Things to do and places to eat off our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops

Our first day on the LYNX!

The light rail had me curious, but I never had a reason to ride because I have a car.  The Lynx Blue Line opened for business in 2007 and here we are in 2019 riding it for the first time. We moved to Charlotte in 2006.

Sleek design ,smooth ride on the LYNX Blue Line

This is a perfect example of how blogging and vlogging gets us doing things we might not normally do.  If we weren’t busy being content creator’s we probably would never have given it a try.  I’m really glad we did though because it turned out to be a really cool ride, a mini Charlotte exploration adventure.

Now we get to share places to go and things to do off our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops!

You can purchase your ticket from the vending machine at the station or use the CATS pass App

I actually rode the LYNX twice.  The first ride was with Apache for our vlog day date.  My second ride was during rush hour just to see what it was like.  I wanted to take in the experience of riding with the commuters.

There are currently 11 LYNX Blue Line Park & Ride locations. Which Park & Ride locations are free?  Two out of the eleven will charge a $10 fee if an all-day pass (which means you can ride the train back and forth as many times as you like for $6.60) or a pass of higher value is not purchased.

The two stations that currently charge are the JW Clay Station and University City Blvd. All of the other Park & Ride lots are free.  The stops that have a Park & Ride deck have a on the Lynx Blue Line map so they are easy to find.

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops, I want to share about my commuter experience.

I was definitely feeling the free parking available at the I-485/South Blvd station, it made me feel so welcome!

The Commuter Experience

After parking in the outdoor lot, I followed a group of people moving with a steady intentional pace toward the train.

There were two long stairways leading up to the train. I wasn’t sure if it made any difference which I took so I asked this young girl in route (who looked like a high school student to me, but since she was catching the train I guessed, maybe college). She smiled and informed me that she was headed to work (so now I’m thinking it’s just because of my age that she looks like a baby to me). She told me it didn’t make a difference which flight of stairs I took, “they both lead to the same place.” I followed her to the indoor parking deck across the street to take the elevator up instead.

Apache looks like a LYNX commuter here.

During rush hour everyone seemed calm. The station was very clean and quiet. Surprisingly, there was enough seating for everyone that got on the train.  If I had the choice, I would choose this easy-going train ride over driving in Charlotte’s new nerve-racking traffic any day.

There were only two stops left before I had to get off, my bladder was beginning to make some serious demands on me. I’m sure if I was in my 20s this wouldn’t have been an issue- sigh.

During rush hour periods the LYNX arrives about every 10min

A entire one-way trip took 50 minutes. I simply got off, walked to the other side and rode back to my car. Easy-Peasy!

The temperature on the Blue Line was mild. It was a smooth ride with each stop announced before-hand. This ride would make a perfect time to catch up on some reading or writing.  If you are gonna be hanging out all night visiting different spots near the LYNX, take the light rail back and forth and skip the driving. Who wants to have to look for parking or pay for parking if they don’t have to? ugh.

Now on to the juicy part. Here are a few places we have visited or plan to visit off our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops. All locations listed are within walking distance from the light rail. Try them out for yourself. Let us know what you think about any of the locations mentioned.

Things To Do & Places To Eat

Woodlawn

The Woodlawn and Scaleybark stations are in Mountclaire South/Lower South End.

To Do:

Sleepy Poet Antique Mall– We both appreciate antiques and love vintage clothing and this mall has both! This is a multi-level mall with over 80 dealers. I know we will be enchanted for hours wandering around this mall. We are currently planning a day date to go check it out.

Pexels

Scaleybark

To Do:

Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen– This cooking class sounds like it would make a fun date, girl’s night out or even a solo night out. Learn some new culinary skills. This is definitely on our To Do list!

East/West Blvd Station

This stop is in the South End neighborhood.

Eat/Drink:

Pikes has some delicious American diner style food

Pikes Old Fashioned Soda Shop

Dining out at Pikes Old Fashioned Soda Shop

Superica Tex-Mex Cuisine at it’s best. Superica has become our favorite Mexican food spot. Just thinking about those in-house made chips, perfectly salted…their variety of chip dips that have me singing “oh my God” after each bite, the Margaritas (crying now), the Appetizers are crazy. We had appetizers for dinner and left completely satisfied and wishing we had more money and space in our bellies so we could continue. We enjoyed watching Lady and The Tramp on their xtra-large screen as we happily stuffed our faces. I have checked with others to see if they had the same experience and the feelings were mutual.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare

Hawkers comes highly recommended by friends for street vendor recipes from Asia .

Sunflower Baking Company

Dilworth Tasting Room

Stonewall Station

Stonewall through 9th is considered Uptown

To Do:

The Mint Museum

 The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts +Culture

 The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art 

 Knight Theatre

3rd Street Station/Convention Center

Eat/Drink:

Chima steakhouse–  Brazilian cuisine here-it’s a whole experience!

Chima is expensive but I promise you won’t regret spending a penny. We have been here a couple of times for special occasions and never been disappointed.

The salad bar is super elaborate and the meat is unbelievably good. Expect great service with lots of class. It’s a good idea to starve yourself before going to Chima. You will likely eat a full days worth of calories. Enjoy and don’t forget to wear something loose around the waist!

Charlotte Transportation Center/Arena Station

To Do:

Discovery Place– This is a really colorful and interactive establishment for kids of all ages but also a lot of fun for the adults as well.  We actually went here to play with our family/friends that came to visit from NYC (no small kids at the time only us big ones).

Blumenthal Performing Arts

Spectrum Center

Eat/Drink:

 Sea Level NC -Curious about this place. Apache and I both love seafood and the pics on the website have me salivating and hangry!

7th Street

To Do:

First Ward Park – Apache and I started off at the First Ward Park around 8am. It was abnormally clean first thing in the morning.

Some homeless were still sleeping or just rising from the benches. An older conservative looking male began a rigorous routine using his exercise band and the park equipment. A casual bike rider rode through the spray ground and everything seemed serene on this sun kissed morning.

We did a light workout in First Ward Park -yaay, it’s better than nothing!  First Ward Park has practical stationary equipment available for all your fat burning needs.

First Ward Park is great for walking, biking, chillaxing (made this word up) or exercising!

I love to climb whenever the opportunity arises. Lucky for me it did in the form of dome shaped monkey bars in First Ward Park.

You can climb these monkey ropes as part of your workout or just for fun- we did!

Relaxing after a light First Ward Park workout!

ImaginOn– This library/children’s theatre has something to engage every  adolescent. They have all kinds of programs, classes and theatre productions to inspire imagination and encourage enrichment. We have enjoyed their theatre productions on more than one occasion. Read more about the theatre  here.

Two big kids at ImaginOn in the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
Levine Museum of the New South

 Levine Museum of the New South– Levine has educational and powerfully moving exhibits. Make sure to take your family.

McColl Center for Art + Innovation– Artist residency and contemporary art space housed in an antiquated church. We love art and it’s free admission!    

Apache and I were ready to see what’s at the next LYNX stop. We walked across the way to the 7th street station and caught the inbound train to 9th.

At the 9th Street Station.

9th Street

Checking out the 9th street station art work.

Eat/Drink:

Walking to waterbean

Waterbean– The first place we visited on 9th street, a USDA certified organic coffee shop and roastery! Humidity was high outside, the air conditioning in Waterbean was such a relief! Waterbean is bright, and airy. Watch our vlog, you’ll see I tried my very first Mochi Ice Cream here. All I have to say is omgah! And our lives will never be the same again.

Having ice coffee with a passion fruit Mochi ice cream on a hot day in Charlotte! Mochi Ice cream is a soft, cool, sweet surprise.

Imagine your favorite ice cream wrapped in a thin powdery marshmallow! How could this exist? In my head I jumped up and down with excitement for the Passion Fruit flavor option-yaaay!

I wanted to try something new and that’s exactly what I got. The Waterbean coffee was great but the Mochi blew my mind. There are other treats too, like brightly colored macaroons. It was a good spot to wind down in.

Subsecreto We still have to visit this spot because I know they serve espresso in a chocolate-dipped shortbread cup… really that’s all I’m interested in- haha!

9th Street Station

After catching our breath at Waterbean we headed back to our light rail stop where a little hell was breaking loose. Some dude was screaming obscenities while smashing the glass covered booth at the station.

We watched the drama from afar with some cool people from Chicago that just arrived in Charlotte for the DuRag festival. They had been zipping around uptown on the motorized scooters everyone is using these days.

The police arrived quick, scooped up the poor disturbed soul and we proceeded with our vlog.

This happened during our LYNX day date.

Parkwood

Parkwood through Sugar Creek station enters the NODA/Optimist Park/Plaza-Shamrock neighborhoods.

Photo by Komadori Photography

Apache and I love old video games from the 80’s and 90’s so we were excited to play at Abari arcade. Bring on the Donkey Kong!

Don’t go here without your ID!  Photo by Komadori Photography

Entering Abari, a man sitting at a table, obviously unwelcoming us with no hello and no smile. He shared a bothered expression as he told us it was $1 to get in and that we also needed ID because it was a private business. I didn’t have ID so we never got in. I shall stop commentary there. Maybe you will have a better experience.

Photo by Komadori Photography
Beautiful graffiti around the corner from Abari. Possible IG photo spot?
More neighborhood artwork!

Drink:

Birdsong Brewing– Since it was a no go at Abari, we shrugged and ran to enjoy some cold specialty beers at Birdsong Brewing!

Photo by Komadori Photography

Photo by Komadori Photography

Some people brought their dogs in with them which I thought was very cool.  I will take every opportunity to rub down and high-pitch baby talk to any dog!

At Birdsong Brewing Company with Komadori Photography

To Do:

Cordelia Park – This park is 24 acres. We took our family swimming here a couple years ago and had a great time. There is also a full basketball court, walking trails and picnic shelter.

Tompkins Hall-Soon to come will be a ginormous food and retail development in this restored textile mill nearby NODA.  There is expected to be multi-level outdoor patios with a view of the uptown skyline. I’m sure it will be interesting.

36th Street Station

The sun was about to hit its peak and we rode the LYNX to 36th street in NODA.

There used to be amazing art Gallery crawls on the first Friday of every month in NODA which we miss dearly. We still love to meet vendors in the street and art can also be found all around NODA giving the neighborhood lots of personality. Breweries, bars and variety in places to eat are plentiful. There are fun things to do and great people to meet here off the 36th street LYNX stop.

If you follow the bright red banisters downstairs you will find thin pastel colored geometric shapes coming up from the ground. In addition, see a large concrete wall sculpted into 3D shaped blooming flowers! All great spots to take IG photos or just admire.

Eat/Drink:

Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub– This is a European Gastro Pub. The purpose of this day date was to try out some new places. My spicy Bloody Mary here was on point, no complaints there. One meal was enough to feed both of us. Our final consensus was “delish!” This meal is unique to us, a full gourmet meal wrapped in a thin pancake.

There was all kinds of goodness inside this crepe!


Haberdish
– Although very popular, we have not tried this restaurant yet. There was a line outside the door.

Cabo Fish Taco–  We love their tacos! Their lemon-grilled shrimp tacos are my favorite with a salted Margarita!

At Cabo Fish Taco

NODA Company Store

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse &Roastery– This place is a dope chill spot. It appeals to us for the laid-back ambiance and great coffee. Smelly Cat has seasonal comfort food, breakfast food and a fully stocked cocktail bar- say what?!

To Do:

After you finish your meal, roll yourself down the block to see a show!

The Evening Muse– Casual bar and live music in an intimate setting

The Neighborhood Theatre– Live music venue

Go boutique browsing….

Pura Vida– A cultural gifts store we were grateful to find when we first arrived to this city. This boutique is a breath of fresh air bringing in multi-ethnic merchandise and art from all around the world! I purchased my most favorite bracelet here!

ShopBartique– Enjoy a cocktail or beer while you shop Boho-chic designs for men and women! The owners Estelle and Steve have big hearts and fun personalities, tell them we sent you!

Shop Bartique
Shop Bartique top and cool Disco ring
Apache getting a creative angle in Shop Bartique.
Lovely boutique finds in Shop Bartique
Had to try this one on!

We love how Charlotte invited local artists to get in on making the LYNX Blue Line train stops beautiful.

Blooming flowers at the 36th street station

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it. ~ Richard Bach

The Most Important Travel Destination in Nashville, TN

There’s a place in Nashville, TN that is a social phenomenon.  I don’t believe enough people know of this treasure trove.  I’m not seeing this location on the list of Googled “Top 10 places to visit in Nashville.” We went, had the most profound experience, and decided, Thistle Farms is the most important travel destination in Nashville, TN.

Nashville, TN is a tourism city noted for having a long history being founded in 1779. Tourist frequently arrive eager to enjoy local venues that provide live music daily, learn more about country music history and visit historical landmarks. This was my second visit to Nashville. On my first visit i went with friends. We enjoyed the party ambiance and a taste of the country music scene on Music Row which was fun.

The journey back to Nashville with Apache had our hearts leading the entire way. This time we went to visit the most important travel destination in Nashville,TN.

Anticipating our arrival to Thistle Farms…

This visit was a full circle spiritual uniting with Thistle Farms for me.  About 6 years ago Apache and I walked into a boutique in North Carolina and picked up one of their products for the first time.

My eyes gravitated toward the jar of body butter wrapped in a royal purple label with bright yellow lettering. Was it the color choices that got my attention to pick up that butter or possibly God? Out of curiosity i pivoted that jar around to see exactly what the product was made of.  It read…. “This product was handmade by survivors of prostitution, trafficking and addiction. Every product bears witness that love is the most powerful force for change in the world.”

Thistle Farms is in my home and heart. Every time i apply the body butter i can feel my skin being nourished and protected. It has been perfect throughout harsh winters. Using this product also makes me feel connected to the women who created it.

What I read changed my facial expression from curiosity to a waterfall of tears. A fire awakened in me for every person that has ever suffered the experience of sexual abuse.

In addition, I saw their hands in this product, healing, rebuilding and gaining strength together all in this little 8oz  jar of lavender body butter.

These survivors have experienced unimaginable cruelty in this world. Because of unconditional love and the support of Thistle Farms as a rope of hope, they have not allowed the past and it’s monsters to dictate how the rest of their lives will look. Thistle Farmers come together to create a powerful trajectory for the future!

I  purchase the body butter and want to be more connected. Six years ago i put their postcard up on my bathroom wall that states “Love Heals Every Body” and because of their demonstration, i have to believe that.

Meet Becca Stevens, author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms! Photo property of Thistle Farms

Fast forward to today…. we are now YouTube vloggers and I am a blogger.  Apache and I purchased tickets for an event in Memphis, TN.  It occurred to us that we may have seen that Thistle Farms was located in Tennessee. We checked it out and sure enough their home base is located right off route 40 which we would be travelling on.

A candle light that represents hope.

When Thistle Farms agreed to let us develop this content for them it felt like a divine intervention. Our gratitude is just in being able to learn more, connect with these survivors and spread the word of their mission.

Music is known to speak to the spirit. Dorris Walker-Turner shares how she used song to keep her spirit up and to help her remember all of the products she would be selling when she began employment at Thistle Farms.

What makes Thistle Farms an important travel destination?

Thistle Farmers

Thistle Farmers AKA the community of women you will meet at Thistle Farms are extraordinary.  They are what makes Thistle Farms the most important travel destination in Nashville,TN. As human beings we naturally gravitate toward where the good energy is.

Doris Walker-Turner, Magdalene graduate & Director of Events shares her powerful story and soulful songs of gratitude with us.

When we travel we always hope that the people we encounter will be kind and welcoming.  This sets the stage for the rest of the experience.

At Thistle Farms the energy is high, smiles are abundant and these Thistle Farmers are glad to be alive and thriving.

The first person we met was Jennifer Clinger.  Jennifer greeted us before we  got to the door. She came out of the building belting “AYE! It’s Ricky and Lucy!!!” followed with a boisterous and contagious laughter.  If you don’t know, we impersonated Ricky and Lucy in one of our vlogs. We knew Jennifer was our people.

Jennifer is a Magdalene graduate, Author and Thistle Farms Volunteer Coordinator. Her intelligence, bubbly personality, and full-bodied laughter made our visit so fulfilling.

The goodness did not stop at Jennifer.  She introduced us to what seemed the entire staff at Thistle Farms. Each person shared enthusiastically about their said jobs at Thistle Farms. We felt love within each interaction.  We saw how much love Thistle Farmers give to one another because they frequently verbalize it and sporadically gave each other hugs. Everyone seemed to work together as a family.

They are happy to be here. These women are walking miracles. Go get some of that Good Energy, it will set the mood for the rest of your Nashville visit!

Travel for the soul

Another reason Thistle Farms is the most important travel destination in Nashville,TN is because it will fill your soul.

We consider ourselves Thistle Farmers for life! Thank you Thistle Farms with all of our hearts!

Jennifer Clinger, volunteer coordinator proudly hosted our Thistle Farms tour sharing her personal story of how Thistle Farms saved her life. Her story alone will make anyone with a beating heart become a solid supporter of Thistle Farms.

This non profit social enterprise, founded by Rev. Becca Stevens in 1997, is a bath and body company run by the woman. Thistle Farms has grown from a chapel of a few volunteers and expanded to include global networks by the fidelity of these women survivors and selfless volunteers. This idea actually works!

Thistle Farmers returning to work after their lunch break.
Employees can become specialists in areas of manufacturing, inventory, bookkeeping, sales, office administration. These soaps are made by the hands of women survivors using natural ingredients.

The tour guides us through Thistle Farms history and amiable facility. We saw where Thistle Farm products are produced and packaged by Thistle Farmers-pretty cool!  The Thistle Farms model is an interdependent system. Survivors make a living wage while simultaneously helping other women to come off the streets. Book a free tour on your next Nashville visit.

Thistle Farms is staffed by residents, graduates of the Magdalene program and volunteers.

This is Travel for the soul. Thistle Farms is a travel destination that allowed me to grow in awareness and compassion for another’s journey.

On our tour through Thistle Farms inventory, we learn how suppressing systems can slowly begin to erode through the power of love.

The Cafe at Thistle Farms

After the tour, Apache and I were eager to try out The Cafe at Thistle Farms!

Photo property of ThistleFarms.org

The cafe decor maintains a clean, bright, contemporary farm house design which I absolutely love. I felt a connection to nature in the cafe with it’s refurbished dark wooden tables, banquettes and framed floral art pieces that adorned white walls.

Thistle Farms teacup ceiling arrangement is even more eloquent in person than it is in photo. They each hold their own story and good intention from the people who donated them to the cafe.

Tea cup donations turned into a work of art!

There is even a sweet outdoor patio to enjoy!

We had already drooled over their online menu at home. We wondered if the taste would live up to their gourmet menu. I see integrity in everything that comes from Thistle Farms, so i was pretty sure the food would be no different.

In The Cafe Apache is deciding what to eat from this awesome menu!

Nashville’s only destination for daily tea service

Thistle Farms tea service was a new experience for me. You might  think,”what’s so special about tea?” if your not a tea fanatic,let me explain….

The Cafe at Thistle Farms specialize in tea and is Nashville’s ONLY daily tea service. I’ve never been served tea British-style before. I normally just have some hot water over a tea bag. If your like me, you can expand on your exposure here!

The Moringa Madres Blend served British style delighted with a soothing aroma & earthy taste. I enjoyed my tea with lemon and honey. Moringa is a herbal tea that contains protein, reduces inflammation and is full of antioxidants and vitamins!

Watching my server prepare the tea had me wondering what was going on with it. There was a thermometer, a timer and loose leaf tea steeped through a strainer. The Moringa Madres Blend was poured into a lovely clear glass pitcher. The tea was served to me with my chosen tea amenities with elegant presentation. The British-style requires specific timing and preparation which i did not realize.

This experience had me feeling fancy! I enjoyed the Moringa Madres Blend, found it to be smooth, earthy and soothing with some honey in it.

Tea Time!

The Cafe at Thistle Farms is the only place in Nashville that serves Afternoon Tea. Afternoon Tea at Thistle Farms is offered from 1-2 pm by reservation only at least 24 hours in advance.

The next time we go to Nashville we won’t miss out on the Afternoon Tea. I have got to see the 3-tiered chef’s choice display of savories and sweets paired with their gourmet tea for myself!

This would make for an impressive date or larger party gathering. The cafe offers gluten-free and vegetarian options as well. Yes, you can even host a special event here.

Afternoon Tea treats! Photo property of Thistle Farms

Food prepared with love

If you want fresh, locally sourced, loved on food in Nashville, look no further. The Cafe at Thistle Farms is a travel destination in Nashville,TN you do not want to miss.

Apache got the new Chicken Fajita Wrap. Apache’s critique: “it tastes very fresh with distinct flavors that compliment one another.”

Chef Mark and Cook Donna will tell you that they actually sing to the food they prepare and honey believe me, it tastes like it!

Cook Donna imparts her favorite Lou Rawls song for foods getting rotated out “Someday, someday your gonna get old. Bless your your soul your gonna get old!” Looking back, us all laughing together about this its gonna be one of those memories i enjoy for years to come.

If you could savor love in your mouth, the food at Thistle Farms is what it would taste like- intentional and nourishing. True food for the soul.

Meet Cook Donna and Chef Mark creating healthful & inspired meals from scratch including the sauces at The Cafe at Thistle Farms!

The Cafe at Thistle Farms has a produce-driven full service menu. In our travels between Nashville and Memphis, Thistle Farms served up the most clean tasting and thoughtfully created meals in Tennessee. Thank the lord for giving Donna and Mark the inspiration and motivation! Apache and I savored every bite.

I got the Turkey, Bacon, Avocado on toasted brioche! Yum, Yum and YUMMMY! The meat tasted really fresh. I loved the addition of sprouts in this sandwich and it had a little kick with horseradish mustard.
Reminders that this is a place of love and acceptance are everywhere including the back kitchen wall “Everyone’s Welcome, Nobody’s Perfect, Anything’s Possible” Right! Right! and Right!
Thistle Farms cafe food! Photo property of Thistle Farms

Nashville destination for meaningful shopping

This was probably the first time i went on a mini spree without an ounce of guilt! In The Shop at Thistle Farms, the more i shop, the better i feel knowing it will make a difference. That good feeling didn’t subside after i pulled out my debit card either.

I found a bug spray that really works!
We purchased Jennifer Clinger’s book Delivered. Already I have opened this book a couple times to read only one sentence from any random page and experienced all the hairs on my body standing on edge and a stir of emotion in my stomach each time. I know this is going to be a powerful read.

I’m super excited about my new black Thistle Farms shirt and want to tell everybody all about it. Everything we purchased was high quality including their essential oils.

Super soft 100% cotton long sleeve tee, loving the feel, versatility and the message!

Their bath and body products are free of synthetic fragrances, parabens and petroleum based ingredients.

We have begun our Christmas shopping early this year at Thistle Farms! Apache and I thought this would be a great way to share the Thistle Farms word with family and friends.

Like i said, we are Thistle Farmers for life. This is our favorite non-profit charity.

We knew each purchase would directly support women survivors in creating a new and sustainable life for themselves!

One size does not fit all. I love to see a company making sizes from XS-3XL.

I believe Becca Stevens has created a system that demonstrates how the socioeconomic devastation that we see happening around us here in the United States could successfully be addressed. Love Rules!

The Shop at Thistle Farms
The Shop at Thistle Farms
Quite a few people are gonna be getting a bar of Thistle Farms handmade soaps this Christmas!

Reasons we will always support Thistle Farms and shop here in gratitude.

The Magdalene Program- A two year residential community dedicated to help women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. This FREE program provides the time and safe space for women to heal their body and mind for true recovery.

In the Magdalene program women receive free housing, healthcare and counseling for PTSD. These survivors gain employment and a supportive community. After graduation from the Magdalene Program women enroll into Thistle University. Thistle University provides necessary job skills including hard/technical skills and cultivates interpersonal skills to help solidify each survivors chance for success. Residents and graduates run every aspect of Thistle Farms.

Survivors hand pour these soy wax candles that are made with high quality essential oils and have a 35hr burn time.

Magdalene on the Inside- A Thistle Farms program for incarcerated women providing education, group therapy and transition into a Magdalene home upon release.

Thistle Farms Global- creates opportunity for economic freedom for women survivors of sexual assault and extreme poverty worldwide.  Apache and I loved hearing international stories of hope and seeing the products created by women artisans abroad.

 

Whoah! Welcome Mats created by refugee Syrian women using their discarded life jackets! #LoveWelcomes

Tragedy can literally be weaved into Welcome Mats (click here to read this mind blowing article). Becca Stevens traveled to Greece with her staff and volunteers with two looms. The goal being to teach Syrian women refugees how to weave welcome mats using their discarded life vests.

This initiative was created  to empower these women to support themselves and their children. This is the example of God i want to see as often as possible in life.

Thistle Farms has extended her hand globally partnering with over 36 organizations from 20 countries around the world that can offer safe work environments and fair wages with the development of women as their main priority.

The most important travel destination in Nashville, TN is Thistle Farms! People come to Nashville for the inspiration and love of music. Music comes from the heart, and so does Thistle Farms.

Visitors have an opportunity be a part of something so much bigger than themselves. At Thistle Farms we got to meet people experiencing their own personal miracles, learn, eat really great food and even got to feel good about shopping for this movement! Visit Thistle Farms and help to change the world!

Thistle Farms address: 5122 Charlotte Pike,Nashville, TN

“Community is the daily medicine that helps us walk through the fears we have to face alone” ~ Becca Stevens

 

3 Places to go for Date Night in Charlotte,North Carolina

Our first stop of the night was in the South End neighborhood of Charlotte, NC.

If you are new to Charlotte or been here awhile, Charlotte is constantly changing. It’s worth it to look around and explore all there is to do– which is a lot! Apache and I have been making effort to go out more lately being that we are now self proclaimed travel content creators!  I’m going to share 3 places you could go for your next date night in Charlotte, NC.

Charlotte, North Carolina is expanding by the minute with new apartment complexes, homes, businesses and transplants from all over the world. I think most people are coming from the north though- Let’s Go Yankees! Of course there are a multitude of options for things to do around Charlotte. I’m gonna make sure you are aware of at least 3!  

Apache and I went to see “The Ghost of Splinter’s Cove” at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte on a Friday night so we decided why not tack on dinner and finish up with a dope House Music Party!

I know you’re burning with excitement to find out how you to can recreate such an exciting night!  Lucky for you I’m willing to share all the juicy details!

Make sure to start your night off getting dressed to some fun music and dance yourself right into that date night outfit like I did! 

Charlotte Date Night Idea #1

Places to eat

First and foremost is always food!

We arrived at the South End section of Charlotte for dinner. This neighborhood is cool because you can sit out on a few of the restaurant patios and look out at the tall Uptown Charlotte buildings off in the distance. They are pretty when lit up in the evening hours. South End is an enthusiastic, buzzing, contemporary little village.

I was thinking “this light rail looks pretty sleek”

Looking newly renovated, South End is young and vibrant with new hang out spots, cozy narrow tree lined streets, and happy looking people walking through town socializing or zipping around on prepay electric scooters. The Lynx Blue Line light rail quietly runs right through the center of town if you prefer not to drive.

The Lynx Blue Line light rail in Charlotte, NC 

Riding around on an electric scooter looks like fun! You can rent an e-scooter from anywhere using a smart phone app and park it at your final destination as long as it does not block sidewalks, curb ramps or bus stop, driveways. In other words, use common sense.

View of Uptown Charlotte from South End , i believe it looks much better at night when the buildings are all lit up.

A good friend of ours referred us to check out Hawkers Asian Street Fare as a great place to eat on Camden Road. I’m sure Hawkers would have been amazing had we left cushion time for 1) already running late 2) blowing more time trying to avoid the pay for parking (which was a useless pursuit- grumble, grumble). I’ll be nice and spare you my rant about why people shouldn’t have to pay for parking. Instead I will say that I’m glad it wasn’t more than $5. Last but not least is 3) the 30 minute wait time that the hostess gave us. Blank stare.

We will get here next time… 30min early!

My watch said 6:15pm and there was a show to catch by 7:30pm so we side stepped on over to the next option. Right next door to Hawker’s, sat  Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop!  Yup, it’s the same soda shop featured in that movie “Shallow Hal.”  

We enjoyed a great home style meal here at Pike’s while preparing ourselves for a long night of fun.

Copper -Olde Mecklenburg Brewery at Pike’s

We sat out on the patio with a very nice view of Uptown Charlotte, a lovely breeze caressing our skin and lots of bubbly people to look at. 

The waitress was very friendly and helpful in picking out a dinner that would be delish but not take long to prepare. We both settled on the Quiche of the Day which came with a side.  I got my typical French fries and Apache picked the sweet potato casserole as his side dish.

Apache and I both agreed the Quiche of The Day definitely did taste like a Southern Grandma homemade it in her kitchen and found it very satisfying with chunks of onion and mushrooms baked in. We were so grateful for that thick but flaky crust covered in cheese!

This was the Quiche of The Day and yes we ate all this food!

If you have a sweet tooth like Apache does, you might also choose the sweet potato casserole side. It has chopped pecans and is lightly topped with brown sugar- a dinner dessert! 

The appetizer was a hearty Chicken Quesadilla (I really need to get more adventurous though). Next time I think I will try the warm Homemade Pimento Cheese with Tortilla Chips because I just found out recently that pimento cheese is a big deal in the South like fried pickles… I had no idea. 

Filling up on Pike’s Chicken Quesadilla!

Having dinner here felt easy breezy lemon squeezy- very laid back because it wasn’t crowded. 

Feeling super relaxed after a great dinner!

Charlotte Date Night Idea #2

Go to the theatre

Go catch a show! We went to the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte which is within the wonderland of a library called ImaginOn to catch a production called “The Ghost of Splinter Cove.” We got FREE may I repeat FREE parking (big smiles).

You can get free parking on Friday’s after 5pm and Saturday- Sunday with a validated parking ticket; check the website for further details about this.  

This was our second time seeing a CTC production. 

The theatre is small and intimate so everyone gets a great seat to the show and can feel more connected to the characters. The Ghost of Splinter Cove was short and sweet while simultaneously comical and dark. The show kept our interest with underlining messages about trust and closure with a disinterred family secret.

The Ghost of Splinter Cove is portrayed through the eyes of children. They resort to their own creativity in the basement of their home so their parents could have “Adult Time” upstairs. Can’t we all relate to this? 

We found the play warm, personal and sculpted for all ages because we were all children at one time and more than likely played similar make-believe games. Apache and I walked the line between their imagination and reality as we escaped into their world for just a little while.  

 We had to get a picture in front of this set up for the kids!

What made this story cooler is that the playwright, Steven Dietz, also created another story linked to The Ghost of Splinter Cove called The Great Beyond. The Great Beyond is based around the same family, in the same home with the same theme but takes place upstairs as seen through the experience of the adults. The Great Beyond was showcased at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (ATC) and generally geared toward older audiences. The ATC is another option for date night theatre.

The Second Story Project was a collaboration of these two theaters to show opposite sides of the same coin so to speak. As we all know there are always at least two sides to any story!

Theatre prices

We have always loved theatre so it was really fun to go see an affordable show in Charlotte after dinner. Ticket prices generally range between $15-$30 at CTC and $30-40 at ATC.  ATC also offers a Pay What You Can night which you could take advantage of if your budget is running on low.

Charlotte has tons of entertainment but now you know of two great theaters that won’t break your piggy bank!

Charlotte Date Night Idea #3

Go dancing

You only live once so dance while you can!

We figured we were on a roll so why stop after the show?  There was a party going on and we still had energy so we cruised on over to Crown Station Coffee House & Pub on N. Davidson St. The House Music party hosted by the Solstice crew was taking form. 

Crown Station is open during the day for regular or spiked coffees and check out their calendar for evening events

Inside Crown Station during the daytime hours. Check out the wide open floor space for evening parties!

A corner chill spot in Crown Station for when you need a break from dancing or to sit and read during the day !

As the party gradually unfolded the older House Head generation definitely danced a burning hole through that floor!  One of the regular attendees that I didn’t even know wandered around the spacious dance floor giving people love (including me!) with welcome greetings, hugs and selfie pics. She even offered to share her instruments with us including tambourines and rattles for a heightened experience. 

We got to end off our night being in the presence of great people! It was a very loving inclusive environment where everyone came together in joy through the power of House Music!  Lots of laughs, hips shaking and also some good two stepping on our part! I love the lack of stuffiness and ego in a real House Music party environment.  

Photo by NonieTakesPictures
We went to meet friends at a Raw Substance House party held at Crown Station.

The Cranberry Cosmo that Apache and I got at Crown Station was fabulous to say the least! That bartender gave us a sweet kick in the *ss and I could have had two more but used restraint. 

A perfectly made Cranberry Cosmopolitan at Crown Station – Yum!

Go out dancing!

Check out our favorite Charlotte DJs listed below. Look them up on IG and message them for inquiry about when and where they will be playing next! You can find one of these DJs spinning at a cool lunch brunch, festival, art gallery showing or other special event. Don’t forget to let them know CLP sent you because they are the real deal holy field!   

Photo by NonieTakesPictures
Dope House DJs of Charlotte, NC

House Music DJs of Charlotte

1)Charles Gaitling @Rawsubstanceclt

2) Steve Howerton @guided_beats_radio of @Rawsubstanceclt

3) Ifeanyi Ibeto aka DJ Kato @Katobeats

4)Smitty @Thatguysmitty

5) DJ Marcus Wade @djmarcuswade

6) @Unifiedsoulsevents

5) Jason Cooper @Vonfunkhauser

You don’t stop having fun when you get old, you get old when you stop having fun. – Ritu Ghatourey

 

 

Our Visit to Cast Iron Waffles in Charlotte, North Carolina

We normally don’t travel outside of 20min for breakfast but we made an exception this time. Neither of us had ever tried an “Authentic Belgian Liege Waffle” (as advertised) before. This family owned cafe called Cast Iron Waffles is in the Ballantyne area (about 30min from our home)-a little bit out of the way for us because we get impatient for that first meal of the day.

How we found the Authentic Belgian Liege Waffle in Charlotte

On my lunch break (months ago) I happen to notice a Charlotte Magazine laying with some others and decided to check it out. Skimming through, my eyes fixated on an image of a waffle sprinkled with bacon and this frosting stuff that appeared to be oozing out of it. After glancing over another few pages i somehow ended up back on the picture of this waffle. This is where my imagination started to run wild about what it must taste like.  Salty and sweet are never a bad combination.


Here is my photo of the waffle i saw in the magazine that had me dreaming of that special moment where this particular waffle would enter my mouth and send messages of ecstasy to my brain…

I grabbed my iphone and took a picture of this waffle masterpiece and where to find it to make sure i wouldn’t forget. Boy, pictures really do sell!

For a few months i continue to refer back to this photo and remind my husband that i am gonna treat him to a new spot I found for a surprise breakfast. My husband Apache absolutely loves waffles so i thought it would be a great excuse idea to take him to a place that specialized in making the “Authentic Belgian Liege Waffle!”

Our Cast Iron Waffles Experience

This European style cafe opens at 7am. It was finger numbing cold outside, so the first thing we ordered was two sweet, body warming lattes.

We enjoyed a very casual vibe in this cafe. If i lived nearby i could see myself stopping in this cafe for a quick pick-me-up before or after work.

Cast Iron Waffles Menu

Since we Americans typically like to do the most, Cast Iron Waffles has a menu that caters to our need for extra everything. Especially extra sugar!

The menu has a variety of different flavor coffees and lattes. Cast Iron Waffles serve espressos along with plenty of waffle toppings to choose from! Personally, this makes for a happy pairing in my book. 

Cast Iron Waffles Toppings

Apache ordered the Peanut Butter Cup Waffle. I nick-name Apache “Extra Sauce” for good reason, when it comes to indulgence he always wants EXTRA no matter what it is and he has a big personality. Apache’s waffle topped with a cream cheese peanut butter mixture. In addition, it had chocolate syrup and also their homemade whipped cream. I made a point to sample that whipped cream from Apaches plate and found myself nodding in approval. Afterthoughts…. “it’s light, no aftertaste, reminds me of a homemade whipped cream.”  I ordered the Lumberjack waffle topped with maple buttercream and bacon! I thought my waffle was very tasty- sweet,salty and crunchy. Apache loved his extra loaded waffle as well.

The Cast Iron Belgian Liege Waffles Difference

We are accustom to big, airy waffles with smooth edges found in American diners. The Belgian Liege waffle served at Cast Iron has uneven edges. They are also smaller with a more dense texture to them. This made the waffle feel more filling compared to the American style waffles we have had in the past.

Apache and I both thought the Belgian Liege Waffle had a sweet, richer taste. Cast Iron Waffles mix imported Belgian Pearl Sugar into their butter Brioche style dough (pastry dough) which makes it taste more like a dessert. Cast Iron Waffles also use a 100 lb. waffle press. This combination produces a caramelized crispy outer shell that has my tummy grumbling for more as i type this blog.

After eating this yummy desert for breakfast we were full until lunch time so that was a plus for us.

Cast Iron Waffles Prices

Our entire order of two dressed up waffles and two lattes totaled about $20. Not bad for two filling orders.

We feel good about supporting Cast Iron Waffles  because Cast Iron Waffles is a family owned business. Another reason is because Cast Iron Waffles make their dough from scratch. Lastly, because they purchase farm direct or  Fair Trade coffees.

The next time we’re in Ballantyne, i plan to have my Authentic Belgian Liege Waffle prepared more simply with powdered sugar and fresh fruit. When we finally get to go to visit Belgium we will be sure to try their waffles and compare!

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience” – James Beard

If you enjoyed this check out CreativeMornings Worldwide ,   3 Places to go for date night in Charlotte, North Carolina or Have The ASC Experience in Charlotte, NC

 

 

 

The United Ink Productions Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival

A perfect cover up tattoo by Jorge Martinez @jorgestattoo

I am super excited to write this blog about the Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival we attended in Charlotte in October!  We have had great luck with North Carolina festivals so far!

Apache and I are fascinated with tattoos. Tattoos show freedom of creative expression. The outlet creates conversation, stimulates the imagination and fulfills the artist! When a person gets a tattoo, they become a walking, breathing canvas. Moving art work! 

Photo by Komadori Photography

United Ink Productions

Anyone recognize this character??? Hint…from an old school video game. Photography by Komadori Photography

United Ink Productions is a company that creates large tattoo festivals! In 2012 United Ink Productions began facilitating 2 conventions per year. The first festival of the year is held in April in NYC. As of 2018 Charlotte, NC will host the second festival every October! The Queen City Tattoo Festival is conducted at the Charlotte Convention Center over a period of 3 days. That’s 3 days of color, live tattooing, entertainment, vendors and competitions!

In 2018 the festival theme was Alice in Wonderland. I dressed up as Uptown, N.Y.’s version of Alice and Apache was the Mad Hatter. The Tattoo and Arts Festival reigned in 250+ artists from around the world and local artists to create this enlivened Wonderland.  It was fun to dress up in Royal Peasantry clothing for this event! We became “Curiouser & Curiouser” (Alice in Wonderland quote) as we wandered around the convention center engulfed in the alluring culture of skin adornment.

This was the first Tattoo festival we have ever been to and it was an awesome experience.

Photography by Komadori Potography
Our talk with Jorge Martinez @Jorgestattoo of Inspiration Tattoo about how he got started in the business. Komadori Photography
Komadori Photography

Tattoo Art: Past to Present

Tattooing is an ancient art form and cultural aspect to many indigenous tribes around the world. The practice has evolved and continues to stand the test of time.

Tattoo History

Skin branding is evidenced to have been in practice at least 5,000 years ago as found on two Mummies in Egypt! Polynesia has an extensive tattoo history and this tradition extends over 2000 years ago.

As skin branding pertains to the United States it was introduced to NYC by sailors who originally used hand needles to pass away time from boredom at sea or to initiate one another into the fraternity.  NYCs most well-known tattoo is the big red Macy’s department store star which was worn on the forearm of ex-whaler turned Macy’s store founder RowlandH. Macy. Civil War veteran Martin Hildebrandt is considered one of Americas first tattoo artist’s to open the first tattoo shop in NYC during the 1800’s.  Martin Hildebrandt is known for branding other veterans for identification had they been killed or wounded during the war.  

Tattoo Culture Today

Interview with Sarah Miller at the QC Tattoo & Arts Festival 2018! Komadori Photograhphy

This year at the Tattoo and Arts Festival we talked with world renowned tattoo artist SarahMiller from Ink Master reality T.V. show seasons 2 &7. We also had an insightful talk with her manager Chris. Chris shared how USAA  is an insurance company that caters to military members, encompassing therapeutic tattooing, where artists can donate time to help vets tell their stories through this medium.

Pleasure to meet with Christine (Sarah Miller’s Manager). Komadori Photography
Click here to see our experience of this event in Charlotte, NC and hear this insightful interview.

Family & Friends Event

We were so grateful to have had our friends Robin of Komadori Photography and Chris of FinalSignal assisting us on this project which allowed us increasing space and perspective to grasp more out of this whole experience to share with all of you- Blessed!

Robin of Komadori Photography & Chris of FinalSignal

The Tattoo and Arts Festival is a family friendly event. We noticed kids as young as 7 all the way up to their mid 60’s or early 70’s having a great time.  You can dress up or down for this event – do you! 

Family affair at the QC Tattoo & Arts Festival. Komadori Photography
Meeting cool people at the Festival Komadori Photography
Charlotte’s Fire Dept dropped by Komadori Photography

What to Expect at The Tattoo and Arts Festival

Expect to find entertainment, great artists, fashion and really cool vendors at this festival!

Music

We danced to hard rock music and the enchanting, rhythmic melodies played by mega talented violinist DSharp. You can get a taste of his musical flavor in our YouTube Vlog of this event! On the 3rd day, Biz Markie was scheduled to perform. You get the idea…. Great Entertainment!  

Vendors

There were plenty of vendors selling jewelry, tattoo products and apparel. Apache bought me a cute tank top from SoHo Ink who came all the way down from NYC to represent. We were happy to see fellow New Yorker’s in the house!

Tattoo Flashing! Komadori Photography

People are getting inked everywhere and sport tattoos with pride. It was like a flesh museum! 

Entertainment

Dispersed throughout the convention center you can find painters painting, there was an art gallery, magicians, music and face painting. There was even a live pumpkin carver artist. 

Tattoo Entrepreneurs & Contests

Tattoo removal technicians of Essential Aesthetics and Laser in Charlotte showed up. There are Tattoo Contests every day of the Festival.  Some contests included “Tattoo of The Day,” “Asian Style,” “Fresh Portrait” and “Overall Female” to name a few.

Tattoo Seminars

United Ink Productions hosts educational seminars for Tattoo artists at their festivals. In 2018 the education focused on Permanent Makeup. These permanent makeup conferences are certificate programs that encompass basic skills and master class programs.  Make sure to check out the itinerary or book a booth for their next event in April!

Great interview with Zhang Po! Komadori photography

Meet World Renowned Tattoo Artists

World renowned tattoo artists made themselves very accessible and were fun to talk with. In addition to Sarah Miller we also got to converse with her Manager Chris and world famous tattoo artist Zhang Po.

Each had a story to tell that inspired us. 

Zhang Po has some inspiration for aspiring tattoo artists. Komadori Photography

God is capable of creating miracles at any time in our lives. Sarah, Chris and Zhang shared how they came to realize a career in the tattoo industry. We are so honored to hear, capture and share their stories in our YouTube vlog. All three are living a sustaining lifestyle that they love.

FinalSignal, CLP and Zhang Po! Komadori Photography
MC Joey Tattoo of Spike TV show “Tattoo Rescue”

Tattoo Festival Takeaways

Some people get tattoos for love, as a form of remembrance, some to follow trends, some to tell a story.  They can be a form of healing internal or beautifying external scars.  Tattoos can be self empowering through the process and its outcome. They can represent a personal achievement, belief system or just show what one is enjoying most about their life journey.  

One thing that keeps life interesting is our differences, stories and cultural variances. Choose to take an opportunity to learn more about others with respect and a little curiosity.

Art by Christian Waggoner. Komadori Photography

Conformity is not always a prerequisite to living a fulfilled life. – NK

All About Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens History

British footwear Dr. Martens have a air-cushioned sole called “Bouncing Soles” which makes a well broken in pair so comfortable to walk in and possible to run in an emergency.  Although this brand is highly popular in British culture they have also found their way around the world to many feet and hearts.  Dr. Martens became a staple originally with the skinhead culture in the 1960s.  This brand of boot went on to becoming embraced by punks and goths in the 1980’s and then by the grunge fashion scene. Other youth subcultures in the early nineties emerged flaunting Dr. Martens.

The impression I got from this style was “I don’t need to blend in with mainstream styles, I enjoy being different.” 

Photo by Komadori Potography in Halo Studio Lounge
Artwork by Hayley Moran

What makes me happy? Leather and Lace! These black Docs work perfectly for this sultry winter look.

I knew the boot originated as part of a subculture which already attracted me.  They represent the part of me that is a little rebellious. 

Dr. Martens Versatility

Currently I own 3 pairs of Dr. Martens but I remember the day I paid for my very first pair about 15 years ago….. Apache and I were hanging out in Greenwich Village in NYC. I knew I needed a boot that I could actually walk in, that would look cute with a dress or jeans.  We walked into this store where I saw a tall, black army boot (Dr. Martens) and my heart just melted- I knew instantly this boot and I were meant for one another!!!  Immediately I remembered my inspiration as a child sitting in my living room watching “Little House On the Prairie” and seeing little girls in dresses running in dirt with lace up army type boots.  I knew one day I would have a pair and also have complete freedom even if I chose to wear a dress.

Feeling fabulous hiking Crowders Mountain State Park in my white Docs in the Fall.

 My feet can barely tolerate heels these days. I probably can count on one hand how many times a year I wear them.   I tend to be more of a boot or sneaker kind of girl.  Developing my style around my comfort looks sexy and feels empowering!

Dr. Martens are so versatile, they can handle a variety of different types of looks as you can see in these photos.  I dress according to my mood so i need lots of flexibility.  Fortunately, you can rock these bad boys with shorts, a dress, jeans, leggings or whatever and put together an original look. Dr. Martens also carry a line of vegan boots and shoes.

Why not pair a prom dress with some Dr. Martens? Demonstrating how versatile this boot can be.

Dr Martens are my prize possession because they keep me ready for anything!  I literally can go from hiking in the mountains to a night out dancing in these boots.  

Dr. Martens Styling Inspo

Photography by Komadori Photography
Pairing black Docs with some RP styles

Dr. Martens provide shoes and boots in a slew of shapes and designs so you can really personalize your look.  Style diversity is important to me and the Dr. Martens give me a lot of leeway for showing that. 

I found that I can pretty much pair my white Dr. Martens with almost anything.  Let me show you….

Here i used a white tank top and socks that have white on them to pull the outfit together with the white Dr. Martens boot but it is not always necessary. This outfit was for a glow-in-the-dark themed House Party!

Dr. Martens age well honey!  It seems the older they get the better they look and the more broken in they are the better they feel in my opinion. Quality over quantity wins in life and also as it applies to footwear.   Give me a worn in pair of Dr. Martens over a pair of cheap heels any day!

A Spring look. These are the first pair of Dr. Martens I ever bought. I purchased these boots about 15 years ago and they are my most comfortable.

A Summer look. The option to wear a flat boot instead of a heel with a dress has been such a gift! Dr. Martens style can be worn all year long!

A Fall Look. Dr. Martens meet casual high fashion!

Another Fall look… leather and lace is always a yes for me and I am not sacrificing my comfort for a hot feminine look

I think Fall is my favorite season for fashion! Here I get to pair these burgundy Dr. Martens with plaid pants and a thifted suede vest– so much fun!

Winter look. Black is my favorite color to wear in the winter and these black Docs have weathered many storms over the years.

How to care for Dr Martens

How do I care for my Dr. Martens? 

These boots are very easy to maintain and they can endure a lot.  Personally I clean and polish my boots once or twice a year depending on how they are looking or the style I am creating.

 If you want to rock a more laid back, distressed look enjoy wearing your boots often, break them in well and don’t bother primping.   You can also clean and polish them as often as you like depending on how polished a look you want to present.   I went to the shoe store and purchased a container of Meltonian Saddle Soap which cleans all smooth leathers.  Saddle soap removes embedded dirt, shines and softens the leather.  

Dr. Martens also work well with leggings

1) First I use an old clean rag or a stiff brush to brush off excess dirt from boot/shoe. 

2) Use a clean end of the cloth or a sponge and dampen it with water, squeeze out excess water and then rub onto saddle soap until a rich lather is produced.  

3) Rub lathered cloth/sponge well into entire surface of boot/shoe to remove embedded dirt.  Repeat as needed.

4) Remove excess lather with a clean, damp sponge or cloth.

5) Rub boot/shoe well using a clean, dry, lint free cloth to produce a shine!

Photography by Komadori Photography
Dr. Martens look great with a RP top hat and bustle.

Next… if you would like to freshen and even out the color of your boot /shoe then use a shoe polish that is the same color.  I enjoy using the shoe polish after cleaning because it makes the boot/shoe look brand new.  I purchased a small can of KIWI shoe polish in the same color of my boot.  The nice thing about purchasing from a shoe store is that if you are unsure of which color will match your boot or shoe the closest they can definitely help you figure that out.  If the color of your boot/shoe is not black or white you should bring them into the shoe store with you so you can be as accurate as possible in choosing the color.   To apply your shoe polish ….

1) Apply polish using a clean dry cloth or polish applicator.  Rub polish in a circular motion into leather completely until you see full, even color.

2)  Allow boot/shoe to dry.

3) Buff your boot/shoe to a gloss with a soft, dry cloth.

4) For extra shine you can apply another coat of polish, sprinkle with a little water and then buff again with a clean soft cloth.

Photography by Komadori Photography in Haylo Studio Lounge
Pairing Docs with shorts work for me. Artwork by Hayley Moran

How to stretch Dr. Martens

Some Dr. Martens will have stiff leather to begin with becoming more flexible and comfortable with wear over time. I noticed that my white ankle Docs were tougher to break into than the calf length boot.

Some style inspo fo ya!

My right foot has a bunion and is bigger than the left (blank stare). Subsequently, in order to relieve the pressure, I stretched out my right boot (White ankle Dr. Martens) by:

  1. Soaking two washcloths through with warm water
  2. Squeezing out excess water
  3. Stuffing the wet balled up washcloths tightly into the front of the shoe. Let the washcloths dry in the boot until ready to wear them again.
  4. I repeated this process twice before they felt comfortable for me.
Nothing screams freedom like a pair of white ankle Dr. Martens with a cute short black dress- of course i exaggerate a little bit. But yeah, heels be gone!

Ultimately Dr. Martens can compliment a wide array of looks and the more creative you are the more you can personalize the style.  Personal style should reflect who YOU are.  Choose a pair of Dr. Martens that call to you, then just play around with pairing different items of clothing until you see which outfits feel right. Inspiration is everywhere so keep your eyes open for it. 


I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Most of all just make sure to have fun. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and keep your look YOU because that is where the sweet spot is!

If you enjoyed this blog you may also like these for more style inspiration ….

Easy Outfit Ideas for CouplesWhy Wear Upcycled Couture Fashion ,  My First Fall Fashion Blog 

“You have to be unique and different and shine in your own way” -Lady GaGa

Written By: Nikia Knapp , Editing By: Craig Greshaw

 

6 Easy Beginner Blogger Tips

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6 Beginner Blogger Tips

If you are a beginner, you may have stumbled upon a very enlightening blog to help you simply BEGIN! In this blog i will share 6 Easy Beginner Blogger Tips.

Hanging out in my second year of blogging for Colorful Life Productions (Husband & Wife team content creating company) – I realize I have acquired a few helpful tips that I now use regularly without thinking about it.  

Finally, I have useful blogging knowledge to share with others. It took me a year before I realized how to turn a word in my blog into a link! Only sharing that embarrassing detail to make you feel a little better if you are as computer illiterate as I am- ha!  Slow technology learners unite!

If you don’t know how to turn words in your blog into links comment below and I will be happy to help.  After 2 years of researching more advanced bloggers and taking 2 courses in how to grow my blog page here are some real easy, basic steps you can take that make sense and won’t stress you out too much- baby steps!   Let’s do this together!

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1) Repeat Key Words for SEO

There is a mountain of information to learn about Search Engine Optimization(SEO). But, I have picked up on a pointer in the right direction. You want your blog to be found by people who are looking for the topic you are covering. Google wants to connect the right information to the person searching for it.

Your title is hopefully your main topic. Try to keep the title as direct and clear as possible. Your title should include your keywords (what your main focus is). Throughout your blog make sure to reiterate your keywords. Keywords help keep your subject on track and also it increases your SEO.

Reusing your keywords will help show your blog as one that should be ranked for your particular topic. When using your keywords, incorporate them in a natural sounding way so it makes sense with the flow of your writing.

My key words for this blog are “Beginner Blogger Tips.” As you will see, I will repeat my key words at least 3 times in this blog. One good tip I learned is to use my keywords in the beginning, middle and toward the end of each blog at minimum.

2) Easy Reading Blogs – Break it up!

Back in the day, eh-hem, as in two years ago… I would write my blogs fashioned more like a letter.  I believe blogs are generally supposed to be an easy read option-so make it easy to read!

When you are discuss your topic of choice, break up your writing with bold print titles. This let’s your reader know what you will be talking about next in regards to the topic. For example, above this section of the blog I put in bold lettering “Easy Reading Blogs – Break it up!” as a heading.  This will make locating specific information easier for your reader, the heading function is similar to chapters in a book.

Using this technique may be visually more appealing to a busy person. A blog presented with bite size information is easier to digest.

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3) Link Back to Blogs

Help your readers to find the other blogs you have written that are on the same subject matter.  If a reader enjoys your fashion blog or your tips on cheap travel blog, they may want more information. Your reader may not realize that you do have that information available for them. 

Add links to your previous blogs you have written on the same topic.  You can do this with key words.

Let me share an example. In a recent fashion blog, I posted a photo wearing jewelry purchased from a boutique I had written about months ago. Underneath that photo, in the caption, I prompt the reader “find out more about this dope jewelry here.” I linked the italicized word back to the older blog I wrote about the boutique.  In my blog “Places to go for date night in Charlotte, NC,” one of the places i recommend to go is a House Music party.  I linked the keywords House Music back to a previous blog I had written specifically about House Music. Correspondingly, this technique will send anyone seeking more content on that subject area straight to it. Link back!

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Why did I pick this photo? Link Back… get it? lol

You can also inform your reader of other blogs you have written that are on the same subject.  Writing something like “For more blogs about … check out….“ Fill in the blanks by adding titles of the blogs you want to mention. Then, link those titles to their corresponding blogs. 

When I first started writing blogs, I wasn’t aware that linking back is a great way to keep your audience engaged with your website/ blog page. In addition, your directing people to more of what they are interested in.  After two years I find myself frequently going back to add links to my old blogs to connect to newer similar blogs.

4) Add Value to Content

In the past two years we have spent an ample amount of time considering and then reconsidering our niche and revisiting how we can add value to our content overall.  This is a really important piece of the puzzle!  Think about what your audience stands to gain by reading your content, in what ways are you helping them?  Why should the reader share your blog with others or even return to read more?  Value for the reader is a component that becomes increasingly more prominent in my mind on this blogging journey which makes the work more goal oriented as opposed to just writing whatever I feel like writing.

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Value is something that has worth or usefulness.  I always write from my heart, but I realize some of my topics are more relevant in today’s world than others.  The more popular topic I blogged (which had to do with vlogging) is repeatedly re-pinned on Pinterest and I did not have to do anything for that to happen except post the pin which wasn’t even an attractive one (no advertising or anything).  This being said, I write about what I feel passionate about or interested in. In my topic of choice, the focus is then directed toward adding value to the content.

In our niche, value may come in the form of fashion tips, great places to go that we really enjoyed and travel tips .  I will also share helpful blogging tips that i learn along my content creating journey. You should always consider where you are adding value as you complete your blog.

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Help others by sharing recipes, your personal experience at a destination, tips for healthier living/well being, inspiration, DIY ideas… you get the point, the list is endless. Are you really funny? Maybe your value is in laughter; help to brighten someones day! Just be sure to write out the list of items that add value to your content and work it in.  As bloggers our job must be to give back in some way. You are writing for other people to read your blogs. Otherwise, you would be writing in a journal.

Once you discover what problem you’re solving or how you are helping the reader, you have also simultaneously found your title. I am still working on creating better titles for my blogs but this is a great direction to go in. 

The title is the first reason anyone will read a blog in the first place.  The title lets me know if the contents within the body of work are either relatable to my life or going to answer a question I have. I’m much more likely to read the blog right away, save or possibly even share the link if it holds value to me.

5) Create Evergreen Blogs 

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 Oh, when I first heard the phrase “Evergreen Blogs” something clicked in my head!  “Yeah! Why didn’t I think of that before?” I thought.  The Google definition of evergreen: relating to or denoting a plant that retains green leaves throughout the year.  Think of your blog as that plant that you want to be self-renewing! 

You cannot continue to promote a blog you wrote in 2019 in 2020 if you put the year in the title.  How can the blog stay relevant and how can you recycle the work as you move forward and your audience grows? Avoid putting dates in your blog titles if you can. Understandably, sometimes this might be unavoidable depending on the topic. Maybe you want to do a trendy blog that is super relevant right now but may not be next month or year and that’s okay to if that’s your niche.  Personally though, I want to stretch out my blogs as long as I can.

Today I’m trying to contemplate writing content that I can re-share year after year. 

Another reason to write evergreen blogs is timing. When you first post a blog some people may not have time to read it. There is also the possibility that some may not find the blog important to read when you first post it. Let’s try not to take it personal, those same people just might be curious about that blog later on down the road. You will also gain new readers as you proceed that find that same topic relevant when you re-post it again on Facebook 6months to a year out.

6) Add Great Photos

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Last but not least is to add great photos!  Beautiful photos will help you to tell your story and visually stimulate your reader.  There are many options for getting photos that would work well for your blogs.  You could take and edit your own photos. Purchase photos from a photographer, Canva, gettyimages or another company that sells photos.  We alternate between taking and editing our own photos and working with photographers that we know. 

My latest and greatest back up plan for getting free quality photos is (screaming) Pexels!!!  Choose a photo you want from Pexels. There is a free download drop down bar in the right hand corner when you click the pic. You can choose the size you want.  I have been using the medium size (1280×960) for this blog. You can see which size works best for your page.

On Pexels you can make a donation to the photographer for their work if you choose- which is awesome.  The least we can do, as a courtesy, is like/heart their work. Then, either credit the photographer or Pexels in caption under the photo you choose. Make sure to link back to the artist or Pexels for proper crediting of the work.

We will continue to work at creating our own fabulous photos but it’s great to have a back up plan. For example, we didn’t get a chance to photograph pics for this particular blog. As a result, I sought out free stock images from Pexels. Thankfully, I was able to easily and safely pull mostly everything I needed from Pexels (sending love). 

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Be gentle with yourself in this learning process. Obviously, we cannot know it all at once and we cannot be as advanced instantly as someone already 5-10 years ahead. Therefore, be patient with your learning curve and turn the rest over to God. If you have any questions about the topics I have mentioned above please comment below and i will be happy to help.

There are so many aspects to being a blogger if you want to make a career out of it. I can relate to beginner trials and tribulations. Since I am attempting to learn this as a business, there will be many more helpful blogger tips to come! Hopefully these 6 Easy Beginner Blogger Tips were helpful to you. If so, please let me know!

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” – Maya Angelou

If you enjoyed this blog you may also enjoy 5 Tips for Beginner Vloggers

Written by Nikia Knapp

Have the ASC experience in Charlotte,NC

Resident Culture Brewing & Blending

The South has come so far in recognizing the importance of art and international cultural education! Come through ASC (Arts and Science Council) Charlotte celebrating our differences and the values that tether us as a human race. If you haven’t already, make sure to have your ASC experience in Charlotte, NC.

We got to participate in a collaborative paint project in a brewery and take a Djembe lesson for free! The ASC gave us so much fun and brought some new conversation to the table about what we learned. Find great ideas for your next date night or family night on their website.

We learned that ASC Charlotte  (Arts and Science Council) is continually providing sponsored cultural opportunities and exposure to art for the community throughout the year. On the website you will find a list of ongoing activities to explore for couples and families in Mecklenburg County. 

The ASC experience we attended is called Connect with Culture, an annual event that takes place every January. Everyone gets to enjoy Connect with Culture’s festivities regardless of weather they are rolling in dough or broke because it’s free! Yaaay ASC!

One of the many ASC free experiences held throughout the Mecklenburg was held at the Resident Culture Brewery in Charlotte, NC.

This Brewery is HUGE! I’m loving the space.

The Brewery:  

Apache and I have never been to Resident Culture Brewery on Central Ave. before, therefore we didn’t know what to expect. 

We were pleasantly surprised at how spacious this bar is.  We both admired the fine wood furniture in and outside on the sizable deck. There are tall heated lamps so we could stand outside with a beer and mingle. There were even outdoor fireplaces so people can still gather outside on chillier days. 

Cozy outdoor sitting corner with a fire place!

We loved meeting other people’s dogs at Resident Culture . This is a dog friendly brewery and Nikia loves the dogs! 

This brewery had loads of board games available in case anybody wanted to play. There were also ping pong machines if that floats your boat. We thought it was so cute, this couple enjoying a game of cards while their baby French Bull dog danced around their ankles.  This seems like a great place to hang out! 

More space- Resident Culture front porch.

All the wood counters and tables used for this rustic decor was beautiful.

Some Options …..

We also noticed a beautifully lit Barrel Room for producing barrel aged beers and found out that this area may be rented for events.  On our date night we got to enjoy Drums 4 Life interactive experience in this lovely space courtesy of the ASC. But, Resident Culture Brewery plans to continue hosting many great interactive events here for the community.  

Welcome to the Barrel Room!

Still in the Barrel room.

You guessed it! This is still the Barrel Room! Lol

Painting:  

The ASC experience in Charlotte, NC orchestrated a multi-brewery paint project! Many breweries around town participated in the collaborative painting project of Queen Charlotte! 

Emily Andress developed the master plan for each brewery to have a large wooden puzzle piece to paint. At the end of the evening, all of the puzzle pieces would be joined to make one complete abstract portrait. The portrait would then be presented at the Mint Museum on the next day!  Pretty cool!

Jean Cauthen led our painting experience at Resident Culture Brewing.  The ASC brings people together and allows us to have fun while learning, best idea! 

I couldn’t believe I was in a bar painting! What a way to upgrade the bar scene!  I noticed how participating in a creative activity really got me out of my head and into the moment, what a gift.  If you watch the vlog of this evening you will see what part of the painting I did!  Apache really enjoyed watching how happy this made me.

Completed collaborative paint project of Queen Charlotte presented at the Mint Museum!

Food Trucks:   

There were food trucks at each participating brewery!  Owww (in my Cardi B. voice)!

The Dumpling Lady truck was parked in front of Resident Culture so we had to see what those dumplings were all about!  Someone else on line had mentioned that the pork and Chive dumplings were really good. They left out that the dumplings were also super spicy!  

Thank goodness we both love spice. Along with that spice was an abundance of flavor and we really enjoyed that meal together.  Apache and I sat at a long beautiful wooden picnic like table inside Resident Culture Brewery. During dinner, we got to meet some other people while Resident Culture played some cool old school music.  

While we enjoyed our dumplings we conversed with a woman who talked about her mom being a Radio City Rockette when she was a child.  We also got to meet a mom who was there with her son to expose him to the drum circle.  Her adorable son, about the age of 10, sat staring into his phone intently. He looks up briefly when we mention that we were YouTube Vloggers. The boy’s mom then states “He loves YouTube.” 

It was great to meet new and interesting people on our date.  I am happy to report that after the event the Mom told us that her son took part in and really enjoyed the Drum Circle!

Attend one of their free classes! I promise you will have so much fun!

Drum Circle:  

The ASC experience in Charlotte also included a free African Drum Circle class! Commence Drums 4 Life!!! 

I was just standing around in the bar chillin, minding my own business, taking in my atmosphere while Apache ran to the bathroom. All of a sudden, this rhythmic tumbling thunder rolled in behind me! It echoed throughout this entire sizable brewery and I quickly turned to catch the action. 

Lead instructor and father Kojo Bey and his three young sons played their African drums in perfect sync!  Apache had the camera in the bathroom so I whipped out my trusty cell phone and got what I could of their impactful entrance!  At this time Apache returned and we follow their sound. Drums 4 Life maneuver all around us onlookers engaging and intriguing us all! 

Once our excitement is peaked, they stop and everyone is cheers!   The experience continues in the Barrel Room where Drums 4 Life set out a plentiful array of Djembe and Dunun drums along with other small complimentary instruments to engage the audience.

Djembe (jem-bay) is an instrument originally from West Africa. The name Djembe comes from the saying “everyone gather together in peace.”The Dunun (dun dun) drums are played with sticks.

For this occassion people gathered from all over the world from different religions, nationalities and cultures in peace, enjoying a moment together and learning together. 

I thought “this is what life is all about.” I felt joy to be a part of the human race. In my body I felt excitement and connection from the beautiful sounds. There also was a feeling of gratitude to be a part of this special experience.  Check for Drums 4 Life on Instagram @drums4lifeorg and join a circle!

We won’t forget this date!  Make sure to seek out new types of experiences and learning opportunities. See what type of discoveries and great times they lead to!

“All the world is my school and humanity is my teacher.” – George Whitman

Why Wear Upcycled Couture Fashion?

Here I’m wearing Royal Peasantry‘s Athena dress in black. Cato Pinkney Photograpy Clothing: Royal Peasantry

When it comes to creating personal style, what’s more exciting than pulling from upcycled options? In this blog i will tell you why i wear upcycled clothing and also a cool place to purchase it. Upcycled couture fashion is a great way to add unique pieces to your wardrobe that will make your outfits stand out from the rest!

The definition for Upcycled: (of discarded objects or material) reused in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. The definition for Couture: the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements. Upcycled couture fashion means your getting a one of a kind item.

When you were a kid, did you ever individualize your old jeans by cutting them up and adding a design? Did you ever sew a piece of jewelry or other material onto an old jacket to yield something that couldn’t be found anywhere else? Our generation did stuff like this when we were in junior/high school. Royal Peasantry takes this idea to a level of expertise, precision, and magical creation.

1) Decrease wastefulness

Taking something old and making it new again decreases waste in the world and provides an outlet for creative expression.

It was love at first sight of Royal Peasantry. Everything is hand crafted and most can be adjusted to fit the individual.

RP is transforming and dying unused leather. They can cut up old garments, sew them together with other materials that would be otherwise forgotten to create wonderful, wearable pieces of art(this is what makes RP fashion upcycled)! Think of how cool that is versus mass production factory made clothing items!

Would you consider wearing something a little less conventional to give yourself a new look? Apache and I prefer clothing items that look like art so we can keep reinventing our style for many years to come!

We found a plethora of these creative designs for Men and Women in Royal Peasantry. If you want to try something new, you can definitely reinvent your look with upcycled couture fashion here!

Stick with me now, you won’t be disappointed ….

Can you say FIRE! RP upcycled leather jacket! I was completely blown away with the creativity of this jacket.

Apache and I strolled down Lexington ave in Downtown Asheville. We glanced to the right and our eyes immediately transfixed on the enchanting garments displayed inside the RP window display. Eyes wide open in the world of Royal Peasantry we found so many well crafted items.

Each garment made with sharp, artful impression and stand out quality.  Apache and I were like two kids in a candy store! You can’t find this stuff in a mall.

Mens RP Leather Vest- Stylin!

This boutique is as visually intriguing as an art gallery. The tribal smell of leather kept us entranced. There were so many tactile delights, some of which were wispy feathers paired against flapping fringe in juxtaposition with cool, hard iron and other interesting textures.

Amanda Swafford, RP House Stylist approached and immediately welcomed us. She shared about the incredible foundation on which RP has grown.

Daniella Miller, founder, owner and Lead Designer opens her doors to the public to share her and her team’s collections that decrease wastefulness. RP aims to give the wearer a sense of pride in the unique creations donned. 

Amanda selected items for us to showcase in our content. Ultimately this encounter lead us to our next adventure at RP Charlotte!

Honestly, i felt so divine in these outfits!

RP also has clothing items for rental!

We met Patti Byrd, Leather Worker and then Manager of RP Charlotte. Patti showed us many of the stunning neck adornments and bags that she created using scrap leather pieces. She talked about the peace she receives and love given during their development. 

Get something cool and dress it up or down! At RP you can find an outfit to make an unforgettable fashion statement. Or just pair an accessory with jeans/leggings for the casual but highly fashionable look- Super versatile. 

2) Find one of a kind fashion

Omg! Patti helped me try on one of their Upcycled Couture Wedding Dresses!  If I were going to purchase a wedding dress this would be it!  This doesn’t look like any ole typical wedding dress. This upcycled couture wedding dress is edgy, vintage, and magical looking! I think i could live in this get up!

But check out my crown thoooo!

Here is one of Royal Peasantry’s stunning upcycled wedding dresses.

The Athena dress is made from bamboo. This bamboo dress is super durable, super soft and stretchy. You can wear it long or pull it up to wear as an over the knee dress. The Athena dress looks really great with belts or bustles in which they carry a myriad of lovely options. Another really dope feature about the Athena is that there are about 5 different ways you can wear it!

Some other really great facts about bamboo fabric is that it’s hypoallergenic. Bamboo fabric is thermo-regulating which means it keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter! I also learned it is eco- friendly and wicks moisture away from the skin if you sweat in it. Last but not least, bamboo clothing is UV protective and biodegradable!

RP aims to decrease wastefulness and overproduction while creating one of a kind pieces.  I own a leather purse that I wore until it began to fall apart because I loved it so much. Now I’m excited I can turn that bag over to RP to redesign it and bring it back to life.

Any other Pink Floyd fans out there? Check out the dopeness for men!

Here is the front of that Pink Floyd sweater. It even has a satin lining on the inside which you can see on the cuff of the sweater. It’s the little details that really excite me!

 

Apache and I both prefer quality over quantity. Most times this costs a little more but it’s a gift to myself that will keep giving.  We found unique, timeless upcycled couture garments and accessories at RP.

One of my fashion weaknesses is fringe and leather! Over a couple of months I purchased a pair of red fringe leather earrings, and gorgeous leather neck adornment. I couldn’t resist the brown and black leather fringe belt as well.

I will probably end up passing these items down to my daughter and maybe even my granddaughter one day.

Loving this RP royal blue velvet blazer on our friend Ben!

RP blue velvet blazer

Yes, guys can get up on this hotness too! RP carry accessory items for men as well.

Casually rocking my new RP leather Neck Adornment!

RP has a boutique in Asheville and also in Charlotte. You can also find their fashion on Etsy or their website.  If you need a little guidance working with these styles, contact them for RP stylist assistance. 

Make sure to check out their cool website for a full list of how they may service you.  RP plays on my desire for imagination and a free spirited way of life.  Thank you Daniella Miller for allowing us to work/play in your beautiful designs and share your mission with our viewers!  

                  Watch Our YouTube Vlog at Royal Peasantry! –HERE

“You can’t use up CREATIVITY. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

This is not an ad.

My First Fall Fashion Blog!

Feeling fabulous in my new Pikolinos boots! (Praise hands)

Excitement galore! This is my very first fashion blog which also happens to be Fall oriented! 

Sometimes style can be a form of self expression for me.  I am also a mood dresser.   My colors and style vary with the day depending on if I’m feeling excited, brave, sexy, tired or solemn- just the truth. 

For my introductory Fall fashion blog I want to share some of my basic ideas about style. 

First, confidence can make or break most looks. Secondly, I think it’s really cool to pair old items with new ones. Tying in older clothing pieces with new ones can turn a trendy looking outfit into a creative looking one!  I begin to see the older piece of clothing/jewelry in a new light.  Shopping vintage, goodwill and going through my older items I find treasures to pair with newer fashion items to help create my personal style.  Lastly, in general I’m very attracted to clothing that looks like a piece of art work.  When I find a piece that looks like art or that i find very unique, it will stay close to my heart, be re-used for many years to come, and I may invest (out of my budget) if I can.

In my opinion, artful pieces are not trendy so they never go out of style.  In addition, Apache has been very helpful over the years sometimes finding amazing items for me that I may overlook initially.  We make a great team!

All that being said, it’s been a long and lovely summer and I am super ready to rock some Fall fashion! One of my favorite Fall colors is ochre, it’s so rich and I think it looks really great on all skin tones! This color does something for picking me up and making me feel beautiful.

Confidence is all in our heads

Looking good on the outside is an inside job.

Some people dress down because that’s how they feel about themselves or they are just not confident enough to wear what they truly like. Others just enjoy dressing down which is cool as well- i do too sometimes. Confidence or lack thereof is what could make a very casual outfit look like more than it is or not. Really it’s not about the outfit but more about what a person feels about themselves that others will see.

Nobody knows what’s going on inside of your head. Although, we can give away clues by our posture, the projection of our voices and also facial expressions. All of this begins with what’s going on inside of our heads. Check your thoughts.

The insecurities that we may choose to believe in is not who we are. The negative self talk does not make those thoughts factual. Negative self talk is just something we decide to take on as a self defeating belief system. Although this will take practice, guess what, we are allowed to change our minds!

A little confidence can go a long way! But, if you can’t find a little, fake it until you make it! Act as if until it becomes true for you!

At times i have to work on changing my mind. I have been guilty of this type of self abuse and therefore spent many years preventing myself from enjoying great experiences and joy. If you start changing the words you tell yourself, you will begin to project out more good feeling and self confidence. Try it out! Walk tall, know you are God’s beautiful, unique creation and tell yourself that your awesome just the way you are. I guarantee that whatever you wear will look a lot better when you embrace self love.

Fall Fashion- Pairing the New with the Old

Shopping for new Fall fashion items

Obviously the color attracted me first but upon laying my hands on the stretchy fabric of this dress I knew we would be one! 

The stretch in this dress is crazy ladies; and as much as my weight has fluctuated since I bought it a year ago from Urban Outfitters, it’s been a great gift.   When I bought this dress in Urban Outfitters I was just happy it stretched nicely across my then wide muscular back and today I am happy it flows loosely around the waistline- no bulge showing here!  As women our bodies tend to go through so many changes so i love an outfit that can adjust accordingly. When I turn this baby around there is this plunging crisscross back- a unique twist, yes it’s one of my fall favorites!

My Pikolinos ankle boots are so dope-says me!

The burnt sienna color opaque tights I got from Target. There is a special place in my heart for Fall colors!  I have quite a few pieces that I can pair these tights up with for a cozy feeling so they made a perfect purchase. 

Trying my burnt sienna color stockings and Pikolonos boots with a different outfit!

I couldn’t say too much about my new favorite footwear brand Pikolinos – LOVE!  They save my feet with ultimate comfort and style.  I can rock these leather boots and walk all day long like I did in Asheville, NC boutique and gallery crawling without a problem.  At 41, I am so over being uncomfortable in an effort to look cute.  The outfit must be functional or i can’t be bothered.

I wish I had learned the lesson in my thirties that being uncomfortable aint cute!  My fellow sisters, we need the full package so we can feel our best.  I love these brown ankle boots because I can wear them with a dress or jeans and Fall thru Spring easily!  Pikolinos produce quality leather shoe craftsmanship. So although these boots are expensive they were worth every dime for me.  Also, I purchased another pair when they were on sale in Delaware for 50% off so keep an eye out for those deals and save. 

Shopping for something old

Now, on to my oldest piece- I found this vintage men’s blazer in a thrift shop probably 8 years ago. It’s a timeless piece that adds class, a pinch of androgyny (which I love) and angle to an otherwise very girly look. I knew I could wear this jacket every year because it was classic as opposed to trendy. I also noticed this gem was 100% pure wool- another investment. This blazer kept me oh so warm in my ochre colored dress – jackpot!!! Make sure to raid the vintage and thrift shops, I didn’t pay more than $8 for this jacket. 

Fall Fashion Colors -adding artful accessories

The earrings I bought at the LEAF festival up in Black Mountain from a Native American craft maker.  They were $35 but I felt they were so beautiful and could dress up most outfits.  They paired well with this outfit because the colors were in the same family as my outfit including yellow and orange.  The color of rust is a mix of red-orange-brown and so I pulled in the same colors with this blazer.  The pop of blue in the earring and in my hair was minimal enough to just add a spark of surprise to the color scheme.  The other statement piece of jewelry worn is my wide gem bracelet which was a gift from my other Mom.  This bracelet speaks for itself as far as color choice.

I would say don’t be afraid to try adding a bold statement piece to your outfit if it makes you feel great. Your outfit should make you feel like the best version of yourself. Create how you always wanted to see yourself. Make sure to have fun experimenting with looks you want to wear but are just doubtful to rock- you may get a pleasant surprise. 

Congratulations to me on my very first Fall fashion blog!!!  This was fun! Please let me know if you enjoy this type of blog and wanna see more!

By Nikia Knapp  

If you enjoyed this blog you may also enjoy…

My Fashion Coming Out Party , What To Wear with Dr. Martens  and  Reinvent Your Look – Fashion Upcycled Couture !