Product Spotlight: 800razors.com

Ladies, let’s be honest: shaving is not fun.  In the short term, it is less expensive than waxing or laser hair removal.  Of course, once the hair is gone, most of us feel better.  For whatever reason, smooth legs give us the confidence to rock a gorgeous skirt at the office or on a first date.  That doesn’t change the fact that every step leading up to the finished product is often a chore.

I have always believed that shopping for razors is a lot like buying hair dye in a box.  The women on the packaging look so happy and beautiful that you convince yourself the experience will be nothing but pleasant.  Then you get home, and after attempting to use it, you discover you are allergic to the chemicals in the hair dye.  Your scalp is itchy, and your hair is more orange carrot than blonde bombshell.

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I have never been good at buying razors, and I am often surprised at how many times you can succeed in accidentally wounding yourself with one.  Additionally, like many women, I have very sensitive skin.  So, my pretty little bare legs are often subject to razor burn—which is not pleasant, nor is it pretty.  All of these factors make that moment of buying a razor incredibly stressful.  I wander through the aisle with other bewildered women reminding myself, “This is a necessary evil.”

Recently, I stumbled upon 800razors.com, and I’m going to be completely honest with you—I was skeptical.  They advertise a razor and 12 replacement cartridges for $19.95, with free shipping no less!  The description claimed the razor was comparable to a Venus razor.  That was the hook for me.  If it was that cheap and could compare in any way to the only razor that had ever made the act of shaving remotely bearable, then I had to give it a try. 

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It only took a few days for my first order to arrive.  I typically put off shaving for as long as I can.  However, I had to try it out as soon as I got home.  I was excited to discover that my initial skepticism was incorrect.  The razor is phenomenal.  There is a little strip around the razor that has aloe in it, so your shave does not even require soap!  Seriously, even for people like me with sensitive skin.  After my shower, I had nice pretty bare legs without razor burn.  

Needless to say, I am done going to the store for my razors.  So, if any of you bewildered women in the razor aisle wish to escape with me, go to www.800razors.com and sign up for your first delivery today.  Let me know if you like them as much as I did, or if you have any go to beauty products that have changed the way you get ready in the morning! 

Email editorial@beckmediagroup.com or comment below!

For the Love of Books

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Starting a book club in Blacksburg can be a little intimidating.  Of course, so can relocating to Virginia from Charlotte with your spouse and six children.  Mims Driscoll is no stranger to hauling herself out of her comfort zone.  Although the environment is new to the Driscoll family, they have learned to follow her lead by finding their inner resolve and challenging themselves to live in the moment.  The Driscolls have faced individual personal struggles, sending their oldest sibling off to college, and even illness.  Yet they have discovered that the best way to overcome any obstacle is to take matters into their own hands and fight for their own happiness.Driscolls2

Facing these challenges has also required open communication within their family.  It sounds simple, but sometimes speaking openly with those we love can be a struggle—especially when you know that they are facing problems of their own.  Driscoll admits, “I wasn’t aware of how fully [the move] would affect all of our children.  It became a journey as a family.  We reoriented ourselves as to what family life would look like.”

Her goal was to immediately engage everyone, including herself, into the community.  Before moving, she began calling her children’s coaches.  Over the summer, they were allowed to attend practices and workouts with their future teammates.  As a result, they saw familiar faces at school from day one.  Afterwards, she attended a “Blacksburg Newcomers Club” meeting–in spite of her nerves.  It was a success.  “Almost as soon as I arrived, people began introducing themselves.  By the end of the night, I had already made a friend who invited me to the movies.”

Driscoll often reminds herself and her children, “We can’t control every dynamic we are going to be faced with, but we can control our responses.  We will get back up on our feet with grace.”

She hopes that the book club will choose a book each month that focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome.  “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is the club’s February selection.  It is a reflection of community values, and how, “in the time of turmoil, everything within us comes out: especially the desire for good, inner strength, and resolve.”

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“Books in the Burgs” will meet on the second Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. in the Blacksburg Recreation Center.

Healthy Relationships for Your Teenager

Parenting for Healthy Relationships

As a parent, you might assume that your teen knows what a “good” relationship looks like and how to develop one. Teens need to learn about “violence-free” relationships, and what it takes to engage in healthy relationships. Information, awareness, and the attention of parents will ensure their children can identify a healthy relationship.

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Characteristics of Healthy Relationships 

A healthy relationship includes more than feelings of love, passion, affection, and shared likes and dislikes. Parents and other adults can engage teens in discussing the following characteristics of healthy relationships:

Give and take: both partners get their way some of the time and compromise some of the time

  • Respect: valuing one another’s opinions and accepting each other for who they are
  • Support and encourage: being positive with each other’s goals, ambitions, friendships, and activities outside the relationship
  • Trust, without jealous restrictions
  • Emotionally and physically safe: feeling comfortable being themselves without the fear of being put down or hurt
  • Communicate openly and honestly, and allowing partners feel safe in expressing themselves

 Parents’ Roles

As your child goes through stages of adolescence, you have an important role to play in your teen’s ability to have good relationships with peers and intimate partners. Parents evolve from being “managers” who are actively in charge of almost everything in their child’s life, to “consultants” who provide an important connection, along with values, information, and feedback, supporting their children’s increasing abilities to make decisions for themselves.

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Encourage your teen to think about his or her relationships, both present and future, by discussing healthy relationships, pointing out features of relationships they see in books and movies, and opening a dialogue so they can think about what they want in a boyfriend or girlfriend. This will help them to identify differences between relationships that are built on respect and those that are not.

Parents can be great resources for teens with open communication, being aware and informed, fostering good self-esteem and empowerment, encouraging assertiveness, talking about sensitive and volatile issues with teens, and respecting their opinions and emotions.

One of the most effective ways of teaching a child about healthy relationships is to model positive qualities in your own relationships. Even if you think your teen is not listening to your conversations with your partner, they often are.

Guidelines for Conversations with Teens

Create opportunities for discussion by “showing up” in a relaxed manner when you know your teen is available: hang out with them at night, or drive someplace together. Or you can ask your teen questions about something they read or saw, and take interest in your teen’s opinion. It is important for parents to include same sex couples in their discussions, to let teens know that these issues are important for all relationships.

Parents can take advantage of “teachable moments” when the subject of relationships comes up. For example, after watching a movie together, ask about the relationship in the movie and what they think worked and didn’t work. When they see something in the media about famous actors or sports figures, discuss those relationships. If there is a situation involving someone they know, chat with your teen about what he or she thinks about the situation.

Conversation Starters

Open-ended questions can start a conversation with teens. Use these opportunities to have a relaxed dialogue about different points of view. Here are some examples of open-ended questions to ask:

  • “What do you think about [a situation in a TV show….]?”
  • “I saw your friend at the mall with her boyfriend. How do you think their relationship is going?”
  • “What if your date drinks at a party and wants to drive you home? How would you handle that?”
  • “Did you notice how different guys treated [a woman in a movie you watched together]? Which guy do you think did the right thing and why?”

Teen relationships provide a way to experiment and practice for future long-term relationships and marriages. Talking with your teen about what they are looking for in their relationships will help him or her develop healthy relationship skills, and teach them differences between unhealthy, abusive behavior and healthy behavior. Then your teen will begin to understand what it takes to be a healthy relationship partner: to be treated with respect and to treat others with respect.

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About the authors:

Barrie Levy and Patti Giggans are co-authors of When Dating Becomes Dangerous: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Relationship Abuse. Patti is the executive director of Peace Over Violence, and blogs regularly for The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Barrie, a violence prevention specialist, is the editor of Dating Violence, a collection of writings about adolescent dating abuse and violence.

The Plus Sized Problem

Body positivity and fat acceptance have never been an integral part of the fashion world. When an industry is built to thrive from shame, it often reflects the current societal expectations from the majority. Stores everywhere cater mostly, if not entirely, to women of “straight sizes.”  That is, women who fit into sizes 0 to around 12. Trying to find trendy, affordable styles for larger women is a quest that often seems impossible. Most of these stores order very few pieces of clothing in the upper ranges.  Even plus sized models that are used in their ads or campaigns look to be more on the smaller side when compared to the diverse body types of the American woman.

Professionals are trained to eliminate fat where it exists because it is not considered marketable. For instance, Target recently opted to use a pregnant model in order to show off plus size wear, instead of just hiring a plus size model. The American obsession with thinness is so rampantly widespread that “fatshaming” is becoming a cultural norm. Young people are being bombarded with billboard campaigns insulting and degrading overweight children.  Young girls are constantly flooded with edited images of their favorite stars, giving them unrealistic measures to attain. When children’s anti-obesity ads are created, they often use a lot of children of color as well, even going as far as Photoshopping thin child models to look as if they were overweight behind demeaning advertisement text.

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In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, straight sized actress Jennifer Lawrence stated “I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat.” I believe the main issue with this statement is that it perpetuates the stigma that “fat” necessarily equals “bad.” We are facing consequences of being culturally ingrained with this mindset daily. Going to any store and being able to find your size represented is an example of thin privilege. Being able to say statements like the quote above is an example of thin privilege. As another thin woman, we do not have the authority to deny or dismiss words that aren’t meant for us. Fat isn’t/shouldn’t be a bad word, but Lawrence is inherently saying it still is unacceptable.

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On the bright side, there has been a lot of recent movement towards reclaiming the word “fat”–not as an insult but as a positive identifier.  The fashion world has been steadily advancing the availability of cute and quality plus size clothing to be distributed to the masses. Eden Miller became the very first plus size designer to have her own runway show at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, showcasing models sized 12 to 24 in her collection of bold printed dresses. Rick Owens’ fashion show in Paris showcasing his 2014 Women’s Spring/Summer collection featured four step teams to model the line. This gave a new diverse and genuine look to the fashion industry that has never been represented before, as most of the models were Women of Color ranging in all sizes. Rockstar and fashionista Beth Ditto walked in designer’s Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 2010 Spring/Summer runway show and has even launched her own edgy clothing line for women sized 14-32 that was carried by the plus sized clothing store Evans. In Manhattan, Full Figured Fashion Week, a concept developed by former plus size model Gwen DeVoe, finished its fifth year with a bang.  It drew attention from hundreds of fashion bloggers and some lesser known celebrities who would occasionally walk in the runway shows.

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Visibility and representation of body diversity in the fashion world and the media, as a whole, is too important. Without which, many women who are unrepresented in the media available to them will continue to feel less than other women. We are making small steps towards body positivity and acceptance and hopefully, we won’t stop now.

DIY: Sharpie Scripted Pillows

Who says that writing on furniture is just for kids? Snuggle up with a love letter every night with this how-to for Sharpie scripted pillows!

THINGS YOU’LL NEED:

  • Sharpie Fabric Markers
  • Cotton or Jersey pillowcase
  • Cardboard
  • Letter Stencils (Optional)

Choose the text or design you wish to write on your pillow.

Lay the pillowcase out over the piece of cardboard to prevent the marker from bleeding through and to keep the pillowcase smoothly stretched out.

For best results, sketch/write your ideas out in pencil FIRST before going to work with the Sharpie to allow for mistakes.

Use the fabric marker to create your one-of-a-kind pillow!

Take a look at these examples of DIY Sharpie pillows on A Subtle Revelry or Dear Lillie Blog if you need inspiration!  For more great DIY projects, check out our Pinterest page!

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Sweet dreams!

Tips for Natural Hair Care This Winter

Harsh winter weather can be detrimental to all different types of hair, but the cold, dry air is especially brutal to Black hair and other types of textured hair. Natural hair, and newly transitioned natural hair, risk undergoing extreme breakage and damage when exposed to the winter elements. Need some help on how to upkeep the quality of your natural hair? Avoid damage this winter with these must have items and habits to introduce to your hair.

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  • An Efficient Protective Hairstyle

Protective styling, such as twists, braids, or locs, helps to retain length by stretching out your hair and encouraging growth. With minimal manipulation, you natural hair will be allowed to grow freely, eliminating the constant threat of tangling and breakage. Because your hair will already be in a style, all you have to worry about is maintenance–which allows more time to focus on moisturizing your scalp and roots! But be sure to only keep protective styles in for their maximum time limits–let your hair breathe! Keep box braids in for no longer than three months at the max, for example!

  • A Satin-Lined Beanie

Want to cover up your hair and keep your ears warm in style this winter? Invest in a satin-lined hat or beanie to keep your ends protected and to retain moisture on the go! You can find many of these online on Etsy or you could make one yourself with this easy online tutorial video!

  • Incorporate Heavy Products

Add heavier sealants and oils into your normal routine like shea butter to guarantee maximum moisture retention in the cold weather. You can find heavy shea butter at your local health food store.

  • Wash Your Hair Less

Unlike less textured hair, natural hair requires less frequent washing as it removes essential moisture from already dry hair. At least limit hair washing to every ten days or two weeks to limit drying out your hair even more.  Use fewer products to encourage healthy growth.

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  • Condition, Condition, Condition!

Ditch the shampoo and co-wash regularly! Carol’s Daughter has a lot of products in stock to cleanse and condition your hair all at once! If you don’t already do so, incorporate frequent deep conditioning treatments to your lifestyle. You can buy products to deep condition with in your local beauty store or stick to hot oil treatments with Extra Virgin Coconut or Olive Oil (and any other essential oils if you’d like!) Apply warmed oil to your hair and scalp and leave on for about an hour. Then, simply rinse and co-wash!

@BruceontheLoose

The music people choose to love is an interesting thing to observe.

Some folks want you to know how cool they are by the musical groups they promote.  Others let their musical preferences reflect their lifestyle – which is why there is such a large range of genres from Americana to Country to Hard Rock to Rap and more.  Then there are people that don’t push their musical preferences to the front of a conversation, but are known to weigh in with an “I hate that group” or a quick “have you heard of such and such?”

When you’re looking for a common ground conversation at a mixer, music is an interesting topic.  Really listening to what a person says can give you a deeper look into their life approach.  It becomes a springboard to further conversation.

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Try this fun question, sure to incite a variety of responses: What are five songs you never get tired of hearing on the radio?

First of all, the tendency is to choose obscure music from dusty LPs that others reviewed and decided are classics.  You know– that fifth cut from the Police’s Syncronicity II album, or the live version of a Rihanna song that no one has ever heard.  Other responses include bands from New Orleans or central Tennessee that you must hear.   Naturally some music snobs will say, “I never listen to the radio.”  That’s how they can stay above The Fray (get it?) and not have to pay attention to pop music at all.

I like music.  It transports us to another place or another time.  It reminds us or propels us.

That means I can always pick out my favorites, but still appreciate and enjoy a wide range of things including show tunes, Eminem, and American Authors (who?).  With two teenagers, I try to keep up with newer music as well– I even saw the One Direction Documentary last fall.  That doesn’t make me hip – in fact I’ve probably lost some gravitas with a few of you – but at least I am somewhat current.  Not a bad trait for a 49 year old.

Now, since this is my question, I have a running start on answering it.  However, you can start thinking of your own answers and have fun discussing them with your friends and family.  Try to include songs that most everyone would have heard at some point – even if it was while walking through a shopping center or eating at a restaurant.  Here are my five in no particular order:

  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby

No matter how many times I’ve heard these particular songs, I’ll tune in, perk up, or hit replay.  There isn’t always a reason.  I just like them.  How about you?  What songs catch your ear every single time?  Talk amongst yourselves.

Remember Those New Year’s Resolutions?

January’s almost over and you may have already forgotten about that to do list of New Year’s Resolutions that only seems to get longer. You haven’t gone to the gym five times a week like you were hoping to and yesterday you bought yet another pack of cigarettes. Don’t beat yourself up about not fulfilling all of your 2014 goals by now. The most common reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail is because we tend to set huge standards for ourselves and these goals are often bigger than they should be.

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Aim lower; start small. Don’t plan to change your entire lifestyle in a week, rather make small improvements to your lifestyle more frequently. If you want to live healthier, set a goal of eating some type of fruits or vegetables every day or incorporating less strenuous exercises into your daily routine, such as stretching every other morning.

Know your limits. We tend to set grand resolutions expecting to see a major change instead of setting realistic goals. People who live a generally hectic life should not set too many goals at once. Rather, try to change one behavior at a time. This can be as minor as wanting to have more time to see your friends and be social or talking to your family more often. Long term ideals often fall through the cracks–for example, if you wish to learn a new language or lose weight, just do a little every day. Resolutions will come through gradually; don’t expect sudden changes.

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Get a support group. It’s easier to work towards your goals with the help of friends and family on your side. Accept any help that comes your way which will also help with any relapses in behavior or stress management. Those on your side will make sure you keep going whenever you feel less than capable and can definitely throw a great celebration party when you achieve a goal!

Stay positive. So you were too tired to work out or hang out with family and friends–don’t worry about it. Mistakes are normal and can even give you more incentive to get back on the track. Thinking positively defeats those negative thoughts that can threaten any further progress. Come up with your own inner mantra and always keep on the bright side of life!

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We want to know, have you stuck to your resolutions so far?  What are your secrets?  Remember, there is no shame in failing, as long as you keep trying!

The regional magazine for women