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News – All Things O'Natural

Product Spotlight: ACV Hair + Scalp Mist

By Dominique Harris
on January 15, 2021
With 0 comments

 

Taking a moment to spotlight one of most popular elixers and that is our ACV Hair + Scalp Mist. It is a beautifully nutritious and wonderfully aromatic mist that helps soothe itchy and dry scalp as well as aid in removing product buildup from the hair and scalp. We thoughtfully selected specific ingredients that help soothe and aid in healing scalp conditions.

Before we talk about how to use this amazing mist, let's focus on the benefits of the ingredients inside:

CALENDULA

CALENDULA:

Known for being a deeply healing ingredient, due to the anti inflammatory properties (linoleic acid) as well as its antioxidants (carotenoids and flavonoids and),  Calendula is often used to hydrate dry scalp, remove dandruff, and improve the overall condition of the scalp. This is all due to its antimicrobial and antiviral components. Calendula is also found in our Leave In Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Styling Creme, CALM Body Oil, Hair + Scalp Treatment, Citrus + Rose Body Scrub, Coffee + Cacao Lavender Chai Body Scrub, Cacao Clay CleanseSpiced Aftershave, Lip Balm, Rosehip Facial Serum, Rose + Hibiscus Toner Mist , Fields of Glory Herbal Steam Blend, Farmer's Daughter Herbal Steam Blend

 

BRAHMI

 

BRAHMI

Brahmi creates a natural protective layer around the hair follicles that keeps the hair fibers healthy, reduces the possibility of split ends. Brahmi also keeps the scalp cool and makes it a better place for the hair follicles to thrive. Brahmi helps provide strength and nourishment through the scalp, strengthening the blood vessels; thus, oxygen and nutrients stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. The alkaloids in Brahmi bind to the proteins in the hair shaft producing stronger and thicker hair. Brahmi is also used in our Leave In Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Styling Creme , Hair + Scalp Treatment and Kijani Mask

 

HIBISCUS 

HIBISCUS

The naturally occurring amino acids (keratin) in Hibiscus does an amazing job of providing nutrients to the hair, aiding the hair in promoting healthy hair growth. Hibiscus contains high amounts of mucilage which helps act as a conditioner for the hair. Due to its astringent properties, hibiscus helps with maintaining the pH balance of the hair, minimizes oil secretion  and provides a cooling effect. You can also find Hibiscus in our Leave In Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Hair + Scalp Treatment, Styling Creme, Rose + Hibiscus Toner Mist and Rajati Enzyme Mask.

NETTLE

NETTLE

Used in Ayurveda, Nettle is one of the oldest treatments for combating hair loss. Being rich in sulfur and silica, Nettle helps in combating hair loss as well as  helps in hair re-growth. Nettle is rich in anti oxidants as well as helps with blood circulation so that roots get a healthy supply of nutrients and oxygen. Due to its anti inflammatory, antibacterial and astringent nature, it can help get rid of oily scalp, dandruff, and reduce irritation and itchiness. You can find Nettle in our: Leave In Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Styling Creme, Hair + Scalp Treatment. Spiced Aftershave 

LAVENDER

LAVENDER

Is known for its calming and soothing properties. Due to its anti microbial  and anti septic properties (linalool), lavender is amazing for use in treating scalp conditions such as dandruff. The anti bacterial properties in lavender are known to stimulate cells. You can find lavender in our Leave In Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Hair + Scalp Treatment, Hair + Body Butter, Farmer's Daughter Herbal Steam Blend, Bohemian Forest Herbal Steam, Pink Himalayan Bath Salts, Rose + Hibiscus Toner, Rosehip Facial Serum, Kijani Beauty Balm, Spiced Aftershave, CALM Body Oil, Tooth Powder , Styling Creme and Coffee + Cacao Lavender Chai Body Scrub

NEEM

NEEM

has amazing antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Neem contains several fatty acids (linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid) that help revitalize and restore dry, damaged, undernourished and rough brittle hair. Neem has wonderful antifungal properties that help fight yeast and fungi that cause dandruff, such as Candida and Malassezia.You can also find Neem in our: Leave In Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Styling Creme, Hair + Scalp Treatment, Spiced Aftershave and Kijani Enzyme Mask

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

helps with balancing the pH balance (acidity and alkalinity) of hair, which helps achieve and maintain healthy hair. Hair that looks frizzy, lifeless or dull is usually due to the pH level being too alkaline (usually cleansers/shampoos have a higher alkaline pH). ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar), helps to restore the balance of the hair's pH, causing it to look and feel healthier, shinier and less frizzy. ACV also helps to balance the bacteria and fungi on the scalp and hair that causes itchiness and dryness.  It also helps wash away buildup from hard water as well as buildup from hair care products due to its acidic nature, which also helps to exfoliate dead skin cells. You can find Apple Cider Vinegar in our: Leave In Conditioner, Styling Cream, Deep Conditioner and Cacao Clay Cleanse.

HOW TO ENJOY:

Our ACV Mist, with its wonderful ingredients, can be enjoyed a few ways.

  • Use it as a pre cleanse (pre poo) to help with loosening and ridding the scalp and hair of buildup. When your hair feels that it is loaded with minerals and other ingredient buildup, simply spray the scalp and hair with the Mist and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and follow up with your Shampoo as usual.

 

  • Use it in between cleansing to help keep the scalp and hair cleaner. After a workout or if you shampoo days apart, our ACV Hair + Scalp Mist is wonderful for those days in between cleansing your hair. Simply spray the Mist onto the scalp and hair and leave it on. 

 

  • Use it after shampooing to help balance the pH by helping to close the cuticle on the hair follicle. When the cuticle is lifted (usually due to shampooing which has a higher alkaline pH) it can create frizziness in the hair. Spraying our ACV Hair + Scalp Mist can help close the cuticle minimizing the effects of frizz. After shampooing and conditioning, simply spray the Mist onto the hair and scalp. Dry and style as usual. 

COVID 19 UPDATE and Our Products

By Dominique Harris
on April 15, 2020
With 17 comments

Whew, it's been such a ride navigating life with our current pandemic happening. First, I want to wish everyone safety and great health. I hope your families and friends are safe and finding some peace in the midst of this situation. 

So we have some updates that have effected product containers and some of our raw ingredients. Due to a shortage of many raw ingredients that we use for our products, there is a beautiful light at the end of this tunnel. Many of you will receive your products and notice a slight change in appearance. The products will have a rich light mustard hue due to one of our most precious raw ingredients, our unrefined shea butter. Due to the scarcity and expense to get true yellow shea butter, we normally use the unrefined white shea butter. True yellow shea butter gets its beautiful light mustard color from using the bark of the Borututu Tree during the milling process. The smell should be the exact same, nutty clay-like and the texture should be extremely smooth and melt instantly. It holds the same benefits as the unrefined white, just more expensive due to the additional step in the milling process. Our supplier, who ran lower on stock than we needed on for our traditional unrefined white, graciously sent the unrefined yellow at the same price so that we did not have to raise our prices in our products (the beauty of a years-long good business relationship). So, we will be using this until we run out and then return to our traditional unrefined white.

Current Product Look

Our next update is regarding the difficulty that our vendors (some of the largest glass bottle resources) are having obtaining and maintaining stock of our normal 8oz Amber Glass Bottles. We had a few vendors with a few bottles, however, the price was 3x as much and we didn't want that to affect our pricing. Because of this, we are filling 8oz Clear Glass Bottles with our products for our 8oz sizes until we can secure more bottles. We will also continue accepting orders, in limited stock as long as we can secure bottles and high-quality raw ingredients. Take a look below at our packaging update (please note: our 8oz Amber bottle inventory is pretty much depleted, so you will receive more of the products in 8oz sizes in the clear glass bottles)

Packaging Update: 

Thank You!

I must say, we have the best customers as you all have been wonderfully supportive and totally compassionate and understanding regarding the updates. For any further updates, please view our Instagram story highlight for more pics and as always. Again, wishing you all peace, comfort and great health.

Restock Friday! Don't forget, we restock each Friday at 10 AM EST. Due to the extremely high demand, we typically sell out of many hair care items by the weekend's end. Should we sell out, please feel free to support our Stockist or rest assured that we will be stocked once again the following Friday. As per the information in the Covid 19 update photo, we are now shipping two days per week, those days are Tuesdays and Fridays after the 3-5 processing time (usually sooner). Again, wishing you all peace, comfort and great health. And for anyone who has been affected, our family will be praying for your restoration and health.

Ashwagandha..So, What's The Rave

By Dominique Harris
on March 25, 2020
With 0 comments

WHAT IS ASHWAGANDHA?

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), translating to mean, 'The smell and strength of a horse', is an amazing adaptogenic plant that has been used in ancient and traditional Ayurvedic herbalism for centuries.  An adaptogen is a non-toxic plant that is used in herbal medicine to help the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical, or biological. Adaptogens do for our adrenal glands what exercise does for our muscles. When you take adaptogens, you are training your body to handle the effects of stress. Ashwagandha is like a big hug when stress hits – strengthening and soothing! This gentle and nourishing herb is a member of the nightshade family that grows wild throughout the untamed dry landscapes of northern India. Ashwagandha contains many beneficial elements, including flavonoids and antioxidants, such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which is known as the “mother of all antioxidants.” It also contains alkaloids, amino acids (including tryptophan), neurotransmitters, sterols, tannins, lignans and triterpenes. These valuable compounds allow for the herb’s pharmacological activities and are responsible for the many ashwagandha benefits.

BENEFITS OF ASHWAGANDHA

Helps relieve stress: 

Ashwagandha has been shown to promote healthy levels of cortisol and the healthy inflammatory processes that are stimulated in the response to stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone released from the adrenals that has evolutionarily helped the body to mobilize a "fight or flight" response to perceived imminent danger, freeing up resources for a vigorous fight against an intruder or flight from danger. Cortisol naturally follows a daily rhythm, rising in the morning to help mobilize the body's forces for the daily needs and lowering in the evening to allow the body to sleep and perform restorative processes. Cortisol is helpful as a short-term defense mechanism and as part of a natural daily rhythm. Ashwagandha also supports the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis that controls cortisol release from the adrenals. Healthy, normal cortisol output also supports the adrenal glands, which naturally allows the body to focus on reproductive health (source: Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK et al. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011, Article ID576962, 9 pages. Doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep138.)

 

Sex Drive and Higher Testosterone

Ashwagandha is an aphrodisiac as it has been long established in history as one. The legendary ‘Kama Sutra’ also mentions the plant as one of the very powerful sexual stimulants. In fact, ashwagandha is one very common ingredient in herbal aphrodisiac products. When men start taking ashwagandha, the production of nitric oxide is stimulated in their bodies. As a result of this, the blood vessels that carry blood to the genitals are dilatated. This causes an increase in sexual desire and satisfaction. Today, Ashwagandha has become a common form of treatment for loss of libido and even for erectile dysfunction.

Ashwagandha has been proven to raise the levels of testosterone significantly. As men age, the production of testosterone decreases in their bodies significantly. In fact, it is said that the level of testosterone drops by 0.4 to 2 percent in men after the age of 30 every year.  there are two ways ashwagandha helps in restoring a good sex life. First, it helps in the production of testosterone. It increases the serum levels of the luteinizing hormone and testosterone and revitalizes the natural balance of sex hormones in men. In fact, a study in 2013 showed that ashwagandha revitalized the testosterone count in infertile men too.

Secondly, as ashwagandha is known to reduce stress by inhibiting the growth of cortisol, it also helps in the retardation of natural testosterone reduction. This, in turn, helps to keep the testosterone levels optimum for the body’s proper sexual functioning. (sources: (1) Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK et al. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011, article ID576962, 9 pages. Doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep138. (2) Winston, David and Maimes, Steven. "Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief," Herbal Therapeutics. Rochester, Vt: 2007. )

 

Improves Underactive Thyroid Function

Ashwagandha has been shown to support a sluggish thyroid for people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, or underactive thyroid. A 2017 pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ashwagandha benefits for helping patients with subclinical hypothyroidism were evaluated. It was concluded that the herb may be beneficial for normalizing thyroid levels in patients with hypothyroidism. (source)

Improves Depression

Not only does ashwagandha benefit people who deal with anxiety and chronic stress, but it can also be helpful for people who experience signs of depression. The herb improves resistance toward stress, and studies show that it thereby improves people’s self-assessed quality of life. Researchers found that it exhibited antidepressant effects that were comparable to imipramine when rats were exposed to “behavioral despair” and “learned helplessness” tests. It was concluded that ashwagandha can be used as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions of depression.

AutoImmunity

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that involves high levels of inflammation. In a mouse study, Ashwagandha reduced inflammatory markers that tend to be high in lupus and other autoimmune diseases, including IL-6 and TNF-alpha (Source  and Source ). Check out this post by Mind, Body Green related to her experience using ashwagandha for her lupus

Venom Antidote

In India, Ashwagandha is used to treat snake bites and scorpion stings. A compound from Ashwagandha inhibits cobra and viper venom in mouse and cell studies (source and source)

Alzheimer's and Brain Memory

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia caused by deposits of beta-amyloid proteins and loss of brain cells. Ashwagandha improved cognitive function and reduced beta-amyloid deposits in mouse models of Alzheimer’s (source and source). Emotional, physical and chemical stress can have damaging effects on the brain and nervous system. Recent research shows that ashwagandha is more than a stress reliever — it also protects the brain from cell degeneration, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. One of the main reasons it is so effective at healing the brain is because it contains powerful antioxidants that destroy the free radicals that cause aging. Withaferin A and withanolide D are the two main withanolides in ashwagandha that are used to improve cognitive function. Withanolides are naturally occurring steroids that are commonly present in plants of the nightshade family. A 2017 pilot study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements found that ashwagandha effectively enhanced both immediate and general memory in people with mild cognitive impairment. The herb was also able to improve attention, information processing speed, and mental skills. The study involved 50 adults who received 300 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract or placebo for an eight-week period. Researchers concluded that ashwagandha treatment was able to boost memory and other cognitive skills.

 Boosts Immune Function

Because ashwagandha works as an adaptogen that can reduce the body’s stress hormones, it can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation within the body by increasing immunoglobulin production. It is also able to promote an anti-inflammatory environment by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines. By downregulating the immune system when it’s compromised, this adaptogenic herb might be a useful tool in the treatment of various inflammatory disorders.

Helps Increase Muscle Strength

A surprising ashwagandha benefit is its ability to increase muscle mass and strength. For this reason, it might be a helpful tool for people engaging in resistance training and other forms of exercise that can be strenuous on your muscles. (source)

Balances Blood Sugar Levels

Ashwagandha has been evaluated for its anti-diabetic effects, which are possible because of the presence of phenolic compounds, including flavonoids.

Helps Fight Cancer

Ashwagandha has promising anti-tumor effects, can help reduce tumor cell growth and may work to prevent cancer cells from growing. The extract has been shown to help inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells — specifically breast, lung, stomach, and colon cancer cells, which are among the leading types of cancers in the world. It’s believed that ashwagandha helps prevent the growth of cancer cells mostly due to its immune-boosting and antioxidant abilities.

 

Nutritional Information

1,000 milligrams of dehydrated ashwagandha root powder contains the following:

(source)

  • 2.5 calories

  • 0.04 gram protein

  • 0.032 gram fiber

  • 0.05 gram carbohydrates

  • 0.03 milligram iron

  • 0.02 milligram calcium

  • 0.08 microgram carotene

  • 0.06 milligram vitamin C

Risks and Side Effects

When used as directed, ashwagandha is considered safe for consumption. However, in some cases, it may cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. If you experience these or any other ashwagandha negative side effects, discontinue use and consult with your doctor. Always start with a low dosage.

Ashwagandha is also not recommended for:

Pregnant Women

Breastfeeding Mothers

If you have any underlying health conditions or take any medications, it’s best to talk to your doctor before starting supplementation.

Ashwagandha may interfere with medications used to lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure or treat thyroid problems.

Discontinue use two weeks before a scheduled surgery as ashwagandha can interfere with the anesthesia.

 How To Enjoy:

You can take ashwagandha supplements in pill form by a recommended supplier such as Mountain Rose Herbs

Enjoy the powder (has a slightly bitter taste and the smell of a horse) in teas or smoothies from this reputable source

Or enjoy in extract form and add to water, tea or juice from this reputable source

7 Tips To Help Combat Dry Hair

By Dominique Harris
on March 03, 2020
With 2 comments

 

Who here has struggled or is struggling with the issues of dryness with their hair? Dry hair is one of the top complaints that I hear regarding hair care and the search for a great product to help combat this. It's also, next to hair growth, one of the most talked-about topics not only within the natural hair community but in hair forums across the board.

Now, keep in mind, natural hair usually appears drier than straight hair due to the fact that the natural oils produced by the scalp, known as 'sebum', have a hard time traveling down the hair follicle due to the curves and bends in curly or coily hair. We should also understand that just because hair does not appear shiny, does not mean that it is not healthy (view the sentence right before this one). Shine and healthy hair do not go hand in hand. The shiny appearance of hair is due largely to the way light is able to reflect off of the hair, which is why black straight hair appears the shiniest.

Ok, ok, so now you ask, how do I achieve at least hair that is moisturized? As we all may know, dry hair can cause issues such as breakage which can be an obstacle in healthy hair growth. So, here are some tips that I have shared with many naturals and have used in my own hair care journey that has helped combat dry hair. You may be asking, "It's all about the products, right?". Well, let's dive into the tips and find out what's the scoop in helping to achieve and maintain healthy hair.

TIP 1:

PRODUCT BUILDUP

It's great to nourish the hair with natural butter based (check out our Hair + Body Butter )and oil-based products, however, not properly cleansing at least once to twice per month or as often as needed for your hair will aid in product buildup. At least once per month, try clarifying the hair using a natural clarifying shampoo such as our Dudu Osum Shampoo. When a product is constantly built upon the hair, moisture is not allowed to properly penetrate the hair, thereby aiding in dryness and lackluster hair.

 

TIP 2:

Lack of water, Improper diet and Certain medication

'Let Food Be Thy Medicine' a popular quote by Hippocrates meaning, what we put into our bodies affect what comes out of it. Food is meant to nourish, but as we all know, all foods are not nourishing. So be sure to treat your temple to foods that are healthy and nourishing, especially fruits and veggies, organic as much as possible. Be sure to get plenty of water. Our bodies are made up of mostly water and we need to ensure to we keep it stocked with water, so bottoms up!! And lastly, certain prescription medications can aid in causing dryness in the hair. Check with your medical professional to find out if hair and skin dryness are side effects of any medication you may be prescribed. 

 

TIP 3:

YOU MAY HAVE HARD WATER

Because normal tap water contains chlorine and a plethora of other harsh chemicals and minerals that aid in dryness, it's great to use spring, filtered or distilled water to cleanse the hair..OR.. Apple Cider Vinegar rinses are great for aiding in ridding the hair of mineral buildup. The use of Apple Cider Vinegar as a final rinse is great for helping to close the hair's cuticle, which helps the hair hold on to more moisture and gives hair a shinier appearance. It also aids in protecting the scalp from water and environmental contaminants that aid in scalp issues. Water filter systems are excellent as well, just be sure that your system removes chlorine as well.  Add our ACV Hair + Scalp Mist to your healthy hair regimen, loaded with herbs infused Apple Cider Vinegar.

 

TIP 4:

CHECK YOUR PRODUCT INGREDIENTS

Products that are in many commercial, non-natural products, as well as some natural products, are the main culprits of aiding in dryness. Products that contain silicones, mineral oil, petrolatum, propylene glycol, and the likes can block moisture from penetrating the hair and many regular shampoos are not formulated to remove many silicones, which is why a hair detox may be needed to thoroughly remove buildup from the hair and scalp. Silicones give the illusion of a faux sheen that acts as wax buildup that can be difficult to remove, aiding in dryness.  This layer of buildup blocks the hair from receiving proper moisture, leaving hair feeling dry and you feeling frustrated. Detoxing the hair requires the use of a strong cleanser, such as Bentonite or Rhassoul Clay Treatments, various black soap shampoos, such as SheaMoisture Black Soap Shampoo and Dudu Osum Black Soap Shampoo and thorough cleansing of nothing but the shampoo for up to 7 days, known as 'hair detoxing'.Say what now!? This is not absolute, but it can definitely help. Be sure to check your ingredients to ensure that your tresses receive nourishment vs coating as some of these ingredients are known to be very drying in the long term use of them. If you are unsure of ingredients, visit the manufacturer's website or google the ingredient to stay 'in the know' of what you are putting on your hair and scalp.

TIP 5:

IMPROPER MOISTURIZATION

 No matter how amazing a product claims to be, if not properly used, it can be a bust. To properly hydrate hair, it's always best to properly moisturize the hair by first dampening hair with water or a water-based product. However, water evaporates quickly, so once the hair dries, it is DRY. So, to combat this and ensure the moisture is locked in, first, apply water or a water-based product such as our Leave In Conditioner , ACV Hair + Scalp Mist. or even our Rose + Hibiscus Toner Mist loaded with Rose Hydrosol, THEN lock/seal the moisture in with a an organic butter (like our Hair + Body Butter) or organic oil-based product like our Locs + Tress Oil (organic ingredients are best because many of the pesticides found in non-organic plants and ingredients including natural ones can be harmful not only to our hair but our skin). And since our ends are the oldest part of the hair and prone to dryness, splitting, and breakage, be sure to pay special attention to them. Protecting the hair at night with a satin/silk bonnet, scarf or pillowcase is key to helping the hair to retain moisture as cotton absorbs moisture from the hair. 

TIP 6:

PRE POO

Pre Pooing is a beneficial step that is done using a good conditioner (like our Leave-In Conditioner) before shampoo cleansing the hair. It allows the hair to retain more hydration, it helps prevent swelling of the hair and it minimizes the harshness of shampooing and helps rid the hair of shed hairs accumulated throughout the days and weeks. (keep in mind, normal hair will shed between 100-150 hairs per day. You can tell shed hair by the white tip or bulb at the end of the hair). Please keep in mind that if you do not detangle your hair often, then you will see an accumulation of the hair that would have otherwise shed daily..there is no getting past shedding, it is the normal life cycle of the hair and is inevitable. The strands are typically the length of your hair which is different than broken hairs which are much shorter. Feel free to check out my Pre Poo Method here. Have you tried Pre Pooing? 

 

TIP 7:

DEEP CONDITION

Deep conditioning is a helpful and much-needed step in our hair care regimens for aiding in helping to keep the hair hydrated. Deep conditioning also helps with minimizing split ends and breakage. Enjoying a Deep Conditioning treatment using a steamer, this is especially helpful for those with low porosity hair, is amazing in a couple of ways. The heat from the steamer helps open the cuticle on the hair allowing the nourishing ingredients to penetrate the strands. The boost from the steam helps to enhance the effectiveness of the ingredients in the Deep Conditioner. Our Deep Conditioner is loaded with nourishing ingredients such as Rhassoul Clay, Raw Cacao, Nettle, Hibiscus, Cupuacu and so much more, enjoying those ingredients under a steamer increases their effectiveness to nourish the hair strands.

WE'VE BEEN FEATURED ON DESIGN*SPONGE..AGAIN!!!

By Dominique Harris
on September 27, 2018
With 0 comments

We can't continue to express how honored we feel about being a part of Design*Sponge's newest series, 'Living With Others'. Design*Sponge.

 

Design*Sponge was created by the talented Grace Bonny, who is a blogger, book writer and inspiration to over 930,000 on Instagram alone. I was attracted to her platform via Instagram not only because of the gorgeous photos that she posts to her wonderfully curated page, but also because she uses her huge platform to address conversations on diversity, inclusion, mindfulness of thought, speech and approach when dealing with issues of racism, privilege, sexism and the likes. Her book, "In The Company of Women" is a New York Times best seller and Design*Sponge also features some of the most amazing home tours EVER!!! You can check out our 2017 Home Tour feature HERE. 

(Photo courtesy of All Things O'Natural)

 

A peak at some of the feature via Design*Sponge

(photo of our dining room currently)

What is the best part about living together as a family?

Dominique:
 The best part about living together is honestly experiencing and seeing the growth and maturity that we experience as individuals, as husband and wife and definitely as parents. I have learned so much about myself being a wife and mother and we learn so much about ourselves being parents. We learn so much from our children. It’s a huge level of accountability as kids learn by what they see, so they are our biggest accountability partners and that’s an honorable responsibility, but also a very serious responsibility. We love eating family dinner together and chatting about the ins and outs of our day. Most people assume that because we operate our business in our home as well as homeschool our kids who are with us throughout the day we would grow tired of seeing each other — that’s not the case at all because the atmosphere at dinner is way more relaxed. And, when we need moments of “self-time” or “mommy/daddy time” we give the kids the freedom to enjoy their gadgets or watch a movie and we also tell them, “hey, guys, we need a moment so if you guys can enjoy a movie or enjoy some art time, we’d love it.” We find that speaking very straight to them works and they respect our time just as we respect theirs. It’s all about living in harmony, because, you know, there are six of us in this home. For the FULL FEATURE, check it out HERE

We are huge huge believers in teaching our children responsibility early in hopes that they become responsible adults. Daily chores are a huge part of our day and our children, I must say, do an amazing job of keeping their rooms tidy.

(Image of how our boys tidy up their room)

Are you living with others? What are some ways in which you live with others to create harmony?

As always, thanks for reading.

ARE YOU TRULY HYDRATING YOUR HAIR AND SKIN?

By Dominique Harris
on August 13, 2018
With 3 comments

Alright, ladies and gents, let's talk hydration and moisturization and access how they truly work for healthier hair and skin. This is a topic that I have been blogging about for about 7 years now because it is such an important, and many times, misguided conversation. 

Living a holistic lifestyle, I believe healthy skin and haircare is an amazing expression of love. When we truly invest in ourselves, it manifests from the inside out. 

LET'S TALK HYDRATION

A topic and tip that I have shared over and over is proper moisturization of the hair and then later in our journey, I wrote about the importance of moisturization through proper hydration in skin care. When I speak to customers and people I meet, I notice that when speaking with people and with answering many many questions about dryness, one of the most overlooked steps in hair and skin is proper hydration in order to achieve moisturization. 

 

HOW DO WE PROPERLY MOISTURIZE OUR HAIR AND SKIN

Ok, now, before we dive into that let's chat a bit about what hydrators are and what sealants are and for those who have followed my blogs and social media sites for years have hear me express over and over that oils and butters are NOT moisturizers, even ones that are considered to penetrate the skin. In order for an ingredient to be a moisturizer, it must contain water. Oils and butters are known as SEALANTS, they are wonderful for locking/sealing moisture into the hair and skin. Applying an oil or butter to damp or moistened hair and skin works to trap/lock/seal the moisture into the hair and skin. This is why I'm always confused when brands label a completely water free and oil or butter based ingredient a 'moisturizer'.

 

BUT CERTAIN OILS PENETRATE THE SKIN AND HAIR, RIGHT?

Ok, what makes an oil penetrate the skin or hair is due to the fatty acids, molecular structure and other constituents in the oil's profile, thus allowing it to trap moisture into the skin or hair faster, not that it is actually moisturizing the skin or hair. When you apply a butter or oil, no matter the butter or oil, to dry hair or skin, it will cause a 'greasy' or 'oily' feel, which is MUCH different than a hydrated or properly moisturized feel. Water and oil/butters react chemically different to the hair and skin and in order to achieve true hydration, the moisturizing step must include, well, the proper order of steps. For example: After cleansing the skin, many people simply apply a butter or oil to the skin. This can cause a few things to occur. Excessive oil production due to the lack of properly moisturizing. Dry skin, due to the similar lack. Acne breakouts and the likes. Same with the hair. If we apply an oil or butter (again those are 'sealants') to the hair before applying a hydrator (water or aqueous penetrating ingredient) then we are sealing dry hair, not hydrated hair, causing dryness, damage, breakage, itchiness. Skin and hair must maintain a certain level of hydration in order to retain its elasticity and overall health. For our skin, proper hydration allows every cell to work at its optimum aiding in clear, bright youthful and healthy skin with a natural glow. The hair nor skin can perform at its optimum when it lacks the proper hydration step.

 

WHAT ABOUT CREAMS..THEY CONTAIN WATER?

Correct! Cream moisturizers or what many brands label as simply 'moisturizers' do contain water, however, they are still considered oils due to their lipid barrier cell binding function. 

SO..HOW CAN WE BEGIN TRULY ENJOYING MOISTURIZED HAIR AND SKIN?

Here are some tips that can help:

TIP 1 (SKINCARE): In order for the skin to truly enjoy the benefits of the other steps and perform at its optimum, after cleansing, apply a healthy toner (organic ingredients work amazing with the skin's circulation and for their powerful nutritious and mineral content..natural ingredients alone may be good, but they can also contain harmful pesticides which can also provide harmful results to our skin). A water based product such as a toner must be applied first to open and flush the cells with fluids. After hydrating/misting skin with a toner and while the skin is still damp (very important), apply an oil, beauty balm or serum to the skin to seal/lock in the moisture. When you combine water and oil, you have created an actual moisturizer without the added filler ingredients. 

TIP 2 (HAIRCARE): Just as with our skin, the same proves true for healthy moisturized hair. After cleansing or if rehydrating, apply water or a water based spray to hydrate the hair...while the hair is still damp, seal in the moisture by applying a butter or oil to the hair to seal/lock/trap in the hydration and voila! Moisturization occurs and should provide healthy happy results.

 

References

Shelton, M., 1991 Aloe vera, its chemical and therapeutic properties. Int J Dermatol. 30,679–83.

Tai-Nin., Chow, J., Williamson, D.A., Yates, K.M., Goux, W.J., 2005. Chemical characterization of the immunomodulating polysaccharide of Aloe vera L. Carbohydr Res. 340(6), 1131-42.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25196486

JUST WHO ARE YOU GUYS!

By Dominique Harris
on July 31, 2018
With 3 comments

A LOOK INTO WHAT'S GOING ON LATELY

Our busy busy weeks, wowsa! I literally force myself to take a moment to recoup because business has been nonstop. What the heck is going on you ask? Well stay tuned and you'll find out the why and how we manage it as a family and brand. This is fantastic, of course, but we do have to be mindful that we are homeschooling and have active kids who need our time. These past few weeks have been 14 and 16 hour days, barely any home cooked meals and tons of "be right there in a moment" moments. Part of our vision for beginning this business was to make sure we always have not just time for our kids, but quality time. This is one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool our kids (for a look into why we homeschool, check out my post HERE). We have recently restocked our website and restocked our website with product sell outs happening almost as soon as we load them on the site. Why on earth do we place a limited supply on our products? Read more to find out the scoop.

OUR PATH 


We chose a slower growing business path, but have been blessed to sustain our family of 6 and purchase a home (feel free to check out our home Tours via Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy) and invest and be more than ok as a slow growing business. So don't ever feel as though you must rush your vision, grow at a pace you're comfortable with because moving on your vision, that's success already. We have not monetarily paid any bloggers (definitely not knocking as it's one of the best ways to build brand awareness, I speak about this more in a recent blog post HERE) but have been extremely blessed to have some that were customers and loved the product so much they chose to shout us out via their YouTube channels..that's truly grace. That's the universe and Creator bending to our requests and diligence and faith.

WE VALUE THE INTEGRITY OF OUR INGREDIENTS

One thing that is super duper important to us,being a 'green beauty' brand is that we place a lot of value in the integrity of our ingredients which our products are filled with. We source some of the highest quality ingredients that are mostly organic or wildcrafted, cold pressed, steam distilled and never adulterated with cheap cuts  or yukky ingredients. This is one reason why our products are a bit more pricey than many commercial brands and because we will not compromise on ingredients, we do not compromise on the price of our products and as 'green beauty brand, we are actually a bit less expensive than many many green beauty brands on the market. Great ingredients cost, period! For a detailed read on 'Why Organic Is More Expensive" check out my blog post HERE. We are blessed with a very very diverse customer base with very diverse hair care types and needs and magically enjoying the exact same products. We formulate and handcraft our products to be able to be enjoyed by all hair types and most skin conditions. We are huge believers in the beauty of choice and we understand, however, that this may not be everyone's path of living and everyone may not be that interested in the benefits of not only natural ingredients, but ingredients that are without harmful pesticides and sourced from companies who utilize ethical practices..we completely understand this and respect this, everyone is NOT our customer. 

WHAT WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE ON!

Family time and self care. The base of our existence is geared towards a healthy family lifestyle. We center our business around our family, who will always come first. Part of our vision for beginning this business was to make sure we always have not just time for our kids, but quality time. That was one of the reasons for by passing big box stores such as Target (cause I get asked why we passed on that opportunity). We prefer smaller intimate boutiques as retailers. Not knocking the big box stores, just sharing our path. I actually think big box stores can be an amazing path to building a brand, our chosen path is just different. Last week, we prepped over 500 orders and still have hundreds of products to prep and ship and the orders are continuing to roll in and we are unbelievably grateful because we realize that new businesses close and do not make it past 5 years and we've been blessed for 7. This business has seen me through two pregnancies and now those kiddies are 5 and 7. We love a family environment and atmosphere and for the most part, we attract very very respectful customers and supporters.with the occasional few who may not truly understand our vision. We try not to overwhelm ourselves in order to garner every single purchase hence the limited supply even during high demand times. We slow pace so that we may be able to fulfill orders in a healthy timeframe, not in a stressful manner, so we absolutely appreciate your patience. We take a lot of time to fill our website with helpful blog posts and healthy hair, skin and lifestyle tips. We keep our invoices updated with current processing times (gotta read them though..gotta read them!) and if we fall behind schedule, we communicate. As a lover of holistic living, I'm a firm believer that respect play a major major role. I believe even when we are frustrated, we can exude a sense of integrity and maturity in our speech. Because of this, disrespectful overtones or speech are not tolerated by me nor towards anyone who may work for us and we exude the utmost respect for our customers. Even in the moments of disagreements, we can choose to exude maturity and respect, if anything, for ourselves. Character speaks volumes. Holistic living is more than one aspect of who a person is, it's the whole person, mind, body and spirit working as one to create a loving and positive self and therefore we exude that love for and towards others and we teach our children the same, not only through our words, but through our actions being the largest example. 

CONCLUSION


There's been times of wanting to give up, times of motivation lack because it does get really challenging. There have been tears, exhaustion, disagreements, but those have always been outweighed by laughter, blessings, motivation, inspiration and freedom. That's when we know it's time to recoup and regroup. I wish this for everyone who may feel overwhelmed or stressed or disturbed in their spirit at the moment. Find some time for self reflection, be honest about that reflection, embrace the process of overcoming obstacles and discover what peace and joy look and feel  like for you. Wishing you Joy and Peace, Peeps!

 

tips: Be sure to always check out our 'Shipping and Returns" policy. It will stay updated on our current processing times..we also include this notice on ALL invoices, be sure to read them over. And as always, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! 

 

 

 

CurlyProverbz Names Our Leave In Conditioner Her Favorite EVER!

By Dominique Harris
on June 14, 2018
With 3 comments

photo via @CurlyProverbz

    Ah, the beauty of reviews. Reviews are always a way to learn, share and grow as a brand. We are always so thankful and so thrilled to read reviews from our lovely customers, and I may be biased when saying that we have some of the best customers EVER! Receiving reviews are helpful in a business's growth because not only does it help potential customers learn more about the product, it also helps us, as a business, understand what we are doing well and not so well, especially when the review is a constructive criticism. So, again, a huge thank you for continuing to leave your reviews, we truly appreciate you.

     Now, when it comes to brands and bloggers/influencers, many brands will pay for a blogger/influencer to rep their product(s) in order to increase sales. This is actually a very smart strategy if the goal of that brand is to grow quickly.  It can be great for marketing and advertising and overall a way to increase awareness about a brand. Our chosen journey was to grow consciously but slowly since we also homeschool our 4 children, so we have not chosen to monetarily pay for blogger/influencer services (and boy have we had many to reach out through the years) again, which can be an amazing way to grow your customer base and brand awareness. Word of mouth, loyal customers and referrals have sustained our business for the past 7 years and we couldn't be more grateful. So, when popular blogger, CurlyProverbz heard of our brand from one of our loyal customers (and if I ever find out who that is, I truly want to send them so much love and reward them for that..wow!), our adventure began with building a relationship with a blogger/influencer. We shipped out a hefty package to the UK to CurlyProverbz who enjoyed our Leave In Conditioner in Lemongrass, Dudu Osum Shampoo, Farmer's Daughter Herbal Steam and Rajati Enzyme Mask. We had no expectations as we did not monetarily pay to receive reviews or a post, we just appreciate the honest feedback and if the results were great, let us know and we can move forward .

     Fast forward to a month or so later and literally an immediate SELL OUT of our Leave In ConditionerDeep Conditioner, Shampoo and Hair + Body Butter in Lemongrass (the beauty of new customers is that they try additional products in addition to the one they initially shopped for). And our normal processing and ship out turnaround of 1-3 business days became 7 business days. Wow! Talk about a rush!!! We didn't realize where the immediate rush of sales were coming from until, ding (light bulb), I happened to view Curlyproverbz YouTube channel and saw a new video with her naming our Leave In Conditioner the best she has EVER tried and she has tried many. She called it her 'bae' . A few days later, Farida (CurlyProverbz) sent me a DM of the video she created and left some amazingly positive words of her love of the product.

     Farida's (CurlyProverbz) honest experience, extremely beneficial knowledge and love of the products inspired her to create an amazing video on her Youtube Channel naming our Leave In Conditioner her hands down "Holy Grail Leave In Conditioner" (we were pleasantly pleasantly shocked) and we gained some amazing new customers and so far, repeat customers, around the globe within a matter of minutes that has continued to grow to date. Her video increased our  sales 3.5X (April 2018) and our email list gained over 800 new subscribers to date (April - June). Our repeat customer base has grown twice the size since April 2018 and Youtube has now been our consistent top social media conversion platform since April 2018, making 90% of our current sales generating from Youtube via CurlyProverbz channel. And, we are enjoying an amazing influx of reviews and feedback from beauties all over the globe with all hair types and are consistently receiving Insta Story mentions, photos and email messages of how much customers are loving our products. 

So a huge huge, gigantic THANK YOU to Farida, CONGRATULATIONS on the new baby and thank you to our loyal and new customers...we truly appreciate you!! Be sure to head over to CurlyProverbz Channel and WATCH THIS VIDEO to catch her review of our Leave In Conditioner. As always, thanks so much for being a part of our Green Beauty family!

 

 

HOW IMPLICIT BIASES AND SYSTEMIC RACISM PLAY ROLES IN HOW BRANDS CHOOSE TO MARKET

By Dominique Harris
on April 09, 2018
With 2 comments

Last week, I was enjoying some needed down time and came across one of my favorite Insta Brands and home tour websites, Design*Sponge . Design*Sponge shares amazing home tours and features from artists to chefs to many different genres of creatives. What I love most about Design*Sponge is that it consciously strives to continuously be inclusive of people of color, sexual orientation and various social demographics not only in their home tours, but also the various genres of creatives. I was reading a particular article which sparked my fancy asking the question 'Can You Support Indie Brands and Box Stores?' more specifically, 'can we ethically support handmade/independent work and big box stores at the same time? Check out the full article HERE. This article sparked my interest because I am a shopper who support both Big Box and Small Handmade Indie brands. The article addressed many of the concerns expressed when shopping Indie vs shopping big box, tackling issues such as: cost, accessibility, ethics, quality and quantity. It was great reading the comments posted after enjoying the article, as the concerns were equal parts cost + accessibility to ethics + quality..some really great points of view and overall good stuff!

OK..SO FOLLOW ME INTO THE MATRIX A BIT

After reading the article and comments, I engaged in a conversation with Grace Bonny, creator and founder of Design*Sponge, proposing an additional point of view that has been a major and ongoing concern from a different perspective that was not covered in the article nor comments. I expressed that when it comes to Indie brands as well as Big Box stores, the lack of diversity and the prevalence of exclusivity are major concerns in who these brands choose as their target demographic and who they choose to market to, as well as who they display via their websites and their social media sites. This, in turn, influences who people of color choose to support with their dollars. Also, since the popularity of social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram, we see this lack of diversity pertaining to the accounts they choose to 'regram' or 'repost' via their social media pages. What we notice, particularly as people of color, is that many of the brands that we love to support and even more when they are small Indie brands, is that the focus is very exclusive to a certain demographic, particularly a certain racial demographic. In this article, I want to address how implicit biases and how our exploitative economic system play roles in how brands choose how they market and to whom they chose to market to and how those choices influence how buyers of color choose to show  support.  I will also address how implicit biases and systemic racism affect how we as consumers are affected. First, let me begin by expressing that this article will address issues of  race as well as how race plays a major role in how we view social demographics and how they both play a role in how we choose to market and express inclusitivity. These are important topics that my husband and I speak about in intimate settings among our diverse group of friends and that diversity helps to bridge the gap of understanding more than one point of view. It helps to educate as well as learn, to share and embrace and most importantly, bring awareness to an issue that many times is overlooked or simply not even thought about. Hold on tight, there are layers to this madness!

IS IT REALLY ABOUT RACE?

Unfortunately, as much as we grow weary of thinking about it, race in the US is closely integrated within our economic system, woven into the fabric of the foundation. Because it is so woven into our cultural society, it can often go unnoticed, ignored or denied by non people of color. Though race is pretty much something that was created as a tool used to separate and create an unbalanced hierarchy, it became a living energy throughout the years to justify a racially exploitative economic system. With this, created an existence of implicit biases that have been, throughout the years, weaved into the fabric of our thoughts, our ideas, who we choose to associate with and influencing who we view as elite, middle class and poor, with people of color, particularly blacks in America due to many many systems that were consciously put into place which created an exclusion of many many people of color from the opportunity of progressing economically, being at the bottom of that economic pool. Check out some great articles HERE HERE and HERE regarding the wealth gap in America that was created and exist even in today's society and how this intentionally targeted economic system play a role in how we live in this society, circling back to how we view others, consciously or subconsciously, in this society.

WHAT IS IMPLICIT BIAS AND HOW DOES IT PLAY A ROLE IN US ECONOMICS?

Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an 'unconscious' manner. Implicit bias is different from explicit bias, which is bias we admit to. Circling back to how implicit bias play a role in how and to whom we choose to market, people of color, particularly, black and brown people in America, have not and currently are not associated with economic growth or empowerment, save for a top few that most people can name. And, let's be honest, if we can name a few, then that in itself shows a grossly uneven playing field. These biases that have been built up in our subconscious throughout our lives, affect our 'lived' experiences and how we deal with others who are different from us and play a role in how they are viewed, which ultimately play a role in how we choose to market our business and to who. A great podcast on understanding our implicit bias can be enjoyed HERE , (highly recommended). Because implicit bias play such a major role in hiring decisions, medical care and business decisions, it can also can play a role in our everyday lives. It can play a role in the neighborhoods we choose to live in, the establishments we choose to patronize, the shows we watch and how we target and market to chosen consumers.

HOW DOES THIS BIAS PLAY A ROLE IN HOW WE VIEW, INTERACT AND MARKET TO CONSUMERS

The problem with implicit bias is that it can create bad feelings about self, let's be honest, no one wants to feel bad about themselves. Because America is still struggling with reversing the legacy of institutional racism (societal patterns that impose impressive or otherwise negative conditions on identifiable groups on the basis of race or ethnicity) an institution that has left many communities segregated even today, it has aided in creating the pool from which we form relationships and societal circles. What happens, then, is that the backwards thinking, what we may think is normal is really cultural pressure that pushes you into biases, implicit and explicit. This in turn, affects how businesses, large, small and micro, choose to market and to whom they choose to market to, which reflects on their websites and social media pages. I witness this a lot in the wellness, green beauty, travel, fashion and interior world. It has been such an issue that brands such as REVOLVE came under heavy scrutiny fire and design focused magazines such as DOMINO was inspired to feature articles regarding diversity and inclusitivity. 

SO..WHY DOES WHO WE CHOOSE TO MARKET TO MATTER?

Well, taking a step back and digesting the information that I've shared above, how businesses choose to market and to whom play a part in the system of racism and implicit bias. It helps to debunk stereotypes when we consciously interact, work with and have conversations with people who look different from ourselves.

IN MY OWN BUSINESS HERE'S WHAT I SEE AND EXPERIENCE..

Being a handcrafter and small business owner, myself, for the past 7 years I see a lack of inclusitivity in the 'Green Beauty' industry, which is the industry that my brand would be a category of, in terms of featuring people of color in marketing and featured on social media for the brands.This lack of inclusiveness can lead people of color, people like me, who would have thought of supporting certain brands with feelings that those brands do not want potential buyers who look like me to view nor buy their products.On the flip side of business, I also deal with the inaccurate assumptions that because the business that I own and products that my company handcraft are created ONLY for people of color. So, I get to see both sharp ends of the swords.

SO..HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE OUR BIASES AND HOW CAN WE  BEGIN TO OVERCOME THEM?

Bottom line, everyone has 'lived' experiences and everyone's experiences are different and valid. When people of color voice their grievances about feeling excluded and their dollars not valued, listen. Those grievances are just as valid as when women voice their feelings about feeling excluded and not appreciated or deemed worthy or equal in a world dominated mostly by men. We all wish to see ourselves reflected when shopping or investing in brands that we find value, this is no different for people of color. Inclusitivity and the recognition that diversity exclusion exists is a major step in recognizing how implicit bias play a role in our society. Recognizing that racism is much deeper than the outward explicit nature of white sheet covered men and women spewing hate. It's much deeper than Neo Nazis marching aggressively in attempts to intimidate through terror and fear. Again, it's a system that affects many things from where and how we live, who we associate or do not associate with, who we value and who we don't, where we send our kids to school, where those schools are located and how they are funded, how institutions fund loans and to whom and how this plays a major role in wealth building, who companies choose to hire and who they do not, how we choose to market our products and to whom and right down to social media, who we choose to follow and who we do not. 

Think about these things here and ask honest questions of yourself:

When you think about where you live, where you shop, where your children attend school, events you attend, are you mindful of diversity? These things can appear so normal and so innocent, however, if people only attend or are only surrounded by people who look just like them, how are relationships formed with anyone who might be different? This makes me think about another conversation Grace and I were having regarding racism and implicit bias and I mentioned that much of the issue is that how can we expect non people of color to relate to our issues when they don't even associate (whether consciously or unconsciously) with people who look different from themselves. This is why diversity is important.

And even deeper, an important question to ask is, though we shouldn't quite label all things as 'racist' the question we do want to ask is, how do I make sure that I'm not subconsciously supporting systemic racism or harboring implicit biases? Here are some questions you can begin to ask yourself:

1. If you live in the US and have rarely or never been around people of color, how are you truly viewing people of color? How do you empathize with their 'lived' experiences? What are your initial thoughts of people of color and How do you form those thoughts, based on what circumstances? Are your thoughts and feelings formed based on images presented in media? 

2. As a brand owner or business, do you make conscious efforts to hire people other than those who look like you? What does your staff look like? 

3. Have you built personal relationships, beyond a 'hi' or 'bye' with a person of color?

4. When meeting or associating with people of color, do you use urban slang terms in hopes of fitting in or relating with the assumption that all people of color speak this way?

5. When you see a brand or business owned by a person of color, do you automatically assume the product or service are ONLY for people of color? Do you question the excellence more? The quality of the product or service more?

6. Do you automatically exclude certain neighborhoods as places you might live or send your kids to school? What do those neighborhoods look like? Those schools?

7. When you have a negative experience with a person of color do you automatically lump all persons of color in the same category, making them a monolith in your mind?

8. When you think of success and wealth, what type of people do you automatically associate with wealth and success? What aided you in forming these thoughts?

9. When a person of color enters a restaurant or event, do you automatically stare at them without realizing how that may create feelings of discomfort?

10. When you browse the website or social media page of a brand or business, do you recognize if they have an even presence of diversity? If no, why? If yes, what are the thoughts that run through your mind?

11. As a brand owner, do you consciously display diversity on your page? Do you regram/repost social media pages of people of color who have supported your business? If no, why? Do you question whether reposting a page from a customer who happens to be a person of color and how that will affect your following or business or brand image?

12.If you were to browse your social media following, what do you see? Do you follow or support pages owned by people of color? If no, why? If yes, do you actively engage?

13. If you do have a conversation with a person of color who may be expressing their concerns about discrimination or racism, do you truly listen without feeling the need to correct or offer advice or do you simply dismiss their concerns?

 14. Do you discuss race with your children? If not, why? If not, here is a great article on the importance of discussing race with your children. And if you wish to know how to begin talking to your children about race, check out this article HERE. Do you include books, toys and shows that show diversity in your home with your children? Are your kids exposed to persons of color in fields other than nannies, housekeepers, lawn care? Breaking issues of a broken system begins at home and begins early.

15.When speaking with your friends or perhaps a person of color, do you make mention that you, 'don't see race' or 'my best friend is black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American'? 

16. Do you become defensive when asked about racism and make it more personal? If so, why? Remember, systemic racism is more than about an individual and personal feelings, bottom line, it's more than just about you.

TIP: When asked questions by Whites on the detriments and intricacies of racism and how it affects day to day life for POC (People of Color), I love to recommend the audio book by Debby Irving "Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race". The author does a wonderful job narrating the book and truly helping for Whites to question their own biases and question their complicity into a racist system. I highly highly recommend this book and even further, after reading, discussing with your friends, family, definitely children and/or colleagues. This book will disrupt comfort zones, provoke some seriously deep thought and attack defensiveness.

So, I know that was pretty lengthy, but hopefully it will help spark awareness as to how our own thoughts, choices and actions can support a system that outwardly we may not agree with. I'm a huge 'why' person, so I'm always striving to get to the bottom of the 'why's' of how we think, act and react or respond. My belief is that in order to even begin the process of healing, one must have those hard truthful conversations with self and then with others. We may not necessarily be able to change society, but we can change our outlook and how we choose to live within this society, one thought, choice, conversation and action at a time.

 

Further reading..Important books that will help further understand the setbacks suffered and how those setbacks have affected much of the current economic hardships faced today by Black Americans.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zin

 

 

 

 

Meet the Family Behind The Brand and Welcome To Our Home

By Dominique Harris
on December 06, 2017
With 3 comments

There is something so amazingly gratifying and humbling about operating a business. It's especially gratifying operating a business with your spouse as well as homeschooling your kids and making it happen. 

When it comes to social media, I adore it for so many reasons. It can be a tool for connecting with old friends, classmates, new friends. A place for inspiration and motivation, learning and sharing, educating and growing. We use our social platform not only to bring awareness and market our brand, All Things O'Natural LLC, but to also connect with people around the globe through holistic living, homeschool, design, art, DIY and visual storytelling. And, I must say, there are some absolutely amazing accounts and amazing people that I've been inspired by. One in particular is the brand, Design*Sponge.

Design*Sponge was created by the talented Grace Bonny, who is a blogger, book writer and inspiration to over 900,000 on Instagram alone. I was attracted to her platform via Instagram not only because of the gorgeous photos that she posts to her wonderfully curated page, but also because she uses her huge platform to address conversations on diversity, inclusion, mindfulness of thought, speech and approach when dealing with issues of racism, privilege, sexism and the likes. Her book, "In The Company of Women" is a New York Times best seller and Design*Sponge also features some of the most amazing home tours EVER!!!

So, one amazing day in October 2017, actually it was on October 4 to be exact, senior writer for Design*Sponge, Sofia Tuovinen, inboxed me asking if my husband, Syeed and I would like to be featured as a Home Tour guest on their blog...Wait..What?!?!

Can you imagine my excitement? I have oogled over their site and have been swooned by many of their home tours for a few years now. So, can you guess what my answer was......

So, fast forward to 2 months later and at the wake of our 1 year anniversary of owning our home (we closed on December 12, 2016...also our wedding anniversary), our home tour is humbly gracing the blog, Instagram and Facebook accounts of Design*Sponge. Side note*** all of the support you guys have shown on our All Things O'Natural Instagram account as well as all of the comments left on our account and on the feature, as well as on Design*Sponge and Sofia.Tuovinen accounts are just simply mind blowing...we can't thank you enough! Your continuous support helped us get here.

To view our feature, please click on the picture below and feel free leave us a comment (trust me, we read them ALL), share and enjoy!

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