health

#blackout friday

picture it. it’s black friday 2003, and wal-mart has dvd players on sale for $20. these were the pre-netflix days so a dvd player priced under $75 was a huge steal.  like dedicated shoppers across america, i woke up at dawn to rush my local wal-mart.

all hell broke loose when somebody’s uncle jumped on a stack of boxes and started throwing dvd players to nearby customers. i caught one like odell beckham jr. and ran for my life. you would have thought i was carrying baby jesus.

fast forward to 2015. not only do i try to abstain from shopping at wal-mart due to it’s anti-worker practices, but i’m also working hard to align my spending with my principles. with the murders of so many black men, women and children, i’m in no mood to celebrate a capitalist system that devalues black life.

this holiday season, my mission is to support black-owned businesses who deserve love year round. on friday morning, i’ll be shopping online from the comfort of my bed while eating leftover sweet potato pie.

clothing:

  1. nubian hueman
  2. ekineyo
  3. dopeciety
  4. nubian skin
  5. gloss rags
  6. nomad yard collectiv (dc area)

accessories

  1. peace images jewelry
  2. venus visuals
  3. rachel stewart jewelry
  4. lost queens

makeup

  1. coloured raine
  2. ginger + liz
  3. black up cosmetics

skin & haircare

  1. pooka pure & simple
  2. oyin handmade
  3. curlkit
  4. qhemet biologics

art

  1. andrea pippins
  2. thepairabirds

good reads & writes

  1. salt by nayirrah waheed
  2. teaching gold mah how to heal herself  by bilphena yahwon
  3. shapeshifters by aimee meredith cox
  4. vagabroad journals
  5. effie’s paper

health & well being

  1. little urban tea
  2. afro-vegan cookbook
  3. the spice suite (dc area)

check out quirky brown love for a list of over 200 black-owned businesses.

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five signs it’s time to walk away

i fell apart manytimes.sowhat does that sayabout mebesides i live through wars. (1)

we’ve all been there. trapped in life/work/relationship/financial woes that make it difficult to get out of bed each morning — our lives feel like they’re not our own.  instead of chucking the deuces to painful experiences, we allow insecurities, financial needs or other challenges to convince us to sit front row at the “my life is a hot ass mess convention.”

we start to listen to the voice in the back of our heads telling us that we don’t deserve happiness:

healthy relationships are made for tv.

emotional well being is a myth made up by white housewives who wear $90 yoga pants and drink pumpkin lattes.

don’t believe the hype — happiness and emotional well being are real. but here’s the hard truth: if we want to experience them, we gotta get rid of the shit that weighs us down.Fly Final

for years, i was convinced that my toxic relationships would get better. i made excuses for myself and my past partners’ actions to legitimize the pain and drama that had become a part of my daily life.

i know it sounds like a scene from mary j.blige’s “not gon’ cry” video, but one day i literally looked in the mirror and said no more. i wanted to be proud of myself. i wanted my little sisters to know there’s nothing they can’t overcome, no situation they can’t rise above.

if you’re like me, then agonizing over whether it’s time to quit your job, create boundaries with loved ones or end a romantic relationship is the worst part. i’m no therapist, but here are five signs that prompted me to stretch, lace up my nikes and run towards a better life:

  1. you keep asking yourself whether it’s time to go. intuition is God’s voice speaking to us. if you’re constantly asking whether your current experience is right for your life, then guess what — i’d bet money it’s not right for your life. you know what happiness and fulfillment look like; trust yourself.
  2. you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed the experience. any experience that feeds our spirits should instantly prompt positive memories or thoughts. stop and think about your current struggle. if you have to force yourself to think of something positive, then it might be time to go.
  3. everybody from your therapist to your mama to the old lady on the bus knows how much pain you’re in. ever broke down and cried when an acquaintance asked how your day was going? i have. when your pain becomes the topic of every discussion (including nonverbal cues), then it’s consuming your well being.  feeling the need to constantly unload your painful experiences on others is a key sign that your emotional burden is too much to bear.
  4. you’re losing sleep. sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. if stress and anxiety are keeping you up at night, then your current struggle is winning twice. not only is your day consumed by pain, but it’s hijacking your rest too. sleep should be like the hope diamond — priceless.
  5. you spend more time shadow boxing than focusing on reality. are you cursing your boss out while watching tv? planning your next argument with bae while folding clothes? if so, your subconscious is desperately trying to gain control over something that’s left you unsettled. while brooding over negative encounters can make us feel more powerful in the moment, shadow boxing only anticipates more negativity. you can chose a different outcome.

i’m sending love and positive vibes to folks facing emotional hardships. while your burden may be heavy today, remember we have the power to live through wars.

black girl sabbaticals

i’ve been in a season of self-care. after making a conscious decision to stop normalizing anxiety and stress, i’m seeking a simpler life — one that’s judged by the quality of my experiences, not the quantity of my possessions. thankfully, i’m not doing the work of re-evaluting my position in the american rat race alone — sisters of the yam by bell hooks has been my bible and sister’s circle dc has become my congregation.

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crush of the week: food heaven made easy

i started following food heaven made easy a few years ago and was super inspired by young, vibrant sisters dedicated to supporting people of color live healthy lives.  wendy and jess are nutritionists whose videos and blog posts teach everything from how to prepare vegetarian soul food to weight loss tips. to make things even better, they both have a killer sense of style.

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check their website for new videos on mondays.

things i’ve never done before

things2

when was the last time you did something for the first time?  think about it.  i saw an image on facebook that asked this question and was stumped.  i couldn’t remember trying something new–at least nothing that i planned to experience.  sure, i might grab a new box of cereal at the grocery store or take a new route home, but engaging in the mundane rarely stimulates personal growth.  i took the image as a challenge to shed some insecurities and step outside my comfort zone.

so, i ‘ve spoken a lot about wanting to be a dancer.  specifically, in my things i’m afraid to tell you post, i disclosed my chronic inability to do most dance moves beyond a simple two-step, and in black ballerinas, i shared my childhood dreams of taking dance classes.  well, at 30, i’ve decided to put this dream into motion and take a series of intro to ballet classes.  i plan to chronicle my experiences with weekly blog posts and short videos that give you a glimpse into my journey to learn something new, featuring borderline humiliation, physical pain, and lots of fun.

join me why don’t you? let’s make march the month that we do things we’ve never done before.  start a new hobby, join the choir at church, volunteer with a new organization, visit new restaurants, approach the guy or girl you’ve been digging for awhile, etc.  i’d love to spotlight your journey on politics and fashion. send me pics via email (divalutionary@gmail.com), twitter (@politicsandfshn), facebook (politics and fashion), or instagram (t_olugbala).  use the hashtag #forthefirsttime to stay connected.

can i tell you how my friends had to talk me out of purchasing a tutu for my first ballet class? i’m obviously way too excited!

what healing our hood looks like

since 2008, i’ve worked as the outreach coordinator for heal our hood.  hoh’s primary goal is to eradicate local food deserts through community organizing, social justice initiatives, nutritional education, and community gardening.

what’s a food desert? glad you asked.  it’s a community where residents are closer to fringe outlets such as liquor stores, corner stores, and fast food retailers than healthy food sources.  the majority of folks in dc’s low-income communities have few live food options–local stores sell processed foods that are high in sugar and fat.  spending your life in a food desert can almost guarantee the contraction of preventable diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.  not surprising, dc’s poorest communities, wards 7 and 8, have the fewest grocery stores per resident and have the highest obesity rates in the city country.  the issue isn’t as simple as leaving your neighborhood to visit a “better” grocery store when traveling throughout metro dc is cost prohibitive.

hoh is working to raise awareness about food deserts and the structural racism that creates and perpetuates their concomitant health disparities.  join us this summer for our hood healers project at anacostia library in ward 8!  contact me at healourhood@gmail.com or @healourhood for more information.

hoh members angie, yours truly, and april enjoying anacostia yogi’s yoga class at hillcrest recreation center.