Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Oprah Effect

As we all know, just about whatever Oprah touches turns to gold. CNBC’s special, The Oprah Effect digs into the blessing and curse of the “Million Dollar Touch” of Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Effect

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In Our Prayers: Mike Tyson and Family

Mike Tyson

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Tyson and family of his daughter Exodus, 4 years old, who died tragically yesterday after her head apparently got caught in a cord. So sad.

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What’s Your Soundtrack?

EarbudsHave you ever been driving in your car and heard a song come on the radio that just made you feel good? One that makes you start smiling, singing along and having flash backs of a great time in your life. Music is funny that way, isn’t it? It has a powerful way of impacting and influencing emotions. For decades, music has been a well researched and empirically supported means of achieving therapeutic progress in individuals having trouble expressing or navigating their emotions. So if you’re feeling like you could use an emotional “tune”-up try making your own soundtrack! Here are a few timeless tunes in rotation on our playlists:

1.) “I know you, I live you” – Chaka Khan

2.) “Supastar” – Floetry

3.) “Private Party” – India Aire
4.) “Let’s Groove Tonight” – Earth Wind and Fire
5.) “I decided” – Solange
6.) “One of those Days” – Whitney Houston
7.) “Let Your Hair Down” – Dwele
8.) “September” – Kirk Franklin
9.) “Waiting on the world to change” – John Mayer
10.) “Sunday Morning” – Maroon 5

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First Female CEO Handoff: Ursula Burns

“Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your Mom proud!” That’s what a sign on the wall in Ursula Burns’s office reads. One can assume her Mom would have been more than proud when it was announced last week that beginning July 1, 2009 Ursula will take on the role of Xerox’s next CEO.

Raised in the projects on Manhattan’s lower east side, some say Ursula’s rise through the ranks of corporate America was an unlikely outcome. But it was the sacrifice and example set by her mother, a single parent, who had a far more profound effect on Ursula than the concrete jungle around her.  She watched as her mother took on domestic work and ran a successful daycare out of their home in order to send Ursula to Catholic school and then to Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Ursula went on to attend Columbia University where she received her M.S. degree in mechanical engineering. Her education in engineering and natural talent for math made her the perfect candidate for Xerox’s engineering intern program in 1980.

Since joining Xerox, Burns, an avid biker, held several significant leadership roles. She was the first to hold the role of President of Xerox’s Business Group Operations responsible for 80 percent of Xerox’s profits. It was her leadership and the leadership of out-going CEO Anne Mulcahy that began the turnaround of Xerox, poising it for future success. Fortune named her one of 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America and she frequently appears on Black Enterprise’s Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America list. Even with all the accolades and experience, it’s no secret that Ursula is taking the helm at a pivotal and challenging time for Xerox. But if history does indeed repeat itself, then Ursula and Xerox are bound for success.

Image courtesy of Rochester Institute of Technology.

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You Are What You Eat!

SuperfoodsThe phrase “you are what you eat” could not be more true. What we consume has a direct impact on how we feel, how we look and how healthy (or unhealthy) our bodies are.  Studies have shown that many diseases and illnesses can even be fought and/or prevented through diet alone.  Incorporate these “superfoods” into your diet and you may find the key to being beautiful, youthful and healthy.

1. Açaí:
Pronounced “”AH-sigh-EE,” this is one powerful berry that comes from a special palm tree found in the Amazon. With twice the antioxidants as blueberries, this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world.
Health Benefits:
Powerful antioxidant. According to WebMD, “eating a diet rich in antioxidants may interfere with aging and the disease process by neutralizing free radicals. By lessening the destructive power of free radicals, antioxidants may help reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.”
2. Tea:
Whether you drink black, green or white, tea leaves have powerful antioxidants and possess a host of wonderful benefits.
Health Benefits:
Lowers cholesterol, inhibits cancer, prevents heart disease, and helps weight management.
3. Dark Chocolate:
It is so fabulous that one of the most delicious and decadent foods is also good for us too! Make sure to get chocolate with at least 60% cacao in order to take advantage of the benefits.
Health Benefits:
Lowers risk of heart disease and diabetes, lowers total cholesterol, reduces blood clots and inflammation in arteries, and keeps arteries elastic.
4. Salmon:
Packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, this is one nutritious fish. Make sure to select wild salmon over farmed.
Health Benefits:
Prevents heart disease, depression (including postpartum depression), and memory loss. Slows Alzheimer’s disease development, increases brain and vision development in babies, and improves skin and hair texture.
5. Turmeric:
Known as the spice that gives curry powder its bright orange color, turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation.
Health Benefits:
A recent study from UCLA showed that turmeric might have potent effects that may be able to reverse Alzheimer’s disease.  Turmeric is also associated with improvements in inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, psoriasis, dementia and arthritis.
6. Berries:
The sweet, luscious flavors of berries like blueberries, strawberries, and cherries are not the only things they have going for them. They are some of the most antioxidant rich of all fruits.
Health Benefits:
Berries prevent heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and insomnia as well as fight urinary track infections (blueberries and cranberries), promote healthy hair (blueberries) and slow down the aging process (blueberries).
7. Tomatoes:
It’s quite coincidental that the red pigment found in tomatoes is also considered to be a heart saver.
Health Benefits:
Prevent heart disease and fibroids, promotes healthy skin.
8. Sweet Potatoes:
A staple in soul food cooking and Thanksgiving meals, sweet potatoes are nutrient dense with one serving supplying five times the daily value of beta carotene.
Health Benefits:
Protect the skin from sun damage, lower risk for cancer, boost defenses against colds and infections.
9. Oranges: Excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
Health Benefits: Prevent heart disease, cancer (including breast cancer), diabetes, birth defects and cataracts, promote healthy skin, and slow down aging process.
10.  Spinach: As one of the most nutrient rich vegetables, spinach should be an essential part of your diet (remember what it did for Popeye?). It is a great source of folate, beta carotene,  vitamin C and lutein.
Health Benefits: Prevents birth defects, heart disease, dementia, colon cancer, and vision loss, protects skin and bones.

More “superfood” resources:

WebMD’s Super Foods Everyone Needs
MSNBC’s 16 Super Foods for Women
Uptown Magazine’s Foods for Healthy Hair

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Falling Back in Love…with YOU!

self-love3By Guest Contributor, Sukari Bowman

Everyone needs love in their life. If we are blessed, we get love from our friends and families.  I am truly blessed but felt like there was something missing.  Then one day, I figured it out.  Yes, the Hudson River parted and all of the traffic lights were green on the West Side Highway, Ha! Well, the epiphany may not have been that eventful, but it was significant, none the less.  Life happens, relationships happen and work happens.  We find ourselves in love with everything and everyone else, except ourselves.  I decided that this was not good enough for me.  I booked a ticket to Spain.  I had never been to Europe and had just been laid off from my job.  For a pure Virgo, this act of spontaneity was totally unheard of, but with time on my hands I decided to push the button and buy the ticket.  I did not have a plan while in Spain and did not think that this would be the place where the love affair would begin again.  I had an itinerary, but not everything was set in stone.  I left myself with the freedom to move when I wanted.  I experienced the beauty of Seville.  Smelled orange blossoms, watched the Flamingo dancers and ate to my heart’s content, but that was not where love blossomed.  I went to Madrid.  I saw the Prado, I ate paella and drank the most amazing red wine, but that was not where love blossomed.  I went to Barcelona.  I saw the works of Antonio Gaudi, ate tapas, drank wine, walked the streets like they were my own and smelled the Mediterranean Sea, but that was not where love blossomed.  I know you are wondering where the heck it came to be.  Well, it was when I hit customs in Newark.  That’s right, Newark.  After eight hours in the air, I came upon a man in uniform.  He took my passport and asked if I enjoyed Spain?  I answered “yes, I had an amazing trip”.  He then asked if I loved it so much that I would return.  I answered “no, I love MYSELF so much that I will return”.  He looked at me like I had three heads and said “welcome home”.  See, I fell in love with myself over a two week period.  I gave myself the gift of freedom from myself.  I left all of the stress, worry and self criticism in New York.  I began to be comfortable in my own skin again.  I found my confidence.  Most importantly, I found my faith, faith in myself, faith in the good Lord and faith in my heart.  For me it was important to take a time out.  I needed to stop and realize that the life I have been blessed with is one that I must live to the fullest.  I took myself on a two week date!! I wined and dined myself, had some wonderful massages, walked until I could not lift my legs any longer and ate and drank until I had gained ten pounds. I cried, I laughed and I sat still.  I fell in love with myself… the great, the not so great, and the things that I must continue to work on.  I left a lot of negative things in Spain and although I do plan on returning, I will never bring those things back with me.

Photo courtesy of Love it Lite.

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Battling Hyperpigmentation

HyperpigmentationBy Guest Contributor, Ivonne Ruggles

Like many women I suffer from hyperpigmintation. In fact, many African American, Hispanic and Middle Eastern women suffer from this frustrating skin problem. Every time I get a blemish (which is often since I have acne prone skin), I know it will take months before the dark spot is gone. This condition is hyperpigmentation, the darkening of the skin after some trauma has inflamed the area or other skin injury has occurred. Here are some tips on how to prevent, treat and cover hyperpigmentation:

  • Wear sunscreen and avoid the sun if you can  –  The sun’s rays are a major cause of dark spots or sun spots. The best prevention is to wear a hat and either use a sunscreen moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen.
  • Exfoliate – Exfoliating helps prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. Dead skin cells can cause dark spots and removing them helps prevent.  Exfoliating can slough off the top layer of the skin along with the dark spots. Avoid the microbeds in many cleansers that irritate and look for gentle exfoliators like glycolic acid.
  • Hydroquinone – Hydroquinone is a common topical depigmenting agent. This over the counter product comes in concentrations of .5% – 2% and in higher concentrations with prescriptions.  When selecting a hydroquinone product, look for products not packaged in clear jars because the product becomes ineffective shortly after being exposed to air and light.
  • Tretinoin – Tretinoin is a topical and prescription medication that is commonly referred to as Retin-A. It is known for the treatment of acne, but studies have proven it can reduce signs of photoaging including hyperpigmentation. Consult your doctor and do not use if you are pregnant.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protectant against photodamage.  It is available in many skin care products and forms, including serums. If you do not want to use tretinoin try a vitamin C serum.
  • Licorice extract – Licorice extract is great for sensitive and acne prone skin since it not only acts like a skin brightener but also has anti-inflammatory properties. Look for it in cleaners and other products.

Make-up Tips:

Even with all the prevention measures, I still get spots that I need to cover. Thank goodness for makeup! If the spot is very dark brown you want to cover it with a creamy concealer that has a tint of rose. You can also use a creamy concealer that is a little lighter than your natural skin tone. Use a concealer brush since this helps to control the placement of the product. After applying concealer to all the spots, follow-up with your foundation and pat the area so that it blends. It does not matter if you are using your finger, a sponge or a brush, always pat gently so you do not to lift the product. Pat on powder to set. I would also recommend not using any other creams in the area. If your dark spots around the cheeks do not use cream blushes since this will only highlight the imperfections. Use powder blush and pat it on around those areas. Touch up with powder as needed to keep that area set.

Ivonne Ruggles is an LA based makeup artist and president of Evie Evan Inc., a new beauty line scheduled for 2010.

Photo courtesy of Little Mountain Laser.

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Have You Experienced Shopping While Black?

A few years ago, I visited a high end jewelry store in the Houston Galleria mall with the intention of purchasing a necklace for my mother. When I went in, there were very few customers but yet the people working there saw me, but continued to speak to one another rather than help. When I asked for assistance, one of the clerks seemed annoyed and was so blatantly unfriendly that I left the store and bought the necklace elsewhere.

I thought about this incident and many others experienced by my friends and family when I watched this episode of ABC’s show, “What Would You Do?” During the experiment, a black shopper was harassed by a store clerk and security guard in a SoHo boutique. Out of 100 shoppers who witnessed this, less than 20 intervened.

Shopping While Black

One of the statistics mentioned in the clip was that 60% of blacks say they have experienced “shopping while black.” What about you? Have you witnessed or personally experienced racial discrimination in a store?

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Roland Martin on CNN: “Holla”??

Roland Martin

Roland Martin

If you’re an avid watcher of CNN then you know Campbell Brown is out on maternity leave and that Roland Martin has stepped in to host her popular show, “No Bias, No Bull”. Roland does what he does best, bringing energy and candor to each panel discussion. But he also brought something else…slang and a playlist of R&B music from Mary J. Blige to Maxwell. It seems in an attempt to make the show his own, Roland has chosen to integrate a variety of R&B music between each segment to groove to while coming back from commercial breaks. And if that weren’t enough to let you know there’s a new sheriff in town, he’s chosen to end each show with a hardy and in unison “Holla!!” by him and the panelists. I was with you on the music Roland…but “holla”?? Seems a bit extra. What do you think?


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Manolo’s New Pre-Fall Line

Manolo Blahnik's Cage BootGotta love Manolo Blahnik’s new Cage Boot from the pre-fall collection now being previewed on! These Metallic Patchwork d’Orsay peep-toe shoes are also pretty fab!

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