Delish and Nutrish…Why Avocado Toast is the Ultimate Can’t Fail Meal

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I like to start trends, not ride them, so surfing popularity waves isn’t really my thing. One recent exception, however, is avocado toast! Although, it’s been the culinary rage for quite some time; it’s for good reason. It’s fast and easy to make, delicious, versatile and nutritious. The key is to purchase high-quality levain bread baked at your local bakery (if you can get it) and ripe, tasty avocados. Although, avocados are available year-round and nationwide due to the influx of Mexican imports; there is an ideal time to get more flavorful avocados, with a less mild and “watered down” taste. California avocados (Haas are recommended), are in season February-September, with their peak occurring in the warm summer months. Get them at the height of the season and when their prices have dropped substantially. Also, when you make your super simple avocado toast, be sure to experiment with different toppings. I sometimes drizzle spicy, infused olive oil on top or thinly sliced radishes and sprouts with a sprinkle of the popular season blend, Spike. I also like to make pesto “smavocado” i.e “smashed avocado”, by adding fresh pesto (often purchased in the cold case at Trader Joe’s) to my avocado mixture. Avocado toast is so simple to make, it seems futile to include a recipe, but here’s some preparation guidelines to help get you started:


  • Toast fresh levain bread (brush olive oil and rub fresh garlic on toasted bread)
  • Coursely smash ripe avocados (add lime juice, celtic sea salt, pepper to taste)
  • Spread avocado on toast and top with marash pepper (optional)
  • Top with any variation of yummy: sliced radishes, sprouts, green onions, red onion, microgreens

I like to add a sliced soft boiled egg with aioli topped with anchovies as a side dish. A short cut when making aioli is mixing mayo with horseradish and placing an anchovy on top, to add that unmistakable umami and briny note to your snack, brunch or dinner.



Friends With Benefits: Ten Fun and Low Cost Ways To Spend Time with Your Crew

Grown with our own hands...

It doesn’t take a lot of money or resources to hang out with your friends. All it takes is some time, a cool group of friends and some creativity. In the spirit of friendship, and to promote personal balance by prioritizing things that really matter (Ahem….that would be people over work); we’re offering ideas for twenty fun things that you can do with your homies. If you have other good ideas, feel free to suggest them in the comments section below.

Volunteer Together – Want to make a difference in the world? Have a passion cause that you’d like to support? Interested in volunteering for just a day or for an ongoing basis? Try It will match you to volunteer opportunities based on your location, interest area, age (adults, teens, kids) or any other perameters you choose. Our crew recently picked invasive weeds from a park forest, picked fruits from neighborhood trees to redistribute to the hungry and worked at a local Food Bank.

Go to a Concert in the Park – Most towns in the good ol’ USA, host summer concerts in the park, and a lot of the local entertainment is really good! If you live in or near a major city, like San Francisco or New York, your summer concert series will most likely feature at least a few major headliners, but don’t sleep on the local talent or cover bands play. I’ve seen Janelle Monae and George Clinton & The Funkadelics perform for free in San Francisco and 80’s rock and Michael Jackson/Earth, Wind & Fire cover bands kill in the burbs. Mind blown! Let your city pick up the tab. You and your friends can handle the drinks and picnic basket.

Play Boardgames – Boardgames are fun, fun, fun! Yes, there’s a place for multi-player video games, but there’s nothing like smack talkin’ over a strategic game with a bunch of friends and snacks. We’re big fans of TableTop, the online show by Geek & Sundry. There’s a place for “mainstream” games that you’ll easily find at Target, but we suggest some of the most fun and highly-rated here for starters: Otrio Sheriff of NottinghamBang!, DimensionForbidden Desert DixitSmash Up , King of TokyoQuoridor & Ticket To Ride to get you started.

Organize a Game of Bocce Ball (Don’t forget the Italian vino, salumi & formaggi) – There are plenty of parks that have their own bocce ball courts. If you’re not familiar with the game, don’t let that deter you! It’s similar to the French game, Pétanque. It’s simple to play and fun for all ages. If you’re really a baller, I suggest installing a court in your backyard.

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Find a Road Less Traveled & Ride Bicycles –  Riding bikes never gets old, and finding a beautiful trail to chat and get exercise with friends is a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon. Bike in your neighborhood or find a well-reviewed trailhead (Yep, most trails are reviewed – even on Yelp! – so other visitors will tell you whether or not they’re paved, safe for children or their proximity to a local cafe.)

Host a Potluck and TV Season Premiere Party – There’s nothing more agonizing then when your favorite show is on hiatus. It gives us something to look forward to every week, for goodness sake! The good news is that when your shows come back on, it’s like a Hollywood premiere in your house. There’s no reason to revel in the fun and excitement alone. Invite some friends over for a viewing party and a potluck for some grub. House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Blackish, I’m waiting…

Dress Up and Go to a Play – It feels good to do something entertaining and cultural, especially, when you look good doing it! Grab dinner, enjoy a drink, go out with a few girlfriends and turn some heads.


Upcycle Your Clothes & Shop Vintage –  Some people don’t find shopping with friends fun, but fashionistas, do! Go to some of the great boutiques in your town known for their high quality and unique selection of previously owned designer duds, and get yourselves something fabulous. Bring your clothes to trade-in or sell to offset the cost and walk away with a steal…or a stole, depending on your taste.


Organize and start a letter writing campaign – Not happy with the outcome of the current election? Worried about the environment? Women’s productive rights? Climate change? The portrayal of African American Women in the media (If so, hit us up about that one) Stop bitching on Facebook, the world’s favorite echo-chamber, and do something.

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Take a Kayaking Lesson – It’s fun, peaceful and great exercise. Paddle by yourself or go doubles with a friend. Just do it!


All in Favor, Say “Eye!”


Tropical summer holiday fashion concept

Spring is finally here, which means the long-awaited bright, sunny days of summer are upon us. While we’re all rejoicing, stripping off a few layers and basking in nature’s glow; we have to remember to protect not just our delicate skin, but also our eyes. Although, our melanin protects our skin from sun damage better than other racial groups, our eyes are just as vulnerable as everyone else’s to damage. If you don’t take extra precautions to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, there are a myriad of ways you can do both temporary and irreversible damage. One such way is via photokeratitus, which is basically a sunburn to the cornea of the eye and is also known as snowblindness.  The name is a bit of a misnomer, because high altitude UV rays bouncing off of snow isn’t the only way you can harm your eyes. Natural and artificial light and tanning lamps are also common ways. Here are some quick tips to help prevent UV light damage:

  1. Wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection”. These are lenses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection.
  2. Wear wide brimmed hats – They’ll provide a larger canopy around your head which will better shield you from the sun
  3. Choose wrap-around shades (if that’s your thing), so that you can block the sun’s rays from infiltrating from the side
  4. Choose UV-blocking contact lenses in addition to the other barrier precautions. Sounds trivial, but every bit helps

Other Tips and Information:

  • Clouds don’t block the sun’s U rays – so don’t let grey skies be your guide
  • Your altitude and the time of day matters – High altitudes and the sun’s reflection off of water, ice or snow increases its intensity. Also, the sun is the strongest in the middle of the day to early afternoon, so swimming in the glistening pool in the height of the sun’s rays, creates the perfect condition for sun damage if you’re not careful. Some symptoms to watch:
  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Burning eyes
  • Little white spots on your cornea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headaches
  • Halo around lights
  • Reduced vision
  • Swollen eyes and/or eye lids

The most affordable place to purchase prescription and non-prescription glasses, and a variety of lens types, is EyeBuyDirect. The company sells high-quality, fashion-forward frames at insanely low prices due to their streamlined business model, enabling them to sell high end frames for as low as…..get this… six ($6) dollars! They’re highly recommended, and their price point will allow you to collect fashion eyeglass collection to match any look or mood without breaking the bank.

It’s a Wrap!

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I’ve always appreciated the beauty of a colorful wrap, scarf or turban, but the look never represented my personal style. I was much more simple, minimalist and unassuming in my tastes. Wraps always appeared to say, “Look at me!”, not dissimilar to someone wearing some cool as hell sunglasses that I’d be way too shy or insecure to wear with any confidence that people would credibly believe. I always associated them with African culture, celebrities or bad hair days, which is a very limiting way of thinking, any way you look at it. For me, the most daring head gear that I would rock was a baseball cap, which I always wore on my daily runs; and maybe the rare knit cap on particularly cold winter days. I live in warm climes, so really cold days are far and few between. Things changed a few years ago, however, when I became a card carrying natural curly girl. My hair no longer fit under baseball caps, so I had to find other solutions to absorb the salty sweat from my runs…or was that the salty taste of my tears of determination? What originally made me look cool and athletic, was now making me look like Ronald McDonald. My hair began to stick out on all sides of my baseball caps, making me look like a clown in search of a child’s birthday party. Trust me when I say, it wasn’t cool and it definitely wasn’t cute.

I also found that I loved my big, full, curly locks, and it was surprisingly super easy to manage, but sometimes I felt like my hair was just too much. It’s like when an incredibly curvaceous and attractive women dresses for work and dons a pair of nerdy glasses and ties her hair up in an understated bun because mama knows what she’s really working with, and, self-admittedly, it’s a lot. Sometimes I wanted to just tame the wild mane on my head with a more subdued, controlled look and I found that silk scarves corralled my hair, yet also let my coily tendrils freely escape. It was just the right amount of “Martha’s Vineyard meets Harlem”. John F. Kennedy’s mistakenly once said that the Mandarin word Weiji meant the word crisis, which he said stood for both “danger” and “opportunity.” It turned out to be a flawed definition and interpretation, but let’s go with it right now. It was dangerous if I let my hair go every day, and I had the opportunity to control it. In any event, I began to experiment with beautiful, silk, patterned scarves. I purchased mod and geometric designs, 50’s-60’s inspired florals and designer inspired, Chanel and Versace knock-offs. My scarves began to integrate seamlessly with my outfits and became the center pieces of my unique, über-stylish looks. Those over-sized, designer glasses worn by Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, suddenly didn’t seem so crazy after all.

Tying my hair back was both practical and fashionable. It was no longer a doo rag; but a must do. Below, you’ll find interesting ways you can experiment with wraps, scarves and turbans. Remember, go big and boldly into the world and don’t be afraid to express your personal style. It wasn’t until I stopped being afraid of looking like a star, that I realized that I had always been one.




Anything That Sounds This Funny Has To Taste Good


You don’t have to be an elite athlete to require portable, fast-metabolizing energy and nutrition. Pre or mid-cycling bagel break? Nah. Way too dense and heavy for me and unnecessary carb loading seems so…so, well…90’s. Energy gel? No, thank you. It doesn’t really satisfy for a casual ride or short break at the local cafe. This Stroopwafel, though? Well, now you’re talking! Stroopwafel, a popular pastry in the Netherlands, is a thinly prepared waffle baked on a waffle iron and sandwiched between a thin semi-firm syrup that consists of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. In the case of Gu Energy Labs, they’ve created their own Stroopwafle line with taste, texture, power and performance in mind. Each light, semi-crisp disc has the presence of complex and simple carbohydrates for immediate and long-lasting energy; essential amino acids to prevent mental fatigue and facilitate muscle repair; and electrolytes for all over body functioning. It’s 140 calories per individual pack and both gluten and caffeine-free. The great news is that Gu Energy Lab’s new form factor isn’t a sly way for the company to repurpose their energy gels. The caramel interior delivers its own unique sports nutrition, while it also stands on its own as a delightful pastry that’s sold in four new flavors: wild berries, salted chocolate, salty’s caramel and caramel coffee. We rate it as tasty and worth a try.

Do you have any sports nutrition suggestions? If so, please share in the comments section below!

Is Your Hair Making You Fat?

Mannequin heads on display with wigs.

In August, 2011, the former Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, attended the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show with a very specific platform related to health. She arrived at the event with a very specific agenda: to draw attention to the fact that many women, particularly, African American women, were foregoing exercise in order to preserve their hairstyles, and, thus, prioritizing convenience over health. Her message had some urgency and her concerns were backed by facts. According to the most recent data released by the National Center for Health Statistics (2011-2014), 56.9% of African American women over 20 are obese and 44.8% of women suffer from hypertension. Dr. Benjamin was criticized by some health professionals at the time for focusing on what they considered an issue that was far too hyper-focused in the global scheme of things, and only applicable to a very narrow audience. What her critics failed to realize then, which can be argued to a greater degree now, is that this wasn’t just a vanity health issue relegated to a small segment of the population. The hair vs. health issue has been raging within the Black community since the beginning of time; but given the fact that its ethnic dialogue had “inside baseball” status, few people outside of the Black community were aware of this global health challenge, nor could they personally relate, if they were. There are many reasons why this issue needs to resurface, and I’ll tell you why, but first, let me relay my own culturally insensitive hair nightmare, my dear readers. In Middle School, I was one of a handful of African American girls who attended a small, elite private school on the West Coast. I remember vividly dreading going to school, because I was forced to swim every day during second period P.E. class. I would get up in the morning and neatly prepare my clothes and hair for school, only to look a mess by the end of second period, because after I emerged like a wet dog from the pool I was given an insufficient 15 minutes to dry, dress and style my hair. Let’s add to the pressure the ubiquitously obnoxious drill sergeant whistle favored by gym teachers everywhere, to instill a sense of urgency and fear in students worldwide. I’m sorry, but fifteen minutes was not enough time for me to do my hair with any acceptable results, and it further marginalized me from my white classmates (at least in my mind), by highlighting a grooming and beauty reality that differed from their own. To further compound the situation was the fact that Middle School is often a time defined by rampant social insecurity. Add 1 part black girl to 10 parts white school + swimming pool + 15 minutes to dress, groom and go; and you have a problem. I could tell you then, as I can relay now in hindsight, that those years did not positively contribute to my sense of confidence or beauty.

How does this relate to weaves, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin or a Bronner’s International Hair Show that occurred over seven years ago? In my particular situation, I was just a child and had no control over my school’s rigid curriculum*. I didn’t hate swimming, in fact, I loved it, but it was a pain for the aforementioned reasons and time constraints. The problem that we currently face isn’t related to one kid’s horror story related to daily water sports. It’s the popularity and proliferation of weaves that have swept through African American culture and been adopted by a significant number of Black women. Weaves are semi-permanent installations, meaning that they’re not clip-ins that you take in and out at will. They are expensive, labor-intensive to install, and, are thus, not replaced frequently (months vs. weeks or days). They retain moisture (for the uninitiated, imagine a wig placed, and securely attached, over your real hair), and can cause health issues if not properly maintained. By now, most people who have an interest in African-American hair have seen the weave mold and maggot videos that have served as cautionary tales of extreme haircare neglect. I can imagine weave and wig wearers watching those YouTube videos and writing in the comments section, “SMH. That’s nasty…She waited too long to take that thing out!….Ugh…that would never be me!” That may be true, but Black women are doing something altogether more undermining and sinister to themselves. They’re elevating their hair and vanity well above that of their personal health. That’s a damaging position to take and the health stats for African American women don’t lie. I’m sorry, but we, as a community, aren’t in the position to play Russian Roulette with our health. There are many African American women who provide the sole financial support for their entire families, so their health and longevity is critical for the stability of their entire families. I’m not going to delve into stats regarding the Black hair care industry or the weave industry, specifically. I certainly have my own opinions, but the one thing that should be shared and encouraged is the message of health and wellness for women of color. Health isn’t determined by how you look in clothes, but, rather, how healthy and efficiently your body operates from the inside out; head to toe. Please  live your values and take stock of what really matters, because in the end, our health and families are the things we should cherish, because no matter how much we love them, as with all things in life, nothing lasts forever.