Monday, February 23, 2015

February is Heart Health Month

Monitoring my heart

February is heart health month. This is something that I am painfully aware of because two years ago I had a health scare that required me to take my first visit to a cardiologist. I’d been preparing for bed when an overwhelming feeling of dizziness came over me. I aborted my plan to brush my teeth and as I headed back into my bedroom to lay down, I completely passed out and woke up on the floor after hitting my shoulder on the footboard of my bed. I visited urgent care and was referred to a cardiologist to ensure that nothing serious was wrong with me. After an ekg and a stress test, it was determined that my heart is fine and fainting was a one off incident.

This entire episode was quite scary for me, I am in shape and a runner athlete and was pretty sure my heart was in great condition, however it was important for me to get checked out. This is especially true for me because I have a history of heart disease in my family. On my mother’s side, every adult has hypertension also known as high blood pressure. When a person is hypertensive, the arteries in the heart have elevated pressure and the higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump.  Ever since I was a little girl, my diet has contained limited sodium because my family avoided it as a preventative measure for high blood pressure. This is one of those diseases that is deceptive because often it presents with no symptoms but can lead to stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Because of my history I have tried to stay on top of my blood pressure, although I do not need to take medication to keep my blood pressure under control, there have been times when it was slightly elevated and my doctor suggested both diet change and exercise. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that health and fitness are top priorities for me and I do exercise to keep my heart healthy.

My family is not the only one battling heart disease, as a matter of fact, cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, stroke, and blood pressure, is the nation’s leading cause of death in men and women.  To keep my heart healthy there are several things that I do and want to encourage you to do too.

  • Check your blood pressure regularly (especially if you have a history of hypertension in your family. You can do this at home by using a wrist blood pressure monitor. Walmart has the Advocate wrist blood pressure monitor which is very easy to use and is only $19.99.
  • Exercise. It is recommended that we exercise at least 30 minutes a day. I know, I know, we all have busy and hectic schedules so how to fit it in? An easy and practical way is to walk. Walking is excellent exercise and it is recommended that we get 10,000 steps in a day. You can purchase something simple like the Sportline Digital Distance tracker ($13.29)  which measures steps and calories burned or you can go with something that provides more detail like the Fitbit flex ($94.95) which tracks steps, calories, sleep cycles, and is compatible with your tablet/phone.
  • Eat well. Keep your diet full of Fresh fruits and vegetables, keep sodium use to a minimum and be sure to drink plenty of water!

Making simple lifestyle changes can help you avoid cardiovascular disease. But most importantly, be sure to have an annual physical with your doctor to be sure that you are truly okay. As I mentioned, heart disease can remain undetected and preventative measures taken at home and having annual doctor visits can help save your life.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tide Pods

For as long as I can remember I have been a Tide loyalist. My mom used Tide detergent when I was a kid, I used it as a young adult finding my wings in college and I certainly use it as a mom and an athlete now. Tide (in my opinion) is the best laundry detergent because it cleans my clothes like no other. I admit that on occasion I have tried other detergents but always return to my beloved Tide. One of the things that I really like about the brand is that it continues to come up with new innovations to make my life easier.

The latest addition to the Tide laundry detergent lineup are Tide Pods.  Inside each pod, there is detergent, stain remover, and brightener, so every load comes out completely clean, bright, and smelling (Febrez is in the formula, perfect for my sweat filled gym clothes!) fresh. Tide Pods make laundry simple - there is no need for measuring because everything you need is in the pod. I have to admit, when using my usual liquid Tide, I’ve been known to make a bit of a mess when I’m measuring. Pods help me keep my laundry room clean and tidy too!

Here is the skinny on Tide pods:

  • They work in standard and HE machines
  • Dissolves quickly in hot or cold water
  • 1 pod needed per load
  • Detergent, stain remover, and brightener combination
  • Works for colors or whites

After using Tide pods for several loads of laundry, I must say I am completely sold! This all in one makes doing laundry convenient and my clothes smelling fresh. Tide Pods are available at Walmart.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Walmart making changes in the community

I am the product of an historically black college, the illustrious Spelman College. This college for women was founded in 1881 and provided a place for women who looked like me to attain higher education.  My roots are firmly planted at Spelman and I live in Atlanta now because of my Spelman experience. Like many historically black colleges and universities, Spelman and the other schools comprising the Atlanta University Center: Clark Atlanta University, all male Morehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine are located smack dab in the middle of a low income area. Unlike when I was in school, the housing projects that were directly across the street are long gone but poverty in the area surrounding the schools remains.

When I was in school this area was an food desert. The nearest grocery store was about 4 miles away from campus, a bus ride for people living in the area without cars. I really can’t say where or how people shopped for food, when I moved off campus my junior year, I had a car and lived outside of the area so this was never an issue for me. But I can only assume that the varied fast food outlets served as primary food sources for many years. This has now changed. Close to two years ago a Walmart opened in the area. It is within walking distance of the AUC and has opened up opportunities for both students and people living in the area.

photo credit: Walmart
There is now a place to buy reasonably priced food - including fresh produce for people in the community, it is no longer a food desert. In addition, numerous job opportunities have been opened for both students and residents alike. This change impacts so many lives and it is because of stories like this one that I am proud to be a Walmart mom. Walmart in so many ways can positively impact communities and I am happy to report it has made a change in a community that is so close to my heart!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 Beauty Trend Minimalist Makeup at a minimal price

I wear makeup on a daily basis. On some days I wear more than others but you can pretty much rely on me at minimum wearing foundation and mascara. Recently I’ve been living between Atlanta and New York and I’ve noticed something different about the cosmetics habits that I’ve adopted in the two cities. In Atlanta I generally wear full makeup including eyeshadows which I blend to the Gawds! LOL. I’ve received more compliments than I can remember about my blending skills. In New York however I am much more comfortable wearing makeup that is not screaming MADE UP but is more minimalist and truly highlights my natural beauty. And that is why I am so excited that in 2015 one of the hottest beauty trends is minimalist makeup!

This year I really have been keeping it minimal in both cities and am quite happy with the results. Today I want to share how I keep it natural looking but still wear makeup. I love letting my natural beauty shine through (and please don’t think I’m vain, I believe all women are naturally beautiful) while covering up a few of my skin imperfections. I’ve noted before that I suffer from adult acne and because of hyperpigmentation I wear foundation daily. It is something that I am self-conscious about and I know that we are all our worst critics but I do what works for me!

Please check out my video highlighting how I’ve achieved my minimalist look and let me know if minimalist makeup  is a trend that you will be adopting in 2015 too!

Products used:
e.l.f. mineral lip liner in raisin $3.00
e.l.f. eyebrow kit dark $3.00
e.l.f. complete coverage concealer dark $3.00

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Harlem's Fashion Row Style Beat during Grammy Weekend #vzwbuzz #VZFashionmoment

Last weekend I was the guest of Verizon, sponsor of the pre-Grammy’s Style Beat Fashion Show held by Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) in sunny Los Angeles. HFR was created by Brandice Henderson-Daniel to highlight fashion designers of color. 
HFR founder Brandice Henderson-Daniel

There is a disparity in representation of designers of color in major department stores and Brandice wants to change that considering that African-Americans spend $22 Billion on apparel yet less than 1% of designers in major department stores are people of color. The event was amazing and I am so honored to have been in attendance for the first HFR event in Los Angeles and hope to attend many more in the future.

This star studded event was attended by Best Man star Melissa DeSousa, the Harlem fashion duo of the show Born to Style - Johnathan Bodrick and Terry Artis, actors Vanessa Williams,  Michael Jai White and Tamala Jones. Fashion designer Omatu and many, many more. 
Michael Jai White and fiance

Johnathan Bodrick and Terry Artis of Born to Style

The event was held at a fabulous home in Beverly Hills. A gorgeous backdrop for the day of beautiful fashion that was ahead.  Before the fashion show began guests were treated to the Verizon Lounge where we were able to have our Verizon Fashion Moment - a 365 degree image experience. I was a little wobbly on the spinning table but I had fun as you can see in my video. 

If the battery on my Verizon Galaxy s5 ran low there was a charging station available and many of the newest products were on display in the lounge too.

Fitness Guru and my Spelman sister AJ Johnson

I had fun mix and mingling with the crowd, ran into my fellow Spelman alumna, celebrity health and fitness guru AJ Johnson and enjoyed light refreshments before the fashion show began. It truly was an enjoyable time and I couldn’t wait for the festivities to begin. This was the very first fashion show that I attended and I’d been excited about it for a month.

The show was opened by Vanessa Simmons and Quincy and the first designer to highlighted was Kevan Hall. He says the highlight of his career thus far has been dressing first lady Michelle Obama. After seeing his fashion, I can understand why she chose to him. Next up was fashion by Kimberly Goldson, Joseph Bethune and Waraire Boswell.

I was blown away by the all of the designers and quite frankly did not want the show to end. I am looking forward to seeing the continued success of Harlem’s Fashion Row - both for the founder and all of the designers that are highlighted. They are all truly creating history and I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by Verizon to take part in it!

Disclosure: I am a Verizon Lifestyle Ambassador. My travel and accommodations for this event were provided by Verizon. As usual, all opinions are my own.

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