Reasons (Earth, Wind & Fire)

My Mama. My Reason.

The reasons that we’re here. The reasons that we fear. Our feelings won’t disappear

Welcome to the month of May friends! This month is jam packed with “all the things” for many of us. May usually includes Mother’s Day celebrations, graduations, vacations and other warm weather festivities. As we head into this month I’m already finding myself a little busier with “all the things”. One of those “things” includes hosting Mother’s Day Brunch! Like many of us my family is hosting more events at home these days and Mother’s Day was no exception.

Whenever I am hosting an event the first thing I consider is my tablescape. A tablescape is just a fancy term for the festive way you plan on “setting the table” as my southern Mom would say when I was young. It’s meant to elevate your experience while dining and indicates that the meal or occasion is special. The table is usually the gathering place where most conversations are held, food is served, and gifts are exchanged, it’s important that it looks good!

Here are 4 short steps to use when creating a tablescape worth talking about that I learned from my southern Mama:

  1. Pick out a Theme. Once your theme is finalized it really helps with curating a menu and décor that will support that aesthetic. You do not have to be overly specific with your theme just make sure you know the colors you would like to use.
  2. Select your table linens, (or not). I prefer not to use many linens with my tablescapes. I love the natural element of the table peeking through the decor and honestly, it’s just one less thing to wash. However, from time to time I do like to use a nice tablecloth, linen napkins, or a decorative table runner. If you’re going to invest in table linens my suggestion is to go with a neutral that you can use year after year with various pops of color. A quality white, cream, or grey linen tablecloth and napkins never go out of style.
  3. Select your plates, glasses, and silverware. This year I was gifted designer disposable plates and cutlery from Priea’s Home. Her items are a convenient way to elevate your tablescape without the hassle of washing, drying and storing away dishes. I selected her blush round accent pattern and I’m so pleased with the quality and vibrant color shown in each piece. When I’m not using a disposable option I opt for all white tableware, this helps to keep everything cohesive.
  4. Bring in statement decor like candles, flowers and/or balloons. These are all very easy and inexpensive ways to add a special touch to your table area. However, make sure the statement decor does not obstruct your guests view from being able to see those beautiful smiles.

Now let’s all make a vow to not use a regular ole’ paper plates on our social media pages when posting a great meal.

Take care,

Fe-

Girl Like Me (Jazmine Sullivan ft. H.E.R.)

Hey Friends! I can tell it’s the first week of Spring, I’ve already started sneezing! #jesusbesomekleenex

This is also the last week of Women History Month celebrating the social, economic, and political achievements of women. As I shared on my social media platform although I support many women empowerment movements we must acknowledge that often women of color have been excluded from the narrative.

I thought about this while I was getting ready for work and ironing my clothing. Did you know that Sarah Boone is a black woman who created the ironing board that we all use today? Boone’s patent was for a wooden board that had legs and a padded cover in 1892. She’s also credited with improving the original model several times.

This made me reflect and want to dive a little deeper into other items we all use around the home that were invented by African-American women.

Listed below are a few other household items created by African-American women that many of us use each day:

  1. “Girl, this is my Mama, let me call you back!” You have Dr. Shirley Jackson to thank for call waiting and caller ID. She also helped to develop additional technology that helped with fax machines, long-distance calling and touch-tone phones.
  2. “It’s cold in here, sis!” The temperature of our homes plays a large factor in our comfort level, and overall wellness. Alice H. Parker designed a patent in 1919 that helped to pave the way for the air furnace system that we use to this day.
  3. “Girl, check the alarm camera and see if my Amazon package arrived!” Marie Van Brittan Brown wanted a more secure way to protect her home in the 1960’s. Along with her husband they created a patent for a camera to monitor their front door and a two way microphone to communicate with visitors.
  4. “Hold still, I want your hair perfect for Easter service” If you are a black woman who attends church you have most likely heard this statement sometime during your childhood. Hair care is the center of the black beauty industry and generates millions each year. Madam C.J. Walker is credited with inventing several African American hair products. She is also one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire!

This is just a snippet of the impact of black women on our society. There are SO many that have paved the way for us to proudly stand in our womanhood AND blackness. For that, I am grateful.

Sisterly,

Fe-

Flewed Out (The City Girls)

I’m SO ready to get #flewedout for a tropical vacation, clear skies, and ocean vibes. Plus, I feel SO close to God near the ocean. This may be the reason I have always gravitated toward teal, turquoise, and other colors of the sea when decorating. An ex-boyfriend even described my house as the inside of a fishbowl or an aquarium. I took this as a compliment and decided there were better fish in the sea and we broke up shortly after (not due to the comment-he was just a jerk). 

If you’re a longtime reader you may remember that I painted my bedroom and office grey a few years ago. I loved the versatility this neutral color offered when decorating and vowed to get more rooms painted in the future. Well, the future is now, and apparently, it’s still grey (insert a witty 50 Shades of Grey reference here if you feel inclined).

I decided to stick with the same color, Gravity, by Valspar and couldn’t be happier. Also, I kept my “fishbowl” décor aesthetic and paired it with pretty turquoise-colored blankets and pillows that reminded me of the green ocean water in the Caribbean. #startslookingupflights

As I admire my new wall color and celebrate Women’s History Month I’m reminded of a few things we all should keep in mind: 

Women are allowed to speak their minds AND change them. Women should have a seat at the table when decisions are made. Especially when the decisions have a direct impact on women’s health, and well-being. In addition, women should be allowed to change their minds regarding topics as they grow and evolve. For example, when I was 20 I wanted two children, two dogs, and a huge home. As I have gained more self-awareness I realize that there is a LOT more that goes into family life beyond the beautiful photos and right now the “rich auntie” role is sounding really good to me.

Women are allowed to pivot. The word pivot has been a popular buzz term during the pandemic. In business it essentially means going in a different direction when you realize you’re not meeting the needs of your clientele. This term can also apply to professional, personal, and social decisions. It’s been encouraging to see so many women pivot during this tough time and focus on ways to make life easier, and more fulfilling.

Women are allowed to create boundaries to protect their peace. Society places a TON of weight on the backs of women in several roles. The pressure to be a good wife, mother, daughter, friend and even co-worker can be overwhelming. Create boundaries that can help you manage these roles and keep your sanity. This book by an African-American therapist, Nedra Tawwab that would be a great resource if you need help creating them.

As we approach Spring enjoy the weather, AND your womanhood. Happy Women’s History Month!

Fe-

Stop in the Name of Love. (The Supremes)

Stop! In the name of love… before you break my heart.

Well, if he does at least you can count on your girls!

In a society that is so focused on romantic love, marriage, and attachment to men it’s also important to acknowledge your friendships. Friends are often there for you during life’s best moments and the worst. You may have great classmates, co-workers, and associates but a good friend is a true blessing.

This year I hosted a laid-back dinner for my best friends and it was the perfect way to reconnect after months of quarantining, Face Time calls, and Zoom meetings.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when hosting a Galantine’s Day gathering:

  1. Budget –Make sure to set your budget before hosting any event. It is easy to be carried away with all the options and spend over your desired amount. I like to set a budget per person to help me strategize and plan. For example, hosting a brunch would cost roughly $25 per person and dinner may be closer to $40.
  2. Décor –I found fun décor on Amazon this year that was specific to my Galantine’s Day theme. You can also use holiday colors, hearts, and other general décor. I also purchased several balloons from my local Dollar Tree, which add a fun aesthetic to any space.
  3. Food- This year I decided that I wanted to just relax and enjoy my girls so I outsourced our food from a black owned catering company here in Charlotte. I encourage any host to consider outsourcing certain items to keep your load light.
  4. Games & Music- I LOVE incorporating games and a dope playlist to keep people engaged. Try this game if you want to keep things lively.

RIP to Mary Wilson,

Fe-

Big Mama Thang… (Lil’ Kim)

“Baby, it’s a Big Momma thing. Can’t tell by the diamonds in my rings?” -Lil’ Kim

Hello friends!

I finished a home décor project and wanted to share! After months of sitting in boxes, I finally built my IKEA dresser! #pourmethewine

First, let me say that putting together ANY piece of IKEA furniture is not for the weak. The endless pieces and vague instructions could drive even a trained engineer mad. I watched countless YouTube videos, cried twice, and eventually called in reinforcements to help. However, once it is finally assembled there is a sense of accomplishment that I am sure rivals an Olympian. Note: I’ve never been an Olympian, but I’m sure the sentiment is similar.

I selected the HEMNES 8-drawer dresser in white, and here are a few reasons I selected this particular piece.

  1. The price point:  This dresser is priced around $250, which I felt was an incredibly reasonable price for the quality. It is a heavy and sturdy piece that I feel will last for years to come or at least until I change my mind and want another one.  
  2. Size and Function: This dresser is large so I’ve named her Big Mama Thang’. It’s a great height and the drawers are large enough for “all the things”.
  3. Organizational opportunity: I like the fact that this dresser has eight drawers with four smaller compartments at the top. This provides a great flow for organization.
  4. The neutral color: Although my dark wood dresser was nice, I felt like that corner of my room was stuffy. The bright white color really brightens my room and looks great when the natural sunlight is pouring in.
I also changed the knobs for a more feminine look. I purchased two packs at T.J. Maxx for around $20.

As a resident of North Carolina (home of the furniture capital of the world) I am completely aware that IKEA furniture is not high on the list in terms of quality. However, as someone who is still somewhat transitional with my style this price point and style worked best for me. I’m super excited for this mini décor facelift in my room and looking forward to continuing to make this space a reflection of me.

 You wanna be this Queen B, but ya can’t be… that’s why your mad at me!

Fe-

Feeling Good (Nina Simone)

Happy New Year!

It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me.

And, I’m feeling good!

These words from Nina Simone resonated deeply with me this year. Although there is no magical switch that will instantly make 2021 a better year the promise of tomorrow is great, and THAT is enough for me.

Although I try not to make hard resolutions each year I do try my best to take on a yearly motto or theme, and create a list of goals. This year I would like to complete one household project each month, which includes updating appliances, light fixtures and painting a few areas.

In addition to creating my list there are also a few small things I purchase each year to make sure my home can run efficiently for 12 months. I hope you find this list helpful.

  1. Filters: Each year I make a trip to Home Depot or Lowes and purchase my filters for the year. This way I’m properly stocked up and do not have to make the trip every 2-3 moths. I also keep a note in my phone of my filter size because I tend to forget.
  2. Batteries/Light Bulbs: This is another “not-so-glamorous” purchase that I try to make once a year. I pay special attention to the batteries used most often in my home and for my smoke detectors. The worst thing is when your smoke detector goes off and the constant beeping begins.
  3. Cleaning supplies: Gimmie’ all the Lysol, Clorox, and hand sanitizer. If you were not aware before, last year taught us to make sure that we stay ready with supplies that can kill all the germs.  
  4. Royal Throne: This may be TMI, but I also change out my toilet seat. I think of it as swapping out your throne for a new one. No matter how hard I try I’m never convinced the old one is totally clean so I just get a new one yearly.

Now, run out and grab these fun items for your home! If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.

Fe-

My Gift To You… (Alexander O’Neal)

Happy Holidays friends!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

Despite all the turmoil in 2020 I hope that you’re getting in some quality time with loved ones (virtually or in-person) and able to feel some sense of holiday cheer. One way to spread love to others is through the “art of gifting”.  Yep, gifting is totally an art! In fact, gifting is so important that it’s listed as one of the 5 love languages! Try the tips listed below this season if you need a little help…

  1. Get nosy! Look at items they already have in their home, ask questions and browse their social media. This will provide you with details about brands they like, stores where they shop and information regarding hobbies and leisure activities.
  2. Gift an experience! Allowing others to make memories is the ultimate gift. Consider this especially for people in a cozy environment or those who are really picky. I love art, museums and plays so a gift card to the local theater or concert venue would be amazing! Others may like to make memories at a local spa, golf course, wine vineyard, or upscale restaurant.
  3. Solve an expressed or observed need! Last time you were at their house you noticed they did not have a nice robe, blanket, wine glasses, rug… etc. Simple observations can really help you gather ideas.
  4. If it’s not breathing, monogram it! In the south we add a monogram to everything. Everyone likes to have something original and adding a monogram, quote or name is always a nice touch to any item.

Happy Gifting!

Fe-

Decking the (Townhouse) Halls

Happy Holidays Friends!

Let’s chat about Christmas trees.

Like other home décor items, there are tons of options, price points, colors, heights, and widths out there. It can be overwhelming to filter through the options and find the perfect tree for your space, and budget. Although some of you may have already put your trees up for Christmas, I wanted to provide information and inspiration on a few that caught my eye this year.

Whenever I think about budget-friendly prices Wal-Mart always comes to mind. Not only do they offer great groceries and toiletries but they also have a robust selection of home décor, including Christmas trees. Here are two in my home that I was able to purchase AND decorate with “all the things” for under $50!

$30 Holiday Time Un-Lit Snow Flocked Pine Artificial Christmas Tree, 6ft.

I know what you’re thinking. Why buy an un-lit tree? Since, this tree resides in my home office/guest room and I don’t frequent that area at night the “un-lit factor” was not a big deal. In addition, I can always pick up an inexpensive pack of lights from Wal-Mart. The price point of this tree was too good to pass up, and would work in any living space.

Now, meet Silver Bells…

$25 Holiday Time Pre-Lit Silver Tinsel Christmas Tree, 6ft.$25 Holiday Time Pre-Lit Silver Tinsel Christmas Tree, 6ft.

This tree is SO fun and budget friendly. Silver Bells fit perfectly in a tiny nook in my bedroom, and provides the perfect aesthetic for my décor. This tree would look amazing in any cozy space, office, or child’s room. It also comes in a fun rose gold color.

I hope this motivates you to to get those halls decked and if you are wondering what to gift me… just put Idris Elba under my tree (wink).

Brown Skin. (India Arie)

Meet TEALisha. She’s brown, fly, and dressed to impress. However, this is not how I met her.

While browsing my local Ross Dress for Less I ran across this beautiful piece of art and really wanted to take her home, BUT she did not look like me so I was torn. Some of you may wonder why that even matters, but I would like to share why it’s important to have positive representation in your home décor, especially as a person of color.

While reading an article on black representation in art this quote stuck out to me: “We have been largely overlooked, historically,” said Morton, who graduated from the Florence Academy of Art US. “We weren’t seen fit as a worthy model, unless we were … somehow an object that has been subjugated in a painting.” This quote really resonated with me because it rings true across all aspects of media and even other areas like cards, toys, beauty and books.

The psychological triggers that impact people of color via social media and news outlets with negative imagery is astounding. Having a positive image in your home can really help offset negative feelings from those images that may arise. It also helps shape the vibe of your home. Your home should be a reflection of you… so make sure it literally has images that look JUST like you.

So, with that being said… I took an old make-up brush, canvas paint, and got to work. I’m happy with the results and look forward to adding more beautiful brown women to my art collection in the near future.

The thing is… that just because we’re magic does not mean we’re not real.”

Fe-

READ-y or Not. (The Fugees)

Reading is honestly my first love. #thanksmom During my childhood, family vacations and outings were always accompanied by The Babysitters Club, The Boxcar Children, and The American Girl series with Addy. Books remained my true friend during my teen years when I couldn’t keep my head out of a Eric Jerome Dickey book, black romance novels, and anything by Sister Soulijah. #thecoldestwinterever

During college and grad school my reading evolved to include books that pertained to my career. I even enjoyed book studies that would allow me to learn more about educating students in the public school sector. Even when I did not have much time I was never far away from an interesting article, audio book, or magazine. My parents also love to read and often clip articles out of the paper on topic they think I will enjoy.

“Fe, look at this article about budgeting!”

Me: “I can’t right now. I’m headed to HomeGoods!”

Recently, I have rediscovered my love for curling up to a good book and wanted to share the books that have resonated with me over the past year. If you chose to purchase one I hope that it impacts you as well.

An American Marriage – Whew chile… this book is GUUUUUD!

The Girl with the Louding Voice -Child bride. Scandal. Trauma. I couldn’t put this book down!

Small Great Things– This book REALLY makes you think, and you may even begin to eye those around you with a different lens. #allyallracist

The Water Dancer -I’ve always felt the history that is taught in school is far LESS interesting than the real thing. This book proves that theory.

Little Fire Everywhere -Similar to the movie, except this did not take on the racial lens.

The Moment of Lift -Motivation in book form. It’s literally written by Melinda Gates…

Hope these suggestions encourage you to visit a local black owned bookstore or toss a few into your Amazon cart.

Happy Reading,

Fe-