life

8 Awe-Inspiring Instagram Travel Accounts to Follow

Whether you’re heading overseas on a romantic trip for two or hitting the road with friends, what good is traveling if you can’t find a creative and fun way to share the experience with others? Today, social media has created a trusty and inspired haven through Instagram for users all over the world to share memorable moments on their every trip, while sparking an inspired wanderlust that drives our deepest desires to explore.

The travel category of Instagram can be a bit overwhelming for some as you spend hours sifting through thousands of accounts through destinations and users. But it’s an exciting feat to undertake as it encourages you to head out and dive into an unknown world while leaving your comfort zone for a purposeful existence. If you are in the mood for travel this chilly winter, check out eight of our favorite Instagram travel accounts to follow.

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6 Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Living in a culture inundated with the urge to change our ways once a new year hits can be incredibly intimidating. Not only is it hard to figure out our resolutions and work at them every single day, but it can be stressful seeing others start on goals, while you wonder how they truly do it.

From planning trips to the appeal of green juice cleanses, setting goals for a new year ahead can be hard and induce a heap load of anxiety that can often hinder productivity and dampen your spirits. But the truth is, resolutions can be scary, especially since researchers at the University of Scranton found only 8 percent of people successfully achieve resolutions every year. You know what that means? It means 92 percent fail. Ouch. Totally disheartening, right? But we’re not the type to stop at failure.

With the first week of the new year officially done, how are you doing with your resolutions? To help you stay on track this year and get more organized, use your trusty devices to hold you accountable and achieve your goals. What’s the point of technology if it can’t help us? Whether your resolution is to eat more healthy or budget wisely, we take a look at some amazing apps to help you be more productive and reach your goals by Dec. 31, 2017.

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How to Be Your Own Best Friend for a Healthier Lifestyle

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There’s no denying that while we might be surrounded by amazing relationships in our waking life, we have spent every moment from birth to now in our very own company. And the truth is, no matter who pops in and out of our life, we will always be the one soul consistently there for us.

It might sound like a lonely thing to say, but we never escape our own presence and in that understanding, we have the ability to be our own best friend, without fear and without judgement. After all, if we allow ourselves to be our own best friends, chances are we will never really be alone.

So often we disappear into those we love or the life we make, that we end up neglecting not just our family or friends, but ourselves. Whether you’re 34 or 64, how many friends you have and at what stage in life you’re at, it’s essential to recognize that you are capable of everything you imagine for the others you love in your own life.

In order to feel at peace and realize we are worthy of self-love, we need to build a solid friendship with our very being at the core. It might take some work and patience but with a careful mindfulness, you can surely get there.

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#HBD: 6 Wishes

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Winter tends to be a hard season for me. While I have been blessed in this past year to really dive deep into work and solidify my career as a writer—my utmost desired passion—things start to slow down as the new year approaches and memories start to creep in. Most times and in the tune of Talking Heads, these memories can’t wait though. As I skate through this season with my head held up, time gains on me and creates thin ice along the way, revealing memories that have lain dormant for months. Yet, lately they have begun to push at the door of my reality and send me in a tailspin that takes nights of mourning into my pillow to just get over. But letting that grief out doesn’t work, and it’s as if all that progress from months ago and just letting go has been lost all thanks to a season that beams as bright as it twinkles.

It’s a season governed by reclusiveness, where activities are fed to dormancy and our life becomes still, indwelling and most often silent. Like many others though, I think a lot during this season about my life, the people in it and the people who are no longer with us. Since the start of winter, I have stilled my soul, quieted my mind to the important bits that matter to my living, but every time I come up for air from this abyss, I find myself hitting a slope deeper into darkness all because I think about him.

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Womanista: November 2016

womanista-logo01What a month November was! I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving with their family and friends. As we approach a new year, Womanista has been undergoing some changes as we integrate our newest partner, Skinny Mom to the Womanista family with a brand new look to our website! Be sure to check it out at Womanista.com.

In the meantime, catch up on all the latest from computer tricks to make you more productive, to styling that baby bump for winter and getting a head start on all that holiday shopping with Oprah. Plus, we explore the cutest and trendiest baby names of 2016! Did your baby’s name make the list? As it goes, here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of November.

Nov. 30, 2016: Give the Gift of Memorable Experiences This Holiday Season | Today, an increasing number of people have started to gift experiences or their time as holiday gifts. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 28, 2016: 6 Easy Computer Tricks to Make Your Workday More Productive | There is no denying that a sizeable chunk of our day revolves around computers. Whether we work from home or in an office… {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 27, 2016: 25 Empowering Quotes from Brilliantly Inspiring Women | In a rapidly evolving culture that measures likeability and talent, we often overlook the importance of inspiration in our daily lives. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 23, 2016: The Best of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2016 | Shopping season is in full, festive swing this year and what better way to find the perfect, most inspired gift for that special someone than by turning to Oprah Winfrey for a little help. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 22, 2016: Reduce Travel Stress With 6 Easy Airport Hacks | Air travel can make even the most seasoned travelers tired, treading a weariness we most often associate only with the DMV. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 21, 2016: The Trendiest Baby Names of 2016 | If you’re expecting in the next few months, there’s no doubt you are currently looking for the perfect and most unique name for your little one. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 19, 2016: The Mom-to-Be’s Guide to Styling a Baby Bump for Fall and Winter | From temperature fluctuations to mood swings, looking for good maternity clothes doesn’t have to be stressful. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 15, 2016: The Thanksgiving Party Guide You Need for Easy Planning and Festive Memories | All the prep that goes into planning your Thanksgiving party every year can be a bit scary. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 14, 2016: Warm Fruit Crisps and Crumbles for Every Taste and Occasion | No matter the season, stone fruits are a beloved ingredient in so many delicious baked goods. From pies to pastries, we try our hardest… {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 11, 2016: 10 Impressively Mouthwatering Thanksgiving Appetizers | Thanksgiving is in two weeks and as you scramble to prepare the best menu of recent years, you need to consider the power of an appetizer. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 4, 2016: Easy Recipes for Quick and Tasty Microwave Meals | When you think of a microwave, you might look back to those college days of reheating home cooked meals or those small frozen dinners that helped you to pull an all-nighter. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 2, 2016: The Most Memorable CMA Moments of the Past 50 Years | After months of waiting, it’s finally here and we are so excited! Grab those cocktails, because tonight marks the 50th Annual CMA Awards celebrating half a century… {CONTINUE READING…}

“When you stumble, keep faith…”

insta_thesocialI have Muslim family living in the U.S., along with Hispanic, Black and gay friends spread across the country, and have been blessed with amazing people who shower my family with nothing but love and respect.

But last night my heart broke into a million pieces watching the election results as the U.S. elected Trump as President of the United States. Trembling at what my family and friends will be enduring in the next four years, the president-elect is a man who speaks to violence, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, inequality and more importantly of how I was raised, is not the ‘type’ of guy who is supposed to win anything. This election was more about moral decency and ethics than politics, yet no one noticed. And no one who voted Trump actually ever came out boasting about policy. Instead they have a desire to abuse others, hang journalists from trees and this leader stays silent. As it goes, the softest hearts who feel they have so much to lose are the easiest to manipulate from fear.

Last night proved compassion is no longer the basis of morality. It’s easier to be disinterested in others if it means we don’t get hurt. We don’t feel pain. We don’t have to understand what it’s like to be not privileged or in such a case, white. Trump is the person we tell our kids not to be, yet here we are. A few years ago, my best friend and love told me, “Never be afraid to speak up for yourself and your loved ones.” He knew I was this way and always will be. And I am going to make it my mission to always work hard and care deeply for those I truly believe in because the world doesn’t need hate. It’s hard going at it on our own every day, diving into the unknown than to pander to hateful rhetoric and sentiment.

The results have shown us that while we have a divided nation here, no vote for Clinton was cast in vain. Every one who cast a ballot for integrity, morality and the good of loving our neighbors did a great service to each other as a way of showing our support to those who have been degraded by a man who prides himself on how much money he has and how women are easily up for grabs.

But it also shows the silent majority who doesn’t speak up against hateful rhetoric, whether a Trump supporter or someone of the 200 million that didn’t vote (the right to vote is a beautiful thing…), are ones to fear the most. Fork-tongue. Two-face. People who dictate their life based on consternation. These are people I know and have unfortunately come across in the last 24 hours who disbelieve sexual assault, racism, Islamophobia and lately, the KKK. How can you pass such a horrible and inexcusable group of people as a joke and not take them seriously? This is arrogance. This is privilege. Perhaps you are not blessed with people of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures to better understand the world around you. Maybe your heart is not big enough to comprehend the life outside your own.

How can one relate to Trump when his ideals run alongside Hitler’s own disdain for minorities prior to the Holocaust? As a world and a nation that is incredibly divided, we have a moral obligation to be kind to each other and most of all, defend the rights of those who are unfairly treated. I learned friends and acquaintances make up who you are in every facet. Through this knowledge, the circles we create are a direct reflection of who we are at the end of the day. This election was never about policy, it has long been about everything Trump wanted to make it about and of course, millions fell victim to his monstrous rhetoric. Honestly, if you can’t stand up against hate and mask it only as “change” because you want something different, what is left of your integrity? That is an invalid argument on all accounts.

Between the Bible, Quran and Torah, we were taught to love thy neighbor, stand up for others and speak out on injustice. But what is done is done, and every action in life serves a reaction that we may or may not be ready for. Now is the time I pray we practice patience, tolerance and show how big our hearts are to those that repeal such understanding because love overpowers hate. Always.

Womanista: September 2016

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September has come and gone, but Womanista, the official authority on fabulous presented some amazing content that will definitely have you bookmarking articles to read now and later. From all the parenting and pregnancy advice you’ll need (complete with interviews with experts), to how to stay on fleek with your fashion, to the best recipes for your weekend in, to even tips and tricks for your home and garden — last month featured it all. Without further adieu, here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of September.

Sept. 30, 2016: The Best Fall Flowers for Your Garden | Spring and summer aren’t the only seasons with pretty flowers! Though the leaves are changing color and the temperatures are perfect for that sweater weather, autumn… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 28, 2016: 6 Ways to Improve Battery Life on Your iPhone | If you own an iPhone, it’s safe to say that it might just be an essential extension of your active social circle. As an effective companion helping us accomplish tasks and stay updated, iPhones are… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 27, 2016: Creative DIY Wall Art Tutorials to Brighten Up Your Space | When it comes to decorating our homes, those big, blank, windowless walls are the absolute perfect canvas for creative décor ideas. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 26, 2016: The 8 Most Haunted Spots to Check Out in Nashville | When we think of Nashville, we’re often thinking about delicious BBQ, the shopping on Broadway and of course, our favorite — country music! {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 24, 2016: 10 Delicious Weekend Breakfast Recipes You Must Try | Next to a healthy refreshing and Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl, avocado toast might just be our favorite breakfast ever. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 23, 2016: 4 Benefits of Infant Massage Therapy | There’s nothing better than a massage to loosen up those tense muscles from a long, hard day. But if you think you’re the only one who benefits from the luxury of massages, think again. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 20, 2016: 7 Tips for Eating Out With a Toddler | We’ve all witnessed that table at a restaurant — kids standing on chairs, refusing to use their indoor voices and exchanging bread rolls at each other’s faces. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 19, 2016: 7 Foods in Your Pantry That Will Never Expire | Do you ever feel a little confused by the expiration dates on all your favorite foods? Well, you’re certainly not alone. Between the “best if used by” labels and sell-before recommended… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 16, 2016: The Hottest Hair Color Trends of Fall 2016 | Between the crunch of leaves and the aroma of pumpkin spice everything in the air, a new season is upon us that begs to brighten up our style… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 15, 2016: 5 Dream Vacation Destinations for Book Lovers | Considered a welcomed escape from the everyday life, reading is a magical experience. Like a blooming garden carried in our pocket or purse, reading unleashes a world we relate to through circumstances… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 9, 2016: Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy Back Pain | While carrying your bundle of joy around for nine months is a welcomed part of motherhood, the back pain complete with stiffness, soreness and ache… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 6, 2016: Your Essential Fall Fun To-Do List | Fall is upon us, Womanistas! Synonymous with falling leaves, crisp air, pumpkins, football games, sweater weather, and of course the famed, Pumpkin Spice Latte… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 5, 2016: 6 Reasons to Delay Your Baby’s First Bath | When babies are born, they’re covered in a cheesy looking film that screams, “Clean me!” However, just like there are important procedures to consider in those initial hours of their birth, it’s important to…. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 4, 2016: 7 of the Best Nuts for Your Skin and Health | Next to fruits and granola bars, nuts are the most underrated nutritious snack. Accounting for less than eight percent of our daily antioxidant intake, studies report… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 2, 2016: Get to Know Forbes’ 10 Most Powerful Women in Business | We are continually inspired by the rise of the girl boss movement. From media to technology, to automotive and publications, more and more women today are confidently climbing… {CONTINUE READING…}

Womanista: August 2016

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What a month August has been! While I’m excited for the month ahead, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic with regards to the season. Not only is fall upon us, but this is a particularly sentimental season for me. It always has been, especially since 2009. That said, it was just last year when I first joined Womanista (mid-September, give or take) and since, have contributed more than 150 articles over a span of 12 months. It’s been pretty awesome and something that’s kept me incredibly busy while juggling school, my day job and The Hudsucker.

As we head into autumn and pumpkin spice season, Womanista, the official authority of fabulous presented amazing content that not only broke records and news, but published some phenomenal informative pieces featuring the expertise of doctors, specialists and many more. From how you can help your toddler adjust to a new baby, to food that helps settle an upset stomach, to the Olympics that enamored all of us, to the most important tips you need to keep in mind when buying a new home, and to how sudden changes can improve your life—this month featured it all. To keep you up to date with the latest, bookmark some of these pieces that might pique your interest for future reading. Without further adieu, here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of August.

Aug. 28, 2016: 13 Desserts for Your Football Kickoff Party | The preseason is ending and the final cuts have been made, which points to one sure and sweet thing: the NFL season is about to begin! {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 25, 2016: Olympic Families’ Best Moments at Rio 2016 | The Olympics were not just an emotional time for nations around the world hoping to taste a bit of victory, but it was a mega event of nerves, heart and tears for the numerous families of U.S. athletes…  {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 25, 2016: What You Need to Know About B12 Deficiency | No matter where we are and what we eat this summer, whether it be fair food or amusement park desserts, it’s important we provide our body with vitamins… {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 23, 2016: Helping Your Toddler Adjust to a New Baby | Announcing to family and friends that you’re expecting once again will always bring around greetings and wishes of love and enthusiasm! {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 22, 2016: 6 Foods to Help Settle an Upset Stomach | It’s been a beautiful sunny summer so far but between the road trips, state fairs and backyard barbecues, you might be eating a ton of yummy food that also leaves your stomach a little unsettled. {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 22, 2016: Toothpaste 101 – Fluoride vs. Fluoride-Free | Although modern dentistry has come a long way, there is still a lot to know about when it comes to maintaining healthy oral hygiene — especially the kind of toothpaste we’re using. {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 19, 2016: The Olympic Athletes You Should Be Following on Instagram | It’s official — the 2016 Summer Olympics are in full swing and we have never been more thrilled! {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 18, 2016: 5 Tips for Buying a New Home | If HGTV has taught us anything, it’s that buying a home is one of the most important chapters in your life. {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 15, 2016: How Sudden Changes Could Be The Key to Improving Your Life | No matter how big or small disruptions may be, change is not one of the most welcomed aspects to our lives… {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 10, 2016: 5 Reasons Not to Ignore Ovulation Pain | Ovulation might be one of the most critical parts of reproduction, but it’s also known as a source of pain for many. {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 8, 2016: 8 Tips for Couples Enjoying Their First Vacation Together | Heading out on that first trip with your partner is an exciting milestone in any relationship! {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 7, 2016: What to Do With Your Wedding Gown After the Big Day | When we find that perfect wedding gown, there’s no denying we have a real world, soul-to-soul connection with it. {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 5, 2016: 5 Signs You’re Not Ready for Marriage | Between all the reality TV centered around love, those couples that overshare on social media and Bruno Mars serenading all of us with a marriage proposal, there’s no denying… {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 4, 2016: Everything You Need to Know About Face Mapping | Have you ever wondered why our face breaks out in certain zones? No matter what our nighttime beauty routine is or what food we eat, that blemish… {CONTINUE READING…}

Aug. 1, 2016: How to Avoid Unhealthy Workplace Snacking | Between donuts in the break room to ‘Taco Tuesdays’ in the lunchroom, one of the worst places to stick to your diet is at the office. {CONTINUE READING…}