Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eating Healthy? Stay on Track!

By: Ebony L. McCline
Trying to eat “right” can be a daunting task and by “right,” I mean healthy. As I get older, I’m finding that both terms are becoming more and more subjective. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s obvious that eating a dozen of Krispy Kreme doughnuts isn’t neither healthy nor right when it comes to your eating habits, but just because you have one of those treats doesn’t necessarily mean that you shatter all of your hopes of being on the right path with your diet. 
Most foods, just like with almost everything in life, are okay if they’re taken within moderation. I know you’ve heard it one million times, but it’s true. Just like with the above example, even though you have plenty of healthier options other than a doughnut, having only one is far better than going all in. The same is true with all of the other treats and enticing foods that we try so hard to stay away from, because we’re told they are no good for us. 
For most people who have already established a healthier diet, the hardest part can be maintaining it. It’s so easy to plan social events around food. When we want to hang out with a few friends at home, we wreck our brains trying to figure out what is on the menu. Should we order some pizzas or who’s going to fire up the grill? When we want to go out on a Friday night, if a night of clubbing is the plan, more than likely, dinner at a restaurant will be the precursor. When you’re trying to practice healthier eating habits, things like this could totally negate all of your hard work until that point. 
The key is to remember that even though your friends may not make the same decisions that you do when it comes to food, it doesn’t mean that when you’re around them you shouldn’t stay on the right track. All you have to do is exercise self control. Easy, right? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Social Media Overload

By: Songine’ Clarke    

There are so many ways for people to communicate these days. There is Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, BBM (Blackberry Messenger), text messaging, Skype, and so many more. It seems like each week there is a new way to talk to someone without ever having to see them in person. Even though technology can be a convenience, there are both pros and cons that come with the territory. Let’s face it, we have technology to thank for the minimal amount of face-to-face interaction that occur. As of late, social media has easily become the most popular form of communication.

When it comes to technology and these new forms of communication, a con is not having that human interaction. Isolation is never a great feeling and just being around another person is sometimes what is needed. Conversely, a pro is the ability to connect with people who are not in your immediate proximity. Whether it’s romantic, family, or friendships, thanks to Skype, you’re able to have a date with a loved one at any given time. 

I must say, after a while people can depend too much on social media. When it comes to face-to-face interaction, they tend not to have a clue about how to conduct themselves, because they’ve been so use to “hiding” behind a computer screen or a phone.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of Music

By: Ebony L. McCline
If there was one thing that united people of all races, ages, and beliefs, it would be music. In a world where there are many different opinions, many different perspectives, and very few things that people can agree upon, music is the one thing that has the power to bring us all together. 
Michael Jackson sold out a number of concerts and if you were to look into the audience, you would see a diverse group of people when it comes to both age and race. Even if you were not a fan of the person, you were definitely a fan of his music, which touched many souls. During his lifetime, people fainted at the sight of him and after he left this Earth, some people went as far as to take their own lives. 
Throughout my life, I have yet to meet someone who disliked MJ’s music. I have yet to meet someone who argued against him being crowned the “King of Pop.” For a long time, I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought that someone could have the ability to produce music that evoked so much emotion just by listening to a particular track. 

As I got older, I begin to understand that music, despite the particular artist, is what held all the power. Music has the power to take you to a particular moment, good or bad, and for the length of the song, you re-live that moment whether you want to or not. Pretty powerful, right? With that said, if you’re feeling down, playing your favorite song could do wonders for your mood. The same is true if you’re on a high and you feel as though you need to take it down a notch, your favorite song could mellow you out. 
We listen to music at parties. We listen to music in the car. We listen to music at the gym. We listen to music in the shower, while we cook, and while we clean. Some people even need music to lull them to sleep each night. So, what is it about music that has such an affect on us all? Maybe it’s the fact that even though many things will change, the mere existence of music will always remain the same. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Shopping on a Budget

By: Songine’ Clarke
As the weather gets nicer, it can only mean one thing: summer is near. Luckily, before those unbearably warm months, there's spring, which means new clothing for the wonderful weather. Since there are so many great stores, it makes you wonder if you can really look good this spring on a budget. Try not to panic, because there are plenty of options if you are looking for the latest trends for low prices. Here are a few:
H&M: This is my personal favorite! H&M is known for carrying the latest trends for low prices. As a bonus, they carry mens pieces, just in case you wanted to grab something for him, too. H&M will not disappoint, especially if you're searching for trendy pieces. 
Marshalls/TJMaxx: Both stores have designer clothing for a bargain. You may have to shop a season beforehand, but the prices make it well worth it. Also, make sure you have a few hours to search the store for the pieces that are just right for you. Sometimes, both stores tend to be unorganized. 
Akira: If you have a slightly larger budget, this is the place to shop. While prices may not be as "friendly," some items at Akira are reasonable. You just have to keep your eyes peeled. Akira stays on top of the latest trends, so it’s almost always a win-win situation. 
As an alternative, I’ve been opened to the idea of shopping at consignment stores. Some people are against it, but it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase: “one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.” 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Urban Wellness Project Presents: Safe is Sexy

By: Samantha Battle
Manicures and pedicures, body massages, hair styling, and getting your make-up done by professionals was what many women and some men got to enjoy at the Safe is Sexy Aids Awareness event hosted by Actress, Erica Hubbard last month for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. 

Syreeta Talbert, founder and executive director of the Urban Wellness Project, put together the event in hopes of bringing awareness to HIV and AIDS in the African-American community. Talbert’s Urban Wellness Project provides health and wellness events promoting awareness of choices in health care.

“It’s about creating events that are fun and tangible, but at the same time a learning experience,” said Talbert.

Along with the pampering that guests got to experience, there were also performances and guest speakers. Singer Melody Angel performed a song, accompanied by her guitar, that she wrote specifically about the topic of HIV/AIDS. The performance was heartfelt, which resulted in an eruption of applause and cheer from the audience. 

The guests also heard from guest speaker, Dr. Mildred Williamson of the Illinois Department of Public Health. She spoke about trying to eliminate the stigma that comes with HIV and AIDS.

“People living with HIV and AIDS around the country, they deserve our love and respect,” said Williamson. “One of the things that have moved this epidemic so deeply in our community is rejection based on stigma. We need to eliminate stigma in this country. The faster we eliminate stigma, the faster we can improve.”

Some guests felt the event was very educational and that more people need to know more about HIV and AIDS.

“It’s very important that young girls are knowledgeable of all STD’s especially HIV and AIDS because it’s spreading rapidly especially in the African-American community and how to use protection right,” said DeVante Daniels, a guest and designer vendor of Unique’z sunglasses. 

Hostess, Erica Hubbard also spoke about HIV and AIDS stating that, “It’s so important to get to the doctor.”

There were also two guest poets who performed poems specifically about AIDS. London A’lexus performed a poem about a woman in Africa that contracted AIDS. The room was quiet as London got into character and gave a heartfelt performance. Everyone applauded her as she finished. The other poet named Brenda Matthews performed a poem, incorporating music. 

The event wasn’t only about having a good time, but also a learning experience. There was free on-site HIV/AIDS testing and gift bags were given to guest filled with information on where to go to get tested, condoms, and other health related items.

“One night of passion can be a lifetime of pain and it’s not worth it,” Daniels said.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Singles Have to Eat, Too

By:Isis Nicole
Living the single life is only going to be as good as you make it. Who says a gal (or a guy) can’t make the most of it by cooking a nice meal for one?
Portion & Pleasure: Having the right amount of food that also satisfies the belly is the most important part of a “solo-dolo” meal. When cooking for one, there is no such thing as too much, only too little. So, as long as you have tupperware and a fridge, leftovers should be your new best friend! 
Share & Socialize: If leftovers are often wasted, make use of your loved one’s company. Plan a meal and invite guests over. Bonding over great food is always a plus! Who knows, you may have the chance to meet someone new. 

Single’s Desserts:  Sweets are the best treat, but they can also become problematic if you eat too many. So, as a single who enjoys sugar, try to remember that less is more. If you're only cooking for one, consider baking in a smaller pan. Snacks like cookies and cupcakes are perfect to make for one, because you can control how many you want to prepare. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where's the Respect?

By: Songine’ Clarke
In the entertainment industry, you would think there would be a common respect among fellow artists because everyone is pursuing a dream. They’re all practicing the same craft, so why not get along? While a common bond typically forms good relationships, it sometimes does the complete opposite when it comes to the entertainment industry. Celebrities take “friendly competition” to a different level. 
Today, there are “Twitter beefs” where celebs use Twitter as an outlet. Tweeting each other directly or indirectly has become common. With that said, some of this behavior has resulted in celebrities not being seen in a good light. Oftentimes, these “cyber-space beefs” have to be removed--literally. 
Recently, Chris Brown and Raz-B, a former member of B2K, Ciara and Rihanna, and everyone’s favorite, Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj have all duked it out via Twitter. Of the three, the two female rappers have elevated their beef beyond Twitter by publicly dissing each other, making “diss” records, and getting other people involved. How it originated is not the question. The real question is when will it end? All of this has left me thinking, where’s the respect?  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rising Cost of Higher Education: Is College for Everyone?

By: Songine’ Clarke

You could probably go around a room and the answers will be split: half the people would probably believe that college isn’t for everyone, while the remainder would think differently. However, there’s actually a recent study that says that college isn’t for everyone. "Pathways to Prosperity," a study conducted by Harvard University, drives this point home with its findings. Furthermore, the results of the study show that most jobs don’t even require a bachelor’s degree for employment: 36 percent have a high-school degree or less, 33 percent have some college, and 30 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, college students who ranked among the bottom quarter of their high-school classes, 80 percent of them will probably never get a bachelor’s degree or even a two-year associate’s degree, according to the U.S. Department of Education. So, what’s the alternative for them?  

Then there’s the issue of paying for college for those who choose to attend, but as I stated before, college degrees aren’t necessary for a number of jobs. “Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A fascinating statistic, right? Going to a four-year university, a community college, or just getting a job seemed to always be an option for upcoming high-school graduates. For some students, the reality is that it may not be an option anymore.