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Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.
But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.
To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.
Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.
What is Systemic Racism?
A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.
Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution
In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.
To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:
The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.
These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.
We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.
Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.
We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.
In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.
The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.
Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.
Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.
To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.
Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits
The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.
To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.
We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.
The Long View
For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.
Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.
In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Here at xoNecole our "summer body" goals consist of two things: confidence and strength. The physical perks that come along with those are just added bonuses, but still, it feels good to look in the mirror and have those reflected. If you feel like you need to get on track to finding your inner and outer hot girl as Megan Thee Stallion would say, we've got the workout for you. We promise you'll be rapping, "Handle me? Who gon' handle me?" in the mirror before you know it.
Tone & Sculpt trainer Danyele Wilson is a HIIT master and specializes in creating quick, effective workouts that are more about gaining confidence than losing pounds or inches.
She designed a powerful HIIT circuit exclusively for xoNecole readers that will have you feeling like the stallion that you are before any end of the summer soirées. Follow her instructions below for a mid-summer burn and then check out the rest of her workouts on the Tone & Sculpt app.
Perform each move below for the number of given reps. Repeat the circuit 3-4 times for a quick HIIT workout that will get your heart racing!
Dumbbell back lunge to knee drive: 10 reps each leg
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your upper body straight and gaze forward, step one leg backward, lowering your hips until knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.
Keep your weight in your front heel and drive your back leg forward, bringing that knee into your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
High knee run and stick: 30 seconds
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your left knee to your chest. Quickly alternate and lift your right knee to your chest, then your left knee, and finally stick with your right knee to your chest. Hold for a few seconds before alternating legs to repeat the same movement.
Romanian DeadLift to Dumbbell clean: 10 reps
Hold onto dumbbells and stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. With a slight bend to the knees and keeping them stationary, start lowering the dumbbells by bending at the waist and keeping the back straight.
In one swift motion, explosively extend through your hips and bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders, keeping the dumbbells as close to your body as possible the entire time. Lower the dumbbells to move into the Romanian deadlift starting position and repeat.
Broad jump to back-pedal: 30 seconds
Stand straight with your hands by your side and your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms back while explosively jumping forward, landing 4-6 ft. in front of your starting position. Shuffle back to the starting position and repeat.
Side plank thread the needle: 10 reps each side
Start in a side plank position with your hand raised. Lower your arm in and twist it under your torso, keeping the core engaged. Control your arm back up into the starting side plank position and repeat.
Editor's note: Remember, it's always best to consult your physician before making any extreme changes to your fitness routine.
To work out with Danyele, visit www.toneandsculpt.app to download Tone & Sculpt's free 14-day trial.
Featured image by Mike Tittel courtesy of Danyele Wilson
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Recently, someone wrote me to ask one specific question: "How is it that you can keep finding content on vaginas to write about?" Heck, if I know, chile. For one thing, they fascinate me. They just do. Plus, I figure that since our vaginas are a part of us and everything from head to toe makes us special, it's important that we have as much information as possible when it comes to learning how to properly care for our genital region. And since we are well into the summer season and it's hot as all get out, there's no time like the present to bring up a few tips that can keep "her" cool, calm and honestly, drier.
Let's get to it. Here are 12 tips that can keep your vagina in great shape, no matter what you and "her" plan on doing from now through Labor Day (well technically, September 22, which is when the summer season ends this year).
1. Go Commando
Hopefully, you're already sleeping naked more times than not since it decreases stress, helps to keep your skin healthy and can even boost your self-confidence levels. Something else that going to bed with nothing else on does is promote vaginal health. The reason why is because since our vaginas are naturally full of moisture and there is a certain amount of yeast that's inside of them, we have to be careful that we don't allow things to get too wet or it could cause the yeast to multiply which could lead to a pretty nasty yeast infection.
You see where I'm going with this, right? When it's hot, we sweat. When we sweat, it gets really wet down below. That's why, it really is OK — encouraged even — to go commando sometimes, even when you're out of the house. And what if you just can't imagine doing that? That's where the next point comes in.
2. Or Get Some Moisture-Wicking Undies
If for you, wearing underwear is an absolute must, invest in some moisture-wicking panties. These are the kind of undies that are made out of the type of fabric that actually pulls moisture away from your body instead of absorbing it. As a direct result, moisture is able to evaporate easier and quicker so that you don't feel wet all throughout the day.
If you'd like to check out some reviews on top moisture-wicking underwear that's currently on the market, First for Women has 11 of 'em that you can check out here. If you'd prefer to go a bit of the cheaper route, cotton (especially organic cotton) panties are a classic breathable fabric that works.
Oh, and if you're a thong kind of person, definitely avoid the ones that are made out of nylon, polyester or lace. If any kind of panty needs to breathe, it's a thong, so go with cotton or bamboo fabric, and definitely don't sleep in them if you've been wearing them all day long.
3. Make Your Own Vaginal Wash
I'm thinking that this probably goes without saying, but just for safe measure, there is no reason for you to wash your actual vagina (the canal/tube that runs from your vulva up to the entry of your uterus which is your cervix); it is self-cleaning which is why douching is an absolute no-no (the ingredients in douches tend to through your vagina's pH levels off balance). And while some health experts say that your vulva (the outer part of your vagina) only needs water to keep it clean, if you're like me and you want some extra back-up, it really is best to make your own vaginal wash. The reason why is because a lot of soaps are way too harsh and some body washes have too many chemicals in them.
If you agree yet don't feel like doing all of the work to make your own cleanser, Black-owned companies like Pangea sell vaginal washes that are pretty good (I've tried it before). Sites like Etsy carry all-natural homemade body washes too. Still, if you'd prefer to go about it yourself and all you need is a recipe, I've got you. Check out "Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes" that I wrote for the site a couple of years back. It will help to keep your va-jay-jay smelling and feeling fresh all summer long.
4. Up Your Vitamin C and Probiotics
Keeping your vagina in great shape means that you've got to stay on top of your immune system. One way to do that is to make sure that you get plenty of Vitamin C and probiotics in your body. Vitamin C is good for your genital region for a few reasons. It's high in antioxidants which can fight off free radicals and viruses. It contains micronutrients that can help to flush out harmful bacteria. It also helps to increase the acidic levels of your vagina, so that health issues like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections are less of a concern.
As far as probiotics go, there is such a thing as "good bacteria" and "bad bacteria". Probiotics are loaded with the good kind which is a good thing because they can help to balance the yeast in your vagina, so that the bad bacteria doesn't grow to the point of giving you a yeast infection.
Foods that are high in Vitamin C include citrus fruit, berries, broccoli, potatoes, bell peppers, dark leafy greens and kiwi. Foods that are high in probiotics include fermented foods such as (sour) pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt, miso soup, sourdough bread, kefir and kombucha. There are also supplements for both that you can take. If you want to take a probiotic one, Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Vaginal Care contains 50 billion CFU (colony forming units ) and 38 different strains of probiotics which is pretty darn impressive.
5. Make a Lemongrass and Sweet Almond Oil Ointment
What if you're concerned about vaginal odor? Well, first let me say that if your vagina has an ever-so-mild musky or tangy scent to it, that is pretty normal. If it smells a little like a copper penny, especially around your cycle, that's typically not a big deal. Some vaginas smell sweet; also, no cause for alarm. It's only when it gets into the strong ammonia or fishy arenas that you should be concerned and make an appointment to see your doctor. Still, if sweat seems to make your vaginal region smell a little stronger than you would like, while you should leave your actual vagina alone, you can make a topical ointment for your vulva area out of lemongrass essential oil and sweet almond oil.
Lemongrass is dope because it has a citrus scent (perfect for the summer season), along with antifungal and antibacterial properties that help to fight off the fungus that causes yeast infections. Sweet almond oil is cool because it's a great carrier oil and has a way of soothing your vaginal walls. One-third cup of oil with 3-5 drops of lemongrass added to it and applied to your vulva area only, should do the trick.
6. Try a Little Bit of Vaginal Ice Application Therapy
If you tend to be more active during the summer seasons and all of that exercising, cycling, hiking and whatever else you're doing has your vaginal tissues feeling tender, inflamed, itchy or irritated, something that you might want to try is a little bit of what is called vaginal ice therapy. All it consists of is applying some ice to your vaginal region for 15-30 minute stints, an hour apart, a few times a day. It's a method that can provide instant relief while taking some of the swelling down. If you'd like to try this but would prefer an alternative to ice, you might want to test out Vagi-Kool Reusable Feminine Cold Pack. Just pop it into your freezer for 2-4 hours and it's ready for use.
7. If You Get Ingrown Hairs, Do More Waxing
Something that I make sure not to miss, every four weeks, is my wax appointment. The woman who holds me down in this lane was just telling me how she wished more Black women went the waxing rather than shaving route because it really does decrease the amount of ingrown hairs that we get — especially down below. This means less bumps and also less little dark marks that the bumps can sometimes create. So yeah, I'm all about encouraging waxing.
That said, if you'd still prefer to shave, make sure you invest in a really good razor, that you gently exfoliate the area you plan to shave (it loosens up the hairs), that you then soak in warm water for about 15 minutes (it helps to soften the outer layer of your skin and your hair follicles), that you apply some shaving cream (it moisturizes and helps to protect your skin from the razor) and that you DON'T go against the grain of your hair's growth. All of this can reduce your chances of razor bumps (although waxing really is so much better, y'all; plus, you don't have to wax as much because it pulls hair from the root).
8. Soak in Some Apple Cider Vinegar
When your vagina's pH levels (which should be around 4.0-4.5, although it might be higher if you are going through menopause or are post-menopause) are out of balance, that can trigger an infection and/or odor. Believe it or not, something that can keep this from being an issue is apple cider vinegar. That's because it contains properties that are great at keeping your vagina at the acidic level that it's supposed to be. That's why it can be a good idea to take a bath that has 1-2 cups of the vinegar (make sure it has "the mother" because that's the kind that is the most potent) in it. If you soak for 20-30 minutes, 1-2 times a week, it can keep your vagina healthy, all year round.
9. Try a Menstrual Cup
OK. I was late on the menstrual cup train (hate that because they are pretty awesome) and while I'm sold now, I must admit that I'm still a bit on the hunt for the perfect one. Nixit is a menstrual disc that is cool except it won't stay tucked behind my pubic bone (a YouTuber by the name of Vicky Logan has a great review that you can check out here). Merula XL holds a lot of blood but I need something with suction. Intimina is awesome because it's skinny like a tampon. June has suction and is cost-efficient (although it doesn't hold as much blood as others).
Anyway, I really could do an article on menstrual cups and discs at this point.
Bottom line here, though, is if you want to feel basically like you're not even on your period during the summer season, the right menstrual cup could very well be the answer to your prayers. So long as you get the right fit and dump out the blood every 8-12 hours, you can wear and do just about anything you want (including having sex) without worrying about any leaking or period blood smell. Plus, menstrual cups last for about 10 years.
They're awesome in every way.
10. Cop a Tube of Lumē
There's someone I know who, whether it was summer or winter, she pretty much always sweated through her underwear and ultimately her clothing. Sometimes, it would create an odor. Because we were pretty close, I knew it wasn't a personal hygiene issue. She simply sweated a lot and her sweat carried a stench. If you can personally relate and you've never been quite sure what to do, there is a product on the market called Lumē. It's an all-natural deodorant that is specifically designed for underarms and your genital region. Word on the street is it's a type of cream that can stop the smell of bacteria for around 72 hours. You can learn more about it here.
11. Or Apply Some Cornstarch
Speaking of absorbing wetness, something else that's super effective and pretty gentle on your vaginal region is cornstarch. Sprinkling a little bit of it onto the crotch part of your panties can help to keep the moisture in that area from drenching your panties; plus, it's so much safer than powder than has a talc base to it.
12. Don’t Stay in What You Swim in for (Too) Long
One more. If you plan on being at the pool or beach for the day, you should probably bring along some loose and breathable clothes to change into. Whether it's salt or chlorine water, that on top of the material that your swimsuit is made out of (usually polyester or nylon which doesn't "breathe" very well), on top your sweat, is definitely a breeding ground for a yeast infection to occur. So don't stay in dripping wet anything. Dry off and change. You'll feel better and your vagina will too — all summer long.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Staples.
As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.
Well, here's where Staples comes in. Sis, this is not just the spot to drop in and grab a few replacement cartridges for your printer or a pack of paper when you're in a jam. With August being National Black Business Month, you'll definitely want to check out the slew of resources and perks Staples offers.
Staples' professionals can literally serve as the team behind your team. Their tailor-made services and selection of products offered in-store will help you adapt to any issues life might throw at you, and they literally have everything you need to bring your small business dreams to life!
Here are 5 must-haves that Staples provides for your business that you just won't be able to live without. These small business solutions ensure you'll remain a leader and can always be where the money resides:
1. Connections with communities.
Business owners are as strong as their tribes, and Staples can help you connect with the people where you work and live via their Community Business Directory. It provides access to Staples' extensive customer base and the potential to be featured in store and via community emails (which, by the way, reach an average of 15,000 readers). Listings in the directory are also linked from Staples Connect, so you'll get the exposure you need as a small business owner. You can register your business for free at StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business/Register.
They also offer a Local Chamber Program where, as a member, you'll have access to their resources and exclusive savings of 20% off your in-store print and marketing services, as well as 10% off your in-store purchases of regularly priced items. For information on enrolling, contact your local chamber leadership.
2. Valuable tips and advice just for entrepreneurs.
The Staples' Resource Center offers content on how-tos including marketing strategy, taxes, and finances, entrepreneurship advice, and more. It's a hub that benefits entrepreneurs by giving them the insider knowledge for continuing to work at their best and the tools needed to do so.
Find out everything from how to optimize your online shop (to make the experience better for customers to stay on the site and buy more) to profiles on successful businesses to inspire your own glow up. Visit StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business for the jewels!
3. A one-stop shop for office and tech necessities.
Beyond the impressive array of top quality office supplies, technology, and equipment offered at competitive prices―from paper, ink, and toner, to computers, printers, and electronics, to ergonomic furniture, facilities maintenance, and health and safety supplies. You can't beat deals on everyday staples, like shipping boxes, premium shipping supplies
(key word: premium), and 50-pack, 3-ply face masks. And the deals on top tech, especially for those constant video calls, online correspondences, and web meetings, are indeed not-to-miss, with hot items like the iPostal digital mailbox services, the Logi H800 wireless headset, and the Logi C922 Pro webcam.
4. Shipping made more than easy.
With everything gone mobile or virtual, you can't miss out on the best ways to transport items. With Staples, you can pack, mail and ship all in one place―even rush orders. UPS® shipping services are available early and late, 7 days a week. You can even complete your direct mail projects, from design to targeting to delivery.
5. Marketing, marketing, marketing!
You can also bring your signage concepts to life―from sidewalk signs, window, wall and floor decals, to indoor and outdoor banners, to paper, adhesive, and foam board posters. Staples has experts who can help you create consistent, professional-quality marketing materials for your brand. Custom outdoor banners are offered at competitive prices, and you can get double-sided A-frame sidewalk signs as well.
And let's not forget those extra details and special touches that allow your business to stand out and put you at top-of-mind for customers, partners, or prospective clients, like business cards, flyers, brochures, postcards, menus, advertising labels, presentations, manuals, and letterheads. Going custom is always a good look, and Staples has in-store professionals to help you with this!
Staples' general managers are standing by to help you with your business's unique needs, so tap in! Let this be the year you rebound, refresh, and rejoice in the growth you and your business deserve.
To find a store and access more resources for your small business, visit StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business, today!
Featured image by Getty Images
One of the things that I like the most about the change of seasons is there are food trends that go right along with them. When it comes to what's popular on plates all around the country this year, what's awesome about pretty much all of them is they are delicious and, if you would prefer to make them yourself, for the most part, they are low-maintenance too. This means you don't have to spend a ton of cash or spend loads of time in the kitchen in order to satisfy your cravings.
So, just what should you be consuming more of if you want your palate to currently be "in style"? (By the way, if you see a hyperlink, it's tied to a recipe. You're welcome.)
1. Big Breakfasts
Most of us grew up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives us an energy boost. It kicks up our metabolism rate. It helps to control our blood sugar levels. It's great when it comes to maintaining heart health. It helps us to concentrate and be more productive throughout the day. So, how cool is it that one of the biggest summer food trends this year is eating breakfast?
Not just any ole' cereal and orange juice either. I mean, the classic kind of breakfasts that are typically reserved for Sunday brunches or going out to eat. If you'd like a bit of creative inspiration, how about making some veggie breakfast tacos, blueberry and peace oatmeal, a couple of slices of scrambled egg toast, oat waffles or some mixed berry French toast bake? All delicious. All fairly easy to make. And all perfect for a first-meal-of-the-day-during-the-summer-season treat.
2. Strawberry Matchas
If you've never had matcha tea before, the backstory on it is it comes from the same plant that green tea does; only, it's grown differently. As far as its health benefits go, matcha is good for you because it's packed with antioxidants that are able to fight off free radicals. Not only that but it also contains properties that can strengthen your liver, increase your brain function and can even help you to lose weight. Since strawberries are in season during the summer (and are also loaded with antioxidants and fiber), it would make sense that strawberry matchas are all the rage right now. You can enjoy a strawberry matcha latte, an iced strawberry matcha latte or a strawberry matcha smoothie — all from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
3. Grilled Veggies
We all know that vegetables are good for us if we want to maintain optimum health. Well, something else that's popular this summer is grilled veggies. I don't know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind are veggie kebabs (some folks call them skewers). Anyway, if you're curious about which vegetables are currently in season, the list includes cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers (which are technically a fruit yet many folks forget that and they are great to grill), zucchini, garlic, eggplant and shallots.
4. Pickled Foods
At the end of the day, a pickled food is one that's been fermented by putting it in a combination of water, white vinegar, salt and sometimes a little bit of sugar in order to create a bit of a brine. This is good for you because it contains a lot of good bacteria that's great for promoting gut health. Luckily, pickled foods also made the list this year. As far as the kinds of foods that will give you some of the best pickling results, asparagus, mushrooms, peaches, squash, tomatoes, blueberries and grapes all make the list. For tips on how to pickle properly, The Kitchn has an article that you can check out by going here.
5. Iced Lavender Lattes
I'm telling you, if you've never had lavender ice cream before, you're really missing out!
While lavender is oftentimes approached from an essential oils angle, consuming dried lavender can be great if you've got digestive issues, if you're looking to reduce some stress or you want an all-natural approach to relieving a headache or toothache.
That said, another drink that is getting a lot of attention this summer is an iced lavender latte. If you add some pure vanilla extract and oat milk, it could easily become one of your favorite summertime drinks. You can cop a recipe for it here.
6. Mediterranean Pitas and Greek Salads
Are you someone who happens to absolutely adore Mediterranean food? If so, that's great because this type of cuisine has a reputation for maintaining weight loss, reducing our risk for heart disease and strokes, decreasing the chances of cancer cells developing, helping to prevent type 2 diabetes and even easing depression-related symptoms. Two types of Mediterranean food that you should get on before the fall season arrives are pitas and Greek salads. Click here for a vegetarian pita recipe and here for one that includes chicken.
7. Rice Rolls
Another big food trend right now is rice rolls. They are a Cantonese dish that's made from a Chinese rice noodle known as shahe fen and is then filled with meat and/or veggies. Some folks prefer them steamed while others like them to be pan-fried. Either way, if you're looking to deviate a bit from your normal palate, rice rolls are a cool way to do it.
8. Vegan Fried Chicken
You really would have to be living under a rock that is under another rock to not know that veganism continues to soar. If you've been considering trying it out, but it's super hard for you to imagine life without, say, fried chicken, another big food trend this summer is yep, you guessed it — vegan fried chicken, chile. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian. However, I did grow up Seventh-Day Adventist and that came with all kinds of meat alternatives which means that I can vouch for the fact that some of them (so long as you make sure the gluten, sodium and preservatives aren't totally off of the charts) actually taste pretty good. Word on the street is the site Blacks Going Vegan's Crispy Spicy Popeye's Chicken Style Vegan Fried Chicken is definitely worth giving a shot. If you wanna learn how to make it, go here.
9. Charcuterie Boards
If you've always wondered how to pronounce "charcuterie", it's shar·koo·ter·ee. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, the long story short of a charcuterie board is it's a French tradition that consists of putting together cured meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, fruits and artisan breads such as naturally leavened white or whole grain bread, ciabattas or baguettes. These boards are ideal if you plan on hosting some sort of summer-themed party this year. A lot of restaurants sell them pre-assembled or you can learn how to make your own by clicking here.
10. Homemade Sorbet
I am unapologetically THE ice cream girl. Although I must admit that the more I learn about dairy, the more intentional I am about finding alternatives, so that I don't overdo it. One that I like a lot is sorbet. If you've always wondered what the differences are between ice cream, sorbet, sherbet and (another goodie) gelato — ice cream contains fat from milk; sorbet consists of nothing but fruit and sugar; sherbet is sorbet with milk added to it, and gelato is a custard-based kind of ice cream. While all of these are the absolute bomb around this time of year, it's sorbet that is getting most of the love in the food trending department. And you know what? You'll be kicking yourself once you find out how easy it is to make. The Flavor Blender has an article entitled "Easy Fruit Sorbet (Only 3 ingredients and so many flavors!)" that is definitely worth checking out. Enjoy!
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Naomi Osaka has recently released her self-titled Netflix docuseries, and giving us a rare glimpse into the 23-year-old tennis player's personal life. She shows off her relationship with rapper Cordae, and we also see her close bond with her older sister, Mari Osaka. Like Naomi, Mari is an experienced tennis player. The 25-year-old made her professional debut in 2014, then retired in early 2021.
While the two have shared the tennis court from time to time, including in a doubles match at the Pan Pacific Open in Japan in 2017, they are a close duo off the court as well. The sisters have shared some adorable snaps together on their Instagram accounts over the years, making them a Serena and Venus-like sisterhood that we can't help but to love.
With captions like, 'sister, sister" or, when speaking of Mari, lovingly referring to her as "the only person who can match my crazy, possibly exceed," their relationship has us swooning.
Additionally, Mari opens up about their bond in "Voices of a Champion," a featurette narrated by the older sister over throwback home videos and pictures of the two.
"We dreamed of being champions. Defying labels, courting excellence, each choosing victory over the other. Our parents organized our dreams and trained us to fulfill them. Their excellence reflecting in our character, in our discipline."
She continues, as footage of her playing against Naomi on the tennis court years ago.
"Play became serious and we learned as I schooled you. Me: accustomed to winning; you: saying you'd beat me tomorrow. The day you caught up to me something clicked in you, and that piece of your destiny became real. Each win builds a platform that we'll use to make impact, finding purpose on and off the court and opening ourselves up and cheering each other on. Parallel paths. Becoming the champions we need. We dreamed of being champions, Mari and Naomi."
Mari's love letter to Naomi comes three months after she announced her retirement from professional tennis in March, which she admits she didn't particularly love. She captioned a photo in a since-deleted Instagram post:
"I am retired from playing tennis. It was a journey which I didn't enjoy ultimately but I'm grateful for all the memories and support I've gained and received over the years from the sport. I'm moving on now so you can look forward to new fun projects upcoming in the future."
Happy birthday to my sister! 😩❤️🙌🎂🎉🎊🎁 https://t.co/UbpPHEMXmF— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ)1522775405.0
The siblings last competed against one another in March 2019 at the Miami Open.
That same month, the currently most powerful tennis star told The New York Times about growing up playing against Mari.
"Up until I was 15 she was 6-0-ing me, ridiculous. I don't know what happened, maybe finally something clicked in my head, but for sure she was beating me. In the win-loss record, she's up by like a million or something."
Where have we heard this story before?
Naomi Osaka is streaming on Netflix now.
Watch "Voices of a Champion," narrated by Mari below:
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"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."