Most fans of Ari Lennox love that the songstress prioritizes giving it to us straight with no chaser in her music. Turns out, the stripped-down and raw approach does not only influence her lyrics but also her beauty routine. Let's face it, the billion-dollar beauty industry can be downright exhausting.
From following trends to brands sneakily adding unhealthy ingredients, to just being downright confused about what products are best. Instead of getting tripped up by the hype, when it comes to skincare, Ari decided to go with what feels right for her. She shared with Allure:
"I'm open to someone glowing me up and enlightening me on key products to have in my house — but I don't go out of my way to do that. And then I don't really... I mean, I do kind of care what people think, but it's more about what makes me comfortable, what makes my skin happy. I've noticed my skin doesn't need much to be happy, so I just stick with simple."
Water and Shea butter? Can you believe it? Shea Butter Baby is about to hit so differently, ain't it? When the songstress isn't singing from her p*ssy, or partnering with Crown Royal and The Main Street Alliance in order to give a helping hand to those who worked in bars, clubs, and stages that have been shut down as a result of COVID, sis is just one of us trying to find a protective style that makes her feel pretty. Ari explains:
"My only thing is, when I do protective styles, I [typically] do braids, [and then I feel like they] are so not cute. Other people's braids be looking so beautiful, but mine don't. It seems like they're just not luscious when I try to braid my hair. [Once I get to day two], they'll feel a little dry and shriveled up. Do you ever experience that? Do your braids really listen to you?"
While I highly doubt that there is a protective style that Ari cannot pull off, the woman is speaking the truth about how it is a journey to find a protective style that feels good on you. It takes trial and error, and a stroll into the kitchen to grab household items like apple cider vinegar to help aid itchy wefts and hair that is about to be braided directly to your scalp.
All the money that Ari appears to be saving by adding an 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality when it comes to her skincare routine seems to have stacked up enough for her to become a new homeowner. However, she is not letting the newness push her into spending money that she does not have on decorations and renovations that she cannot afford:
"I find I have to, once again, be still and accept that I can't do everything that I want right away. That's been hard to accept because I like to watch a lot of home improvement shows. To know that I can't do everything in one day or in a month, [knowing that I can't] fix everything I want to fix is driving me crazy."
Phew, speak on it. It's kind of hard not to vibe with someone who is so moisturized.
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Featured image via Ari Lennox/Instagram
New Jersey native creating a life that she loves while living in gratitude. Lifestyle and wellness creative, fur mom, full-time lover of laughter. She is out for revenge against the darkness by being the light ,taking her own advice, traveling the world, and spreading love one "yasss queen" at a time. Keep up with her via IG @Iamzaniah
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
A Cape Town Travel Guide: Black Girl Edition
If you haven’t been to Africa, this is your sign to go. My first time visiting the continent of Africa also happened to be my first time working on the continent of Africa. I worked there for a little over a month and did minimal research before I went. I was very well aware of the picture that America has painted of Africa since I was a child, so I wanted to go there without any additional preconceived notions, and I’m glad I did.
I learned so much, saw so much, and unlearned even more. Africa is rich in culture, views, traditions, and many more. In talking to the citizens there, it is clear that their love for the U.S. and the perception of who they think we are runs deep. However, their adoration for America was a hard pill to swallow for me sometimes because America/Americans are often looked at as the prize. While I can understand their viewpoint, I will respectfully have to disagree. That’s a story for a different day, but I will say that I am so thankful to have experienced Africa first-hand and that so many of my previous ideas and understandings were debunked.
Most people who’ve visited the motherland will talk highly about Ghana, Kenya, and Liberia (as they should). But Cape Town, South Africa, should be held to the same standard. From the food, the views, the activities, and most importantly, its citizens, Cape Town has fast become one of the most popular places to visit in Africa. If you need a good head start on where to go, this list of places below should give you a good head start.
Places to visit in Cape Town
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Bo Kaap – This beautiful residential neighborhood in Cape Town has quickly become an Instagramable favorite for many tourists visiting the capital city. Many people enjoy taking pictures in this neighborhood because the homes are so colorful and vibrant. Visitors are also welcome to tour Bo Kaap and learn about the neighborhood and its history.
Aquila Private Game Reserve – What’s a visit to Africa without touring one of their most notable safari’s? Aquila Private Game Reserve is also where they house “The Big 5;” elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. This location also offers horseback riding, among other festivities.
Quad Biking – ATV’ing is one thing in the States, but in South Africa, it’s a whole other experience.
Newlands Forest – If you’re looking for a good walking/biking trail or for some good views, Newlands Forest is a must-stop. If you’re driving, just be careful. The street entryway is right off the street and can get a little dangerous if you’re not careful.
Kloof Street – Kloof Street is a popular street in Cape Town. It’s full of various restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and so much more!
Soi Bar – A personal favorite of mine, Soi Bar is a semi-new bar spot infused with various Asian dishes. If nothing else, you must try their creative drinks. Be sure to ask for the drink they offer on the hidden menu. Included with the drink is a security escort.
Green Street Market - talk about supporting Black businesses. Be sure to stop by Green Street Market to find the latest jewels, hand-stitched fabrics, and more! Cause what’s a trip without souvenirs?
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Chapmans Peak - Be sure to take your time and drive slowly as you’re en route to Chapmans Peak. Also, note that it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Table Mountain – You’ve not been to Cape Town if you haven’t visited Table Mountain. For all my SpongeBob Squarepants fans, you’ll also be able to learn a little back story about The Flying Dutchman. Most, if not all, people who’ve gone will tell you to take the cable car up the mountain. One, it’s a five-minute glide-up, and the view is worth it. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up the mountain. And I mean hike! Depending on where you start, hiking up the mountain will take a minimum of 2 1/2 hours up, and be sure to release your inner Meg knees for that walk down. It’s the hardest part!
Canal Walk Shopping Center - If you’re looking for more urban or modern attire, then head on over to one of, if not the biggest mall in Cape Town, which is located at Canal Walk shopping center. It’s even got a grocery store inside.
Banana Jam Cafe – As for late-night festivities or if you and some friends just want to wind down for some drinks and good food, Banana Jam Cafe is a great place to start. It’s a nice Caribbean vibe. They brew their own beer, and the music is just right. You won’t be disappointed!
Boulders Beach – I’ve heard of horses at the beach, maybe even pigs, but have you ever seen penguins on the beach? You will at Boulders Beach!
Whether you’re traveling solo or with some friends, you’ll get bonus points if you know some phrases and words to help you along your journey. Here are a few words and phrases that I picked up while in Cape Town:
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
- Kushushu (Koo-Shu-Shu)- Hot
- Iza (E-za) - Come
- Izapha (E-za-puh) - Come here
- Imma (Ee-ma) - Wait
- Bamba (Bam-Buh) - Hold
- Tata (Tah-Tah) - Carry or take
- Langa (Lan-guh) - Sun
- Amanzi (Uh-man-zi) - Water
- Puza (Pu-zah) - Drink
- Ewe (Eh-wei)– Yes
- Hamba (Ham-ba)/ Vaya (Vi-ya) – Go
- Ke Sharp (Ke-Shap) – It’s good
- Ndilambile (Dee-lam-bee-leh) – I’m hungry
- Lala (La-la) - Sleep
- Mzanzi (Mm-Zan-zee) – South Africa
- A con (A-con) - Air conditioner
- Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you
- Chomey (Cho-me)/Mikey (Mikey) - Friend
- Baie (Bai) Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you very much
- Cheers – Goodbye
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Feature image courtesy of Chivone Smith