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3 SIMPLE HABITS TO A CLUTTER-FREE HOME WITH SMALL CHILDREN

December 9, 2016
3 habits to clutter free home with children

Over the past 2 years I’ve learned to master the art of living clutter-free (for the most part). Aside from my biggest battle with having a small child - the toy collection that seems to always grow thanks to family who truly believe children need every eye-catching thing in store, living clutter-free has become the ultimate way of life for many people.

6 CONSCIOUS WAYS YOU CAN GIVE BACK TO MOTHER NATURE

October 1, 2016


By now, it should be no secret that our world's current state is in a massive shift and juggling panic simultaneously. Although, many of our everyday lives may not seem affected by the "outside world" - it's being affected everyday.

I've been getting a lot more into being more conscious about how I've contributed to Earth's destruction in the past and even today. From thoughtless loitering to how much water that is possibly being wasted on a daily basis. As someone who has a young child, I began to question the future even more. It's not often that adults of any age tend to think about how they'll leave the world - or the people who'll be left behind to deal with it. It's also safe to say that aside from myself, it's nice to know that others (and even big businesses) are actually making the effort to "go green" or at least be more aware of how we attribute to things such as global warming, landfill overflow, and outrageous consumerism that eat up our natural resources.

So, I wanted to share a few ways that you, me, your mama, your papa, your friends, and life can begin to step into the right direction and start giving Mother Nature some tender-loving care once again. Earth Day shouldn't be the only day we want to suddenly save the planet.


1. LOWER THE SCREEN LIGHTS
Believe it or not, there is a greener alternative to your everyday routine. When it comes to our laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones - these things are really brightly-lit, energy-sucking vampires. To help you reduce the energy being poured from your daily usage (and allow your devices battery to live a little longer) try making use of the power-saving options for once.

Start to dim the brightness of your screens as low as possible but to where you can still comfortably see without straining your eyes. On my smartphone, I have a battery saver icon I can tap to automatically dim my screen light and save on energy either automatically or as soon as my battery hits a certain percentage. The same goes for our personal computers and tablets - you can make use of sleep modes and be sure to power them down completely when not in use for long periods of time.

I use to suck at turning my laptop off before bed. Needless to say, that laptop died a slow death. I've grown since - thankfully. 


2. SHOP LOCALLY
There's nothing better than supporting the growth of your own community - whether you like it or not. Shopping your local farmer's markets or neighborhood gardens is a great way to help sustain growth and local business.

I love that Atlanta has several farmer's markets for purchasing the produce and delicious home-grown items that I love. Not to mention that you can save money and buy in bulk with most items. Great way to "go green" to avoid eating out creating more takeover trash or excess cleanup for the hardworking restaurant folk.


3. EAT LESS MEAT
When the livestock industry generates wayyy more greenhouse gas emissions that cars do across the planet ... you got to wonder what the hell is really going on. In order to keep this industry thriving, forests have to be terminated and annihilated. Not really a good look for the long-term. I'm all for enjoying a nice hot meal but try consuming less meat and adding more fruits and veggies in your diet. Trust, you'll be doing yourself and your future a huge favor.



4. OPT TO CARPOOL 
This is a good one! I could practically be an Uber or Lyft brand ambassador - I use them interchangeably often. Also, living in the city, I have access to the local transit of buses, trains, and street cars so naturally, if I'm ready to explore, I carpool and discover the city for the day. You'll be lessening your personal carbon footprint and giving the atmosphere just an ounce more of breathing room. Plus, taking a quick 15 minute walk up the street to the store instead of driving doesn't hurt.

Cars alone cost a nice piece a change considering gas, emergency finds for damages, yearly tag renewals, etc. Save the driving for when you absolutely have to and try carpooling a day or two out of the week. If you're lucky, you could even make use of a ZipCar if you don't have a car or simply need an alternative to renting one. Give yourself a break and learn to enjoy what's around you for a change. I've discovered some pretty amazing things (and encountered a few weirdos in the process) but it all is apart of living more intentionally.


5. SAVE SOME ENERGY
My absolute favorite way to save on cashflow mostly. I am VERY strict in my household when it comes to energy. Because utility bills in my neighborhood are worthy of a "you ain't sh*t" award. In addition to lowering device screen lights - it's only right that you unplug chargers, TVs, and other devices plus lights when they're not in use.

My apartment gets a ton of natural light so during the day, literally no lights are turned on. I go as far as turning them all off completely from the circuit breaker box. Yep. Things like the dishwasher and other appliances I never use, always stay switched off. Basically, all electricity in rooms I don't use except the bedroom and sometimes the living area are off. I turn them back on once it gets dark and off again in the afternoons for the rest of the day.

You can also save energy by knowing the peak usage times within your area. The utility companies can usually give you this info if you ask for it. Helps to know when people use the most energy during whatever peak hours and when they don't during more quiet hours. You may also save by doing things like washing laundry during non peak hours instead of busy ones. FYI - cold water instead of hot is just as great with cleaning cycles.

6. RUPURPOSE AND REUSE
You know how there are cat-ladies? Well, I could be a glass-lady. I purchase quite a few things that come in either glass or cardboard. I'll use glass bottles  or mason jars to store bulk spices and cereals. I try my best to avoid plastic BUT ... the struggle. I'm doing way better than I was 2 years ago.

Be disposable conscious. To decrease waste, purchase long-lasting products that can be reused, refilled or recharged. If you do use disposables, choose those made with recycled or recyclable materials. Say, if you buy mushrooms, get the ones in the recyclable cardboard instead of the plastic. I do. Or using muslin bags instead of plastic produce bags for veggies and grains. 

When I was growing up, plastic bags in the household were literally trash bags, doggy bags for leftovers after the family bbq, and everything. It was a silent rule in the house to never throw them away after mom went grocery shopping. Needless to say, many of you know what I'm talking about. Nowadays, whenever possible - bring your own reusable bags when you go grocery shopping or retail shopping. Places like Target, Kroger, and the Dollar Tree all have reusable bags you can purchase instead of using plastic. Dirt cheap too. I own quite a few. 



By taking small steps like those shared above, you're making moves to live a more green lifestyle, becoming more sustainable, and reducing your carbon footprint to help the planet you live and breath on a bit easier to inhabit. 


5 BLACK-OWNED VEGAN RESTAURANTS TO TRY IN ATLANTA

August 24, 2016
black owned vegan restaurants in Atlanta


I have a huge love for food. Even before "going vegan", I was literally the the girl who everyone thought had a tapeworm. I'd eat a lot and never really gained a pound. This started maybe before high school when I noticed my body began to drop weight - thus having to learn to embrace my so-called new figure. Nowadays, I still eat as much as I want without the worry of getting the itis or feeling extra crappy afterwards. Eating the way I do now has its benefits.

Since moving to Atlanta full-time last year, I've discovered some pretty dope places to spend my cash. All are Black-Owned businesses that I would recommend anyone to try out when you want to feed your face with something good. I also share my favorite menu items for each so if you want to check them out, you'll at least walk in knowing what you're looking for.


1. TASSILI'S RAW REALITY - Menu Here / Directions 

black owned vegan restaurants in Atlanta

Located in the historic West End District, this place was one of the very first that I gave a shot. The location is literally a 2 minute walk from West End Park and is in what looks to be an old Duplex - turned business. The atmosphere is very relaxed and "energy-spirited" with Bob Marley or some other vibe out tune playing over the radio. The people are very sweet too - welcoming.

They have a lot of raw choices, including drinks, popcorn, kale chips, and desserts. Some of their menu item names may shock you at first but I found it to be interesting. I've already been more than 5 times and my faves include:

  • Alapoopoolala Wrap (try it with 50/50 mix kale, Black Love Stew, and hemp seeds - and be sure to ask for half size (9.99) if you don't want the monster size, which is about $20)
  • Curried Plantains
  • Collard Salad
  • Drinks To Try: Melanin Magic and Mango Aloe


2. GO VEGETARIAN - Menu Here /  Directions

black owned vegan restaurants in Atlanta

My family and I stopped by here during our new home search last year. It's located in a plaza alongside a couple other restaurants and I believe a bar/club. Seems to be a secret hotspot for some health-conscious celebs.

The atmosphere is nice, employees are nice too. We had a few menu items during our visit just to splurge and enjoy the evening.


  • Black Bean Burger (I asked for gluten-free bun)
  • Grilled Vegetable Medley (grabbed this instead of onion rings that come with burger)
  • Strawberry Cake (so good!)
  • Caramel Cake
  • Cashew-Based "Orange" Ice cream (avoid if you have a nut allergy, ok?)


3. HEALTHFUL ESSENCE - Menu Here / Directions 

black owned vegan restaurants in Atlanta

Strolled into this spot one day when I was having one of my baby-free, self-care days alone. Since I had free time on my hands I wanted to try a new place and I've heard a few good things about this Caribbean location (they also have a food truck) - which is also in the West End. You meet many different people here - from GA Tech students to world travelers - (great for conversations with strangers).

The menu was pretty easy to follow and the prices, decent. I grabbed a combo plate that was about $10 or so. It was a good meal to end my day.  They do have a selection of drinks and desserts that seemed to look delectable. What you see:

  • Curried "Un-Goat"
  • Black Beans + Brown Rice
  • Plantains
  • Cabbage
  • Alkaline Water


4. VIVA LA VEGAN - Menu Here / Directions

black owned vegan restaurants in Atlanta

This place is literally my go-to next to Tassili's. You may pass by it on your first visit because my family and I did. It's located to what some may call "the hood" and looks like an old, closed storefront sitting between two convenience stores so I was surprised we actually found it. SO it may look a little sketchy from outside but don't judge a book by its cover - the gems be in the cuts ... most times lol.

When you walk in the art and lime green walls definitely pull you in. The locals that visit there are very conversational so it's nice chatting with others who share similar like-minded thoughts on food. I've been a few times so soon I'll be expecting to see my face on the Favorite Customers wall of fame or something sometime soon lol ... no seriously. I've tried:

  • Philly Sub (made with jackfruit! This is my ULTIMATE choice every time.)
  • Dill Fries
  • Tacos (decent but not super amazing)
  • Chilli Cheese Fries (looove them!)
  • Big Kale Wrap - (good if you don't want to just make your own)
I also hear the buffalo cauliflower sub and cheesecakes are the bomb! I'll be going back on my next visit to try a dessert for sure. 


5. VEGAN DREAM DOUGHNUTS - Items Change Daily / Directions

black owned vegan restaurants in Atlanta

Another spot I've heard great things about - homemade donuts free of sugars, gluten, soy, and dairy. It's about 5 minutes by car from Viva La vegan and located right across the street from the West End Mall on the corner of a building plaza with Afro Centric network (African shop), a nail salon, hookah bar, and a Jamaican food spot. You can't the miss the front of the store since the outside is painted with traditional Jamaican colors. 

The inside looks pretty un-done so aesthetically, it's not much to see. There was a table where the donuts were displayed so according to the guy that was there when I went - the items change up on a daily basis. I was told the cinnamon rolls are super good but he was already sold out when I got there It's first come, first served in this case. Doughnuts made fresh everyday. I bought about 6 or 8 for about $22. The doughnuts I tried were exactly as others described - a guilty pleasure I'd keep around. Try out:
  • Caramel Banana (my favorite!)
  • French Vanilla
  • Blueberry Cinnamon
  • Drink to try: Pineapple Lemon Ginger (hella strong/potent taste!)

    ** If getting anything with organic fruit on it, be sure to ask how long they've had it sitting out at room temp before buying. Just FYI.** 


Have you ever visited these places? If not, what would you want to try most?

ANOTHER EPIC LIST OF 100+ MORE BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT

August 11, 2016
Image / CreateHER Stock


August is coined as BOB month and I'm back with another list of amazing Black Owned Businesses you can check out, share, and support. Just last year, Black buying power was estimated at $1.1 Trillion and is currently at $1.2 TRILLION this year. By year 2020, our spending power will be at a whopping $1.4 Trillion according to the 2016 Nielsen report! I've put together a list of over 100 black businesses and services you can support this month and every month after. Many of them I've purchased from and many I plan to support in any way I can. We literally control the buying culture since we are the ones spending the most money. 

The question that comes up when it comes to these numbers is, how will Black America leverage this to create wealth? To effectively create Black economics, we have to first get in the habit of supporting our own as much as we can - just like every other race already does. Challenge yourself to outsource and support a BOB for your everyday essentials in beauty, hair, biz, and more! In case you missed it, check out last years epic list here


ANOTHER EPIC LIST OF 100+ BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT 



FOOD - HEALTH - WELLNESS





COSMETICS - NAILCARE




FASHION - APPAREL - SHOES - ACCESSORIES




MEDIA - RADIO - NEWS - PODCASTS - DIRECTORIES



SUBSCRIPTION BOXES




INTIMATES - BEAUTY - SKINCARE 




MOM - BABY - CHILDREN - TEENS




HAIRCARE



LIFESTYLE - HOME GOODS - PARTIES





DESIGN + FINANCE + CONSULTING



BEVERAGES - WINES - SPIRITS - SMOKES




FINE ARTS - STATIONARY - CRAFTS - PHOTOGRAPHY - VIDEO





WHO WILL YOU BE SUPPORTING THIS MONTH? SHARE ANY BUSINESS YOU'D LIKE TO ADD TO THIS LIST IN THE COMMENTS! LET'S SPREAD THE WORD! 



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