[REVIEW] Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice *NO SPOILERS*

By D. Love

Can one that is “all-powerful” be “all-good?”  Or can one be “all-good” and “all-powerful?”  When we take into consideration the various religions that exist, the answer to this question may seem obvious.  That is, it would be ridiculous for something that wields all power to not use that power for good, right?  Alexander “Lex” Luther, billionaire “hero-hunter” extraordinaire thinks not.  The all powerful being in question would be that of Metropolis’ very own reporter, Clark Kent.  Kent who just so happens to secretly be Superman, the man of steel.

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I would go out on the limb and say that most people are familiar with Superman, so it might be confusing that someone would find him to be less than a hero.  Well, Mr. Luther wouldn’t be the only one to think so.  The “Dark Knight” himself also views Superman to be a threat to humanity.  Who is the dark knight you ask?  It’s none other than Gotham City’s very own crime fighting vigilantly, Bruce Wayne aka Batman.  At this point you may be thinking, “why would a good guy have it out for another good guy?”  That’s where the film gets interesting.

I’ll admit, I would never imagine these two to ever meet; you’d never think that two seemingly different story lines would cross.  That’s what makes this film a comic lovers wet dream!  It puts die-hard fans in a “friendly” bout against one another.  Actually, if you watch the film from Bruce Wayne’s point of view, you might see how Superman could be a villain.  

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Take into consideration the types of fights Superman gets into.  These aren’t your average back alley World Star worthy fights.  No, these fights are intense and destructive to say the least.  Who would expect less from a being from outer space on Earth fighting other beings from outer space?  When there is mass destruction going on there will also be mass casualties, right?  Exactly.  Wayne witnesses the Superman in action in his own hometown and the destruction that soon followed.  This type of destruction in not acceptable and it’s up to Wayne, I mean, Batman to handle it.

Every superhero has to have a weakness, right?  This is even true when it comes to Superman.  The one thing that has unrelenting power over the man of steel is the radioactive element, kryptonite.  This element comes from Superman’s home planet of Krypton and it too found its way to planet Earth.  Lex learned of this material and it’s power against those like Superman.  It would make sense that he would want to gather as much of the element that he could in order to take down the strongest being on the planet.  Now there are two powerful men against Superman.

Batman v. Superman is a high impact film that pulls out all the stops.  I must admit I regretfully fall asleep during most movies even if they are interesting.  I am an old maid.  I get too comfortable in theaters and the fact that it’s dark doesn’t help either!  However, I had NO problem remaining tuned into this film.  I didn’t even want to blink and chance missing something incredible!  Even those who are not comic book aficionados will find this film hard to look away from.  The shear story line and raw action packed fighting will keep even the most unenthused, crossword puzzle, crocheting grandma standing at attention.

In this film of legendary figures fighting for what each other feels is right, you will see love, friendship, understanding and true heroism.  Comic book lovers will be reintroduced to familiar faces.  You can even pick a side before going to see the film.  Who do you think will come out on top?  Who is in the wrong and who is in the right?  Make a bet, even…but do it with someone who knows nothing of what the outcome will be or you’ll be pissed in the end ha ha!  Films like these are best experienced when you allow yourself to be a kid again! Put on a costume or even where a logo.  Who cares?  I promise you won’t be the only one.  Just enjoy yourself and enjoy this excellent movie that we have been graced with!

7 Skin Care Tips for Healthy, Flawless Skin

By Paige Barker

The world wide web is buzzing with listicles and DIY instructions to fast-track your beauty routine toward flawless, glowing skin in no time. The problem is that there is no short cut for healthy skin, and if there was one simple solution that worked for everyone, we wouldn’t need to read a million articles to get to the bottom of it. In actuality, a lot of the tips circulating on the internet will cause much more harm than good and are the result of short-term product testing without researching long-term effects. Your skin is an organ, and science is your friend.

Here are the bare bones of healthy skincare:

1. pH is important

Your skin has a pH of around 4.5-5 on the scale from 1-14, where 1 is acidic, 14 is alkaline, and 7 is neutral. For crying out loud, DO NOT USE BAKING SODA ON YOUR SKIN, no matter what Buzzfeed tells you. Baking soda has a pH of 9, and will disrupt and damage the skin barrier, which is your body’s natural mechanism for retaining the healthy stuff in your skin and keeping unhealthy stuff out. Using baking soda or anything with a similar pH might clear up your skin at first, like the blogs claim, because it’s hurting your skin and depriving it of moisture. You know how a sunburn can clear up your breakout? It’s the same concept–your acne might disappear at first, but only because you’re stripping your skin and causing deeper damage. Things may look clearer at first, but the damage to your skin barrier turn your face into a bacteria breeding ground.
Similarly, DO NOT USE VINEGAR* OR LEMON JUICE ON YOUR SKIN. Vinegar and lemon juice are on the acidic end of the pH scale, and can give you CHEMICAL BURNS. Don’t do it.
If you’re interested in a product, Google the pH and whether it is safe for the skin.
Side note- Apple Cider Vinegar can be safely used in clay masks as a way to balance out the pH. Google it first, though.

2. Chemical exfoliators > physical exfoliators

It can feel really satisfying to slough off all of your dead skin with a sugar scrub or St. Ives Apricot Scrub, but it’s not as effective as it seems. Exfoliating scrubs with microbeads or any type of crystals, like sugar, can cause microscopic cuts all over the surface of your face, which will actually dry your skin out more and cause a huge increase in bacterial growth. There are more gentle and more effective physical exfoliators, but chemical exfoliators are where it’s at.
Chemical exfoliation works by breaking up the bonds between dead skin cells so they can be removed more gently and will lead to fresher, healthier skin. Stridex Maximum Strength Pads are a popular choice because they’re cheap and they work really well, but there are lots of options out there. If you start using a chemical exfoliator, be sure to do your research because some may make your skin more sunlight-sensitive and you’ll need to start using sunscreen every day, regardless of your skin tone.
And with any chemical exfoliator, make sure to moisturize after 20-30 minutes! Which brings me to my next point…

3. Moisturizer is good for you, no matter what your skin type is

Proper moisture is a huge factor to a healthy complexion. Even oily skin needs moisturizer, and is in some cases due to over-production of oil due to dehydration, believe it or not.
 

4. Introduce new products one at a time and PATCH TEST

If you’re really motivated to revamp your skincare routine and buy 37 different creams and gels, pump the brakes and start with just one. Branching out to new products may reveal a whole bunch of fun allergies and sensitivities you never knew you had, so it’s crucial to only make one routine switch-up at a time so that if you do have a bad reaction, you’ll know the source. The best way to keep bad new breakouts at bay is to patch test your new product first–use it on one section of your skin once a day for 1-2 weeks before trying it out on your whole face. Once you introduce something new and it passes the patch test, wait another 1-2 weeks before you start your next new product.

5. Record your progress–good or bad

It might sound obnoxious, but keeping a journal or log of all of your tested products can teach you a lot about your skin. If you get the same weird breakout from 3 different products, check their ingredients and see what they have in common. It could be that you’re too sensitive to fatty alcohols or certain oils, for example.
cosdna.com is a really useful resource for breaking down the ingredient list in a product and see what, if anything, might cause irritation.

6. You are a special snowflake–what works for others may not work for you

There are a couple basic skin types, but everyone’s skin is different. If you do your research and find something that sounds great for you and your skin isn’t reacting well, don’t force it. Try it out for a bit and see if things start to turn around, but if you don’t see any improvements, toss it. Your best friend might wash their face twice a day and get great results, but your skin might be too sensitive to cleanse more than once. Do your homework, but pay attention to your skin as you go to figure out what’s working and what’s still missing.

7. Everything you could ever need to know can be found on /r/SkincareAddiction.

I’ve had problematic skin for 10+ years, but I never made a breakthrough until I found this page and became obsessed with finding the right routine. It’s a lot to take in at first, but it’s worth the effort. There are articles and product recommendations galore, as well as a friendly and knowledgeable community ready to answer all of your gross questions without flinching.
I came to /r/SkincareAddiction as a 22 year-old with adult acne and very dry skin who could sometimes be convinced to exfoliate and moisturize before passing out with all my makeup on. I stumbled across it late one night and found myself still there two hours later, clicking every pimply picture and reading other people’s skincare sagas and was immediately excited to start on my own. I posted tons of embarrassing questions and eagerly bought oils, toners, moisturizers and cleansers until I finally figured out what works for me. At first I was drawn to all of the more natural products and the Oil Cleansing Method, which work amazingly well for some people, but only made me break out more. I slowly started to isolate my skin irritants, and figured out which oils and chemicals were too rich for my skin and which ones were too drying. After almost 2 years of trial and error (yes, 2 years) I finally found a routine that made my skin look and feel healthier and more under control. I think my skin is more picky than a lot of peoples’, so don’t let my long journey discourage you. Almost everything makes me break out–I’ve even gotten into arguments with Sephora reps who didn’t believe me when I told them what ingredients give me trouble–so if I found my healthy routine, you can too. I can’t say I don’t sometimes still pass out with all my makeup on, but I’ve come a long way.
Be patient and be thorough, and be loving to your skin! It might take awhile to get your skin where you want it, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Top 4 Pinterest Life Hacks

 

By Shakira Pipkin 

Some people are drug addicts. Some are addicted to other human beings, but not I.

 I am a die hard, loving fan of Pinterest.

 I’m addicted and I’m not sure that I can live without it. I use the app daily, every chance I get.  It has gotten so bad that if anyone comes to me about a problem, I’ll say look it up on Pinterest or if they want to purchase something that I feel is not worth buying, I’ll say I can make it for you; I learned from Pinterest.

For those of you who don’t know about Pinterest (because clearly you live under a rock) it’s a website/app where you can go to find ideas, tips, and advice on just about anything you can think of and create your own board to organize what you’ve found. SO, as a self-proclaimed Pinterest expert, allow me to share my Top 4 Life Hacks found through Pinterest.

 

Design


For a while, I didn’t know what I was passionate about. My best friend would always ask me if you didn’t work in the pharmacy, what else would you love doing without getting paid for it? It was then that I started a Pinterest account and started searching DIY crafts. Then birthed my first and favorite interest: DIY crafts. It makes decorating your home cheaper because you get to make your own things such as throw pillows, wall art, and even rugs. People are so creative and they bring all their ideas to the Pinterest community with step by step tutorials to achieve the final products.  Throw pillows are expensive and if I can make it myself for $10 cheaper, I’m down to save a coin.

Cooking

I’m not the best cook in the world, but I can follow a recipe to the T! The food recipes help you because it breaks down the recipes in different categories based on what type of food you want to eat, how long you want to be slaving in the kitchen, or I only got $10 for food this week recipes. I normally go for the cheap and quick meals because I’m a cheap person and I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day after working. Easy!

Fashion


You need some better ideas of how to put outfits together, how to store your clothes, or to even do some DIY changes to some outfits, get on Pinterest boo! It gives me ideas on how to wear an outfit, how to put together an outfit, what not to wear, and the latest trends. Believe me when I say that I am not one of those girls that can see a shirt and know exactly how I’m going to rock it. I need/use Pinterest for that. Many of my outfits have been inspired by Pinterest & don’t worry guys, they have fashion for men as well.

Savings


Money, money, money, mo-ney! Money!!

There are some nice people that love to share *free advice* on how to save and make money. (God Bless you all!) When I first stumbled across this, my eyes were wide open! There was this one pin I stumbled across: “How to Trick Yourself into Saving Money”. I said hmm, how can I do that? If you’re a person that uses cash a lot, you basically save all the loose change that you get back from making a transaction and put it a jar. It works. I tried it and it freaking works! I saved over $65 in change within a year’s time.

So, now you guys know that I’m cheap, don’t know how to dress very well without help, and I can cook if you give me the directions. However, if you were to look at my Instagram, you probably wouldn’t guess that about me. (Thanks Pinterest!) Try it out and be patient, I bet you’ll like it. Also follow me on my Pinterest to see the things that I like.

Media BLACKOUT: Mama, We Mainstream!

By Antonio Moore

As the Oscars approach this Sunday, millions of black people are still collectively rolling their eyes over this year’s controversy where no African-American talent was nominated for the major awards. Now, I could write all about how Hollywood is whitewashed, how shocking it is that diversity is still taking L’s after all these years, and even talk about how we are currently living in a world where Beyoncé is considered a racist, and Donald Trump might be our president (I know, scary). But that’s no fun and personally, I’m tired of the media hype. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with Hollywood, I want to give props to the actors and actresses pushing us forward in the entertainment world, making it so that this year’s fiasco won’t be happening again anytime soon.

 

The United States of Empire

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Photo Courtesy of HitShowsToWatch.com

This past fall Empire had everyone’s attention. Whether you’re a fan of the show or an innocent bystander on social media, there was no escaping the Lyon’s ever-growing impact on our society.

From the season premiere right up to the fantastically  “It’s about damn time” Golden Globe speech given from Taraji, what started as a show became a cultural phenomenon.

Empire has sparked news stories, fashion blogs, and more Cookie memes than you could imagine. But the show’s greatest impact was promoting our culture from our people.

Empire’s presence gave it the ability to be authentic. Every verbal jab thrown with copious amounts of shade, every love scene filled with passion and acceptance whether it be gay or straight, and the dance scenes actually made you want to get up and dance, too.

Empire has found a way to create a complete fantasy situation and use that platform to promote relatable characters. Although the show has been snubbed, it’s impact on society has been undeniable. That’s worth more that a trophy.

 

I’m Black-ish and Proud

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Photo courtesy of ABC.com

Black-ish is another great example of TV making an impact.

Anthony Anderson wrote, produced, and stars in a comedy about a family being black and successful in a way that everyone can relate to.

The show tackles touchy subjects such as gun control, explores cultural wonders like whether or not black people can really swim, and yes, the ‘N’ word. Black-ish is another unapologetic show that remains authentic in it’s execution. It addresses issues that are relevant to today’s society in a clever way allowing people to have open discussions and even laugh.

Black-ish’s honesty helps people connect over race and tells a story from the perspective of the people who are usually left out of these conversations where they matter most. The show’s increased ratings will surely see it win the accolades it so greatly deserves in due time, but awards or no, the show’s charm alone is an absolute win.

 

How Viola Got Away With Murdering the Emmy’s

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Photo Courtesy of HitFix.com

Viola Davis has been a long-standing talent in the industry. The night she made history and won the first Emmy for an African-American lead role, she let everyone know it.

She started the conversation on the lack of recognition for diversity in the upper echelons of Hollywood. It began with her excellent portrayal of a defense attorney who wears her scars openly in a hour-long political mind game written by one of the beautiful minds in modern TV. Shonda Rhimes seeps her characters in backgrounds that instantly wrap your attention to ride the roller coaster in Shondaland for seasons to come.

The performances by Shonda’s starring casts, which also includes Kerry Washington, carry the emotion necessary to pull you in and convince you every Thursday to devote two hours of your time to three powerful women.

It’s performances like these backed by story lines with raw ingenuity that will continue to push black talent forward, making this year’s Oscar’s just another barrier on the verge of being broken.

Are We Waiting or Not?

My name is Shakira, and I like sex.

Who am I kidding? I love sex!

So it’s not a surprise that when I went on the journey to be celibate. I failed–more than once. That caused me to question my self worth and I asked myself “What is wrong with me”?

Then came “The Wait”, an informative book written by Devon Franklin and Meagan Good! This book was a must read for me because I had to know how in the hell did they do it.

Giving up sex until marriage can be a challenge. I learned that not having sex was extremely hard for them as well,but they fought the urge because they knew they had something special, something real with one another. Being obedient to this would help them see things clearly, help them make better decisions, and open their lives up to an abundance of blessings.

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While I read this book in one day, less than 12 hours to be exact and there were lots of parts that stood out to me… I’m not going to tell you all of them because you need to read the book yourself. However, there is a section titled “Who is your Husband?” They explain the difference in the man you want to be your husband verses the man that God has for you. And that man is  the man who is the better version of yourself and you’re that to him. The man that values and respects you for you is your husband. He brings out the best of everything in you. And if you decided today that you wanted to refrain from sex until marriage, he respects and understands that, so he will go on that journey with you. That is your husband. 

That is just so real to me! If I tell a guy I don’t want to have sex for whatever reason and he decides to give me push back, he should be automatically cut off!  So men and ladies, if you’re tired of failed relationships and broken hearts, I recommend reading this book, hell I’m going to read it again!  I’m not saying read it only because its intent is to get you to join #TheWait, but read it because it gives you pointers on relationships, it talks about God and what he can do for you with patience, and also tells you how you can have a clearer mind about your future based off decisions you make today.

What’s The Difference Between An Omelet & a Scramble?

My girlfriend and I decided six months ago to book a flight to an exotic island. The cold Chicago winters were hard on us the year before, and my work schedule had made it difficult for us to travel during the summer. The trip would be a welcomed retreat from the busy lives we adopted since moving to the city.

As we got closer to our departure people began to question the intentions of our visit. After all, we are in our mid-twenties and had been living together for nearly four years. Many of our friends and family of similar age had already taken their life-long vows. Some had done so with less time together than her and I.

I began to question if I was missing an opportunity. Is the expectation of marriage after such time a reality for good reason? Perhaps I was selfishly keeping her around for the comfort at home, while depriving her the comfort of a future. Perhaps the expectation wasn’t realistic. Maybe we were the outliers, the couple that needed more time, or didn’t need a marriage certificate to validate the time we spent together.

We considered ourselves happier than most of our friends, even those who married younger than us. Yet for some reason I was discouraged to pursue an engagement of any sorts. I enjoyed spending time with her, and she had become a major part of my life. Couldn’t I just continue dating as it were. When it came down to it, I thought, what’s the difference?

It’s day two on the island, our first morning waking up to the sound of gentle waves intersecting with the soft sandy beach. We both had never seen water so clear, so blue, and yet so gentle.

She wakes up before me. I am greeted with a smile so big that her cheeks begin to press up into her eyes. We walk outside together, waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. I look over to see her smiling face, knowing that being near water makes her happy. There is a tear running down her cheek.

What’s wrong?

I assumed she is sad, with a tear running down her face at the disappointment of my lack of commitment. We talked the night prior about our future including plans of engagement within the next couple of years. There was an affirmative statement that due to lack of personal savings, an engagement ring would not be realistic for another two years.

I want to give you what you deserve.

I don’t mind. Really, what’s the difference? 

She tells me that the tear is from the overwhelming view. Not to worry about the tear as she quickly becomes embarrassed for her outburst of happiness.

I begin to cook breakfast with leftover squash, onions and broccoli from the night before. It is difficult to travel on the island and we only bought enough food for four days. Using ever last piece of food, even the next day, would be important to get our fill. I crack open a couple of eggs to scramble together. The vegetables and cheese is sorted out, diced and prepared to dump into the pan.

I used to make omelets all the time at the restaurant, I boast. I was a fry cook for six years at a popular breakfast diner. I knew how to make an omelet. I really did.

I’m not used to cooking it in a pan, but what’s the difference?

I slop her omelet onto a plate set aside with friend potato squares.

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It’s a mess.

The eggs separated completely in the pan as I attempted to flip it. Some of the eggs sat exposed too long to the pan’s heat, turning brown, while other bits did not cook quite enough leaving them goopy and undone. I attempted to turn the omelet once more to cook the eggs thoroughly, and again the eggs fell apart. My last hope was to angle the eggs and vegetables onto the plate and recreate the shape of a half-circle. That too did not work.

 

I cleared the pan for my omelet to cook. My breakfast included more cheese and meat, a reaffirmation that I had little interest in eating healthier while away from home. I checked the bottom of the eggs as they began to bubble from the heat of the pan. With a swift flip of the spatula I turn the omelet perfectly, landing the well-done side of the eggs into the circle of the pan without any additional sliding or poking from the spatula.

Already smothered in cheese and ham, there was no hope to present the perfect omelet to her. I would soon have to walk onto the porch, place the disgusting mess in front of her while I selfishly sat down with a plate that looked like something from well-trained breakfast chef.

And I did just that.IMG_0718 (1)

I’m very sorry. I don’t know what happened. I guess cooking in the pan is way different. I wanted to give you mine but you said you’re trying to avoid cheese. I’m really sorry. 

I continued to profusely apologize. It was an embarrassment and another glaring display of my selfishness. She looked up at me and smiled. She reassured me that the food looked fine and that she couldn’t wait to taste it. Her first bites were of potato. Her forked navigated around the plate to avoid the pile of messy eggs and soggy vegetables. She was terrified of tasting my breakfast. I said something to which she smiled back and replied with reassurance.

It’s really okay. You have an omelet and I have a scramble. What’s the difference?

For me the difference was obvious: I could take a picture of my plate without any hesitation and later brag to my friends about how good my culinary skills are. She would need a blindfold to enjoy that “scramble.”

But there was no difference.

All too often I, and many people, miss the difference. We see ourselves for our faults and lack the pride of our successes. Five years ago I was jobless with a college degree rolled up in it’s original shipping envelope behind my parent’s couch. I was single, living at home, hoping for a break. Shortly thereafter, I found the open arms of an old friend. She was kind to me, built me up and told me to chase my dreams. I sit here today, on an island, because of her. She is everything, as I am to her.

I think too often about the implications of one day asking her to marry me. We spend so much time seeing engagement photos on Facebook and receiving wedding invitations from our friends and family. Just last year we attended eight weddings. By the fourth one we had memorized every bible verse and champagne toast there was. We both complained about going through that process again this year for our already scheduled five weddings. But none of that mattered. She was a girl madly in love with a guy, through all of his faults and past discretions, that didn’t care about anything else other than his happiness.

It didn’t matter to her that there was no proposal the night before. It didn’t matter that there was no cream for her coffee. It didn’t matter that her omelet was turned into a scramble.

The difference is that five years ago, I would not have cared about creating the perfect breakfast omelet for her. I was more selfish then for not caring, based on the assumption that if she didn’t like my breakfast there might be another girl out there who would. I wasn’t interested in keeping her, or anyone around. The difference now is that I see what’s important, to her, and to me. I expect to return home in a week and feel the same way I felt this morning. There is no difference between the snow and the sea. There is no difference between a promise and vow. There is no difference between her and I.

[Review] Race: More Than Color, More Than Running

By D. Love
“Everything else is just noise; you have to block it out.  People are either gonna love you or hate you.”
The first lesson Jesse Owens received at The Ohio State University was not taught in the classroom, rather in his coach’s office.  Jesse was a prominent black athlete from a lower class family in Cleveland, OH.  He was the first child to go to college and a teenage father.
This story of Jesse Owens, portrayed by Stephan James, is unlike many “black history” films.  It not only showcases the struggle of blacks in the early 1900s but also that of the Jewish during the time of the Holocaust.
Familiar comedy actor, Jason Sudeikis, challenges himself in a role more serious as Jesse’s coach Larry Snyder.  He was equipped with wisdom that helped focus Jesse and “perfect” his raw spectacular talent.  His support and training pushed Jesse to become the school’s “Buckeye Bullet”.
Jesse’s skill led him overseas to the 1936 Olympics in Germany where he witnessed firsthand the Nazi’s treatment towards blacks and Jews.  This inclusive view helps bring understanding across racial lines about the effects of oppression.
Despite competing in areas populated by individuals that hated him, Owens came out on top with his athletic ability.  He was able to focus himself and “block out” the surrounding oppositions in his life.  Though his accomplishments didn’t change the world in an instant, it proved that we weren’t talentless “porch monkeys”.
James and Sudeikis were able to create a compelling story of hard work, perseverance and victory.  This film is certainly a conversation starter, not only in the black community, but in all communities.  This race is not just about running aimlessly, it’s about running towards a goal.  Just know that the goal isn’t necessarily the end, it could the beginning of another race!