Argan Oil

On August 31, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

The beauty aisles are lined with products touting the benefits of Argan oil. The oil has been added to skincare, nail, and hair potions.  If the law of supply and demand is in effect, then a lot of people are demanding a relatively low supply of this oil. I’ve seen it online for as much as $96 for four ounces. Ouch! There are less expensive versions, which also have less Argan oil in them, and others have been cut with coconut, jojoba or some other oil that is listed in fine print on the back of the bottle.

Women love this product for its hydrating properties. It is a light oil, and it produces an intense shine. Of course, it can only be found in one place on the planet: Morocco. The oil is extracted from the nuts of the fruit the tree produces and is harvested from the tree by women who work in co-operatives.

Like many women, I wanted to try out this Argan oil. I love shea butter, and I have an ongoing love affair with henna. It took me a few weeks to zero in on some pure oil at an acceptable price. I found it at, where a four-ounce bottle for $17.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now. I use a dropper to take the oil from the bottle and to put a few drops in my hand. I rub my hands together and then spread the oil over my hair. (I haven’t been bold enough to use it on my face, though folks swear it helps fight off all those bad things in the atmosphere.) The oil is expeller pressed, which means no solvents or anything else that could change or weaken its properties were used to extract it.

I love the shine and the non-oily feeling Argan oil produces, but the real test will come this winter when the air has been stripped of all its moisture. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you experimented with Argan oil?

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Good Read — Multicultural Education

On August 26, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Over a there is a post about how best to provide a multicultural education to children. Check it out.

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Mommy First-Grader

On August 25, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

There I was, sitting in the tiny blue chair, parked at the miniature desk. My knees were hiked up to my chest as I listened to the teacher explain all the rules, procedures and expectations.

I looked up to her, Simone’s first grade teacher. I had no choice. She stood during the talk while we parents sat in little seats. I took a few notes and asked a couple of questions. I don’t know about any of the other 20 or so parents packed into the classroom that day, summoned there by the teacher, but I definitely feel like I am going to first grade again.

There is math homework and reading homework and spelling homework. Real homework. There are grades. No more of that wimpy smiley face and check mark stuff from kindergarten. It’s my duty, I learned, to explain a 99 is still an A.

My mom had it so easy. I went to school, and she did whatever came naturally. She didn’t have to check and sign first grade homework, at least I don’t remember her doing so. She didn’t read to me every night and then write down the books in my reading log. There were no classroom blogs or constant emails.

First grade is going to be a lot of work, not only for Simone, but for me. Her teacher was whipping the parents into shape, telling us the dos and donts. I tried to be a good student, but I thought it would never end. My mind wandered, my knees ached. Finally, first grade boot camp for parents ended. I extricated myself from the tiny chair, unfolded my legs, and graduated back into adulthood.

Simone’s first spelling test is on the horizon. I quizzed her on the first list of 10 words, and she asked me what I was doing.

“Helping you study for your spelling test.”


We’ll do a mock test before the big day, because I want to show her teacher this big kid student listened well.



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Mixed Marrow

On August 18, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke
Athena Asklipiadis is the director Mixed Marrow, and I met her at the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival. I wanted to know more about Mixed Marrow and asked her to answer a few questions. Enjoy!
1. What is Mixed Marrow?
Mixed Marrow is an outreach program affiliated with A3M that recruits for the Be The Match, national US registry.  It concentrates on this specific demographic to help bring awareness to the lack of minority and mixed race donors.  Due to ethnicity playing a large role in matching, it is necessary that ethnic communities come together to help this cause.  Mixed Marrow is the only outreach currently dedicated to multiethnic donors.
2. Why is it important for people of mixed race to register?
It is important for all people to register as a donor, but especially for minorities and mixed race.  The number of donors are severely lacking in those areas and with a rise in those communities in the coming years, this issue will only worsen.  Multiracials are the fastest growing demographic in the US, UK and many other countries so this is a world issue we need to work together on mending. Matching depends on patients and donors having similar tissue typing and ethnicity plays a large role in that since the matching is based on inherited cell markers.  When a person is of two or more races, the probability of finding a match is more difficult because of the low numbers of diverse donors in the registry.  30% of the registry are minorities and 3% of that are mixed race.  But the 3% represents ALL mixture combinations.
3. What happens during registration?
During registration the potential donor completes an application including a general health questionnaire and personal information.  Then we take saliva samples with cheek swabs.  And just like that a person can now be a future life saver!  The information and samples are then sent to a laboratory for testing and the information gets imputed into a database.  If a patient needing a match at that time or some time in the future matches the information of the donor, they will be contacted and will be further tested to see if it is a perfect match.
4. Has the number of mixed donors grown since Mixed Marrow started its campaign?
Yes.  In 2007, more than 30,000 – or 7 percent – of potential donors who joined the Be The Match Registry identified themselves as multiple race. In 2010, more than 65,000 – or 9 percent – of potential donors who joined the Be The Match Registry identified themselves as multiple race.
5. What else would you like to tell Honeysmoke readers about Mixed Marrow?
It is so simple to save a life.  We have all at one time known someone who has been affected by cancer or other life-threatening diseases.  To know there are some that can be completely cured with the help of a stranger is nothing short of a miracle.  The challenge is getting that idea across to people and convincing the public to overcome their fears and be a little selfless for another human being.  I always tell people who seem unsure, “imagine if it were your mom/brother/cousin/friend who was dying, wouldn’t you hope that their match (wherever they may be) were signed up and willing to save their life?”  Sometimes we need to imagine the sick people awaiting donors are our own loved ones because they are somebody’s.
Mixed Marrow has concentrated on awareness as the first tool to solving the problem.  We have worked hard to try and partner with many multiracial orgs and gain their support on this issue.  We have also been present at most of the large multiracial/multicultural events across the country and hosted drives sharing our cause with our community and registering more donors.
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The Marriage Ref

On August 16, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Really? An interracial couple couldn’t agree on what to do with their daughter’s hair, so they went on national television to have entertainers tell them who is right and who is wrong. I’ve watched The Marriage Ref once or twice, and I don’t find it all that funny or enlightening. In this episode, which aired Monday, Aug. 14, the white father  wants his little girl to express herself, while the black mom wants her to look presentable.

If I had to take the matter seriously, I’d side with the mother. There’s nothing wrong with a child expressing herself, as long as that’s something she wants to do. Nothing in the clip leaves that impression. All the viewer learns is that the father simply doesn’t want to do hair, and that’s too bad.

Here’s the thing. These people aren’t serious. There is way too much acting and exaggerating in the clip, and the viewer later learns the father wants his daughter to be “discovered.” I think he and his wife are using the show to get their daughter on television. They got the exposure they wanted. I just wish it had not been at the expense of a child and her beautiful, natural hair.



Quote, Unquote

On August 13, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

We don’t like the food that you make, Daddy.

Simone, lobbying to eat out. 

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School Bus Blues

On August 12, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke


Add in your own bluesy guitar riff between verses


My daughter is a first-grader

Can ride the bus to school

It’s a five-minute ride

Makes so much sense too


Well, she boarded the bus

Told the driver her name

Sat next to a girl

Went on the first day


Picked her up a little later

All seemed a go

Then my daughter said something

She told me no.


Well, it’s more convenient.

Probably safer too.

The little girl won’t do it.

So, what’s a parent to do


I’ve got the blues

The school bus blues

She’d rather ride in the SUV

So, what’s a parent to do

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Affordable Organic Skin Care

On August 10, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

It wasn’t long ago that I went to the spa and got a talking to from my beauty expert.

Get your skin act together, she said. You are not a young thing anymore. You must take care of your skin.

After she whipped my skin and me into shape, she sent me home with an arm full of  items. They work well — and are expensive.

That’s the problem with my skin care regimen. I don’t want to spend that kind of money on lotions and potions. Plus,  I want something with natural ingredients. I had three choices: I could either keep purchasing the expensive stuff, mix my own concoction or buy it from  a reputable organic store.

Cue Mission Impossible music.

With my skin in good shape, I tried to find an affordable solution. I already knew about Bentonite Clay and use it for facials. Bentonite Clay is available at many health food stores for $8 or $9 for 16 ounces.

Armed with that information, I was sure I could find something organic and affordable to exfoliate and moisturize my skin. I clicked around and found Mountain Rose Herbs Cleansing Grains.

For $5.25, Mountain Rose Herbs offers two ounces of White Kaolin clay, organic Oat Bran, Almond meal, organic Corn meal, powdered Rose petals, and a blend of pure steam distilled essential oils. It smells divine. Mix a pinch or two with a little spring water or tea, apply to face in circular motions and rinse.

Warning: Don’t put anything wet in the jar, not even a finger, unless you want to contaminate all the goodies. Use a plastic or wooden spoon to scoop out a little each use.

For the body, try dead sea salt. It is the main ingredient in many body scrubs. Mountain Rose Herbs has a one-pound bag of dead sea salt for $4.50. Want to spend even less? Buy a five-pound bag here. Need some aromatherapy with that? Draw a bath, sprinkle in a tablespoon or so of dead sea salt and a few drops of an essential oil. Or, mix dead sea salt with a carrier oil, say jojoba, and use it to exfoliate the entire body. Both recipes provide an instant spa experience without the spa price. Enjoy!

Do you have any money-saving beauty secrets? Spill!



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From The Inbox

On August 9, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke


What to do when someone you care about shows his thoughts.

Q: I would love to get your opinion on the following…My husband and I are a happy interracial couple (I’m black, he’s white) living in the South. Race is not an issue for us and this is how we hope to raise our kids. We’ve developed a friendship with a white couple who have been very good friends over many years and are in fact our children’s godparents. They were raised in the South by very traditional white families, and even though they seem to be very progressive, they prove that you can’t escape your past. Last year, the man was animatedly recalling a story and used the n-word to describe a group of people in his story. My husband and I were shocked and really didn’t know how to react. He went on with his story as if it didn’t happen, following which, we left. Discussing it in the car, my husband and I were more disappointed in him than angry. We briefly discussed whether or not we should talk to him about it, but decided against it. He hasn’t done it since, but it’s hard to forget. Any thoughts?

A: Thanks for your question. It’s a tough one, but I will take a shot. My take on this is that you should always say something when something like this happens. It could be something simple like: Really? That’s the way you describe this group of people? It may not be the thing you want to say or thought you’d say, but you have to let the person know that you don’t appreciate that kind of language and that he shouldn’t feel comfortable using it in front of you.

I was on a plane that was experiencing turbulence when the woman sitting beside me made a comment about the pilot’s race. I, too, was flustered and didn’t know what to say. I managed to get something out of my mouth that did not condemn her speech but hopefully let her know I didn’t appreciate it.

Were your children there? I would not want to explain how my child’s Godfather used a racial epithet to describe Mommy’s people. (If he can’t see how his word may be hurtful to a group, he may see how it is hurtful to his Godchild.) The moment may have passed, and it may not have the same effect if you talk about it now. But if it ever happens again or if he’s joking about this story or some other opportunity presents itself, I’d take him aside and tell him. Keep it sweet, to the point and make sure your talk lacks emotion. If you stay cool, maybe he will follow suit. I wouldn’t do it in front of other people, if you can help it, because he’s likely to be embarrassed and may respond in anger.

Weigh in, folks. What would you do?

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Quote, Unquote Classic

On August 7, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke


Simone, developing her vocabulary.

Simone spent two years in the home of what I like to call her Dominican Day Family. While in their care, she learned several Spanish words. We’re not sure whether she was trying to speak English or Spanish when she uttered the word above. Believe me, we asked. She repeated it so much we were saying it to ourselves and to each other to see if we could figure out what she was trying to tell us. Until this day we have no idea of what she was trying to say.

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