Buy Black On Black Friday: 13 Black-Owned Businesses For Your Holiday Shopping

It is Thanksgiving. Since I got such a great response to my "Buy Black on Black Friday" shopping list last year, I decided to do it again. I have mix of some brands I love and some brands that I just discovered that you can find either online or in your local stores.

With an unpredictable four years ahead of us, it is important that we support the businesses of marginalized peoples--black-owned, women-owned, immigrant-owned, etc.

1. 

Loft324

 - clothing

2. 

Rachel Stewart Jewelry

 - jewelry 

sale: 25% off purchases with code: POWER (11/25-11/28) 

3. 

Ariel Brands

 - clothing, prints, accessories, and games

4. 

shadrieka

 - prints and greeting cards 

5. 

DorcasCreates

 - prints, accessories, and greeting cards 

6.

DEMESTIK

 - African print clothing

sale: up to 40% off; additional $25 off purchases of $200 with code: DRR1124

7. 

Kashmir VIII

 - prints, accessories, and clothing 

sale: $10 or more off all items; additional $5 off all orders $75+ with code: 5off ; additional $10 off all orders $120+ with code: 10off ; $20 off all orders $200+ with code: 20off

8.

Postively Perfect Dolls

 - multicultural dolls (available at local Walmart and Target stores)

9.

Philadelphia Printworks

- clothing 

sale: Sale with Free Shipping with code: BLACKWALLSTREET (until 11/28)

10. 

Nubian Skin

 - lingerie and hosiery for women of color (also available at Nordstrom stores)

sale: 40% off Lace Collection with code: NSBLACKFRIDAY (until midnight 11/25)

11. Ty Lite - LED lighted phone cases (aka selfie phone cases) 

sale: 50% off all cases (until 11/27)

12.

Iman Cosmetics

- beauty products for women of color (also available at Target and Walgreens stores)

13.

Bevel

- grooming products and services for people of color 

How To Stay Focused During a Long Weight-Loss Journey

First things first, I am proud to announce that I lost .9 lbs this past week. Although it is not a big number, it is still a victory because it is a weight loss and not a weight gain.

Week 4 Progress:

In 4 weeks, I have lost 8 lbs with the Super Shred diet and Nike Training Club Lean Fit workout challenge.  **pelvic thrusts** Now I have 42 lbs to go...42 LBS TO GO!!!! Ugh.

Losing that much weight is not going to be easy or quick (unless I max out my credit cards and get liposuction). It is going to take months upon months of working out, dieting, and focus.

To help me keep focused during my weight-loss journey, I am doing the following 3 things:

1. Join Fitness Challenges 

This is very simple. Find a fitness challenge and do it.

  • It helps you develop a regular fitness schedule that is easy to follow and increases with intensity as it progresses.

  • It prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by making you focus on a short-term, achievable fitness goal.

  • If you get your friends or family to join the challenge, it helps you create a fitness support system to keep you motivated to finish.

  • Plus, when you finish, you are fitter and have the sweet satisfaction of completing a fitness goal.

Here's a challenge for you: 

2. Try New Healthy Recipes 

The internet is wonderful place to find tons and tons of healthy recipes (note: Pinterest is the best site ever to find yummy, healthy recipes).

  • It helps you transition from bad eating habits to good eating habits, by allowing you to eat less calories without feeling deprived.

  • It helps you discover new foods and dishes that you can share with your family and friends and impress them with your culinary skills.

  • If you cook your meals ahead of time, preferably at the beginning of the week, it will help you stay on your diet and give you less excuses for grabbing for "fast fatty foods" (the dreaded 3 F's).

Here's a healthy recipe for you: 

3. Buy Cute Workout Clothes

Just because you are working out and sweating doesn't mean you can't look good while doing it.

  • Having cute workout clothes takes the UGH out of working out by giving you the same feeling as getting dressed up for a night out.

  • They tend to be form-fitting, which is a GOOD thing. Wearing oversized and baggy workout clothes make you look frumpy and larger than you really are, skewing your body image. Wearing cute, form-fitting workout clothes provides much-needed support for your jiggly parts and allows you to check your form and make sure you are correctly performing exercises, decreasing injuries and maximizing workout benefits.

  • Plus, it helps show off your new developing fit body.

Here's some cute workout clothes options for you: 

Low-end Activewear Brand: Everlast (sold at

Sears

)

High-end Activewear: Ivy Park (sold at

Nordstrom

)

Kicking Off #29DaysOfBlackness

Today is February 1st. And, I am so excited!!!  In the midst of all the craziness happening in this country to black people in America, I have decided to take the time this year to truly celebrate and honor Black History Month by loudly and proudly sharing my love for black people, business, culture, and history here on this blog and out in the real world.

I plan to be #veryblack. Unapologetically black. Happily black. Twirling in the magic of my blackness. For the entire month of February, I will be wearing clothing and accessories that are either created by black business owners or featuring black culture and/or people. I will also be featuring some of my favorite black authors, entertainers, poets, and creatives. And, to top things off, every week I will be spotlighting black folks doing and achieving amazing things in a "Black Excellence" post.

I think this is a great way to open up dialogue about the richness of black American culture and history, and to also educate the uneducated about the many contributions that black folks have made to help build this country.

Despite what some crazy confused fools have been saying in the media, Black History Month is very much needed---maybe more now than ever. I love my blackness (and yours too).

So, I invite all of you--and I mean all of you, regardless of race or ethnicity--- to join me in celebrating #29DaysofBlackness.

#29DaysOfBlackness Outfit of the Day:

Black-Owned Online Stores For Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping

Thanksgiving finally is here and you know what that means---it is time to strategically plan out your shopping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!!!! Because I am a huge advocate for supporting black-owned businesses, I have compiled a list of online stores owned and operated by black entrepreneurs. You can buy everything from jewelry to black pop culture items to natural beauty products to beautiful paintings.

1.

Loft324

 - clothing

2.

Rachel Stewart Jewelry

- jewelry 

sale: 20% off purchases over $20 with code: BLACKFRIDAY (11/25-11/28) 

3.

Because Of Them We Can

- clothing, books, calendars, and posters

4.

Ariel Brands

- clothing, prints, accessories, and games

5.

The Hillman College Bookstore

- clothing and accessories

sale: 20% off all orders with code: BLKFRI (11/27 only); 15% off all orders with code: THANKS (11/28 only); $15 White Hillman t-shirts (11/30 only)

6.

The Artisan Loft

- natural beauty products

7.

Paperishness

- stationary 

8.

Kashmir VIII

- prints, accessories, and clothing 

9.

QUELLYRUE

- accessories, dolls, sweatshirts, and jewelry

10.

INI Vibez

- jewelry 

sale: 25% off all orders with code: BLACKOUT25 (until 11/30)

11.

Nubian Skin

- lingerie and hosiery 

Never Shop (Online) Without It: PayPal and Online Shopping

I learned an important lesson today, after a certain celebrity-sponsored clothing line took my money and a month later sent me no product and no replies to my many email queries.

I love online shopping. Etsy is one of my favorite places for unique items. Amazon is my go-to for books, household items, and tech accessories. Instagram is my favorite place to find out about different black-owned small businesses across the US and the world. Being able to patronize businesses via their websites gives me the chance to get unique items that I want without the hassle of salespeople, long lines, and missing out on cool items sold in cities far from me, and also the opportunity to read reviews and compare prices. Plus, shopping online offers more options for discounts, often not offered in stores. For example, I recently bought a Calvin Klein coat from macys.com, originally priced at $325 at the store, for $112 plus free shipping, due to a combination special online pricing, sales, and online coupons.

I have had very few bad experiences with online shopping. I usually get my purchases in a timely fashion and have been easily able to return the items that I don't want. But, this experience that I had with this clothing brand, which came to my attention due to Beyonce wearing one of their flannel shirts, could have easily turned me off to online shopping, if it was not for the purchase protection that PayPal offers. For the past three weeks, I have been trying to get someone from the online clothing company to tell me when I would receive my merchandise. They took my money immediately after I clicked "submit order" but didn't answer one email I sent after I had yet to receive my order after a month of waiting. Luckily, I paid for my order with my PayPal account and I was able to get them to contact the company. Less than two hours after reporting the company to PayPal,  my order was cancelled, and most importantly, my money was refunded to my account. Three weeks of complaining and trying to get this company to give me my order or my money back, and PayPal solved the issue in two hours.

Lesson of the day:

Always pay for online shopping orders with PayPal.

If you don't have a PayPal account, I highly recommend you get one

here

.

Find A Signature Fragrance Using Your Zodiac Sign

I know what you are thinking. How can you use your zodiac sign to find your signature fragrance? A few weeks ago, I found an an article on the Influenster Blog that claims that your zodiac sign plays a role in the kind of fragrances you attracted to. I didn't take the article's claim serious until I scrolled down and saw my Fragrance Horoscope. I was shocked to see the exact perfume I was planning to put at the top of my Christmas list. 

A few months ago, I had met a girl who smelled absolutely enchanting. The fragrance that she was wearing seemed to call to me. When I asked her about the perfume she was wearing, she told me it was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Right there and then, I made a mental note to myself to get my hands on a bottle. And, as fate would have it, I completely forgot about the perfume, until I saw this article. Right underneath my zodiac sign of Cancer was a bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. I took it as a sign that this perfume may be my signature scent. The perfume is a bit pricey. But I have been a good girl this year and hope that Santa will a bottle under the tree for me this year. 

Want to know what your Fragrance Horoscope says? Click

here

to find out.

CANCER

 (June 22 - July 22)

Traits: emotional, imaginative, cautious, protective, moody, clingy, touchy, complicated, complex, homebody at heart, traditional, creative and artistic

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

Fragrance notes: bergamot, orange, jasmine, rose, patchouli, vetiver, white musks, vanilla.

Fragrance Horoscope:  The Cancer woman has a creative, artistic soul -- so it’s no surprise that she’d be drawn to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, a fragrance inspired by the spirit of a young Coco Chanel, the iconic fashion designer who brought Parisian glamour to the masses.  Cancers are the dreamers of the zodiac (bright notes of orange, jasmine, and vetiver pique their interest), but remain most comfortable at home (exciting bergamot and patchouli helps them imagine worlds beyond their comfort zone). They are homebodies at heart and can be moody and complicated -- but what great artist isn’t, after all?