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Natural + Beauty

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — September 10, 2019

Everyone wants to look and feel their best. We spend money on treatments and special serums to make us look refreshed and get rid of insecurities like stretch marks, acne, wrinkles, etc. when all we need to do is look for organic alternatives that get the job done. Here are ways to increase your natural beauty!

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1. Shea butter 

Shea butter, a fat removed from the nuts of West African Shea trees is high in vitamins and fatty acids which create many benefits for skin. Shea butter is very common and has a lot of uses like moisturizing dry skin, reducing stretch marks, treating acne, etc. 

2. Coconut oil

Coconut oil just like Shea butter is high in fatty acids making handfuls of benefits for people. Some of the benefits of coconut oil are reducing symptoms of eczema, good for preventing hair damage, acts as a weak sunscreen, can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth, etc. 

3. Sleep 

This might be super obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little people actually sleep for. It’s important to get a maximum of 8 hours of sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and energized for the next day. Without the proper amount of sleep you will wake up feeling grumpy and lazy. 

4.Go makeup free

This might sound like something that can’t be done, but it’s important that you take a break sometimes from wearing makeup so that your pores can breathe. Also make sure that you take off your makeup before you go to sleep because it can cause your pores to become clogged and make you break out. 

5. Drink water 

Another obvious one, but it’s really important that you drink enough water so that you feel hydrated throughout the day. This is especially important when the days get really hot and humid, you should always be hydrated. Lastly try to avoid drinking coffee or anything like that because they make you dehydrated, but if you must have your coffee fix drink water before and after to balance out. 

6. Exercise 

It’s very crucial that you take the time to work out and sweat. Sweat is very important because it lets you get rid of all the bad stuff in your body. Before you work out, make sure to wash your face because when you work out your pores open up which can let dirt in and also take a shower after you work out so that you keep yourself clean after all the sweat you released .

7. Eat good food

You are what you eat. Yes, that burger and fries looks delicious, but in order for you to look and feel your best self you must refrain from eating greasy and ultimately bad foods. Try to eat more vegetables and fruits and get plenty of protein and vitamins. Maintaining a good diet will help you be your best self.  

8. Self care

Life is very stressful with all of the things you have to take care of. You have work, school, finals, applications, etc. that keep you on your feet, but it’s important that you take some time out for yourself to relax and unwind. Read a book, take a calming bath, watch a movie, go to a spa, whatever makes you feel relaxed and not stressed. When you’re stressed you can break out and find yourself unhappy and upset so put down your laptop or phone, ignore your responsibilities for a moment and just do what makes you happy. 

9. Olive oil 

When you see olive oil, what do you think of? If you said cooking or food I would tell you that I thought of the same thing, but it turns out that olive oil has other uses. Olive oil fights dandruff, removes makeup, softens cuticles, helps nails grow, good for moisturizing, etc. 

10. Wash your face 

We touch so many things throughout the day and sometimes we end up touching our face making it dirty and causing us to break out. So remember to wash your face when you wake up and before you go to sleep and exfoliate 2-3 times a week to get rid of dead and dry skin.

 

~Melanie Santiago, teen intern

Meet Whitney Frederic!

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Feature, Latest | by — August 20, 2019

A long time love for cooking, avid research + a motivated mindset are qualities that entrepreneur, Whitney Frederic, put forth to start her company, It’s Seasoned, LLC.

Graduating from Susquehanna University in 2016, Whitney officially launched her company only two years later in November of 2018. With Haitian roots, she was actively learning her way around the kitchen at an early age. Therefore, when college came around, she was well equipped with the knowledge of how to remix her meals and eat healthily.

After receiving her Bachelor’s in Biology and doing extensive research about the rate of hypertension in the African American community, she focused on making her seasonings for that niche market and other people who want healthy seasoning options as well.

“My dream is that individuals will no longer have to compromise their health for the sake of a delicious meal, but instead can choose both.” she says.

Let’s get to know Whitney a little better…

Being a college student forces you to get creative with limited resources. What were your cooking skills like before college? How was your love for food initially sparked?

I grew up in a Haitian household where my family emphasized cooking as a fundamental skill; my mother and grandmother taught me how to cook. At the age of 9, I remember helping my mother prepare chicken, we cleaned it with vinegar and seasoned it with epis, (blend of fresh garlic, peppers, and herbs), and an array of different spices. My love for food was always present because of my upbringing, but I have to say my cooking skills developed more while in college because by my senior year I opted out of a meal plan to save money.


College students are often times working with a tight budget and have a prepaid meal plan. How did you balance eating delicious and healthy meals while on a college budget?

While on campus I worked 3 jobs, and to be completely honest, most of my money went towards food. On the bright-side, I always loved eating fruits, vegetables, rice, and oatmeal (all of which are very filling). I balanced eating delicious and healthy meals while on a college budget by eating things like oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, and for dinner, rice or pasta paired with a side of vegetables, and meat (mainly chicken, or fish). I went grocery shopping every other week, and kept my eyes on all the sales. When fresh fruits and vegetables were on sale at Walmart or Weis, I made sure to stock up on them. I stored them in the freezer in Ziploc bags until I was ready to use them; I used the fruits for smoothies, and vegetables for lunch and dinner.  


What was your go-to college food hack? My go-to college food hack was not very healthy.

I remixed Velveeta shells and cheese with my own seasoning blends, (at the time my seasoning blends were combinations of preexisting seasonings that I placed in old sprinkle bottles) with a side of broccoli and tilapia; this meal was savory, and took very little time to make.

College students often times forget that “stress eating” can cause health problems as years go by, what motivated your mission behind It’s Seasoned in helping to prevent disease especially in the African American community? Why is it important for students to be mindful at an early age of what they put in their bodies?

I was motivated to start It’s Seasoned because it allow me to showcase 3 things that I love: experimenting/cooking and helping others. Having connections both past and present with individuals who suffer from hypertension, sparked my desire to want to help prevent disease in African American communities. I believe that in many instances, a preventive approach can help eliminate this disparity.

Even more specifically, I know individuals who suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), some of which who were prescribed Valsartan. Last summer, the FDA recalled several batches of Valsartan, a drug used to help treat hypertension and heart failure, because traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), were found in it. NMDA is a known carcinogen.

After learning about this recall, I was compelled to do more research. I sought to better understand the causes of hypertension. Through research, I found that many people of color suffer from illnesses like hypertension and diabetes (type 2), and in many instances diet plays a major role. Statistics like “the prevalence of hypertension in African-Americans in the United States is among the highest in the world” and “more than 40 percent of non-Hispanic African-American men and women have high blood pressure makes it very clear that hypertension is a major concern. When you are not mindful of what you place in your body, you place yourself at risk. I started It’s Seasoned LLC. to help address this risk, by offering individuals an alternative.  By way of It’s Seasoned LLC., individuals can retrieve the ingredients necessary to prepare meals without compromising their health or the flavor of their food.

Where do you see It’s Seasoned in 5 years?

I see It’s Seasoned LLC. becoming more impactful! It’s Seasoned LLC. currently serves customers in more than 15 different states; in five years I would like to see us serving individuals in all 50 states and internationally. My dream is that individuals will no longer have to compromise their health for the sake of a delicious meal, but instead can choose both. That being said, I see It’s Seasoned LLC. being outsourced, so that it is not only available on www.itsseasoned.com, but in farmer’s markets and at grocery stores like Whole Foods. In doing so, I will expand my team, master the world of advertising, and will have hosted multiple nutritional based workshops.

Follow more of her delish seasoning here:

It’s Seasoned

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~Interview by Tia Banks

Body Type vs. Culture Hype?

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — August 19, 2019

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The season has arrived when everyone is doing the most trying to get their bodies right for the summer. Between keto diets, double gym sessions, and going vegan, everyone is obsessed with achieving their body goals. Goals that have been set by our favorite people on TV and Instagram models on our timeline. But what happened to just being healthy? Shouldn’t that be body goals? Here are some ways to embrace your body type and ignore the stereotypes.

You look like me

Hang out with people who also embrace their beautiful body types. They will be encouraging and encircle you with the positive energy you need to feel your best. Following body type trends isn’t their thing.

Just wear it

If there is an outfit that you are in love with, wear it! Although you might not feel like you look perfect in it, fake it ‘til you make it. Your decision to wear that bomb dress or dope crop top will give other girls the confidence to do the same. Not all superheroes wear capes.

Know the background story

Understand this – most people you see in the media who have these “ideal” body types underwent some kind of surgical procedure in order to achieve the look. Not all, but many. This means that no one is born perfect. Keep it all natural. Your 80something year old self will thank you.

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~ Tia Banks

Beauty Diary x Madison!

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — August 13, 2019

Scroll through the Beauty Diary of teen beauty blogger, Madison!

What’s your name + where are you from?

My name is Madison Bitten. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, but I currently reside in Alabama. Beauty is all about being comfortable in your own skin + having fun!

What are 2 beauty trends you’re loving this year?

I love the “makeup, no-makeup look”! It’s easy, cute, and super quick to do. It’s also really light so it’s perfect for those days that you don’t really want to have a beat face. Dewy makeup with blush and bronzer is another natural look that I adore.

If you had only 15 seconds to grab 3 beauty products, what would they be?

I would grab mascara, Fenty highlighter, and lip gloss!

Beauty inspo is everything! Who’s your ultimate beauty icon + why?

My ultimate beauty icon is Jackie Aina! She has really broke the barrier in the beauty industry for darker women. There’s a lot of division within the industry that no one wants to talk about, but she does. She’s honest, funny, and gives amazing tips. I’ve learned a lot from her.

Getting ready for class can be fun but stressful if you’re in a time crunch, what’s one beauty must-have that lives in your bag?

Lip gloss is a must-have!

What’s your number 1 beauty rule?

Skin care is important! Especially for makeup application. You should take good care of it before and after your makeup!

Follow more of Madison’s beauty tips here!

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Create Your Chill.

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — July 31, 2019

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Stress, nervousness + anxiety can creep up every single day. From going to class to stepping into a store, daily tasks can trigger your nerves to get out of control. We OVER-stand.
 
Check out 5 triggers that can cause anxiety + reminders and hacks for us to overcome them! 
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1. Taking a test.
Cause: Not wanting to fail/do poorly on the test.
Helpful Hint: study the day before the test and go through everything until your ready for the test.
 
2. Going Shopping.
Cause: Doesn’t like being in area’s unfamiliar people.
Helpful Hint: Take a friend with you that you trust to relax you or go online shopping.
 
3. Going back to school.
Cause: Meeting new people and making new friends.
Helpful Hint: Just breathe and take it one step at a time. Start by making conversation with the person next to you.
 
4. Eating in front of people.
Cause: Looking unattractive in front of others and spilling something on those around you.
Helpful Hint: Don’t think of all of the negative things think positive thoughts.
 
5.  Speaking in debate or stating your opinion.
Cause: Might come across harsh. Maybe fear that someone will disagree with what there saying.
Helpful Hint: Practice everything you are going to say.
 
~Mariam Sikiru, Teen blogger
 
Create your chill.
 

Meet Sujari Britt!

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Feature, Latest | by — July 30, 2019

Take a deep dive into the beautifully wrapped world of music as cellist Sujari Britt fills the universe with mesmerizing notes and captivating sound! Hailing from New York City, New York, Sujari began her musical journey on the cello at the tender age of 4 years-old! Sujari uses her prodigious talent to pursue her passion and blaze a powerful pathway for moving the world. 

From being invited to showcase her incredible talent at the White House for President Obama to performing numerous recitals at Carnegie Hall, Sujari continues to blossom while astounding and inspiring audiences worldwide! Among her recent and upcoming performance exploits, Sujari performed in Beijing, China in the Beijing Super Cello Festival (2018). In February 2019, Sujari was a featured artist at Musiikkotalo, Cellofest Opening Gala in Helisinki, Finland. This summer, Sujari traveled to Bari, Italy where she will return in September to participate in exclusive international master classes. Also in September, Sujari will be back in the USA to perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor with the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, Ashland, Oregon.

Sujari  is the distinguished recipient of prestigious academic scholarships and awards, and grand prize winner of several national and international competitions. 

Sujari recently earned her Bachelor of Music degree  in Classical Cello Performance at  Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She presently studies with world renowned cellist and pedagogue Martti Rousi, Sibelius Academy in pursuit of her Master’s of Classical Cello. 

In addition to her solo performance calendar, Sujari actively participates in the chamber arena. Among a variety of chamber troupes in her portfolio, Sujari is a member of JoSunJari, a classical string trio with her sister Joelle and her brother Sunnaj,  who both play the violin. Sujari also is a member of Helsinki Chamber Orchestra.

Let’s get to know Sujari a little better…

You began your incredible journey as a cellist at the young age of 4 years old! What initially triggered your interest to play? At what moment did you know this was your passion + purpose? 

I fell in love with the cello’s depth and resonance, having been en-rapt by Yoyo Ma’s rendering of Saint Saens’ Swan. It was not the first time that I had heard the piece, for classical and all genres of music were constantly being pumped through our days as students of home-schooling; but I was struck and held fast at a moment. I listened, and I felt that I was hearing a reflection of my own strong voice; as if I could feel the message of the cello’s sweet sorrowful swoon. Saint Saens’ message seemed to speak to me- a clear message of a longing, a need. Moved to tears, I was caught up in emotion and intrigue; the cello captured my soul and I willed that it would carry my voice.

 You have accomplished countless jaw-dropping achievements! From playing for President Obama in the White House to sharing your gift on global stages with renowned musicians, what accomplishment makes you most proud + why?  

Through the cello, I have enjoyed myriad experiences and individuals whom I might not otherwise have encountered; including new subscribers to classical music, as well as vested connoisseurs. Having the ability and opportunities to play permit me to lengthen my reach in the world. My joy comes from touching other souls, so each of my experiences holds special treasures for me.

Watching you play the cello is extremely captivating + instantly pulls the audience into a beautiful journey, where does the music take you in that very moment in time? 

I simply abandon myself to the music! The better I can tune in to the composer’s contexts- era, style, personal history, emotional texture, story- the further the music carries me, and the more complete is my rendering. I try to embody the composer’s will, and let the cello serve to voice the adventure.

Music can be a melting pot of who you are and the inspiration around you. Who and what inspires you to express yourself on a daily basis? 

My ardor is to seek out and to accept a responsibility to move the world, note by note; ear by ear; mind by mind. Specifically, this means looking for ways to be present each day; reminding myself that the end goal for my endeavors is both influenced by and is ever a part of the path that I choose for achieving it. If I can meaningfully commune with a single other mind every day, only then am I accountable for making use of and contributing to the inspiration that this rich gift of a life of music spurs in me.

Being young, juggling responsibilities while living your dreams can sometimes get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you regroup and motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?

I have adopted the mantra to “fail forward.” For me, failing forward means that I can use ‘misses’ or moments of low energy to inform, innovate and drive my next steps. By focusing on where I am- and not just on where I want to go, I allow myself the space to experience each moment, as well as the time to strategize my next steps.

I believe that in addition to accepting defeat as a part of the path to success, it is important to know when to regroup. For me, this sometimes means that I shift gears and do something else for a bit: Relax, reflect, let go…then, redouble efforts with renewed perspective and motivation.

We are all about empowerment, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

In my mind, ‘empowerment’ has to do with taking the responsibility to free oneself to be. In order to be free, it is essential to celebrate talents, recognize penchants and fantasies, and uncover and confront areas for development. I believe that it is important to set up check-points to ask ourselves: Where do I shine? What do I wish? What do I not know?

What advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams and passions but are nervous or intimidated?

I offer my encouragement to all dreamers! I believe that each of us deserves the joy of having self-worth; a delight that can be achieved if we learn to dream big and set small, achievable goals for getting there. Incremental steps may mean that your journey will not result in an overnight sensation; yet, some of the most profound achievements are reached over time, space, and personal growth.

Nervousness and anxiety are par for the course. In fact, there are bound to be moments when the going may seem tougher than you imagine yourself to be. USE that energy, and find partners, colleagues, and supporters who are willing and available to hear you and to cheer you on. Regardless of how steep the climb, how long the journey, and how seemingly far-fetched the goal, you are almost never alone in your endeavors, unless you choose to be. Remember, our humanity binds us. GO FOR IT!

Time for faves! Artist? Food? Movie? 3 songs currently on your playlist?

I spend my spare time painting and doing photography- from photographing to development and printing. I enjoy cooking and baking gourmet (vegan) dishes- I have a penchant for Mediterranean and Asian styles and flavors. I also enjoy long-distance walking, and recently re-learned biking: LOVing it!  I listen to an eclectic variety of music; Little Dragon and Tigran Hamasyan are on my playlist, these days.

Follow +  learn more + follow Sujari’s journey here:

Website  

 

Chloe + Halle:Goals

The singing duo Chole and Halle have taken the entertainment industry by storm. The two sisters (ages 18 and 20) have a total of four albums together so far featuring songs that are acknowledged by many people, such as Filmmaker Ava Duvernay in her hit adaptation of “A Wrinkle In Time”. It is unquestionable that they have accomplished so much during the past few years. Here are a few reasons why they are both of our Music Goals!

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1. Their music is written and produced for them, by them. The duo was nominated for two Grammy’s this year for their debut album “the kids are alright”. An album that the two wrote together in their living room and self produced. Talk about independence!

2. They’ve gained fans such as Beyoncé, the woman who is to thank for signing them to her label, and Michelle Obama! Having support from former first lady Michelle Obama is anyone’s goal.

3. The two started off uploading themselves singing covers of songs on YouTube. Their talent and perseverance hustled a path for them to become adored and respected musicians and performers in front of crowds by the millions. Exhibiting leadership and empowering many young women of color to chase their dreams.

~ Jada Jackson, Teen Blogger


C.O.R.E Crew!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — July 16, 2019

We bet you can’t find interns doper than ours? From bomb interviews to fresh write-ups, our squad is covering a variety of topics for C.O.R.E mag this summer so stay tuned! Meet our amazing crew from Bela High School in Brooklyn!

CORE Crew: Naomi Aubin, Sanaya Brister, Melanie Santiago, Mariam Sikiru, Jada Jackson , Taffia Evelyn

Melanie: What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become a writer because it is a very vulnerable form of art which allows people to express their deepest feelings.

Sanaya: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

The random hate people have for each other.

Naomi: What does empowerment mean to you? 

To help everyone, starting with yourself, to be the best versions of themselves they were created to be.

Miriam: How have you helped someone lately? 

I have volunteered my time into welcoming new students into BELA high school & making them feel comfortable. 

 

Summer Break Side Gigs!

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Finance, Latest | by — July 2, 2019

This summer we want you to be smart with your coins. You have fun social events and hang out sessions happening, and so we tend to spend more money this time of the year. In order to keep from depleting your savings account, you may want to consider a side hustle. A side hustle is a job that earns you a little extra cash and can be done even when you get a regular job or go back to school. Below are some ways you can start earning!

Selling your Things|There are apps on the market like LetGo, Poshmark, and Etsy, that allow you to sell homemade items or things that you don’t want anymore. You set your own price and can learn great negotiating skills. This is also a great way to get your room clean too!

 Waitressing| Waiting tables is a perfect way to gain customer service experience in order to build your resume…and character. You are also able to bring home cash every night because of tips so your actual paycheck is a bonus! Waitressing is an easy job that a lot of younger people do throughout their college career.

Housesitting|This is one of the easiest side hustles ever! If you know someone heading out for an extended vacay, ask if you can house sit for a small fee. It’s a major responsibility, but doesn’t require a lot of brainpower. It will also deem you trustworthy to other people.

Tutoring| Tutoring is another good one for the resume! You get a chance to work with kids on subjects you excel at all while making a little money. It only requires a few hours during the week and there is always a high demand for kids that need tutoring.

~Tia Banks

Style Diary x Kira!

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Fashion, Latest | by — June 25, 2019

 

Scroll through the Style Diary of teen blogger, Kira Robinson!

 

What’s your name, age + the city you’re from?
My name is Kira Robinson, I’m 17, and I’m from Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Style is showing who you are with out having to speak! Name your top 3 trends you’re feeling this season?
My top three trends would have to be basically anything cheetah print, platform shoes or sandals, and shell necklaces.
 
If you had 30 seconds to grab your 3 favorite style pieces, what would they be?
ONLY 30 seconds!! It’s takes me like 30 minutes to pick out my outfits haha. I’d probably grab some oversized jacket, my doc martens, anddd a simple necklace.
 
Style inspo is everything! Who’s your ultimate fashion icon + why?
That’s a good question. I don’t really have a style icon, I mostly just kind of wear however I’m feeling that day (if that makes any sense). I also tend to mindlessly scroll on Instagram and then if I see someone wearing something I like, I save it so this folder I have called “fashion.” yes I know, how original. By now I’ve accumulated tonsss of pictures in this folder, so I guess you could say I get my style inspo from Instagram! 
 
Getting ready in the morning can be fun but stressful if you’re in a time crunch, what’s your go-to look if you’re in a rush?
 My go-to look would probably be high waisted jean shorts, nike air force 1s, my gold cross necklace, my gold star choker, small gold hoops, and some cute graphic tee.
 
What’s your number 1 rule when it comes to style?
My #1 rule when it comes to style is to be yourself. It’s not required of you to follow the crowd. I wear whatever I like and sometimes it may not be considered “trendy.” But I dress for myself and if I like it, then that’s all that matters. If you don’t want to follow trends then don’t. Remember no item of clothing is ever wrong if you like it 🙂
 
Follow more of Kira’s dope style here!