The Best Brunch is with your Girls | Ft. Earls Kitchen

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Brunch is literally my favorite meal and if I could have brunch every day and not just on the weekends that would be absolutely amazing.  I recently went to a new restaurant I've been dying to go to for a while with my friend Trish.  Per usual we met up at peak brunch hour and order our first round of mimosas and cocktails. 

Earls has a great brunch specials, $8 entrees during brunch hour and bottomless mimosas. I ordered the Chorizo + Mushrooms Hash with Coconut Mint Mojito and Trish orderd the Avocado  Super Brunch.  The food was delicious and the ambiance is luxurious and chill simultaneously.

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Brunch with my girls never falls short, our conversations start with catching up then shifts into what is truly on our minds and in our hearts. We talk about work, relationships, finances, and our goals. The entire time we are listening and lifting each other up, affirming one another and giving sound advice or a difference perspective. 

It is crucial to have an amazing support system of women in your circle.  They help you stay motivated and challenge you in ways that will push you further. Good girlfriends challenge you to challenge yourself. 

  

Catch and Release

In such a society driven by materialism, titles, numbers of like and follows, it can be debilitating to discover there are people that catch you only to release you.

There is a viral video of Lauryn Hill speaking at a college and she says something that unfortunately 17 years later still rings true. " Love is an incredible thing and we don't know it like we should cause if a person stops stimulating us we stop loving them".

With such access and the advancement of social media, it is extremely easy to fall victim and idolize false realities. It is too easy to scrolls through your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feed and succumbs to feeling inadequate in yourself and or what you posses.  You can falsy read into manicured posts and Snapchat stories and believe the relationship you hold with your partner is not "right" in comparison. 

It truly displays a strong sense that we all suffer from but refuse to admit. Simply, we all desire to be liked and admire. But to reach this admiration we pretend to be what we believe others will like, more than not leaving our truest self at bay. 

This same conscience or unconscious behavior travels with us into our relationships at work, friendships, partnership and any type of “ship”.  Many people blame social media, but I beg to differ, social media just so happened to show us who we really are.

Conscious Fashion | Shopping with a Purpose ft. Quarterwear

I recently met up with a friend Falade and he shared with me that he started a clothing line so he wanted to gift me with an item from the new collection. Obviously, I was excited, because who doesn't love free stuff! So I took the opportunity to chat with him and learn about his clothing line and the inspiration behind it.  

What inspired you to create Quaterwear?

I created Quarterwear because I am a direct result of individuals and organizations going above and beyond, assisting me through the most challenging times in my life.

Can you explain a little more what that means? 

Individuals such as Mrs. Muni, Mr. Lawson, Pastor Patrick Ligon, Pastor Angela Ligon and many more. Organizations such as Cornerstone Christian Academy and Great Faith Christian Center Church. There are not enough pages to contain the names of people who have assisted me in my life. I believe that individuals and organizations like these should be given more than chapters in future history books. Or, even a page in a business plan where an executive summary should exist. I believe they should be rewarded and supported. I believe in standing ovations for these men, women, and organizations and I am committed to making it easier for them to change the world, and the people in it, for the better.

The new collection is called Merci, how did you come up with that?

When I relaunched Quarterwear I started off selling art on canvas featuring words from a poem I wrote. The art was basically hand lettering by local artist Dennise Ramirez-Hall. My goal was, and still is, to tell a story with every piece.  But, the art did not take off as well as I would have hoped so when we switched back to clothing, Merci was the only line from the poem that carried over.

What are some challenges you face with managing a clothing line?

Well, I would say everybody has their own unique challenges. The challenges I currently face are probably not the same as Off-White, Fear of God, Adidas, etc. lol. But, for me, the biggest challenge was stepping away from the desire to design, which is so much fun.  But to focus on understanding the fashion industry, read up on trends, research. So, in short, my challenge is remembering to keep things simple and focus on the true growth of sales and impact for our current charity partners. 

What makes Quarterwear different from the hundreds of other online clothing lines?

First, our tangible impact to our charity partners. Also, our design, style and product, Merci is hand illustrated by the artist Dennise Ramirez Hall. Lastly, the story and purpose behind the brand. Every sale impacts 25 lives through a partnering non-profit. The current collection feeds 25 children through Feeding Children Everywhere.

Whats to come in the future?

In the future, we will be delivering more items that will become staples or everyday wearable items for people. For now, we are just keeping it simple.

To sum it all up what is Quarterwear?

Quarterwear is a casual and comfortable clothing brand that raises awareness, support, and capital for the world’s greatest causes and those who address them. Every sale impacts 25 lives through a partnering non-profit. We are for the problem-solvers, the world-changers. 

Website | Quaterwear.org                                                                                                                                                                                  Instagram | @Quarterwear
Facebook | Facebook.com/Quarterwear

My Favorite Skin & Hair Care Products for Summer | Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica

A major part of self-care and good hygiene is being intentional about caring for your skin and hair. The usual typically occurs, you shower with a body wash, wash your face with a cleanser, and moisturize afterwards; pretty straightforward.  But have you ever truly considered the products you are using to obtain optimal results. For the past few years, I have been extremely intentional about the products I use and I try to buy products as natural as possible within my budget.  

It wasn't until I was having a conversation with a friend about our skincare routines that I realized a good portion of my daily beauty products are from Alba Botanica. What I love about this brand is not only do their product work, but I admire their mission and vision. Their mission is to simply "To Do My Beautiful". Alba Botanica creates 100% vegetarian products that overflow with botanical ingredients.  Also they environmentally conscious and animal cruelty-free. I wanted to share the items I am currently using and how I incorporate them into my routines. 

Very Emollient Bath & Shower Gel in Midnight Tuberose:  This  indulging bath gel moisturizes, soothes and softens skin while taking your senses into a lush garden because it smells amazing! This shower gel doesnt leave my skin feeling dry and stripped of all oils and the major plus is that it is pH balanced. 

Very Emollient Body Lotion Herbal Healing: (Not in photo) I have been using this body mositurizer for a couple months and I completely love it. It is made with blend of bamboo, aloe extracts, cannabis oil, oatmeal and turmeric that delivers intense moisturization and help calm the skin. Since I've been usung this I don't have to reapply lotion throughout the day. 

Hawaiian Body Scrub: I used this body scrub once a week, and it is hands down the best scrub I've used. I use it on wet and dry skin depending on my mood. What makes this scrub so amazing is the oils.  Once you rinse off the salt scrub the mixture of  jojoba, macadamia, avocado and sweet almond oils will leave your skin so smooth and moisturize you won't need lotion afterwards. Promise!

Good & Clean Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser: I use this cleanser after my morning workouts and I excerise Monday - Friday at 5am, so this cleanser is perfect for detoxing and getting rid of all the sweat and grime on my face. The fruit acid complex in this cleanser has a soft grapefruit scent that wake me up as well as my skin. 

Hawaiian Conditioner Coconut Milk: Let me start by saying not all conditioners are made equal.  Being a naturally curly girl,  it is hard to find a conditioner with the perfect amount of slip and moisture to detangle, deep condition and co-wash my hair. But this conditioner can do all three essentially saving me money. My hair has the tendency to be really dry so the high fatty acids, protein, and coconut milk helps locks in moisture to strengthen my cuticles and reduce split ends.

What are your favorites beauty products ? Share them with me in the comments.

*Disclaimer this post is not sponsored (I wish it was considering I genuinely love this brand).

 

Travel Destination | Down in New Orleans

This spring semester has been a complete world-wind and I am so excited that is it finally over. From having multiple papers and discussion posts due each week, I will admit it was difficult to find time to focus on the blog.  However, during spring break, I was able to relax and simply enjoy myself with my family and I had the best time ever!

What began as a somewhat stressful in regards to planning completely vanished once we all huddled ourselves in my Uncle's rental van that was entirely too small to accompany six adults and all of our luggage. I would like to mention the drive was an extremely uncomfortable 12 hours but we slept through most of it. 

We left Orlando 3 am and arrive at our Air B&B around 2:30 pm. We started our trip by exploring the around our new home for the week. Once we walked back to the Air B&B we all completely K.O. until dinner time. Our Air B&B was in a perfect location, we were able to walk everywhere and an Uber ride was never more than 15 minutes from our destination. For dinner, we walked to Parkway Bakery for a Shrimp Po'boy. 

The following morning we started the day with a yoga class at The Calbildo on Jackson Square.

yoga at the cabildo

We roamed around Jackson Square for while as we waited for out Uber to take us back to the Air B&B to get ready for breakfast. It was literally around 9:30am and the city was alive with live music, artists, performers, everyone was about their hustle. 

My cousin Shelby recommended The Ruby Slipper Cafe for breakfast, what happened to be a nearly a two-hour wait was worth it! Let me start by staying the food in New Orleans is absolutely hands-down the best food I ever had in my life (sorry Mom). The food was amazing!!!

There is so much to do in New Orleans, the culture and history are literally in your face. If you know me well, then you know I went to several museums. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana State Museum Cabildo and a few galleries I stumbled upon just roaming the city.  But I also wanted to include some adventure, I decided to go kayaking out in the St. John Bayou with my cousin, and it turned out to be one of the many highlights. The instructor was so nice and professional, he gave a mini how-to and safety guideline and within minutes we were in the water. 

Kayaking in New Orleans

Also, we couldn't leave without seeing our family friends that we see every year during Christmas in Orlando, so it was special to see them in their city and  spend the day with them. New Orleans isn't complete without a couple of nights spent on Bourbon Street. We bar hopped, clubbed hopped, sang karaoke, danced in the middle of the street and drank

Honestly, New Orleans is literally my favorite city. I am already planning my next trip. If you been to New Orleans before let me know your experience and some of your favorites spot in the comments.

The Silver Lining | Travel Destination, Jamaica

There is always sliver lining even in the gloomiest moments life can offer.  Early February, I went on a family trip to Jamaica. Which was long overdue since the last time I went to Jamaica, I was 13 or 14 years old, and at 26, my first time going back was for a funeral. 

Therefore my intention was set, to meet as much family as I can, take pictures with them, and get their contact information.  I didn't want for the next time we connect to be for another funeral arrangement.  So I did just that!

Though, not the ideal circumstance, it was the best one! For me, this trip was a celebration of life and a family reunion all in one.  I literally met family members for what felt like the first time because so much time had passed. 

During the funeral, I learned of a trait that me and late aunt shared, it was the passion to bring people together and sharing moments. As for me its always been capturing moments through my camera lense. 

I will admit, I have a very immature and inaccurate reality as it relates to death. I am not afraid of death and I am well aware that death is apart of life. But when it comes to family and close relatives it is hard for me to phantom their presence no longer existing. No more conversations and no more memories to be shared. Therefore, I made a promise to myself, to not let so much time pass until I connect with my family that live outside of U.S. and also to connect with my father side of the family. So I am proud to say I already have a second trip to Jamaica planned for the summer, and plans to hangout with my cousin (Father-side) when she visit Florida. 

This short trip reaffirmed the importance of family. Regardless of how often we communicate, the distance that seperate us, family is family and I am beyond blessed to have such a large family. 

Rest In Peace
Maxine "Ann" Graham 

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Triggers | Why You Aren't Accomplishing Your Goals & Ways to Get Better

Triggers by Goldsmith

We are almost into the third month of the New Year. Have you fallen off track already? If so, did you already give up on yourself? Do you believe you gave yourself a fair chance? 

I randomly picked up a book at my sister -in-law house called Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith, literally on the first of January.  Which is ironic because the book is about factors that debilitate us from making positives behaviors we seek to change in ourselves. The perfect book to read at the beginning of the New Year right? 

I wanted to touch on some of the take-aways in hopes that you can apply them to the goals you have set for yourself this year. 

Your Environment Will Not Cater to You!

Unfortunately, we do not have control over our environment as much as we may like to. Not to say that the Universe is actually out to get us, but rather the environment doesn't know your goals. The environment doesn't pick you out of the bunch and decides to cater to your needs, and your needs only.  Instead you have control over how to respond to your environment. 

We are Superior Planner and Inferior Doers

We tend to plan for the future with so much detail and precision yet not follow throught, even when the instructional manual is handed to us.  For example, losing weight and getting fit. We alrealdy know what to do, eat healthier and exercise. Simple! But yet we fall short and skip out on going to the gym, and choose to buy not-so healthy lunches even when we packed our lunch for the day.

Identify Your Triggers

Self-discipline refer to achieving desirable behaviors and self-control refers to avoiding undesirable behaviors.  We are good at making the nessecarry steps to achieve a goal, but it is hard not to submit to temptations. Learning your triggers will help you build your self-control.

You Need Rules

Quoted from the book, "We do not get better without structure." A major key to building structure is repetition.  Structure is helpfull because it limits your options so that you are not thrown off track. This is how we can take control of the otherwise uncontrollable environment. 

Overall, the book is great and it goes into details of strategies and reflections activities that you can use to fianlly make the postive changes to become the person you want to be. 

Let me know in the comments if you read this book and your thoughts about it. 

She's Gotta Have It | Nola Vs. Nola

 Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

So I finally finished watching Netflix's Series of "She Gotta Have It", well actually I finished it a while ago and decided to watch it again. If you haven't seen it I would recommend you indulge but only after you watch the original She Gotta Have It (1986).  

I watch the film a long time ago probably before I was of age to grasp the message but I've seen many times and it is one of my favorite Spike Lee movies.  I love that majority of the movie is in black and white except for Jamie's birthday gift to Nola which was the only scene in color.  I honestly don't think the movies would have registered the same way in full color. 

 Photo Courtesy Everett Collection

Photo Courtesy Everett Collection

I love the series thus far and I am thrilled it got picked up for a second season.  I enjoyed the musical scores and the placement of the album cover throughout. While it may be distracting to some, I was ecstatic to update my music library.  Also, I hollered in agreement with every anti-trump, anti-gentrification, anti-misogyny, feminist monologue, and dialogue. 

Given I had some exceptions when I heard that the movies would be turned into a series.   The only hard negative I have so far is that I wished they would have explored more into the realities of black polygamous relationships. Nola quotes "I am a sex-positive, polyamorous pansexual".  When I compare the original film and the series Nola (1986) didn't hide Jamie, Mars, and Grier from each other, they all knew they had a separate relationship with Nola and they stayed regardless of their destain for her choice. She was straightforward in her actions, firm and true to herself.

While Nola (2017) wasn't as forthcoming, yes she spoke boldly in her monologues, her actions did not portray the same message. She contradicted herself, a lot!  Each guy suspected Nola was dating other men, but she didn't confirm or denied instead she floated around and deflected with sugarcoated responses. Nola (2017) was avoiding commitment altogether. 

Nola (1986) and Nola (2017) are two different women in my opinion and it didn't sit well with me. But I get it, Nola 2017, is more relatable, maybe not in the sense of dating three men at the same time (for me at least) but a young black woman coming into her own and getting her shit together. Thanks to the series you can watch and learn from her trials and triumphs and find pieces of yourself in the modern version of Nola Darling as compared to Nola 1986 where there isn't much backstory so you are forced accept her as is. 

 Photo Courtesy Netflix 

Photo Courtesy Netflix 

Just like any book turned movie scenes will be missing an or not fully captured. But I get that also, you gotta stretch it out and create a storyline for seasons to come.  But I question if the rape scene with Jamie and Nola(1986) was completely replaced by the sexual assault scene in the series.  Regardless it serves itself as a catalyst into the important topic of sexual assault/harassment. Maybe the writers decided the rape scene would be insensitive and gory and played it safe, maybe they are saving it. What do I know? I'm anticipating the turn of events that will take place next season. Will Nola ditch all three men, and date Opal? Will new suitors come into her life? Or will we get more of the same run around between Jamie, Grier, and Mars. 

Overall, the show is great in my opinion and I will probably watch it again for the third time. I would like to share two articles, one an interview with Spike Lee about the creation of the series and an academic article I randomly found.

Let me know your thought on the series or the original film in the comments. Also, what are you watching on Netflix currently?

 

Vulture - Spike Lee on She's Gotta Have It (Interview)

Happy Birthday Nola Essay Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Spike Lee's She Gotta Have It.

Foote, Thelma Wills. “Happy Birthday, Nola Darling! An Essay Commemorating the Twentieth Anniversary of Spike Lee's ‘She's Gotta Have It.’” Women's Studies Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 1/2, 2007, pp. 212–233. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27649662.