What’s Going On?!: Awareness in the world today

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Here at the Angielala Experience we like to bring you topics to experience live and in living color… Well, I hope I’m not disappointing anyone when I confess this week is no different.

2013 has brought about news story after news story of shootings, storms, bombings, identity theft and the people who brave danger to help a stranger. Which leads me to ask, What’s Going On?!

What’s Going On isn’t just a catchy tune from decades past, its a relevent question. Are you aware?

Dictionary.com states the definition of aware as:
1. having knowledge; conscious; cognizant
2. informed; alert; knowledgeable;…

Did you know? (According to brandwatch.com)that there are 300million photos uploaded on Facebook each day; That’s roughly the same amount of photos as there are newspapers printed each day. Now with all those interactions how many of you knew that April is Autism Awareness Month?

I find it interesting that reality TV episodes have increased to 57% of all television shows that can be found on your screens and even though I am not a fan of reality tv I can name more reality TV shows off of the top of my head than I can people I know personally with Lupus. How many people out there even know what lupus is? Or even that May is Lupus Awareness Month?

The world is aware of The Boston Marathon Bombing, and the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, but how many people are aware that human sex trafficking is still an issue for women and children in the year 2013?

Which brings me back to my original question: what’s going on? Over the years it has been said knowledge is the key. However, it appears that even with all the laws, legislation, marches and debates we are still late for registration for the new age education. There are many different reasons people aren’t always aware of the happenings of the world. Some people believe ignorance is bliss, there are times when sensationalism gets in the way of the facts, sometimes we get caught up in our day to day routin and forget to stay up to date and sometimes people just don’t care…

TODAY, I challenge each and every one of you (no matter how busy your life may be) to learn something different everyday. That way the next time someone says, “what’s going on?” You’ll already know…and like G.I. Joe use to say, “and knowing is half the battle.”

Til next week!

I Am Such A Knotty Girl

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No rant this week, I hope I’m not disappointing anyone… I decided to enjoy this post. The last several weeks have been intense for me and I’m sure I’m not the only one who could use a little release therapy.

An Ode to Knotty Girls all across the nation…

This very second, this very minute I would shout it from the mountain tops, “I LOVE BEING A KNOTTY GIRL”. Growing up in my house wasn’t a cinematic event, my father got his hair cut once a week or so, and my mother spent a good half a day in the salon getting a touch up on her relaxer and a roller set. The only tools my mother used on her hair were a bag of pink rollers and a bottle of Miss Cool 5 setting lotion.

Then one day the epiphany, I came home from a normal day of junior high drama and almost passed out, my mother had chopped off all of her shoulder blade length, jet black (with a bride of Frankenstein grey streak in the front), thick hair. Hair so thick I remember people use to stop her and ask if it was a weave. Shortly after her chop my grandmother went natural, so seeing natural was all around me. I still hadn’t caught on, but that’s alright.

Fast forward to 2004, a tragic run in with a bad braid job caused me to have to take a trip to the chop shop… I cut all my hair down to about 2 inches long and haven’t looked back since. I love being a knotty, I’m happy being a knotty girl. Due to medical issues, and the various medications, extreme fatigue and sensitive skin my hair was not only shedding, it was suffering. However, I found that the further away I moved from using chemicals on my skin and in my hair the better my scalp and skin seemed to get. I went from having what looked like cradle cap, to a more manageable scalp that I could be proud of.

When I first started out all I needed was shampoo, conditioner, and some moisturizer. Apparently my hair and scalp have become progressively prissier over the years because now I have a product and a regimen for every special occasion, every season, and practically every daily option that could possibly pop up. I’ve tried Sizta2Sizta, Mixed Chicks, Miss Jessie’s, Carol’s Daughter and a host of other products; I should be getting paid for being a knotty girl by some of these places. I mean think about it, who wouldn’t like to get paid for being a knotty girl? *insert innocent girlish grin here*.

Jump to 2013 and now my friends say that they love that I’m such a knotty girl (everyone loves a knotty girl from time to time). They just couldn’t imagine if I wasn’t the knotty girl I am. I straightened my hair one day and my mother cried because she thought I had relaxed my hair.  I walked in my house the other day with a small package and my roommate’s sister asked me,” Oh, you getting ready to perm your hair?” I laughed so hard I ran into the wall. I actually have nightmares about accidentally relaxing my hair and not being able to get the chemical out of my hair quick enough for it to not straighten my hair…I’ve had both ups and downs on the road to my follicle freedom. I’ve been told that I would “be cute if I permed my hair.” I heard from people that they “don’t see how I deal with nappy hair everyday”… Then of course there are the people who approach me and love it, want to touch it, I even had a guy try to hug my fro. Yes, I said hug, it was seriously awkward.

I was a knotty girl before it was trending on twitter and had its own acronyms like BC (big chop) and TWA (teenie weenie afro). Being a knotty girl isn’t for everyone, but those of us who embrace it sure do have a lot of fun, because let’s face it; girls with kinks still get winks.

I am proud to be a knotty girl! Hair in rollers or plaits, I love being a knotty girl. Curlformers, or paper bag curls I’m a knotty girl, living in my knotty world. Shea butter creams, aloe vera gels and deep conditioning to untangle the tantrum my head has after a night of forgetting to tie up my hair. If you have a knotty girl in your world, hug them and let them know how much you appreciate them. I mean think about it, who else would you call when you need a natural nail remedy or a conditioning fix??? Who else would tell you that if you are broke, busted and disgusted you can use olive oil as a hair mask???

Who else but us knotty girls!

But You Don’t Look Sick: A Look At Invisible Illness

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Almost quarter of the way through 2013 and we have already experienced so much. Here at the Angielala Experience we’ve laughed together, evoked thought, (hopefully) moved you to action, taught you how to shop for that special someone, motivated you and for some taught you the do’s and donts of caring for your makeup.

Recently aside from all the things that travel through my mind daily there is one thing that sticks out, like those bright neon wigs Nicki Minaj enjoys wearing, I have lupus. To be more specific I live with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, better known as SLE.
 
SLE is by definition an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In short the body is going “dummy,” and riding the yellow bus without the “dread” shaking.

Yup, there it is. I said it! WOW, that feels so much better. I mean you have no idea how much lighter I feel saying out loud that I usually have no energy, have sun sensitivity and that my joints pop and snap like breakfast cereal.  
I love questions and comments about my current medical situation, I even welcome them with open arms no matter how swollen they may be.

There is only one comment that touches my soul, makes me angry, upset and frustrates me to no end, (which is often stated once I reveal my illness), “But you don’t LOOK sick.”  Mind you, no one has effectively been able to express to me exactl what sick looks like (In my own weird thoughts I imagine sick to look like Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film). Now in cases such as this I would like to remove the filter between my mouth and brain and say exactly what is on my mind. However, I choose not to, only in the interest of forward progress and keeping my stress level down.

There are so many things that don’t LOOK like you think they should or could look. Like Kim Kardashian without makeup, or RuPaul dressed as a man.  It sort of vaporizes a person’s preconceived notions once you know the truth. Saying “you don’t look sick” to someone with an “invisible illness” is like telling a child you hate the paintings and drawings they make for you at school. If you are one of these fantastic offenders please make an effort to remedy this quick, fast and in a hurry and if you are one of those people who don’t encourage your child’s creative process, I’m sure I can come up with a totally independent and lengthy dissertation just for you…
If an individual is not on crutches or using a device to assist with their day to day mobility that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an underlining issue present. While any illness has its roller coaster rides, living with a chronic issue can be just as debilitating.
The most common complaint among those surviving chronic conditions is that their friends and loved ones frequently do not believe what they are going through is real, because to others they “don’t look sick.” This type of interaction often makes the person feel as if they are being told to “suck it up”, or worse it appears as if they are being called a liar. This can cause great strain on friendships and/or intimate relationships (we won’t even discuss dating with an invisible illness.) Individuals living with chronic conditions would wave a magic wand gain total control of their lives if they could. The concept of not having to adjust to any limitations at all is a welcome one. Nevertheless, our bodies do not always see eye to eye with our desires, no matter how much we would prefer it.

For Lupus patients, waking up with swollen limbs and aching joints is a part of just that debilitation. The assortment of possibilities range from depression to extreme fatigue, hair loss, weight loss, loss of concentration, and for many people organ failure; including but not limited to kidney failure.  These are just a few of many of the day to day trials Lupus patients face.  So before you say or think to speak, ”But you don’t LOOK sick,” make sure your mouth consults with your heart first to discuss how you would feel if someone made you feel worse on top of your daily struggle to keep your head and hopes above water.

If you have someone in your life that is or may be suffering from an “invisible illness” take a moment to:

1. Educate yourself on the issue~
It takes less time to google things than it does to cook pasta.

2. Listen~
Sometimes, for people who aren’t seen, being heard makes a world of difference.

3. Be Open to Change~
Everyday can be different for a person with an “invisible illness”. Plans may need to change, a night out may become a night in… Your friend or loved one may need to elevate their feet while you guys lmao, or roflol at the latest comedy flick.

My hope is that people will become the change they want to see in the world. When a person is battling with something you can’t see or even fathom yourself living with, I petition you not to say,” But you don’t LOOK sick.” Or, “But you look FINE.” If you don’t know what to say, a hug speaks volumes, a smile can soothe sore joints and laughter, well laughter is right at the top of the list with a cure.
 

I’m Too Sexy: Tips For Loving The Skin You Are In

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There is no shortage of self help books, self-esteem blogs and people out there ranting about motivation. Since 2013 began I’ve been on a personal crusade to encourage everyone to understand that they are amazingly and beautifully created by providing tips on keeping emotional clutter and stress out of the equation.

So, I figured it would be fitting to switch it up. Now that you’ve done some spring cleaning for the soul, how about showcasing your outter glow by shining up and displaying your sexy skin?

Women often do whole body detoxing, colon cleansing, and dieting, but how often do we truly cleanse our skin? Your skin is the largest organ, and sometimes your skin needs some extra love too. Men have needs too, because while Irish Spring is nice, it shouldn’t be used for all your 2,000 parts even if you can. (Have no fear, I’ve got some suggestions for the fellas next week.)

I know I’m not the only woman out there with a “makeup drawer”! The stash spot in your bathroom or bedroom with 4 year old maybelline mascara, cracked foundation, and a tube of lipgloss on its last leg. You know the one that’s oh so hard to find so you never quite use all of it… well ladies your love of luscious lashes and kissable lips may be doing your skin and body more harm than good.

Cleansing your makeup routine is just as important as cleansing your face, hair and body. Bacteria, dead skin and oils build up in products and on tools regularly and they need to be disinfected and cleaned. There is nothing more devastating than to know you’ve cleansed, toned and moisturized your face only to turn around and apply your makeup with a sponge, or brush covered in dead skin, and bacteria. Doesn’t that just seem like such an oxymoron? Can anyone remember the last time they checked to see if there was a need to trash your makeup stash? (That is totally rhetorical)

If you are unsure of the shelf life of your most beloved beauty must haves, here is a quick reference guide I’ve compiled for you:

Concealer: Up to 12 months

Powder: 2 years

Pencil eye liner:  Can last up to 3 years, but remember to sharpen regularly

Eyeshadow: 3 years (not the 6 you’ve had that paticular shade of blue that your favorite makeup line discontinued eons ago, that you so skillfully found on sale.)

Foundation: First do an ingredients check and determine whether your product is water or oil based. A water-based foundation will last up to 12 months, oil-based will last up to 18 months.

Lip liner: Up to 3 years

Lipstick: Some say 1-2 years. Others say up to 4 years. However, what no one is debating on is that if it has a sour or rancid smell, throw it out, it is officially spoiled!

Mascara: This product expires the fastest! Throw out after 4 months. Also, to make sure you don’t shorten the shelf life of your mascara, don’t pump the wand in and out — you’re exposing the product to an unnecessary amount drying air and bacteria.

Nail Polish: Up to 12 months, depending on the quality. (I am not at all surprised! I have a bag full of nail polish right now headed for the dumpster first chance I get.)

Body lotion: 2 to 3 years

Sunscreen: Check the package for an expiration date.

Shaving cream: About 2 years

As long of a list as that was, I’m not done!

BRUSHES!! Cleaning your makeup brushes is one of the most crucial things to keep up with for a few reasons. Aside from the obvious antibacterial efforts let’s discuss price. A decent makeup brush can cost you anywhere from $5 to around $50 or so. Not per set, but per brush!  Using dirty brushes can also alter the color of your makeup and/or the way it applies to your skin. Also makeup brushes made with animal hair tend to hold more bacteria than brushes constructed with synthetic nylon bristles. With that in mind cleansing your brushes is important to the longevity of your skin, brushes and pocketbook.

There are a number of products that can be used to clean brushes. Some are expensive, some are not, but one that is just right for any price range is baby shampoo! Cleansing your makeup brushes bi weekly or monthly is recommended, weekly if you have skin prone to breakouts and daily if you are using cream or liquid based products.

Wow, that was a lot! But not too much because you deserve to pamper the skin you are in. Catch you all next post!

-I.B. Soul