rihanna carnival rihanna carnival

Mas Appeal: Vixen’s Guide to Carnival

If Rihanna’s taught us anything, it’s that Carnival is one hell of a party. The blogs were recently barraged with photos of the sexy pop star in scantily clad ensembles having the time of her life at Barbados’ Cropover. But too many of us fail to realize that such uninhibited fun is well within reach of the masses. People from all walks of life flock to these elaborate, culturally-driven celebrations with hopes of unleashing stress through music and dance. Women take the act of “playing mas”—reveling the streets in elaborate costume—seriously, as it gives them a chance to free themselves while summoning their inner diva.

With Carnivals taking place year-round in almost every major city, there is something for everyone.  Whether budget or endurance is your concern, Vixen’s Guide to Carnival will point you to the perfect party paradise.

-Daria A. Diaz

Photo Credit: urbanislandz.com


Cropover (Barbados)

With Bajans across the island celebrating the sugar cane harvest, this idyllic travel destination is transformed into a party haven.  As the festival begins to gain momentum and notoriety, it grows beyond belief. Perfect for those who must get their beach bum on but don’t mind a good party.

Where to stay: Rent a villa. Options are plentiful and they work out to be less costly than hotels when traveling with a large group.  Opt for the south coast if you want to be close to the action, or luxuriate on the west (aka the “platinum coast”).

Where to eat: Oistin’s Fish Fry is well known for its local delicacies and party vibe.

Where to play: Baje International and Zulu International are currently the island’s leading Kadooment bands. baje-intl.com, zuluinternational.com

Photo Credit: numusiczone.com


Nottinghill Carnival (London)

“God save the queen” for London turns all the way up during this Carnival weekend. Although the United Kingdom has a heavy West-Indian presence, onlookers can’t help but be transfixed by the wave of color, sound, and motion. Popping off the third weekend of August, it also proves a great time to tour Europe. You already made it across the pond so why not?

Where to stay: Bayswater Road offers a wide range of hotel accommodations, all of which are walking distance to the parade route. There are also several metro stations along the main road that make the rest of London easily accessible.

Where to eat:  Shepherd’s Bush, an area situated close to Nottinghill, is home to the Westfield London Shopping Center, which offers many options for epic eats. The Mall houses a wide selection of upscale restaurants and a variety of small local eateries can be found directly outside.

Where to play: Euphoria Carnival and Poison UK are both great options. euphoriacarnival.com, poisonuk.com

Photo Credit: ww2.hdnux.com

miami carnival

Miami Carnival

Miami Carnival presents the perfect balance of urban fare and Caribbean flare.  With a heavy hip hop presence, attendees can dabble in both music scenes. Not to mention, it’s Miami!

Where to stay: Most of the Carnival events are downtown, so it’s the most convenient place to rest your head. But South Beach is always a great option for those who don’t mind heavy foot and car traffic.

Where to eat: There’s just something about Miami’s more elusive eateries that exude sexiness.  Fine dining restaurants like Prime 112 and Zuma are well worth the splurge.

Where to play: Check out the well endorsed Generation X for a good time on the road.  generationxmiami.net

Photo Credit: winstondelawarblog.com

Carnival of Trinidad

Trinidad Carnival

Trinidad is to Carnival, what Beyonce is to R&B.  No surprise that her hubby chose to shoot his “Big Pimpin” video at this world famous festival.  Beware, “It ain’t for everybody.” Trinidadians have successfully mastered the art of ‘fete-ing’—relentless partying that leaves minimal time for sleep.  And unlike most Carnivals, Trinidad offers two full days to parade the streets.  After 72 hours of non-stop ‘fete-ing’, followed by two days on the road, those strong enough to endure rightfully earn the title “Carnival Aficionado”.

Where to stay: Port of Spain is the heart of the action.  The Hyatt Regency is the leading choice, but beware because it’s also the first to sell out.

Where to eat: Dawn’s Roti shop—nestled on a small road in Diego Martin—is far from fancy but boasts the best roti in Trinidad. Period.

Where to play: The exclusive Tribe Carnival offers one of the best mas experiences in Trinidad.  carnivaltribe.com

Photo Credit: travel-images.com


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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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