life curation

Embodying Gratitude

Happy Monday, friends! I’m making this brief, because this novel won’t write itself! I filmed a video about what I’m thankful for, and I hope that you take some time this week to count your blessings, too.

food · luxury · wine

More Low Cost Libations – Affordable Wine Review

As we embrace the upcoming holiday season, we may find ourselves in need of delicious wines to accompany our family dinners. One thing that I like to do is make sure that I have a mix of high/low cost wines to offer with meals. For those that choose to indulge, wine is a wonderful complement to a variety of meals, and can really enhance the flavor profile of all the foods that have been prepared.

The advantage to having wines in your home during the holidays is that you can use the wine in certain recipes, adding a rich and intensified flavor to certain dishes. I love cooking meat dishes with red wine, or crafting exquisite sauces or gravies with white wine. When cooking with wine, the alcohol cooks (or burns) off, leaving flavor with no traces of alcohol content left behind.

I realized that I’ve done several wine reviews over on my YouTube channel, but I hadn’t shared those reviews over here. So, here you go:

Also, if you want to keep track of the wines that you try, you can use what I use: the Wine Tasting Notes journal is perfect for capturing the details and your impressions of every wine that you taste. And for $5, it’s so affordable!

I’ll be adding more wine reviews in the months to come. Do you have a wine recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

**** This post contains affiliate links.

Uncategorized

I’ve Got New YouTube Videos

Happy Monday, friends! This is a quick post, because I just want to let you all know that I resumed posting videos on my YouTube channel. I have a few weeks worth of videos filmed and scheduled, and I’ll be sharing a few of them on this channel as different posts. Here’s my most recent video, for your enjoyment. This is a review of some Harlem Candle Company candles that I purchased this summer, as well as a little catch-up/chit chat.

I’ll talk to you all soon!

food · health

My Favorite Black Vegetarian and Vegan YouTubers

Last week, I shared that I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Tumi Johnson’s work and her YouTube channel, Performing Healing. I purchased her book, Delicious Healing, to give me some ideas on how to improve my health by using self care, mindfulness, and a nourishing diet. Dr. Tumi is a medical doctor that has been living a raw vegan lifestyle for a decade, and her transformation from overworked and undernourished clinician to radiantly healthy performer and holistic healer inspired me tremendously.

Dr. Tumi’s page inspired me to peruse YouTube for other vegetarian and vegan YouTubers. While I’d followed a few of them before coming across Dr. Tumi, I thought it would be nice to compile a few of my favorites over here. As I explore more options with plant-based eating, I’m certain I will have to do a second part to this post, which works for me. I hope you all enjoy this list!

Performing Healing – As I mentioned previously, Dr. Tumi is a medical doctor and raw vegan. Her channel doesn’t focus solely on recipes but it does highlight what a fully vegan lifestyle entails. The recipes that she has provided are often simple to recreate, but it has to be noted that she is a raw vegan, so adjusting to this eating style may require a bit of effort. However, for those that are interested, she’s a wonderful resource. As a bonus, her videos are all lovely, with excerpts of dance and fantastic little wellness tidbits sprinkled throughout each of them. And naturally, she’s written a book about her wellness philosophies. You can learn more in her book, Delicious Healing.

SweetPotatoSoul – Jenne Claiborne, the lady behind the wildly popular SweetPotatoSoul YouTube channel, is truly one of the OGs of the vegan YT community. She has over 600,000 subscribers, and has also published her recipes in the cookbook, Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul. If you’re interested in beautiful videos with tasty recipes, you should definitely check out this channel.

Rachel Ama – Similar to SweetPotatoSoul, Rachel Ama also has over 600,000 subscribers and a longstanding commitment to the vegan lifestyle. On her channel, she focuses on flavorful dishes that borrow heavily from international cuisine, such as dishes from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. I like that her recipes are great for transitioning vegans that may be concerned that they’ll have to compromise flavor for this lifestyle (nothing could be further from the truth!) Rachel has also published 2 books, titled Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats: Tasty plant-based recipes for every day and One Pot: Three Ways: Save time with vibrant, versatile vegan recipes.

Black Forager – The creative behind this channel, Alexis Nikole Nelson, has an extremely strong presence on other social media (such as Instagram and TikTok). However, she also shares her recipes on her YouTube channel. I love her fun energy and the fact that she makes vegan dishes with foraged vegetation. This takes a special level of creativity and vision, and she absolutely knocks it out of the park each time. I’m waiting patiently for her book . . . She hasn’t announced that she’s writing one, I’m just putting that wish out into the Universe. Until then, I’ll console myself with the NPR interview that she did.

From the Comfort of my Bowl – I love that this channel features vegan comfort food. Despite the fact that I have loved experimenting with raw vegan meals, sometimes I want warm, cooked food that is both satisfying and still cruelty free. As a bonus, many of the meals featured on this channel are also gluten-free. The channel has a companion blog with all of the meal details.

This Infinite Life – This adorable family of 8 lives a vegan lifestyle down in the deep south (Atlanta, Georgia). On this channel, the family tries packaged vegan items, but they also indulge in varying eating challenges and share recipes. This channel is an especially good option for anyone that is experiencing difficulty with transitioning to a vegan lifestyle: the videos show how easy it is to replace your favorite animal-based products with vegan alternatives. There is a companion website which also features three ebooks written by the creative minds behind the YouTube channel.

Those are some of my favorite Black vegan and vegetarian vloggers. Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear all about them!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

health · life curation · reading list

Book Review – Delicious Healing

Hey friends! Today’s book review comes courtesy of my research into the health benefits of grape leaves. You see, I have some wild muscadine grape vines choking out my lovely rosebushes. A little research revealed to me that grape leaves confirmed what I already knew, which is that they can be used in savory dishes (dolmades, anyone?). However, I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to easily incorporate the leaves into something else that I would consume regularly. After perusing some videos on YouTube, I found recipes for smoothies that included grape leaves (yay!)

Under one of the videos I viewed, I saw a recommendation for a video posted by the YouTube channel Performing Healing. I was drawn in by the picture used for the recommendation: a sepia-hued woman with sunkissed freeform locs and wide doe eyes looked back at my earnestly. Curious, I checked out her channel, and quickly found myself bingeing on her content. The woman behind this channel, Dr. Tumi Johnson, is a medical doctor that has transitioned out of a conventional medical career into a holistic healing practice that incorporates nutrition, lifestyle management, and creative arts to support overall wellness.

Enter Dr. Tumi’s book, Delicious Healing. I bought the Kindle version of this book so that I could do a deeper dive into Dr. Tumi’s philosophy and approach to wellness. I was not disappointed. The book is brief but packed with pertinent information to help readers craft their own paths to optimum health. As the title suggests, the basis of the program is using food (specifically, a raw vegan diet) to properly nourish the body, while integrating other holistic health practices (such as joyful movement, adequate and restorative rest, creative expression, and meditation, among other things) into a wellness plan that truly heals the reader on multiple levels.

Dr. Tumi’s relays her own experience of poor dieting, a unimaginably stressful career, and a brush with death itself, to assure readers that she has walked her own path to true healing. Her current lifestyle – living in her off-the-grid dream home with her adoring husband and precious little boy – is a testimony to the kind of goodness that can unfold when we do the work of healing ourselves and prioritizing our values. Her journey to happiness started with working through her own poor health and aligning her life with her values and knowledge as a medical professional.

I think what really impressed me most about this book is that the information is “common sense” that most of us fail to implement consistently, written in a way that invites readers onto a healing journey, rather than lecturing them on what they need to change about their lives. Dr. Tumi’s tone is exactly the kind of energy I look for when talking to my own healthcare team. She doesn’t scold: she gently invites and offers unwavering encouragement. I loved how she discusses how poetry supported her healing, and it inspired me to reconnect with the creative arts that feel nourishing to me.

In short, I highly recommend this book! It’s a great reference for anyone that wants to know exactly how to determine the most crucial pillars to improved health, as well as a guideline for how to integrate these pillars more fully into their lives. You can check out Delicious Healing here. Also, you can learn more about Dr. Tumi on her YouTube channel or on her website (DrTumiJohnson.com). Here is one of my favorite videos that she’s shared.

I hope you all have enjoyed this post! If you decide to check out Dr. Tumi’s channel or book, please let me know!

***This post has affiliate links.

reading list

August Books Follow-Up: Observations and Reflections

Hi friends! I mentioned last week that I would be giving some additional thoughts about my August reads (you can see that post here). I had to split this into two posts because I was way too busy last week to share all of the thoughts I had about the books I read.

Firstly, I’m still a huge fan of doing lots of audiobooks, since I frequently find myself short on time. And all of my August reads were audiobooks that I found for free on YouTube (though, my September list will have some non-audiobooks on it).

Last month, I dove a bit deeper into Wayne Dyer’s work, which I found to be invaluable in modifying some of my thoughts about myself and how I show up in the world. I also loved the quick reads that provided tips on accumulating and maintaining wealth. Sometimes, it’s just really good to get a refresher, and to remind ourselves that we have more control over our resources than we may believe.

Additionally, I finally got a chance to read The Art of War in its entirety: I am really excited to think of practical ways to apply the strategies listed in that book. A lot of people think “war” refers strictly to engaging in battle against an army, using weapons and hoping to survive and win. However, all of our lives have elements of “war” to them: the more we understand about the various ways to guarantee success, the better we can equip ourselves to create the success we desire. And, military strategy is just as helpful for navigating our regular lives as any other strategic philosophy out there.

Have you all read any good books recently? I’d love to hear all about it!

life curation · style

Welcoming Autumn

Well friends, it’s the first day of autumn. Some of you may be quite happy with this, while others among us (namely, me) are sad to see summer end.

Yes, I know that unbearably hot temperatures are challenging for most people, especially those that live in my region (Mid-Atlantic USA). But I love the hot days and steamy nights. I love having sunshine until nearly 9 PM every night, leaving my home with no need for a jacket, and seeing the plants around me bloom and hit their annual peaks. Summer is undoubtedly my favorite season, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Meanwhile at my house …

However, since my ability to bend time, space and nature hasn’t fully developed yet, I will have to contend with the seasonal changes that come from living in this region. And, instead of being resistant to the point of obstinance, I felt that my best approach would be to embrace the change and make it feel festive. After this past year or so, who doesn’t need to feel more festive?

In honor of this seasonal change, I filmed a YouTube video featuring the autumn wreath I made for a family member. Also, I included a picture of my own autumn wreaths above (I had to make two since I have double doors). The video is a very easy and inexpensive DIY that can add a darling touch of autumn to your doorways, signaling the change from hot days to cool breezes, and lush green foliage to brilliant displays of gold, copper and cranberry. I hope you enjoy and, if you decide to make a wreath of your own, please let me know! I’d love to know how it turns out for you.

Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

reading list

Books Read in August 2021

This post went out a little earlier than I wanted, since I was too busy last week to do any writing. However, here is my list of books that I read during the month of August:

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

P T Barnum, The Art of Money Getting

Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth

Wayne Dyer, Pulling Your Own Strings

Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It

Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones

Wayne Dyer, Wisdom of the Ages: 60 Days of Enlightenment

Seneca, On The Shortness of Life

Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

I loved these books and the things I’ve learned. I’ll follow up with additional insights soon!

life curation · relaxation · style

Making a House a Home

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was safe, happy, and relaxing. It was another hot weekend in Virginia (my favorite type of weather!) so the weekend started and ended on a great note, as far as I’m concerned.

Today’s post is the first domestic one that I’ve done in quite some time. There would have been far more of these sort of posts this summer, but I ended up not planting my garden, so there were no flower or herb pictures to share. Also, a lot of my time during the pandemic was spent care for my grandmother and great-aunt. For that reason, I didn’t have much time to focus on the “fun” domestic activities that I’ll be talking about today.

That being said, my life is returning to normal. My grandmother and my great-aunt returned to their home, my health started to improve, and I finally had more free time to explore my creativity leanings. This newfound time freedom gave me the space to play around with craft ideas that, at one time, I didn’t think I’d have the time or energy to do.

So, in the upcoming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing all sorts of domestic posts and videos. I have an upcoming video where I feature a do-it-yourself autumn wreath that is beautiful, easy and inexpensive. I’ve also been tinkering with some foraging and wildcrafting recipes that I’m eager to share with you all. Today, however, I’m going to share a super-simple autumn-inspired tea recipe that I filmed last year, that will be perfect once the air starts to cool and the leaves start turning to red and gold.

I hope you all enjoy the video! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

beauty · luxury

Review: The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box

Happy Tuesday, friends! I had some last-minute changes to my schedule last week, so I had to push my posts ahead to this week. As always, I’m delighted to be back and writing per usual.

Today’s post is a review of a clean fragrance brand that I initially disliked, but, as I started experimenting with the fragrances, the scents started to “grow” on me! The brand is 7 Virtues, and the sampler set that I purchased is the Peace Blend Box.

The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box contains 7 clean, vegan perfumes that can be combined in order to create a signature scent. I had my doubts about the smells, because they initially seemed a little strong and not quite what I usually go for. I decided to review the scents on my YouTube channel, so I’ll post the video shortly.

As the video goes along, I start to warm up to the fragrances. It’s funny: you can literally see me change my mind from ‘meh’ to ‘maybe’, then from ‘maybe’ to ‘I think I like it’! The set contains the fragrances that use essential oils from various countries. The scents are as follows:

  • Orange Blossom from Afghanistan
  • Rose Amber from Afghanistan
  • Vetiver Elemi from Haiti
  • Grapefruit Lime from Israel & Iran
  • Patchouli Citrus from Rwanda
  • Jasmine Neroli from India
  • Vanilla Woods from Madagascar

The company gets a thumbs up from me, due to the fact that it centers ethical sourcing and fair trade commerce. Yay for good products that support good work! According to 7 Virtues, every purchase serves their mission to “provide dignity and meaningful employment in communities rebuilding after war or strife.” This is such an important cause, as many countries affected by domestic conflicts are left devastated economically as well as culturally. It means a lot to me, to know that I, in my own little way, can support the work that 7 Virtues is promoting.

Without further ado, here’s the video:

If you want to check out the 7 Virtues brand, click here. Let me know if you’d try this brand, or you have any other clean fragrance recommendations!