It took me way too long to get to Italy (and all of the classic European travel cities, really) — I had always focused my travels on the road less taken, namely because destinations like Tanzania, Mexico, and Morocco were exotic and always worlds cheaper upon arrival.

But last year was a rough one. I left my job at CAVA and took on an intense advertising job with long hours and lots of stress — and with the upcoming election and scheduled work events, Emily’s vacation days were limited in summer. So we decided to go big: the Amalfi coast.

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Fuck racism. Money talks — and here are some amazing, gorgeous Black-owned businesses that I’ve found through Instagram and Etsy, both in the last 5 years of searching for art, and in the last 5 days of looking for ways to amplify black businesses.

It’s not just what we do now, or this week, or next week, that matters. It’s how we change our habits to consciously choose and prioritize diversity for the rest of our lives to make this world a better place, no matter what color your skin is. As an imperfect, female, and biracial creative, this is something I’m consciously working on, when it comes to creating artwork and in deciding where to spend my money.

So, I put this list together to share the artists and shops that inspire me — and I’d like this list to be a living, breathing thing, that I can update as I learn more about everything our communities have to offer. If you have favorite artists and shops, leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to this list!

Jade Purple Brown

Aside from Jade’s gorgeous illustrations that make me wish I were her via Instagram, she’s designed for brands like Sephora, TikTok, Nike, and Tampax. Follow her, and check out Words to Live By, a book of inspiring quotes by fab women — designed by her, obviously.

Heritage Apothecary

I initially found this shop by searching for black artists and shop owners on Etsy, and after doing some hunting on Instagram, discovered her actual website (so shop there and help her avoid Etsy fees). How cute is this mini smudge kit?

Temi Coker

Another incredible artist I found through Instagram. Temi’s use of color just blows me away, and you can brighten up your home with one of his own very prints. This one will be hanging up in our home!

The Honey Pot

I’m a fool for colorful yet minimal packaging design, and The Honey Pot is no exception here. Founder Bea Nixon has a fab line of skincare products for your nether regions — so you can support a black woman-owned business and pamper yourself down there. Win win. I’ll be needing this soothing body balm, stat.

Mahogany Books

This bookstore’s URL is literally Black Books Matter — and you should buy books here before you hop onto Amazon. Hood Feminism and Such a Fun Age are both up next on my to-read list… and as a designer, I showed up for the covers, but stayed to support two bad ass female writers of color.

Jungalow

When I moved into my new place, I wanted to create an indoor jungle — and my friend Abra pointed me to the Jungalow on Insta, and I was obsessed. Check out Justina’s fantastic home decor collection… and give your plants a new home. I’m loving these abstract, organically shaped mirrors.

Note: no affiliate links were used in this post. Additionally, advertising is disabled on this post.

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For the past several months, I’ve made a significant effort to reduce my plastic usage — and while it’s hard to go completely plastic-free, I’ve found it pretty easy to find reusable alternatives for some every day items that contribute to a ton of plastic waste.

Growing up in California, in a family that loves camping and backpacking to get away from the crowds, has made it easy to see the impact humans have had on our environment — you wouldn’t believe how much plastic trash has found its way into the most remote parts of the world.

But it’s also easy to forget how much plastic you buy and throw away on a daily basis — a bottle of soda here and there, your medication, and even your regular grocery items like coffee and milk! So I thought I’d pull some of my favorite reusable, non-plastic alternatives that I started purchasing to help me remember to waste less, and avoid buying plastic altogether.

shampoo mouthwash floss stashers covers beeswax towels soap producebags

Note on shipping: When it comes to reducing your plastic usage, it’s also a good idea to think about where you get your products. You’ll see some Amazon links in here for convenience, but Amazon tends to send you a large box filled with plastic packaging that isn’t suited to what you’ve ordered. Eco-conscious shops, on the other hand, ship with really thoughtful packaging that uses zero plastic (and honestly, is designed so well, it’ll make you smile).

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These days are crazy.

I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve never experienced anything quite like this — I definitely remember H1N1, SARS and MERS, but it’s almost surreal to go through an international threat like this.

With everyone working from home and social distancing, I’ve been trying to use my extra down time to write more, practice illustrating, and creating art. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ve resolved to take some online yoga classes, pick up meditation, and document the travels I’ve left mostly unwritten in the past year or two — because hopefully when things are back to normal, we can go back to exploring this beautiful world.

In the meantime, a playlist — all of my favorite tunes for the month, to get you dancing, singing, and focused on the future.

We’ve all been there — moving is no joke. And while I recently moved in with my bf (who deferred all design decisions to me, thank god), my former roommate, Emily, was moving into a new apartment with virtually no furniture. While moving can be the perfect reset opportunity to your own style, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. So she enlisted me to help.

Online shopping gives me life (even when I’m not the one buying things), so I jumped at the chance to help her decorate her new space. Since I’m pretty obsessed with design and decor, helping Em was a treat — instead of decorating one new home, I got to decorate two! So we huddled up and got to work. I filled a Google doc with all the cute things I could find on the internet within her set budget range.

I figured some of these gems would make a cute little graphic, so here are a few of the things I recommended for a classic, light and airy, natural feeling living room setup (plus, some extra splurges that I’d like to get myself).

Her apartment has tons of natural light, and Emily was set on becoming a crazy plant lady (which has already begun, as she adopted lots of large plants from a friend moving across the country). With that in mind, I wanted to include some warm woods, light-colored surfaces, and clean lines to keep things feeling modern, but also cozy and expensive.

The Frame TV, 43 inches, $860 // Bird of Paradise plant (it’s real!), $36
Fox & Fern 12-inch matte white plant pot, $59 // Safavieh Boston Collection flatweave rug in gray, $129 // Set of 6 pear-shaped vases, $37 // Faux marble coffee table, $106
Globe floor lamp, $75 // Belleeze Mid-Century Armchair, $140
Posner TV stand, $309 // Rituals book, $20 // California Living book, $24
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