5 Ways To Get Fit Without The Gym

Going to the gym isn’t always the best option when you want to work out. In fact, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense at all. Hitting the gym can be costly; both for your bank account and your precious free-time.

Personal trainers can get expensive, and even basic gym memberships can easily amount to hundreds of dollars a year. For those who are fortunate enough to be able to pay for professional assistance, PT’s are great and can definitely be worth the money, but there are many ways to get fit for much less!

Getting to the gym can also cut into your time. It can take several hours a week to get to and from the gym, especially if you tend to go after work, doing rush-hour. And wouldn’t it be great to have the option to just work out in the convenience of your home?

If you’re trying to save time and money, or you’re simply more comfortable working out at home, get fit without a gym by using these tips:

Workout Videos.  Whether a trainer offers these services through an app, or videos on youtube, this is a great subsitiute for the gym. You can do them virtually anywhere, which makes for a great convience. It’s best to purchase small home work out equipment like resistance bands, dumbells, and/or an exercise ball for better results.

Take the stairs. Elevators are great when you’re going to the 10th floor, but taking the stairs whenever it’s possible can make a big difference on your health. Did you know that climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging?

Do bodyweight exercises. Planks, push-ups, squats, jumping jacks and step-ups are all great ways to get moving!

Walk more. Taking walks in the afternoon with the dog or your small children can make for both great bonding time and help to increase a healthy blood flow.

Make housework exercise time. Cleaning the house is actually a great way to get moving. Check out how many calories you can burn by doing housework with this calculator.

Battle Rap’s Own ‘Young Gattas’ On Why She Left The Battle Scene & What Lies Ahead

Young Gattas, currently residing in the new entertainment mogul city of Atlanta, is a female rapper who took the battle-rap scene by storm in 2009.  Her first appearance on Grind Time via WorldStarHipHop attained over 20k views, while she currently totals over 2 Mil views in battles altogether.

Arriving to the venues with straight hair and eyeliner, Gattas used this tactic to steer her opponents away from the attacks on her tomboyish appearance. Gattas quickly evolved into her own style however, depicting masculine attire with gritty rap bars to match. Known for riotous punchlines and wordplay, it was easy for Gattas to gain a fan base, making a name for herself in the battle rap industry on platforms like KOTD, Queen Of The Ring, Smack, and others.

Born and raised in Chicago, Gattas frequented back and forth between the Chi and Indianapolis during High School. Growing up, she credits her Grandma for her exposure to different genres of music.

“My grandmother would play a lot of weird stuff. Like, when we’d clean the house on Sundays, we’d listen to like, Queen and Celine Dion. Not really what black people would listen to” , she explains.

Ironically, growing up Gattas was into sports and not music. She didn’t become interested in pursuing a career in rap well after her High School graduation.

“I never knew until now. I was always dipping and dabbing in it until now. I haven’t put 100 percent into it until now, cause like, just look at the competition!” Gattas exclaims amusingly.

She dropped a mixtape in 2012 at the peak of her career entitled Belly of the Beast that she released on DatPiff. She notes some of the women in rap that she’s currently listening to: Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, and Rhapsody to name a few. Even though Gattas took a short hiatus from the battle rap scene, she’s excited to jump back in at the top of 2019.

“I took a break from battle rap. The battle rap industry was becoming less about talent and I just fell back.” she explains.  She’s back on the battle scene in 2019, while also scheduling the release of her EP “No Favors” in May.

Gattas mentions her upcoming EP to be executive produced by DJ Brad of the Atlanta Coalition DJ’s. She’s also one of the featured rappers on the jingle for Atlanta’s very own Slutty Vegan.

“It was a contest! Slutty Vegan held a jingle contest. We went down to the truck the night before and shot a quick video. They let people decide in the comment section who the winners were, and we won.”

The food truck has caught the attention of celebrities like Tyler Perry, Big Boi, Jermaine Dupri and more. Young Gattas performed the jingle live for it’s guests at it’s opening to their Atlanta brick and mortar restaurant location in January.

 

Keep up with Young Gattas and learn more by following her on Instagram.

Future Introduces New Persona On Album “Future HNDRXX Presents: The WIZRD”

Future released his seventh studio album, “Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD”, an alter-ego that has been an enigma to listeners. Future explains to Pitchfork that the WIZRD was dubbed from his late uncle, of whom assigned Future the name because he was said to “always be on top of everything and had all the answers.”

Future doesn’t show us anything we haven’t seen before on this album, but it isn’t necessary. With songs produced by Tay Keith, Southside, Wheezy, and more, the fast paced tracks make for a quick, upbeat 62 minute listen, that channels the classic Future sound while still introducing a new side.

On the song “Stick to the Models” Future admits to the end of his consumption of lean. This new persona is a more intricate take on his usual tale of rags to riches, emphasizing points of never going back to a lifestyle that could bring him down on songs like “Never Stop”. Future talks about being a businessman, a father, and overall influencer on this project, showing that HNDRXX the WIZRD is in fact, our favorite trap magician.

Watch the video for the first single off of the album entitled “Crushed Up” and stream the entire abum below.

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B2K Announces Reunion Tour With Mario, Chingy, Lloyd And More

Omarion, Raz B, J- Boog, and Lil Fizz are coming together for the first time in more than a decade for The Millennium Tour, which will kick off in March.  The official lineup of dates will drop at 9 a.m. on December 31, and tickets go on sale for selected dates on January 4. The rest of the dates will go on sale January 11.

B2K first hit the charts in 2001 and scored four top-40 hits, including “Uh Huh,” “Gots Ta Be,” “Girlfriend” and the #1 single, “Bump, Bump, Bump,” featuring P. Diddy.  Both their studio albums were top-10 hits.

Mario, Ying Yang Twins, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky and Chingy are also part of the tour. Ticket info and further concert details are available at G-Squared Events.

Kodak Black Releases Second Single Visual With Music Video “Gnarly”

Shortly after releasing Dying To Live, Kodak Black drops the music video for his Lil Pump collab track, “Gnarly.”

Directed by JD Films, the visual sees Kodak express himself as a “Suburban Dude” to match the maturity seen on his latest album. In one scene, Kodak is seen sitting with his on-screen wife watching his old music videos in a look back at his former self.

Watch Kodak Black and Lil Pump’s music video for “Gnarly” below.

Nicki Minaj, Jaden Smith, Lil Wayne And More On Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack

The tracklist for Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse has been unveiled in the lead up to the film’s release this Friday. The hip-hop heavy project features a star-studded cast, with songs coming from Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Jaden Smith, Aminé, Ty Dolla $ign and more.

Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse:

01 Blackway / Black Caviar: “What’s Up Danger”
02 Post Malone / Swae Lee: “Sunflower”
03 Jaden Smith: “Way Up”
04 Nicki Minaj / Anuel AA: “Familia” [ft. Bantu]
05 Aminé: “Invincible”
06 Duckwrth / Shaboozey: ”Start a Riot”
07 Juice WRLD: “Hide” [ft. SEEZYN]
08 Thutmose: “Memories”
09 Ski Mask / Jacquees: “Save the Day” [ft. Coi Leray and LouGotCash]
10 Beau Young Prince: “Let Go”
11 Lil Wayne / Ty Dolla Sign: “Scared of the Dark” [ft. Special Guest]
12 DJ Khalil: “Elevate” [ft. Denzel Curry, YBN Cordae, SwaVay and Trevor Rich]
13 Vince Staples: “Home”

‘Tis The Season- Charities You Can Donate To This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for giving, and giving to charity is the perfect way to help those in need – while also helping yourself to a tax break. But how do you know which charities are the best? There are thousands of great charities out there doing amazing things with donated money, but there are also shady charities that are just out to get your money.

We’ve constucted a list of a few charites by category, so no matter what area you’d like to help in, know that there’s a legitmate organization waiting for you!

FOR ANIMAL LOVERS

1) World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) allows animal lovers to donate money to help species of wild animals. A $55 donation allows you to help wildlife while also earning you a small animal plush of your choice, photo, adoption of certification, species card, and gift bag. This charity is a fun one if you are looking to give a donation in lieu of a gift, since the WWF donation comes with a little gift.

2) Wildlife Conservation Society

As one of the best animal charities, the Wildlife Conservation Society uses its donations to help save wildlife and habitats throughout the world. Founded in 1895 — then named the New York Zoological Society — this animal charity uses science, conservation efforts and education to make a difference. By 2020, it aims to conserve the largest wild places on Earth in 16 priority regions, which is home to more than 50 percent of global biodiversity.

Headquartered in the Bronx, N.Y., 85 percent of the charity’s fiscal year 2016 expenses were spent on programming for its parks — the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium — and the field.

3) The Humane Society of The United States

The leading animal advocacy organization in the country, The Humane Society of the United States helps more than 100,000 animals per year. The nonprofit’s work includes animal rescue and care, animal advocacy, and providing training and services to local shelters and rescue groups.

Some of the Humane Society’s top accomplishments include lobbying to make malicious animal cruelty and dogfighting a felony in all 50 states, lowering the euthanasia rate for healthy, adoptable cats and dogs by 80 percent since the 1970s and working with several leading department stores and designers to go fur-free.

FOR CHILDREN IN NEED

1) Angel Tree

A Christian based organization, Angel Tree believes that every child has a story. For 2.7 million children in the U.S., that story may be filled with the abandonment and loneliness that comes from having a mom or dad in prison.

Angel Tree® is a program of Prison Fellowship, reaches out to the children of prisoners and their families. This unique program gives you an opportunity to give back by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.

2) Toys For Tots

Take your family to shop for a less fortunate child, and you’ll teach your kids valuable lessons on thankfulness, empathy and charitable giving. Purchase a new toy and take it (unwrapped) to a Toys for Tots drop-off location between October and December.

One or more members of the U.S. Marine Corps will distribute the toys to children in your community.

3) Playtime Project

The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is a Washington, D.C based organization that partners with local family shelters and temporary housing facilites. While the Play Project is alway’s seeking on site volunteers, monetary donations are accepted as well. Learn more about The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project here.

FOR LGBT

1) True Colors Fund

An estimated 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, often because they were rejected by their families after coming out. Homeless LGBT people often report having trouble finding shelters where they feel safe being out, so overtly LGBT-friendly shelters are critical. The True Colors Fund, which was co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, provides training and education for service providers like homeless shelters and soup kitchens across the nation on how to become safe, identity-affirming places for LGBT youth in need.

2) The Ali Forney Center NY

Ali Forney, was a gender-nonconforming teen who fled his home at 13. He entered the foster care system where he was bounced around to several homes, and was beaten and abused. Ali ended up living on the streets at the age of 15. Ali was dedicated to helping other young people and publicly advocated for the safety of homeless LGBT youth. Tragically, in December of 1997, Ali was murdered in Harlem—shot in the head and left for dead. 

The organization was founded in his honor in 2002; assisting nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program. See how you can help here.

3) The Trevor Project

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

FOR THE ELDERLY

1) Meals On Wheels

Meals on Wheels ensures that millions of homebound senior citizens are fed throughout the year, and that during the holidays, participating senior citizens are fed special holiday meals. So definitely give back to the elderly this holiday season with a Christmas dinner they can enjoy.

2) National Council on Aging

The NCOA is a government organization that partners with other nonprofit organizations and businesses to help provide resources and solutions to make aging easier on seniors in the United States. They offer educational resources and tools to help seniors find and take advantage of the benefits available to them in addition to advocating for seniors’ concerns at a policy level. You can see the many ways you can give to the NCOA here.

3) Senior Santa

Home Instead Senior Care’s “Be a Santa to a Senior” program partners with local non-profit and community organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season. The company then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations.

FOR THE HOMELESS

1) Robinhood Foundation

Last year, NYC based Robinhood invested $129 million in 200 of the best poverty-fighting organizations. Learn more about the organization and hw you can contribute here.

2) The National Alliance to End Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. Focussing on homelessnes prevention and housing assistance, The Alliance provides capacity-building assistance to help communities turn policy solutions and proven best practices into viable, on-the-ground programs.

3) Bowery Residents’ Committee

The BRC helps people with low income, who are homeless, hungry, chemically dependent, psychiatrically disabled, aged and persons with HIV and AIDS. They provide a comprehensive array of services, including health care, vocational rehabilitation, AIDS services, community education and advocacy.

Kim Simpson Talks Hip Hop, Audiomack, & More

Growing up in the hip hop culture, Kim knew from a very young age that music was her passion. From a reminiscent era revolving around cassette tapes, CD’s, and music videos, Kim gives us a glimpse into her life and what it’s like being young, zealous, and on top of her game; while living in the city where dreams are made of.

Naming her first purchased record being “Cold Rock The Party” by MC Lyte and Missy Elliott, the defining moment would come as early as her pre-adolescent years.

 

“The moment that I realized that I wanted to work in music was this show that premiered on MTV around 2002, I was 11 years old from what I remember… it documented and broke down all the different record labels what roles they play, and the responsibilities they have of the artists.” Kim recalls. She was certain that she wanted to pursue this industry as a career field. Transferring from a community college in her hometown of Philly, Kim moved to NYC and got her first internship soon after.

”The best part… being that person to put money in other people’s pockets. Giving an opportunity to other creatives”

She shares her vast experience working first-hand with music execs, “A year after transferring I got my first internship with Epic Records/ Sony Music under the Urban Promotions department. Then after that, I went on to intern at Atlantic records/ Warner Music under the Video production department, after that I worked as an intern at Def Jam/ Universal Music Group in the Digital Marketing department as well as the A&R department.”

While feeling her way around the industry, it was clear that the efficacious woman was living and thriving. She notes using social media to help grow her network; using it as a tool to advance her career in media and entertainment.

“Being on Twitter has helped a lot; just pretty much being that person some people look to when it comes to which artists they should check out and so forth. Although I’ve always used my personal social media for that.

While doing that, I would have my own events in New York City on the side alongside with my partner and friend Junae Brown . Which later brought about my position at AudioMack as the Manager of Events.”

Director of Marketing at Audiomack, Joe Vango, took notice on what it was Kim was doing in the city for local artists, as well as some of the playlists she would curate in New York City. Which lead to her accepting an opportunity at Audiomack as The Manager of Events.

To her, the best part of her job is creating opportunity.

“The best part… being that person to put money in other people’s pockets. Giving an opportunity to other creatives. Having events that makes people feel good and escape from whatever troubles they have going on, meeting various people from various cities and connecting with them all for the love of music. ”

TMI Worldwide Brings Beat Auction To Atlanta For Local Artists

Last night, TMI Worldwide LLC partnered with some of the hottest producers in the game to have a star- studded night, fueled on networking, tenacious young musicians, and inspiring producers alike.  

 Beat Auction Atlanta had high profiled producers in attendance such as Zaytoven, Drummer Boy, Kenny Bartolomei, Anonxmous, Black Metaphor, J Beatzz and many others, will be auctioning thier beats for a discounted rate, all for a cause! With bidding starting at $500, all proceeds were said to go to the Music Education Group, a Non Profit Organization that was formed to bring music, film and digital media-based education to underserved youth, and provide every child in Metro Atlanta with an equal opportunity for music education.

Coupled with an open bar and an interminable table filled with good eats, the event gave an intimate feel as stories were shared by DJ Holiday in reference to Zaytoven’s mother and how supportive she has always been in their musical journey; “We would be in the basement for hours and she would cook for us and just let us grind it out man. It didn’t matter, as long as we didn’t park on her grass.”

You can learn more about the Music Education Group and their mission for youths interested in pursuing careers in the industry here

Getting Cozy At The Fourtress

Photo Credit: @VisualSavage

Moving can be a load of stress, especially straight after college. The Fourtress is a blog community composed by four NYC roommates. Tierra, Candice, London and Kiara have a pretty interesting story as to how they all met and wound up in the Big Apple.

Lauren Lacey: So, were you all friends before becoming roommates? How did you all meet?

The Fourtress: No actually! So Tierra and Candice are best friends and grads from Syracuse University. Tiara, born and raised in Vegas, knew Kiara during her teens being that Kiara is from the same hometown. Kiara later on went to Hampton University, where she met London, and somehow after graduating everyone ended up in NYC. After finding out that everyone was undergoing the apartment search at the same time (and happening on the perfect place equipped for four people as opposed to two), we all ended up becoming roommates. We actually have a post that explains it perfectly….because it’s a lot!

While the group met during a pretty disquieting time in their lives, the idea of starting a blog came about for other reasons.

LL: How did the idea of The Fourtress come about? What made you start it?

TF: Funny enough we were sitting on the couch one weekend (wine in hand), and just started talking about influencers, black women, our growth and the social media space as a whole – the end result was deciding to dive head first into creating a social space created for women of color, by women of color, that would not only highlight our journey, but also encourage others to join with us. It was born out pure spontaneity, dope black women…and wine, you cannot discount the wine.

As a group of millennial professionals, it was easy to decipher who would be contributing what, as they all work in social media/communications.

Tierra Taylor @tierrajtaylor

A Sin City Native — Tierra received her Bachelors of Science degree from Syracuse University and currently works as a Social Media Designer at Chase. A lover of matcha and entertainment, she’s also the Creative Director of the Fourtress and brings the group’s ideas to fruition. She makes graphics pop, is the queen of editing, creates shot lists, and is responsible for the look and design of The Fourtress as a whole.

Candice Elle Frank @candiceefrank

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA — Candice graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Television Production and currently works as the Social Media Coordinator for ABC’s daytime talk show, “The View.” She loves music, dancing, traveling, and anything Beyonce! She’s Caption Queen, aka Content Director, and is behind the tone you see on The Fourtress. She manages all content, gives direction for the blog’s Instagram stories, and edits video material.

London Coleman-Williams @londonjhane

Helming from the Mile High City — London graduated from Hampton University with B.A. in Strategic Communications and currently works an Associate Digital Strategist for a variety of lifestyle brands in the beauty and fashion space. She’s a lover of quotes, finds happiness in interior design and believes a good heel is always the answer. She’s The Fourtress’s PR Director and handles everything from general outreach and incoming inquiries, to creative pitch angles and partnerships.

Kiara Bass @itskbass

Originally from Las Vegas, NV — Kiara works as a Fashion Publicist for contemporary brands in NYC. She’s an avid listener of podcasts and enjoys reading up on social and tech trends. Kiara is also a alumna of Hampton University where she studied public relations and sociology. For the Fourtress, she serves as our Account Director, handling everything from agendas to time management in an effort to keep the team on track.

LL: Collectively, what is it that you hope to accomplish with The Fourtress brand? What has been achieved so far?

TF: There are very few outlets that showcase the growth and self-love of black women; we hope to accomplish that. We encourage women of color to bask in their melanin and fall in love with their journey. Our mission, Through the journey of four roommates, The Fourtress is a specially curated space that inspires, empowers, and unifies women of color to fulfill their purpose and stand in their power, is still our vision and we strive to capture that journey and all of its beauty.

One of our biggest accomplishments would have to be being active amongst our community. Serving others is all a part of the glow up, there is no glow if you aren’t uplifting others throughout the process. As a whole, we knew we wanted to give back, and of course, we know we wanted to help women, so we came up with #ProjectQueenV, which allowed us to packed 100 packages of feminine products for women experiencing homeless.

Even with common interests and hobbies, there is still the chance to become a little afflicted, living in the city that never sleeps. We were interested in learning on how the feisty four kept things harmonious over at The Fourtress.

LL: Living in NYC can be stressful within itself. How do you ladies balance work, school, friendship, the business, and everything else-under one roof?

TF: This is probably one of the two questions we get asked most – next to, “What do you have planned next?” The fact that The Fourtress is a passion project, birthed out of wanting to curate a space of all of the things we love, makes balancing the workload so much easier. We’re big advocates of the mantra, “Make your passion your paycheck,” and are doing our best to get there. We meet weekly, twice a week when we are working on a big project or collaboration, and we also dedicate our weekends to photoshoots. Our photographer,  Brennan Savage (@visualsavage), is always a part of the process (major praise to him). Then on the day-to-day, we are always engaging and trying to grow our platform. If you follow us, you’ll see daily news tips from our #FourtressFour, catchy captions from Candice, and of course, stunning graphic work from Tierra.

Rooming, growing, and being in business together with friends is probably a dream many have, but only few are able to execute, gracefully. These four women have inspired many others on their online community through tips, motivation, and openness.

When asked what it is that they ultimately hope to take from the experience of living together and starting a business, the group had this to say:

“Our friendship! Beyond creating a business, these women have made it possible to live in NYC and seamlessly execute a brand that is nothing less than #BlackGirlMagic. Beyond the meetings, the events, the photo shoots, etc…there’s friendship, and we are so grateful for that.”

Continue to get cozy with the girls over at The Fourtress on Instagram here.

Photo Credit: @VisualSavage