A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Nikki Giovanni

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Nikki Giovanni

Women’s Health: The Real Reason French Women Don’t Get Fat

Women’s Health: The Real Reason French Women Don’t Get Fat

Women’s News: Mirror, Mirror: Looking for Reflections of Self

Women’s News: Mirror, Mirror: Looking for Reflections of Self

Women’s News: Mirror, Mirror: Looking for Reflections of Self

Jillian Lauren

Author and blogger

As a child, I was fixated on mirrors. Time and time again, my parents would catch me in some elaborate, solo musical production performed for an audience of one on the back of my bedroom door. Not only was mirror gazing a solitary indulgence, it was also a public compulsion. I remember being mocked by my Hebrew school classmates when they busted me transfixed by my own reflection in the long windows of the temple gift shop like a Jewish mini-Narcissus.

Until recently, when confronted with memories of my embarrassing pastime, I’ve always reached the obvious conclusion: I was hopelessly vain. Worse yet, I was hardly physically exceptional enough to justify such fascination. So I wasn’t just vain, but delusional to boot.

But mirrors are more than just a place to check your makeup or your air guitar technique. In myths and fairy tales, mirrors are often a mystical thing — half of this world and half of another. Mirrors play an integral role in Snow WhiteThe Snow QueenBeauty and the BeastThrough the Looking Glass and the myth of Narcissus, among others. Perseus kills Medusa by using a mirror. Mirrors can provide portents of future events, can hold malevolent spells and can even be a portal to other worlds.

Lately, I’ve begun to see my fascination with mirrors as the result of an impulse more fundamental than vanity. Mermaids traditionally carry mirrors as a symbol of their duality. As an adopted child, I, too, lived in the borderlands between two worlds. I didn’t grow up physically resembling my family and didn’t see much of a correspondence, physical or otherwise, between myself and the disturbingly homogenous population of the conservative town in which we lived. I secretly harbored suspicions that I had been dropped into northern New Jersey by sadistic aliens. Or perhaps I had been abandoned by a princess who couldn’t raise me because of an evil spell — the very sort of princess who might have a magic mirror.

We all live on a shifting frontier between truth and fiction. Memories are a collaboration between past and present. The events of our lives are shaped by the dreams, fantasies and beliefs that circle them and vice versa. For adopted children, this hazy boundary between life and narrative takes on an added dimension of urgency, because in some ways we are forced to self-invent from the gate. The inability to easily concretize an identity can lead to feeling disconnected. It can drive you to stare at your own face for too long, to wonder who exactly you are and where you came from. But it can also awaken the narrative possibilities within you. The loss created by adoption leaves a gap, a void. If you are a certain kind of person, you learn to fill that void with story.

My birth mother recently came to visit, graciously agreeing to participate in a series of oral histories I’m recording. I had met her briefly once before, but hadn’t seen her in nearly fifteen years. I picked her up curbside at the airport and as I hopped out of my car to hug her, the late afternoon sun glanced off her eyes and the resemblance struck me nearly breathless for a moment. Her eyes were the same shape and unusual muddy green color as my own. A bit lighter, maybe. A bit more careworn, certainly. But still, the similarity startled me. It occurred to me that this sense of recognition is what most people experience every day of their life. As a result, perhaps they don’t feel compelled to look quite as hard in the mirror.

This search for reflections in the world around us is an essential impulse. It’s an impulse that isn’t only answered by our families, but by music, art, books, lovers, friends — and by stories.

In my adult life, I don’t look in the mirror as much as I used to. What the mirror never gave me, I found in narrative. My hunger for connection inspired me to tell stories. I am grateful for it every night as I lie down with my own son, who is also adopted, and spin him tales in which he is a warrior, a prince, a hero. For now, he can take any one of these reflections and choose for himself a truth. And one day, I hope he will tell me a story about who he is, and it will be far better and truer than any story I could invent for him.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jillian-lauren/adoption_b_1887275.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: The Real Reason French Women Don’t Get Fat

There’s no doubt that certain smells can make you lose your appetite. (Ever catch a whiff of a New York City subway on a hot summer day? Vile.) Turns out there may be a way to produce a similar (but less offensive) effect: makers of a new French fragrance claim that smelling a pretty perfume can lead you to eat less and look slimmer.

The perfume, Veld’s Prends-Moi (or “take me” in English), bills itself as the “world’s first slimming perfume.” According to company data, 75 percent of testers experienced fewer food urges by spritzing the scent on in the morning and in response to cravings, and massaging it on problem areas twice a day. Moreover, 82 percent of testers reported feelings of comfort–a side effect welcomed by emotional eaters who tend to turn to food for comfort (raising my hand). Skeptical? Here’s what makes this potion potent, according to its makers:

1. Appetite-curbing scent: Prends-Moi also contains betaphroline, an ingredient said to stimulate skin cells to release b-endorphins, chemicals in your body that send feel-good signals to the brain. The brand claims that these pleasurable feelings will curb the need to eat compulsively. (Read up on other tricks to effectively suppress your appetite.)

2. Slimming ingredients: Prends-Moi contains caffeine, carnitine, and spirulina extract (algae), ofte

n found in anti-cellulite products. Because these elements are said to help break down fat when massaged on problem areas, Veld’s claims that topical application of Prends-Moi helps slim.

Experts Answer: Does It Work?

Can sniffing this make you skinny?

Could Prends-Moi be the real reason French women don’t get fat? Slim chance, says scent psychologist Avery Gilbert, Ph.D. The product may stimulate skin cells to release endorphins—to some degree, he says. But enough to send a message to the brain, creating a sense of well-being that leads to weight loss? “It’s quite a stretch,” says Gilbert.

However, there may be some science behind Prends-Moi notes. “Odors can be used to help people lose weight.” says Alan Hirsch, M.D., director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, whose studies have shown that food flavors—green apple, banana, and peppermint—are more effective than non-food scents, including florals, for weight loss. Prends-Moi has notes of bergamot, mandarin, grapefruit, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lilac, vanilla, patchouli, and sandalwood—a lovely, citrusy-floral-woodsy blend “The grapefruit, mandarin, and vanilla in this fragrance may have some effect,” he says. A separate study from Osaka University in Japan found that rats exposed to grapefruit oil three, times a week for 15 minutes intervals, not only had less of an appetite, but also lost weight. So maybe there was something to that grapefruit diet: its zesty scent. (Use grapefruit and any other scents your nose desires to make your own scent.)

Because the brand offers none of their own research to substantiate the fat-blasting power of Prends-Moi, we asked dermatologist David E. Bank, M.D., to weigh in. “Caffeine, carnitine, and spirulina supposedly work by reducing the storage of lipids and promoting collagen production, which will decrease fat and cellulite,” he says. They have a temporary firming and plumping effect on the skin, smoothing out the appearance of cellulite, but that vanishes once you stop using them, he says.

Bottom line: Prends-Moi is no magic bullet for weight loss—even if was developed in a country where women eat buttered croissants and drink copious amounts of wine—and stay slim. Le sigh. But if the mere act of spritzing on a fragrance keeps your hands out of the cookie jar, then by all means, spritz away. (It’s harmless in comparison to the crazy cleanses being pedaled out there.)

How to Sniff Yourself Slim
Prends-Moi (42 euros or roughly $53, velds.fr) is currently not available in the U.S. If you can’t get your hands on a bottle (according to Britain’s Daily Mail, there was a 6,000-person waiting list when Prends-Moi hit the UK market), channel its appetite-curbing power by taking a whiff of one of these whenever the kitchen calls your name:

Harvey Prince Eau De Lite Eau de Parfum ($55, harveyprince.com) is a minty, fruity scent make with craving-calming peppermint, green apple, and vanilla.

DKNY Be Delicious Heart NYC Eau de Parfum Spray ($65, sephora.com) offers fresh notes of green apple and grapefruit.

Kiehls Aromatic Blends Fragrant Body Spray in Nashi Blossom & Pink Grapefruit ($40,kiehls.com) or Nest Grapefruit Votive Candle ($14, nestfragrances.com) both offer a light grapefruit scent.

Read More: http://blog.womenshealthmag.com/glow/the-real-reason-french-women-don%E2%80%99t-get-fat/

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Nikki Giovanni

I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.
— Nikki Giovanni

Poet and writer. Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr., on June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Nikki Giovanni is a prominent poet and writer who first caught the public??s attention as part of the Black Arts movement of the late 1960s. Growing up in the Cincinnati area, she often visited Knoxville to see family, especially her maternal grandmother. After graduating with honors from Fisk University in 1967, she returned to Cincinnati and established the city??s first Black Arts Festival. Giovanni also began writing the poems that are included in her first self-published volume, Black Feeling, Black Talk(1968).

By the mid-1970s, Nikki Giovanni had established herself as one of the leading poetic voices. She won a number of awards including Woman of the Year from Ladies?? Home Journal in 1973. Giovanni also made several television appearances, including the African American arts and culture show, Soul!. During the 1980s, she continued to publish and spent much of her time touring to attend speaking engagements. Giovanni also found time to teach at College Mount St. Joseph and Virginia Tech University where she still works as a professor.

In recent years, Nikki Giovanni has produced several new works. For children, she wrote Jimmy Grasshopper Versus the Ants(2007) and Rosa (2005), a picture book about legendary civil rights figure Rosa Parks. Her latest poetry collection is Acolytes (2007). Also an accomplished writer of nonfiction, Giovanni wrote On My Journey Now: Looking at African-American History through the Spirituals (2007).

A Message From The Creator

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