The patterns and colors in this collection from Fox & Brie makes me want to wear pocket squares and bow-ties everyday! I would mix and match them based on palette. These designs are handmade from vintage and dead-stock materials. They are so incredibly fun, and I love that they are each limited editions.
Beautiful handmade accessories (and lovely sandals, not pictured here) from Sseko Designs. Along with creating fashionable designs, the socially-conscious brand provides employment and scholarship opportunities for their employees. Which in turn, empowers women and their communities to prosper.
I love what they're doing and feel that their mission is totally in line with where all business and enterprise need to go. When we consider the impact our products and services make beyond their basic function, we can change our world. Human-centered thinking and design is now and necessary.
Are you creating a brand that empowers, changes how people think, or challenges systems?
Last Friday I had the wonderful honor of speaking on a panel about work/life balance. The panel included some folks I truly respect and admire: Kim and Kyle from Baltimore Print Studios, and Jennifer Cooper of Classic Play; and it was a great conversation moderated by Kara (from A Creative Reality). It's always great hearing and learning from other creatives about their experiences, and I walked away with a lot to think about.
Although I still have so much to learn about work/life balance I feel as though I am growing to have a better understanding of how to prioritize what's really important to me. Because I wanted to share what I've learned and because I am an educator who loves handouts, I created a little work/life balance worksheet for the event. It's a little exercise to get folks thinking about how they can prioritize and focus their energy.
One section asks to list three words that one wants to live by.
Several years back, one of my students was presenting his work to a group of design professionals and during that presentation one of the professional designers gave my student this great suggestion of designing with three words in mind. She said to the student that whenever she is developing an identity for a brand she asks the client to list three words that fully describes the attributes of that brand. Designing to those three words helps keep the designer focused and allows her to weed out concepts that do not fit. I loved it and have used that technique since then.
But it never occurred to me to apply that technique to my life. Not until a conversation I had with my friend Tanekeya Word some time ago.
sidenote: I have to say that Tanekeya is one of the most talented, beautiful, and brilliant people I know. She consistently blows me away with her depth of knowledge and insight, and her work is fascinating. Please check her out tanekeyaword.com, she's amazing!
So in that conversation we were talking about following our passion and making sure they align with out belief-systems and values. This is when Tanekeya posed to me that wonderful question: what are three words you live by? I didn't have an answer then, but when we got off the phone I pulled out a thesaurus and my idea book and filled pages with words and ideas that were important to me. I found them, and now if projects and opportunities do not fall in line with those words I don't do them. Simple as that.
What about you? Are there three words that inspire, focus, or guide you? You don't need to share them here, matter-of-fact I would keep them close to you. But you can say yes or no, or feel free to share other strategies that keep you grounded, balanced, and focused.
Big thank you to Kara and Jen for inviting me to speak on the panel and to Tanekeya for the inspiring question.
I'm driving there, so I've been putting together a playlist that will keep me pumped on the road. Being a huge fan of The Neptunes I decided to expand my current playlist dedicated to their artistry for the ride.
Don't know who The Neptunes are? It's a production team comprised of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams who got their start in Virginia Beach, VA. I came to know of them with Mystikal's single "Shake Ya A**" although they had done plently of work before then.
With their rise in the late 90s and early 2000s, when they were making beats for EVERYONE (JT, Jay-Z, Brittney Spears, Nelly, Kelis, etc.), their sound became the soundtrack of my college years and early adult life; back when two-way pagers, Escalades, and Manolo Timbs were the ish.
Last year a friend asked, "what's your favorite Neptunes produced song?" I could not answer. There were just too many! We spent the afternoon going through hot song after hot song. Since then I've read a few blog post dedicated to listing the top 10 or 50 songs produced by The Neptunes and for me, each list failed to list some of the best. Even "official" discography lists left out important songs. So I need for there to be an official compilation album of Neptunes hits.
With that said, I wanted to share a few songs that I've added to my list. Some of which I totally forgot about, and some you may not know. Here they go in no particular order, but do know that my top favorite are "There She Goes" by Babyface, "I Still Love You" from 702, and "Last Night" from Justin Timberlake.
(Side note: You know how they have artist themed parties? Like Prince and Michael Jackson, there should totally be a Neptunes themed party.)
1. "Hit the Freeway" Toni Braxton ft. Loon
2. "There She Goes" Babyface
3. "Wanna Love you Girl" Robin Thicke
4. "Girls Dem Suga" Beenie Man ft. Mya
5. "Last Night" Justin Timberlake
6. "I Still Love You" 702
7. "Green Light" Beyonce
8. "Incredible" Madonna
9. "U Don't Have to Call" Usher
10. "Love U Better" LL Cool J
11. "Youngin'" Fabolous
12. "Say Somethin" Mariah Carey ft. Snoop Dogg
13. "Blue Magic" Jay-Z
14. "Change Clothes" Jay-Z
15. "I Just Wanna Love Ya" Jay-Z
16. "Pass the Courvoisier" Busta Rhymes <--- I totally forgot about this one!!
17. "Touch" Omarion
18. "Hot in Herre" Nelly
19. "Drop it Like's Hot" Snoop Dogg
20. "Frontin'" Pharrell ft. Jay-Z
What is your favorite Neptunes produced track?
When I visit Brazil one of the things I have to bring back with me is coconut soap. There, it's typically used for hand-washing clothes but I like to use it as a deep cleanser for the face (and skin overall) and it's perfect for the soaking portion of your pedicure at home. The coconut oil acts as a light moisturizer as it cleans, leaving everything soft to the touch.
They come in big chunks (depending on the brand) and are super easy to cut into smaller pieces, especially if you don't want to use the entire bar at once.
Using some hand-printed canvas material (heavy enough to not get oil spots from the soap) I wrapped each bar, tied it with yarn, and added a little lavender as an accent. The result is a little souvenir from Brazil to give to friends.
What kinds of gifts do you bring back for friends when you travel?
I LOVE hearing from former Fly Girls of the Week. Especially when they share their latest projects and creative endeavors. NOEMMI, the brainchild of former FGOTW Tenneal Rochelle McNair, is a clothing line inspired by her love for art, cultural studies and women's empowerment. I'm loving the patterns and edginess of the looks. Beautiful!
Looking forward to seeing more from the brand. Check out more here.
Over the weekend while I was in Philly, I was visiting one of my favorite boutiques, Vagabond, when I stumbled upon this lovely line of jewelry called 31 Bits. The beautiful and colorful necklaces and bracelets made of recycled paper are designed by women from Northern Uganda. I loved them so much I had to leave with a necklace of my own. Learn more about the designers or buy a piece of your own here.
There's so much to say about my trip to Brazil. I've been back for a week and still processing everything I've done and seen. My time there was a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally, mentally and physically. There were a lot of ups (family, good food, lots of love, etc.) and downs (exhaustion, getting sick, losing my ID, etc.) — but it was a wonderful experience.
Although I've visited many times before this visit was very different. I can't really articulate why, but there is something about this visit that has left a major impression on me. It made me feel more appreciative about the small things we (Americans) have and a little melancholy about the things we (my mother and I) don't — our family close by. The trip also made me fall in love with Rio and cariocas (residents of Rio) even more than ever. In a little/big, brother/sister way — they get on each other's nerves but you love them to death and will knock someone out if they talk about your sibling.
It also allowed me to understand my mom from a different perspective. This time I saw and understood how this city/country made her who she is in so many ways.
I took a lot of photos, most I have shared on Instagram, but wanted to share those and more here on Fly. From food, to beach-life, to street art, here's a little of what I saw during my three week stay.
One of my favorite moments was seeing this beautiful work of art
called Escadaria Selarón located in Lapa, a historic district in Rio.