Confetti Travel: Thrifting Orange Beach

 

What could be better than getting an awesome deal on a condo on the beach? Well, saving more money by shopping at a local thrift store! I saw it on the way to our beach condo and I knew I was coming back before I left. I am glad I did!

The name of the thrift store is Island Thrift. Very, very friendly staff. A clean store and the best part was it’s inclusive of plus size girls like me! I found clothing, jewelry, and some sort of huge wooden, palm structure that barely fit into my brother’s SUV. Needless to say he was puzzled when I returned his vehicle but, he also knows I like odd things! And never question a woman’s purchase. She has a plan for whatever she bought somewhere down the line lol!

 

 

I also got tanks tops and a necklace made of wood. Yes, I had an armload of items and I would have gotten more! My cousin also left with an armful of items. She’s a thrifter, too and we were both floating on a shopper’s high as we left. I will blog the items when I wear them soon. I have already worn the red striped sundress and it fit perfectly!

Thanks Island Thrift!

~Nikki

Advertisements

Confetti Travel: Orange Beach & Family PT 1

20180531_145944

What an amazing trip with family (mostly cousins)! Our corner condo was fabulous with a wrap around balcony and perfect view of the gulf shore.

20180531_150226

A group of cousins got together and decided we should take a trip. Florida was on the table but, Orange Beach seem to be the best option. I knew they would enjoy it and they did. I went a few years ago and the best part of that trip for me was being able to wake up and see this view. This year I had the best experience of waking up to people who truly care and love me, their wonderful company, 98% drama free, and sleeping next to the gulf. I woke up every morning and took pictures of the sunrise and on the last day we saw sharks and dolphins.

 

 

 

 

 

20180531_150210
A captured moment of my brother’s girlfriend. She had no idea I was taking this photo.  

 

 

 

Every morning we had breakfast together. We had mimosas and fruit on the table. This was a bonding moment and beautiful memory. But, not before I had my coffee on the balcony while most were sleep, watching the sunrise, and taking my stroll on the beach in the cool of the morning.

 

As they say; “But first, coffee!”

More photos to come…

~Nikki

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Suicide, Self Love, Love for Others and The Creator’s Love

i-love-you-wallpaper

With two people I admire in the world, Kate Spade for her vibrant fashion and Anthony Bourdain for his honesty, adventurous spirit, and good looks, gone through the chosen vehicle of suicide, I had to speak up and out just a little bit louder.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say and what I wanted to share. Let me start by saying from experience, depression is hard to live with. From experience, anxiety is hard to live with. From hands on experience with mentally challenged adults, bipolar disorder is very hard to live with. I feel as though people who “just don’t understand” it, don’t want to understand it. They don’t want to take the time to understand it because Google is right at their fingertips for everything else they don’t understand. If they can read, comprehend, then they can understand depression and anxiety. There are different types of depression and anxiety.

I’ve attempted suicide at least three times in my life and I use to think about it all of the time. Society didn’t make it better. Being African American made it worse. Anxiety and Depression is “crazy talk” in my community. We are slowly coming around to understanding that many of us, many African Americans, many people in our family, past and present, lived with untreated depression and anxiety. All because of the stigma that African Americans are strong and we don’t get depressed or have these mental issues that White people have. This is the dialogue I was fed for years. I think to myself, “Right, because slavery alone couldn’t have carried any long term, generational, mental and emotional consequences. And not to add just being a part of the human race alone and living life…nah, we couldn’t possibly show any signs of mental and behavioral disfunction. We made it through slavery, civil rights fights and Jim Crow laws, of course none of that affected any of us. And if we can make it through that how could we have depression and anxiety. Right?” Wrong.

There is so much I could I delve into but, the main things I want to convey is how I stay anchored to this Earth living with depression and anxiety. I went from not knowing I had it, to denying that I had it, to acknowledging I had it but, dealing with it on my own for years to finding a good psychologist that helped me understand depression and anxiety. In the midst of all that I took a journey of self love. A true and growing, deep, deep dive into self love coupled by actions that proved I loved myself that moved beyond manicures, pedicures, and shopping. It involves making choices that reflect my love of self and always remembering that “Self love is self preservation.” Self preservation also involves preserving my peace of mind and body.

Somewhere in this journey I began to understand and to feel God’s love for me. Oh I song it as a child, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But, could I feel it? I couldn’t. I couldn’t understand it either. How could God possibly love me and allow all of these bad things to happen to me? It was not until I began to understand love from a Higher Power is different from this earthly love. It wasn’t until I began to make sense out what it is to have life and what is life. I am talking about what makes sense to me and not what others have fed me. I gathered my own information about life from a spiritual perspective and learning hard lessons from my own poor choices and just life experiences. It wasn’t until I started looking for my purpose. It wasn’t until I realized that my perception of life and it’s meaning was personal and universal. It wasn’t until I realized my idea of life will change and broaden. It wasn’t until I had a solid perception of death. It wasn’t until I understood that in order to feel God’s love I had to have a personal and deep relationship with God and that my relationship with God wouldn’t look like the church or others told me it would or should look like. God, the Creator, the Universe, loves me and that love is greater than the love I have for myself and the love that others have or do not have for me. Other’s not having love for me, falling out of love with me, does not give me a right to take my life. My precious life. Nothing, no pain, no tragedy, none of these illusions that make me think I can’t handle it, gives me a right to take my life. Not anymore. I didn’t say I don’t think about it, I said it does not give me a right. I choose life.

But it gives me understanding, why others do.  It gives me compassion for their souls. And I do not see them as weak. I see them as strong, fighting all of this time. I see them as not understanding things as I do or as others do. They are not me. I am not them. We do not, did not, will not, have the same experiences and carry them in the same way. We have other factors that weigh in. It is not my call. It is not my trial to judge. And I don’t do sending people to hell well either for suicide.

All of the love, all of the sadness, all of the inspiration from these two souls, that touched people from all over the world, they couldn’t see it or feel it. They couldn’t see it or feel it from their own friends, associates, and family. I couldn’t either. So, I understand what it’s like to be blind to all that is around you, to walk empty and to smile, to go through life like a robot. I understand how pain and not knowing how to deal with it, manage it, thinking irrationally, can send you to the edge over and over and over. So many things factor in. Too many unseen and unspoken for me to judge.

I anchor myself with love for myself (which includes therapy!), love for others, and love from God. I unhook that anchor sometimes…I get out there in the deep, but love…one or all of these loves bring me back in.

~Nikki

love-photos-wallpaper-5

 

Crocheted Vacay Shawls: Officially Known as Travel Shawls

IMG_20180430_182552_101

Well, the shawl epidemic all started when a package arrived for me from Italy. It was yarn my cousin sent to me as she is stationed there are is a knitter. She had no idea turquoise was my favorite color. It took me a while to figure out what you make and by the time I got around to it Summer showed up and skipped Spring here in Memphis, TN. I decided to make a shawl for the beach. The colors were appropriate! It reminded me of the ocean.

IMG_20180515_160313_065

I completed it and was delighted. I then was ask to make another one. The inspiration was a poster board I had and I decided to name this one Sunrise.

The one below reminds me of Spring. Eclectic Spring. I like to name my inspirations! These are great for travel in the Spring and Summer because they are breathable shawls yet, they are able to keep you cozy and stylish on a plane, train, or automobile. Cool mornings or late nights on a breezy beach or lake.

IMG_20180523_113934_863

I do make these to sale and yes, I do ship!

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: My Free Spirit vs Church, Religions, & The Conscious Crowd

20180520_074309

Contrary to popular belief, the free spirit does abide by rules and understands the need for rules in society and other entities. However, I can’t tell you how difficult it is when those rules confines your spirit, puts out your fire, and makes you reel with anguish. Almost, on the verge of quitting or ending a commitment. I think about quitting church quite often. When I make this statement, religious people go nuts and the conscious crowd cheers. I think to myself, hey,  I’m not too fond of some of your rules either.

I don’t think I am without some biases. I don’t think I am perfect. I think I am just myself. I’d rather worship God in spirit and in truth whether that be in a building or nature or at home. However, a free spirit needs community and community needs the free spirit. If only to set others free. I am labeled not a free spirit but, a rebel of some sort most of the time. I can see that! I own that. Especially, when I challenge a rule or break a rule. I am “making trouble” they say. I say I am just trying to “make sense” because you are really cramping my style, productivity, freedom, well being, happiness, and creativity.

Some rules should never change and some rules are meant to be changed as society or an organization changes or supposingly grows. I often think the reason a church or business may not see growth is because they are stuck on outdated rules (principles) and this is the way we have always did it. But heck, if it’s putting us to sleep or the competition is doing better…what in your mind doesn’t prompt you to CHANGE THE RULES OR CHANGE METHODS? Pride for the church and holding on to positions. Mindset of those in charge for businesses and holding on to positions. Change is good they say but, change can be slow and painful and some changes will not take place in my lifetime on Earth. And some changes make no sense s we have seen on a job coming from the higher ups that seem to be high when they make these “changes” the workers no will not work. Obviously, they are too high up to consult with us lowly workers (rolls eyes here). No way we could be smarter than they are due to our position.

So, here I am on a Sunday morning debating on whether to go to church or not. And it’s not just the church I attend (I have to state that because some people read my blog are members and ex members and they like controversy).  I get a phone call in the middle of this post asking if I can bring the highlights of Sunday School. Well, let me go get dressed.

~Nikki

 

Morning Self Pep Talk: You Can’t Turn This Train Around

3779e64a49fd495ab953d23a4feafd20
Illustration by Megan Hess

Morning Pep Talk to Self: “Ain’t no turning this train around. Where you gonna turn it around at? On the side of some mountain (problem/situation)? To turn this train around in the midst of adversity would be disastrous. To lose faith, give up, right now, right here would be a major set back. Power through baby. Full speed ahead.” -Nicole to Nicole

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: The Auntie Mom

I was an Auntie before I was a Mom. I remember when my first nephew (that was younger than me was born) like it was yesterday. My dad was cutting the yard and we got the phone call that it was a boy and his name was Jeremiah. It was a sunny day in June with clear skies and I remember the grass being so green. My Dad started to sing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog and he was a friend of mine.” He meddled my nephew with that through childhood and even now! My second nephew I had the pleasure of giving him his middle name and he was my first job at 8 weeks old. He later gave his younger daughter the same middle name! I was a babysitter. Those two gave me a run for my money! And there were more nieces and nephews to come.

I am writing this piece for my friend Jackie and Alicia whom are Aunts, and all of the women who want to have a family someday and to the ones that may not be able to. You are a mother by heart. You are a mother because you nurture someone somewhere. You may even be a mother figure to a friend, a sibling, to a class, the motherly one on the job, a doggie mom. You care. You will jump in and fill that roll as an Auntie Mom. I tell my niece Brea I am your Auntie Mom. She’s the fireball of the bunch and I keep close reigns on her because I love her. I was once known as the General and Sargent but, I have been promoted to Lieutenant by my nephew Brandon. I am the Aunt that will play football, dolls, fix you a good meal and bake cookies but, I also believe in discipline.

All of my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews are my children. I wanted more children but, I am unable to have any more because I had to have a hysterectomy. That was tough and sad. But nothing beats hearing, “Auntie! Auntie Nikki! Ti-Ti!” and getting those hugs. It’s the same feeling as “Mommy!” and receiving love in the hugs. It’s the same pressure to watch what I say and do and how I live my life. I still have to impart instruction, wisdom, and love.

~Nikki aka Auntie Mom