Thursday, January 26, 2012

Now You'll Know: The History of Black History!

   The majority of the American population grew up hearing about and studying Black History Month. When I was in school, we devoted a whole month to learning the importance of Black History Month, and its purpose. As I've grown, and been out of school, I do not see/hear/discuss this topic near as much as I would like to during Black History Month! Today, I want to discuss a little bit of history, as well as what this holiday means to all of us, just to jog the memory of those of us who don't have it brought to our attention each year by history teachers. :) Black History dates far back into the 1600's. In 1619 The first African slaves arrived in Virginia. Let me be the FIRST to say, how PROUD I am that times are different! We, as a country, have come so unbelievable far! I don't know about you guys, but I am proud to call this place home!
     "We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Born to parents who were former slaves, he spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population-and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.
     Woodson, always one to act on his ambitions, decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history.
     Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in black American history. For example:

  • February 23, 1868:
    W. E. B. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, was born.
  • February 3, 1870:
    The 15th Amendment was passed, granting blacks the right to vote.
  • February 25, 1870:
    The first black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took his oath of office.
  • February 12, 1909:
    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by a group of concerned black and white citizens in New York City.
  • February 1, 1960:
    In what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, N.C., college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.
  • February 21, 1965:
    Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism, was shot to death by three Black Muslims."
     As you can see, Black History Month is one of the most inspirational Holidays in America. It teaches and inspires children and adults of all nationalities. Not only can we establish a more peaceful nation, but by educating the future generations, we're allowing a much easier life for our kids, and grand kids. I'll wrap this up with a few inspiring words from an intelligent man, Mr.Martin Luther King. Until next time, keep it clean!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feng Shui Your Way Into A Wealthier You!

     Many of us make plans each new year to make changes in our lives! Whether it be dieting, saving money, or being a better person - we all struggle throughout the year to actually make those things happen! One of the hot topics for all American's is the economy. The massive U.S. budget deficit is the gravest threat facing the economy, topping high unemployment and the risk of inflation or deflation. Today I read an article online with some interesting ideas, and I'm going to pass these ideas onto you to help improve the number one concern of all Americans: increasing your income!

     Well, that is a good question! We've all heard this term, and are familiar with it, but have we actually taken the time to learn what it means? Never fear, because I did some research so we can all understand it more clearly. "Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. Feng Shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy. The ancient Chinese believed that the land's energy could either make or break the kingdom, so to speak."
     The first and most important step to using Feng Shui to help increase your financial resources is your attitude! By using energy to help increase wealth, you are counting on cosmic forces to bring you positive results! If you go into this experience with a negative attitude, how can you ever expect this method to work for you? It absolutely won't. You must BELIEVE that wealth and good fortune are coming your way; otherwise all other steps are null and void. Next, Choose the right charm. This step is also very important. The charm doesn’t have to be anything specific, just something that you associate with wealth. Even if others don’t understand what a particular charm has to do with wealth, remember, it is your space and it’s up to how you associate the item.
      It is very important that you avoid filling the home with items you don’t associate with wealth. This has everything to do with keeping the right positive attitude! If your parents bought a particular grocery product when you were a child and in the back of your mind, you associated that product with being poor (we all know Ramen is the food of poor college students), stop buying that product. The same can be said for clothes shopping. You don’t have to go out and buy a designer wardrobe, but just try to keep in mind when you’re out to cover yourself in brands that you don’t associate with being poor. It may not sound like much, but you must convince yourself that you are worthy of wealth before wealth will come to you. For example, if you're going out to the grocery store, carry yourself differently. Maybe in stead of going in your pj's (like I commonly do) - comfortable casuals would be a good alternative.
     Keep in mind that the true objective of Feng Shui is to harness the Chi of the local environment to support us in our goals and desires. It is a science and practice of looking at the quality of a person's life by looking at their living environment and seeking to improve that quality of life by tapping into the natural energies in that environment. This can have an impact on gaining new opportunities and being able to take advantage of them as they arise. Although everyone wants to improve their finances and and make more money, the first thing to review and improve is overall health and happiness. If you don't have those two items, the improvement in finances may be wasted. I hope all our laundry fanatics take these tips to heart! Who doesn't love a little extra cash in their pocket, and a happier lifestyle? I know I sure do! Until next time: live long, prosper, and most of all, keep it clean! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Green Cleaning: For Your Clothing!

     It's a whole new year and you know what that means... Resolution time! One of my main resolutions this year is to utilize natural "green" household cleaners, deodorizers, hair/beauty products, ect. and get rid of the chemical-laden sprays and scrubs I previously used! Going green is not only better for the environment, it's also great for your pocketbook! I'll be incorporating posts over the next few months with tips and tricks on how you can go green (cleaning wise) for 2012. This week I would like to focus on our favorite topic here at Azuma: LAUNDRY!

     Did you know you can make your own laundry detergent that works just as well as the manufactured kind you would buy in a store? Even better, did you know you could make that detergent for a fraction of the cost? It's true! With the right ingredients, you could wash your clothes for as little as .003 cents per load! Now let's take a look at this spectacular process, which actually looks extremely fun in a science experiment-type way.
      The first thing you will need to do is gather your ingredients. You can purchase everything you need, a whopping 3 items total, at any grocery or drug store. The ingredients include borax, washing soda, and a bar of soap. That's it!!! Any bar of soap will do, but upon my research names such as Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Zote, and Dr. Bronner's were on the top of most DIY-er's lists. After you get the ingredients it's time for the fun to begin!
     Take the bar of soap and grate it with a cheese grater. Ideally you want the soap as fine as possible, I would recommend using the small side or Parmesan cheese side of the grater.  If you have a food processor, I hear that works wonders too! Just grate the soap, then add your other ingredients and pulse until smooth. Otherwise you would just add the other ingredients and stir until well combined. A good ratio for this would be 1 bar of soap (grated), 1 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup borax. From here you can leave it be and use that as a powdered detergent, about 1 tablespoon is all you need per load! Another option would be to liquefy the detergent a.k.a. the fun part.

     To make the liquid detergent, you are going to need two extra things that were not included for the powder - water and a 5 gallon jug or bucket. You will first grate the soap as before, only this time you will add it to 4 cups boiling water and stir until melted.  Then you will fill your bucket half full with water and pour your soap solution into it. After that, add the same amount of borax and washing soda (1/2 and 1 cup respectively) and mix, making sure you get the bottom and sides. Top off the bucket with some more water and stir once more for good measure. Finally, place a top on your bucket and allow to sit overnight. Stir once more the next day and then, using a funnel, fill a small container halfway (recycled detergent bottles work great of course, but you could also use milk jugs, glass jars, ect). Add more water, shake, and wah-lah - your own homemade laundry detergent, with plenty to spare or share! Using the liquid detergent couldn't be easier, just add 5/8 cups to your top-loading washer or 1/4 cup to your front-loader! There's no denying, whether you prefer powder or liquid, making your own detergent is a great way to save money and help our wonderful planet! So until next time, stay clean (and green)!!!