Well, both boys are finally done with school. After a tearful goodbye to 8th grade (last week), Raines didn’t have to attend the final three days of school, which pissed off his little brother. Which, understandable, given the level of obnoxiously smug gloating that (apparently) comes along with graduating from 8th grade.
My youngest, Pax, will officially be in middle school next year, and I was expecting to cry on his last day, too. I usually do cry — at the start of every year, at the end of every year (and here Linzi would sarcastically chime in that I cry on days that end in “y”), but on this Tuesday, as Pax and I opened the door to walk to school, a storm broke literally over our heads. Instead of a leisurely walk to school, reminiscing on the year, Pax and I found ourselves in a torrential downpour, rain coming in sideways, thunder rolling, lightning flashing, our umbrellas blown inside out, crossing streets in ankle-deep water.
It was a little scary, actually, but I ended up just giggling madly, and Pax was doing full-on singing-in-the-rain antics, leaping off stoops into the puddles below, aiming the roof waterfalls in all directions with his umbrella, somehow keeping the upper half of his body dry.
I wasn’t quite so lucky. After dropping Pax off at school, I squish-squashed over to my solid core class, emptying my Vans out in their sink before heading on in to drip all over the machines. I couldn’t get home fast enough to change. I don’t know how Pax managed a full day of school with sopping wet shoes, but at the end of the day he was all rainbows and sunshine and leaping Peter Pan joy.
5th grade. Done.
In honor of Juneteenth, I thought I’d highlight a few tried-&-true, Black-owned business that we love round here….
Brother Vellies – I own a pair of Brother Vellies huaraches (in blush), and they are so incredibly well-made and comfortable (you can see them on in my recent YouTube video about styling long denim shorts). Of course, they’re almost completely sold out. But Saks has a pair of Brother Vellies platform boots (on sale!) that I’ve been staring at all year. They would make me SO TALL YOU GUYS. I’m tempted. I also keep coming back to these shearling-lined sandals (confusing, but intriguing — they might actually be amazing in the heat??) and these adorable puffy slides. Of course, if you just want something wildly beautiful, Brother Vellies’ Mermaid Cowboy Boots are a literal work of art.
Soko Jewelry – Linzi turned me onto Soko Jewelry, and I love their chunkier take on otherwise delicate jewelry. It’s a pretty great juxtaposition. While the earrings are gorgeous (Linz has these, I believe), I’m eyeing up this ear cuff and these wavy stacking bracelets.
A A K S – If you’re looking for a straw bag for summer, but one that’s more interesting than the usual, check out the gorgeous statement bags from A A K S. They’re like little works of art, and such a joy to carry. Mine is sold out, but Linzi owns this one.
Yubi Beauty – My sister gave me Yubi Beauty’s make-up brush for Christmas one year, and it’s basically magic. If you want the most flawless complexion in seconds…this. I use the brush with foundation (or, let’s be real, CC cream) and the sponge with concealer.
The Tiny Closet – Nat just released her summer collection, all made from, “hidden gem fabrics from passionate textile collectors”. This means leftover fabrics in quantities too small for traditional retailers to use. While the exact dress I have (and love) is no longer available…this set is all I want to wear to the office. Love that you can order two different lengths, too.
Mantra Mugs – Still some of my favorite gifts, Mantra Mug’s cheeky sayings and extra-large mugs are pure joy. Also, Katrina does custom mugs, so they’re especially great for private jokes.
Off-White – These are the exact Off White sneakers I have (also at Nordstrom), and I did, in fact, remove that plastic tag. These sneakers had to be broken in a bit, but I love the lighter canvas construction for summer. They’re just so freaking cool. Sadly, Off-White founder Virgil Abloh passed away in 2021, but most companies are still referring to Off-White as a Black-Owned business. (I tried to look into this a bit: he still owns the trademark, even though the company was bought by LVMH — aka Louis Vuitton.)
Gwen Beloti Jewelry – If you’re looking for everyday jewelry, Gwen Beloti is this team’s favorite. I especially love her collection of delicate necklaces, and the fact that you can buy extenders for each chain type so you can play around a bit, and really get that perfectly layered necklace look. So good.
Zelie For She – Kat swears by this brand, whose plus-size designs are seriously good. This dress is my top pick. LOVE.
Oh Happy Dani – One of my favorite graphic designer IG accounts is Oh Happy Dani, and artist Danielle Coke recently launched her Oh Happy Dani Collection at Target. Color me unsurprised to find that it’s amazing.
Fenty Beauty – Scotti is a longtime fan of Fenty Beauty, and swears by the cream bronzer in the summer because it adds warmth without a ton of powder or sparkles. I’m going to try the Poutsicle lip stain because I’m a sucker for good marketing and that name is genius.
My next read. Ibram X. Kendi’s latest book, How To Raise an Anti-Racist just came out. While I linked it to Bookshop.org (the easiest way to support local & independent bookstores), I only read on my Kindle these days, so here’s a link to Amazon, too.
That’s it! I mean, there are more — Partake Cookies, for one (they’re vegan!!), and my next sunglasses purchase is going to be a pair from Coco & Breezy….I’ve been looking for square frames and theirs are the coolest, but the list above is, as I mentioned, just a few of our very favorites.
Enjoy your weekend!