“Got a Man That I Think I’m Gone Love Forever”

Girl. This is not a drill. It’s not a secret Pinterest board. I’m getting married.

On December 23rd, I thought we were having a small Christmas party, just a few friends, and family. To my surprise, Brian had been plotting (with the help of my mom, sister, and a few friends) to give me the biggest surprise of the year.

While we were planning the party, I had some suspicions, but my friends reassured me since they “didn’t know” about it, then I couldn’t possibly be right. Or that he wanted all of this extra stuff because “you know he’s a little fancy.” So I let the suspicions fade and continued on prepping and planning.

During the party, everyone did a good job keeping me distracted with food and champagne, so when the party guests began encircling me, I still didn’t know what was going on.

Oh! But when Brian started talking I knew something was up. You see, Brian is not a talker. He’s definitely not a “make a random speech” type of guy.

His speech was beautiful. Now, I would be lying if I said that I remember it word for word, (hello, champagne!), but I remember how everyone responded. My mom was crying, my sister was cheesing like a Chester cat, and my Aunt Betty hit us with a few of her signature “my, my, my!” exclamations.  He told the story of how we first met when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore in the Russell House Grand Market Place at the University of South Carolina. He spoke of how he and his friends gleefully reported to each other every time one of them saw me on campus.  How he and I finally connected at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Then finally, he recalled the moment he realized I would be his wife.

man and woman going to dinner
This was us circa 2007. We were headed to the Melting Pot for his 21st birthday.

I was on cloud 9! He had finally asked! After all the ups and downs, all the laughter and tears, all the explanations of “No, my son’s last name is Hayes, mine is Davis”, we were getting married!  I was literally walking on the air.


What Goes Up Must Come Down

My engagement high lasted for about 4 days. I had a goofy smile, I stared at my ring, and I practiced the word fiance in the mirror. I was floating. But just as it normally does, life quickly brought me back down to earth.

Langston, our son, didn’t understand what happened. You see, he was not interested in his mommy loving anyone else, he didn’t care that someone else was his father. And to top it off, his daddy had the nerve to give me a ring?!?That was something Langston has been saying he wanted to give me for a while. Langston was experiencing what some call “Oedipus complex” and unfortunately for all of us, his dad didn’t understand it and wasn’t having it. Thank goodness that it only last a few days and now he’s excited that his mom and dad are “getting marriage” and that his GiGi has promised to get him a ring as well. *insert eye roll*

But aside from playing referee with my guys, my mother got sick and was hospitalized for 3 weeks. So there was no time to worry about wedding venues and guest counts, my mother needed me. I am a firm believer that everything happens in perfect divine order, so, for all of these things, I am grateful.

Mama is getting better and stronger every day and things are starting to level back out. That means we are now back to focusing on the engagement and wedding planning.

Y’all! Why didn’t any of you warn me? There are SO many decisions to make! So many well-intentioned people asking SO many questions. Do you want a big wedding or a small wedding? Plated meals or heavy hors d’oeuvres? Stateside or destination? Do you even WANT a wedding? Dis tew merch.

Girl. The first few times Brian and I would start talking about it, we would immediately regret that decision and change the subject quickly.

Brian is the logical, thoughtful, traditional type and I am the dreamer, fly by the cuff, non-traditional type. So we were debating *side eye* about hypotheticals but getting real-life mad.

We really had to take a minute. We (read: I) had to realize that this was a journey. It is OUR journey, so there are no wrongs or rights, just what is best for us. Now, I can’t say that we have it completely ironed out, but we are more clear about what WE want and are fine with taking it one step at a time.

With all of that being said, let the planning begin! Because one thing I’ve already started to realize is that we aren’t just planning a wedding, but we are laying the framework for our little family and I can’t wait to share this journey with you.

xoxoxo,

Shanetra D. <-Soon to be H?
P.s. My sister and I went to my first bridal show (possibly only), bridal show. My sister was fun, but she was more concerned with candied bacon samples than table linens!

p.p.s. Since you and I are friends, feel FREE to share your tips, tricks, and advice for the wedding day and beyond!

#BuyBlack Holiday Gift Guide

At the beginning of this year, I told myself that I would make a conscious effort to shop locally, and specifically support black owned businesses.  So for this holiday season, I have curated a gift guide from black-owned businesses that I’ve previously supported or plan on supporting.

Christmas is going to be lit year!  

Gifts When You Want To ‘Treat Yo Self’

From Lia Soy Candle
Image Credit: From Lia

From Lia – “I want every woman who orders from From Lia to see the value in herself and how important she is. I want to encourage you to always be there for yourself. Everyday. The products I make are to encourage you to relax. Burn the candle, use the soaps and look forward to a soak in the tub to gather your thoughts and find the strength to keep pushing toward your goals.”

Image Credit: Addictive Apothecary
Photo credit: Addictive Apothecary

Addictive Apothecary –   “Addictive Apothecary is a family based business.  That was created because of my daughter.  My daughter wanted to have more mommy daughter time.  She asked me if we could make candles together since I was always buying them and often unhappy with them.   We offer all natural products from our candles to our bath and body line.  If it’s not safe for my family to use, it’s not safe for you and your family.  Every single product that we offer is hand crafted to ensure the highest quality possible.”

 

Image Credit: Bask and Bloom Essentials
Image Credit: Bask and Bloom Essentials

Bask & Bloom  – “Bask & Bloom Essentials was founded by Candera Thompson. Candera was born and raised on the island of Abaco, Bahamas where she grew up in a household of many handmade items. Watching her mother and other family members encouraged Candera to start experimenting with her own ingredients for hair, bath and skin care.”

Image Credit: The Nyspiyahd Life
Image Credit: The Nspiyahd Life

 The Nspiyahd Life – “We’re just an everyday family who decided to live an extraordinary life. We work to share the concepts of healing, wholeness and holistic living through all of our works.We aim to present our works in an authentic and beautiful way. From beautifully handcrafted goodness to courses and coaching to help you live better. We make all our products with one aim, to help you live a more Nspiyahd Life.”

Image Credit: Instagram
Image Credit: Instagram

Pear Nova – “Pear Nova LLC is a Chicago based, luxury nail polish brand that boasts timeless collections of 5 free, vegan-friendly, PETA certified shades.”

For the Fly Youngn’s  – Kids Gift Ideas

Image Credit: KaAn Designs
Image Credit: KaAn Designs

KaAn’s designs – “A brand developed by a Mrs.(Ashley), with some help from her Mr.(Kenny), and inspired by the daily adventures of their two little boys Aiden and Noah. In addition to creating pieces that offer functionality and style, it is our goal to create tees that make a statement, and those that have sort of a nostalgic feel. You know for the 90’s kid, turned millennial parent?!”

Image Credit: Ozzie and Olive
Image Credit: Ozzie and Olive

Ozzie Olive  – “Home and Originator of the MYMOMMYISDOPE & MYDADDYISDOPE Tee | CAMOCARGOS & TheToddlerTote”

 

Brown Toy Box – “Our mission…To affirm the beauty and build confidence and self-esteem in Black children.We know that when children have dolls and toys that look like them it changes the way they perceive themselves and those that look like them. Our goal is simple, we want every little brown child to look in the mirror and know that the reflection looking back at  them is a person that is beautiful, worthy and wonderful.”

For the Queens and Mini Queens that like to add a little Flair

Image Credit: Because of Zoe
Image Credit: Because of Zoe

Because of Zoe designs – “I created Because of Zoe Designs when my daughter, Zoe, was just one year old. Inspired by her spunky personality and my love of prints, I set out to create hair accessories that reflected the beauty and playfulness of childhood.  Because of Zoe offers the everyday mom hair accessories that are just as hip, happy and high-spirited as the girls who wear them.”

Image Credit: Gabby Bows
Image Credit: Gabby Bows

Gabby Bows – “The Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette”

Image Credit: Branded by Motif
Image Credit: Branded by Motif

Branded by Motif -“We are on a mission to help others go get life and feel beautiful while doing so. THINGS branded by motif allows us to create art that people can wear, that looks good and has meaning.”

Image Credit: The Wrap Life
Image Credit: The Wrap Life

The Wrap Life – “The Wrap Life was created by Nnenna Stella in Brooklyn, New York.  We’ve shipped thousands of handmade goods to beauties around the world. TWL is about cultivating a life abundant with color, texture, and handmade goods. Most of our products are hand printed or handmade and the proceeds enrich the lives of those who create them.”

For the Woman Who Likes a Little Sass with her Fashion 

Image Credit: Walter Priece (Avah's Closet"
Image Credit: Walter Priece (Avah’s Closet”

Avah’s Closet – “Looking to be stylish with a hint of Culture has never been this easy. Our Collection Features handcrafted bags (handbags, clutches, messenger bags, and weekenders), accessories and clothing using authentic African fabrics. Our pieces are all about making bold statements and you are guaranteed to turn heads when you wear Avah’s Closet. “

Image Credit: Tees In the Trap
Image Credit: Tees In the Trap

Tees in the Trap – “Apparel and home goods inspired by pop culture, hip hop and everyday life. We love good music, reality tv, ratchet quotes, funny memes and celebrity tea.”

Image Credit: Melanin Apparel
Image Credit: Melanin Apparel

Melanin Apparel -“Black Pride T-Shirts, African American T-shirts, Natural Hair T-shirts, African American Apparel, and Afrocentric Clothing shirts, hoodies, tanks and more!”

Image Credit: Dope Christian Tees
Image Credit: Dope Christian Tees

Dope Christian Tees – “The intersection of faith and fashion! We have the dope apparel that represent the kingdom of God!”

Image Credit:
Image Credit: Izzy and Liv

Izzy and Liv -“Izzy & Liv is self-affirming, inspirational, fun, sassy, filled with pop culture references and a bit retro. We design pieces that reflect some of our shared experiences; celebrates the icons we love; reinforces the beauty we possess, and immortalizes the things we can’t get enough of. When you shop at Izzy & Liv, you’re bound to find something that you can relate to!”

For the Your Homegirl that Can Burn in the Kitchen

Image Credit: The Kitchenista
Image Credit: The Kitchenista

The Kitchenista – “Comfort food is my passion and my life revolves around the kitchen! I’m a self-taught home cook, food blogger, recipe developer, food photographer and mom of two residing in Virginia. The Kitchenista Diaries has been my home since 2012, where I’ve shared my personal journey from accountant to culinary entrepreneur. I’m all about taking home cooked meals to the next level.”

Who Doesn’t Need a #SelfCare Day?

Image Credit: Divine Oasis Salon and Spa
Image Credit: Divine Oasis Salon and Spa

Divine Oasis Salon and Spa -“Divine Oasis is a full-service beauty salon and luxury spa dedicated to providing a holistic approach to enhancing the natural beauty of our diverse clientele. We offer a relaxing and inviting salon experience where guests can receive professional consultations, natural hair care, permanent waves and relaxers, precision hair cuts, and hair coloring.”

Image Credit: Anointed Hands Facebook
Image Credit: Anointed Hands Facebook

Anointed Hands – “Getting SomeBody Right! Anointed Hands is your one-stop pamper shop where you can get a relaxing massage, your hair done, and get products to help stay in shape.”

 


Now, I KNOW this list is geared towards the ladies, but you all are my tribe, so naturally, I had to take care of  you. Most of the brands listed above offer men’s apparel, but here are a few ideas specifically for  the men in your lives:

Image Credit: Bevel
Image Credit: Bevel

Bevel – “Bevel, by Walker & Company, provides premium grooming products & services, designed to help reduce razor bumps & skin irritation.”

Image Credit: Super Fresh Clothes
Image Credit: Super Fresh Clothes

Super Fresh -“Superfresh each month releases one to two new shirts or hoods in extremely limited quantities, 36 to be exact. Once a shirt is released on the site a two-week countdown clock immediately starts. Once that clock hits zero the item is considered “spoiled” and get retired to “the freezer” where it will no longer be available to the public. EVER.”


So there you have it! Hopefully, when you are shopping this holiday season, you will check out some of these brands or other black owned business.

Do you know of any other brands I should check out? Leave a link in the comments below!

Also, I feel like I should note, this is NOT a sponsored post. No one paid me (yet!) to endorse their business. I truly think these brands are dope and plan on using them for my Christmas shopping this year.

 

*Click the Image or the Brand’s name to check out their website!*

Until next time,

Shanetra D.

 

 

How the Miss Naturally Crowned Pageant Encouraged Me to Be Unapologetically Authentic

Last weekend, my intentions behind attending the MNCC pageant were just to get cute and cut up with my friends. I expected to see some dope fros, intricate updos, fresh locs, banging shoes and to watch the ladies SLAY! What I did not expect was to receive so many reaffirming messages throughout the night.

Continue reading “How the Miss Naturally Crowned Pageant Encouraged Me to Be Unapologetically Authentic”

Atlanta Brunch Festival and Girl Time

Brunch + Mimosas = A Great Time!

Last weekend some friends and I went to the Atlanta Brunch Festival at the Historic 4th Ward Park. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and I am still full. Not from the savory jalapeno cheese grits, or the sweet french bread casserole, or even the not-so-perfectly mixed mimosa (No shade?).

When we made plans to go to the Festival, (thanks to the “I’m Interested” button on Facebook), my only thought was brunch + mimosas = A GREAT time. And the food options did NOT disappoint. There was gnocchi with mushrooms and truffle oil, shrimp and grits, breakfast tacos, and bacon covered everything yuck!

Apple Doughnut with a scoop of ice cream

Continue reading “Atlanta Brunch Festival and Girl Time”

She Designed a Life She Loved

 

 

At the beginning of this month, I hosted my very first (very intimate) Vision Board party and it was magical. The euphoric energy I felt in the days before the party paled in comparison to how I felt after. The beauty of watching women, whose ages ranged from 9 to 55 years old, thinking about what they wanted out of life and how can they start being intentional about obtaining those things was absolute magic. The ladies began to speak their dreams out loud, things that they hadn’t shared or only shared with a few people. And each time that they did, they had a tribe of women encouraging them, looking for pictures to help them complete their boards, telling them that nothing was impossible.

That was the best part for me. As I sat in that room, nothing felt impossible, not for me or my guests. I can not wait to see everyone’s dreams manifest and for them to literally check things off of their 2016 Vision Boards.

 

 

So tell me, have you written down your goals for 2016? It’s never too late to start, every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. I would love to see your Boards, post them below or use #BBVisionBoardParty