Gift Guide: mommy dearest


This lady gave you life, she wiped your butt before you were potty trained, she rushed you to the ER when your temperature was too high, and she loves you harder then anyone else in your life. It's no small task trying to figure out what in the hell (sorry mom) to get her for Christmas. Here are a few fool proof ideas: 

HEART ON YOUR WRIST
This unsuspecting piece of jewelry has a hidden meaning, you can have your handwriting engraved in to necklaces, rings, bracelets and more. A couple of years ago after my gramps passed away I gifted my mom and grandma with a bracelet that bore his signature. There was lots of ugly crying, aka it was a perfect thoughtful (and surprisingly reasonably priced gift). 

THE GAME CHANGER
My Vitamix by far is the most useful kitchen gadget I have ever bought, it may be pricey but refurbished models come with a 5 year warranty (also, it's worth every penny). You can make everything from soup, to smoothies, to powdered sugar to ice cream; it's a magical unicorn of a machine.

PAUSE & PAMPER

This soothing and calming soaking salt does double duty by benefiting US non-profit org Bright Endeavors. "Bright Endeavors lights the way out of poverty for young mothers in Chicago, Illinois by teaching these strong women to craft premium products in a supportive, professional environment. Through the paid transitional jobs program, Bright Endeavors provides the guidance and job skills young moms need to secure quality employment and achieve a lifetime of personal success. The artisans can work around their own schedules and other personal or family commitments."

OPRAH
Oh, your mom doesn't like Oprah? Sounds like grounds for emancipation to me. Give your mother time to reflect, and expand her soul with Oprah's latest book The Wisdom of Sundays

Gift Guide: gifts that give back


Since tomorrow is #GivingTuesday here are a few organizations that are near and dear to my heart.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD

This organization is over 100 years old, and hopefully with your support it will continue to thrive. PP is a community healthcare provider who's services are integral to the health of women and girls across the United States. Donate here or purchase merch from their official marketplace. 

FOSTER A BABY ELEPHANT
I mean, do I even need to explain why you should foster and adorable baby elephant from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Your funds will help raise and rehabilitate an orphaned baby (typically its mother and family have been killed to serve the brutal ivory trade). 

SAVE THE ELEPHANTS
By now y'all know how I feel about elephants. Love is not a strong enough word; and now the orange asshole is attacking an animal that is literally smarter then he is. Save the Elephants says it best "Elephants are among the most intelligent creatures on the planet and have complex emotions. Their lives are being lost to the ivory trade, accelerating habitat and range destruction. You can help put a stop to this and ensure Africa’s elephants are protected for generations to come."

RADICAL MONARCHS I was a Girl Scout for over 8 years, and I know it ultimately made me a better human and changed how I move through the world. I also realize, now as an adult, how flawed it is as an organization/corporation (I was def the only brown Brownie in my troop). Radical Monarchs offers an alternative for girls of color; based out of the Oakland area, they encourage girls to form fierce sisterhood and radically contribute to their communities. 

Gift Guide: woke woman

This woman has a voice, she is unapologetic, a lover of pop culture and believes there is more then one reality to life in the United States. 

ENAMAL PINS
I adore my Zaria pin set, Essence created an online marketplace where people of color can see themselves reflected and celebrated. I am Zaria, and she is me. Get your set via Coloring Pins.

EVERY BODY YOGA
If you don't know about Jessamyn (and follow her on social media) ya should, she is absolutely fabulous. Her new book Every Body Yoga encourages readers to "let go of fear, get on the mat, [and] love your body". I mean, she has a section called "Chill the F Out", if that isn't relatable I don't know what is. 

AUNTIE MAXINE
The embodiment of the unbothered, Maxine Waters has taught us to reclaim our time and cut through the bullshit. She is a feminist hero and a voice we should lift up. Tees in the Trap knows what's up; their smart and sassy store has plenty of accessories, decor and clothing for the woke ass woman in your life. 

ROARING SOFTLY
I absolutely adore Tyler Feder's illustrations. Her beautiful work often depict BOPO queens, ladies with anxiety and shines a light on those marginalized. I want everything she creates, her images make me so so happy. 


Gift Guide: for the littles


So what do you get that precocious child in your life? If you're childless this is even more difficult question to answer. Are Trolls still a thing, do I HAVE to step foot in to a Disney Store? Here are some suggestions for the cutest little in your life. 

SOMETHING TO CUDDLE 
The sweetest and softest woolly mammoth I ever did see available via Jellycat

FOR YOUR LITTLE LEADER
Vashti Harrision is a brilliant illustrator, she has created this beautiful book that features 40 trailblazing women in black history.

FOR THAT ACTIVE IMAGINATION
A children's book that allows you to customize the names and characters to reflect your little reader, ProTip: use my code for $5 off of your order: https://wonderbly.mention-me.com/m/ol/dl0rz-heather-jordan

A BARBIE, BECAUSE DUH
Misty Copeland is is the epitome of style, grace and talent. This is a Barbie a feminist parent can, and should, get behind.

Gift Guide: the millennial






You may not want to admit it, but if you were born between the early 1980’s to the mid-1990’s, you, my friend, are a millennial. So what do you get your totes fave millennial for chrismukkah? Here are a few ideas that are pretty fetch.

BAN.DO
Help your fave stay hydrated and stylish with the Ban.do flask. I've been following Jen's shop for many years (remember when she used to just do hair clips and socks) now this badass lady entrepreneur has a shop full of delightful clothes, accessories and beauty products. 

STENDIG CALENDAR
If you have this lovely giant (48"x36") calendar in your home prepare to be asked by every eighties baby where you got it. This piece makes a statement and keeps you on track, because guess what, vision is a thing that gets worse as you age. 

PASSION PLANNER
This little baby helps you plan more then brunch dates, craft brew tours and your upcoming trip to Marfa. The Passion Planner helps you break down short and long term goals. This tactile planner helps you take a break from digital burnout and encourages you to be more mindful.

SMELL ME
I mean what millennial doesn't like their place smelling fresh while you have friends over for Cards Against and mules. Often Wander is a woman owned San Diego shop, each candle is poured by hand and scents are dreamy.  

Sweet Blackberry




I first heard about Sweet Blackberry on Another Round (my favorite podcast), they were interviewing Karyn Parsons (you may know her as Hilary Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air). Karyn was speaking about her passion project, Sweet Blackberry; as a new mom she noticed there as a deficit in children's books that featured characters of color. It's something I noticed too; when I was growing up the only book where I saw myself reflected was Addy Walker, the slave girl from the American Girl series (I highly recommend this article from Brit Bennett, she explains why Addy is so problematic). And while it's important to instill that sense of history in our children, it's a pretty heavy topic for any child.

Where is the black version of Amelia Bedilia? How about an all black Baby Sitters Club? It doesn't exist. 

Sweet Blackberry's mission is "to bring little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere." and boy, do they. As an adult, I'm ashamed to admit my first time learning about Henry "Box" Brown was via Karyn on Another Round. Sweet Blackberry has animated features on Netflix too! 

So, what are you waiting for? They have a kickstarter campaign to help bring The Bessie Coleman Story (the first African-American pilot) to life. You can donate as little as $5, every pledge helps!


Artist Spotlight: Kadir Nelson


Kadir Nelson is an artist who began drawing at age 3. A lot has changed since then but his passion for creating art remains intact. Recently, I saw this stunning cover of The New Yorker and fell in love. 
Inspired by Norman Rockwell Kadir's paintings are full of heart and soul. However, his most recognizable piece may be the cover art for Drakes album "Nothing was the Same" . 
He has worked with Coca-Cola, Sports Illustrated, Dreamworks and more.

See Nelson's gallery here: Kadir Nelson or purchase a painting here:
Shop

The Black ABCs

Thanks to amazing blogger extraordinaire, LaTonya Yvette for posting this card on her instagram. It lead me down a joyful rabbit hole. "The Black ABCs." was published in 1970 by the Society for Visual Education in Chicago, Illinois. They were originally produced as oversized school posters and flash cards, the cards contained this quote on the back: "The pictures are of people and situations particularly relevant to many city children and thus can make the reading readiness program in city schools more meaningful."

Melissa Stewart is an Austin, Texas based artist and educator who has an adorable Etsy shop called Meow Kapow which specializes in retro wares. It took Melissa five years to collect a set of all 26 the original posters, and an additional five years to restore them using Photoshop.

You can purchase the full set here (I did!): Meow Kapow Vintage Alphabet




Artist Spotlight: Alanna Airitam


I had the pleasure of working with San Diego artist Alanna Airitam on her "Being Heard" series; a thoughtful look at the diverse lives of woman who often find themselves stressed, anxious, and unheard in todays society.

Her latest series is called The Golden Age; drenched in opulence, royalty, and inspired by masters like Botticelli, her rich textures and romanticized subjects are exquisite. What makes Alanna's homage different is the bodies she chose to adorn. She features black bodies, of all shapes, ages and sizes. The Renaissance after all, wasn't exactly known for it's diversity. Alanna's series is a love letter to Harlem, a plea to save it's great landmarks from gentrification.

Bravo lady, I am so so proud of you! 



Artist Spotlight: Brittsense


Through photography Brittsense hopes to "bring back the trust, communication and most importantly unconditional love that is lacking within Melanated Communities all over the world." 

Her photography places a magnifying lens over the parts of the United States that is often ignored, or misinterpreted. Where there is struggle, there is also love. Her images immediately threw me back in to my childhood. This photo series is very important.

See more of her work here: Brittsense

"
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible." - Maya Angelou