Destin Florida: Drawing Lines in the Sand

If you’ve been keeping up with the Fosters (that’s us) you’ll know that prior to two weeks ago, our family had not been on a family vacation since 2019. We were over it and decided to book a vacation. Of course, we followed all safety precautions because it’s still a pandemic. (We actually booked a vacation last year but decided against going) We settled on a family and friends trip to Destin, Florida before spring break because that’s our business. (Insert Tabitha Brown’s voice) 

We went the Airbnb route to host 13 people and mainly because we wanted to save money and be near a beach. I’ve heard so many people rave about Destin over the years so I was looking forward to finally leaving Houston and seeing something new. We all needed it.

 

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But dare I say that I didn’t get the “warm and fuzzies” while in Destin? Like not at all. It was based on a few collective and individual experiences that we had that just didn’t sit well with my spirit. 

The first red flag was when we all got to the beach for the first time. This was my kids’ second time being to the beach in their lives so they were beyond excited. The Airbnb we stayed in was technically within walking distance which was a selling point. It was a Thursday, midday. Not many people out. As mentioned, this was the week before Spring Break so there were no crowds. 

Of course, we noticed that no one “looked like us” on the beach but that’s not a new experience when you’re black in America. As we unloaded and began to walk on the beach we were met by a “beach attendant.” He was maybe early twenties at best.

He made a direct line for us and met us before our feet even hit the sand. He proceeded to tell us that it was a private beach and that if we stayed, we had to stay on the “public part of the private beach.” Mind you that this beach was listed as part of the Airbnb’s amenities. What bothered me the most is that he never asked if any of us have access to the “private beach.” Maybe my sugar daddy was letting me use his access for the week, he doesn’t know my life! I digress. 

Keep in mind that there are at least 4-5 adults in our group and a whole bunch of kids clamoring to get to the water. 

So beach boy decided that he would further explain that the “public” part of the beach was any area that had WET sand. The sand had to be wet which meant damn near in the water only. I felt myself getting hot but I decided to stay quiet because I didn’t want to call it what it really was. 

By this time, there were definitely eyes in our direction. To be honest, if it was up to me, I would have left but the kids would have been devastated. There were also more level heads in our group and they handled it way better than I would have if it were just the four of us. 

Eventually, we conceded and let him know that we understood that the WET sand was the only area we could occupy. Do you know this fool had the audacity to walk over with us and draw a literal LINE in the sand so that we knew where we couldn’t cross?!? By this time, I am boiling hot. My friend shut him down immediately and explained that we don’t need his artwork to help us understand. 

The kids got in the water. We all did our best to power through the experience and not let it affect the kids’ visit. The kids played and splashed while I kept not so secretly staring at beach boy anytime he was in my peripheral vision. It was not lost on me/us that no one else around looked like us. There were some teenagers that were with us and I hate that this will be one of their memories. 

That was the most outstanding experience but not an isolated feeling while in Destin. I remember being at the Boardwalk and standing in line at a food truck. I was quite obviously being ignored so I left the line and went somewhere else. 

Don’t get me wrong. We still enjoyed each other and our stay. There were plenty of drinks and good food, swimming and laughing had by all. 

Because that’s what we do right? We make the best of situations. I am also fully aware that these are isolated incidents and likely to happen again if we stayed somewhere else or even just went on a different day or a different time. But I personally have no intentions of finding out. 

It was still a great road trip and some much-needed fellowship with some of our favorite people in the world. 

Update: I did a google search. This is what came up. 

What is a private beach in Florida?

The sandy part of the beach above this line, if it’s not public beach, is usually private. Most Floridians have understood this as the “wet sand/dry sand” law. In other words, every part the water touches is public while dry sand is private. – Sep 3, 2020

I guess what’s most frustrating was the humiliation of the experience. For this young kid to offer to draw a line in the sand for a group filled with adults was degrading. I get rules, I do. But it’s how you handle people. And again, how did he know that we didn’t have access to the private part? We assumed that because we had access through the beach house that this included walking on the beach. Miscommunication? Probably? The beach was not even close to being full so I didn’t understand the urgency. And I also noticed personally that other people who were just arriving at that same entrance of the beach did not get approached. Will I return? Nah. Unless we own the private beach! Adding to my list of goals!

How not to raise a baby Karen.

This story takes place before spring break 2021. 

Zara is the social butterfly in our family. She came out that way and definitely got that from her daddy. I’ve always worried that someone would try to dim her light. So I straddle the line of giving her the real while allowing her to enjoy her childhood. Imagine my reaction when she shared that she has been crying at school because a girl in her class talks to her too aggressively. 

Long story short, the classmate seems to find her way into Zara’s business and tell her what she is doing wrong. The problem is 1. Zara never asks for her opinion and 2. The girl practically yells at Zara. Zara says that she is friends with the girl except when she is bossy. From what I can tell, it seems like the classmate spends a little extra time focusing on whether Zara did a word problem correctly or if Zara hung her backpack on the correct hook. Petty? I know. Second-grade stuff. Totally. But the point is that Zara feels like she can not tell the girl to MIND HER OWN BUSINESS because she doesn’t want to be rude to her. The irony. 

The first thing I did was have a talk with Zara about speaking up for herself. The fact that I had a conversation with a 7-year-old about making sure your friends respect your boundaries is not where I thought I would be this year but here we are.

Zara attends a predominantly white school and to be completely honest with you, I do believe that this is her first encounter with a school-age “Karen-to-be.” and I felt that it was important to share different ways that she could tell Karen to mind her business.

Zara didn’t want me to tell her teacher but I emailed her anyway because…documentation. Her teacher was absolutely supportive and got right on it. It seems that the child is considered a bit of a “mother hen.” We call it nosey, bossy, and aggressive but either way, it vexes Zara’s soul. Sounds like she does it to other kids too but I’m not worried about other kids, I’m worried about my own. After some time, I had to send a follow-up email to the teacher because it seems the clash of personalities was still circulating. 

I wanted to share my email today in case you’re not entirely sure how to communicate with your child’s teacher or school in the best manner. Here’s a snippet of my email to the teacher. Of course, names have been changed to protect the identities of Zara’s teacher and Miss Karen.

Email template

Dear Teacher,

[Starting off an email without a greeting is triggering to teachers. I know. Trust me.] I hope you are doing well. My child [state the problem immediately, teachers don’t have time for fluff and neither do you] has been really struggling with a student in the class, Amanda*. 

[Show evidence that you have done your due diligence and got as much proof and truth from your child as possible. This allows time for processing on your part.]

This weekend my child actually asked me to reach out to you to see if you could address the issue about Amanda. I know I sent an email a few weeks ago (To Miss Davids*) about how my child feels that the student is too aggressive with her. I’ve discussed my child advocating for herself and speaking up for herself whenever she feels that Amanda is overstepping her boundaries but she is still feeling unnerved by her. 

[Don’t blame the other student because it could be a misunderstanding.] I do not believe that the student is being nasty, [Be sure to state when something is your opinion and not a fact to avoid confusion and anyone being wrongly interrogated.] she just seems (in my opinion) to be nosey and bossy and aggressive when sharing what my child should do. 

I was surprised that my child actually wanted me to send the email this time. She didn’t want me to before. [Avoid saying your kid would “never” do something while still maintaining that you know your child’s habits and tendencies.] Again, I think it’s a personality issue but my child seems to want to stay on Amanda’s good side so she doesn’t yell at her. [Be honest about your kid too.] I do understand my child is a sensitive girl. But it’s not like her to constantly talk about a particular student. She does say they are friends but that she sometimes cries privately because Amanda is constantly telling her what to do and doing it aggressively.

[Share that you have already started the process of teaching your child how to advocate for themselves while also stating the real issue may be.] I already explained to her that it’s okay to be friends with everyone as long as they respect her boundaries but it seems like the other student is dancing on the line of those boundaries. 

She says that she thinks of rebuttals in her head but never says them out loud to Amanda because she doesn’t want to be rude. She doesn’t want to answer rudeness with rudeness back.

[This is key. Avoid demanding the other child be immediately accused of wrongdoing. Instead suggest/request support on de-escalating a potential future situation.] Can you please keep an eye out for any uncomfortable moments between my child and Amanda? I don’t think it’s an everyday thing though. For some reason, she wants to stay in Amanda’s good graces (which is totally fine)  but it bothers her soul the way Amanda seems to constantly tell her what to do.

[Another critical point. Position yourself as an ally to the teacher. Which you should be anyway!] Please let me know if I need to address anything on my end. I [share your goal or preferred outcome here] don’t want my child to feel like she has to tiptoe around anyone while she is at school.

[Be reasonable but firm.] I’m sure it’s just second-grade stuff but I am taking her lead on reaching out with her permission.

[Always end your email by leaving the door open for communication and partnership.] Feel free to call me or email me.

EMAIL ENDS

I want to be clear. In my particular case, the teachers were immediate in their actions to resolve the issue or at least commit to monitoring the situation. They were absolutely encouraging and supportive in making sure Zara feels safe and secure and even offered to talk to the student again. 

Zara feels happy with the outcome so far but I have also told her that she has the right to have friends that respects her boundaries and she also has a right (and our permission) to not hold it in and shut Baby Karen down. 

Minding your own business costs you nothing. Respectfully. 

The next step if necessary will be a meeting request with the student’s parents but my prayer is that it never comes to that and it just works itself out. 

Emailing your child’s teacher about Dr. Seuss

Hey you! So it looks like we’re starting off the month with an email to Zavi’s teacher! Very often, I get direct messages from moms who aren’t sure if they should say something about the lack of diversity in their child’s classroom or in the curriculum. The question is always, “Should I say something?” My answer is usually “yes.” If this sounds like you, and you need help constructing emails to your teacher, keep reading.

March kicks off the national campaign, Read Across America. Read Across America uses prompts from Dr. Seuss’s books to encourage reading. I will be honest in sharing that I have not always thought that Dr. Seuss’s books were racist. I grew up on them. My mom collected them at one point. She even saved them and gifted them to me to give to Zavi and Zara. But they never made it past my car trunk. Because by then I knew better.

Dr. Seuss’s books are riddled (pun intended) with racist stereotypes and imagery. And given that I am a veteran educator, and always maturing as a parent, some things don’t get a pass. So even though I was not sure if our district or campus was participating in the Dr. Seuss activities this year, I didn’t wait to find out. So about that email???

Because I am an educator myself, I understand how emails can really trigger teachers.  I really try to keep things professional, to the point, and always make sure that it’s clear that my first priority is my child, not anyone’s feelings. In the same breath, I do think it’s possible to approach challenging subjects with teachers/schools/administrations without attacking the teacher. 

Before I show you my email, here’s a general rule of thumb for emailing your child’s teacher. 

 

  1. Use a pleasantry at the beginning of the email. No one wants to be attacked out of the gate.
  2. Share your concern clearly. Don’t ramble. Don’t talk about what you heard. Base your concerns on your experience. 
  3. Be transparent about approaching the teacher. 
  4. Be clear that you are a lifetime advocate for your child AND also a support for the teacher. Teachers or admin want to know that the student’s education is a partnership. 
  5. Offer a reasonable suggestion or solution.  ALWAYS come to the table with an answer to your own question.

Example Email

 

[Start with a greeting] 

Good morning Mr/Mrs, 

Are you ready for the weekend like I am? 

[Mention problem immediately] This may seem random but will your class or campus be doing Read Across America/Dr. Seuss books? I am only asking because Dr. Seuss’s books are filled with racist stereotypes and imagery and I do not support the use of the books as a resource. 

[Your desired outcome] If so, I just want to be able to offer my child* other resources/books at home that support diversity and inclusion during the week. 

[Be transparent about approaching the teacher] It’s highly uncomfortable for me to ask [Affirm that you are advocating for your child] but I am my child’s die-hard advocate and fan so this comes along with the title. 🙂 

If the campus/district has no plans to participate in using Dr. Seuss’s books to support Read Across America, then it is fine. 

[Offer a reasonable suggestion] Please let me know if I can help with other books/resources that support diversity for the week while keeping with the theme. I don’t mind him participating in the week at all. It’s just the actual use of Dr. Seuss’s books as the resource I find challenging. 

[Let the teacher know you are here to help] Feel free to call me or email me. I am here to support you in all ways. 

Sincerely

Parent

Now that you’ve seen one of at least a handful of emails that I send to school in a year, remember, you never have to apologize for being a parent to your child! This post is not to tell you to hate Dr. Seuss. This is for you if you want to voice your concern but don’t know how to address it. It may not be a big deal to other parents. and that’s okay! P.S. Zavi’s teacher replied to the email saying that I had no worries and that she wasn’t into Dr. Seuss anyway. Crisis averted. 

Here’s a great resource from Carlos Whittaker to help you decide if this your battle. 

 

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Feel like it’s too late to contact your school about this? Bookmark this post for next year! You can also find me on Pinterest for easy access to ALL my resources.

 

*my child – I will be replacing all names in emails shared on this blog, because you know, crazies. Also, unless stated otherwise, all matters referred to in these posts have been resolved with our school/teachers.

 5 Uses For Bar Carts That Have Nothing To Do With Alcohol.

Most of us have made changes in our homes within the last year thanks to COVID. Nothing like a good quarantine to make you live in your house! One thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to move or restyle little corners of my home all of the time. It may start with just switching out a vase then turn into a complete room makeover in the middle of the night. Just me? Okay. I will take that charge. One item I’ve come to love is the bar cart! Have you used your bar cart for more than just storing alcohol and libations? I highly recommend it.

Bar carts are great for so many reasons: 

  1. Don’t have room for a bookcase? Use a bar cart! Bar carts allow you to style your favorite books by color and provide varying heights for picture frames and other little trinkets to display. So go on and stack those cookbooks that you swear you will use one day. 
  2.  Have you turned into a #plantbae in the past year? Are you constantly looking for new plant stands or places to put your new babies? Use a bar cart. Styling your plants on the shelves also makes it easier to move them where they can get the best sunlight. 
  3. Add storage bins or baskets to hide board games, remote controls, magazines, etc.
  4. Use them as bedside tables. Most bar carts have 3 shelves which are perfect to hold a lamp, storage baskets, and your favorite pictures.
  5. Use bar carts to display toys in a kid’s room. They are the perfect height for little ones to grab their favorite toys without trying to climb chairs. You can stack their favorite books or display their favorite toys. You can even use them as a chic mobile diaper changing station in a nursery. 

The possibilities are endless. Bar carts can literally serve a purpose in any room in your home, especially if space is limited. Because I love you, I linked some of my favorite bar carts in my Amazon store. You can find inexpensive ones at Ross, Homegoods, or even Burlington Coat factory but Amazon certainly has some affordable ones as well. 

I hope this post has inspired you to elevate your favorite things with a chic bar cart. If you liked it, please leave a comment or share this post with your friends and family. 

 

How to supplement your child’s Black History Month school lessons.

It’s Black History Month. If you’re an adult that means celebrating the accomplishments of people who have contributed to American Culture in all areas of life. If you’re a parent of an elementary student that probably means you (and your kid) see the same people highlighted every year. If you have a kid in Pre-K through 5th grade, that means your child will no doubt learn about Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and if the teacher is really spicy…Ruby Bridges. Likely a coloring page will come home with one of those faces on it. And there’s no problem with those figures. They are indeed worthy to be celebrated. But Black History does not begin with slavery and end with Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was hoping, especially following a year of volatile outcries and admittance of social inequities, black boxes, and social promises to do better, that there would be SOME effort to do more but my spidey senses say that’s not the case – and it’s frustrating. So I thought I would share five Black figures to share with your own children at home. Because if the schools aren’t going to make an effort, even now, do your due diligence.

Here are five more faces to add to the Black History Month conversation.

Kamala Harris

This one is too easy and takes the least amount of research. The first woman Vice President in U.S. history. The first African-American and first Asian American President. She attended historically Black, Howard University

Amanda Gorman

The first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest poet to speak at an inaugural event at the age of 22.

Valerie Thomas

The NASA physicist who invented 3D movies and Television. She remembers been fascinated by technology as early as 8 years old. She invented the illusion transmitter in 1980 that is still used by NASA today and she is still alive. Scientists are trying to figure out how to use her invention to look inside the body.

Jennifer King

In January 2021, Jennifer King became NFL’s first full-time Black female assistant coach. The NFL began in 1920.

Simone Biles

Simone is one of the best gymnasts in the world. She is the most decorated American gymnast with 30 Olympic Medals and she still competes today. Her family even owns World Champions Gym where she practices in the suburbs of Houston.

There you have it. Five new names to add to the list. I admit that I am writing this post out of frustration after asking my own children who they have been learning about for the first week of Black History Month. The answer? Martin Luther King, Jr, and Harriet Tubman.

Let me make it clear, they deserve to be remembered and honored but can we make a little effort. Somehow I knew they would say those names. I am just asking, especially if you are an educator, to go against the status quo. See how your students light up. Watch their faces when you say that all of these people are alive today and some even made history just a few weeks ago.

If you’re a parent reading this, this doesn’t have to be “another” virtual lesson. This can be as simple as a conversation with your kids when you pick them up from school. Start with “Have you ever heard of Amanda Gorman?” And take it from there. For older kids, you can text the name of someone and ask them to find you a youtube video about that. If you just need a manipulative, run to your local Michael’s store and grab these creative worksheets to follow up your discussions. I grabbed a pack for my own kids because I already knew I was going to have to supplement what they are learning.

There’s way too much information out here on these internets to not try. And if you need more resources, Here are a few sites that have excellent resources for parents and teachers. Many of the resources are free 99!

Resources:

https://laneshatabb.com/
https://readlikearockstarteaching.com/
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Its-Moniques-World

Now go forth and do better. And if you’re a white teacher with an entirely white class, this month is especially for your students. They will be better for it!

Disclaimer: My children go to a great school. They try. They really do. More than some schools, trust me. I don’t have complaints because they do incorporate lessons. I just want to be wowed by something out of the box. That hasn’t happened yet. Not in this area. It could happen though. It’s still early in the month. Until then, I got this. At home. Year-round.

My Favorite Things – January 2021

*None of the mentions below are sponsored. All items were purchased with my own coins.

If you’re new here, you should know I like lists. It helps me compartmentalize my thoughts and interests, so here is a list of good things that I either look forward to or simply enjoy.

  1. Journalist Abby Phillip is getting her own show on CNN. She’s brilliant, her hair is always laid and she stays ready when the mic is thrown in her court. Exciting news.
  2. I’ve been obsessed with the viral song, “Earth is Ghetto” by Aliah Sheffield because well…the earth is ghetto. I find myself tickled by the song and doing a few hundred Ummm hmms when I listen to it. Check it out on Youtube here. Can’t wait until it’s on Tidal so I can add it to my playlist.
  3. They are bringing back Sex and The City this year! I wonder if it will have the same magic?!
  4. Have you ever noticed that you never see any Black unicorns on children’s clothes? I hadn’t realized it either! I stumbled upon The Black Unicorn Shop. They sell products with unicorns on them that represent black and brown children. I bought three t-shirts last week and loved the quality of the shirts. My baby is now sporting the cutest little graphic tees with unicorns with afro puffs and brown skin. This is a shout out to creating what is missing in the market. Tell them Reiko sent you if you grab anything. This is not sponsored. I just loved that this exists for my children! What a time to be alive:)
  5. I printed a second batch of pictures from my phone using MPIX. I had been letting my photos die in my phone but realized that if something happened to me, my kids would not have all of the photos documenting our lives. A few months ago, I printed over 400 pics that went back to my wedding up until my son was 2 years old. That’s about 5 years worth of memories! This time around I printed 400 more pics. I used a 30% discount code (they always have discounts) and the pictures arrived in chronological order in perfect little plastic sleeves. I’m creating a photo box to give to the kids when they are older. This is not sponsored either. I just wanted to remind you to get those good pics out of your phone and create memories for your future kids/grandkids.

Random, but that’s how this works. What have you been loving lately?

Practicing self-care with the kids.

One week down! How’s it going!?!  Have you reset yet? I have. But I’ve been thinking about how I want to include my kiddos in this reset mindset. Specifically in the area of self-care…for kids. 

I can hear my mom laughing right now at the thought. Simply because her generation barely acknowledges self-care as a real thing. You just do what you have to do. 

In recent years, I have been re-learning (or learning for the first time) what self-care means. It’s everywhere and I honestly can say that maybe I wasn’t the best at it. 

Correction. I suck at it. But I am trying. Stay with me here. So what do I mean by self-care for kids?

Kids do what they see the people they love do until they know better or different. That’s why I have made it a personal mission to chat with my kids about taking care of their bodies even at this early age. Not long, drawn-out discussions but teachable moments whenever the opportunity presents itself.

For example, Zara loves to linger in the bath every night. She calls it chilling. I used to rush her until I realized how much of our lives is being rushed. Who knew it would take a whole pandemic to slow us down?

So I decided to teach her how to make her baths an experience. Yes, at 7 years old. I’ve taught her to add some oils to her bath and allow her to relax a little longer. Why are we rushing anyway? 

*Full disclosure: We do nighttime baths

I want her to enjoy her “me” time (even at this young age) because hopefully, she will grow up to be an adult who demands it for herself. So instead of needing to re-learn this at 45 like me, she can start learning at 7. This “un-rushing” is even as simple as making sure we all take our time to actually moisturize our skin after a bath/shower. Not just slapping it on and going…but taking time to really nurture your skin. It sounds really hokey but if you think about it, I am sure you can admit that there are some things you rush through also. 

The same goes for my son. Allowing him to play in the water (he has toys galore) instead of hurrying him out will allow him to be accustomed to doing something simple for himself at the end of the day. And yes, he gets the drops of bath oil in his water too. You can find the oil on my Amazon List. 

I’ve also started doing night time family time stretching routines. Sometimes it’s family-friendly yoga but mostly it’s just to stretch. 15 minutes tops. They never fight me about it either. They have even reminded me on a few nights. Now, this is just week one so let’s see if it sticks but so far so good. Small steps. . I tell them the stretches help you to sleep better. We even laugh at each other as we fall and mommy busts her ass…quite often.

We do have the Peleton in our home and they have quite a lot of family-friendly classes ((floor exercises, stretches) that are anywhere between 5-30 minutes. We all enjoy it. I’m hoping we form a habit with this. And if you follow my Instagram stories, you know that my Zavi does NOT play about his workouts. 

January 2021. Forming more intentional habits and bringing the kids along this time. Nothing huge. Right now it’s enjoying bath time and stretching with the family before bed. Who knows how those habits will blossom when they are adults? 

Do you remember any self-care or habits that you learned as a kid that you do to this day?

*Remember to try the bath oil here. If you purchase from the link, I will receive a small commission that helps me continue making free content on this blog.

Zavi’s Cool Kid Loft Room

Who knew that Zavi would get the works when it came to his bedroom makeover!? Thanks to the pandemic, I had the time and some practical reasons to do the most.

So what were we going for? Zavi wanted more of a big boy room to celebrate his 5th birthday, the year of the “Kindergarten Man” so that’s what he got! I knew that I wanted to try my hand at white walls and black trim in his room to give it a new vibe. And in the end, it turned out even more awesome than I anticipated.

Lucky for us, Pardon My Fro, released home bedding this summer and reached out to us to be a major part of the room makeover. We chose the “Oliver” theme from Pardon My Fro, because how could we not! “Oliver” looks just like Zavier!

We threw in some locker furniture in a vibrant blue, a white rug from Homegoods, and new lighting and we had Zavi’s big boy room!

Since he started Kindergarten online, it was important that he had a fun virtual learning space that was still chic enough for me – because I was a whole class mom this year! In the end, we settled on a small desk that he can grow with overtime, acrylic shelves, and an acrylic chair. And I think we hit the mark.

He will be able to grow with all of his furniture but the best part is that the room is fun for him. He calls it the best chill spot in the house and he is so right because even his big sister finds herself in there with her Ipad. It’s kind of like the cool kid loft vibe in the house.  Want me to help you refresh a room in your home? Click here.

Room Details

Wall Decal: Blik Supergraphics

Chair: Crate & Barrel 

Custom Coloring Poster: Coily Encounters

Single Locker Storage: Novogratz @ Kohl’s

End Table: Novogratz on Amazon

Two-Door Accent Cabinet: Novogratz @ Wayfair

Bed: Ikea

Bean Bag: Walmart

Oliver Goodies (Not In Stock): Pardon My Fro

Five Tips To Make Small Yet Impactful Changes To A Room

Quarantine 2020 has turned a lot of us into plant baes, organization gurus, and interior designers. Myself included. It is what it is.

Being forced to live in your home for more than 4 hours at a time has a way of making you realize that you need more plants in your life and more color on your walls. It has a way of turning your trips to Homegoods into mini-vacations and a chance to become the HGTV DIY star you never knew you wanted to be.

In my defense, I’ve always had the “jushing” bug. You know. Where you sit in a room long enough and decide that you need a gallery wall NOW and need to change the bedding to a completely clean, modern vibe.

Some of us went overboard. Some of us found joy in being home and enjoying the home.

 

If that “zhuzhing” bug has been pestering but you are too overwhelmed to start, here are 5 tips to make small yet impactful changes in a room.

  • Replace your throw pillows seasonally. Consider pillow covers instead of buying whole new pillows. Look at places like Etsy or Hobby Lobby.
  • Add plants. Plants bring life into a room. I’m late to this party but now I am a believer. There are so many easy maintenance plants like Snake plants and Pothos. Hint: look at your local grocery store for plants. That’s where all of my plant babies come from. And by the way, I don’t name my plants, I can barely remember my kids’ names.
  • Update the frames on your wall. Take a look at some of your photos on the wall. Could they be updated? Perhaps even a gallery wall? I go to Homegoods and Michael’s for inexpensive frames. Try to get all of the same sizes or at least in the same color family. You can always throw a different color for fun.
  • Use coffee table books/magazines as “shelves” for your plants or even decorative pieces around your home. Differentiating heights can provide visual interest in a home.
  • Turn some of the photos on your phone into art. Enlarge those babies, make them black and white and frame them in the kitchen or hallways. Good photos should not just live on your phone.

Everyone has a different style. Some people love a lot of things and others like a clean and minimal look. I’m somewhere in between. But since we gotta be home anyway, why not enjoy our spaces.

Oh yes, before I forget, change the lighting in that room in your home that just doesn’t feel right or complete. A different light fixture or chandelier might be the thing you are missing!. You will thank me. *runs off*

PS. Need help refreshing your space? I now offer 1:1 consultations to help you work through your next home decor project.

PSS. Soon I’ll be sharing my favorite home styling items on my Amazon Store. Stay tuned!

Home With Reiko Room Refresh

Room Refresh Reveal – Slay Your Vacay Boutique

I’ve been wanting to style a space that was not my own for a while. So when Slay Your Vacay Boutique contacted me to update their store, I jumped!

The boutique offers curated fashion for plus-sized women and is headed by Michelynne Bell – she has an incredible eye for stylish vacation wear! Michelleyne is now offering private shopping appointments to clients so they can shop safely during the pandemic. The refresh needed to take all COVID precautions into consideration.

My job was to step in and take it from just an inventory space to a chic lounge where customers felt comfortable to prioritize their style, even with the craziness going on in the world right now. We all need something to get our minds off it all.

Luck would have it that this space was located in Houston which meant I was also able to go in for a few hours and create a vibe for the Fall Grand which took place on November 1st.

During our virtual consultation, Michelynne gave me a tour of the space and the items she already had.

I took into account the decor items we wanted to rededicate to the new space then create a personalized shopping list of items that needed to be purchased for the refresh.

Here’s a look at the style card created just for Slay Your Vacay Boutique. (Some slides excluded)

On install day, I styled the items with the intention of creating a chic, mature space for the ladies to enjoy while shopping by appointment. I  also wanted to make sure that the inventory was accessible.

One of my favorite moments was creating the gallery wall with black and white photos of plus-sized divas. Michelleyne did her homework perfectly with finding photos and frames and even included a surprise photo of her fabulous stylish mother. Three hours, some nails, some moving around, plants, and rugs and we had the new Slay Your Vacay Boutique. I am so proud of the space. We even created a chic sanitation station upon entry because catching COVID is not sexy or fashionable.

Doing a refresh of your own? Here’s a tip for updating your walls! Go through your phone and find some of your old fave photos and print them in black and white. I usually send to print at my local CVS or Walgreens for 1 hour pick up. Blow them up and don’t be afraid to go big with 8 x 10 or larger prints..and then frame them of course. if you need some help with your space, you can read more about Home With Reiko Room Refreshes now.