achievements, activities, beauty, beauty products, Fashion, hair products, haircare, home, recycled fashion, self-care, upcycled, vintage

The Hours

As a lifelong introvert, I’m no stranger to staying in while the sun is shining and everyone else is off having fun. Ever since I was a kid, staying in was my favorite option. I was the weirdo that had to be forced outside and had no one to play with when I got there. I read book after book, fought with my brothers and thought up crazy ideas for what I would be when I grew up. None of which involved being (self) quarantined because of a global pandemic. This current time period is straight from a scifi movie.

I’ve only been in here for 8 days, so far. On April 1st I find out if anything is happening with my job, so for all intents and purposes I have nowhere to be until April 2nd. So what am I up to? Am I stir crazy? Lonely? Panting to leave? No! I’m busy. Busy af. Here’s why:

1.My mommy:

Just before I went in for the long haul, I had a long talk with my Mommy. We haven’t spoken in a few years because I remembered some things and I felt justified in withholding love and attention from her. I’m an adult and she can’t make me do anything. Enter coronavirus and I realized that whatever happened, happened. That’s all. It was just stuff that happened a long time ago and I have to let that go. The first thing I did as I was prepping for quarantine was run up and down Utica Avenue putting a box of wigs, haircare products and a big African gown for Easter. That’s how I love people, I shop for them.

This stuff is for her next box, an early Mother’s Day present. Kmart on 34th Street was closing and I started slowly looking through the place, extracting style gold for my Mommy. I didn’t get shoes, because I was trying to do a surprise and my brothers didn’t text me back when I asked for the shoe size. I figured two full outfits, plus a nice housecoat (the blue and green folded item), and I got her a long slip because her generation wore them. Florals are cheery and colorful, so I know she’ll smile when she wears these tops. The bottoms are stretchy, for her comfort. Plus a book of bible verses, because she not only believes in God, but she prays for me. I figure this will help her pick topics to focus on.

I ran all over the place looking for someone to love me, and all I needed to do was love my mom and let her love me back. It’s so peaceful.

2. My laundry:

I had laundry piled up before quarantine happened, but things have entered a critical area. No undies and no inclination to wash them myself. Also some thrifted items that I was supposed to send out so that I could post them. And my favorite socks were dirty. And my workout clothes need cleaning. And I want to have all of my sheets available. LUCKILY the laundry service is considered essential (think hospitals and nursing homes, not just for people too lazy to use the laundromat in the building like me) but now they’re only picking up at night. I got half the laundry out, with the next load ready for next week.

So now I can clean the bathroom and decide if I’m finally going to finish that storage table I made and then left unfinished.

3. Selfcare:

I decided to branch out and try a new natural haircare provider and I found Fro.ology on Etsy. She had all the products I had grown to love, with improvements. I got the Hair Tea Rinse, $12, which has lavender, peppermint, and chamomile to soothe and nurture the scalp and encourage growth. The Onion and Garlic Hair Oil, $10, is an anti-microbial (kills the fungus that causes danduff) with vitamin c, infused with hibiscus, rosemary and lavender. I used this as soon as I got it because my scalp was so dry and it works wonders. I also ordered the Super Thick Deep Conditioner, $10, which contains aloe vera, rose water and rice protein. It is indeed thick, and super moisturizing. I used it this afternoon and after leaving it on for an hour (I got busy and forgot about it) I rinsed with cold water as directed, patted dry and had the curl definition promised.

And did I mention that Gianni, the business owner, included a full shower cap and tea infuser? I really appreciated that touch. The products are great, the shipping is fairly quick (about 5 days as she makes the products to order), and I’m definitely sticking with this brand for the long haul. Make sure you check out Fro.ology on instagram, too.

The night before I had to come in the house I raided Target’s beauty aisles and ordering products online because boredom is real. I have also been lagging behind on my total body selfcare. I have been running and running for 3 years, swinging from job to job before finally ending up where I wanted to be as a Visual Merchandiser. I’m getting better at merchandising, and getting bigger assignments. But I was tired from all the crappy jobs that made me feel like a cog in the wheel. I figured this quarantine isn’t just about the corona virus, it’s about me.

I barely ever have time to do my nails. I bought a tube of depilatory and it’s still sitting in the bathroom. I NEED to take care of myself to feel good about me. After 8 days, I am starting to shed the stressful, pinched feeling that I’ve been carrying and starting to forgive myself for mistakes and starting to feel good about whatever future is going to be there for me. This is the first time in three years that I can stay home and not be afraid of losing my job or not being able to pay rent. I know it was caused by something bad, I do feel for the people that are sick and dying. But it also reminds me to LIVE.

Last but not least, I’m going to the post office on April 1st, and I’d love to be able to mail out some new, used , vintage or upcycled items for you guys to flex in. I’m having a yellow tag sale on selected items and bundles. Go to http://www.depop.com/sebmarket and get 25% off on yellow tag items, and if you do a bundle of 3 or more items, you get 25% off as well as free shipping. If you’re on the app, I’m @sebmarket.

How are you dealing with self-quarantine? Are you even in the house? If not, please remember masks, hand sanitizer, handwashing and staying 6 feet away from others to help flatten the curve. I know it all seems scary, but you can only control yourself. Do the right thing, and try to help others if you can

Until next time,

Faith/SEB Market BK

Accessories, achievements, activities, adventures, Fashion, food, lifestyle, Photography

The Week of Corona

It has been a wild week, to be sure. I think we all know what I mean. EVERYTHING is different.

And maybe that needed to happen.

So the corona virus has rolled across the world and in addition to the possibility of sickness and death, you have the choice of going broke if things don’t get back to normal. I started a Roth IRA 7 years ago and it’s only in the last few years that I could make regular contributions. I’m watching that progress melt away second by second, which is both frightening and exciting. I never had money to lose before, so I’m kind of winning. I also read a book called Depression Era Economics by Paul Krugman and it’s keeping me calm to know that if you just wait, the market will regenerate itself. If people are selling and selling, someone is sitting around waiting for the prices to drop low enough and then it will be buy, buy, buy.

If things work out ok. Which they will.

Here in New York it’s like this:

Normally, you can’t shoot a train platform without a few people messing up your photo, but not so much now. It is not as much of a problem getting a seat on the train, and nobody pushes right up next to you. Part of that is that people are biking or uber pooling, and the other part is that businesses are slowly shutting down, so there’s not as much reason to go out. I just got told that the rest of my gigs for March are cancelled since department store shopping is considered nonessential. You can get restaurant delivery or shop online, though.

One thing that fell by the wayside was my styling class at Fashion Institute of Technology. I had signed up for a visual merchandising class where I would learn to build sets and style photoshoots (yeah, I was a photographer and did branch out into styling but that was ages ago). I really wanted to brush up my skills, work on updating my portfolio, maybe style on the side, and definitely try to get more visual merchandising jobs. But corona happened.

It threw the school into a tizzy about a month in. My class was very hands on, and all about group projects and suddenly they were like, all classes are online. I thought about it and decided not to continue because worrying about my economic survival is not good for my creative process. Guess what? Can’t get a refund. You either take the online class or die. So the photo above and one lecture just cost me $600.

At least I can write it off on my taxes.

I just got a Target Red Card, so just in time I had a large amount of money for emergency food shopping. I also shopped at Jacks and Dollar Tree. I got yogurt, fresh berries and fruit and as late as Thursday night Target was still stocked up. The Key Food near my place was completely out of toilet paper, but I got a few rolls at Dollar Tree. I usually stock up, because a grownup should know when they’re almost out, but I was down to my last five rolls and I started reading about how people were stockpiling. I also have napkins and paper towels, but still.

When I finally got to settle in and self quarantine, I roasted some pork belly chunks (super cheap) and had them with rice (put the rest in the fridge for another meal) and a spoonful of black beans from the massive can I bought. I live alone, so my food will last for awhile, but I’m already telling myself not to get crazy and overeat. The first uncertain days had me binge eating, but now, since I don’t know how long this will last, I’m sticking to four meals and rationed healthy snacking. I found some empty plastic bottles that I’d been saving for no reason, so I filled those with water and they’re in the freezer.

I’m not a survivalist, so I’m really just trying to catch up on my grocery shopping, which has been erratic for months since I went from unemployed, to javascript student, to employed, to double employed. I’m sorry that it took a pandemic to get me the time I needed to stop doing everything and figure out my life.

I had a gig at Home Depot merchandising for Carhartt, and I bought myself a money plant and a new succulent baby. It’s wild, but I’ve been collecting crystals and buying candles and oils and sage, and setting intentions for the last few months so now my apartment is a nicer place to be. I have a salt lamp going and stocked upon the little bulbs that make it glow. I got the cutest little clock. It’s been months since I could just sit in here and relax, and now I have things in here that are conducive to relaxation. I can see that progress that I’ve made and it’s calming me down. I feel really grateful that I have a place to live at a time like this.

I’m also going to have time to thoroughly clean this place and really get into the feng shui method that I started with and then ran out of energy to complete. I got Feng Shui for Dummies to start with, and now I can look at creating a floor plan and budget for remedies.

And I’ve been talking to my family. I started a group chat with my brothers. We don’t talk all day, but having this conversation on my phone to look at and engage with is amazing after years of estrangement. Talking to my mom is really precious now. All it took was the threat of human extinction to make me see that.

Last but not least, the pins I designed came in and I’m a little excited! Things got backed up because of the virus, so I don’t have them listed anywhere yet and I need to stay in the house so I can’t really be worried about selling them. BUT! It’s exciting to have made something from scratch like this. I really love this image, though. I think I want to make more things out of it, including tshirts. My online stores are closed right now while I figure out what I want to do, but this image will be a big thing in the coming months.

How are you holding up? Are you remembering to wash your hands and not touch your face? Are you making sure to stay in contact with people? Have you made plans for the what ifs of the situation? Did you get some toilet paper?

Stay safe, be well and I’ll see you next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

activities, adornment, diy, ecofashion, Fashion, recycled fashion, sewing

The Sewing Class

I was looking through some pieces that I upcycled and realized that I needed to add a new creative element to what I was doing. I’ve sold a few pieces, and I’m still looking at how to improve and enhance things that haven’t sold yet. I’ve been cutting stuff, and using patches and glue to remake things, but back in December I saw an instagram ad for Make Workshop‘s Sashiko and Visible Mending workshop and I pounced. Couldn’t get into a class until February, but pouncing did indeed occur.

February 22nd came and I jumped out of bed and hustled myself to class. Taught by Jessica Marquez, author of Make + Mend, the class is about using Sashiko embroidery to embellish and strengthen your items. Instead of throwing something away, you can use visible mending to patch it artistically. Instead of hiding the stitches, they become part of the piece. I had seen the book and was dying to learn how to recreate the cool patterns and patchwork techniques. The class is very hands-on, so you end up sewing right away. I had forgotten to bring a project, so I cut the pocket of my Levi’s jacket and used a piece of cloth to create a contrasting patch.

While we were working, a former student came in and we all got a good look at how Sashiko can be used to stunning effect. This woman had upgraded a pair of jeans to runway ready masterpiece using printed cloth collaged with exposed mending stitches. It was electrifying to see someone with a finished piece on, and she seemed really happy with her work. I tried to zoom in so you can see how the stitch patterns become one with the textures, colors and patterns of the patches.

The finished pocket. Jessica had us trace lines in the cloth to stitch on, you can see them under the thread.

Finishing a project in class empowered me to buy the book and use the stitching to finally finish a big, thrifted scarf that I was upcycling. I had painted it, but couldn’t go beyond that. As soon as I got home from Make Workshop, I pulled out the scarf and I could see how the stitching would transform it. I was shaky on how to space out the stitches since I just learned how to do Sashiko, so I bought a cheap graph paper notebook, drew the stitch pattern on it, and have been sewing through it then ripping the paper off.

The fabric is very soft, so the stitches get a little messed up, and yesterday I actually had to pull the needle back through the cloth because I had made a wild stitch in the wrong place, so it’s a process. But I’m loving how this is developing and I want to do a patchwork panel on it before I’m through. There’s a place called FabScrap that re-purposes garment district scrap into sewing supplies for crafters. You can order online or shop in person (check their website first, though. Currently they are closed until March 30th because of Coronavirus).

I’ve been staying in my apartment thanks to Covid-19, but I got stir crazy yesterday and went over to the Japan Society to see the Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics exhibit. I have been putting this off or too busy, and when the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced a shutdown, I decided I better run over quick. It’s also just one train all the way there, which minimized exposure to Coronavirus from changing trains and walking through multiple stations or standing on multiple platforms. It may not be foolproof, but that was my strategy. I needed a blast of inspiration to sustain me just in case this quarantine thing gets more serious.

Because Japanese fashion is so deified, I wasn’t prepared to be looking at rags. The fact is that boro is all about making do with what you have, and trying to literally stitch together bits and pieces of nothing to try and stay warm. It looks cool now, but the inspiration is poverty and survival. The program describes clothing as a ‘precious resource’, so these garments may have been mended and patched for generations of a family to wear.

The galleries are very quiet and it’s kind of eerie walking through the dimly lit rooms looking at the items lit from within. However, it’s a closeup look at the layers and layers of fabric, and the stitching. Since we live in a world where people have so much that they can throw away clothing and shoes that are barely worn, this made me take my upcycling and recycled fashion business even more seriously. While there’s not as crucial of a need to do patchwork or mend things right now, I want to be able to fuse this deeply held tradition of clothing conservation into my own practice of helping pre-owned items find new owners.

I you’re interested in taking classes in New York, you can sign up at Make Workshop. Instructor Jessica Marquez also tours, so you can hit up her site Miniature Rhino to purchase books or see if she’s teaching near you.

Until next time, wash your hands and stay safe!

Faith/SEBMarketBK

Fashion, self confidence, self-care, sex, skincare

The Yoni Thing

So since I can’t deal with skiing, I had to find another outlet. Apparently the yoni (or vagina as most of us call it) has become a hot area so I thought that might be a thing. Having spent most of my life in a sort of utilitarian mode regarding that area, it came as a shock to find that it had been rebranded and now I have to buy special products for it and possibly steam it. Who knew that a washcloth and soap had been replaced by bowls of boiling water infused with herbs that you squat over, risking life, limb and scalded yoni.

Hm. Ok. Here’s what happened…

I was buying my third (and not last, never last) tub of Even Skin Hyper Pgmentation Moisturizer, $15.99, which features fragrant lemon oil and skin beautifying turmeric for glowing smooth skin. Just before I checked out, I saw the yoni products and decided to jump off the cliff. I wasn’t ready for steaming and all that, so I chose the Gentle Herbal Yoni Wash, $13.99. It’s a lovely foam with castile soap, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, and chamomile among other things.

So now I’ve put myself out there and I have this one lonely yoni product and I’m thinking ‘she deserves more’. I’ve just started selling my upcycled designs on Aliwazas (a platform that supports black female + femme businesses because we don’t always get seen or recognized on other crowded sites) and I decided to buy something so that I could see what the purchasing experience was. I saw an instagram post about Honey Milk and liked their backstory, so I dropped by their shop .

I got the I Am Happy lemongrass bodywash, $8.49 because I love citrus-y bath products. And I sprang for the Yummy Yoni Nectar, $6.49 which is a mix of oils infused with calendula and cornflower petals. You’re supposed to massage your yoni once a week, using the nectar to encourage circulation and natural lubrication.

So now I’mpaying all this attention to my yoni and she’s like ‘more’. So I gave her this:

My first vibrator ever. At this point of dealing with my yoni, I came to understand that she’s sick of the nonsense that I’ve been putting her through by dating people who don’t care about her. This is real. It’s not like words came out of my vagina or anything, I just started understanding that I’ve been wasting my natural resource and not honoring the fact that understanding how to pleasure myself sets me free of romantic delusion and unrealistic expectations. I just never thought of dedicating time and effort into figuring out what me and my yoni needed to be happy and successful.

Lifechanging. My attitude towards myself is totally different.

So now we’re here:

Valentine’s Day came and instead of feeling sorry for myself or desperate, I felt lucky. Lucky to be alive and well and falling in love with myself. Tapping into the whys and wherefores of this person. I was at Bloomingdale’s and this guy was selling this most delicious smelling fragrance and I thought ‘she deserves it’. So now we wear Tiffany & love eau de parfume, $105 because it’s who we are. Yesterday I spent all day choosing the perfect bouquet because… just because. When I opened my eyes this morning they were there, and when I drew up the shade they were illuminated by the morning light and the pleasure of this is so intense it’s beyond words. And I deserve this beauty and the pleasure that comes from witnessing it.

When it was just my vagina, I didn’t think it was special because and I didn’t think that I was special. But now that I have a yoni to care for and honor, I’m a new person. I’m a better, wiser, happier, more productive and less inhibited person looking to grow and manifest blessings for myself and others. Still petty, still irascible and sometimes downright annoying, but better.

How have you honored your divine self lately?What have you done to remind yourself that life is beautiful? Are you living your best self love journey right now?

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

lifestyle, Travel

The Ski Trip

Last January I went on a ski trip to Vermont. I’ve never been skiing in my life. I really just wanted to know once and for all what people do in these lodges. What even is skiing? Is it fun and can I actually do it? This was the first time in years that I had a clump of disposable income, so I signed up for a group trip, bought goggles, snow pants and gloves, and took off for a powdery weekend.

We left the snow free streets of Manhattan and rolled into -35 degree weather and snowdrifts as high as your hips. It was colder than Chicago, where I remember slowly becoming acclimated to freezing cold weather over the course of the 8 years that I spent there. This was a whole new ballgame. I became very grateful for the big gloves that I bought online from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

I have never seen so much snow in my life.

I spent the weekend realizing that I don’t like skiing. I took a lesson, and there was a point where it was starting to click. I managed to ski down a hill with my classmates and even executed what felt like a graceful turn around a corner. But the experience was nerve wracking for me. I went on a ski lift for the first and last time, hating the fact that I was on a little seat dangling in the breeze with nothing holding me in. Then you have to steel your nerves when you jump off at the end.

A guy in my group tried to help me, but tbh, I really just wanted to stop before I broke something. The final straw was getting a good speed going then panicking because kids were skiing in front of me, falling down, but landing in such a way that my feet remained clipped to my skis as I slid down a mountain on my back getting snow up my nose.

The next day I went souvenir shopping.I was not about to risk dying just because sliding down a hill in an inner tube sounds fun. And I wasn’t going snowshoeing, either. The whole adventure was kind of fizzling out simply because I realized pretty quickly that this type of thing is better if you’ve been raised doing it, so that you feel excited about hitting the slopes rather than annoyed and frightened.

The takeaway is that I went somewhere new and tried something that I had no familiarity with. I finally learned how it feels to ski, and now I know that those ski boots make you feel like a transformer. I know what it feels like to take the Moover by myself into town because I was the only black woman in the group and I didn’t really click with the other women. I know what it’s like to possibly be the only black woman on a bigass hill surrounded by mostly white people zipping around with sticks on their feet. A different person might have thrown themselves in and made friends, but then this would be a post about the friends I met while skiing.

Was it horrible? No! I definitely got my money’s worth. Tons of snow, I went through the whole ski boot fitting and ski renting procedure, and now my jacket has a crumpled ski lift ticket dangling from it. I tromped around in the freezing cold and didn’t die. And I have officially been to Vermont.

Winning.

The snow was beautiful, the hotel was snug and perfectly New England in decor. I still carry the moose keychain around every day. I brought back maple candy for all of my co-workers. After this I did my visual merchandising class, my javascript class and my fashion internship. It was the first step on a path towards a more enlightened adulthood. I might try crosscountry skiing next, though. No hills and a clear objective may be better for me, and I’ll get to wear my snowpants.

2020 is coming in a few hours, and I’m mostly satisfied with how the year went, even though it took a sudden hard turn in the middle. I am not living the same life that I was when I went on this trip. I think I had some growth and got some clarity, but I still have a list of things that I want to learn and do. Right now I’m chilling at home with some candles,thinking about my goals and intentions for the year and being grateful that everything ended up ok.

Here’s to a happy and healthy new year to anyone reading this.Take good care of yourself and do everything you can to make good decisions in the coming months. Make realistic resolutions, and be flexible about them.

Good luck!

SEBMarketBK/Faith

achievements, activities, Fashion, fashion photo, lifestyle, photo industry, Photography

The Breaks

I have not had one minute to spare the last few weeks. It’s super easy to get jobs in New York right now, and I managed to go from my fashion internship, to a temporary summer job to a regular (part-time) job and a freelance job doing visual merchandising and events. So for the first time in my adult life, I have two jobs.

I’m still shocked.

Over the course of the last month I got to use what I learned from umpteen retail jobs, visual merchandising class and my brief showroom experience to merchandise and dress mannequins. The best part is that I have already made back the money that I spent on the class.The worst part is knowing that I could have been doing this all along, if I hadn’t been so obsessed with making it as a photographer. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and caused myself a lot of suffering and unhappiness when I could have been working, building up my savings, gaining experience and making friends. And then I could still have branched out into styling and then photography.

Hindsight is a bitch.

The funny thing is that when I first set out to go to college, I did want to do visual merchandising and this or that happened and I got sidetracked and then jumped into photography. Had I known how sexist and racist that industry was, I would have saved my efforts and put them into something that would have benefited me a lot more. My life would have been completely different. I bet my student loans would be paid off, too.

It’s done now, but let that be a lesson to you.

Until next time,

Faith/SEB Market BK

Fashion, ootd, personal style, recycled fashion, streetstyle, Style, stylist, vintage

The Kenar Skirt

Back in the 90s, one of the biggest brands in women’s fashion was Kenar. I hadn’t thought about the label in years…and then I found this amazing skirt.

Grey tweed pleated skirt with lace detail, $80

I am a sucker for pleated skirts and this was a particularly lovely specimen. Sharp, classic pleats are softened by a band of lace near the hem, underlined by a silky length of ribbon a few inches under it. The hem itself is edged in lace, like the edge of a slip showing. It brings that era’s obsession with lingerie as outerwear into a more respectable item and sexes it up.

The skirt is fully lined, with a soft polyester lining. I remember seeing ads for the brand and wishing that I could afford their pieces, which were the height of sophistication to me then. I had no clue that while I was salivating over their perfect tailoring and rich fabrics, they were going out of business.

Apparently, they had a lot of financial trouble, and after overspending to pay model Linda Evangelista to star in their ads, they abruptly went bankrupt in 1998. Kind of like the recent Barney’s debacle, they were operating at a loss to promote the high fashion lifestyle.

You can still buy copies of the ads on ebay, though. So there’s that.

While you can easily take this in a corporate, grown up direction with a matching blazer, and crisply ironed white shirt, I felt like this skirt had more range. For the first photo, I teamed it with an Old Navy sweatshirt, Forever 21 men’s camo jacket with hood, and Henry Ferrera rain boots. A sweet red mini Erin Dana backpack with chained straps adds color and wit.

A super casual approach involved a tie-dyed Champion t-shirt with embroidered patch and Blackstone leather hi tops. Keep it classically edgy with an upcycled SEB Market BK denim jacket and short sleeved blouse, with spiked Steve Madden stillettos. Sexy librarian, rebellious punk rocker, preppy socialite, fashion savvy businesswoman all in one perfectly preserved pleated skirt from the 90s.

How would you wear it?

See you next time!

Faith/SEB Market BK

Shop the blog:

Vintage Kenar pleated skirt, size 10

90s luxury brand Kenar skirt. Classic knife pleated skirt with lace trim and high waist. Slip lining, hem is reinforced with grosgrain ribbon. Beautiful piece in like new condition. Polyester/acrylic/wool. Lining is 100% polyester. Measures 23 inches from waist to hem. 17 inches across the waist. 21.5 inches across the hips. 28 inches across the hem. *US shipping included in price.

$80.00

BLACK afro photo tshirt, black, S-XL

Black, 100% cotton Guildan tshirt printed with an original image created by SEB Market BK (Faith Bowman) in 2019. Each t-shirt will be numbered and signed in gold. *US shipping included.

$50.00

BLACK afro photo tshirt, white, S-XL

White, 100% cotton Guildan tshirt printed with an original image created by SEB Market BK (Faith Bowman) in 2019. Each t-shirt will be numbered and signed in gold. *US shipping included.

$50.00