How does my garden grow?

With wildflowers in all their colorful and unruly glory! Amidst the ongoing Coronavirus Crisis, it hasn’t been lost on me that I am blessed to have this idyllic hideaway to escape to. Chris and I have stayed healthy thus far, even going back and forth between our cabin and our Jersey City apartment, and I really (really!) don’t want to get sick now. That’s why I’ve been spending most of my time up in the Adirondacks, where it’s wild and beautiful and much easier to practice social distancing while still gathering with friends who are doing the same. Not to mention hiking on trails and walking in the woods or on quiet roads without crowds of people. I carry my mask along and wear it as soon as I approach anyone else. I can breathe up here. And I can smell the flowers!

White Silence

Last week I made my first trip on mass transit into the city to go for a doctor’s appointment. Afterwards I walked the length of Madison Avenue from 96th Street to the Path train at 32nd Street. I don’t think I’m exaggerating if I call this the ultimate corridor of White Privilege. Now however, every store front was either boarded up or empty with a For Rent sign. Nothing had been looted or damaged. It was an eerie and disturbing experience. And I had more than 3 miles to think about it. One thought I had. What if every boarded up storefront had signage in support of Black Lives Matter — instead of no statement.

Black Lives Matter

The unjust and senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others (even as I write this post) have made clear the gap between justice and safety for people of color in our nation. The raw grief and rage these instances of police brutality have unleashed are completely understandable, and frankly, anything but surprising.

Institutionalized racism goes beyond the physical threat of everyday physical violence. The economic inequity of personal finances is staggering. For example, according to the Center on Poverty & Social Policy, Black families with a new baby have a median household income of $36, 300. For White families, it’s more than twice that at $80,000.

Let’s talk college graduation gaps, more student loan debt and defaults, 73.4 cents on the dollar, the widest home ownership gap in 50 years, fewer retirement accounts with less in them, and less left over for the next generation.

In addition to the psychic stress and physical suffering of our country’s Black population, systemic racism has held them down financially as well. For generations. And financial security is something the world of White Privilege rarely gives a second thought to. Why would we?

I will not be silent any longer. I need to learn. I will make mistakes. I need to listen. I need to look in the mirror. I don’t have the answers. I need to take action. I need to be a part of the change that must come. Now.

Action

If you can’t join a protest, you can support organizations and politicians of change. Here are some I have given to in the last few weeks.

NAACP @ https://www.naacp.org/

Black Lives Matter @https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

The Bail Project @https://bailproject.org/

Color of Change @https://colorofchange.org/

Innocence Project @https://www.innocenceproject.org/donate/?f_src=FY20_web_x_gen_nmat_campTop000Button_Main

Jaime Harrison, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Lindsay Graham@https://jaimeharrison.com/

Charles Booker, who is running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky @https://bookerforkentucky.com/

Joyce Elliot for Congress (Arkansas) @https://www.joyceelliott.com/

And I’m on the lookout for more candidates and more ways to help every day.

Listen & Learn

All of the non-profit sites above offer excellent and eye-opening (and heart-opening) references to educate yourself. I’ve also learned about other sources from friends and family.

I love Kamau and you will too. Check him out @http://www.wkamaubell.com/podcasts-full

The Red&Black @https://www.redandblack.com/culture/6-podcasts-about-the-black-lives-matter-movement/article_ee63981c-ab6b-11ea-aff0-6bcc5da0108f.html

BBC The Documentary Podcast @https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03gzydx

Still Processing with Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham @https://www.nytimes.com/column/still-processing-podcast

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead — one of the most perfect yet heartbreaking books I have ever read.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson — the epic story of America’s Great Migration.

Becoming by Michelle Obama. No words needed.

American Son @ Netflix

Fruitvale Station

Da 5 Bloods @ Netflix (and any other film by Spike Lee)

In the weeks ahead, I’ll be sharing more on Black-owned businesses and brands you can support — from fashion to skincare to art to food and more. In spite of our collective pain, there is so much to engage with and learn from. I would love to find out more from you, so please share.

Let’s be strong and support each other. Let’s make change the New Normal. Let’s end racism once and for all.

One Love, Jamaica

When it comes to travel, are you an adventure junkie? Or a creature of habit? I’d have to call myself something in-between. Maybe that’s why after all these years I still love Jamaica so much. It’s the Caribbean paradise that welcomes you back like an old friend even after one visit. But it also promises discoveries, both big and small, on the daily. That’s probably why we’re already planning our next trip. And it can’t come soon enough.

I Left My Heart in Jamaica

I have been going to Negril, Jamaica since 1990, with a few around-the- island forays thrown in between. It is our family Happy Place, for sure. So after a 6-year hiatus, my husband and I finally made it back. And guess what? My love for this gorgeous island (and its people!) has only grown stronger. This post is the first of two and is focusing on what I wore…mostly on the beach. Post #2 will feature travel recos. As always, one love!

Wild at Heart

Hey there. Happy New Year, and wow, the first week of January is almost over. Did you make a resolution…or two? And are you keeping them? Or is it too soon to even ask? OK, enough with the questions. I didn’t make a formal list, but one thing I’m focusing on is making 2020 a year of less holding back, more adventure. And my Wild At Heart t-shirt is just my own personal reminder to do just that. And more.

Cozy Does It

This time of year I find myself reaching into my closet or shopping the sales for cozy pieces I can mix and match. A crewneck sweater, especially in a fun design, is an easy and affordable way to add some fashion freshness to your wardrobe…and stay warm. Corduroy pants and a faux fur jacket also make the grade. 

Stripes on the Street

It was almost 50 degrees in Jersey City today, and though temps are going to drop, we’re predicted to have some of the same weather next week. Is this December? Is this Global Warming?? Without getting too political here, I just wanted to post a transitional outfit that’s all about key pieces that look (and work) as great on their own as they do all together. And it all starts with this zebra-striped midi skirt.

The Perfect Party Dress

I hope you and yours had a very Happy Thanksgiving. And that if you actually ventured into the physical madness that is Black Friday you survived! We passed two huge traffic backups into outlet malls on our way up to the cabin, and I’m not ashamed to say that I was beyond relieved to be driving on. I did not even shop online! But now holiday celebrations are going to kick into high gear. We already have 4 parties and 3 events on the calendar. So…the perfect party dress is a must. And for my money, this is it.

Pattern Clash

I don’t know if I’m all about overalls, but I am all about mixing and matching my favorite fall patterns. If that means taking a walk on the wild side, then count me in. Layering on classic houndstooth check and lovable leopard just feels right. It’s my “pattern clash” of choice, and I’d encourage you to give your own version a try.