Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes plant based, spoken word poet, who doesn't trust boxed macaroni or cats. To keep up with her head over to her twitter and Instagram @ashleyreneepoet also check out her website. https://www.poetashleyrenee.com
Chances are if you’re reading this blog you’ve heard of yoni steaming and are ready to, or have already done a steam at home. In the off chance that you’ve heard nothing about yoni steaming, I’ll give you a little background. Yoni steaming is an ancient practice where a woman sits over a pot of herbs that has been steamed to reap the medicinal benefits through her vagina. Yoni steaming is said to help with pcos, fertility, cramps, irregular periods, fibroids, detoxifying the womb, releasing toxins,vaginal tightening and much more. If you’ve been in the market for good herbs to purchase for yoni steaming keep reading to find out some of my favorite herbs to steam with.
While you can definitely visit a holistic shop in person or online to get pre-packaged herbs, I like to mix and make my own. Here are my favorite herbs to use and their benefits.
Nettle, clears urinary tract infections, nourishes before and after childbirth
Red Raspberry Leaf, helps relieve and treat endometriosis and relieves cramping. It is also great as a tea
Chamomile, helps with cramping, calms, soothes and smells amazing
I buy my herbs from a health food store which I am able to scoop myself and typically comes out to less than $4 a pack. Research the herbs that work best for what you are trying to achieve, purchase your desired herbs, then combine for your steam. Typically I use 3-5 different herbs at a time. I boil the herbs for 5-10 minutes, allow the water to sit for around 5 minutes or so before adding to my sitz bath. You can purchase a yoni steam chair online, or if you prefer going to a shop that does it, ask if you can bring your own herbs. Be sure if doing at home to make sure the water is not too hot as to not burn or damage your skin as vaginal skin is extremely sensitive and thin. Do not steam if you are pregnant as some herbs can affect your pregnancy.
Tis the season! Pumpkin is literally everywhere right now. From pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin teas, pies, and patches, we can never escape hearing or seeing the word pumpkin in the fall! In addition to the flavor, pumpkin is packed with vitamins and nutrients that work great for the hair as well as skin. The vitamins and nutrients found in pumpkin work well to prevent and stop excessive hair loss, boost hair’s moisture levels and promote hair growth. While we’ve been enjoying the season of pumpkin, we decided to share this unbelievable pumpkin hair mask that works great at restoring moisture to dry, lackluster hair. If you’ve been searching for the perfect pumpkin themed hair remedy, keep reading to find out how you can make this DIY Pumpkin hair mask, to give your hair the extra boost of moisture it’s been craving this season.
Here is what you’ll need:
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
How to apply
Shampoo and condition hair with your favorite shampoo/conditioner combo
Mix ingredients together until well combined
Apply the mixture from roots to ends of your hair
Cover hair with a shower cap/plastic bag for 15-30 minutes
Rinse well with cool water
Will you be trying this moisturizing pumpkin hair mask?
Pumpkin is the official mascot for fall. Whether pies, lattes, Halloween decor, patches or candy, it’s no denying that pumpkin seems to be everywhere you turn as soon as October 1st hits. While there are tons of ways to incorporate pumpkin into your life this season to simply be on trend, pumpkin also has many health benefits. Pumpkin is made of 94% water and is packed with Vitamin A. Pumpkin is also full of antioxidants which helps to protect the body against free radicals that can lead to sickness and disease. The low calorie count found in pumpkins can also help with weight loss.
With so many endless possibilities for all things pumpkin, we decided to try our hand at a healthy but tasty pumpkin smoothie.
Here is what you’ll need:
1 peeled and frozen banana
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup of non-dairy milk (I prefer almond, cashew, or coconut)
2 tablespoons of honey
A pinch of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch himalyan sea salt
Combine all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Once well blended, it’s time to enjoy your healthy but tasty pumpkin smoothie!
As many women may already know, the vagina is self-cleaning. However, due to external factors such as sweat, stress, diet, menstrual cycles, intimacy, underwear, soap choice etc, etc, sometimes your natural pH levels become thrown off and you need a little help in making sure everything is in tip top shape down there. If you’ve been searching for a natural cleansing solution to add to your feminine hygiene routine, follow the instructions below to make your own DIY natural feminine hygiene wash.
1/2 cup witch hazel (alcohol-free)
1/2 cup rose water
3 tsp almond oil
1 tsp castile soap (unscented)
⅛ cup of aloe vera
⅛ cup of vinegar
5-7 drops of essential oil ( I like chamomile, grapefruit, and tea tree oil)
Foaming soap dispenser
Castille soap is a gentle, natural cleansing method. Rose water and almond oil helps to calm and moisturize the skin. Aloe vera and vinegar help to balance pH levels. Tea tree, chamomile and grapefruit have calming, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Add all of the ingredients to the soap dispenser and shake before use. This wash is not only natural, it’s super gentle and leaves you feeling clean and refreshed. You can use the wash daily as you would your normal wash.
Will you be trying this DIY Natural Feminine Hygiene Wash? Let us know
One of my go-to, super easy, extremely quick, and also low budget meals, is Thai noodles. I love making these noodles because I can make them for dinner and still have enough to pack for my lunch the next day. Thai noodles are filling, can be vegan and depending on how you make them, can also be pretty healthy. Here is what you need:
For the noodles you can buy egg noodles, or fettuccine noodles honestly. I use either or, depending on access at whatever store I’m in or what I have available to me at home. I also buy an assortment of colorful bell peppers, mushrooms, any color onion (I typically use yellow or red) carrots, broccoli, soy sauce, garlic, green onions, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, olive oil. Here is how to make it:
Cut up your onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli, garlic, and mushrooms, to desired shape and size. I usually cut the broccoli in halves and cut the carrots in thinner slices along with thin slices for the peppers, onions and garlic.
Next I turn on the stove top, add olive oil to my pan and saute the vegetables. While the vegetables are sauteing I add a pinch of salt to boiling water and add in my noodles.
1 Head of broccoli (more or less depending on how many you are serving)
2-3 carrots chopped (depend on how many you are serving )
Half of a red or yellow onion
1-2 cloves of garlic chopped
5-8 mushrooms chopped
2-3 chopped and sliced bell peppers
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper (season to taste)
Soy sauce* optional (season to taste)
Once the vegetables are sauteed to your liking and the noodles are cooked, drain the noodles then add to your vegetables. Simmer the mixture on low and add in your seasonings, soy sauce and a little extra olive oil. Season to taste and serve!
I haven’t always trusted myself, not competely anyway. I can recall times where I made decisions based on how it would affect everyone else but me. I have put more faith into others than myself at times and ended up being the only one who paid for it. In learning to trust myself I have had to sacrifice comfortability for growth in learning and practicing both patience and grace daily. So how do you learn to trust yourself? It honestly is a growing experience that takes a lot of work and accountability but the rewards are endless. Here are five tips to learn to trust yourself.
1.Go with your gut
Have you ever had a gut instinct to do something and instead of acting on it you chose another route that ended up going horribly wrong when your gut instinct or first thought would have given you much better results? Why do we do this to ourselves so often? We end up over-thinking a simple solution and go against our own better judgement. Stop doubting yourself, your first “mind” is usualy the right one. Try going with your gut instinct more often and watch amazing results unfold.
2. Listen to yourself first
Your opinion should trump than anyone else’s. Mostly, the decisions made in your life typically tend to affect yourself the most, so why are you trusting your life in someone else’s hands more than your own? Perhaps it’s easier to blame someone other than yourself if things don’t go as planned. Maybe you are so untrusting of yourself that someone, anyone else’s idea are more appealing than your own. Ultimately you have to live with your decisions, no one else, as great as someone else’s opinions or ideas about your life may be, ultimately you have to trust yourself first and rely on yourself to make the best decisions for you.
3. Stop making excuses
Maybe in the past you made a huge mistake and are still punishing yourself for it. Perhaps you have never been good at making the right decision and always seem to be making another mistake. You can stop that cycle. Life is all about learning and growing. The truth is, you are never going to make the right decision if you don’t start trusting yourself to do so. You are going to make mistakes, it’s inevitable, but you are also going to grow and learn and perhaps make a few more mistakes along the way, but that is life. You will fall, but you will also fly.
Learning to trust yourself after years of not doing it can be extremely difficult. However, start leaning towards what feels right. Learn to tune out all of the other noise and simply practice trusting yourself . It’s not going to be easy at first but I promise it will be worth it.
While makeup is a great way to enhance one’s beauty, being an esthetician, I know skincare and our internal routine makes us even more beautiful. If you’re ready to take a break from makeup here are some simple tricks and tips for looking just as beautiful and feeling just as confident without makeup.
1. Drink it up
Drinking tons of water, paired with green juices full of fruit and vegetables has an amazing effect on skin. Whenever I am juicing, I notice my skin has a bright glow to it, almost like a natural highlight. Be sure to add more natural juices and water to your diet for a glow that comes from the inside out.
Another great way to get amazing skin results is by exfoliating your skin. Exfoliating gets rid of all of the nasty, dead skin on the skin’s surface and makes way for beautiful, clear healthy skin to shine through. Be sure to exfoliate at least once a week to reveal vibrant skin.
Adding a moisturizer that fits your skin type to clean skin adds a nice illumination to your face. You can add a little extra to your cheek-bones for a natural highlight in the same place you would put a highlighter.
4. Tame your brows
Defined brows can make all the difference with or without makeup. Brows frame your face and tamed brows look so appealing. It doesn’t matter if you like the thin or full brow look, brush your brows before you head out to compliment your look.
5. Moisturize your lips
Let’s face it, no one likes a chapped, flaky lip. Exfoliate your lips then apply a tinted or non tinted chapstick for a natural well-nourished lip look.
Remember true beauty starts within. It’s great to give yourself makeup free days or weeks to get the best skin results as possible. Eat as much fruits and vegetables as you can and drink plenty of water for clear, flawless skin.
Have you ever stayed in a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling? Maybe it was the time you put in, or not wanting to look like a bad person that made you stay. Maybe you hoped that the person would change, or your feelings for them would change. I have definitely been in a relationship I was merely existing in, it wasn’t love but at the same time I was afraid to leave. There are definitely some telltale signs on whether or not you are truly in love, or merely just riding the wave of complacency hoping it leads to love. Here are a few ways to tell:
When you’re truly in love you want to do things with that other person. When you think of trips or dates, even watching a movie, often it is them that crosses your mind to want to do it with. Now, this doesn’t mean that you are going to want to spend every waking moment with them,though in the beginning you might, but you want to spend time together, even if it means doing absolutely nothing when you are in love.
Complacency is almost like laziness. You feel stuck with the person. They aren’t necessarily who you want to be around but you feel almost like you have no other choice. Maybe you don’t have many other friends or they are simply always around. You could take or leave them but often times you are stuck “taking” them simply because they are there.
When people ask you why are you together or what you love about your mate, you think of all of their characteristics that you love, you think about the fun you have together, positive memories come to mind, you think about all of the good that outweighs the bad. You may not say every single reason but you begin to think of all of the many reasons why you love them.
When people ask you why are you together or what you love about your mate, you begin to wonder if you even love them. You think about all of the time you have put into the relationship. You think about the things they do for you. You question how long it would take to get to know a new person and you get scared thinking about having to start all over with someone new and if a new person would even accept or love you.
When they first walk in the house whether you’ve been with them for a year or ten, you want to hug them, you want to touch them, to hear about their day. Even when you need your own space you still want to know that they are around when you are ready to talk and unwind with them.
You often get irritated by their presence. Little things they do drive you insane. You can’t quite pinpoint what it is that bothers you but they easily get under your skin and annoy you all the time. You rarely want to spend time with them and you often make excuses to do your thing simply to not have to be around them.
Your future with them is clear. You want to be with them for the long term, possibly have a family, start a life together, encourage each other to complete goals. You can’t imagine yourself without them in your life and you can’t wait for forever to begin.
You often question their purpose in your life. Some days you can see yourself being together but most days you feel like you are doing time. You often visualize yourself being single or maybe even with another person. You get anxiety thinking about spending the rest of your life with your partner.
You know your partner isn’t perfect. There are definitely things he needs to work on but you love him. You love his silly quirks and know that they add to his personality. You both actively work to be the best versions of yourselves and even when you are fighting the love doesn’t dissipate.
The bad outweighs the good with your partner. You are constantly thinking of things they need to change. You can’t see them ever being the person you want them to be and you may not even feel you are who they want you to be with.
If you leaned more towards complacency than love, why do you think that is? Do you feel like time is keeping you and your mate together? Perhaps you share a child, are married or simply don’t want to let them or the people around you down. I will say this, if you’re not married and don’t share a child together you should definitely be thinking about your feelings on this one. There is no reason to waste time trying to force someone to change who they are or force yourself to be someone you are not. There are literally billions of people in this world and trust me, there is at least one that you will mesh with. As far as marriage or sharing a child, you should definitely try counseling, talk to your partner and exalt every option you can before making your final decision.
Life is short and you never want to have to ask yourself, what if?
Have you read the book, The Secret, or seen the film? I saw the Netflix special though I have yet to read the book. The basis behind, The Secret, is that everything that happens in your life, good or bad, you are attracting with your thoughts. You want to be rich, think about being rich, visualize yourself with lots of money and how you will feel when you have that money. You want to find the love of your life? Think about all of the qualities of the person you want. Visit places where you might find that person, speak about that person as if they are already there. Sound crazy? To some it might, but if you’ve spent your whole life doing the opposite, thinking about all of the bills you have and lack of money, saying you will never find your soulmate, being down on yourself about any and everything, what’s the harm in trying something new? Let me tell you a story, actually a few stories about how I used the power of positivity to get what I wanted, or perhaps it was all coincidence, either way, it worked and still does.
When I was in high school there were four boys in my math class that I absolutely could not stand. They were rude, mean and made it their job to in some way do something to irritate me every single day in class. I literally could not stand being in their presence. So instead of me focusing on how much I hated having these boys around me, I started pretending they weren’t even there. I would ignore their every action and focus on the things and people I did like in that class. Within a few weeks of me doing this, literally every single boy that bothered me was out of that class. One of them moved, one got kicked out of the school and I have no idea what happened to the other one, but he was gone and I was happy. This particular thing has happened to me several times in my life. As an adult there have been people that my friends have been friends with that I felt extremely uncomfortable around. Aside from avoiding interactions with them, I’ve visualized them no longer being around and either they have physically moved, or my friend saw what I saw in them and stopped talking to them.
Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive in the face of opposition, actually it can seem nearly impossible, but if you do it and often, it becomes a habit that is hard to break. You start seeing all of the things you’ve visualized come into fruition and you begin to transform your life for the better. Another time I stayed positive and had an amazing outcome was about four years ago. I was new to LA and was still getting use to the LA poetry scene and trying to find my footing as well as doing as many side hustles as I could to make extra money. I remember I got called to do a focus group, I really didn’t want to go but I needed the money. I wish I could make this same amount of money doing something I love instead of sitting in a stuffy room for 2 and a half hours, I remember thinking to myself.
Moments later I received a text message from a friend from high school who had also relocated to LA. “You do poetry still right?” He asked. We chatted for a bit before he asked me if I wanted to perform for Tyrese for an intimate dinner at his house. I was so excited. He gave me a number to call which I did. The number however was disconnected. For some reason I kept getting ready anyway. The dinner was in less than an hour and I hadn’t even reached the contact person. I called my friend back and let him know what was going on, he gave me a new number which kept going to voicemail. I left a message, got in the shower, did my makeup. The survey time was fast approaching as well. Despite not wanting to go, I needed the money but for whatever reason I kept visualizing myself performing at Tyrese’s house, wondering if he really had a Starbucks in his backyard as I did my makeup. Around 20 minutes before the dinner I finally got a call back from his contact person. “Are you Dope?” Was the only question he asked. “Yea, I’m dope.” Was all I could think to say as I bit my bottom lip hoping I would get this opportunity, moments later I got a text message with the address and information and low and behold, I was getting paid the exact same amount I would have from doing the survey! I hadn’t even considered the fact that I would be getting paid. I literally had spoken what I wanted into existence. I ubered to Tyrese’s house, felt a bit awkward for awhile as there were only a handful of people there and I of course knew no one, and my performance was supposed to be a surprise so I also had to pretend like I actually knew him, or somebody, anybody there. I met a few of the other people he had performing there, some of which have went on to do amazing things in entertainment, performed, ate an amazing meal prepared by his personal chef, listened to stories around his fire pit about triumph and love and divorce and following your dreams, received the biggest hug from Tyrese, received my payment and ended up sticking around his house after he left, fellow shipping with his friends and entertainers and even helped with the dishes.
Despite having no idea what was going to happen, I stayed positive. I kept visualizing myself at his house. I refused to let fear creep in and tell me to just go to the survey. I refused to give up. I kept thinking no matter what, this opportunity is for me and it was and I had a great time.
As I said before, it’s not always easy choosing to think positive but it literally takes as much energy as it does to think negatively. When I am low on money I don’t cry about it. I don’t say woe is me or stare at bills or low balance notifications on my email, in fact I delete them. There is no reason for me to see a notification saying my balance is low if I already know that, that will only breed more low balances. Instead I think about what else I could do to make extra money, feel whatever emotion I would if I had it and go about my day and it always comes. There is always an opportunity for me to make money. In fact, I remember one time I was at the mall low on funds and I saw a dress I really wanted. I knew I didn’t have the money in my account but I just thought, what if? I checked my balance and there was an extra $300 in my account that I had no clue where it came from. It turned out that very day I had received a refund check from somewhere and my mom had deposited it into my account and forgot to call me. In order for this to work, you have to actually believe it and believe that you are deserving of what you want.
1. Ignore things that aren’t aligned with your wants in life
I didn’t like the way the boys were treating me in class, so I took away their power, my attention. I don’t like seeing negative things or accounts so I don’t pay attention to them. When I have the money to pay them, of course I do but if it’s a bill that I can’t pay in full I don’t stare at it all day and allow myself to become stressed. Instead I think about money, in a positive way.
2. Act as if
I could have easily not gotten in touch with Tyrese’s people. They may have found someone else, I could have stopped calling, my friend could have never called me about the opportunity. A million things could have gone wrong but I didn’t care. I didn’t allow myself to get stressed out when the guy wasn’t answering. I could have just went and did the survey. I could have felt like I wasn’t ready and just stayed home. I didn’t though. I kept visualizing myself being there, and eventually I was there, and by the way he does have a Starbucks in his backyard.
3. Focus on the positive
So what you gained five pounds, got cheated on, lost your dog, your kid said they hated you and wished that they were adopted, things happen. By focusing on that, guess what you’ll get —more of it. Focus on the positive. You still aren’t as big as your neighbor, your cat didn’t run away, your kid is probably just going through a mood and will definitely apologize when they want something. Life is funny, great things happen and some pretty horrific things happen as well. When we are focusing on the positive things though, even the negative things don’t seem as bad and we begin to attract more amazing things to our lives.
Today try a few of these tips out. Practice being more positive, focusing on the good, visualizing what you want and disdaining the things that you don’t. I hope you get everything you want!
As a writer it is so important for me to be mindful of the foods I eat. I sit so much during the day and can easily get drained and feel tired from what I eat, so eating heavy foods when I have work to do is a no-go for me. I also have to make sure that what I am eating keeps me feeling light, happy and positive or I can easily drift into not so great moods. In trying to find the perfect balance in my diet with the foods I eat keeping me full, satisfied, positive and being healthy, I discovered these foods that actually can boost your mood. Here are five mood boosting foods!
Berries are actually known to fight depression. I love strawberries and blueberries and they are in heavy rotation in my diet. The best berries typically come from the farmers market, however if you have to buy berries from the grocery store, try to buy organic if you can and soak them in water with a teaspoon or vinegar and baking soda before rinsing and eating. Soaking them removes dirt and bugs from them and gives them a nice deep clean. I either eat berries as is or throw them into a smoothie.
2. Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables are also great mood boosters and combat depression.Think spinach, kale, collard greens. The key to getting the most benefit from these vegetables is to do as little manipulation to them as possible. You can eat spinach and kale raw in salads and try to cook collard greens as healthy as possible.
3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great mood boosters. I love snacking on almonds, walnuts, cashews and occasionally sunflower seeds. Nuts are packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats and have amazing long term health benefits. So grab some nuts to snack on at work or perhaps use them to top a smoothie bowl.
1. Green Tea
If I’m not drinking water, I’m probably sipping on a nice glass of warm tea. Green tea has natural antioxidants that fight against depression as well as anxiety and a ton of other health benefits. Try to start incorporating more tea in your diet and ditch the sugar.
Oranges are packed with a ton of vitamin C and do a wonderful job at boosting your mood as well as prevents depression and not to mention taste great and are typically able to be purchased just about every season.