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In 2013, Christian Louboutin released his first capsule collection of nude shoes. Now, he's released new tones: At Bergdorf Goodman April 21st, he revealed varying silhouettes, which he says were inspired by the desire to offer shades that matched different women from around the world. To show off the shoes, he enlisted Shiona Turini, Jane Keltner de Valle, and Nina Garcia to style them however they wanted. (We have a first look at the images, below.)

Louboutin says he tried to make it a little easier on people who want to wear shoes to match their skin color — but acknowledges that he still has a long way to go. “There are two colors that I'm missing the range of in the middle," he says. "In the next year, we will be at seven total skin tones."

Cookie And Kate writes:
This healthy vegetarian spinach lasagna includes lots of fresh spinach, jarred artichokes and the simplest homemade tomato sauce. This lasagna tastes even better the next day! Recipe yields one 9-inch square lasagna, which is enough for 8 or more servings.

This healthy vegetarian spinach lasagna includes lots of fresh spinach, jarred artichokes and the simplest homemade tomato sauce. This lasagna tastes even better the next day! Recipe yields one 9-inch square lasagna, which is enough for 8 or more servings.

Tomato sauce (or substitute 2 cups prepared marinara sauce)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Spinach artichoke mixture
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 smallish red onion)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 cup jarred or defrosted frozen artichokes, drained (simply omit for a classic spinach lasagna), quartered if necessary
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, preferably organic
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Remaining lasagna ingredients
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the tomato sauce, first pour the tomatoes into a mesh sieve or fine colander and let them drain off excess juice for a minute. Transfer drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Pulse the mixture about 10 times, until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl for later (you should have about 2 cups sauce).
  2. Rinse out the food processor and return it to the machine. Pour half of the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the processor and blend it until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl. No need to rinse out the bowl of the food processor this time; just put it back onto the machine because you'll need it later.
  3. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the artichoke to the skillet, then add a few large handfuls of spinach. Cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach. Continue cooking for about 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach has dramatically reduce in volume and very little moisture remains in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Transfer the spinach artichoke mixture to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the contents are finely chopped (but not puréed!), about 12 to 15 times. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of whipped cottage cheese. Top with remaining cottage cheese and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Now it's lasagna assembly time!
  6. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of an 8-by-8 or 9-by-9 inch square baker. Layer three lasagna noodles on top, overlapping their edges as necessary. Spread half of the spinach mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with ½ cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
  7. Top with three more noodles, followed by the remaining spinach mixture. Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top. (We're skipping the tomato sauce in this layer.) Top with three more noodles, then spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top so the noodles are evenly covered. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese.
  8. Wrap the lasagna with a layer of parchment paper over the top (or cover tightly with aluminum foil, but don't let the foil touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180 degrees and continue cooking for about 12 more minutes, until the top is turning spotty brown. Remove from oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 minutes before sprinkling with chopped basil and slicing.
Have you tried the recipe?
Lets us know how the recipe turned out for you in the comments! 

Activist Group Never 21 recently made a poignant statement on how state violence impacts children by changing the displays and hanging a banner in the window of a Forever 21 store in the Union Square section of New York City.
The project employs a font and color scheme similar to that of the fast fashion retailer to bring awareness. Their website reads,
Countless underaged lives have been lost at the hands of ‘vigilantes’ and disgruntled police officers. These youth were never given the chance to see age 21, or any age there after, so we respond by reminding the public of the battle that we are still actively fighting. We care about the lives of Black men. We care about the lives of Black women. We care about the lives of Black CHILDREN.
We will not forget these lives – and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that their voices continue to be heard.
A member of the anonymous group tells Gothamist about the demonstration, “We planned for a long time, and practiced beforehand on mannequins. We had the shirts sized large so that they would be easy to slip on. No one paid attention to us,” she said. “The door alarm kept going off for people who were trying to make returns.”
The display stayed up for about 20 minutes before it was eventually removed by store employees. It definitely attracted quite a bit of attention during a busy time in this heavily trafficked part of New York City.
The group also stresses that the demonstration is not an attack on Forever 21.
This was not an attack on Forever 21. In actuality, it is an opportunity for the popular retail conglomerate to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Whether they choose to support our message or be against it, this will not stop us from making sure that these voices continue to be heard.
Forever 21 has not responded to most media outlets requesting comments but did release a statement saying that they are “not associated with the Never 21 Project and had no prior knowledge of their public demonstration.”
Watch video of the demonstration below.

The Forever 21 Project: Never 21 from Never21 on Vimeo.

BALTIMORE — A largely peaceful protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal cord injury in police custody, gave way to scattered scenes of chaos here on Saturday night, as demonstrators smashed a downtown storefront window, threw rocks and bottles and damaged police cruisers, while officers in riot gear broke up skirmishes and made 12 arrests near Camden Yards.  

Tensions have been high since the murder of  Mike Brown in Ferguson Missouri , and the Black Lives Matters movement has been picking up momentum ever since, with protest all in solidarity all over the world. The protest in Baltimore, Maryland this past weekend is a continuation of this ongoing battle with the justice system.

A photographer  whom I haven't heard of previously and whose  identify is still unknown to me presently, pieces of work kept popping up on all my social networks.  He has in a phenomenal way used his art to create a beautiful narrative of the Baltimore protest in the name of Freddie Gray. A testament to making sure we navigate this story of present events; that will crucial period United States  history.  

Here are a few photographs posted on their instagram account. be sure to visit their  instagram page as well for the full photographic story

A photo posted by KnownNobody ◼️◾️▪️ (@bydvnlln) on

A photo posted by KnownNobody ◼️◾️▪️ (@bydvnlln) on

There has been a lot of confusion about what moisture actually is, how to moisturize hair and what ingredients should be included in an effective moisturizer. Products containing emollients such as mineral oil and petroleum, natural oils and butters as well as silicones have been marketed as moisturizers. Women have used these products with no relief to their dry hair. Brittleness has continued with ensuing breakage. Because of this we need to take a deeper look into this concept of moisturizing our hair, dissect the formulas and really understand what makes a product an effective moisturizer.

What is Moisture: A Review

Moisture is property of water and this element makes the best moisturizer. Hydration contributes to the pliability and elasticity of the hair. Because water can quickly enter and exit the hair it’s difficult for it to remain moisturized for long periods of time with just water. Factor in conditions such as high porosity and chemical damage and keeping the hair hydrated seems as though it’s a losing battle. This is where an effective moisturizer is crucial.

What Makes a Good Moisturizer “Good”?
A good moisturizer will hydrate and nourish the hair deeply within the hair shaft. Water-based products are necessary. Anything anhydrous or without water such as a 100% oil-based product will not be an effective moisturizer. This is because oils and waxes DO NOT moisturize. Oils replace lost lipids from the hair, nourish it and can create a barrier so that moisture to seal in moisture but they do not moisturize. Therefore using an oil-based product with the hopes of moisturizing the hair will be an exercise in futility and will likely result in dry hair especially if there is no moisture in the hair shaft. Therefore a proper moisturizing product will contain humectants and emollients to draw water into the hair and occlusives to keep it there.

Humectants Can Be a Curly Girl’s Best Friend – Another Review

I absolutely love humectants. I think that if they are used correctly, they can effectively improve moisture levels in the hair for days before remoisturizing is necessary. When it comes to skin, the essential components to skin moisturization are humectants, emolliency and occlusiveness. If we extrapolate these principles to hair care we find the same thing. Exactly what is a humectant? Humectants attract water from the surroundings by absorption into the hair, and adsorption onto the hair, at defined conditions, which include temperature and humidity.

Glycerin is probably one of the most popular and well-known humectants because it’s very effective and relatively inexpensive. It can absorb its own weight in water over 3 days. However, many naturals avoid glycerin products with glycerin because it can leave their hair feeling dry or looking frizzy. As a result, many natural hair care companies are manufacturing products that are “glycerin free”. I like to put things in context when it comes to the use of specific ingredients for hair care, their incorporation into a product and the result on the hair. To say that glycerin makes the hair hard or results in frizziness is relative depending on many things including the humidity, the product formulation and other ingredients in the product.

While glycerin is the most well known humectant there are several others. This is where I take issue with some companies that market products as “glycerin free” because they will leave out the glycerin, but often add other humectants. These include agave nectar, honey, sodium PCA, sodium lactate, propylene glycol, urea, honeyquat, sorbitol and panthenol to name a few. Certain humectants have more moisture binding capability than others and each humectant is unique bringing other properties to a formulation.

In high humidity frizz can ensue because moisture is taken from the environment into hair resulting in swelling of the hair shaft, raising of the cuticle and resulting poofiness. If hair is dry, damaged and overly porous it can be a hot mess! Humectants exacerbate this condition and some, such as glycerin, can become sticky once saturated with water. So in this type of weather or climates in which high humidity is characteristic, using products with high amounts of humectants can have a negative effect on the hair. This I understand and I’ve experienced the “cotton candy hair” during high humidity days this summer. However the other side of this and one of the arguments against using glycerin (and by extension it should apply to other humectants as well, no?) is this notion of it drawing water from the cortex of the hair in low humidity conditions such as dry, cold weather. Relevant research I found pertains specifically to the skin. Can this be applied to hair? Perhaps. Humectants are able to attract water from the atmosphere (if the atmospheric humidity is greater than 80%) and from the dermis. Even though they may draw water from the environment to help hydrate the skin, in low humidity conditions, they may take water from the deeper epidermis and dermis, resulting in increased skin dryness. For this reason, they work better with occlusive ingredients.

What does this mean for hair care? If the same principles apply then in lower humidity conditions humectants may contribute to hair dryness if water is lost from the hair. Therefore they should be paired with occlusive agents, better known as SEALANTS. Sealants will work along with humectants to minimize the evaporation of water and subsequent dryness. This doesn’t just apply to glycerin but ANY humectant. What are good sealants? Natural sealants include butters such as shea butter and cocoa butter and waxes like beeswax and carnauba wax. Mineral oil and dimethicone are two other sealants that are very effective at minimizing water loss once used appropriately.

So here is my rant. Are you ready for it?

So Ouidad, you know, the creator of the Ouidad product line and a “Curl Expert” said in a recent Frizz Hangout on Google, that, and I quote,
“Oil does not seal in moisture”.
And she says this emphatically. And then she goes on to say that:
“Oil coats the hair and repeals natural moisture from the environment. It causes dehydration, dullness, and frizziness. Our hair is like us, it needs to breathe. If we suffocate it with oils, it dries out.
What the huh…? See not everyone who is a hair care expert knows what they’re talking about!!!

So let’s take a look at the research shall we?

Typically when oils are used they’re done to prevent or slow the evaporation of water from the hair to the environment. This loss of water will eventually happen; however a film of oil on the hair can slow down this process.

From J.C. of A Natural Haven:

A scientific study looked at the effect of applying oil to hair on both moisture retention and moisture pick up from the air (Journal of Cosmetic Science, pp 135-145, 2007). The oils used were coconut, sunflower and mineral oil. The 3 key findings were:
  • Oil DOES help to prevent moisture loss from the hair fibre. Hair with an oil layer has higher moisture retention compared to uncoated hair.
  • Oil DOES have a sealing effect. Hair with an oil layer will take up less water vapour compared to uncoated hair which means that the oil layer slows moisture uptake. Coconut oil allowed more moisture in than mineral oil (i.e mineral oil is a better sealer).
  • Oil layers on hair DO NOT prevent hair from taking up water vapour. Although uncoated hair will take up the most water vapour from the air, hair coated with oil (mineral, sunflower or coconut) will also still take up significant amounts of water vapour from the air.
The conclusion is that oil DOES slow the loss of water from the hair.

This notion of “suffocating” the hair is completely bogus. Especially since hair itself is dead tissue. The living portion of the hair is actually beneath the scalp and this part is nourished by blood vessels. So you can’t suffocate the hair and no oil will keep water in or out completely.

So in my opinion, Ouidad is incorrect when she makes this statement for many naturals to hear and be totally confused about.

Emollients are lubricating and are film-forming. They help smooth and seal the hair and can be oils, butters, hydrolyzed proteins, polymers, and cationic quaternary compounds.

To summarize an effective moisturizer will contain:
  1. Water
  2. Humectants
  3. Emollients
  4. Occlusives or sealants
When it comes to moisturizing hair you’ll definitely need to find which product works for you. Navigating through the abundance of products seems daunting but understanding the ingredient list can help you narrow down your choices. In order to evaluate whether a moisturizer will be good for your hair or not you’ll need to know a few things:
  1. Your hair texture (fine, medium, thick)
  2. Is the product a light lotion or thicker cream?
  3. Is there water in the product to hydrate the hair?
  4. Are there humectants in the product? Where are they in the ingredient list?
  5. Are there any emollients?
  6. Are there any occlusive agents (aka sealants) in the product to minimize water loss to the environment?

So, how effective is your moisturizer at actually MOISTURIZING your hair?

I saw this video made by Amandla Stenberg on tumblr for a school project,  she is an actress mostly known for her role as Rue in the movie The Hunger Games  where she eloquently breaks down what cultural appropriation is, and why its harmful, specifically related to black culture.

Although I enjoyed the video and agreed with  her message it s incredibly sad that a child had to explain this. Appropriation of black culture isn't new especially in the entertainment business, and whenever this issues is addressed white people almost never get it.

I explained my frustration with appropriation in an Open Letter to Katy Perry, a pop artist who continuously appropriates black culture because it means dollars in their bank account. Check out Amandala Stenberg's video and let us know what you think about appropriation in pop culture

By Queen
Instagram @TheQueenspeaks_
Originally, I planned to write about Preference vs. Exclusion in an entirely different way than what I’m about to unfold. Preference in terms of dating choices vs. exclusion of dating choices. When someone has a preference it is usually referring to a type of person they like to date. Preference becomes exclusion when someone with a preference excludes anyone who doesn't fit that mold of their preference.  I wanted to write about why my preference for black men wasn't exclusion. My interpretation of preference is, the first choice, your first pick over another option.  You want this option above all other options  because it appeals to you.   Exclusion is without consideration at all, when you are picking among your options, any option that doesn't fit your preference isn’t an option to you is up for consideration. Which is true, but the reasons why I felt my preference wasn’t exclusion is what lead me to rethink my ideas about preference.
All the different reasons you are attracted to a person physically; facial features, shape, height etc. can all be part of any given person or any race. To say you don’t like to date a certain race of people is exclusion. You’ve made up your mind that the experiences and perceptions you have of black women are unappealing to you. Those misconceptions - that may have been taught to you -and/or experiences caused you to make these vast generalizations about black women. FYI, those are stereotypes. Now you have these stereotypes of all black women in your head, and you decide that all black women are like this and you don’t want to date black women. Those are institutionalized streams of thoughts that give you your “preferences”. If it weren't for them, then you date people for whom they were on the inside.
I am someone who has always dated black men, mostly dark skin black men. That’s what I like; my philosophy was that black men were my preference. I’d proclaim I don’t exclude men of other nationalities, but -if and when they float my way – I’m not checking for them. I’d state things like it didn’t feel right in my spirit or I just can’t see myself being intimate on a basic level with someone who isn’t of the same race as myself. There are valid reasons one may not want to date outside their race, but after much evaluation mine aren’t all that valid. I excluded other men from my dating pool on site. I realized that the reason I exclude other groups of people from my dating pool is because I’ve somehow convinced myself that by choosing to only date dark skin black men I am somehow getting back at the institutionalized ideas about black men, partially dark skin black men. If I chose to date them, they are no longer undesirable, because I desire them. Somewhere in my mind, I felt that if I chose to create a family with a black man then the effects of broken homes on black families could stop with us. Yes, somewhere in my mind this justification ran that deep for me, now where all that originated is a story for another time.
Now, I didn’t write all this to say you should revalue why you chose to date the people you do and you should change your mind and all that jazz. I’m saying all this to say that your idea of what beauty is -may not be of your own personal holding- but by the misconceptions you were taught to believe to be true. As for me, I still love black men and on some level, it is my way of getting back at institutionalized oppression. But (I don't think you need but)I don’t care; I feel no guilt about it honestly. Have I opened up my pool of dating, yes but it isn’t because I suddenly want to be equal in my dating choice but because the partner I want may not come in the package that I expect.
By Zaire,
Header Image from tumblr

Zaire is a Seton Hall university graduate with a B.A in Broadcast and interactive Media. She’s a host, aspiring writer and all around media and public relations enthusiast.
Instagram @Mad3_in_India

I am not into working out, fitness hasn't been a huge priority since, well ever. I was very active as a child but it was because I was involved in sports and dance. I was gymnast, ran track played basketball and was in every kind of dance program from modern all the way to flamingo dance. My parents kept me active, and I liked these things because they were fun, not for the fitness involved.

At 31 my body is changing, and I want to be in more control of my health. I already eat pretty health but my fitness regimen is non existent and I want to change that. I say many times I want to be able to still drop it like its hot and 90 years of age, and that won't happen sitting on my sofa.

 I've decided to put together a cost effective workout plan for myself because I'm on a tight budget. I decided to go to youtube and find an effective  work out there, and bring the gym into my home! I am a ball of excuses, "I hate gyms, I don't like gym showers. I don't like people watching me." Every excuse in the book I've foolishly used. SInce I'm working out at home, the only excuse I have left is laziness.

My is  plan to do this workout three times a week (video below), and I also have a running buddy whom I will be running with two times a week, also before every workout  I do a yoga stretch session which I also got from youtube. Wish me luck!!

By Queen
Instagram @TheQueenspeaks_
Header Photo Credit
It's getting warmer and that usually ushers in people wanting to slim down and get their summer body. It's great to want to look good, but it's even better to want be healthy. Diets aren't the healthiest option because they're usually short term. The best options are lifestyle changes, completely changing your relationship with food. For many breaking the cycle of your old relationship with food and creating a new one can be a little difficult. 

Ms. Vixen contributor Ray B. has a way to help this transition to healthier lifestyle simpler with her new ebook, Cut The Crap.  Ray Ball of A Few Hungry Girls Food Blog presents a 21 Day Detox plan helping to rid your body of toxins and processed foods, by eating clean healthy food! Don't worry there are meal plans for each week to cut out all the guess work! Through the program you will learn new ways to prepare clean meals, yummy healthy snacks, and a few of Ray’s recipes! 

The author Ray Ball, has decided to have a giveaway specially for Ms. Vixen Readers! The three winners will each be getting: 1 copy of the ebook, a free water bottle, one pack of green tea to get them started, and one month of free online at home workouts! A very great giveaway with lots of goodies. 

You may purchase the book by visiting  

How to enter the contest:

1) Like A Few Hungry Girls and Ms. Vixen on all social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 
Click to like or follow 
Facebook  A Few Hungry Girls,  Ms. Vixen   

2) Post the book Graphic or a photo of you eating or preparing a healthy meal and us these hashtags #AFHG #CutTheCrap #OurJym and tag A Few Hungry Girls and Ms. Vixen in the post according to the social network, and YOU'RE ENTERED!! 

So, lets get started on getting to a healthier body for summer and beyond!! 

By Queen
Instagram @TheQueenspeaks_

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