It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I was raised in a Christian home, but growing up Christmas as a holiday was just not that big of a deal. Even now that I’m adulting with a family, I keep the decor simple, and gifts minimal. I know, I know, BAH HUMBUG. My mom was a single parent, so some of that may have been economics, but I now understand it was also her rejection of a commercialized day. She introduced us to Kwanzaa, and I have also incoporated the Kwanzaa traditions alongside Christmas in my family. One of my favorite principles of Kwanzaa is UJAAMA which means Cooperative Economics. I firmly believe that success comes when we celebrate and financially support eachother. So here’s my shopping list for this Holiday Season!
Nubian Skin is a UK based company that offers Nude Hosiery & Lingerie for Women of Color, and provides global shipping. You can also shop their product line via Nordstroms. The demand was so high for these products just from the image below going viral. I was among those who anticipated the countdown to launch! You can sign up for promotions and get on the exclusive mailing list by visiting www.nubianskin.com
The Founder: Ade Hassan was born in Yorkshire, UK, but has also lived in her parents’ home country of Nigeria, and in the states. She launched Nubian skin at 30 years old. Talk about impressive! She’s said in different interviews that her inspiration behind the product brand was frustration from the inability to find quality under garments that matched her skin tone. She is now serving a customer base that can definitely relate.
Every holiday season my mom makes AT LEAST 3 huge batches of her famous macaroni and cheese. One for home, one for family, and one for an annual New Year’s gathering with church folk. So last Christmas I puchased the PanHandler for her. The PanHandler comes in 2 sizes, and it is uniquely different from other food transport systems because the zippers zip completely down to flatten the bag. This makes it easier to put in your bakeware/pan without spills. I purchased the smaller version, and opted for the monogram for a personalized touch. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve layed towels on the bottom of my car floor, scolded my hands, trying to get a pan of food to the church. The PanHandler Bag is perfect even if you’re not a regular cook, because it’s inexpensive and you never know when you’ll need it. It’s also a great “stocking stuffer” for your mom, auntie, mother in law, or grandmother. (Now I’m definitely going to have to get one for my Big Mama.)
“You need The PanHandler because it will make traveling with food easy. It will keep hot food hot and cold food cold. You can keep one hand free for opening and closing doors, locating keys and/or carrying other items to your car. You may take your pan which has been in a 400 degree oven for up to one hour and place it directly into The PanHandler for safe transporting. The PanHandler will keep food hot for approximately 3 hours, providing your pan has a tight seal.”- via www.pandhandlerbag.com
The Founder: Patrice Williams
“My kitchen was on the 2nd floor of a 3 story townhouse when I first thought of The Panhandler Bag. Every holiday I would stress over getting food from the kitchen down to the car without spilling and without fail, I’d spill something on the way down. I would need 2 hands to carry each pan down the stairs which of course meant multiple trips. See where this is going?
After the 5th Thanksgiving when I spilled sweet potato casserole drippings on the upholstery of my car seats is when I got serious and started looking for a bag. When I couldn’t find one that accommodated more than one pan, I decided to invent one. The Panhandler Bag’s rear load design is what makes this product unique. No more grocery store bags, shopping bags, or holding a hot pan steady while loading it into a top load bag. Just zip down the back of the bag and slide your pans in. You can now make one trip to the car, protect your car seats, and keep your food hot during transport all with the use of The Panhandler Bag.”
The small version is $24.99 and the large is 29.99. Monogram is available for an additional fee. ENTER GOBBLE2015 which takes 25% off your order until Wednesday (11:59pm).
The Wrap Life was created by Nnenna Stella in Brooklyn, New York. The online shop launched January of 2015, and offers hand made items and offers global shipping. “TWL is about cultivating a life abundant with color, texture, and handmade goods. Most of our products are hand printed or handmade and the proceeds enrich the lives of those who create them. Visit us often as we’re constantly adding new goodies to the shop. We hope you’ll find inspiration to be more creative and expressive in your everyday life.”
The Founder: Nnenna Stella evolved from waitress to entrepreneur. She created WRAP LIFE because she was on the hunt for head wraps. She Googled up a storm for 3 days to no avail. Like many entrepreneurs, she found a niche between need and opportunity. She controls all aspects of her small business and seeks to maintain authenticity by practicing transparency with her customers and followers. You can follow on Instagram @thewraplife and Twitter @shopwraplife.
Dope Crochet designs are contemporary, unique and unlike anything else in the world of fiber accessories. All creations are original designs and are handmade with quality and love right here in Austin, TX. (My home town-woot woot!!!)
The Founder: Ericka Barnes is the artist and owner of Dope Crochet. She is an entrepreneur and mother. Her business began with a desire to create one of a kind accessories for herself. Crochet is her therapy. She was born and raise on a small farm in Austin, TX (Hometown HOLLA!). She attended undergraduate school in Boston, MA. She returned hope to Austin, to be surrounded by her family, and is pursuing her passion of crochet through her online shop. Ericka says her muse for most creations is her daughter, and what gives her the most joy is creating unique pieces for her ‘mini-me’.
Happy Hair is a call and response picture book that promotes positive self-esteem and hair love to girls of all ages! Happy Hair covers different shades and hair types all while being fun and fashionable! This book is the foundation to building Happy Hair.
The Author: Mechal Renee Roe authored and illustrated Happy Hair™. Her background is in the children’s wear industry and she started working before she finished high school. For 10 years she drew and styled girls with long flowy hair, and girls that didn’t reflect her own girlhood. She was inspired to create illustration that embraced mini fros and “pom pom puffs”, and that was the first thing she did once she left her corporate job.
This is my mama’s book y’all! I am so proud of her for making her dream into a reality. This is her first published children’s book. It is a poem based on my little cousin, and it is about instilling self confidence,self determination, and removing mental limitations.
“Every child is gifted. Wynter, Take a Bow poetically illustrates the creative genius and exuberant spirit of one amazing little girl. Featuring phenomenally vivid art, each illustration is simply beautiful.
Wynter, Take a Bow is Willie S. Anderson’s first published children’s book. Though written primarily for youngsters, this brilliant “work of heart” is sure to inspire and rejuvenate the child in each of us.
Keep the pages turning!”
The Author: Willie S. Anderson, M.Ed., is an educator, visionary, writer, speaker, sojourner, and community advocate. Blessed to live her passion through service, Anderson firmly believes that we must use our God-given talents to uplift our community. Ms. Anderson is abundantly blessed with supportive family and friends. She is a mother and grandmother, and certified special edutcation teacher. A native of Henderson, Tennessee, Anderson resides in Pflugerville, Texas. Bio via Amazon.com
This picture floating around social media is what hipped me to ArielBrands. I had been natural for a year, saw this picture , and ordered it on a t-shirt (currently unavailable).
You can purchase beautiful posters, canvas, and wood prints, and my favorite: wearable art.
The Founder: “We are all here for a purpose. Our mission is to discover exactly what our purpose entails. Mine is to create art. I was born with a paint brush in hand.” – Ariel
Keturah Ariel bobo is the Artist and Creative genius behind Ariel Brands.
Fashion For the Movement. GLOSSRAGS elevates consciousness by offering limited edition clothing with a message. I personally own 2 of the brand’s shirts from the “And Counting” series, which highlights victims of lethal use of force. One represents the men and boys, and the other represents the women in girls.
“GLOSSRAGS is committed to conscious consumerism by creating critically crafted designs that are a catalyst for social activism & discourse. GLOSSRAGS specializes in creating one-off, limited edition designs that provide some sort of social commentary on issues at play within the world, be they social justice, institutions or popular culture.” via glossrags.com
The Founder: Randi Gloss birthed GlossRags from a sign she carried when she attended the commemorative 50th Anniversary for the March on Washington in August of 2013. Over and over people stopped her and asked if they could take a picture of her sign. She launched her brand with a micro-loan of $500 from her mentor, a loan only given once she provided a concrete business plan. We are so grateful he believed in her.
Follow her on Instagram @randigloss & Twitter @GlossRags
The “black card” is term misused as an accusation by many, but playfully used by black folks. This family friendly game is sure to bring laughs this Holiday Season as you bring some organized fun to our timeless debates. You can find instructions on how to play on the site. LEARN MORE HERE
The Founder: Keturah Ariel BoBo (See above)
P.S. They are working on a Jollof Expansion pack!!! Being married to a 1st Gen Naija man and trying to preserve culture for my 3 boys, I’m so excited about this pack!
Georgia native Nicole Taylor spent her early twenties trying to distance herself from her southern cooking roots–a move “up” to Brooklyn gave her a fresh appreciation for the bread and biscuits, Classic Fried Chicken, Lemon Coconut Stack Cake, and other flavors of her childhood.
The Up South Cookbook is a bridge to the past and a door to the future. The recipes in this deeply personal cookbook offer classic Southern favorites informed and updated by newly-discovered ingredients and different cultures.
Here she gives us pimento cheese elevated with a dollop of creme fraiche, grits flavored with New York State Cheddar and blue cheese, and deviled eggs made with smoked trout from her favorite Jewish deli. Other favorites include Collard Greens Pesto and Pasta, Roasted Duck with Cheerwine Cherry Sauce, and Benne and Banana Sandwich Cookies.
The recipes speak to a place “where a story is ready to be told and there is always sweet tea chilling.”
This promises to be a new Southern classic.
The Author: Georgia native Nicole A. Taylor hosts Hot Grease, a food culture podcast and is the principal of NAT Media. She has contributed to First We Feast, Cherry Bombe, Amtrak, Southern Foodways Alliance, Travel Noire and her recipes are featured on Colorlines, Design*Sponge and in the America I Am: Pass it Down Cookbook and The Way We Ate: 100 Chefs Celebrate a Century at the American Table cookbook. Nicole self-publishes the Modern Travelers’ Green Zine, a print publication focused on food + travel. In 2014, she produced a short documentary on the desegregation of an Athens, GA drive-in restaurant.
A member of Black Urban Growers and James Beard Foundation. Nicole worked for the Brooklyn Food Coalition, served on the fundraising committee for the Vendy Awards NYC, instructed young adults at Kingsborough Community College’s Project Rise (a GED & internship program that weaves in urban farming & food culture) and facilitated media landscape workshops for the The LAMP NYC. via Amazon.com
Info & Bio from AMAZON.
I found out about this brand because of a feature in Entrepreneur magazine.
“Kombuchick (Come-BOO-Chick). n. A Virginia- based kombucha bar, brewery, & bartending services corporation. We are a Virginia’s Finest company, and proudly distribute our artisanal bottled kombucha throughout the Mid- Atlantic and greater East Coast. Established in 2011, Kombuchick has received several national awards and state- level distinctions.” Leslie Crews is the brainchild behind the business. A graduate of Virginia Tech (Class of 2007), Leslie started the company when seeking to find a viable alternative to alcoholic beverages at social functions, potlucks, soirees and the like. Leslie would brew and bottle her kombucha and bring them to the party— fairly soon, they BECAME the party. One thing sprouted another, and Kombuchick was born. via www.kombuchick.com
The Founder: Leslie Crews, a Virginia Tech grad and former bartender, began brewing kombucha in the spare bedroom of her Norfolk, Virginia townhouse. In 2010, Crews quit her government job to start Kombuchick. She left her job with $1500 in her savings account to rent a commercial kitchen space, purchase more equipment, and set up a stand at Norfolk’s Five Points Community Farm Market. She took a risk and invested in herself, and I admire her so much for making that investment.
Truvee is a play on the French verb that means “to find”. This is perfect when you know the story of how the founders came together. Years in the making, TRUVÉE WINES launched in February of 2015. This is the McBride Sisters’ latest venture, following their New Zealand based wine company, eco love wines. The vision for Truvée is “to create elegant, finely balanced wines that are not heavy handed and express distinct individuality. Stylistically, Truvée bridges wines that sit between old world and new world: no polarizing flavors or characteristics, just unique blends, showcasing finesse from some of our best vineyard locations on the Central Coast.”- www.truveewines.com
Available at Kroger and other retailers nationwide, regularly priced wines start at $15.99 but are currently on special. You can use The Wine Bar Store Locator, search Truvee Wines, to find your local vendor, or shop online.
The Founders: The McBride Sisters
Robin and Andréa McBride’s story is like a silver screen fairy tale. On his deathbed their father asked his siblings to connect his daughters. They had grown up apart and never knew eachother existed. Several years after their father’s passing, they connected. They launched their first Wine company, ecowines, in New Zealand-where Andréa was raised. At launch they were the first African Americans sisters to own a wine company. The both grew up in wine country- and bonded over their passion for good wine and the good timesand memories created over a good wine. I heard their story on the Tom Joyner Morning store, and I’m committed to test tasting all I can this holiday season 🙂 .
Let me start by saying that I have never seen a sexier spirit bottle. Seriously, how cool is is it? That is really the bottle.
“Ultra premium vodka, FOU-DRÉ , is the literal personification of exclusivity and culture. A true ultra-premium vodka, FOU-DRÉ ignites your taste buds with a colorful conglomerate of spice, sweet and seduction. Defined by the zeal its five ingredients lend, FOU-DRÉ unleashes a foray of penetrating flavor. Pronounced, FOO-DRAY, the name denotes its French heritage meaning, “lightning”. Commanded by a violet hue glass-lightning bolt, the bottle evokes royalty, allure and glamour. Colored with organic ink, the vessel boldly boasts that it is not only exquisite but also eco-friendly.”
The Founder: Chanel Turner is the ONLY African American woman to own a Vodka company. She went to college on a basketball scholarship and is also a web developer for the Pentagon. Talk about multi-talented! In 2009 she took a chance and created her high quality spirit company .”It just dawned on me, vodka isn’t what it used to be and I wanted to change it…The burn, the harshness, the fact that people mask it to make fancy cocktails but not drink it for the product that it is.” Turner invested ALL off her savings to launch this company. It has’t been easy to succeed in a male dominated industry, but FOU-DRÉ is available in the metro Atlanta area, the DMV area, and can now be ordered online.