Month: November 2009

LAVINILLA’S New Eco-luxury Candle

I want to do my part in rehabilitating the environment (if that’s even possible) and salvage the good of what’s left of the earth that we still have. Personal space is important, and mine is everything to me. Soy candles of all shapes, sizes, and scents appear in every room of my place. But, it was only recently that I learned burning some candles may actually be harmful to the environment. I figured my soy candles were safe enough, but I also found a new candle, The Healthy Candle by LAVINILLA Laboratories at Sephora.com.

This candle is housed in a chocolate brown keepsake tin bowl that has a native, hand-painted appearance (OK, you know me, style please!), and this candle doesn’t release any pollutants into the air as it burns. It’s not made with any synthetics, and only exotic essential oils. I opted for the vanilla coconut scent pictured above, but the choices are many: vanilla grapefruit, vanilla lavender, pure vanilla, and vanilla spice-which should be here any day now for me to burn on Thanksgiving day.

The Healthy Candle has a price any budgetista will appreciate: $32

Arlice Nichole, Fashion & Culture Correspondent

LAVINILLA’S New Eco-luxury Candle

I want to do my part in rehabilitating the environment (if that’s even possible) and salvage the good of what’s left of the earth that we still have. Personal space is important, and mine is everything to me. Soy candles of all shapes, sizes, and scents appear in every room of my place. But, it was only recently that I learned burning some candles may actually be harmful to the environment. I figured my soy candles were safe enough, but I also found a new candle, The Healthy Candle by LAVINILLA Laboratories at Sephora.com.

This candle is housed in a chocolate brown keepsake tin bowl that has a native, hand-painted appearance (OK, you know me, style please!), and this candle doesn’t release any pollutants into the air as it burns. It’s not made with any synthetics, and only exotic essential oils. I opted for the vanilla coconut scent pictured above, but the choices are many: vanilla grapefruit, vanilla lavender, pure vanilla, and vanilla spice-which should be here any day now for me to burn on Thanksgiving day.

The Healthy Candle has a price any budgetista will appreciate: $32

Arlice Nichole, Fashion & Culture Correspondent

Precious: The Dreams That You Dare to Dream

Precious: The self is lost

Last week I avoided the crowds and went to see a matinee performance of the heavily-hyped movie Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire. This is not a movie review but more of a reflection into the films themes and their impressions on the viewer. The movie held true to a lot of the atrocities in the book and added some characters–like the male nurse played by Lenny Kravitz- for some flavor. I didn’t agree with Paula Patton as the teacher, since I actually read the book and had a completely different vision of Ms. Rain (more fitting of a seasoned actress like Alfre Woodard), but nonetheless the movie was visually striking, uncompromising, and shocking to even those that have been initiated into the school of hard knocks. The reactions to the movie that I’ve heard ranged from bone chilling to uplifting, and while both descriptions could equally describe this film, I walked away with something even darker.

For a few months I had been studying the causes and effects of paranoid schizophrenia suffered by mind control subjects and sexual abuse victims. My curiosity stemmed from wanting to further understand why a displaced family member began suffering from the mental disease in her teenage years. The information that I came upon was startling, and I saw several allusions to the effects of  mental and physical abuse in both the Precious movie posters and the movie itself. Without going into an all-out thesis on the subject, I’ll just touch on a few bold depictions that I have discovered in my studies, and allow you, the reader, to further investigate if you so wish.

Monarch Programming
I was struck by the initial movie poster for Precious because the image of the monarch butterfly is reflective of government mind-control system I had been studying called Project Monarch or MK Ultra. While I do not consider myself a scholar in this subject, I understand that this was a real program developed around World War II by Nazi doctors and the CIA. This once covert operation has since come to light with a public acknowledgement from former President Clinton and, according to some, may still be in use today. Children as young as two years old were sexually abused as a way of fragmenting themseves, forgetting their sense of self, and separating parts of their mind from traumatic experiences, often forgetting that they even occured. Precious’ mother acknowledged that she watched as her boyfriend molested three-year-old Precious repeatedly instead of making love to the elder, and so we know that the Precious’ torture began early as well.

Another form of torture is constant trance inducement, where the victim will flash to another happier place in their minds as the physical trauma is being administered. In the movie, Precious constantly flashes to dreams as a movie star with bright, flashing lights, and adoring fans. While moviegoers saw these episodes as a light-hearted departure from the movie’s heavy emotional theme, it offers insight into the mind of an abused victim. A permanent and damaging effect of repeated torture is that the victim can no longer tell fantasy from reality. In the movie, Precious not only dreams that she is a skinny White girl, but everytime she sits down in front of a mirror she actually sees herself as one.

Ritual Abuse Resulting in Fragmentation
The second striking poster is a stark black and orange image of a fragmented Precious. The theme couldn’t be more obvious as the image is a metaphor for a young girl whose soul is literally shattered by sexual abuse. But the sad effect of a victim who is repeatedly traumatized is that they begin to break off mentally into different states, or alters. Think of all those alter egos that have been the big trend of celebrities lately. In a real victim, this is where the schizophrenia kicks in where a person develops several personalities that serve different purposes. For instance, there may be a good alter and a bad alter. The bad alter is the personality that is punished because it has misbehaved, whereas the good alter would never associate with the bad alter. Another alter may be afraid of being chased by some unknown force because of something they may have done. I have seen someone suffer through this disease and it can be frightening.

Precious’ alter is a White girl and a movie star. But how many times do you yourself daydream and imagine yourself as someone else? The average persona my not be as far gone as a character like Precious, but a dream and a bad experience can be bad enough to take you there.

Precious: The Dreams That You Dare to Dream

Precious: The self is lost

Last week I avoided the crowds and went to see a matinee performance of the heavily-hyped movie Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire. This is not a movie review but more of a reflection into the films themes and their impressions on the viewer. The movie held true to a lot of the atrocities in the book and added some characters–like the male nurse played by Lenny Kravitz- for some flavor. I didn’t agree with Paula Patton as the teacher, since I actually read the book and had a completely different vision of Ms. Rain (more fitting of a seasoned actress like Alfre Woodard), but nonetheless the movie was visually striking, uncompromising, and shocking to even those that have been initiated into the school of hard knocks. The reactions to the movie that I’ve heard ranged from bone chilling to uplifting, and while both descriptions could equally describe this film, I walked away with something even darker.

For a few months I had been studying the causes and effects of paranoid schizophrenia suffered by mind control subjects and sexual abuse victims. My curiosity stemmed from wanting to further understand why a displaced family member began suffering from the mental disease in her teenage years. The information that I came upon was startling, and I saw several allusions to the effects of  mental and physical abuse in both the Precious movie posters and the movie itself. Without going into an all-out thesis on the subject, I’ll just touch on a few bold depictions that I have discovered in my studies, and allow you, the reader, to further investigate if you so wish.

Monarch Programming
I was struck by the initial movie poster for Precious because the image of the monarch butterfly is reflective of government mind-control system I had been studying called Project Monarch or MK Ultra. While I do not consider myself a scholar in this subject, I understand that this was a real program developed around World War II by Nazi doctors and the CIA. This once covert operation has since come to light with a public acknowledgement from former President Clinton and, according to some, may still be in use today. Children as young as two years old were sexually abused as a way of fragmenting themseves, forgetting their sense of self, and separating parts of their mind from traumatic experiences, often forgetting that they even occured. Precious’ mother acknowledged that she watched as her boyfriend molested three-year-old Precious repeatedly instead of making love to the elder, and so we know that the Precious’ torture began early as well.

Another form of torture is constant trance inducement, where the victim will flash to another happier place in their minds as the physical trauma is being administered. In the movie, Precious constantly flashes to dreams as a movie star with bright, flashing lights, and adoring fans. While moviegoers saw these episodes as a light-hearted departure from the movie’s heavy emotional theme, it offers insight into the mind of an abused victim. A permanent and damaging effect of repeated torture is that the victim can no longer tell fantasy from reality. In the movie, Precious not only dreams that she is a skinny White girl, but everytime she sits down in front of a mirror she actually sees herself as one.

Ritual Abuse Resulting in Fragmentation
The second striking poster is a stark black and orange image of a fragmented Precious. The theme couldn’t be more obvious as the image is a metaphor for a young girl whose soul is literally shattered by sexual abuse. But the sad effect of a victim who is repeatedly traumatized is that they begin to break off mentally into different states, or alters. Think of all those alter egos that have been the big trend of celebrities lately. In a real victim, this is where the schizophrenia kicks in where a person develops several personalities that serve different purposes. For instance, there may be a good alter and a bad alter. The bad alter is the personality that is punished because it has misbehaved, whereas the good alter would never associate with the bad alter. Another alter may be afraid of being chased by some unknown force because of something they may have done. I have seen someone suffer through this disease and it can be frightening.

Precious’ alter is a White girl and a movie star. But how many times do you yourself daydream and imagine yourself as someone else? The average persona my not be as far gone as a character like Precious, but a dream and a bad experience can be bad enough to take you there.

Sammy Sosa – Bright Like Us?


Upon seeing Sammy Sosa’s Latin Grammy Awards photos splashed over the internet, I came across quite a few comments that likened his new look to ‘Dominican self-hatred’. While it’s easy to cite examples that support that point of view, I find it ironic that skin lightening being referred as a regional issue – considering that skin lightening cream is still being sold in this country.
Moreover, while Sammy Sosa serves as a painful reminder of the effects of internalized racism, it’s hardly shocking considering the images that we’ve been bombarded with for generations. I, myself, remember seeing tubes of:

being replenished in our family bathroom cabinet while growing up in New York. So, as tempting as it is to dismiss Sammy Sosa as a ‘self-hating Dominican’, it’s ultimately more effective to dissect and discuss that he’s a mirror image for people of color around the world.

Sammy Sosa – Bright Like Us?

Upon seeing Sammy Sosa’s Latin Grammy Awards photos splashed over the internet, I came across quite a few comments that likened his new look to ‘Dominican self-hatred’. While it’s easy to cite examples that support that point of view, I find it ironic that skin lightening being referred as a regional issue – considering that skin lightening cream is still being sold in this country.

Moreover, while Sammy Sosa serves as a painful reminder of the effects of internalized racism, it’s hardly shocking considering the images that we’ve been bombarded with for generations. I, myself, remember seeing tubes of:

being replenished in our family bathroom cabinet while growing up in New York. So, as tempting as it is to dismiss Sammy Sosa as a ‘self-hating Dominican’, it’s ultimately more effective to dissect and discuss that he’s a mirror image for people of color around the world.

Rihanna: From the Headlines to the Bottom Line

Another day, another Rihanna post, I know. But I couldn’t help feeling a little agitated over the bruhaha surrounding Rihanna’s appearance on the Good Morning America show. I have to look at it with a little cynicism considering that she has an album coming out.

I know that that many victims of abuse take months or even years to come out, and that is understandable. Many critics questioned why Rihanna didn’t come out immediately and act as a public advocate for domestic violence. I was willing to allow that she, like any other survivor, needed her time to heal, and that her choice to come forward would be her choice alone.

But then the photo promos came. And the new single came, with a timely link to the release of her new video for “Wait Your Turn”, which coincided with the the sensational GMA interview with Diane Sawyer. I even watched some of the clips, and I could tell that she was obviously hurt. But I have to question why this moment–the moment when her new album is about to drop–is the moment that she needs to make a statement. Call me a cold-hearted cynic, but using domestic violence as a publicity stunt puts Rihanna in an awkward light. And the industry’s need to maintain their bottom line has hit an all-time low.

Rihanna: From the Headlines to the Bottom Line

Another day, another Rihanna post, I know. But I couldn’t help feeling a little agitated over the bruhaha surrounding Rihanna’s appearance on the Good Morning America show. I have to look at it with a little cynicism considering that she has an album coming out.

I know that that many victims of abuse take months or even years to come out, and that is understandable. Many critics questioned why Rihanna didn’t come out immediately and act as a public advocate for domestic violence. I was willing to allow that she, like any other survivor, needed her time to heal, and that her choice to come forward would be her choice alone.

But then the photo promos came. And the new single came, with a timely link to the release of her new video for “Wait Your Turn”, which coincided with the the sensational GMA interview with Diane Sawyer. I even watched some of the clips, and I could tell that she was obviously hurt. But I have to question why this moment–the moment when her new album is about to drop–is the moment that she needs to make a statement. Call me a cold-hearted cynic, but using domestic violence as a publicity stunt puts Rihanna in an awkward light. And the industry’s need to maintain their bottom line has hit an all-time low.

It’s Gotta Be The Shoes

When a woman reminisces about her first pair of shoes, she usually waxes poetic about her first pair of heels. Yet, there’s something about the memory of your first pair of kicks that sparks up a wave of nostalgia. Whether you broke them for special occasions like the first day or school or wore them out while hanging around the block, they bring that perfect blend of style and swagger that’ll wrap your look up to a tee. So, take a minute today to give props to the first and fabulous pair of sneaks in your life.

It’s Gotta Be The Shoes

When a woman reminisces about her first pair of shoes, she usually waxes poetic about her first pair of heels. Yet, there’s something about the memory of your first pair of kicks that sparks up a wave of nostalgia. Whether you broke them for special occasions like the first day or school or wore them out while hanging around the block, they bring that perfect blend of style and swagger that’ll wrap your look up to a tee. So, take a minute today to give props to the first and fabulous pair of sneaks in your life.

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