Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why I will never look at umbrellas the same again

It was the day of the election. Here in Philly, the weather really reflected the overall sentiment. The previous day had been sunny and bright, unseasonable warm. This day was grey and cold. Rain was intermittent, sometimes a gently trickle of tearlike drops, sometimes a driving cascade of grief inducing torrents. It felt as though nature

Hillary lost the election.

We lost the election.

An election that was so much more than merely choosing a candidate for a position, but one that ignored respect, decency, equality, and fairness. That was enough to make any person with good sense grieve.

I had tried my best to just get through the day. As I shared with you before, I hugged a woman more grief stricken than I outside of Starbucks, I tried to do some sort of self care, but as much as I tried, the waves grief simply wouldn't stop. All I could do was let them pass.

So, as with all things, every time one of those waves rose up, I turned to talk to God. No, I didn't fall on my knees in some dramatic form. I simply started talking, and waiting for some form of response. They came in gentle whispers and various moments through out the day.

As I was leaving from a work session, the sky really opened up. I had forgotten my umbrella at home. Combine my already sad mood with being both cold and wet and you can see how my mood could have gone from sad to all out despair.

But something within me pushed me. It said to me "Things are going to be all right." And a warmth wafted over me, an inner reassurance that, no matter what, I was loved, I mattered, and that I would be taken care of.

As I was walking, still wet, still cold, but not as sad, I said to God "Ok. I'll trust you. I know that know matter what, you will take care of me." I went to cross the street, a street that is infamous for having large puddles during moments of prolonged rain. There, floating in my direction in one of the larger puddles, handle pointed up, wide open, like a boat, was a black umbrella. I took the handle and lifted it to inspect it.

Not a hole, not a tear.

It was perfect.

A perfect umbrella in a sudden storm. A perfect umbrella in a sudden storm that only came, not when God changed the circumstances around me (because He didn't), but changed my attitude within me. I now had a tangible reminder of that promise, that, no matter what, if I trusted Him, God would take care of me.

I'm sad to say that today, while rushing off of the train, I lost that very tangible reminder of God's protection. Something within me said to not put iron the floor. But it was so wet, I didn't want to cover the seat with water once I had left. I wish I had just listened.

But to be honest, part of me is okay with not having it. I am sad that I lost it (in a very Whitney way to lose things) But I don't think that God would want me to cling to an object more than I should cling to the lesson learned. After all, The Bible says that we as believers "live by faith and not by sight."(2 Corinthians 5:7) Maybe the most important thing I got out of all of this was not a faith souvenir, but a testimony of God's love and faithfulness.

I will never look at umbrellas the same again.

So, to whomever is riding the Regional Rail trains, if you happen to find a non descriptor black umbrella tucked underneath one of the center seats of the train car, you have found something special, a tangible answer to an attitude change.

Reclaimed Readables, November 30th

Happy Wednesday beauts and beaus!

Today's Readables feature 7 simple and repeatable winter outfits, how to eat healthy on a budget, 14 manis to prove pint ain't just for girly girls, why America has become a country not for Brown Women, 5 women on dating and hating social media, 17 gifts for the revolutionary woman in your life (or you!), and why Google Chrome won't sugarcoat what the Alt Right really is.

WhoWhatWear: 7 easy and repeatable winter outfits
BuzzFeed: No country for Brown women
The Things: Manicures for non girly girls
Huff Post: 17 gifts for revolutionary women, Google Chrome exposes alt right
Man Repeller: 5 women on dating and hating social media
Career Girl Daily: Eating healthy on a budget

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Umm did you see WHOWHATWEAR's shoe line

One of my favorite reads for all things fashion, WhoWhatWear has a dope collaboration with Target. To add to the already gorgeous collection of stylish and affordable clothes and accessories, they have dropped their new shoe line. 

When I say gorgeous. I. Mean. Gorgeous. They have created several pairs with one pair that is better than the last. In true WhoWhatWear style, these pairs are cutting edge and classic at the same time. And the price? Y'all. The most expensive pair comes in shy of $45. 

Check out the whole collab here. Happy shoesday, loves.

Reclaimed Readables, November 29th

Happy ShoesDay loves!

This week we are talking the perfect shoes for wherever you are traveling, how to care for your shoes in the winter, the affordable shoes that are a fashion girl's dream, the 5 most popular shoes of the season, how to style your leggings and Uggs (because most of us will be wearing both), the number one shoe brand of the year, and a peek into the Nike archives.

Perfect shoes for traveling
How to care for shoes in winter
This affordable shoe line that is a fashion girls dream
5 most popular shoes of the season
Best ways to style your leggings and Uggs
The #1 shoe brand of the year
A peek into the Nike Archives

Monday, November 28, 2016

9 Grown Man Sweatshirts under $50
Who doesn't love a cozy sweatshirt when the weather turns cold? Fleecy, soft, usually with some cool design, funny slogan, or school or organizational name scrawled across the chest, these cold weather essentials make autumn and winter a little more bearable.

However, just because we love them, doesn't mean that these quite casual pieces love our style back. These comfy companions to the gym or around campus aren't necessarily the best companions to the office or on that first date (without looking like you didn't event try).

But, with the athleisure trend still going strong, there has been a sudden influx of sophisticated looking sweatshirts. On these sophisticated sweatshirts, the logo is small or nonexistent, its usually layered with a smart looking button down or blazer, and, depending upon the sweatshirt, could pass for its very sophisticated cousin, the sweater.

Either way, these style makers are an essential for the dapper wardrobe. Here are nine such sweatshirts all under $50. Stay cozy, gents!

9 Grown Man Sweatshirts under $50

Reclaimed Readables, November 28th

Happy Monday good people!

This week's #ManCrushMonday features ways you guys should be caring for your knits, how Instagram has changed menswear, the shoe startup every man should invest in and why, 5 ways to wear your elevated hoodie, 15 people who had a way worse holiday than you, and 10 transitional styles to take your style from slob to sharp.

Menswear Style: Caring for knitwear, how Instagram changed menswear, the shoe startup to invest in
Style Girlfriend: 5 ways to style your elevated hoodie
The Things: 15 people who had a worse holiday than you
Dappered: 10 transitional ways to go from slob to share

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Favorite Brands to Actually Buy from This Weekend

This is literally one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Black Friday/ Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday launch us into the holiday shopping seasons, for better or worse. Personally, I am staying away from the big shopping giants and looking toward the beautiful start ups, small businesses, and local handicrafts shops to get my shopping on.

And I encourage you to do the same. Of course, you, being a savvy shopper, will drop by my shop (thanks to everyone who has stopped by already!) but in addition to that, I would encourage you to stop by the small businesses and brands for unique gifts and presents this year. Here are my current faves to get your shopping weekend started all without fighting any crowds, searching endlessly for a parking space, and all from the comfort of your own home.

Adorned By Chi
If you've been paying attention, you know that this is a brand close to my heart. Adorned by Chi is a brand that creates apparel, accessories, and even stickers that are perfect for the nerdy chic Black Girl (whom I identify). Between the adorable head bands and pom pom earrings to the Black and Proud logo tees written in Barbie pink script, Adorned by Chi is definitely a fave.

Coloring Pins-
I found this brand while surfing around on Instagram, and I blame them for my current growing pin obsession. It started with the first purchase of the "original" pin and now, like a pin fiend, I am awaiting the latest design to be produced (hint, its getting released in December and it is the lyrics of a current favorite song of mine) These are accessories with a message. Coloring Pins creates pins, patches, key chains, and more that call out cultural appropriation in clever and sassy ways that I love.

Elements Aliel-
I am barraged by beautiful brands and great products weekly, but Elements of Aliel really stood out for me. Not just because of the quality and beauty of the brand, but because before I knew the brand, I got to know the brain and beauty behind the brand. I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the creator of this brand on our church's young adult conference this year. She really lives the holistic, healthy life, and she conveys that pardon for whole and healthy living through her bevy of beautiful and natural products.

Radical Dreams Pins-
I first became familiar with this brand the way I become familiar with most brands; through Instagram. If you are a pin collector (like I am becoming) as well as being a woke bae, this is the company for you. I personally fell for Radical Dreams Pins when I realized that they carried both Dwayne & Whitley pins alongside of Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks, and Colin Kaepernick. Whats better? All profits from the pins go to various local charities.

Sessa Vee-
I was introduced to Sessa Bee while listening to a Snapchat by one of my blogging inspos, Cara from The Champagne Diet. She was gushing about the beautiful papers she had purchased for her planner from Sessa Bee and I see why. I made a huge order for my birthday last year and haven't regretted it. This brand creates the most beautiful stationary and planner paper I have ever seen. Sophisticated and chic, it has become the only paper I buy for my planners lately.

Skin Deep-
I was introduced to this brand by my bestie. If this all natural hand crafted company sounds familiar, this is the brand's second appearance on The Reclaimed. Skin Deep makes some of the most lovely scrubs and lotions I have ever used on my own typically dry skin.

Keena Prints
Confession time: I love stickers. I am a 31 year old woman who loves stickers. And Keena Prints lets me indulge in my own culturally appropriate and utterly hilarious sticker binges (like I think I am on my 2nd big order from her. This adorable shop is a planner nerd's (like me) dream, complete with planner dashboards, bookmarks, and tons of adorable stickers. And, Keena Prints will even design a custom sticker for you (something I may get on my next order).

Reclaimed Readables, November 25th

Happy Black Friday Loves!

Today's Readables feature 40+ ways to buy Black on Black Friday, 15 people who have had a worse thanksgiving than you, the best drugstore eyeliners, a non gift gifting guide, why femleisure is the next big trend to blow up, how to join the kindness movement, 12 Christmas decorations for the minimalist, and 5 easy ways to practice gratitude daily.

Black Girl with Long Hair: 40+ Black Friday- Cyber Monday ways to support Black owned
The Things: 15 people who had a worse thanksgiving than you
Into The Gloss: The best drugstore eyeliners
Racked: Non-gift guide
WhoWhatWear: What is Femleisure?
Refinery29: The kindness movement
Apartment Therapy: 12 Christmas decorations for minimalist
The Coveteur: 5 ways to practice gratitude

Thursday, November 24, 2016

31 Reasons this Thanksgiving is Awesome

So, obvi, its thanksgiving here in the states. With all of the insanity this year, many people are struggling with finding this to be thankful for. But, if anything, this tumultuous year has taught me to be grateful for everything. For good things because they bless me, for bad things because they teach me, and that in turn, blesses me. The Bible says that "All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called for His purposes." (Romans 8:28), meaning everything that enters or exits my life is ultimately for my good. And I believe that wholeheartedly.

Its good to be grateful. In a time and culture that teaches us to covet and lust, and get all that we can, it is vital to look around and be thankful. And there is literally so much to be thankful for. One thing that did not make it to my list this year was laughter. For a holiday laugh, check out my piece on 15 people who are having a way worse thanksgiving than you. But thing like laughter, that seem so small have such a powerful impact on our day to day, and thus over all lives.

So, here is my gratitude list. 31 things I am thankful for (because this is my 31st thanksgiving, another thing to be thankful for!) These are really in no particular order, in fact, most of these are completely out of any order, and I like it this way. Enjoy:

Peace and quiet
Waking up
-That may not get you excited, but it means everything to me. It means we get another chance to do all that we were created and called to do.
Clean sheets and a cozy comforter
-I hate being cold and the recent weather lends itself to cold. However, there is nothing like coming home out of that cold into your own cozy space. Speaking of space...
My own place
A full night of sleep
Being saved
Because Jesus is dope and life with Him is so much better than life without Him.
President Obama and his family and crew
A hot shower
Second chances
A goofy cat that waits to spend time with me
Hot coffee
Watching James MacDonald and Joyce Meyer before work
Its great watching these two Bible teacher/preacher in the morning
Being productive (not just busy)
-Being a full time freelance writer is not as luxurious as it sounds, but God has really blessed me with multiple opportunities do what I only dreamed of this time last year. This has allowed me to produce pieces not only for my own blog, but for some local companies, a few news sites, and fun sites like The Things and BuzzFeed (I'm coming for you, Huffington Post)
My laptop
-It sounds a little trivial, but hear me out. This blog and all of my socials were built and maintained from an aging iPad 2 and my iPhones. So, in June of this year, I took a huge step when I randomly saw a laptop while out shopping with a dear friend. At the time, I had NO freelancing opportunities, no job, no income whatsoever when I purchased it. Some would call it foolish. I call it a step of faith, and I'm grateful that I took it because it has been paying me back ever since.
A (sort of) full fridge 
Poshmark and Ebay
Not really sure if this is for selling or shopping, but I sure am grateful for both!
Because yum!
Paid bills
A growing fro
-Yall, I can't even. I love my fro, and I'm super happy its grown like crazy this year.
Another year of life
Good books and the desire to read them

A bag full of stuff to donate
An awesome group of friends
- There is an old adage that says "you are who you keep company with." If thats true, then I must be a pretty awesome person because the group women who I am privileged to call friends are amazing women. Intelligent, generous, clever, a little ratchet, but very in love with God, these women call me to my higher self and I am so grateful to call them friend.
A great family
- I may be a little biased. But I think that I have an amazing family. I have been blessed with 9 phenomenal siblings, two of whom I had the opportunity to grow up with under a phenomenal and always generous and loving mother. I have a hilarious aunt and uncles and supportive cousins, a step dad who is the real mvp, a father who has taught me so much, and grandmothers who anchor me and teach me grace. I really am blessed.
A loving partner
- I met this guy at the end of one of the hardest parts of my life. He walked with me as a friend through trauma and uncertainty, an was nothing but stable and kind. He loved me back to my self, a self I lost in compromising to a smaller life. He reminded me of who I am and inspires me to be a better me. This guy is just the best (don't tell him though, it will get to his head.)
An awesome support system
Purpose and the desire to fulfill it
And of course, you!
-What would I do without amazing readers like you?! You guys keep me inspired, keep me energized, and keep me accountable. I am so grateful for this community of dynamic and engaged readers. Thanks for helping me create and maintain The Reclaimed community!

So what are you thankful for? Today is a great opportunity if, for nothing else, but to count your blessings and see how good and full your life really is.

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Reclaimed Readables, November 23rd

Happy hump day loves!

Today's Readables feature the best clutch size beauty products, your guide to your most stylish thanksgiving, the $13 leggings everyone is loving, affordable expensive looking jewelry, 5 fixes for ashy skin, why we will all miss Michelle Obama's style and grace, 27 pieces of beauty advice that don't have to do with make up, and the most perfectly timed Amazon ad you must see for all the feels.

The Coveteur: Best clutch sized beauty products
BuzzFeed: The perfectly timed Amazon ad, 27 pieces of beauty advice
Man Repeller: 5 fixes for ashy skin
WhoWhatWear: $13 leggings everyone loves, affordable jewelry, Michelle O style
My Domaine: Your most stylish thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sock Boots Under $60

The sock boot is making some major waves. It's elegant shape is a departure from more conventional clunky boots that typically take over our footwear as soon as it's chilly enough to wear them. Sleek and sexy, these boots were made pretty popular following the Yeezy fashion show (and all of the fun and frugal DIYs that followed).

However, if you're not as DIY friendly and don't have the funds to furnish Yeezy boots (or anything for that matter) may I proposed purchasing a more affordable pair. Here are 8 pairs under $60 to get you started. Thank me later.

Sock Boots Under $60

ASOS floral shoes
$56 -

Public Desire black boots
$51 -

Black booties

Suede boots

High heeled footwear

Reclaimed Readables, November 22nd

Hey hey hey! Happy Tuesday loves!

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay features stylish sock boots, the new trend in party shoes, heels that solve every problem associated with heels, gorgeous rose gold sneakers to sparkle your workout, velvet shoes that are ready for any function, and your New Year's Eve shoes ready and waiting.

Stylish sock boots
The new trend in party shoes
Problem solving heels
Rose gold sneakers
Velvet shoes
Your NYE shoes

Monday, November 21, 2016

9 Mens Coats Under 50 (that are actually good)

The sudden drop in temperature here in Philly finally cut short my prolonged laziness around pulling out my cold weather wear.

High winds and low temps require way more than a hoodie or jacket. Lifting one of my favorite winter coats from its storage hideaway, I personally revealed in the fact that a coat I bought 3 autumns ago was still being worn today, and for under $50 (from Target, too!)

That made me think of you guys, my male readers. Lets face it, your clothes generally cost more. I am not entirely sure exactly why, but I think it sucks. Why shouldn't you have a great coat that you can wear year after year for a great pice?

You should. So, I found 9 of them for you. These quality coats are all under $50. You're welcome!

9 Mens Coats Under 50 (that are actually good)

Mens coat
$50 -

Mens coat
$50 -

Mens trench coat
$32 -

21 Men mens toggle coat

21 Men mens toggle coat

21 Men mens toggle coat