Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dark and Lovely® & Black Girls RUN! team up for the Preserve the Sexy Tour

Dark and Lovely® and Black Girls RUN! will team up this weekend for the Preserve the Sexy Tour, which hits Chicago on Saturday, July 26th!

This conference is open to runners of all levels, from beginners to veterans. The tour will feature fun, informative sessions including coaching on running anatomy, form, and muscle assessments from experts, and concludes with a celebratory fitness party! Dark and Lovely will also be offering product sampling and raffles. Black Girls RUN! Co-founders Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey will also be in attendance.

I was a Black Girls RUN! Chicago Ambassador between 2011 and 2013 so the group holds a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to Preserve the Sexy with Chicago this weekend! Get all the details about the Dark and Lovely and Black Girls RUN! partnership and the Preserve the Sexy Tour here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Giveaway: Dark and Lovely® Au Naturale Anti-Breakage Collection

photo credit: Dark and Lovely

On Sunday, June 29, Dark and Lovely Au Naturale and Everyday People hosted the hottest Style Suite & Brunch at Chicago hotspot Untitled. In their exclusive Style Suite, Dark and Lovely® celebrated its breakthrough Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage and Au Naturale Anti-Breakage lines: a range of treatment and styling products designed to address the unique needs of naturally curly hair textures. Guests gathered tips and tricks on caring for gorgeous natural curls from SoftSheen-Carson Director of Education Mezei Jefferson as beautiful models showed off some amazing styles. Attendees were also treated to one-on-one hair consultations from the Dark and Lovely Style Squad, sipped on a signature cocktail, rocked to tunes from DJ Rich Knight, mingled with Everyday People hosts Chef RoblĂ©, Saada and DJ Moma and enjoyed a musical performance by Tweet.

Now, Chicago Ethnic Hair Care readers have a chance to try the Dark and Lovely Au Naturale collections. Enter to win full size products from the Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Breakage collection. Find out how after the jump.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What’s Blooming on Harrision 2014 - My first art fair

My first art fair was a success! I prepared for 5 weeks. I worked on my art before work, after work, and on the weekends. Any free time I had was spent painting, sealing, and gluing.

In the beginning, I had no idea about how much inventory to make, how many bags to buy, how much change to bring. I read a lot of blogs with great suggestions on how to have a successful fair that were extremely helpful. I was thrilled with how my booth design turned out! There was more traffic in my booth than I expected. I got a lot of compliments on the use of color (I love color)! I met a few other artists who were kind and helpful. Two friends stopped by and hung out in my booth for a while. It was a fun day! I definitely made enough items to sell – more than I needed. I posted my remaining inventory in my Etsy shop. I made back the cost of my booth, and I was happy with that.

I applied for another fair at the end of June, and I was accepted! I will have a booth at the Proksa Park Art Fair in Berwyn, IL June 28 and 29. This is the first year for this fair. I’m happy that all my booth design prep is done and I have inventory to start with for this fair. There will be less prep time involved. Though I can’t resist the temptation to add a few new pieces!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge mini recap

This post is way past due! I finished the 2014 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Chicago a little over a week ago. This was my company's first year being involved with this race. I had know idea what huge participation the has. Over 20,000 runners finished 3.5 miles in Grant Park. The route is a little unusual. Most of it is partially underground on Lower Wacker Drive. There are a few out and back turns, and the finish line isn't visible until you turn a corner. From there, it's only about a tenth of a mile to finish.

I ran with a coworker who is much faster than I. She slowed down for me, but I still finished faster than I thought I would in 44:44. Post race, most companies had there own tent where employees could refuel. It was fun to break out of my cubicle a little early and run an evening race!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Retro Fitness takes on the Midwest

Retro Fitness in Carol Stream, Illinois held its Grand Opening April 26 with plenty of music, food, and of course fitness.

I particpated in (and lost) a fitness challenge. Thirty seconds of crunches followed by 30 seconds of step ups. Whoever racked up the most won a 3 month membership! I forgot my individual totals, but my score was 46 overall.

The Retro On Demand feature is now available. My camera didn't pick up the image very well, but individuals or groups can choose a workout and a guided program with an instructor leads your workout.

I spoke with Retro Fitness CEO Eric Casuburi. What a nice guy! I watched his episode of Undercover Boss - so it was neato to meet him in person. What an inspirational entrepreneurial story. Eric shared some of the exciting techinical updates coming to their treadmills - integration with fitness trackers like the Nike+ fuelband. Disreagard my hair, it deflated after the fitness challenge.

Retro Fitness has grown from a few gyms in the Northeast to now over 100 with plans to open more locations in suburban Chicago as well as expand into the St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri areas. If you're nearby, drop in the Carol Stream location to check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

May events: craft workshop, art fair & race

May will be an exciting month! First, I'm hosting another crafting workshop at Local Goods Chicago. Sign up here! Next, my first craft fair is May 17 in Oak Park, Illinois. What's Blooming on Harrison is a juried fair - meaning a group of people decide who can particapte based on submissions of their work. I'm so happy my submission was accepted! I'm working like crazy to make some fun, new jewelry.

Then, May 22 I'm running the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Chicago. All runners must be part of a corporate team to participate in the 3.5 mile race. This is the first year my company has participated, and our entry fees are comped- score! Can't wait to experience this race!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dry brushing for sensitive skin + sweet orange body butter recipe

The thought of running brush bristles across your skin sounds a little painful, right? Yet, this perfectly describes the popular practice of dry brushing. A friend recently introduced me to the concept and from her explanation I imagined it might feel something like running a rake over my body. I was a little skeptical of the idea. She on the other hand had nothing but good things to say about the process and sent me this article which does a great job of breaking down the benefits including:

• Increasing circulation to the skin.
• Helping to shed dead skin cells, encourage new cell renewal, and prevent ingrown hairs.
• Rejuvenating the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings.

There are also claims that dry brushing reduces the appearance of cellulite by helping with fat distribution. Fingers crossed! These are the basic rules of dry brushing:

• Dry brush dry skin before your morning shower.
• Start at your ankles and gently brush in circular, upward motions, using long strokes toward your heart.
• Once you reach your neck, back and arms, brush downward toward your heart.
• Be cautious of softer and sensitive skin around the chest and never brush inflamed skin.
• After dry brushing, shower to wash away dead skin cells and impurities.
• Post shower, liberally apply a moisturizer.

I was concerned about trying dry brushing because I have sensitive skin. Because of this, I modified my routine to accommodate my skin’s tolerance. I've been dry brushing now for a little over a month. These are my added tips for dry brushing sensitive skin and my recipe for a post-shower moisturizer, sweet orange body butter:

• Use a quality, long-handle natural bristle brush. You can find these hanging around a grocery store like Whole Foods.
• Dry brush every other day. For the first few days, I dry brushed every morning and I just felt like I was being too abrasive. My skin agrees with alternating days.
• Skip the chest area. I avoid below the clavicle and above the belly button all together. My skin is much too thin there to be agitating.
• Seal in the moisture. I created my own concoction that’s yummy, inexpensive and works great:

o 1 part Shea butter
o ½ part coconut oil
o 3-4 drops sweet orange essential oil

In a container warm the Shea butter and coconut oil together in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil (or your favorite scent) and whip together with a spoon. That’s it!

After a month of practicing dry brushing, it has become a regular part of my morning routine. It’s a great morning wake-me-up and start to the day.