destiny; the pursuit

Hey Curvy Curlies! I pray 2019 is keeping you happy, whole and on the road to all things joyful. I will be spending this Monday of my life in service to myself and others and I am thrilled I have the opportunity to share some thoughts with you on a day we celebrate one of the greatest change agents the world has known, Martin Luther King, Jr.

In November of 2018, I began a transformational journey that has forever changed me. After two years of losses, severed relationships. work trauma, etc., I chose to do some heavy lifting and work on myself. I decided that I needed to create different opportunities. The greatest being love of self. Complete love of self - not the daily Instagram postings of encouragement, or the brief motivational pep talks, but the real stuff. The absolute belief in and honor of my authentic, beautiful, courageous, powerful self. I had been walking around touting “self care”, “self love”, ”body positivity”, but all the while not fully caring for, loving or accepting myself. I was settling for mediocrity. I was playing small. I had become complacent. I had convinced myself that greater was in my future, just not the very near one. My self talk was brutal; “you’re a fat ass” “you don’t deserve this title” “you will never”… Brutal, I tell ya, but I was evangelizing love and light to others. I was (and continue with) praying and meditating daily. I sporadically employed high frequency tools; burned sage, balanced my Chakras, crystals, the whole nine. I kept thinking, my heart and intentions are great, so where is the block? Why don't my results look like my dreams?  How can I be the pusher of self love when my own self worth was minimal? And, man listen, the vulnerability it takes to write a sentence acknowledging my own self esteem challenges is crazy powerful and prayerfully, motivational.

It’s amazing how people can be drawn to and see our true power, even when we’re operating in image. Even when our vocabulary is sophisticated enough to send the right message, but our hidden lives are in shambles. That’s why our tribe language matters, as do the voices of angels sent to push us to greatness. Our tribe reflects our vibe, but there comes a time when somebody in the tribe has to climb to the top of the rock to get perspective. Perspective about where we’ve been as tribe, where we are as tribe, and where we’re going as tribe. And check this out, er’body ain’t gon’ want to hear, see or explore the past or the future. Some of our tribe will fiercely defend being ok in the village of “now”. Now is comfortable. Now took a minute to create. Now was a stretch from “then” so what the heck is the problem with now? The issue with now is, its a combination of our stories of disappointment, failed attempts, heartbreak, abandonment, trauma. We rehearse those stories so much they become the lens to how we view everything. Those stories become our boxes of comfort. So that’s what “now” is, it’s our comfort zone. I know there’s a lot of talk about living in the moment and being present. I wholeheartedly embrace these ideas, however, we get to create new moments to be present in. We get to set an intention for a future of “when” (win). A future of greater.

I recently completed a ropes course full of poles to climb and planks to walk across. Utterly terrifying. I kept looking up at one of the wires and thinking there was no earthly way I could even reach it, let alone, stand and walk across it. But you know what? I climbed up to the wire - a tremendous feat in itself and it took me more than one attempt, but I did it and I stood on that freaking wire! With a broken toe, to boot! I moved across it until I could grab the rope dangling in front of me. My team tells me I slipped off the wire and pulled myself back up to a standing position, I have no recollection of this because I was focused on getting beyond the now to the greater! You feel me? I lived in each powerful moment of now, but I continued creating more powerful moments of greater. We all get to do that. We get to be present in every magical moment we create and push to creating greater.

During this process, one of the single most transforming pieces of feedback I received was “my experience of you is you’re a fraud”. Harsh, huh? Pissed me off! But man, listen, it changed my life. It let me know at least one person in the world cared enough about me to push me out of ego. They cared enough about me to challenge my image and make me face my self sabotaging bs.  It worked. Let me be clear, this is not an invitation to go around cutting people with words under the guise of “feedback”, but it is an invitation to self discovery and transformation.

You cannot be passive with your destiny - your future of greater. Dream it. Create it. Pursue it. With vigor and intent.

Faith requires movement. ❤️

Lila

have to - get to​

CurvyCurlies! It’s been a long time. I pray this writing finds you all doing well! I am so energized and excited about the coming year.

2018 tested a sista, FO RE AL. Losses, work trauma, relationship stretches...listen, I truly learned what I was made of and I don’t believe we ever stop being tested. The glory in the tests though? The lessons we learn when forced out of a space of comfort and the victory we experience after replacing resistance with gratitude. 

True growth occurs when we open our hearts and minds to new experiences. This may all sound cliche, but I promise, these simple words and reminders will help us live our best lives.

Transformation begins with shifts in mentality. Small shifts like; “I get to workout at 6:00a.m” instead of “I have to wake up an hour earlier”. “I get to be fiscally responsible”, instead of “I can’t buy new things because I have to save money”.

The shifts inevitably lead to stretches. A stretch might be as simple as trying that red lipstick you think is too bright or taking yourself on a lunch date - just yourself, your smile and an intention to overcome the fear of eating alone. Our stretches are personal to us, because comfort zones differ from person to person. 

I challenge you to start this week with the goal of doing a new thing. Something that makes you uncomfortable. Something your inner child would do without a second thought! Unlock the goddess warrior within you.  

Go! 

xo

Lila

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s t r e t c h

social media etiquette; my rules

Let's jump right in:

  • DO NOT SHARE POSTS WITHOUT PERMISSION.
  • DO NOT SHARE POSTS WITHOUT PERMISSION.
  • DO NOT SHARE MY (personal) POSTS OR ANYONE ELSE'S WITHOUT PERMISSION. Clear? Telling me you're sharing my post and asking me are two different things. If someone's Facebook post is not marked "public", it should NOT be shared. Period. The entire point of privacy settings is to manage who can see what is posted. You may have the capability to share it, but if I'm not rocking with anyone else on your "friends" list, guess what, they can't see it anyway. If it is something that really moves you, ASK to share it.
  • Do not have a private conversation in a public forum. Some of you are so pressed to let others know about your intimate connection with someone, you just put all your business (and theirs) out there. Stop it.
  • If you don't have anything constructive to write in comments, stfu. 
  • Stop taking folks pictures, cropping them AND adding filters to change the look and feel. You want to fall out with me or get blocked, this is a sure way to make it happen.
  • If you share/repost/retweet, give credit where credit is due. LOTS of y'all have whole Instagram accounts full of other folk's content and haven't acknowledged nary a source.
  • Give photo credit for professional pictures ESPECIALLY if you have not paid for the photo. I am an offender of this rule with personal photos, because I often forget. Check me when I do.
  • If you share something without knowing its original source, cite who you are sharing it from. Always appropriate to indicate "tag source" if you are unsure.
  • STOP spamming chain letters and nonsense to your friend's inboxes. Stop it.
  • Do use private messaging for personal information. Everything is not meant for public consumption. Pray for discernment.
  • All posts in all caps are obnoxious.  
  • Have a business? Create a business page and drive traffic there for your promotions.  
  • Make your band/brand/business pages public.  
  • Know that it is ok to "like" or even "love" your own posts.
  • PROOFREAD AND EDIT.  
  • Google. Amen.  

xx

Lila

what not to do

I express. The good, the bad and the ugly. Over the past week, it was mostly the bad, and apparently, it made some folks uncomfortable. I offer no apologies. I am a black woman (2 strikes) in this "post-racial" ameriKKKa where an imbecilic, xenophobic, racist, sexist egomaniac was just elected president. The core of me is both enraged and frightened. My anxiety about what may happen to people of color, women, the LGBTQ community and others is very real. We have been threatened with "stop and frisk", deportation, and healthcare repeal. Who can know what is in store, not only as a result of the coming administration, but also at the hands of ignorant bigots who now feel they have license to run up verbally and/or physically. Hate crimes have already been reported across the nation. I am confused and heartbroken that in many cases; agendas, politics and partisan allegiance trumped (no intended pun, trust me) the human experience. That part literally brings me to tears. AND to add insult to injury, we are now being accused of spreading hate. Huh? Because we are fully realizing the racist state of the union and we are reacting, we're promoting hate? Y'all got us so messed up...

Tuesday night, I desperately wanted to crawl back into my bubble of normalcy. A dreamland where mutual respect existed, even if in perception only. A place and time where our brains comprehended racism in pockets, but it did not feel like this pulsing glob of hate everywhere. Well, the bubble has burst. The genie cannot be put back into the bottle. We cannot unhear the hate-filled rhetoric spewed by this snake, nor can we ignore how the country is responding. This campaign (including election night) brought a trauma that is not easily mitigated. And while we must get to a place of collaboration on some level, it is a fantasy to think it will happen over night. We are amazingly resilient, but this thang here...it has changed us.

I know the only way to move the needle on this is to have real, honest, pull-no-punches conversations with each other, but, a lot of us just aren't ready. And not being ready is ok - for now. It's grief. It's traumatic stress. Sit with it. Listen to it. Respect it. That's the only way to survive it (thanks "Queen Sugar"). Soon enough, though, we have to stare it in the face. Address it head on. And we will. In the meantime, here's what NOT to do to trump opposers or people of color: 

Tell us it's going to be alright. We won't believe you cause we have fo real trust issues right now.

Try to compare your post election experience with ours. NOTHING compares to seeing images of swastikas and racial epithets spray-painted on cars and buildings. Nothing.

Attempt to marginalize our fear, frustration or feelings. 

Demand unity today. We'll get back there when we get back there, cause WE were there until he (y'all) fucked it up. 

These are just a few things. Feel free to add to this list in the comments below. For now, I am taking some much needed self-care time. I encourage you to do the same.  

xx

Lila

 

the Obama effect

Hey y'all! I have been so busy seeing the world and working on passion projects, I've not taken the time to write in months. This morning I have something to get off my chest. 

In just over three short weeks, we will have a new President. Yep, Sasha, Malia 'nem are moving out. Get your mind around it. One of the most beautiful, relatable first families is leaving us after 8 years.

It kind of feels like those heart pangs you get after spending the holidays with your favorite cousin or saying goodbye to big mama when the family reunion is over. That's how it feels for those of us who witnessed our brown brother from Chicago swag into the White House for two terms. Those of us who cried with pride the first time our (any) brown brother was elected as POTUS. Those of us who celebrated his amazing victories. Those of us who agonized at his shortcomings and the blockades in his way, but still held him up. That's how we feel. CLEARLY, there are many others who do not share these sentiments. 

The hatred for our brown brother and his beautiful, melanated family has brought us right up, face to face with the most openly racist, sexist, backwards ass behaviors in my life.  A lot of it at the prodding and provoking of Donald Trump. How in the entire heavens did this bigot get this far in a presidential race? Hatred, my friends. That is how.

Folks can say their support of Trump is solely because of their opposition to Hilary, and maybe it is, but what kind of reasoning is that in the face of his outrageousness? And listen, my thoughts about the Clintons demands a dedicated piece, but that is not what I'm addressing here. I am speaking to the horrendous behaviors displayed at Trump rallies, where people of color have been called "nigger" and punched in the face. Women of color have been mocked, pushed, kicked, and spit on - by white men. Women have been denigrated and made fun of because of their appearance. Trump himself has made some of the most vile remarks about protected classes of people - ever. Yet, he is who some people believe is the more viable choice to run our country. Where are we? What planet is this?

This is what pussy grabbing Trump thinks (and speaks) of us:

fat hackers

mexican rapists

uneducated, no job having, living in the "inner city" negroes

ugly pig

God help us. For real. That is a real plea to the Most High. Thanks Obama (insert sarcasm). Thanks for taking us to such extreme highs and leaving us scraping the very bottom of the barrel.

Lila

make room

Hey curvy curlies! I trust you are well and enjoying the summer.  I am in an interesting space in my life and it is amazing! Full of love, light, reflection and planning. Something amazing happens when you fall in love with yourself - the universe opens up and draws all things fabulous to you.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to purge and organize my closet(s). It was a terribly tedious and time-consuming task, but it was necessary - crucial even, for my sanity. After removing way too many bags of stuff that I haven't worn in years, cannot fit anymore, or were completely outdated and hanging among my things for nostalgia sake, I felt so much lighter. I was able to actually walk into my closet without tripping over baskets of clothes and shoes in disarray (don't judge me). Secondly, being able to bless others was/is a feeling that cannot be matched.

During the process of purging, I was subconsciously drawn to readings about a 10-day smoothie detox/cleanse. Interesting how one act of cleansing often leads to the next, because honestly, when our space is cluttered, I believe it is indicative of other areas of our lives. I finished the cleanse a few days ago and I feel great, but it was not without its challenges. The first couple of days, the caffeine withdrawals were brutal. Headaches and nausea tried to take a sista out! I was cranky and unfocused. But by day four, I was rocking - working out and focused on some projects that I had not been able to complete, previously. So many of us get in the habit of being so busy that we neglect our temples. Work trumps workouts. We reach for what is easy and feed ourselves processed garbage that does more damage than good. Listen, It is a constant act of my will and a mindset shift to do the right thing, but the cleanse definitely helped me to think differently about these areas of self-care. 

In addition to the physical and space cleansings, I realized I was subconsciously creating boundaries around being with people who do not serve the greater good of my life. I want my conversations and social interactions to be angst and drama free. My tribe is made up of people focused on serving the (global) community. Do we like to laugh, listen to good music, enjoy food and wine? Absolutely! Do we have petty moments? Sure. But our common thread is service. When people deplete your energy and distract you from your calling, change must occur. Sound selfish? I actually do not care. There comes a point in our lives that our God ordained appointment, self-care and protection of our sanity must outweigh the sense of obligation to other folks' agendas. Real talk. You may not be there. Keep on living. In the meantime, do yourself a favor; take inventory of your friends list (real life and social). Purge, just like you would your closet. 

For years I've heard about the benefits of detoxing. Well, the detoxing I have done has made room. Room in my closet for comfort.  Room in my mind for creativity. Room in my heart for true love. 

xx

Lila

the gravity of silence

I did not want to write this blog. I did not want to dig into the brokenness of my spirit, but I had to. A cathartic experience was necessary for my self-care and mental health.   

Last week was one of the most trauma filled weeks of my life - akin to burying my own flesh and blood. Not one, not two, but three black men were shot and killed by law enforcement. In front of children and loved ones. On camera. Murdered. By men who are employed to protect us. My earnest prayer is to not learn of another casualty before this blog is published.

My deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the fallen Dallas officers. But let me be clear, this blog is about #blacklivesmatter and how y'all go absolutely mute when it's a black life, but y'all real quick to jump in with "all lives matter" when the victim isn't a person of color. Who is this "y'all" I speak of? Well, keep reading and if the shoe fits, buy it in every color. Furthermore, if all lives truly matter, why do you not acknowledge our hurt when black lives are snuffed out? And can I break this down so it can forever be broke - the sentiment of #blacklivesmatter is #blacklivesmatterToo. We fully appreciate that every life is precious, but there is now a movement around this because of the blatant disregard for black lives. Capisce?

In a matter of days;

Alton Sterling was selling CDs. Dead

Philando Castille was driving while black, with a permit to carry. Dead

Alva Braziel had a gun in an open carry state.  Dead. And before you form your lips to say something about him (allegedly) pointing his gun at officers, let us not forget the many examples of white men taunting officers with weapons and they live to see another day. 

All of this is unbelievable trauma to the psyche. Blow after blow. My initial post cited more names and circumstances, but tears were filling up my coffee mug, so I went with the most recent. How can any human being hear these stories (repeatedly) and try to come up with a narrative that makes the deceased the villain? Incident after incident after incident. Do y'all not see a pattern? Can't you see our black and brown boys and men are being slaughtered out of fear?! This is the kind of traumatic stress loop black folks are constantly negotiating. We walk around wondering if there is anything we can do differently. Will respectability keep me alive? Should I wear my hair in a bun instead of a headwrap? A blazer instead of a hoodie? How do we talk to the children about interacting with cops? How do I exude "safe negro"?

To add insult to injury, because of the deafening silence from non-people of color, we find ourselves whispering, speaking in code, and talking in stairwells to keep you comfortable. So in the midst of processing our trauma, we are negotiating your peace. We're asked benign questions about the previous day, and have to choke down tears to give you an appropriate (social/workplace) response. Funny (not funny) how there was no mention of these horrific murders, but hours of chatter were spent on a news story about a damn gorilla. We can't even get a "that's crazy".  Heartbreaking. 

People of color consistently lend support and voice to other movements and tragedies, but what if we didn't? What would any of this look like if we didn't change our profile pictures/use the hashtag of the day/pray? Maybe you truly don't know what to say, but I can assure you, your silence says everything. Reconstruct your message. 

xx

Lila

 

Jesse Williams' speech; a curriculum in wokeness

I considered writing this last night, but I needed time to savor every morsel of Jesse Williams' BET Humanitarian Award acceptance speech. My soul feasted on the nourishment of his words as I slept. I woke up more conscious, renewed, and determined - strong in all of my black girl magic.

I will start here; I do not typically watch the BET Awards in real time. I often have other (more important) things to do than experience the hottest trap artist or sit through a painful, unfunny bit with a reality star. But last night…last night I was supernaturally compelled to tune in - after the opening performance, of course (sips limeade). I thought my curiosity was about the Prince Tribute, and shout out to Sheila E. for smashing the stage, but clearly there was a greater purpose. His name is Jesse Williams.

To be clear, I am not a novice to Mr. Williams’ community efforts. He has been vocal for some time and I have been here for it all along. He consistently has one of the loudest voices in moments of civil unrest, as our brothers and sisters get slaughtered in the streets, jail cells, police cars, etc. Jesse is unapologetic in his beliefs and is not afraid to speak and walk in truth - regardless of his profession or heritage. And while I believe him to be a warrior, I cannot stand with the #jesseforpresident hashtag. Jesse is not who lives in the White House. Jesse is who folks in the White House are accountable to.

Big ups to BET for allowing truth bombs to be dropped all over the stage like pyrotechnics. That was incredibly ballsy and absolutely necessary. Here’s the thing, though, were the folks who needed to hear this truth, listening? Have they read the transcript? I’m not sure, cause listen, I know LOTS of folks who think they are super down with the cause, and nan one of them has said ONE DAMN WORD about this here speech. Wonder why(?) How can you so love a culture – its asses, hair, lips, music, and vernacular, but when the rubber meets the road, you go mute, or you’re on some “all lives matter” ish? Real question. I really want to understand this.

Jesse’s speech was so full of knowledge, as I continue to read it, I find more and more nuggets. I am going to just post those points that are haunting me.

“Tell Rakia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712, tell that to Eric Garner, tell that to Sandra Bland tell that to Dorian Hunt. Now the thing is though, all of us in here getting money, that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright? Now dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies. There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the frontlines of, there has been no job that we have not done, there is no tax they haven’t levied against us. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us, "but she would’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so... free.” Now freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

“The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job. Stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo. And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black “gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though, that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

I understand that we evolve into levels of consciousness at different stages. I am also quite aware that some of us deliberately avoid it. I pray that Jesse’s speech pricks that space in your spirit that is longing to be engaged.

xx

Lila

dear dad,

Out of all the people in the universe, the Creator chose you and mom to birth me.  My destiny was predicated on the two of you being engaged in matrimony. Sadly, when that union crumbled, my life was forever changed. 

You may not be aware, but it has taken me years to release feelings of abandonment and grief. My teenage and young adult years were completely marred by the notion that men will ALWAYS leave. I regret hopeless feelings of lack. I detest memories of my mother's pain. My heart aches about lost love because I could not conceptualize wholeness in myself. 

As a grown woman who has done a ton of work and self analysis, I write this letter to declare liberty in forgiveness and healing. I do not care (anymore) to dredge up childhood disappointments or misunderstandings. I am delighted to reminisce about some of the most special moments in my life - and you, Daddy, are a part of those. Honestly, my childhood was so rich in unique experiences; there are smells, sounds, tastes and textures that still take me back to those incredible moments. 

One of my favorite memories is of that old, steel, hand cranked meat grinder that contributed to some of the yummiest, homemade sausage - EVER. I'm still chasing that taste (Daddy, we made millions of them - where did they go?). And listen, when Angela and I want a real trip down memory lane, we just cue up some Lou Rawls and we are transported back to sunny days of innocence - in the backseat, on the open road to Texas and back, eight-track on blast. You gave us a real appreciation for the great balladeers of the seventies. 

There is one moment in time, though, that is ours alone. A simple walk (in the blazing heat) with me on your shoulders. My recollection of that moment always brings me to tears. The serenity of it. The love in it. The tenderness of you and me. We didn't even share many words. Maybe you sang me a song. I just remember feeling 20 feet tall and as small as a baby at the same time. I was safe and I was cared for and I had my Daddy.

I have evolved into the expressive, afrochic bohemian I am today, because I feel safe enough to be my authentic self. Your support and adoration of me, drive my fearlessness. Your pride for me is not quiet. It is loud, and it is real, and deep and true. It is a force. Know that I love you, Daddy, and I count it an absolute privilege to call you father. Happy Father's Day. 

xx

Lila

 

big balls; bigger sticks

Hey curvy curlies! A few weeks ago, I had the extreme pleasure of attending an event hosted by some cool kids from Spain. These guys are young, witty, beautiful people with a super cool and on trend product. Check it; they are We Are Knitters. Yup. A knitting source company! Who knew this is what the hipsters around the globe were meeting up in coffee houses to share. 

We Are Knitters is a dope, sustainable company that provides all natural supplies for knitters, crochet lovers and petit pointers. Committed to a greener planet, We Are Knitters' kit bags and clothing yarns are made from leftover/recycled products. Nothing goes to waste. The business sells kits that include yarn, needles (big sticks) and patterns. They also provide tutorials to help consumers create beautiful items from sweaters to scarves and beanies. Genius. 

Having once taken up the craft years ago, I am well aware of the wellness benefits. Knitting is a true stress reliever and creative outlet. I highly recommend exploring it with We Are Knitters' amazingly soft wool and beautifully crafted needles. Be sure to visit their social pages to connect with a supportive and funny community of crafts folks around the globe. You're welcome.

 

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Knitting Kit

Knitting Kit

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xx

Lila

picnic in the park with a side of art; yes please.

Hey curvy curlies, this past Sunday I had one of the most fascinating nights of my life! I picnicked and partied in the park under the stars at the Parisian inspired Diner En Blanc. This white party is a pop up dinner that has been hosted by cities all over the world. Guests must wear all white, pack a picnic basket full of treats (food and decorations) and gather at a secret location - revealed just shortly before dinner time. Get this, I was lucky enough to attend Las Vegas' inaugural Diner En Blanc, just a few feet off the strip! Crazy, right? Who knew this desert city was so chic? Well, believe me, it is! 

Imagine hundreds of people in funky white, elegant white, summer white...you get the picture. A sea of beautiful people wearing all white, with white table decor and performers dressed in white as they entertained us. One word - epic! 

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Lilfestyle expert,  Tai Beauchamp  and CGNC founder, Lila Mayes

Lilfestyle expert, Tai Beauchamp and CGNC founder, Lila Mayes

Dinner is served. 

Dinner is served. 

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The setting for this amazing and visually stunning experience was The Park, Vegas. The Park (a lovely entertainment space and gathering place/date destination) resides between the Monte Carlo and New York, New York hotels. The Park hosts several eateries, a casino, an entertainment arena and the piéce de résistance; Marco Cochrane's Bliss Dance. 

Bliss Dance

Bliss Dance

Bliss Dance is a 40 foot sculpture who embodies the beauty, grace and strength of all women. I adore everything about her. The way she flaunts her curves in complete confidence while balancing her massive frame on one foot, inspires me. She is beauty in motion, and it was my absolute pleasure to commune with her before and after Diner En Blanc. Oh, and she lights up in the evening! The next time you are in Las Vegas, I implore you to visit her at The Park - you will not be disappointed. 

xx

Lila

my favorite thing this week: D Maurice Macklin's "Mosaic"

Hey curvy curlies, I pray your Sunday is as happy as mine! I am setting the atmosphere for a fun-filled afternoon with some sexy tunes.  My soundtrack of the day (the last several) is a delicious new project by Soul/R & B crooner, D Maurice.

D Maurice or "DMo!" (or Dayvontarious LOL) hails from Chicago by way of Atlanta. You have likely heard his smooth tenor and laughed at his stage shenanigans backing Indie Soul giant, Eric Roberson. A natural and talented singer/songwriter in his own right, DMo! dropped his debut album, "Mosaic", earlier this month. The project is thoughtful and honest; providing glimpses into the male psyche with lyrics about love, loss, uncertainty, and lust. I cannot get enough of it! 

My faves: 

"Almost Doesn't Count", "Wouldn't Lie to You" , "Mrs. Glamorous" and "Dreams Come True". 

Mosaic gives me hope that real music and grown folks lyrics are still alive and well! 

Available on #iTunes #Amazon #GooglePlay #Spotify #Tidal

xx

Lila

 

DO!

Hi curvy curlies! I trust the new year has already turned up a bounty of goodies and unexpected surprises. I certainly found a treasure when I happened upon an amazing neighborhood treat, in the food desert of Adams Gateway. I speak of a local produce store called Daily Organics.

Founded and operated by former model and landscape artist, Renee Gunter, Daily Organics is housed in a refurbished shipping container. Renee has an amazing aesthetic so it is no surprise the space is decked out with vintage kitchen tools, snow globes and other interesting pieces. Open to the public, weekly, (Thursday through Saturday) Daily Organics offers beautiful, organic produce and some of the tastiest organic coffee beans in the city.  Renee sends out a newsletter listing the week's goodies which sometimes include unique offerings from local artisans. You will also find fantastic meal ideas on the Daily Organics social sites. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Renee at the store. She is creative, knowledgeable and lovely. I implore to stop by and get to know her!

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5746 Adams Blvd., LA 90016

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xx

Lila

African fashion pops up in the LA!

Happy Holidays, curvy curlies! I am so grateful for the amazing opportunities this brand has afforded me - sponsorships, panel discussions and a brand ambassadorship! Last weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of representing African inspired, DC-based designer, Simply Cecily (check her out!) at the Zuvaa pop up shop in downtown, Los Angeles.

Zuvaa is a global, online marketplace of African fashions, curated by the lovely Kelechi Anyadiegwu out of New Jersey. The Zuvaa team has hosted several of these two-day shopping events, but this was the first time they made it to the left coast. 

As a lover of fashion and all things African, being able to connect with women who share the same affinity for the Motherland was fantastic. As hip and pseudo-cultured as Los Angeles likes to think it is, the opportunities and events to celebrate the African diaspora are few and far between. Thank you, Kelechi for bringing such a rich experience to my neck of the woods! And thank you Simply Cecily for choosing me as an ambassador for your brand.

xx

Lila

Simply Cecily Brand Ambassador (me)

Simply Cecily Brand Ambassador (me)

Hanfcrafted baubles

Hanfcrafted baubles

Kelechi of Zuvaa and Iris of The Urban Maasai

Kelechi of Zuvaa and Iris of The Urban Maasai

Zuvaa pop up  

Zuvaa pop up  

Handcrafted jewelry from  The Urban Maasai

Handcrafted jewelry from The Urban Maasai

the wiz factor

My excitement about The Wiz Live!, was a slow burn, but day of show, I was all in! The music was dope - shout out to Harvey Mason Jr. on the production. The costumes were gorgeous! I am completely obsessed with the patchwork coat and messenger bag Amber Riley rocked as the good witch of the north. And listen,  David Alan Grier's cowardly lion and those locs gave me my whole life! 

I could not help thinking of all the amazing theater my mother exposed me and my sister to as children, and The Wiz was easily the most magical. As a child, I was completely captivated by Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, not only because she looked like me, but more because she was so soulful. There was an energy I connected to. I did not have the acute awareness of how little African Americans were represented in media or the concept of "different" until much later. My days were spent at an elementary school that was a melting pot of diversity. I grew up enjoying seaweed snacks and sharing red beans and rice with my classmates. Pure connections based on energy exchange. Can you imagine a world where we move through life with the innocence of children? Sadly, that is not the case. Kids grow up and take on the agreements of jaded adults who run the world.  Race relations become a reality. 

As a conscious adult, The Wiz Live! has had a much greater impact on me. Understanding the significance of an all-black cast, in a prime time special on a major network, contemporizing The Wizard Of Oz, was huge. I loved how social media allowed us to witness little black boys and girls standing in front of the television, completely captivated by people European standards have tried to convince us are less than beautiful. This version put curvy curlies front and center and I LOVED every moment of it! Kudos to NBC for finally airing a musical that (obviously) folks wanted to see. From all accounts, The Wiz Live! garnered the best ratings of their "live" franchise to date. Take note folks, we have great influence. There MUST be away to harness it for our greater good.

xx

Lila

*illustration by the amazing James Claridades

 

so much. so little.

Happy Sunday, curvy curlies. I woke up with competing emotions this morning; gratitude for an amazing life, and sorrow when I consider world tragedies. 

My weekend has been spent engaging in constant prayer for our nation and our global community. Time on planet earth is so limited, we cannot know the hour we will leave this world. I write this blog simply to implore you to squeeze every moment of joy, love, and purpose out of every day. 

Celebrate, honor and love your family and friends. 

Center yourself in faith.

Release toxic experiences, feelings and people from your existence. 

See the world - one block, city, state, country at a time. 

Dance. 

Laugh. 

Share. 

xx

Lila

 

holiday $$ saving tips

Hi curvy curlies! My blogs are usually in the vein of self-care, so as we head into the holiday season, I decided to focus on the self-care of our wallets. Amen, somebody! A penny saved is a penny earned. And before you say it's too soon to think about holiday shopping, does it hurt to be proactive in grabbing deals? I think not! I am including the names of some of my favorite discount haunts and what they offer. I imagine many of the stores indicated below are regional (I am on the west coast), but certainly there are similar establishments across the country. Feel free to make recommendations in the comments section.

Rewards programs - CVS, Ralph's, VONS, etc. Be sure to use your rewards cards EVERY time you purchase at these stores. Collect your rewards at the gas pump and on in-store sale items! Also, make sure to flip those receipts over for deals at your local car washes, cleaners and eateries.

99 Cent Only Store - Plastic food containers, aluminum foil, gift bags, tissue paper, trash bags, disposable eating utensils, and antibacterial wipes.

Big Lots - Seasonal decorations (including artificial Christmas trees), cleaning supplies, soap, air fresheners, paper goods, seasonings, soups, sweeteners, and halloween candy. Stock up on things like chicken broth, flavor extracts and spices for holiday cooking. Big Lots carries all kinds of bakeware, too. One of my favorite finds was multi colored ramekins for under a dollar, each. Their rewards program offers great deals as well.

Marshalls's - Serving platters, kitchenware, hand towels, socks, workout gear, COFFEE!

Bed Bath & Beyond - Save ALL of those flyers that come in the mail. Keep them nearby. Those "20% off" discounts add up for BBB's yummy stocking stuffers (chocolate bars, teas, candy canes, as seen on TV items). BBB also carries restaurant grade (loose) silverware for your holiday party needs. Another thing I love about this store, is their selection of styling products for natural hair. I do not consider Bed Bath & Beyond a "discount" store, per se, but again, the coupons make a difference and they offer quality goods.

Trader Joes - I truly enjoy the seasonal specialty items TJ's offers like, pumpkin spice coffee and Christmas cookies, but the year-round sparkling cider, water, wine, and cheeses are lower priced than you'll find at most grocery stores. You should definitely stock up on their $1.00 greeting cards (buy a bunch for every occasion). Sugar, eggs and butter are competitively priced at TJ's as well as seasonings that mirror the festive times of year. 

Amazon Prime - If you prefer online shopping, the $100 (annual) membership fee is well worth the free and same day shipping for all things (last minute) gift ideas. 

Zoe's Vintique - Now, you know I couldn't leave this blog without some fashion finds for the holidays! Zoe's carries beautiful pieces; dresses, skirts, jackets, purses, jewelry and shoes. She'll have you slaying all the holiday parties in vintage and funky looks for super reasonable prices. She ships too!

While I am aware bigger savings can be had by shopping wholesale and in bulk, I believe taking advantage of day-to-day deals is instant gratification.

Happy savings! 

xx

Lila

 

 

phantom fights

Hey curvy curlies! I have been so busy juggling opportunities, I have had little time to sit and write about them. Earlier this month I hosted a super fun paint and sip with A Toast 2 Artistry and I recently returned from a fantastic trip to the Caribbean. It was work, but there was plenty of fun in the sun, water AND rum punch, mon! I have been enjoying this season of wins so much, I had no time, and zero energy to acknowledge or even recognize the phantom fights happening around me.

What is a phantom fight, you ask? Good question. A phantom fight is a shadow boxing match between haters and your successes. It is 12 rounds of an imaginary pugilistic competition with them and your triumphs. The funny part is, those of us maintaining lane integrity and working our program, are usually clueless there's a heavyweight (apparently championship) match going on. We are in the bliss of ignorance as it relates to the dark forces plotting our demise until, inevitably, one of their blueprints is compromised. Usually the people struggling with our greatness, smile in our presence, then attempt to create discord once they leave us. No matter how covert the haters are in their tactics, envy, hate and insecurity have a way of leaking out - all over everything.

Welp, folks, here's a PSA: Haters gon' stay mad. I will never apologize for my gifts. I will not dim my light.  I will not minimize the influence I have or the energy I bring to any experience. I will continue to celebrate God's favor, loudly.

Here's what I know for sure; when your energy is open and engaging, folks will be attracted to your light - like moths to a flame. That attraction may result in a friendship, business opportunity, or seasonal encounter of some kind. You will not have to work to manufacture authentic trust connections. Relationships, love, people and opportunities will find their way to you - organically. So. I'm going to keep collecting these wins and these life lessons. I encourage you to do the same. Be great!

xx

Lila

he (the list)

is in submission to the Creator. 

thinks I'm the sage of his life..  

knew it the moment he saw me.  

reads my blogs and sprinkles our conversations with quotes.  

is unapologetically affectionate, proud and supportive. 

rebukes me with words dripping in sweet. 

sees things that need fixing, and fixes them. 

doesn't seek praise, but is encouraged and motivated when it's given.

always wants me to win and never competes with my dreams. 

embraces all things curvy, curly, afrochic, eclectic, artsy, creative, and spiritual. 

is a chameleon and adaptable in any situation.

laughs with (and at) me.

communicates, even about the little things. 

is never the source of my tears. 

the burden of reliability

Happy Sunday lovelies. I am up writing this in the wee early hours of the morning because I can't sleep. I have a herniated C5-6 disc and the pain is pervasive. The disc issue is directly related to some discomfort I endured, sitting through a protective style/braiding session - that's another blog. So, there's the initial trauma, but the flare ups in pain and tingling sensation are triggered by stress.

We all have stressors. Work stress. Family stress. The constant beating our psyches experience from world news - it's a lot. What about the pressure that is put on us, simply because we are reliable, rational and kind? Everybody will not be able to cosign this one, but holla if you hear me! I am often in situations that create more tension, stress and work because people can (mostly) count on me. "Lila can do it". "Lila will do it". "Did you ask Lila?" "Lila will understand". And listen, Lila is happy to assist, offer advice, and do the heavy lifting. But, what I have discovered is, the more Lila can and will, the more Lila's (typically uncompensated) assistance is requested, and the second Lila needs a break for self care, the ish hits the fan, because...no good deed goes unpunished.

This blog is pretty personal because I am attempting to recover from a career challenge that felt very personal and it was all because I pushed back. My name was dragged through the mud and my work ethic has been questioned because I took the space I needed to hold my sanity. I've been furious about it and my initial reaction was not pretty, but my faith in the Creator is greater than my faith in man, so I'm coming out on the other side of it, whole. If this experience has taught me anything, it is that darkness can creep in anywhere, especially when we are in a space of giving. The enemy is a jackass and he will attempt to destroy every part of us.

I am, by nature, a giver and a nurturer, but the days of giving humans everything I have until I am completed depleted, are done. This will especially be the case if the giving isn't about consciousness or kingdom building. Pleasing people will put you in the grave and I have a lot of work yet to do, so I'm going to be about the work of pleasing my Creator. Ain't nobody got time for this other stuff.

xo

Lila