Friday, August 31, 2018

This Was Made By a Black Woman: The Reclaimed

Five years ago, an awkward introvert started writing about the 25-year-old leather and canvas Fendi bag she found on a marked-up mannequin.

A few years later, on her birthday weekend, she was attending her first official NewYork Fashion week. Since then, she has been able to launch out, writing for different platforms, had a few serious brand partnerships, met the mother of blogging and received major praise from her, and successfully and happily kept this small space on the internet going for 5 years.

But the most important element of being a blogger to me is the community that has surrounded me in this journey.

From newbie writers coming to me (of all people!) for advice to entrepreneurs I have the opportunity to feature to established writers and fellow bloggers who are killing it in the game, and most importantly, to you, my beloved readers and friends, who have encouraged, emboldened and inspired me to do better, to be better; this little experiment of blogging has become one of my life's biggest joys and I am so grateful that I took the advice of so many and simply started.

This time on This Was Made By A Black Woman, I share The Reclaimed, the blog I launched 5 years ago this day.

I started The Reclaimed on a preowned IPad 2 in 2013. That's right. And didn't think anything of it either. (I only switched over to a laptop two summers ago!)

My blog started out as a place where I talked about the cool things I have found or did find at local thrifts. It has since grown into a place where we talk fashion, style, beauty, and a good chunk of social justice. I started out trying to write for everyone but quickly learned that if you're writing for everyone, you are writing for no one.

I now write for mostly women (but men are welcome to the conversation as well!) in particular, millennial women. I want to cover topics that concern them, from the latest trends to affordable beauty to plants and crystals to Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. I don't want to just talk about aesthetics nor do I want to just offer my opinion on the news of the day. Sites like these are needed, where the total woman is addressed but I didn't really know that until I started.

But The Reclaimed isn't just for others. It has been very personal to me as well. I have been pretty candid in this space. I have talked about my own divorce, miscarriage, loss, and dealing with issues of emotional abuse. I have also talked about a lot of victories here, my faith in Jesus that guides me daily, finding love again, and different joys I get to have.

I love this little nook of the internet. I have found so much of myself in this process. I have gained confidence in myself and my writing. I have met some of the most interesting, infuriating, and inspiring people, all with their own lessons to teach me, lessons that have only added to the woman I am, and the woman I am becoming.

Being Black-owned/ Woman-owned means the world to me. It has given me the platform to tell the stories of my people and my gender, to challenges assertations about the two, to challenge the communities to which I belong, and to show solidarity and support to both in a way that did not exist 5 years ago.

When I started The Reclaimed, it felt like Black Women bloggers were few and far between. Big fashion blogs like WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report, and the like rarely even shared posts with Black girls' outfits. Now, Black Women are everywhere, from the covers Vogue to every big blog worth their salt.

Black women have made some serious noise across the board in recent years, especially in the avenue of style and beauty in a way that shows us as we really are, not as a trend to be embraced for a moment, but viable, beautiful, and valuable part of the style community. It's great to be a part of that legacy.

Thank you all for the last 5 years. It has been one amazing journey of growth, transparency, development, and blossoming. I am beyond grateful.

Here's to 5 down and however many wonderful more together!

Reclaimed Readables


Happy Friday loves! Today's Readables feature every Labor Day Beauty Sale happening this weekend, 21 home and fashion sales this weekend, the best beauty products that launched this month, turn your bedroom into an oasis with these cheap hacks, and fall eyeshadows for dark skin.

The Zoe Report: Every Labor Day Beauty Sale happening this weekend
MyDomaine: 21 home and fashion sales this weekend
Coveteur: ICYMI- The best beauty products that launched this month
Apartment Therapy: Turn your bedroom into an oasis with these cheap hacks
Refinery29: Fall eyeshadows for dark skin

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Today's Readables feature 4 questions to ask yourself if you want a raise, what really happens when you default on your student loans, how much you should save every month for a down payment by state, the biggest investing mistake that women make and men don't, and why this woman refuses to tell her boyfriend about her savings.

Apartment Therapy: How much you should save every month for a down payment by state
The EveryGirl: 4 questions to ask yourself if you want a raise
Refinery29: What really happens when you default on your student loans
Bolde: Why this woman refuses to tell her boyfriend about her savings
Coveteur: The biggest investing mistake that women make and men don't

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday


This week's #WomensCrushWednesday features 11 inspiring quotes by women that inspire us to be better, 10 plus-size bloggers you need to follow on Instagram, why the plant lady is the new cat lady, 3 women making huge strides in mental health, and the importance of Black nerdy girls finally seeing themselves on screen.

MyDomaine: 11 inspiring quotes by women that inspire us to be better
Refinery29: The plant lady is the new cat lady, 3 women making huge strides in mental health
The EveryGirl: 10 plus-size bloggers you need to follow on Instagram
BuzzFeed: Black nerdy girls are finally seeing themselves on screen

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

This week's #TuesdayShoesday features 32 pairs of heels that are surprisingly comfortable, how to know the difference between a training shoe and a running shoe, 15 ways to style bold sneakers, shoes to get you hype for Fall, and 29 shoes that will make you fall for metallics.

Well+Good: How to know the difference between a training shoe and a running shoe
BuzzFeed: 32 pairs of heels that are surprisingly comfortable
WhoWhatWear: 15 ways to style bold sneakers
The EveryGirl: Shoes to get you hype for Fall
Fashionista: 29 shoes that will make you fall for metallics

Monday, August 27, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday

This week's #MindfulMonday Readables feature DIY Black Soap scalp healing shampoo, the expert says your skincare needs to be simplified, , the book proves self-worth is just as important as what you're eating when your dieting, 18 tricks to reducing your carbon footprint, 17 cool things you didn't know you could do with your library card, and 20 vegan recipes to meal prep this week.

Black Girl, Long Hair: DIY Black Soap scalp healing shampoo
MyDomaine: This expert says your skincare needs to be simplified
The EveryGirl: 20 vegan recipes to meal prep this week
Byrdie: This book proves self-worth is just as important as what you're eating when your dieting
BuzzFeed: 18 tricks to reducing your carbon footprint, 17 cool things you didn't know you could do with your library card

Friday, August 24, 2018

This service that will clear your closet and pay you big!

I've been talking a lot about decluttering closets recently. Minimalism is really blooming in my life in ways that are both pleasant and surprising.

But can I be honest? All this clutter clearing is time-consuming! Clearing out my closet and listing things online for sale takes time.

Especially when it comes to bags. If you've been following me for any amount of time, you know that I am a bag girl. When I am listing things, I can snap an Instagram worthy pic of a purse with no problem.

But to do it right, it does take A LOT of time: snapping good pictures with good light and a pretty background, uploading to a resale site, filling in all the details, setting a price...

...and then waiting (and waiting and waiting) for bids (if they ever come! Sometimes, the site is so inundated with good stuff that your listings can get lost in the sauce). Should your bag get purchased, then you are responsible for shipping. Then guess what? If the buyer doesn't like the bag, they can (and will) return it and you've lost a sale and have to list all over again.

Or worse: you shlep all of your bags to a local consignment that could or could not accept your bag. Should they accept it, you may get 40% of the profit, but likely, you will get much less, and that's only if they sell the bag. (Some consignment shops after some time will keep your items and then you end up with nothing!)

Who has that kind of time? All you wanted to do was to just get rid of bags, make space, and make a little money.

There really should be a service for this. One that all you have to do is send them some pictures and they send you a quote. A good quote. Then, they pay for the shipping. And in 2 to 3 days, they send you the cash quoted for your bag. Then you get to make money off your beautiful bag without any of the hassle...

What if I told you there is?

Rebag, does all of that for you.

All you have to do is take pics of your preloved purse and upload them to their site or on their handy app. Then they send you a quote for it. Should you like the quote, they send you a box to ship back to them (totally free). You send them the bag. And in a few days, you've got cash.

Boom.

Done.

On with life.

The only stipulation? Rebag is currently only accepting certain brands of bags, all of which are listed on their website.

So make room in your closet for new loves and make yourself some cash without the hassle. Simply Rebag it.

Ready to sell on Rebag? Use referral code thereclaimed and you're on your way!

Reclaimed Readables

The Cut
Happy Friday beauts and beaus!

Today's Readables feature 11 up and coming skin care brands, what it's like to be Black and work in fashion, Rihanna to replace Marc Jacobs in closing out this season's Fashion Week, beauty buys that give back, and over 30 fall fashion pieces to get you hype for autumn.

Fashionista: 11 up and coming skin care brands 
The Cut: Rihanna to replace Marc Jacobs in closing out this season's Fashion Week
Byrdie: Beauty buys that give back
BuzzFeed: Over 30 fall fashion pieces to get you hype for autumn
The Cut: What it's like to be Black and work in fashion

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Black Enough: Who Gets To Say Who is "actually" Black and Why it Matters

"You talk white." one of my fellow classmates said in disgust, prompting others around to snicker and giggle. I was in the 2nd grade, it was just after lunch and we hand made it to the concrete covered field our elementary school dared to call a play yard. I had never in my 8 short years only planet earth given much thought to how I spoke, until that day.

Honestly, I was always commended on my speech, from church leaders, my teachers, most of all from my own parents who were the guiding reason I spoke the way I did, all of whom were Black people. It wasn't until middle school that I was even exposed to White culture and White people.

I didn't know all of the ins and outs of that statement, or how ridiculous it was to assign ethnicity to a certain way of speaking, or that it could have been my classmates own insecurities that prompted the comment. All I knew, at 8 years old was how it made me feel; like an outsider, like I didn't belong, like I wasn't Black enough.

This type of commentary would continue through my whole life starting with that moment. My speech, from my inflection to my pronunciation, my skin tone, how I dressed, the music I liked, that I liked to read, that I smile a lot, all were attacked, not by those outside of my ethnic makeup, but from those within. In fact, I probably experienced more colorism and exclusion from my own people in those formative years than I experienced racism (that came later).

What I grew to learn was that these conversations were happening, not just to me, but to the majority of other Black people I would encounter. Most Black people, at one point or another, would have their "Blackness" questioned. It's so prolific, we even now have a game about it called Black Card Revoked (not a plug but the game is quite fun yall.)

What makes someone Black? And who really gets to decide?
Is it those with straight hair or weaves or naturals or locs? Do they have slicked edges or naps?
What skin tone do they have to have, and are light skinned people just tossed out for good measure?
What food do they have to like? Are they the keepers of the sweet potato pie recipe or the loved potato salad bearers? Are they the savory or sweet grits folk (if they like grits at all)? Do they twerk or do they salsa?
Is English their first language or maybe they speak French, Swahili, Patois, or one of the American dialects?
Are they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Atheist?
Are they urban, rural, suburban, island, desert, mountain people? Where do they (or their parents and ancestors) have to be born for them to qualify as Black people?

Recently, the conversation of who is Black enough has arisen in the public sphere. It started with this tweet:
For those unfamiliar with the term, DOS is short for Descendent of Slaves. This Twitter user even continued her tirade against these women, saying:

My question is this: WHY IS THIS EVEN A THING? Do DOS Blacks have an exclusivity on the market of Blackness? Are we the only ones with the rights to be called Black, omitting those from the Carribean (who most likely are also DOS) and those from the continent? Is Blackness only defined by a heritage of slavery, oppression, violation, and pain?

What an asinine rant. What bothers me more is that so many people agree with it.

Look, I understand, those of us who are Descendants of Slaves are a different expression of Blackness from those born on the Continent or the Carribean. But at the end of the day, we are all Black people.


Of course, both women addressed the foolishness. While Amanda Seales tweeted;



Luvvie Ajayi wrote;
"Some people believe that those of us who aren’t borne from a legacy of slavery have no place in the conversation because we aren’t directly tied to that particular type of struggle. So is Blackness earned through some sort of pain? Do I need to suffer in a specific way before laying claim to it? 
If you were always middle class or upper, are you less Black?
If you are light-skinned and haven’t had issues related to dark-skinned discrimination, are you less Black? 
If you’re an Afro-Latina, who was born in Puerto Rico, are you less Black? 
If you do not have ancestors who were ever enslaved, are you less Black? 
We often say that Black is not a monolith but then we question Blackness that doesn’t look like ours. We wonder if the person who grew up differently than us really loves Black people. Everyone isn’t Omarosa or Stacey Dash just because they have been privileged."
The point is that none of these asinine points matter. Not one of them. Especially in the current climate and times we live in where it does not matter what experience of Blackness you have, you can still be a victim of racism, white supremacy, and unjustified police brutality, and not one of those experiences will you be asked "Are you from the Continent, the Carribean, or the US?"

Blackness is not a monolith, it spans a wide and vibrant breadth of color and culture and creativity. There is no one way to be Black. No one has exclusive rights to claim ownership over Black.

Just like I was told in various ways and in various arenas that I was not "Black enough" despite being a DOS, being born here, and raised here. And while this conversation is worth having on the many expressions of Blackness, is it really worth attacking one another, like this, on soial media, right now, in this time where it feels like "open season" on Black people in general?

Quite frankly, I appreciate the vocies that are speaking up for Black people, whether they be Luvvie Ajayi, Amanda Seales, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, Bernice King, Symone Sanders, Angela Rye or any other sister bringing her own voice to the fight., and ultimately themselves on the line.

Maybe, instead of trying to quantify and qualify who is able to speak for Black people, the Black people involved should take their own voices and themselves on the line for a greater and more beneficial fight for Black people world wide.


Reclaimed Readables


Happy Thursday, faves!

Today's financially focused Readables feature how to actually invest your money, the best personal finance accounts to follow on IG, how to stop screwing up on your budget, 5 money lessons learned from WSJ Secrets of Wealthy Women podcast, and 3 easy tips to stop summer overspending.

Man Repeller: How to actually invest your money
Apartment Therapy: The best personal finance accounts to follow on IG
The Cut: How to stop screwing up on your budget
MyDomaine: 5 money lessons learned from WSJ Secrets of Wealthy Women podcast, 3 easy tips to stop summer overspending

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday

Happy Wednesday beautiful people!

This week's #WomanCrushWednesday features Mara Brock Akil on relationships and Love Is__, Kelly Tran talks racism and triumphing toxic fans, the platform that wants models of all sizes signed, one woman's beautiful tribute to Crazy Rich Asians, and Cardi B speaks out on behalf of working moms.

Coveteur: Mara Brock Akil on relationships and Love Is__
The Cut: Kelly Tran talks racism and triumphing toxic fans
Refinery29: The platform that wants models of all sizes signed
BuzzFeed: One woman's beautiful tribute to Crazy Rich Asians
MyDomaine: Cardi B speaks out on behalf of working moms

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

No, Omarosa will NOT be getting her Black Card back, Signed The Black Women Yall should be listening to

So, apparently, there is a selection of the Black Delegation that wants to restore Omarosa's Black Card.

Some time ago, the Chicago Tribune shared the column entitled "Omarosa may have earned back her Black Card."

The writer opened her piece (yes, the writer is a woman of color too and I move for the Black delegation to review her own Black Card standings for even saying the following) "C’mon African-Americans, have a heart. Omarosa Manigault Newman desperately wants her black card back. I think we ought to consider giving it to her."


via GIPHY

The writer says;
"Omarosa’s card was put in jeopardy when she sashayed onto the stage at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Ohio two years ago and criticized Barack Obama for “trying to sell us hope. 
"Hope won’t fill up the gas tank and hope won’t fill prescriptions," she proclaimed before breaking into a chant of "USA! USA! 
African-Americans collectively snatched her card away when she took a job in Trump’s White House. After that embarrassing photo op she arranged for Trump with the heads of historically black colleges and universities, black people said, "What the heck, she’s a lost cause. We’ll just burn it.""
The writer then goes on to continue listing Omarosa's faults and failings but then shifts into apologetics for Omarosa. How quickly we forget all of the above because the writer follows up with the following; "Omarosa was lost in Trump’s White House. But, just maybe, she really is trying to find her way back home now. What’s wrong with black people giving her a chance?" Continuing on;
"She’s given African-Americans yet another example of what happens every time one of us tries to give Trump a chance. She has forced Trump to reveal on Twitter his downright disdain for African-American women. She has challenged black people not only to think smart but act smart, especially in these troubled times.

Black card or not, Omarosa is still one of ours. She has nowhere else to go."
First and foremost to the author of this foolery...

via GIPHY

Venerated auntie Maya Angelou once said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." And Omarosa has shown us who she is, an opportunistic scam queen who wants revenge, not redemption. Omarosa is not reaching out because she just so happen to discover Trump was racist. She apparently knew back when they were costars on 'The Apprentice', and that still did not stop her from hitting the campaign trail on his racist behalf, like his good darky.

As far as Omarosa "given African-Americans yet another example of what happens every time one of us tries to give Trump a chance.", did we really even need the lesson? Black people know full well the consequences of going against their own to stand with racists, bigots, and otherwise hateful people. Clarence Thomas is still out here Black Cardless and hasn't been invited to a quality cookout in decades.

And about that "She has forced Trump to reveal on Twitter his downright disdain for African-American women." We already knew Trump despised Black people who stand against him, particularly Black Women. We already saw that in the treatment of Jemele Hill and Rep. Maxine Waters. And while I appreciate that she is putting the 45th President into a social media spiral (and how entertaining that is) and that she may or may not have tapes, video, and blood samples or whatever else incriminating him of whatever and what-have-you, that doesn't mean that she wasn't the "black friend" who helped him get elected in the first place.

As far as Omarosa challenging "black people not only to think smart but act smart, especially in these troubled times.", are you kidding me, writer? Omarosa's brand of "think smart but act smart" got her embroiled in the Trump cesspool White House, to begin with. That brand of "think smart but act smart" would have Black people turning on their own, only to attempt to return to when deemed convenient. But Black people are not Omarosa's 7-11 or Wawa, we refuse to be there for her when she wants a snack or needs a cup of coffee or to play the numbers. She is tugging on the door and it is locked with a sign that says "Closed for Traitors".


via GIPHY

Think about this; would we even be hearing from Omarosa was she not fired? Face facts: Omarosa does not care about Black People. She wants to leverage a community already angry at Trump against him so that her own vengeance can be enacted. Period.

And unfortunately for her, I and a slew of other Black People refused to be used the same way she was used by 45. We see right through the press tour, the book, the tapes, and video down to a heart that was never with us, that never cared for us, that never stood for us. Omarosa is Black in skin tone only, one Zora Neale Hurston would have called "skin folk, not kin folk." and we see past all of that melanin to a traitor who should never be received back to the community she was an active part of destroying.

The fact that Omarosa has "nowhere else to go" is none of my business and not my damn problem.

via GIPHY

She made this bed, now she has to sleep in it. Period.

Let Omarosa's cultural shunning stand as a lesson to all of those who would stand against their own culture and their own kind; if you side with the devil, don't be surprised when you get burned.

Black. Card. Revoked.

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay


Happy Tuesday loves!

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay features how to complete any outfit with a pair of sneakers, how to wear heels without damaging your feet, the pairs that will up your sneaker game for under $100, the pretty shoe trend taking over for fall, and the best alternatives to flip-flops.

Refinery29: The best alternatives to flip-flops
WhoWhatWear: Up your sneaker game for under $100, the pretty shoe trend taking over for fall
Coveteur: How to complete any outfit with a pair of sneakers, how to wear heels without damaging your feet


Monday, August 20, 2018

Lessons my plants have taught me

A few weeks ago, I talked about how I and a growing number of people my age are becoming proud pet parents. Since then, I have bought one snake plant, one aloe plant and four air plants, bringing my plant total to 14, albeit small, but vibrant plants.

I am becoming a plant lady. And I have no shame about it. I have spent my few free moments reading up on the latest on the best plants for my place, which plants live in the best light, and exactly how much I should be watering. I like my new hobby of caring for these little green beings that clean the air, improve mental health, and add to my overall sense of wellbeing. All of this plant care has reinforced some serious life lessons within me. Here they are the latest I am embracing:

Be patient:
Plants grow and change at a slower pace than we living in this time are accustomed to. Caring for them forces us to slow down, which, despite my love of progress, I can firmly say that slowing down is beyond beneficial. It's downright therapeutic.

Be present:
Houseplants, like all living things, require care and attention. You cannot half care for a plant and expect it to survive, let alone thrive. If you are going to be a good plant caretaker, you have to be present with them. Just like you have to bond with people and a pet, you should bond with your plants. You have to take the time away from all that beeps, blinks, and has a bright screen and be present with your plants.

Pay attention:
Because plants change and develop so slowly, it forces us to pay attention to them. When we spot a trouble spot, a browning leaf, or a tiny web, we need to assess right away and make changes. Caring for anything we want to grow and thrive forces us to be aware of as many aspects surrounding it as possible. And why shouldn't that apply to our plants?

Respect nature:
Sometimes our best efforts are not enough. Leaves wither and fall off, the plant is sick and we don't know how to make it better, or a bug destroys it. This is the cycle of nature and sometimes, no human intervention can change it. While no plant lover would tell you to just give up on your green babies, keeping this in the back of your mind is a great way to not get discouraged should something go wrong. If it can happen in nature, odds are, it can happen to your plants. This is also true for resprouting and regrowing, so don't give up and hang in there!





Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday


Happy Monday, good people!

This wee's #MindfulMonday features ColourPop's wellness inspired skin care sister brand, 15 low light plants that love dark corners, how to become a yogi in 14 days, the benefits of switiching to oils, and the wearable patch that helps you track your stress.

Fashionista: ColourPop's wellness inspired skin care sister brand
The EveryGirl: The benefits of switiching to oils
MyDomaine: 15 low light plants that love dark corners
Well+Good: Becoming a yogi in 14 days, the wearable patch that helps you track your stress

Friday, August 17, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Happy Friday loves!

Today's Readables feature Pat McGrath on why diversity and inclusivity were crucial to her brand since launch, 16 reasons Awkwafina is the queen of 2018, the author of Crazy Rich Asians has words for Hollywood, on National Thrift Day, here's what to know before you go, and how to deal with boob sweat 101.

Fashionista: Pat McGrath on why diversity and inclusivity were crucial to her brand since launch
BuzzFeed: 16 reasons Awkwafina is the queen of 2018, the author of Crazy Rich Asians has words for Hollywood
Well+Good: How to deal with boob sweat 101
Looking Fly on a Dime: On National Thrift Day, here's what to know before you go

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Today's Readables feature how one woman quadrupled her salary, how your friends can help improve your finances, ways to save for that down payment on your home, 8 women on the biggest money fight in their relationships, the refillable beauty products that actually save you money (and the planet), and money lessons learned from our parents.

Refinery29: How one woman quadrupled her salary, refillable beauty products that actually save you money (and the planet), money lessons learned from our parents
The EveryGirl: How your friends can help improve your finances
Apartment Therapy: Ways to save for that down payment on your home
The Cut: 8 women on the biggest money fight in their relationships

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

This Was Made By A Black Woman: Cortisha Patrick of Tudecor


I remember sitting at my first Philly Fashion Week and witnessing Tudecor. Of all of the brands I was seeing (and I was seeing some amazing Philly lines, yall.) one of the brands that stood out the most was Tudecor. The combination of unabashed femininity, urban edginess, and unashamed sexy grabbed my attention.

I remember how the pieces moved or clung to the body in strategic ways. I remember how the models moved, how they walked, how they posed. Tudecor showed strong, sexy women just being their strong and sexy selves and I have been a fan ever since.

This time on This Was Made By A Black Woman: Cortisha Patrick of Tudecor.

"Hello, My name is Cortisha Patrick and the name of my brand is Tudecor. My clothing line targets all women of different shapes and sizes. The only thing you have to do is be "clexy" (classy + sexy). I created a brand that is for the women who are classy but admires their curves and sexuality. I love to dress the women that walk into a room and without speaking Tudecor does the talking for her."

When asked how she became an entrepreneur, Cortisha says"After coming home from college I had no job and did not know my next move. I woke up at three o'clock in the morning and created a complete collection within thirty minutes. I contacted my father and told him I wanted to produce a show. One month later, on November 25, 2012, I had my first sold-out show. Then multiple stylists contacted me to pull for celebrities and I was contacted to do Philly Fashion Week. God revealed to me that I should use all of my gifts and no longer sit on them."

When asked how she arrived at the design space, Cortisha says "My father is actually a designer and so was his mother. Sadly she died when he was just three years old. I would recall being very young while sitting on my father's lap as he would sew. I would allow me to stitch straight seams at the age of eight. I would come to school dressed for the Met Gala. My principal would contact my mother and ask if she was aware of how glamorous I was. It was my expression. My mother always allowed me to express who I was through fashion. I would dress everyone around me and have fashion shows at school. I never thought to make clothing. I would call my father almost every day asking him to make me dresses. It was until God stripped me of nothing which made me realize that all I needed was within me...fashion.

Cortisha is a passionate creator who is dedicated to her craft and to her brand. "Tudecor is beyond just a brand it's a generational connection. Every piece serves a purpose and every collection has a story." 

While Cortisha may have fashion in her blood, but her heart is definitely with her community, as seen through her dedication to those in need. "A portion of every single item that I sell goes into my nonprofit organization that I started at Penn Medicine which is call Penn Medicine Outreach Program. Every two months I provide families with clothing and food, care packages to the army and help with different needs for freshmen college students. My brand is bigger than me. I do not speak too much about it because God can see my work. Furthermore, my favorite product from my brand is the outcome of my work."

I asked Cortisha what being Black Woman-owned brand meant to her, she had this to say "The words Black owned/ Woman-owned is music to my ears. (Let me repeat it for the people way in the back!) Black Owned/Women Owned. All I can do is scream! Yes, it makes me feel that good. It shows strength dignity poise and power. It shows that I am unstoppable. I represent and stand firmly for the next generation to come. I am the example for the children that we as black women can do more than the expected. We are the light and the force to be reckoned with. Black people especially black women we are the bomb.com."

You can snag your own Tudecor pieces here and show your support and stay up to date with the latest here.

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday

Happy happy hump day, loves! This week's #WomanCrushWednesday features 3 monochrome outfits to make Fall to Winter transition easy, how this successful CEO and Founder shuts down her inner critic, Halsey shows off her natural hair to remind us of her roots, 1st Somali-American state lawmaker is already making history and the woman could be Conn. 1st Black Democrat in Congress.

Man Repeller: 3 monochrome outfits to make Fall to Winter transition easy
Huff Post: Jahana Hayes could be Conn. 1st Black Democrat in Congress
Bolde: Independence is overrated
MyDomaine: How this successful CEO and Founder shuts down her inner critic
Byrdie: Halsey shows off her natural hair to remind us of her roots
BuzzFeed: The 1st Somali-American state lawmaker is already making history

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Virgil Abloh is Collabing with Nike for Serena Williams


There was just so much goodness in that title, I am doing a happy dance just thinking about it.

You read that right.

Virgil Abloh, the design force behind coolness embodied brand OFF WHITE and more recently, the newest lead designer on the Louis Vuitton team has teamed up with Nike to create an Off-White collaboration with muse being the GOAT herself, Serena Williams.

Nike officially announced Abloh's "Queen Collection" for the tennis great, who will debut the designs at the 50th edition tournament of the U.S. Open in New York at the end of this month.

Abloh tells Fashionista:
"What I love about tennis is the gracefulness. It's an aggressive and powerful game, but it takes touch and finesse," said Abloh in an official statement. "So the dress is feminine, but combines her aggression. It's partially revealing. It's asymmetrical. It has a sort of ballerina-esque silhouette to symbolize her grace. It's not about bells and whistles and tricks. It's just about it living on the body, and expressing Serena’s spirit with each swing of the racket."
The "Queen Collection" is full of Off-White signatures, like "Serena" in all-caps, quotes, and zip-tie tags, and ranges in price from $130 to $900. While the collection consists of a tennis dress (in both black and white) with a tule like skirt (inspired by ballet), a bomber jacket, and a bag, I am particularly excited about the glittery pair of NikeCourt Flare 2 sneakers and the limited-edition styles of Abloh's previous Nike collaboration The 10 which includes a Nike Air Max 97 and The 10: Nike Blazer Mid SW with gradient-colored soles.

While Serena is the muse, the Queen Collection is not just for her. The collection will be available at select Nike and NikeLab retailers, as well as Nike.com. 

Cue my happy dance.

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

Happy Tuesday readers, and friends!

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay Readables feature over 20 slip-on sneakers, 20 lace-up leather sandals, the shoes that you can wear all year long, how a statement shoes can transform your whole outfit, 19 pairs of super comfy sock sneakers, and throwback shoe that is majorly resurging.

BuzzFeed: 19 pairs of super comfy sock sneakers 
Fashionista: Slip-on sneakers
Coveteur: The throwback shoe that is majorly resurging, how a statement shoes can transform your whole outfit
WhoWhatWear: 20 lace-up leather sandals, the shoes that you can wear all year long

Monday, August 13, 2018

When "Unite The Right" met the United Right

Yesterday, Unite the Right 2 was held in Washington D. C. For weeks, we had been hearing of the anticipated crowds of white supremacists that would be descending upon D.C. The city itself was in preparations as well, shutting down certain subways and mobilizing its police force. Businesses posted signs in rejection of the even, preparing to drive supremacists away. Even apps like AirBnb, Uber, and Lyft were we allowing their operators within the city limits to deny service to any white supremacists during the event.

"Unite the Right 2" wasn't just gathering in "honor" of last year's Charlottesville Tiki Torch, polo, and khaki pant clad protest of the removal of another Confederate statue. Like with most things in this nation's racial past, I consulted the voices of my elders, who reminded me that this upcoming march was not the first time white supremacists had been so bold as to parade themselves on D.C.'s streets. The last time white supremacists marched on the Nation's Capital on August 8th, 1925 may not be remembered by most, but it was a frightening display of terrorism affirmed by the country as 30,000 hooded men marched those same streets that our country's founding fathers and mothers had done.

Here we are, nearly 100 years since that brazen and gross act of visual terrorism, and Unite The Right's next march threatened to echo that event in number and in terror.

Last year's Charlottesville protest and the counter-protest the following day that led to violent clashes and the brutal murder of Heather Heyer left more of a mark on me than I initially cared to admit. With the generational ingrained terror and violence these groups have inflicted on my own community and others along with the knowledge of that 1925 march added to the violence and harassment inflicted on non-white groups as emboldened by the nations highest seat, I woke Sunday with a high sense of stress. I stayed away from social media for most of the day, fearing to see imagery that would etch its way into my heart the same way that the visuals from that 1925 rally and Charlottesville have implanted themselves.

Then I broke my social media guard and checked Twitter.






Turns out that the "highly anticipated Unite the Right was not only incredibly poorly attended, it was overwhelmed by thousands of counter-protestors. As the Atlantic Reports:
"In the end, though, only about two dozen ‘Unite the Right’ marchers ascended the escalator from the metro platform—all men, except for one bandana-clad woman. It was a dismal showing for a group who, only a few days before, had been expected to turn out in the hundreds. Both the 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ rally and this year’s were organized by Jason Kessler, a 34-year-old who identifies not as a white nationalist but as a “white civil-rights” leader. Kessler had set up Sunday’s event to keep the momentum going for the movement—but after last year’s tragedy, and the ensuing bad publicity, most alt-right groups chose to stay away.
It began to rain in earnest at 5 p.m., and the ‘Unite the Right’ protesters were ushered away quietly by their police escort. They paused to wait for one of their members, who had gotten caught, bewildered, in the throng of reporters. Across the square, behind the fence and the line of police horses, the counter-protesters didn’t even notice they had left."

Seeing this did something for my heart in ways only being there might have done better. It was a reminder that as loud and emboldened as some of those who have adopted or ingrained bigotry, misogyny, and racism, there are indeed more who will rise to not only meet but confront them. Seeing only a handful of white supremacists outnumbered even by the police officers that were assigned to protect them and completely overwhelmed by those who had come from around the corner and across the country to directly oppose their message, from various ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, educational backgrounds, ages, and life-stages, has warmed my heart and restored my own personal resolve that we, as a country united, can deal the final blow to supremacy of all kinds, and that we can truly begin to see each other not despite our differences, but in acceptance and in celebration of those differences. 

How symbolic that such a defeat to white supremacy would happen in the nation's capital, where Unite the Right was met by a United Right, right in morals and ethics and ideals of this great nation that we all claim to love; where those who would twist the narrative of civil rights were met by those who would seek rights for everyone regardless of orientation, identity, or ethnicity; that those who would withhold the promises made by the forefathers from everyone but themselves would be overtaken by those who truly believe in freedom and justice for all.

This is America.

Prayerfully, this is a sign of things to come. Keep resisting.

Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday


Happy Monday loves!

This week's #MindfulMonday features what we don't talk about when we talk about Natural Beauty, a guide to grow and create succulents, how to ease allergies the natural way, 8 natural anti-aging skin care ingredients, 30 ways to make a bad day better, and how to actually use essential oils in your skincare.

Coveteur: What we don't talk about when we talk about Natural Beauty
The EveryGirl: 30 ways to make a bad day better
A Pair and A Spare: Guide to propagate succulents
MyDomaine: 8 natural anti-aging skincare ingredients
Well+Good: How to ease allergies the natural way
The Zoe Report: How to use essential oils in your skincare

Friday, August 10, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Let's wrap up another week with today's Readables featuring the best Korean skincare products for women of color, 7 products to keep you from turning into a sweaty mess, 5 ways to eat healthily and save money, ways to create a best sleep ready bedroom, and how to make your own essential oil spray this weekend.

The Cut: The best Korean skincare products for women of color
Coveteur: 7 products to keep you from turning into a sweaty mess
MyDomaine: 5 ways to eat healthy and save money
Apartment Therapy: Create a best sleep ready bedroom
Well+Good: How to make your own essential oil spray

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Today's Readables feature 25 almost free date ideas, the book that is sharing everyone's money troubles, 25 money questions to ask your significant other, 5 money lessons from WSJ's Secrets of Wealthy Women Pod, how to work 24/7 and stay sane, and surprisingly accurate astrological sign spending habits.

MyDomaine: 25 almost free date ideas, 5 money lessons from WSJ's Secrets of Wealthy Women Pod
Refinery29: Money Diaries book launch, surprising accurate astrological sign spending habits 
The EveryGirl: 25 money questions to ask your significant other
Well+Good: How to work 24/7 and stay sane

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Black Women are Dominating September Magazine Covers


September Magazines are the bad broads of the magazine world. Most September issues feature the publications best; best pieces, best advertisements, best fashion and beauty tips, the best cover shoots shot by the best photographers and styled by the best stylists. However, the September line up this year is also quite "colorful".

There are an attention-grabbing amount of Women of Color being featured on the September issues. From Issa Rae as the "O" in Ebony to Zendaya on Marie Claire to Lupita N'yongo on the cover of Porter, Black Women are literally dominating the covers of the most important issues of the top magazines this month.

The issue getting the most buzz right now is Beyoncé's Vogue takeover. Even she acknowledges the progress that has been made saying "When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly, that has been proven a myth. " Clearly, queen.

It has been said that people typically featured on magazine covers are the "it" people of the moment, the trendsetters, tastemakers, and otherwise people of the moment. If that is true and September is where these publications are featuring the best cover people, then it can be clearly deduced that Black women may finally be getting the credit due them. Looks like the rest of the world finally caught on that Black Girls Rock. #BlackGirlMagic

Here are the September issues featuring women of color: