Friday, July 29, 2016

Defying The Odds: An Interview with Batina Brown

In my role as a Staff Writer for Everything Girls Love, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Batina Brown.

She is a delight!  Here's an excerpt from our conversation:

"I want my legacy to be one that defies all odds.  I want to prove society’s stereotypes of people who come from places like I come from or look how I look all wrong.  I want my legacy to show that black love does exist; my husband and I have been together since we were 16 years old.  Remember how we had grandmothers to look up to as kids?  I want to bring that back for my daughters.  I want them to have me to look at for the reminder that black love exists, that black marriage works, that black men and women are educated, that black businesses are successful, that black people give back to their community.  I started a women empowerment group.  Illustrious Women is an educational outlet   for current and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to be well-known, respected and admired for their achievements.  I want to leave a legacy for people to remember that I was a strong woman, and a great wife who was driven.  A woman who, no matter the obstacles before her, made it over, through and beyond any challenge.  Someone who used her life as a way to inspire, motivate and help women become their best selves." ~ Batina Brown

Check out my conversation with a fabulous woman who is doing so much for her family and her community!  CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Things I Love: Five Below Accessories

I'm coming to you with another Things I Love post.  You may recall the beauty dupes and the DIY wax melts.  Can we just talk about how much I love a good deal? If you love a deal as much as I do, today is going to motivate you to check out the selection of accessories for women at one of my favorite deal spots, Five Below!

I've seen the Birkenstock thong sandals all over the place and I like them but I'm not in love with the price and I wasn't sure they'd work with all of my summer staples.  If I was the person who wore 1-3 pairs of shoes with all of my summer casual attire, I might consider investing in a pair.  However, because I like to wear wedges and sneakers and gladiators and heels, the investment into a pair of thong sandals isn't an option for me.  Another reason I haven’t made the investment is that I have weird feet.  They spread when I’m on my feet so flip-flops and sandals don’t work well for me.  On a visit to Five Below earlier this summer, I bought a pair of the black thong sandals and I LOVE them.  They have lasted and are very comfortable.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tiffany's-Inspired FREE PRINTABLES

As promised, I’m sharing the FREE PRINTABLES for either a turquoise or pink Tiffany-inspired event.  I recommend saving images to your computer then copying and pasting into a Word document.  Using Microsoft Word will allow you to adjust the size of images to meet your requirements.  For example, the favor tags can be re-sized in Word to fit as many as twelve per page.  Note: while these were designed for a baby shower, most of the printables will work for any Tiffany-inspired event!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tiffany & Co: The Baby Shower Wrap-up

Today, we’re wrapping up the Tiffany-inspired baby shower with all the details I haven’t covered.

The Invitation

I designed the invitation to Mrs. Lucy’s specifications.  Here's how the front and back of the design turned out:

Actually, I designed all printables and signage for the event.  Guess what.  I’m going to share them right here on the island tomorrow!!!

The Venue

I fell in love with the venue a long time ago and, when Mrs. Lucy told me her plans, I took her to see it and she fell in love too!

The Little Ballroom is a fabulous party room.  Included in the rental fee is full access to the space, tables, chivari chairs, floor-length table linen (including the buffet tables with a fabulous tutu skirt), up lighting and silver chargers at each place setting!  

Image source: the venue website.

It was the perfect backdrop for a classy and fabulous party!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Maya Monday: Tough, Tender, Laugh, Live.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Food Buffet that Pops!

A few days before the shower, Mrs. Lucy expressed that she wanted the food buffet to be a focal point.  She wanted to trade the foil pans for unique displays of mini servings of yummy food.

I volunteered my platters and Mrs. Lucy planned her mini foods menu.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

DIY Tiffany-inspired Water Bottle Labels

Yesterday, I shared a peek at the adorable water bottles from Melina's baby shower.  

 Mrs.  Lucy, Melina’s mom, had plans for the water bottles but, as the date neared, her plans took a backseat to more pressing matters.  During one of our daily calls, Mrs. Lucy mentioned the water bottles and I volunteered to take care of them.  No big deal… right? 

Well, remember how I mentioned Mrs. Lucy had other pressing matters?  Those ‘matters’ were of the sparkling nature; she was bedazzling and bejeweling as many elements of this shower as possible.  Her eye for detail was a blessing and, when it came to executing every detail in her head, it was also a curse.  To give you an idea of her level of detail, I’ll share the cups story with you.

What’s the cups story, you ask?  It’s the story of balancing awesome ideas with the pressure of a creeping timeline.  Mrs. Lucy was on top of her shower planning timeline.  She started shopping weeks in advance and was crossing tasks off the list.  

She purchased beautiful jars for drinking and decided to jazz them up.

-          She glued jewels around the lid
-          She drilled a hole in the center for the straw
-          She tied tulle around the lid for a frilly touch

She was making each jar a fabulous keepsake.  She was sparkling and dazzling and jeweling and gluing and cutting and drilling and… well, she started to panic.  The shower was approaching and she realized the cups would be ready but other tasks would fall off the to-do list.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

WW: DIY Tiffany-inspired Water Bottles

Friday, July 15, 2016

DIY Gift Box Candy Bar Wrapper

Melina loves chocolate.  Her mom asked to incorporate a few of her favorite candy bars into the sweets table.  When she made the request, Mrs. Lucy and I had already planned for a candy assortment, sugar cookies, a variety of cupcakes, the cake, chocolate-dipped treats and more.
The expense to purchase candy bars, to purchase a candy wrap design to fit the theme, to print on a quality paper and to assemble, simply put, wasn’t worth it.  Think about it, the candy bars weren’t serving a major purpose (like favors or a table highlight) so, I planned to purchase one dozen bars and make it work.  I came up with a DIY design using a few materials found almost anywhere paper is sold.  It was super easy and will work with any theme!

 Here’s what you need:

-       -   Standard-sized candy bar of your choice
-       -   Cardstock or scrapbook paper in your choice of print/color
-       -   Glue
-       -   Thin ribbon (I purchased the thin ribbon spool from Michaels for less than $.50)

Here’s what you do:

1.  Trim the paper lengthwise to be the width you need for the candy bar.

2.  Cut the paper in half. Using 8.5 x 11 cardstock, I trimmed about 2 inches off from the width and cut the paper in half to wrap an entire Hershey’s bar.

3.  Cut 10” of ribbon and lay it on top of a candy bar. 

4.  Wrap with the paper, gluing the back for added security.

5.  Tie the ribbon into a bow and dab glue behind the bow to hold it in place.

Easy, elegant and versatile for any event!  You could replace the bow with a label, a theme-appropriate sticker, or a hand-written message.  

The best part?  This treat can fit any theme and served as a subtle nod to the baby shower theme!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Easy Chocolate-Covered Oreos

I have a number of events in the coming months. 

Melina’s Baby Shower
Munch’s Birthday Party
Amalia’s Baby Shower
MaseFace’s Birthday
… and more!

This past Saturday, was the first of many fRamily celebrations; we celebrated Melina’s and Trevel’s little girl on the way!

Before we get started, this was a collaborative effort and, as someone who is cured of my Event Planner Resentment, I welcomed the opportunity to take direction and to provide support.  This is NOT a Tabby-hosted event.  I provided guidance and shower elements but Mrs. Lucy, Melina’s super detail-oriented, bling-loving, and creative mommy, came up with the theme and plan.  I was simply there to do my part and to ensure everyone - guests of honor, shower hosts and attendees - was happy and stress-free.

You see the faces - done, done and DONE!

Now, Islander, you know how I am.  I love to share affordable and innovative ideas for your home and events and this shower is no exception!  It was a great day and I’m excited to share how it all came together. Get ready for cuteness overload!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WW: Melina's Baby Shower


Monday, July 11, 2016

Maya Mondays: Like the Plague


Friday, July 8, 2016

5 Awesome Summer Crafts for Kids

Hi, Islanders!  While we adjust to the summer schedule and look to find remedies for boredom, I thought I'd share some of the crafts we are planning to do over the next few weeks.  I'll be sure to share the picture of our projects but, if you're looking to MAKE some fun this weekend, consider one of these awesome projects!

I’ve compiled the go-to summer craft list to keep your kids educated, engaged and entertained!

1.  Nature Walk Name Sign

Photo credit:  [Untitled photo of name sign using leaves] (N.D.). Retrieved June 30, 2016 from]

Give your little ones a small bag and head outside for a walk.  Ask them to pick up some pieces of nature to bring home.  Leaves, twigs, small rocks, flowers, sand, etc. are all great supplies to collect.  When you return home, allow little ones to color or select their favorite color paper and use the supplies to create the letters in the name. 

Tip: Consider introducing new words every day, encouraging little ones to trace with a pencil first and then to use supplies like beans to cover the outline.  When complete, count the beans in each word to increase the educational factor (math work, hello!) without compromising on fun!   

Not only will the daily walks allow for exploration and exercise but the activity when you return home can serve as writing practice (if they trace it) and will allow them to get their creative juices flowing!

2.  DIY Chia Pets

Photo credit:  [Untitled photo of plant in bottle] (N.D.). Retrieved June 30, 2016 from http://www.pinterest

Save a clear plastic bottle for each child.  Cut the bottle in half and provide supplies for the little one to make a face on the front of the bottle.  Place inside soil and quick-growing seeds of your choice like chia seeds, grass seeds, sunflowers, etc. and watch the fun grow in! 

Tip:  Have each child name their bottle pets for added fun!  Consider having each child introduce their friend and, for older kids, have them write a funny or silly story about their new pet. 

This craft is fun, teaches responsibility (with the water and plant food regimen), and reviews the plant life cycle.

3.  Pineapple Print Painting

Photo credit:  [Untitled photo of thumbprint pineapple painting] (N.D.). Retrieved June 30, 2016 from]

Head to the dollar store in search of a watercolor paint set.  Dip thumbs in water and then into the dry paint.  Dab thumbprints into the shape of a pineapple for a cute and time-consuming painting. 

Tip: for added fun, make this craft while a yummy pineapple dessert is baking.  Incorporate pineapple into dinner, serve the dessert and have each child present his painting to the family.

4.  Sponge Bombs

Photo credit:  [Untitled photo of sponge bomb] (N.D.). Retrieved June 30, 2016 from]

I shared my tutorial for these here. Make them after dinner for bath time fun.  Make a bunch before a water bomb war between two teams.  Take them with you to the pool.  Think of them as reusable water balloons!  Simply wet and let the fun begin!  With sponge bombs, the possibilities are endless!

5. Feet in the Sand Painting

Photo credit:  [Untitled photo of footprint painting] (N.D.). Retrieved June 30, 2016 from]

All you need to create a nice painting is sand, paint and glue!  Use the paint to make the water and sand on a canvas or heavy cardstock.  After the paint dries, cover the bottom of your feet in glue and place them on the sand portion of the painting.  Sprinkle sand on top of the footprint to create a 3-dimensional look.  When it dries you will have a beautiful painting that’s perfect for summer decor! 

This post was originally written for Everything Girls Love in my role as Staff Writer, Modern Domestic


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

WW: Independence Day 2016


Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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