I been drinking: Lemon water

Unlike Beyoncé, lemon water has been my drink of choice.

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I used to be all about the water bottle filter.

But the Bobble, in my opinion, is poorly designed and once I found a filter I liked, my Brita, I broke it.

Twice.

Then I got educated on alkalinity. A little lemon helps naturally filter AND give water a balanced alkalinity. And if you were once all acned up like myself, vitamin C is your bestie and lemon water has lots of it.

Besides, when the earth starts to crumble (already is) and we're ridded of all technology (something we shouldn't totally be dependent upon anyway), are you not gonna drink water without a filter? Or unless it's bottled? No way! So drink up! Filter or no filter.  For those grossed out about the germs on the lemon rind? Try scrubbing your lemon before you decide to dunk it in your H2O or just use the juice itself. See what else lifehack has to say about this awesome elixir.  

 

Peace and love,

Sweet Tea

A Church Beneath The Bulldozer

I have had the pleasure of  getting to know the significant person & one of Chicago's greatest artists,

Miss Kush Thompson

 

It will surprise you to hear such wisdom and presence come from this tiny woman of only 19 years. 

After sharing our disgust with media's lack of black beauty and not so kinky hair on natural hair blogs for woman of color, I've decided to feature this lovely lady on the Sweet Tea Bee's blog and share what she's about. 

Bre: A Church Beneath The Bulldozer, where did you get such an alluring title?

Kush: I’m a poet, haha. I speak in poem most days. The title was born in a poem I wrote for a workshop during Young Chicago Authors’ Saturday writing program about who I am and, in few words, how I want to be remembered. I recycled the line in a diary entry when I was sad and had to remind myself who I was. A Church Beneath the Bulldozer is how I would best describe myself today. My girlhood leading up to my 20-year-old threshold has been a process of dismantling, of stripping away what was sacred and unbreakable and seeing what was left. An absolute necessary deconstruction. 

B: What are some common themes of your book?

K: Spirituality, water, the human body, coming-of-age, vulnerability, introversion, loneliness, triumph… Life in a nutshell. I used my own diary, as well as The Diary of Frida Kahlo (something like my creative doppelgänger –“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” ), for inspiration. The book is, quite literally, a publication of my diary.

B: What was most important or what did you feel needed to be addressed in your first ever publication?

K: The “So, what?” of the book is in its dedication. I dedicated it to my three nieces because I feel that the biggest lesson I can give is in the example of woman I am. I feel that, too often, girls and women are shamed for their tenderness; black women especially. Too often, you hear women being described as “melodramatic”, “emotional”, or “crazy” for not feeling in silence. So, we harden ourselves with a “strong (black) woman” armor and dare our tears to fall in public. I need my nieces to know that there is wild strength in vulnerability; in allowing yourself to soften. 

B: Are there any talks of book number 2?

K: There is definitely a book number two that was actually in the works long before Church. It’s still very much in development, but is basically an observation of interracial (black/white) relations/hips in a “post-racial” society. It’s mostly an opportunity for me to treat Sandra Bullock and mayonnaise feminism, doe.

B: Describe your journey as a Black Womanist?

K: My journey as a blk womanist ain’t hardly started yet, haha. Nah, but it really just began 3 years ago with what was just a love for women and combat against Bad Girls Club and “girl-hate” which blossomed into an indebtedness. I attached myself to the word “womanism” (a term coined by Alice Walker, but lived long before she was thought of) my senior year after reading and studying black feminist literature, including the incredibly revolutionary At the Dark End of the Street which recounts the untold womanist fight for bodily integrity, and finding the absence in works by many popular non-women-of-color feminists. As a black woman, I am the poster-child for the word “target” in America. My feminism has no room for exclusivity. My feminism means blackwoman is one word. I am as indebted to black freedom, black man freedom, and all people of color as I am to any woman.

B: What about society do you want to see changed the most?

K: First and foremost, I need them to put Gullah Gullah Island back on Nick, Jr. That’s a helluva loaded question, though. What don’t I want changed about society? I suppose what encompasses all societal struggle is a lack of love. I think it really is that simple. We don’t love each other enough to struggle for each other; we don’t love each other enough to not be each other’s struggle. Granted, racism, patriarchy, and each of bigotry’s million names complicate this, and it could never be as simple as it sounds. But if love is wanting what is best for someone, and justice is what love looks like in public, then the heart of this society must be sitting in a jar somewhere.

B: What in your self interest help lead to this change?

K: I think it was you who said, “as long as my every action moves in a love ethic”. I believe that I live in love with the world, and in that, is a fight to change it. From my work as a teaching artist, to being a poet whose voice echoes Westside and womanism, to the organizing of The Lady Church, I’m striving for the betterment of what and who I love. There is a quiet activism in simply doing what you were sent for. 

B: What lead you to live a vegetarian lifestyle?

K: At first, it was puberty. Being a sixth grader with a twisted assortment of baby fat and hips and an admiration for the “never too rich or too thin” tabloid glorification led me to seek a diet instead of a therapist. A big component of that was giving up red meat. Eventually, I was so malnourished, even the smell of chicken made me nauseous. It really wasn’t until 8th grade and freshman year when I copped a subscription to PETA (they can kick rocks, doe.) I remember watching a video of cats, chickens, and dogs being skinned and boiled alive and “something fell off a shelf somewhere” (as Jamila Woods would say.) Since then, it has never not been about peace and animal welfare.

B: How long have you been vegetarian?

K: I’ve been craving a fat tuna fish sandwich and drooling over the smell of Wingstop for the past 5 years.

B: What are your views on natural hair and napturality (black folk wearing their hair the way it grows out of their head)?

K: (#TEAMNATURAL #ALLDAY #ERRYDAY) Lemme tell you, I go hard for some natural hair. Haha, the other day, a rapper friend of mine told me he heard I was like the guru for blk hair. I did not deny this, at all. It’s gotten to the point where no non-black-owned product will even scrape my scalp. It’s still amazing to me that the act of wearing your hair as it grows out your head is revolutionary. These are crowns, forreal, and the moment we recognize that, the moment we remember who we are in spite of the cul-de-sac of history we’ve been cursed with as a people who don’t know their own language –like a blizzard calling forth a dead memory, we are threatening the structure of white supremacy. Obviously, I can go on for the rest of my life. That’s what “napturality” is to me. It’s being washed over with knowing. It is urgent. When I could Google the words “beautiful women” and not find my face. When afros are reduced to costume wigs and school suspensions. It is necessary. Now, of course, there are queens who prefer to be whipped god and those who keep their gold tucked under lace caps and remy, and I ain’t mad at that. As long as you know what you’ve been born into and work to nurture it, by all means, werk.  Nayyirah Waheed sums it up best, “’I love myself.’ The quietest. Simplest. Most powerful. Revolution. Ever.”

B: Because we are the most amazing humans on earth, what do you love most about being a black woman?

K: I love being the soul daughter of fighters and womanists. I love being the greatest thing the world has ever slept on. I love that I can only get darker. 

 

Kush's book will be released January 31st, 2014 :) 

Follow ya girl on twitter and learn more about her and how you can get your hands on a copy of A Church Beneath The Bulldozer.

BIOGRAPHY 

Kush Thompson is a 19-year-old poet, author, avid As Told By Ginger watcher, and emerging teaching artist for the Young Chicago Authors organization. In 2010, Kush was honored with the title of team captain for Orr Academy's slam poetry team whom she led through the 2010 & 2011 festivals of Louder Than a Bomb; later advancing as an individual finalist and joining Team YouMedia Chicago in 2012 as co-captain and assistant coach in 2013. Thompson's performed across stages within the Chicago, Steppenwolf, Vic, and Victory Gardens theater, TEDX Chicago, and Chicago Jazz Festival among many others. Other partnerships include performances with The John F. Kennedy Center’s What’s Goin’ On Now tribute to Marvin Gaye featuring John Legend and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings for First Lady, Michelle Obama. Kush is the co-founder of The Lady Church organization where she hosts monthly meetings centered around female empowerment and healing. A Church Beneath the Bulldozer is her first collection of poetry.

Winter Faves

Dry skin sucks

And nothing about the winter time helps.

Here are a few of my favorite things to keep me all soft and smooth when the city is adorned with "CAUTION: Falling ice" signs.


beelove's Ultimate Body Balm 

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So not too many peeps will agree with the eucalyptus aroma wafting from this little tin of goodness, but for those stuffy nosed old souls like myself; love on this! It's all natural, local (Chicago!), and did I mention that the company harvests it's own honey?! This stuff is definitely worth the try. I believe I got mine from Whole foods but feel free to check out their website

 

Jao Brand's goē oil

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LOVE this stuff! I started using it daily from the tester at the salon I work at, Trim, and got so hooked that I decided to purchase a tube myself. Now this stuff is a little pricey, but for all the natural herbs, oils and butters it contains, worth the buy. You can even use it on your face and my hair agrees with it. You can purchase at any Trim location in Chicago or at their website


Sweet Tea Bee's sweet tea balm

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Last but most certainly not least, my all time favorite lip balm for every season and especially in the winter is our very own Sweet Tea Balm. This stuff is truly made out of love . It's all natural and organic ingredients leave lips absolutely soft and kissable. The honey and all natural sweetener makes it delicious, too. The natural oils bathe in organic green tea from a small tea farmer in china's seasonal harvest for at least a month making it antioxidant rich and naturally preserved. You could eat this stuff if you wanted too (lol)! Only a few have their hands on it, but you too can purchase your own right here on this site before the winter is up so keep checking! I can't wait for you to try it :)

 

Hope these all tickle your fancy, and soften your bums this winter

 

Peace and hair grease,

 

Sweet Tea Bre 

Why Pesco-vegetarianism?

I am a Pescetarian.

What does that even mean? Is that even a real word? You know fish is meat, 
right?

Are common questions I get whenever I turn down chicken or decline bbq from my father's favorite rib joint.

To say the least, It's always odd explaining my "diet" to people. 

I don't eat land animals not because I totally care about the killing of animals (though I am not a fan of animal brutality and the process of which we get our meat is very gruesome;) I do have a nice leather coat that keeps me warm and understand that we need animals to a certain extent to survive. For me, it's just economical to not eat land animals and I feel a lot better when I don't.

My leather jacket will last me a lifetime. It's all about moderation and actual need. Why grow a bunch of corn to feed cows to only eat cows? Eat that corn! We are misusing the heck out of our land now a days.

But the sea? Pleeeeeeeeenty of fish in the sea. Eat up! (Shoot for non-farm raised seafood, of course.) Now I'm not saying that we don't misuse our oceans, because we do, but 70% of the earth is covered in water. Mother nature gave us way more fish than chicken, beef, pork and other land animals.

I am not a meat-eater basher, either.

I just feel like there should be balance. Remember dinosaurs and how some were more fit to eat meat and others weren't? That kind of balance.

Check out Chloe Spencer from Huffington Post's cool article on the issue; she backs me up :)

Peace, love and fish sticks

- Bre 

How I am kicking Acne's butt

I've been dealing with ACNE for as long as I can remember.

From Proactiv in my early teens, oral medications prescribed by a dermatologist

 (accept the deadly Accutane), months of blue light treatments, and random drug store washes and creams, 

my skin has been through the ringer and none of the aforementioned remedies have worked for me.

 

I am now a licensed Aesthetician.

After being trained on everything skin and meeting other aestheticians who have been through the same strife and got into the profession for the same reason I did, I have come up with a pretty awesome regimen

and my skin is better than ever (and only getting better!)

As a disclaimer, everyone's skin is different and what may work for me may not work for you.

My skin type: sensitive, oily/Acneic, dryer in the winter like most normal skin.

 

What my skin was like before my current regimen (unedited pictures):

 

 

My current products of choice:

Not pictured are my cleansers of choice because I switch them up often, but I prefer to use

Aveda's Tourmaline Charged cleanser at night as an exfoliant and their all sensitive cream cleanser in the am.

 

Also not pictured are moisturizers because I simply use shea butter or coconut oil.

I use those for my body as well; they're AMAZING!!!!!

in the summer I use Aveda's all sensitive moisturizer

 

My skin nowadays (no makeup, unedited pictures):

HUGE transformation right?!

And my skin is only getting better; I wish I had pics from high school!

Now of course I get a few breakouts every now and again, but overall I know my skin and what it needs; that is key to finding the right regimen for you.

My diet has also changed and I do not eat land animals; I eat seafood because it is rich in omega 3, 6, and 9 which are necessary fatty acids that uplift your mood (for stress and lack of confidence are key agitators to acne) and they are great for maintaining healthy skin (and it's pretty yummy lol.)

I don't eat seafood everyday or every week for that matter, but my diet consists of mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.


                     You probably want to know how to use everything thats pictured, right?

The Great Plains bentonite Detox is an oral supplement that is used to help flush out toxins. You'd take it orally with water twice a day and on an empty stomach. For those interested in this mild detox YOUR DIET HAS TO BE ON POINT! Meaning no foods that would defeat the purpose of the detox, right?

Flax Oil is another great way to get in those omegas 3, 6, and 9. I take mine orally every morning with my oatmeal.

BRAGG's Organic Raw/Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is an overall staple for anyone looking to clear up their skin and to just feel.... good! I dilute mine with water (1/2 vinegar, 1/2 filtered water) and use the solution as a toner.  You also use it with Aztec Secret's Indian Healing Clay by combining the 2 to make a pretty awesome facial mask that'll draw up any impurities on the skin.

Smile's PRID all natural drawing salve is the perfect remedy for when you get those annoying pimples that you are just itching to pick. DON"T PICK AT YOUR PIMPLES!! Instead, at night before you go to bed, put this on top of that annoying appendage and cover it with a bandaid. You'll wake up with the nasty gunk that was inside the pimple and on your face, now on the bandaid! Pretty awesome.

Witch Hazel is another all purpose staple you should have in your arsenal; I use mine as a mild astringent for when I get tired of the ACV one I make.

                              *The next products are for those who suffer from acne scars

Aveda's Enbrightenment brightening correcting serum is the bees knees!!! It works but you have to be patient; I use this in the winter time at night before I moisturize and after I tone.

Now everyone won't have access to this unless you see a derm, but Tretinoin Cream, 0.05% is an awesome Retin A that I use every once in awhile before I go to bed. If you can, see a derm and get this stuff! It's great.

Organic Lemon Oil is rich in Vitamin C and also a great mood lifter. I mix this with my all sensitive moisturizer, shea butter and/or coconut oil to enhance them. Smells absolutely lovely and offsets the strong ACV toner if you decide to use it.

 

In addition to this pretty cool regimen, a not too shabby diet,

TONS OF WATER

and mild exercise (I could do better lol) I get a facial every other month or as often as once a month if I have the time.

If you've never gotten a facial, try one out! It really does help to see a professional that can help you figure out your skin and the right regimen as well as de-stress; for majority of our skin's breakouts are from stress so go ahead and pamper yourself, you deserve it ;)

Last but most definitely not least, DRINK TEA!

Green Tea is specifically rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals that tear up everything protecting our skin and body. 

 

I hope this was all helpful and didn't bore you to death reading it all haha.

 

Peace and blessings,

 

Sweet Tea Bre

 

Sweet Little Somethings

Like he had a tribe

of disheveled citizens living there

and the sheer gust from his inner skies

calmed them.

I loved every part of his continent.

Every state and every tribe

north, south, east and west

of that little furry heaven – underneath his nose.

 

My ode to something I love about a certain someone :) 

WEB Du Bois with the OG 'stache

WEB Du Bois with the OG 'stache

 

 

Welcome All!

Ok  

So this is my official first blog post with CONTENT! Isn't that exciting. I cant wait to share all of my experiences, advice, and life as a struggling health addict with you all!

My mom once told me taking pictures of strangers is rude and that I should stop. My name is Breanna and I have this weird but undoubtably common fetish for taking pictures of strangers; sometimes for a few laughs, but most of the time it's of people I admire for one reason or another. I decided to turn this taboo into a new way for me to make friends and added my stranger-picture-taking journey as a blog segment here at Sweet Tea Bees.

Meet Kayla (:

I saw her as I was walking on the blue line sitting just like this.


Of course she looked more natural for this is after I asked of her consent, but this is how I first saw Kayla. She looked strong and fierce and everything about her was beautiful to me. I wanted to capture her confidence. She had her leg up on the seat in front of her and she was listening to music. I liked her clogs, they reminded me of the ones my grandmother wears. She had a lunchbox meaning she's economical and probably broke like myself because I try to pack a lunch for my days too. I waited for her to look at me so that I could flash her a smile and she smiled back. That's when it hit me; I could ask her if she'd allow me to take a picture of her and say it's for my blog. Of course I didn't think of it as a blog entry and had no plans of starting this segment, but thought of it as the most less creepy way to spark conversation. Now I cannot tell a lie so I would, however, feature her on my blog anyway as a beautiful black lady I had met on the train whose stature I admired, then realizing that it would be a pretty dope and uplifting ongoing thing I would enjoy doing often and then sharing with you all. But let's get back to the lovely Kayla.

She's working on a series of dance videos, if I remember correctly, just like myself and she makes amazing coconut chocolate chip cookies. She offered me one during our brief conversation and let me tell you... The bomb.com.

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I told her she should think about selling them, they were so good, and that another focus of my own brand was encouraging women to start their own business after realizing their purpose. Making cookies maybe isn't her purpose lol but I'd definitely buy them if they were for sale and she could make a few extra bucks doing something she loves. I see Miss Kayla and myself being friends in the near future and I look forward to seeing what her light's going to give to the world. I can't wait to meet more people this way and I'll try my hardest to not limit these people to only women, but Lawd knows I'm a lady lover (not as in lesbian, I just absolutely LOVE women; we too fresh ^_^). I also can't wait for you all to meet the lovely people I encounter on the daily basis; 69% of the time I meet them on CTA so the transit authority ain't all thaaaaat bad after all.

Blessings, peace and love,

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Sweet Tea.