Manifesting A Dream: Pur Noire Wines


“A Passion for Wine and Experiences…”

In 2014, Carissa and Kenneth Stephens decided to “splurge” and buy a nice bottle of wine. After speaking with a sommelier, they opted for a Pinotage as it was vinted and imported by people of color. They found this interesting as they had not heard of minority-owned wine brands. After tasting the wine, the two were smitten. They began expanding their palates and deepening their passion for wine.

A year later, they traveled to Italy, one of their favorite wine regions, and had the pleasure of pairing great Italian food with excellent Italian wine, including some of the best Barolo and Chianti Classico that they’d ever tasted. Sipping glasses of fruit-forward Chianti Classico while being enchanted by the magic of the Venetian atmosphere and the beauty of the Tuscan landscape created an experience so sublime that it resonated within their spirits.  These unforgettable experiences deepened their passion for wine and piqued their interest in the wine industry.

In 2017, they were approached by an entrepreneur about an opportunity to be part owners in a luxury wine club that was sponsored by an iconic media brand. Despite being extremely excited to be involved in the launch of a business in the wine industry, putting up their capital, and publicly promoting the brand, they found themselves disappointed in the quality of the wine as well as the club’s overall operations.  They gave up their interest in the company and nearly decided to forgo the wine industry altogether.

However, a  little over a year later, the two decided to pull away from their personal entrepreneurial ventures to work together and develop their own wine brand. They knew that they wanted to create high-quality wine and combine it with memorable experiences. If they could create wines and experiences that helped give others that feeling that they experienced in Italy, they knew their wines would be a hit.

After selecting the varietals, vineyards, and winemaker they decided on the name Pur Noire to pay homage to Carissa’s French Creole roots and they began producing The Pur Collection.  The collection would feature their complex Petit Sirah based blend, Pinot Gris, and Tempranillo Rosé. They planned to release their first vintage of the Pur Collection on March 21, 2020, at a release event for 150 guests that had completely sold out by March 1, 2020.

Unfortunately, by March 16, 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, both the CDC and Donald Trump issued guidelines limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people. Also, many local government officials issued stay at home orders. It appeared that once again, the Stephens’ wine venture would be short-lived.

After much debate and careful consideration, they decided to launch the brand despite the global pandemic. They moved the launch event online and experienced great success! They nearly sold out of their proprietary Red Blend in their first 90 days of operation.

Although the pandemic has not allowed Pur Noire to create the kind of experiences it originally envisioned, the quality of its wine is praised by its customers and industry professionals. This validates the Stephens’s decision to persevere and continue to push their way into this industry. In the future, they look forward to combining their quality wine with unforgettable experiences to give others the euphoric feeling that they experienced early into their wine journey.

**Update: It’s been almost a year in business and things have gone well for Carissa and Kenneth Stephens. So much that they have decided to open up an Urban Winery and Tasting Room in Downtown Houston! The establishment will be the first and only black-owned winery to hit the Downtown District of Houston. Join history in making… plan your visit to the Pur Noire Winery after it’s grand opening in Summer/ Fall of 2021 and text “PUR” to 281-944-3697 for updates on the winery!

Source: Pur Noire

Visit Pur Noire Online for more information and to shop:

Travel: Evergreen, Colorado

You guys, I’m still not over it. Last week was my first time in blanketed snow! If you live in a place where snow is a common place, this is probably not a big deal to you. But if you’re like me, from the south and vacation mostly in warm climates, then you can feel my excitement! In all of my 32 years I had never experienced seeing THIS MUCH snow fall.

My husband and I plus 8 of our friends/ fam visited Colorado last weekend and the trip was one for the books.

We stayed in an Airbnb luxury log cabin in Evergreen, which was stunning! The house so felt new, was SO clean and was equipped with many of the things we needed during our trip. The weather was perfect! Mostly warm and sunny plus it snowed while we were out there.

It was all of our first time going skiing and it was a wonderful experience! We went skiing on Echo Mountain. After falling my first time down the bunny slope, I got the hang of it!

Some of us visited the nearby casino and the girls even had the chance to enjoy our own private jacuzzi in the mountains. It started snowing shortly after we got in. It was so warm and wonderful! Not at all uncomfortable like I was afraid it would be!

Most of my outfits came from Amazon. You can shop some of my looks here.

This brown/ nude set is from Femme Luxe. The black weather proof pants did also!

I definitely want to go back and go skiing again. I loved seeing and playing in the snow! I especially loved the bonding and quality time spent with some of my favorite people on earth in such a beautiful place!

Have you visited Colorado before? Would you like to? Comment below!

xo Riss

Vision 2020

I typically don’t list out my goals for public viewing so just consider this a personal journal entry that happens to be on the internet. If nothing else, it will help me better visualize my goals for the year while also holding me accountable to them. Consider the context of these goals a life update. So here they are… in no particular order:

  1. Launch Pur Noire (Noire Wines LLC) to the public on March 21st and sale most if not all of our product within one year while planning and preparing for our future events and vintage releases.
  2. Positively change lives by exposing more people to the wonderful world of wine. Beyond just pushing my own brand and beyond merely getting people to say they “like” wine, but getting into the nuances and eccentricities of wine… cultivating experience through wine education.
  3. Explore my Masters program at Harvard (HES). I have been focused on my long term career more lately and have come to the conclusion that I want a long-term career as a journalist. I’d like to further my education in this field. Knowing this, I explored online journalism programs and of a short list of schools and after speaking with enrollment advisers, Harvard Extension School made the top of the list. So I took the Critical Reading and Writing Skills test which is a requirement to enroll in the pro-seminar courses, I scored well! I then made sure I enrolled in the spring term for my first pro-seminar course. In the weeks leading up to tuition being due, opportunities with my brands revealed themselves. I realized that my resources needed to be focused on the successful launch and sustainability of Pur Noire while the brand is still in infancy. I’d like to re-enroll in my pro-seminar courses which will be applied toward my degree at Harvard Extension School, after we’ve gotten a handle of things for Pur Noire and the ship can somewhat sail on auto-pilot. Maybe considering the Fall or Winter term and if not then, Spring of next year.
  4. Be more consistent with content for all of my brands on all platforms.
  5. Secure more public speaking and event hosting opportunities. I already have one event lined up which will be taking place on February 22nd and it will be my second time hosting Sip, Style & Slay for T&C Beauty Supply Store. With this goal, I’ll also include more (live) television opportunities. Last year, I was featured on live television for modeling or for leading beauty segments 5 times. In 2020, my goals is to obtain at least 4 new live television opportunities. I am most definitely on track to achieve this goal. Stay tuned 😉
  6. Find a mentor. So… I am a mentor. I mentor 3 women. I pour into so many around me, daily. But one of my goals is to identify individuals (at least two) who I can build a professional mentor/ mentee relationship with but actually be the mentee this time. I’d love to find a solid business mentor in the field of journalism and a solid one that is a seasoned wine maker.
  7. Join (re-join) a Houston area trade organization in my field. Houston Association of Black Journalists is of interest. I also need to find one as it relates to Wine and Spirits and/ or minority business owners. I’ve previously served on boards for the Houston Minority Supplier Diversity Committee and the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce for the law firm that my husband built when I was working for the firm as the Business Development Manager. Maybe I should make a reintroduction as now a wine maker. Hmm I’m literally just thinking out loud…
  8. Become active in a ministry at my church. In the spirit of keeping things consistent, I am interested in joining the Communications ministry at my church. I’d also really love to contribute to the church announcements, The Avenue News. I attend a large church with a large local and even virtual audience. We pay our tithes and are good parishioners, but I’ve been a member of my church for 7 years now and have felt compelled to join a ministry for quite a while now! I’ve sent emails to key persons, have attended a training and have been having the right conversations. Now I just need to be told when and where! I’m so ready for this. I think this would be a perfect fit because of my previous experience plus I’m passionate about broadcast and public speaking. It will also be a great learning opportunity.
  9. Better time management. My time is pretty divided and sometimes can lose track of time so a huge personal goal of mine is to achieve better time management skills. With that, I hope to have more productive days which allow me to crush my goals, keep my house cleaner, cook at home more often and work out at least 3x a week. I have bought a new planner that can hopefully keep me better organized with my daily, weekly and monthly tasks. So far so good! The planner I bought is AMAZING. You can buy it here: Law of Attraction Planner.
  10. Better overall health. Besides working out with some consistency as mentioned above, this also means making healthier food decisions more often, more consistent self-care activities including more quiet time, prayer and meditation, and leaving toxic relationships at the door. That last piece is a big one! No room for negativity or disruptive ENERGY in 2020! I’m planning on living my best life while striving for my goals.
  11. Support more black owned businesses. It’s important for future generations, the current state of the black community, critical to promote interracial unity AND I expect people to support my black owned business(es). Even when it’s a little less “convenient”. I can do better. You can too. We need to keep our hard earned dollars circulating in our own communities MUCH longer to support our infrastructure and other black families. Black people are reported some of the highest spenders but we give our money away to businesses that do not benefit our people beyond the often time frivolous items that we are buying. Let’s be more conscious about buying black. If you are a black business owner, please drop your business below in the comments!
  12. Continue giving my daughter and my husband the best of me every single day even though my plate seems full and my goals, tremendous.

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Be so encouraged friends! What is a goal that you have for 2020? Let me know in a comment below!

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7 Things I Learned During My First Holiday Season as a Mom

So I did it! My first Christmas in the books as a mama! With the season came so much joy and excitement but also so much to do! Most days during the season felt like a juggling act like never before.

With working to launch my new wine brand soon, fulfilling brand collaborations, traveling for work, juggling so many social obligations with family and friends, Christmas shopping and being a present wife and mama… whoo! It was a lot! Not to mention planning for my daughters 1st birthday which is the weekend between Christmas and New Years!!!

We had a huge birthday bash for her! Although I was extremely grateful for the level at which we celebrated her first year of life, the party planning and even day of had me feeling stretched thin and stressed out hunny!

Reflecting on the beauty of the season has me feeling so grateful that everything turned out beautifully but it also has taught me a few things.

Here are 7 things I learned from my first holiday season as a new mama:

1) Get each day started early. The days go by fast, it gets dark early and it’s best to have more time for relaxation in the evening.

2) Double check accuracy of mailing addresses and go to the post office early. I sent a gift to the wrong address and someone even sent me a card to the wrong address. Moral of the story, always confirm addresses before shipping off gifts or greeting cards.

3) The Children’s Museum is lit! We were invited to join my good friend and her son for a play date and I felt like a kid again in that place! Kammy got pics with Santa, we made ginger bread men and explored so many fun things!

4) Always anticipate plus ones… twos and three’s to your event and plan accordingly. We almost took major Ls with headcount at my daughter’s birthday party because our venue was very strict. Fortunately, everything worked out and she got to be celebrated by so many family members and friends.

5) Kids will be kids. They tear shit up. The toddlers tore up the play area I had at my daughter’s birthday party. Also, with my child’s birthday being so close to Christmas, I realized some of her gifts can be stored away and opened gradually. Kids have short attention spans so this way they are discovering new things overtime verses all at once.

6) Less is more. Don’t overload yourself and ask for help. Don’t try to be Martha Stewart, Misses Claus and Betty Crocker all at once. Also, my daughter won’t have another large scale birthday party for years to come unless she expresses that she wants one… and maybe not even then. It’s too much. lol

7. Wine down… often. Wine just makes everything better. It help take the edge off your day so you can de-stress. When I’ve had a very full and productive day, I often like to treat myself to a glass of wine while relaxing at home. Even better with a home cooked meal followed by Christmas movies. Try my wine when it becomes available direct to consumer on March 21st. Order here:

Here’s to a very memorable holiday season in the books and to a prosperous new year for all!

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Food: Carissa’s Famous Gumbo!

Gumbo has been a Louisiana tradition for over a century and is also a family tradition. Both sets of my grandparents are from Louisiana. Back in the day, a family would whip up a huge pot of gumbo and invite other family members and friends over to fellowship. Sharing a pot of gumbo was a sign of love. A pot of gumbo then became a revered as social activity and not just a simple meal. When a pot was made in the community the word would travel fast and soon it would be a dinner party! Gumbo is enjoyed year round but a big pot of traditional gumbo also marks the change of seasons… fall and/or winter. There is nothing like a delicious bowl of hot gumbo on a cold day. Or stepping into a warm home after being outdoors in the cold and the aroma hits you and sweeps you off your feet.

A traditional made-from-scratch gumbo takes about 4 hours to prep and cook. Gumbo is not considered soup in creole culture. The “sauce” of the gumbo is not considered gravy. The impeccable liquid inside of a bowl of gumbo is referred to as the Roux (pronounced “Roo”). It looks simple but is comprised of many wonderful components and when prepared correctly, yields immaculate flavor! Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list, just be prepared. Allow for time, budget and patience when attempting this 100% from scratch recipe. Average cost is around $50 but a big pot can feed many and even possibly… change lives.

Ingredients (Serves 6-10 people)

  • 1 large pack of Chicken Drumsticks
  • 2 packs of Andouille Cajun Pork Sausage
  • 2 lbs of Large Raw Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 lb Lump Crab Meat (optional)
  • 2 Cups of Okra (optional)
  • 1 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 Whole Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Minced Garlic
  • 6 Celery stalks
  • 1 ½ cups of All-purpose flour
  • Bacon Drippings from 2 strips of bacon (OR)
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Beef Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Paprika powder
  • Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Dried Thyme Leaves
  • Stewed and Diced Tomatoes (optional)
  • 4 Bay Leaves (optional)
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Gumbo File’ Powder
  • Bundle of Green onion (scallions)


  1. Chop all vegetables finely on a cutting board and set to the side
  2. Slice your andouille sausage
  3. Skin your chicken drumsticks (kitchen shears will be your bff) and tenderize them using a fork
  4. In a large pot bring approx 8 cups of water to a boil, drop in 4 beef bouillon into boiling pot


  1. Drop your skinned chicken drumsticks carefully into the boiling water pot and season chicken immediately after doing so. Apply your Cajun seasonings, salt, pepper, paprika, etc (all seasoning) to your chicken. After 15 minutes reduce to a medium heat.
  2. Make the roux by whisking the flour and  bacon drippings (or oil) together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
  3. Stir the vegetables into the roux until they start to get tender.
  4. Next, mix in the sliced Andouille sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring continually to prevent the roux burning. Allow the good flavorings from the andouille to seep out of the sausage and into the roux. By this point your house will smell AMAZING!!!!
  5. Carefully stir in all the ingredients of the roux to the large boiling pot and allow all ingredients to marry while stirring continually on low heat.
  6. Meanwhile, cook okra (optional) using roux from your main pot and a little vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with a slotted spoon that allows drainage (of the slime), and stir into the simmering gumbo.
  7. Add all sauces and additional seasoning you desire such as Worcestershire sauce, stewed tomatoes and Louisiana hot sauce, thyme, etc. and simmer on LOW until flavors have blended. TASTE YOUR GUMBO to see if you need more of anything according to your taste as my measurements are approximated. I DO NOT use measuring devices in my kitchen. 🙂
  8. Add your seafood last as it cooks the fastest. At this point toss in your crab or Old Bay seasoned shrimp. Turn off the fire from your pot once the seafood is cooked. Add a dash of gumbo file’ powder. Stir and taste.
  9. Allow pot to cool for at least 20 minutes and serve the gumbo over rice (or if you’re like my husband, potato salad) but not before finishing it with fresh chopped scallions.
  10. Enjoy with loved ones!!!



Thanks for reading! Xo -Riss

Carissa Stephens She's ChaRISSmatic

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My Top 5 Habits For Keeping It Sexy

I get messaged often about how I maintain my physic and what my fitness regimen is, especially after having a baby. I wasn’t sure if I’d “snap back” or how I’d feel about my body when I looked in the mirror postpartum. The God honest truth is… I don’t really have a regimen. What I do have is a few good habits that I strongly believe have helped me throughout the different phases of womanhood including now being somebody’s mama. With these 5 habits incorporated into my regular routine, I feel more confident and sexy in my own skin than ever before.

Here are 5 EASY habits you can incorporate into your regular routine!

1) Devote more time for yourself. Women are BAD ASS! We bear the weight of the world between birthing humans, raising and nurturing them, many of us while also working, being good and present wives, keeping ourselves up and contributing to society/ our communities in other ways. When our responsibilities tend to soak up our very last ounce of energy, we somehow find a way to keep showing up, pushing forward and making it look a lot easier than it actually is! No one can take care of you, like you! In order to be our best for our loved ones, we must prioritize self-care. It is mandatory that we find time to relax, de-stress and frankly treat ourselves to moments of doing whatever it is we need to do to feel more centered. Did you know that stress causes cortisol levels in the body to raise which can contribute to weight gain or the retention of fat? Particularly in our mid-sections?! Taking a moment for yourself to relax can not only lower measurable amounts of cortisol in your body but also reduce your risk for stress-eating which also causes weight gain.

2) Sleep more! Sleep studies show, that individuals who get the optimal amount of 8 hours of sleep nightly, weigh significantly less on average while also reducing their chances for certain ailments. We need to fully recharge our mind and our muscles with sleep. Personally, when I’m tired I’m cranky and it isn’t cute! Beauty sleep is a real thing!

3) Laugh more! It relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system by increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Also, all that contracting of your abdominal muscles is decent core work! A recent study revealed that individuals who laugh often are perceived as more attractive and confident.

4) Expressive recreation! That is physical activity that doesn’t really feel like a workout to you. It can be ANYTHING that you love to do and gets your body moving. Dancing, park strolls, even MORE sex!

5) Drink more… wine! Did you think I was going to say water? Of course you should be drinking water as well. I have a new found love and appreciation for good wine. So much so that I’m launching a wine brand, Pur Noire. Healthline, among others, have reported on the potential health benefits of drinking wine and the run down is as follows: Wine is rich in antioxidants which promotes longevity; it may combat inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is harmful and may increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and certain cancers. Therefore, it’s best to prevent this type of inflammation as much as possible; wine promotes heart health, mental health and healthy gut bacteria which may improve metabolic syndrome markers in people with obesity. (Source: Healthline)

What things do you do to keep it sexy? Let me know in the comments below.

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Events & Style: Diner en Blanc Houston #DEBHouston

Yesterday, Sunday November 10, 2019 I attended Le Dinner En Blanc Houston in Downtown Houston’s Water Way at Memorial Park.

I was invited to attend as a VIP/Media partner and although I’d heard of the illustriousness of this event in past years, nothing prepared me for how much fun I was going to have!

About the event

The day of the event, the secret location is revealed to thousands of friends who have all been patiently waiting to learn where “Dîner en Blanc” will take place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

DEB Houston 2019 PC @carissastephens

Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city’s public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it’s all not a dream.

History: Over 30 Years Ago in Paris…

Launched with just a handful of friends by François Pasquier in 1988, Le Dîner en Blanc® de Paris continues to assemble close to 10,000 guest every year. In 2018 a record 17,000 guests from Paris and around the world gathered at the Esplanade des Invalides to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The French capital’s most prestigious sites have played host the event over the years: The Pont des Arts, the Eiffel Tower, Place Vendôme, the Château de Versailles, the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, the Esplanade des Invalides, the periphery of the Place de l’Étoile, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, Le Louvre Pyramid, Trocadéro Esplanade, and the Palais Royal Garden! The Paris police continue to tolerate this ‘wild’ gathering, if not perhaps even wishing they could join in! The creole in me was most satisfied! lol

The night was absolutely perfect. When I tell you that Houston weather was flawless… As we approached the park around 5:45pm, we noticed a clear and beautiful sky which twighlighted at dusk and was the perfect backdrop for the view of downtown Houston. There wasn’t any humidity in the air and the temperature remained comfortably in the 60s.

Walking up to the park, you could hear the second line band playing familiar favorites as guests were greeted at entry. The fashion was something to be noted. Guests bring their own (all white) picnic gear but the VIP/Media area supplied all my food and adult beverage needs.

I stayed on or near the main stage or in the VIP lounge, dancing most of the night! Even better, I got to enjoy the evening with my sister Amber and girlfriends Constance and Elle Mae.

Though the crowd was mixed, one entertainer said it best… “We are here in all white but tonight is about black excellence!” That being said, the nature, demographic and vibe of this event varies from city to city and is probably reflective of the hosting cities local population, I’d imagine! The entertainment was SPECTACULAR with live musicians and DJ on the 1s and 2s. Check out this IG post for some video footage!

Dîner en Blanc International is responsible for developing this secret posh picnic in close to 80 cities in 30 countries around the world with over 130,000 participants.

I definitely look forward to attending this event again next year! For more information, visit

Feature: Classy Living Society Awards Carissa Stephens

Earlier this year I was contacted to do an interview for the Chronicles Too! and subsequently was notified that I would also be receiving an award at the upcoming Red Dress Gala that would be taking place in Downtown Houston and hosted by the owners of Chronicles Too!, Classy Living Society.

Classy Living Society is a multi-faceted women’s community service organization based out of Atlanta, Georgia with a hands-on approach to volunteerism founded by LaShanda Pitts in 2013. The organization has since achieved over 300,000 volunteer hours. The beneficiary of this year’s gala was Sock Out of Poverty, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization organization which provides socks, clothing, and other material goods to men, women and children that are in need or less fortunate. 

As an honoree, it was requested that I arrived several minutes early for press and photos. I was greeted at the door with champagne and the pleasant sounds of a live harp player. There was an instant feeling of sisterhood as over 200 melanated Queens, all dressed in red, entered into the grand ballroom at Le Meridien Hotel in Downtown Houston.

I enjoyed live music from Prodigy and the accompanying sounds of DJ Tay Powers on the 1s and 2s. The event opened with the singing of the negro national anthem led beautifully by Jessica Forest. Comedian Lady Q really helped get the party started with “Beyonce – Formation” vibes, her dancing and her over-sized black diva hat paying true homage to our Houston Queen, Bey. She was hilarious and had everyone laughing throughout the entire program. Brunch was delicious and there was even a second line band! I’m of creole ancestry so you know I’m always down for brass band music! There was such amazing energy during the entire gala!

The event was very well orchestrated, elegant AND absolutely lit all at the same time!!! I’m so grateful that CLS chose Houston as their host city for their prestigious gala this year and came here all the way from Atlanta for a weekend filled with sisterhood, positive vibes and an overflow of Black Girl Magic! 

I was blessed with the distinct honor and privilege to be recognized among several other influential boss women as an award recipient by Classy Living Society at their 6th annual #RedDressGala! The theme “Access Taken” spotlighted women who are pioneers in their fields, who have remained resilient in the face of adversity and who have defied the odds! Women who have not merely waited for access to be granted, but who have found success by designed their lives upon the principle of access taken.

During my speech I couldn’t help but mention the irony in the organization’s abbreviated name also being my initials! CLS! It’s amazing how God aligns you when you allow Him to!

I’m grateful to be able to continually have the opportunity to share my journey and inspirational gems with such gorgeous audiences. Thank you Classy Living Society, the founding sisters (especially Superwoman Founder, LaShanda Pitts) and my family and friends who came to support.


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5 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me About Myself

Last weekend I celebrated my 32nd birthday. A new year of life always brings much reflection. I realized how much I’ve learned about myself from my last birthday to now. A lot has changed in my life recently, thus changing how I operate in certain ways. Bringing my daughter, Kamara, into the world last year has helped me to learn a great deal about myself. Becoming a mom has clarified many aspects of my personality and perception of the world. Here are 5 things motherhood has taught me about myself.

I’m extremely protective. As a big sister, I’ve always known that I was protective to a certain extent. Even with my friends I’m somewhat protective. Since becoming someone’s mother, my need to protect is on a whole ‘notha level! At almost 9 months, my daughter is supremely ambitious. She is standing on her own, scaling the ottoman in my living room, expressing a curiosity towards the doggy door and reaching for EVERYTHING! I know I need to let her explore a bit, even stumble and fall… but her gentle topples and shaky stance rocks me to my core! lol I watch her like a hawk during playtime and try as hard as I can to prevent her from hurting herself. The same holds true for my view towards her contact with germs. I hate feeling like she’s exposed to dangers seen and unseen. She’s a tough cookie though so I’m trying not to be so type A when it comes to this.

I love to plan ahead but can thrive on the fly. The Virgo in me loves and frankly demands planning ahead. I need things calendared, to-do lists prioritized by level of importance and a general forecast for the weeks and months ahead. Since becoming a mom, this has in some ways heightened. Mostly due to the fact that I am now responsible for another human and I can’t just get up and go wherever I want to all the time. It takes a lot to make arrangements for the entire or get everyone situated for an activity. Not to mention sometimes calling in my sitter (ie. Mama Pam who is living her BEST retired life and tends to be booked and busy herself!) My house is child proofed and looks a lot like a daycare most of the time so random pop ups make me uncomfortable. However, I try to remain as flexible as possible because variety is the spice of life. I am still open to spontaneous flights of fancy and when called to it, I rise to the occasion.

I’m resilient AF. I have been through a few challenging yet defining moments in my life, but my JOURNEY to motherhood takes the cake. Having endured a pregnancy loss in the past, followed by a challenging pregnancy that left me in the hospital for three months and delivering via an emergency c-section, showed me that I am very strong willed and can handle whatever life throws at me. Did I mention I was admitted back to the hospital postpartum AFTER bringing my baby home?! I stayed overnight with my newborn and husband in the same room that I was an antepartum patient in one night as medical staff monitored my blood pressure because my body was retaining water like a puffer fish. This is caused my blood pressure to become elevated to the point of concern. Through it all, I give God the glory for an ultimately favorable outcome and for molding me through my experience. Of course I had my moments… but true to form, I maintained my joyousness and optimism throughout the most challenging time of my life. “God is with her, she cannot fail.”

I look on the bright side of everything. With my testimony above, I can honestly say that so much good came out of my journey to motherhood. My faith was strengthened and so was my marriage. I got to really see the stuff my relationship was made of. I got to see who around me was really supportive and I got to understand and better appreciate my own strength. I tried to find reasons to laugh and express gratitude as often as possible throughout. My friend said to me jokingly the other day, “Girl, it could be the end of days and you’ll be like – well we might as well enjoy it!” I look at each day as such a blessing, more than ever before. I’ll never take the way the sun feels on my face for granted because I know what it feels like to not have that feeling for three months straight. Watching the seasons change is probably one of the most subtle yet rewarding observations of nature in our human experience. I was in the hospital on this day (first day of fall) last year. If you know me, you know I’ve always been as festive as they come. Oh but now!…

I absolutely love being in my home. I have been intentional about creating a home space with my husband that is rooted in peace, love and joy. We have achieved such a space and I am very grateful for that. I don’t get restless or bored at home. I couldn’t say this about 6 or 7 years ago. Home feels so good. I’m able to entertain and be entertained in my home beyond what I could’ve imagined prior. I used to be such a busy body! I’m so glad I’ve matured to appreciate the little things like cuddling up under a blanket with my sweet little family to enjoy a movie or drinking coffee from my breakfast table while writing for this blog and enjoying the natural sunlight that enters my home. Or sitting in my backyard on the patio set and watching the sun set over our lake while enjoying a glass of wine. These have all become weekly objectives that I love.

Motherhood is everything I dreamed of and more. It has made me a better person. It brings and indescribable amount of love and joy into my heart and home.

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3 Easy DIY Hair Masks to Strengthen, Grow and Shine

Earlier this year, had the distinct honor and pleasure to appear as an expert guest on Houston Life TV for two different live television segments. I spoke to DIY natural hair masks in my first segment and heat-less natural hair styling in my second. Here is a recap of the masks I shared and how they’ll help your hair thrive all year long with no extra cost.

Moisture Retention

Ingredients: 1 whole ripened avocado, 2 tbsp pure honey, 2 tbsp coconut oil

Usage: This mask is great for a pre-poo (deep conditioning treatment before shampooing your hair). The avocado is a super food that is deeply nourishing when applied topically to the hair shaft and will deliver massive amounts of moisture from the good fats derived from the avocado. Honey is a natural emollient which further draws in moisture. It also contains proteins and amino acids that fortify the hair shaft to promote healthier, more pliable, well moisturized hair. Coconut oil strengthens the hair and gives it an illustrious shine! Not to mention makes the hair extremely soft.

Instructions: Whip all ingredients together in a food processor (recommended) or a small mixing bowl. Apply evenly to dampened, detangled hair section by section from the root to the tip. Let sit for 30min-1hour under a plastic processing cap. Shampoo with luke warm water following with a regular conditioner and cool rinse to seal the hair cuticles.

Strengthen and Grow

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 4 tbs mayo, 2 tbsp olive oil, approximately 10 drops of tea tree oil, approximately 5 drops of rosemary oil

Usage: Eggs are an incredible source of protein. They help fortify the building blocks of the hair when applied topically and help reduce breakage and shedding. (Real) Mayo is a good source of fat that when combined with the egg, helps create the creamy coating that further penetrates the hair shaft and helps your curls clump together. The moisturizing fat in the mayo is essential to counter the protein and amino acids in the egg, allowing for a well balanced recipe. Olive oil is the carrier oil in this mask that helps bring everything together nicely in addition to it’s nutritive benefits mentioned above in the previous mask. The tea tree oil serves as a natural antiseptic which helps clean the pores in the scalp and reduce product build up, thus promoting healthier growing hair. Rosemary oil has been proven to stimulate hair growth.

Instructions: Add each ingredient one at a time and use a whisk to blend. Apply evenly to dampened, detangled hair section by section from the root to the tip. Let sit for 30min-1hour under a plastic processing cap. Shampoo with luke warm water following with a regular conditioner and cool rinse to seal the hair cuticles.

Smooth and Shine

Ingredients: 1 whole ripened banana, 4 tbsp honey, 4 tbsp EVOO

Usage: Bananas deliver tremendous amounts of vitamin C when applied topically and also increase the hairs life cycle, thus contributing to length retention. I have also found that bananas make my hair more voluminous. Honey helps strengthen and lock in moisture. Olive oil is a household staple for most people. It contains vitamins and minerals that contribute to illustrious well moisturized hair.

Instructions: Whip all ingredients together in a food processor (recommended) or a small mixing bowl. Apply evenly to dampened, detangled hair section by section from the root to the tip. Let sit for 30min-1hour under a plastic processing cap. Shampoo with luke warm water following with a regular conditioner and cool rinse to seal the hair cuticles.

Try one or all of these masks depending on your hair’s needs and let me know how they worked for you! xo


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