrows, again.

Earlier this year, she posted this pic of her, barely clad, as we have come to expect her in all of her exhibitionism, with a head full of cornrows and beads, calling them “Bo Derek Braids”.

Insert eye-roll of all the eyeballs here.

First and foremost, those braids are called Fulani braids, or at the minimum, cornrows. They are a hairstyle popularized by the Fula people of Western Africa. They are an ancient hairstyle imbedded with meaning and identity that have been around for hundreds of years.

They certainly didn’t start in 1979 and certainly not by Bo Derek’s appropriating behind either.

Secondly, (Spoiler Alert) it’s not just a hairstyle we are talking about. Its part of African culture that children of the diaspora have been frantically reclaiming, a culture that was all but erased from us during slavery.

For Black People, it’s not just a hairstyle. This goes beyond mere aesthetics down to the cultural oppression and refusal to acknowledge privilege.

For years, Black Women were subjected to hatred due to our hair styles, being told it was messy, unkempt, and the like by popular culture. There were even laws directed at Black Women to control how we maintain our hair styles. All of that only to now have it appropriated by the same culture that deemed it all the adjectives for bad you could think of.

Black women were once forced by law to wrap their hair to “keep order”. Locs were once called dirty, and now Becky and Brittany be rocking them beneath flower crowns at Coachella. Slicked “baby hair”, once considered “ghetto” is now walking down the runways of Marc Jacobs’ shows (Like almost every season now, by the way).

Now…Bo Derek braids…

And influencers, such as Kardashian, stealing from a culture that is not their own is only fueling the cultural theft. She is a troublingly frequently and flippant cultural appropriator and, worse of all, refuses to acknowledge it as a problem ever.

Being married to a Black Man and having what the world will consider Black Children does not make you entitled to Black Culture. It will always be problematic, no matter what she does or when she does it, especially given her flippant, “deal with it” attitude.

It has become so frequent, Kardashian has become a joke to most of us.

So no, Kim. Just because Bo Derek wore them in the 70’s doesn’t mean the style can or should be attributed to her.

And for everyone who will say that this post is anti-feminism because I’m picking on poor Kim yet again: Feminism is not hand holding, singing Kum-Ba-Ya together. It is calling your sisters to a higher, transparent, authentic standard. It’s calling out problematic behaviors, of which cultural appropriation is pretty severe, and educating perpetrators on their cultural theft. No one gets a pass, not when Sarrtjie and countless other unknown women of color have paid the painful price of exploitation and suppression white women, like Kim, currently profit from.

My culture is not a costume, it’s not a trend. It is who I am, who my people are, and it’s bigger than aesthetics.

This post was originally shared on Medium.

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday

Happy Wednesday, beauts and beaus.

This week's #WomanCrushWednesday features how you can help immigrant families being separated while seeking asylum, the beautiful Black woman who taught us to be beautiful, 15 mom shorts outfits, Beyoncé's rudest lines on Everything Is Love, and Beyoncé and Jay Z's new video shows Black bodies as beautiful and in control.

WhoWhatWear: 15 mom shorts outfits
Refinery29: The beautiful Black women who taught us to be beautiful
The Cut: The power lawyer who believes in power dressing, Beyoncé's rudest lines on Everything Is Love
Racked: Beyoncé and Jay Z's new video shows Black bodies as beautiful and in control
My Domaine: How you can help immigrant families being separated while seeking asylum

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Transparency Tuesday: What is Juneteenth in Trump's America?

Juneteeth is the celebration of people of African descent when emancipation finally reached Texas on June 19th, 1865. It is essentially the U.S. second Independence Day despite never being made an officially national holiday. It is, however, a state recognized holiday, the first state to recognize it being ironically Texas on 1979. While it is largely celebrated with parades and festivals by people of color, Juneteeth is beginning to pick up in popularity across the nation.

And I think its great, although I am wary of it going the St. Patricks Day/ Cinco De Mayo/ any other culturally celebrated holiday popular culture gets its hands on and twists for its own amusement, wringing out all of its relevance

But, like Frederick Douglass asked "What is July 4th to the slave?" I would like to ask "What is Juneteeth in Trump's America?"

When acts of racism have skyrocketed in the last 2 years.
When police brutality is on every screen.
When justice seems so far from people of color.
When immigrant children are being torn from their parents and thrown in camps in the desert.

How can we, as Black People, turn a blind eye when there are others who are suffering when we too know that suffering? We shouldn't. We cannot be apathetic in these critical times. We would dishonor our own ancestors, our own heritage, our own legacy.

And we, my people, are better than that.

This Juneteenth, I encourage each of us, children of slaves and slave owners, children of immigrants both willing and forced, children of former asylum seekers that have crowded beneath a star spangled and blood spattered banner of our tattered union, to find the thing that will help someone else be free.

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay features the best summer sandals that are actually comfortable,  20 summer proof work shoes, 15 pairs of all white summer sneakers, 10 of the most comfy and stylish sandals, 15 blister proof summer shoes, and summer shoe trends that still reign supreme.

Man Repeller: The best summer sandals
Refinery29: The summer shoe trends that still reign supreme
Well+Good: 10 of the most comfy and stylish sandals
Career Girl Daily: 20 summer proof work shoes
WhoWhatWear: 15 pairs of all white summer sneakers, 15 blister proof summer shoes

Monday, June 18, 2018

ApeSh*t Proves Beyoncé and Jay Z Troll on a Different Level

This weekend, The Carters dropped their long promised collaborative album, Everything is Love. They announced this drop with the visuals for their song, Apes**t, seen above.

The couple literally shut down the Louvre, populated it with dancers of color and filled its halls with trap beats. The visual feast that is this video is a very black triumph in a traditionally white space.

I live.

I am not the only one who thinks so. Rolling Stone also points out these elements:
"Some of their mission involves the strategic highlighting of non-white images already in the Louvre. BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z rap in front of an Egyptian sphinx, and in galleries filled mostly with neo-classical French paintings – white artists, white subjects – the camera singles out black faces...BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z set about interjecting blackness into a space that has never placed much value on it, claiming one of the centerpieces of European culture with gleeful defiance."

There is also lyrical defiance during the song. The fact that there has been a lot of press surround Rosanne recently calling Valerie Jarrett an ape (which led to her show that I have affectionately been calling "Klan-nish" being cancelled) and the Carters releasing a song only weeks later called "Apeshit" where they fill the whitest of spaces with Blackness isn't lost on me. Jay Z raps "I said no to the Superbowl: you need me, I don't need you. Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too."at the same time the camera pans to a line of young black men taking a knee, alluding to the peaceful protests made popular by Colin Kaepernick and other brave players.

Let it be known that The Carters are not here for the crazy and troll on a completely different level.

One Twitter user broke the video completely down by significance to the art pieces featured:

Or as another Twitter user so eloquently points out.

What do you think about the new Carters video? Drop a comment below!

Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday

Happy Monday, good people!

This week's #MindfulMonday features how to show more gratitude in your relationships, how to unwind at the end of the day, the most discrete sex toys, 10 healthy snacks that are not granola bars (but are healthier for you), and Sephora gets serious on serious on clean beauty.

The EveryGirl: How to show more gratitude in your relationships, the most discrete sex toys
Career Girl Daily: How to unwind at the end of the day
My Domaine: 10 healthy snacks that are way better for you than granola bars
Well+Good: Sephora gets serious on serious on clean beauty

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Has Jeff Sessions even read The Bible?

Many of us have been rocked by news coming to us from the border between the U.S. and Mexico that thousands of children have been forcefully taken from their parents when they cross the border illegally. Crossing the border illegally is a federal misdemeanor, and recrossing illegally is a felony.

But there is no law that mandates the separation of families crossing the border illegally

That atrocity is a result of the "zero-tolerance policy" under the Trump administration and announced by Sessions himself. Sessions used Romans 13:1 "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." to justify the zero-tolerance policy created by the Trump administration to forcefully take children away from their parents when they crossed the border illegally.

Nevermind the separation of Church and State, Sessions' usage of the Bible is unnecessary, and just plain incorrect. True, Paul, the writer of the letter to the Roman church does indeed say that we are to "be subject to the governing authorities". But Romans 13 also says; 
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
Jeff Sessions, in taking this scripture out of context, is guilty of doing what his predecessors have done when justifying slavery, manifest destiny, and other atrocities on this soil and others; bastardizing the faith in defense of White Supremacy.

To be clear; The Bible was written for an oppressed people by oppressed people. The story of the children of Abraham is the story of those who were reviled, enslaved, and brutalized, and how God delivered them from it all. And the only supremacy spoken of in scripture is Jesus' supremacy of us all (Colossians 1:15-20). Colossians 3:11 says "we are all one", and that no one is above nor below anyone else, therefore making the idea of any supremacy outside of Jesus, heresy and blasphemy. 

Not only that but believers in the faith are given direct and specific guidelines to how we treat others, especially those whom the Bile calls "foreigners". Leviticus 19:33-34 says "When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." Over and over again, the Bible is VERY clear that "you shall not oppress the foreigner" (Exodus 22:21/23:9, Leviticus 19:33/23:22/24:22, Deuteronomy 10:19/24:14, Zechariah 7:10) 

The Bible is also clear on how we are to treat children. Matthew 18:10 says "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
The Bible is very clear that, no matter who we engage, we are to do so in a just and kind way, reflective of the just and kind God we serve. Isaiah 1:17 says "Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." Ps 82:3-4 says "Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Jeremiah 22:3 says "Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place." Or, the short version, in Micah 6:8, it says "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Galatians 5:14 says "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”"

Conversely, there are consequences for those who ignore these commands. In Matthew 25:41-45, where Jesus tells the story of the "sheep and the goats", He explains why the goats are turned away, saying:
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’"
In Malachi 3:5, it says "Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts." Deuteronomy 27:19 says Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’"

And about those laws Sessions cites when he originally cited Romans 13. These is also a scripture for those who create immoral laws and oppression. Isaiah 10:1-2 says "Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of fair treatment and withhold justice from the oppressed of My people..."

It doesn't get any more clear than that.
There are numerous scriptures to back up the fair and just treatment of all peoples. For too long, those who would cleave to the ideals of White Supremacy have used The Bible to bludgeon and beat upon the oppressed, the poor, women and people of color, I would say since they got their hands upon it. Constantine co-opted the faith of an oppressed sect of Judaism for his own benefit and restarted the chain of events that would use The Bible as backing for the violence and oppression it clearly speaks against. It has been used by White Supremacists to justify horrors; the invasion of the land we now occupy, the genocide of Native populations, the enslavement of African peoples, the middle passage, the crusades, and countless other feuds, wars, and violence perpetrated on Brown peoples by White peoples "In the name of God."

And its wrong.

So no, Mr. Sessions. 

You cannot use Scripture to defend your immoral, inhumane and unjust policies. 
You cannot use what Paul says in Romans 13 about following the law and miss what he says later in that same passage that love fulfills the law. 
You cannot use God's Holy word to justify what Scripture speaks very clearly against. 
You cannot pick and choose the parts of the Bible you like to build a case for your immoral argument. 
You do not get to treat the Bible as some buffet where you can pick one or two things you like and leave out the rest, omit the canon of scripture that goes completely against your inhumane stance. 

You do not get to bastardize my faith with your demonic white supremacy.

So in response to Jeff Sessions citing of Romans 13, I ask, 'has Jeff Sessions even read The Bible?'

Friday, June 15, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Happy Friday beauties and beaus!

Today's Readables feature Ikea and Solange announce a collaboration, Sephora is planning its own beauty con, how to dress for humid weather, 9 amazing natural deodorants, and 22 women on the best advice from their dads.

Apartment Therapy: Ikea and Solange announce a collaboration
The Cut: Sephora is planning its own beauty con
WhoWhatWear: How to dress for humid weather
Well+Good: 9 amazing natural deodorants
Refinery29: 22 women on the best advice from their dads