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The DIY Way To Prep Your Feet For Spring

It's time to put those toes on full display, sis.

Beauty & Fashion

While it might not exactly feel like it's officially springtime right now (I recently read that many states are currently experiencing some of the coldest temperatures for this time of year), that doesn't mean that you shouldn't get those feet of yours spring season ready. And while it would be oh so nice to simply set a pedicure appointment at your favorite nail salon, your budget—or shoot, in 2020, the government—may not make that very easy or probable; not for a while anyway.

Good thing there are some ways that you can both prep as well as pamper your feet at home. If you get the right ingredients and set the right atmosphere—light a soy candle, put on some of your favorite music and make sure that you've got a basin that's big enough to put both of your feet in—your feet can still feel luxurious and your toes can still look like they are ready for every open-toe pump and pair of sandals that you've got.

Soak Your Feet in Lavender and Rosewater

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Aside from the fact that soaking your feet can feel totally amazing, there are some health benefits that come with doing it too. If the water is super warm (to the point of being almost hot), it can increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation. If you add 10 drops of lavender essential oil to your soak, the oil will relieve anxiety, decrease insomnia and offer up a lingering scent that is soft as well as feminine. Then, if you pour a half cup of rosewater into the water, it will help to maintain the pH balance of your feet's skin, lighten the appearance of any discoloration or scars your feet may have and, nourish and moisturize your feet too. Can't you already feel the instant relief?

Scrub Your Feet with Strawberries and Honey

I can't think of one part of our body that can't benefit from a good old-fashioned DIY scrub. One that personally tops my list is a strawberry and honey foot scrub. Because strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C, they can help your body to produce the collagen that your feet need in order to keep looking young (yes, your feet can age too). Strawberries also have folic acid which helps your feet to produce new skin cells. Something else that strawberries contain is the antioxidant ellagic acid; it protects your skin from damaging UV rays that will only get stronger during the spring season. As far as honey goes, it's a humectant (it pulls moisture from the air), so it helps to keep your skin moisturized. Honey is also a natural antiseptic, an exfoliant, and it even contains properties that help to brighten your complexion. If you're all about giving this particular scrub a shot, click here for some step-by-step instructions.

Baking Soda Removes Dead Skin

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Putting three tablespoons of baking soda into a basin of warm water and then letting your feet soak for 20 minutes or so is a wonderful way to remove any dead skin that your feet may have on them. That's because baking soda serves as an alkaline ingredient that naturally exfoliates. Plus, its gritty texture can make your feet smooth too. Just be sure to avoid this tip if you happen to have sensitive skin. Baking soda is pretty powerful and, sometimes it can throw off your skin's pH balance if you've got naturally sensitive skin. Otherwise, you should be all good.

Heal Cracked Heels with Some Mouthwash

If you happen to have any Listerine in your house, did you know that it's a great way to get rid of cracked heels? The reason why is because it contains the ingredient methyl salicylate which actually acts similar to salicylic acid which is found in a lot of anti-aging products.

What both of these things do is they exfoliate the skin; especially really dry skin. As a bonus, Listerine is a disinfectant that is able to treat foot issues like athlete's foot and toenail fungal infections.

Use Carmex for Your Cuticles

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If you moisturize your feet on a daily basis, you won't have to rely on cuticle oil much. But if you notice that your nails are dry and cracked, applying some Carmex can help to give your cuticles moisture as well as protect them and your nails from damage. Is there some special ingredient that it contains? Not really. It just happens to be cheaper than a lot of cuticle oil brands; thicker too.

Try Some Mint and Lime

I wouldn't be surprised, in the least if, the last thing that you considered to be a great treatment for your feet is a mint and lime combo. But it is. If you think about the menthol that's in mint, you can probably already imagine just how invigorating it will make your feet feel. Some other good things about mint is it's able to brighten the skin tone of your feet as the properties in mint also lock in moisture. Another cool thing about mint is it's a mild astringent that is able to deeply cleanse your feet too. And, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe any bug bites that you might experience as the weather heats up. Lime? Its juice is able to naturally treat dark spots, its citric acid can remove dead skin and also, thanks to its antioxidant, disinfectant and antibiotic properties, lime can also help to protect your feet from infection. Simply mix two cups of Epsom salt with the juice of one lime, five drops of peppermint essential oil and a half-cup of baking soda. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and it will be the ultimate pick-me-up.

If Your Feet Are Extra Dry, Use Apple Cider Vinegar

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If you fill a basin with hot water, a half-cup of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, you will have just created a solution to ashiness. Between apple cider vinegar's anti-inflammatory properties and its acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid, it is a way to soothe swollen feet and exfoliate them while healing dry skin. As a bonus, apple cider vinegar is an effective foot fungus killer. Soaking for about 15-20 minutes so do the trick.

Cypress Oil Will Deodorize Them

One site that I personally dig a lot is Dr. Axe. So, when I first heard about cypress essential oil, I Googled his site, just to see what his thoughts were on it. I was sold. If you like to wear a woodsy/spicy kind of scent, that's basically the best way to describe how the oil smells. As far as how it can benefit you, cypress is an oil that helps to heal wounds and infections, detoxes the body, treats respiratory issues, relieves muscle cramps and softens the appearance of varicose veins and cellulite. Know what else it does? It serves as a natural deodorant; that's because it has the reputation for being a super astringent. Putting a couple of drops on your feet (along with a carrier oil) can nix any odor, plus it can provide a big energy boost as well.

Vodka Will Refresh Your Feet

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Between you and me—do your feet stink? If so, pick up some vodka (if you don't already have some).

The reason why vodka works is because it contains a property known as ethanol which is a non-toxic antiseptic that kills odor-causing bacteria. If you really want to knock the funk out, add about 15 drops of tea tree essential oil; it has antibacterial and antifungal properties in it.

Just pour a half cup of vodka, along with the oil into a glass (or plastic if you want to carry the bottle around in your purse) bottle and shake it (so that the vodka and oil blend well together). Then spray your feet whenever you feel the need.

Sleep “in” Some Vicks or Some Aloe Vera Gel

Do you want to take pampering your feet to another level? If so, get yourself some 100 percent pure Aloe vera gel. It has vitamins A, C and E in it. It is loaded with antioxidants. Aloe vera also contains lupeol, which is a property that acts as an antiseptic and analgesic (something that relieves pain). And, it is a great moisturizer and wound healer. Before turning in at night, wash your feet and pat them dry. Apply some coconut, sweet almond or grapeseed oil on your feet. Then, apply a thick layer of Aloe vera (make sure to get in between your toes too), put on some cotton socks and go to bed. The oil will penetrate deeply into your feet as the Aloe vera seals the oil in and protects your feet in the process. You'll wake up to your feet feeling softer than your hands. And you'll absolutely love it!

Ever Wonder How to Cut Your Toenails Properly?

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Once your feet are looking and feeling great, it's time to get to your actual toenails. First, it's best to use toenail clippers instead of fingernail clippers. They're bigger and will help you to get a more "clean" cut. Cut each toenail straight across, avoiding curving around the edges; that can lead to ingrown nails, if you're not careful. Speaking of preventing ingrown nails, also don't cut your nails too short. If you want to even your nails out a bit, use a nail file instead.

Also, avoid cutting your toenails immediately after getting out of the tub. Nails have a tendency to bend or tear if you cut them while they are wet or damp. Give them about an hour to dry. Oh, and whatever you do, definitely do not cut your cuticles; that could lead to bleeding or infection. Use cuticle sticks to push them back instead.

You Ready for Some Toe Polish Hacks (That Also Work for Nails Too)?

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DIY toe separators. Both of my fourth toes are a little closer to my third than I would like. One way to keep them from running into each other is I use toe separators. If you don't have time to run to a beauty supply store to get some, get a sponge while you're grocery shopping instead. Cut them into rectangular shapes and you'll be good to go.

Dip your toes in cold water. If, while polishing your nails, you are pressed for time, something that you can do to speed up the drying process is to put your nails into cold water first. It will help the polish on your nails to harden faster. Just make sure that the water is ice cold; as cold as you can possibly stand it. That's how you can get the best results.

Use steam to create a matte look. I don't know about you, but absolutely adore matte nails. One way to get that kind of finish is first, to put a dash of cornflower into your polish. Then, paint your nails like normal and to put them in front of some steam. For your nails, you can simply put them over a pot of boiled water. For your toes, try a clothes steamer; that should work.

Try a tea bag to fix a broken nail. Broken nails are the absolute worst. An awesome workaround hack is to empty all of the contents of tea bag out. Then, cut a small piece of the bag, place it where the break is, secure it with nail glue and polish your nails like normal. If that sounds too to be true, this video serves as a cool confirmation. Just keep in mind that this works for natural nails only.

Put a rubber band on your polish. Don't you just hate it when you can't seem to open a bottle of polish, no matter how hard you try? Rather than using the back of your teeth, put a rubber band on the top of the bottle instead. It will—or at least, should—make it so much easier to open.

One of the best things about springtime is it gives us the opportunity to retire our boots and pull out the strappy heels. If you follow these DIY tips, you'll literally be able to put your best foot—well, feet—forward all spring long. Happy springtime, y'all!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

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:

Voting Rights

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.

Student Debt

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.

Postal Banking

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.

Fair Housing

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.

Broadband Access

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.

Reparations

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.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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