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Thursday, January 31, 2013

39. The Gym Hair(please!)Do



The woman shall align her hair care practices in a way that supports her participation in physical activities, promotes a consistent fitness regimen, and withstands the occasional rain shower (or dip in the ocean).

This particular law is a call to action (or a call to consideration, depending on where you are on the natural scale) especially for African American women.  It's not for every audience - but please accept it with the love and tenderness that I'm enclosing.

I came across an article in the Winston Salem Journal this week that emphasized how the hair care practices of black women prevent them from participating in physical excercise. I thought the article was incredibly one-sided, and it didn't represent the evolving priorities of ethnic women. Regardless of my personal reaction, an observation about OUR stuff is on the front page of a newspaper in North Carolina....which means maybe we should be taking an in-depth look, too.

When I think of my closest friends who are African American like me, concern about health and well-being (and a good shape!) are a huge priority.  My good friend Renee in NYC (who went natural last year) has always been a gym citizen.  My girl Nicole in Atlanta was the one who convinced me to join Clemson's rowing team years ago (she had braids and I rocked the big chop in 1998).  Both women are absolutely gorgeous, and they have always held health and fitness as huge priorities for years. Since I've known them, they've managed to maintain their hair around their lifestyles and not maintain their lifestyles around their hair. 

I've heard women mention that they don't want to get their hair wet or sweat out their perm (and I was in that camp during the days of my press and curl, believe me!), but I do want to gently suggest that we think about rearranging our priorities here and consider the well-being of our bodies and health as we make visits to the beauty salon. 

Our own health, fitness, and long-term well-being are being sacrificed to meet someone else's standard of beauty - is this where we really are?

America is counting our cases of obesity, diabetes.......and death - and while I know there's a huge constituency of women who work out like Flo Jo, there's also a group of us who have been ignoring gym memberships and 2K runs for sometime.

If you're in the sweat-a-lot category, good for you!  Work out.run.zumba.bike.lift and keep beating your PB numbers. Take it a step further and bring a girlfriend with you, and keep nagging till she comes!  Encouragement is all she needs.

If you're considering adding a physical element to your life - go for it, lady!  You're already a step ahead of where you were before.  There are ways to look cute and work out (consider sweat headbands, braids, natural styles, etc.) - you owe it to yourself and your family.  They want you around for a while!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

38. Muscle Cars



The woman shall, at some point in her life, own/rent and periodically open up on the highway, the muscle car of her (and the highly evolved gentleman's) dreams.

Space-conscious and eco-friendly cars are certainly on trend, and understandably so.  They are a part of the solution to long-standing global environmental challenges, they save on gas consumption, and they are easy to manage, house, park, and maintain.

I've always driven cars that fit my lifestyle needs.  During my freshman year at Clemson, I drove a 4-door Kia (to which I creatively attached a bike rack in the silly effort to make the car appear longer), and afterwards followed a series of small SUV-ish type cars that suited my needs (I moved around A LOT and was always transporting large items).

I had to rent a car on a trip to Ottawa, and the guy at the rental spot told me he could rent me a Chevrolet Camaro for $100 less than the SUV that I had an eye on.  Being one to exercise financial responsibility, I took him up on his offer.  The way that it drove, the panel inside and the vvvvroooom that made my liver quiver was sufficiently convincing.  Four months later, I bought one in white.

I've slid into my 30's, and the vehicle purchase that I've made really suits my current lifestyle.  I roll with my two Bichons (Winne and Oui Oui), and they don't need much space - they're not even in the car that often.  My grocery bags aren't that plentiful, and I don't make trips to Home Depot these days. Sooooooooooooo, the Camaro is perfect for me, my life, and my road trips:)

A tip for ya - I've learned that muscle cars aren't the best for backseat passengers - they are purposely suited to fulfill the driver.  Also, muscle cars require a good bit of maintenance.  I used to let oil changes slip past the due date, but the muscle ride will let you know when she needs attenion.  Also, you've got to keep a good car looking shiny and new.  My white Cam was all 50 shades of gray this week, but luckily I found the best car washing business in town.

Every woman needs to step out of a car that makes her feel confident, gorgeous, and ready for the day ahead. It helps if your ride draws great comments from cute guys, too!  Before family days set in and you need the mini-van, jeep, SUV, or station wagons (do car companies still make those?), get yourself a muscle car and roll out on dubs, music on full blast.

If a different car isn't in the budget for the next few years, rent a muscle ride - matter of fact, do it this weekend!  It'll change your life. Promise.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

37. Desktop Chocolates



The woman shall, in her workplace environment, offer on a desk or table a bowl that remains constantly full of assorted chocolates.

Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what your're gonna get.  But you do know that it'll be sweet:)

Many moons ago, a beloved supervisor offered a glass bowl full of miniature chocholates on a desk in her office.  The bowl was symbolic of generosity, kindness, and very good taste.  The bowl, which always stayed full of the tastiest in sweet delectable fare, soothed tense meetings, brought great fundraising agreements to a close, and invited non-visitors to her office just to chat.

I've picked up the same practice over the career years.  I have a gorgeous bowl that I keep full of Lindor Chocolates (which have gorgeous wrappers!), and it brings about so much great conversation - especially with unexpected visitors! 

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