I spent this week feeling more and more awake and in charge of myself. Made sure to do the grocery shopping, made sure to get up and tend to my online shops and social media. Made sure to get to the one day of work I had scheduled this week and be on time. Paid bills, and laid the groundwork for whatever is on the other side of the current situation. Made sure to talk to my mommy on Fridays, the routine that I committed to back in March.
Exercise is spotty, but I’m doing it. Along with trimming my cuticles and washing the dishes. I made a rule that there is no drinking before Friday afternoon and after Sunday evening. I’m remembering how fun cooking is and enjoying creating good food and enjoying the weekly trip to the store. I’m enjoying watering my plants and decorating my apartment. I’m enjoying the way I feel when I come through the door and realize that this is all mine, my space to change as I please.
I’m enjoying remembering, even when the memories hurt or make me ashamed of my words or actions. I lived a life, I did some things. I enjoy knowing that I was there and am now here. I am living. I am breathing and seeing and hearing and tasting and smelling and touching, using everything that’s been given to me and grateful to have a self to be. There’s death all over the place and I am alive and healthy and I can finally appreciate that without inflicting fake judgements on myself.
I was on the fence about trying to design fashion masks, but recently I decided that if we really have to wear these (permanently?) for awhile, they’re a fashion item as well as a ppe.
Cloth face masks made from 100% polyester. Each mask includes two woven, elastic loops for a one-size-fits-all fit. All feature my origin artwork printed on them.
IMPORTANT! – This is NOT a surgical grade mask. It is not intended for any medical or commercial uses, whatsoever. It is a simple, cloth mask designed for everyday use to cover your nose and mouth when out in public. The mask should not be used in any medical or surgical setting.
One thing I miss about my old creative life was discovering new talent to showcase. I’ve been in the house looking through images and thinking about how much I miss working with other creatives on fashion shoots. Building ideas, pulling looks, finding models is all really exciting and fun. Obviously right now is not the time to be doing that? But a funny opportunity came up and…
I had a shoot! Kind of.
I’ve been following this awesome stylist named Chi Ilochi (@igbohippie) because I love the colorful backdrops she poses against wearing outfits that exemplify thrift store chic. I’ve been dying to work with stylists and cos time designers so I took a chance and I asked her if she would be interested in styling with some vintage pieces from my etsy shop. After looking through everything, she settled on a 40s theme representing the more formal way that black women dressed during that era. She chose a pair of vintage 90s silk pants by Valerie Stevens, so of course I sent all of this:
Because I am what’s known as extra. I felt like these pieces together would be a good jumping off point for her idea. The rabbit fur jacket from 90s label Absolue Paris has a real 40s feel, and I think this type of plaid blouse would have been popular then. The blouse and the Anne Klein woven paper bag were pieces that I bought for inventory recently and hadn’t listed yet. I was really curious to see what Chi would do with this box of vintage slayage.
Here’s what happened:
She was also kind enough to answer a few questions about her burgeoning career, how she scouts locations, and ways to stay stylish on those zoom meetings. Get into it!
I love how you bring the color and flavor of Pittsburgh into your styling. How do you find these amazing backdrops?
Thank you so very much, that truly means a lot! It’s funny you ask, a lot of my inspiration for backdrops, various locations is inspired by Brooklyn and its murals and black artists. Oftentimes I find backdrops by accident, or I see something bright and bold while out and take a mental note that I’ll shoot there. I can honestly say it’s rarely planned but it’s always destined.
I read in an interview that you felt like an outcast growing up. Now that your fashion career is taking off, do you feel that your individualistic outlook is paying off?
Absolutely! I’m a firm believer that any and everything we experience in this life is for a reason. And that reason may be to help ourselves as we grow, or help someone else from experience who may have experienced something similar. It’s safe to say that those feelings I felt during adolescence became the core of the inspiration for my style. Of course I didn’t know that at the time, but I see now that it was confirmation and there was a divine plan and purpose set in place for what I felt and experienced. I must say the thought of “my fashion career taking off” makes me very nervous but I’ll just buckle up for the ride!
Do you feel pressure to sexualize your look or to conform to the current exaggerated body proportions that we’re seeing on social media and entertainment?
Wow. Great question! Now that I think about it I’ve never felt any pressure to conform to the current exaggerated body proportions that we see today. I never let the pressure of the world take me out of my element. The world wants we black women to do that in literally every single aspect of our lives. I always have to remain true to myself above all else. If I want to serve a sexy, chic, casual, streetwear look I will, it all depends on how I feel and the kind of piece I’m styling.
Thank you! Fashion Bomb Daily nominated me for it after they highlighted me as “Bombshell of the Day”. I wasn’t expecting that at all! To be Bombshell of the Day was an honor considering the fact that it’s been a goal of mine since 2017. I figured why not go for “Bombshell of the Week”! Winning doesn’t take anything away from me or anyone else, and losing doesn’t make me less than. It was truly an honor all around I still can’t believe it!
How do you deal with quarantine stress and do you have any wfh/homeschooling styling tips to help our readers prep for those zoom sessions?
I’ve been handling it well I must say! I believe at some point humans need to be around other humans no matter how strong you are mentally. We thrive off of it. I’ve dealt with my stress and anxiety through prayer, reading, positive affirmations, walks, working out.
I recommend stylists listen to Brittany Diego’s Podcast “The Fashion School Dropout”, it’s AMAZING and very inspirational and informative. I also recommend stylists try virtual styling, virtual styling sessions, consultations, studying their field of styling, creating vision boards of what they want, who they want to work with, and how they envision themselves after this quarantine is over. It’s transformative and it works!
I’ve been up in the house devouring entertainment content for the last six weeks and decided that now is a great time to share what’s been streaming around here. When all of this started I wanted to avoid doing this type of thing because I kept thinking, ‘well, it won’t be much longer. It’s been 43 days. And it may be another two to four weeks, at least in New York. You guys out in the sunshiney states are prob already out.
This week, I’m going to drop a list of stuff that I watched that I think you may enjoy. Pitter patter… let’s get at ‘er!
Parasite Hulu was so proud that they got this Oscar winner first that I felt obliged to try and watch it. After awhile the subtitles won’t bother you, but the social inequality depicted might cause some discomfort. Also, I will never, no matter how much money I have, hire a live in servant.
A Fall From Grace (netflix) I am not a Tyler Perry fan. I have tried and tried, but I keep trying. This is the first thing that he directed that I not only sat through, but couldn’t turn off. The story just blew me away, and I loved the young defendeer trying to save her client. I was all by myself talking to the screen like, NO!!! Get him! So watch this, it’s really good. Then have a whole zoom or slack group chat.
It Comes at Night (netflix) One of those thoughtful and twisty horror movies that makes you wonder about everything.
Pooka (hulu) I have avoided thismovie for a long time because it looked silly. It was really good.I got real shivers from it. Don’t watch the sequel, because that one is nothing like this one. Or do, it’s kind of Black Mirroresque.
Dolemite is My Name (netflix) I cried at the end. I was heavily invested in these characters.
Gigi (rental) I just finished reading a book about Cecil Beaton and he talks about the experience of art directing Gigi and I had to watch it. Visually, it is lush, vibrant and delightful. It’s a weird subject these days, but it’s if you put aside the questionable ethics, it’s a great looking film.
I got into Silicon Valley (but dropped out at Season 5), Community, Archer, The Orville (used it as background noise for a few days then bailed), and caught on The Crown (netflix) with season 3. I fell in love with Letterkenny and the Cleveland Show (both Hulu).
I’m waiting for Insecure to finish it’s season before signing up for HBO. I need to binge that show, not wait week after week. That way the short episodes aren’t so painful.
An awesome docuseries was the one about how different brands came into being. Like Birdseye frozen foods and Heinz ketchup. I’m sure they took some liberties, but how wild is it that the creator of Coca Cola was a drug addict and that it originally had cocaine as an ingredient? The Food That Built America is streaming on Hulu.
Tiger King is hot garbage. That Joe Exotic needed to stop harassing Carole Baskin. That’s why he lost all his money. I said what I said.
That’s pretty much it. I did some shopping and stuff, but I also paid down my credit cards and put money in savings and my retirement account. I paid my rent and my student loan bill, even though technically I could let it slide. It’s just not the time to be irresponsible with money. Once this is over, there may have to be some belt tightening, so I’m starting now.
How are you holding up? Are you bingeing shows? What’s your favorite? It better not be Tiger King.
When all of this started back in late February/early March, I was on a diet. I had actually lost six pounds by the time quarantine and social distancing started for real. I wasn’t eating as much and always had somewhere to be or some errand to run, and sitting down to meals wasn’t a priority.
Now all I do is sit down to meals.
I’m not even going to lie and say I just eat healthy or that dieting is still going on. I try to be mindful, but some days I break down and order a burger. Last week I couldn’t take any more and ordered a pizza. I also went to McDonald’s after a post office run. I order ice cream online… a habit that could get very expensive if I don’t watch it. Today I went to the store with a grocery list, exceeded my budget, then came home and ordered snacks from Target.
It’s… I can’t even condemn myself. I am in the house on my own, my freelance jobs have been scrubbed for April and May and while I try to stay positive I have moments where eating something just makes me feel better. Even though my new nickname for myself is Fatniss Everdeen. How can I complain about getting fat when people are dropping dead outside.
Literally outside, though. I live around the corner from a hospital. I don’t even walk past it, I go in a whole other direction just in case.
I was going to do a cooking thing, like a recipe with steps and stuff, but… I’m pretty sure you guys know you’re food situation better than I do and there are cooking tutorials all over the internet. I’m just gonna leave these food pics and if they inspire you to do something, that’s cool.
I hope things are going well for you and that you’re taking care of yourself. I hope you’re having some good moments and making the best out of this whole thing. I don’t know you, but I’m rooting for you.
Going on 30 days of self quarantine and social distancing and the deliveries I get in the mail are a lifeline to a world where a stroll through the aisles of Target or The Container Store was something to take for granted. I know that I could get on the train and go right now, but…why take chances. Right? So for the past four weeks I’ve been shopping to fill in the holes and entertain myself. And support the economy and small business, too.
I was up late one night and ordered two things: a jar of this delicious smelling coppertone glow body highlighter, $25 from Agrestal Beauty and a wig from Hairbird. The highlighter was exactly what I ordered and the wig… It dosn’t look like what I ordered. I’m not gonna lie, I would not have ordered this style. But it was cheap and I had fun wearing it on my birthday. If you like living dangerously you can try ordering from them.
Herbs and Jewelry:
Staying inside seems ideal at first and then becomes a low key freakout that can blossom into a breakdown if you’re not careful. So herbal teas and cbd can be lifesavers. I ordered four sample packets from August Uncommon, and a raspberry leaf and chasteberry tisane from Herb n Sol that promotes women’s health. I made my second order from Ruby’s Happy Farm for hemp pre-rolls. I’m still stressed, but knowing that I can smoke or sip a hot cup of delicious tea makes me feel like I have control.
These delectable chocolate macaroons floated up on my insta tl and I was instantly purchasing. Michelle’s Maccs combines velvety dark,milk or light chocolate with a perfect coconut filling that has a crisp snap and crunch in every bite. You can order individual flavors, or build a cusomized dozen, $28. I devoured the entire dozen within hours, even though I promised myself that I’d try to make them last. The dark chocolate covered salted caramel maccs, $10 for four, are INSANE with red wine. This is the only chocolate snack I crave right now.
It took 20 days, but eventually I gave in to my finer instincts and ordered wine from local liquorteria D.Vino. This is my first box of wine, which I found out actually contains four bottles. I am not sure why I never invested in one of these. The funny thing about this place is that they are very close to a train station and bus stop that I was using to get to and from work. They are across the street from a supermarket and up the block from a McDonald’s (big macs are AMAZING with pinot noir, I swear to you) so every so often I would buy a bottle of wine from them before hopping on the bus home.
I found out about Jeni’s ice cream from a product roundup in Bon Apetit magazine, but it took a quarantine to remind me to try them. It was the middle of the night, I wanted ice cream and their website is a clean, well lit place for treats. You have to buy at least four pints for a delivery, which I thought was going to last for awhile. I gave away one pint, but that was before I tasted anything and I will never do that again.
I just ordered more and it is all for me. I can’t wait to see that big orange box. It’s pricey at $12 a pint, but my sanity and comfort is worth it. The salty caramel will make you cry a little. The brown butter almond brittle is worth doing extra workouts for. If you’re scared to gain weight then just go to the website and look at the pictures.
Hope you’re holding up! What’s getting you through quarantine? Do you have a standing order from a local restaurant or are you hunkered down with a cabinet stuffed with cookies or hot chocolate? Support small and local business! Don’t forget the cardio!
Not so much a party as a solitary day doing nothing but caring for myself. On my birthday. With no outside demands to be met or people to bother me. This should be a regular occurrence in my life, but in reality I sporadically remember that I have to do a mask or something, when I should be scheduling this time as a permanent standing appointment in self care. I’d be a better person if I did.
Woke up swaddled in the silky sheets that I bought from Bed, Bath and Beyond (clearance), had a shot of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice flavored with ginger and honey, then went out to do my 5 laps. I got to wear my new mask from Lee Rickie, $15. I saw these on Fashion Bomb Daily maybe two weeks ago? Had to wait for them to make more and then it came the day before my birthday. I’m guessing that masks are going to be pretty common after this quarantine, might as well get a designer one and help a small business stay afloat.
As soon as I got back from my 1 mile run (baby steps…I hate jogging), I ran a bath and started my day of beautaaaayyyy. I love sheet masks and beauty treatments in pouches. You can snatch them up in handfuls and open one up any time you need a little pampering. The theme for today was Holler and Glow, one of the reasons I miss browsing the aisles at Target. I can’t say enough about these incredibly softening purrrfect hand (and foot) masks, $3.99.
I didn’t have anywhere to be and the water was nice and hot, so I just hung out reading a huge book about Cecil Beaton and doing nothing. The Zoya nail polish in Edyta, $10, was a blogger perk. I just love this color against my skin. And I finally got my cuticles under control, which is a massive improvement.
So once I got out of the tub, I messed with all the makeup that I’ve had sitting in the bathroom since I went on multiple Sephora binges last summer. From foundation to false eyelashes, with a hit of grey contact lenses. I actually used up all my lipsticks and have been wearing lip balm lately, so I had to improvise a lip color. I used a Sephora lip pencil, $6, added a layer of Levres rose petal lip gloss from Goldenbrownskin, $5 or 2 for $6, and then finished with a light sweep of Pat McGrath LUST gloss in Bronze Temptation, $28. Topped the whole thing off with a new curly afro wig and tiara.
After all that I was too exhausted to try and dress up. Stuck with my comfy sundress and a comfy hooded Cyrus sweater that I bought at Nordstrom this winter. That sweater cost me like $50 and I’ve worn it a thousand times since I got it in December. Fashion math, it’s basically free.
Now that I was all made up, it was time for the big birthday meal, all found in the freezer. I had a frozen mushroom and asparagus risotto kit, seasoned tilapia filet, and fresh spinach that I froze a few weeks ago. I broiled the tilapia with butter on low until it was cooked through and crispy, then squeezed a lemon wedge over it. Ate it with a big glass of lemon water . Once I had eaten the last bit it was time for my present.
Yes. I waited until after dinner. It was the big excitement of the day so I wanted to savor it.
I’m just starting to rebuild my thing with my family, and I don’t have close friends or a boyfriend, so I wasn’t expecting any presents from anyone. I bought myself something pretty, wrapped it with homemade wrapping paper and ribbon and let it sit for a week until the amazing day finally arrived. I had seen ads for Metier Essentials on Instagram, and the Amour necklace, $62, really spoke to me.
I used to be very talkative and fun, but now I’m guarded and I really don’t express much emotion. I guess I’m trying to remind myself to be a little softer and more open. If you’re wondering about the wrapping, it’s just brown paper and I stamped it all over with a rubber heart stamp then put a few glitter heart stickers on it.
Even though I gave it to myself, love is love. I don’t have a clue what the future holds or if I’ll even have a life that’s loud with friendships and family. But I have a heart now. So there’s hope.
Did you celebrate a birthday this week? How did it feel? Were you sad or just happy to be alive and have a place to stay quarantined? Were you scared to try and imagine the future?