Lipsticks. And purses. Handcrafted jewelry, OH MY!
It’s back! The 2016 edition of “My Favorite Things” is here. I’m so excited! And this year I’m approaching my gift guide a little differently, featuring 20 of my favorite things for a special lady in your life. I’m living Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (ESV). So, I’m sowing good and expecting good and sowing faithfully and expecting faithfully every day. In fact, I’m giving away FIVE items on my favorite things list to one beautiful winner on Instagram. Follow me @EboneeSpeaks for contest details. Let’s get into this list because it’s the best one yet, and includes socially conscious products, Christian business owners, womenpreneurs, black-owned businesses and mainstream brands I LOVE. Let’s do it!
1. The “Xihilaration” Collection at Target is everything: affordable, trendy and quality. Here’s one of my favorite sweaters from this year’s Ugly Christmas Sweater selection, perfect for this season’s holiday events.
2. These are my favorite jeans ever! High-waist (flattering), light wash (goes with everything) and comfortable (what’s not to love?). No matter your shape or size, you can’t go wrong! Kudos, Urban Outfitters.
3. My beautiful friend recently started an online boutique, August Prim, that caters to millennial business women who embrace self-love and awareness, and are determined to make their dreams a reality. I couldn’t be more proud! Here’s my favorite dress from her collection. This is a Christian, women-owned, Black business by-the-way.
4. My friends at Artisan Apparel Uganda recently launched a line for kids! WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE IT! They’ve have partnered with Linger Boutique to design some of these super cute styles. Linger Boutique celebrates culture by telling stories through fashion. The best part? The proceeds go toward creating jobs for women artisans in Uganda. Order from Linger Boutique by visiting their Instagram page @Linger.Boutique. I have this skirt, and can’t wait to purchase a mini one for my nieces so we can slay Christmas day in our colorful, African prints!
5. I’ve been wearing this fragrance for years, and over time it seems to get better and better. Viktor Rolf’s “Flowerbomb” is the perfect blend of soft/sweet and floral/bold. The travel-sized bottle stays in my purse for that midday refresher. And don’t get me started on the lotion! It’s unbelievable. Trust me, the lady who received this gift will be eternally grateful.
6. When the company loves Jesus, and the quality/style is great! Not only are these scarves super trendy right now, Grace and Lace features double-sided, bold color pallets that are sure to brighten anybody’s white Christmas. Wait! It also doubles as a poncho! I CAN’T EVEN DEAL! PS. A percentage of the proceeds go toward Angel House Rescue Orphanage.
7. Always wanted to wear a head wrap, you say? ME TOO! I purchased this handmade beauty from The Wrap Life, and have since purchased more. They really add flare to an outfit, and I can’t go anywhere without receiving compliments on them. This polka dotted one is my favorite, and can be dressed down or up. It’s truly the perfect gift. Oh, and TWL is a women-owned, Black business. AND!!! They have wrap tutorials on the website (that’s how I learned).
8. I thought I’d struck gold when my roomie introduced me to Hardware Clutches by Mel C. She owns several that she’s had for years. They’re still timeless. Still in perfect condition. And handmade so no one has anything like it. This “Pieces of Love” zipper clutch quickly rose to the top of my favorite things list. It’s perfect for the lady who’s hard to shop for because she has everything, and is kinda picky when it comes to her accessory game because she understands the importance of “statement pieces”. Cheers to this classic, Black womanpreneur Mel C! Go girl!
9. I love crowns! Hey, I’m a child of God, and I own it. That said, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon these adorable compacts. I’m stuffing all my stocking with these from Joyful Moose’s Etsy shop. She has tons of cute. God-honoring gifts that are perfect and customizable. She’s also super customer service oriented and lovely to do business with. Check her out!
10. For my birthday, I wanted to support an old girlfriend who had just started a business selling “melanin-inspired” fashion accessories, Melanin Be Poppin. They’re so cute, and come in all colors and fabrics. She’s an HBCU grad, and one of the bossiest women i know. My melanin choker was a HIT at my birthday party, and will be a hit for your Secret Santa as well!
11. Alright so this one I bought for myself. Tees in the Trap is so close to my heart. Each tee speaks my love language. This tee turned travel mug, however, made this year’s favorites list because it embodies the essence of me: busy, chic and a lil’ bougie. No matter what sisterfriend you get this for, she’ll love it! It’s perfect for those Friday evening commutes, early morning classes and weekends in bed where you just want to sip tea and chill. Best part? It’s microwave-friendly. I don’t know the ladies behind the brand, but if I did I’m sure we’d be best friends because THEY GET ME!
12. If you’re my friend, I’ve probably gifted you an Alex & Ani bracelet before. They’re literally my favorite thing. I love that no matter how many you have, it’s never enough. Made from recyclable products, these charms are not only the perfect arm candy, the “Charity by Design” bracelets support various causes, like UNICEF. Act surprised when you see these + a note from me under your tree Christmas morning.
13. I’ll be honest, the jaw-dropping necklace I purchased from Furthermore Designs is no longer available! However, this is my second fav. My glamorous friend and her mother are #BlackGirlMagic. They create handcrafted designs that couldn’t possibly be more perfect. I love supporting this dynamic duo. You will too!
14. I don’t like the cold. But I enjoy cold-friendly things, like boots and fur. These boots hold you tighter than your true love. They’re comfortable, warm and automatically turn your Friday night night blah into holiday glam! Gosh, how I adore an over-the-knee boot. Go getchu some from Zara!
15. Planning to get back in the gym in 2017? Let these comfy runners from Skechers get you back in the swing of things. I admit, I bought these a while ago, but they’re still my go-to when I’m in the gym or hitting the pavement. Feels like I’m walking on air. If you’re gifting the gift of health and wellness this year, your friends will thank you!
16. Every thing up to this point is like blah blah blah. I’ve been waiting to get to the beauty products! First up is my girl, Melissa Michelle’s, gorgeous line of beauty essentials. This Jesus-loving, southern belle holds my entire heart! Not only is this lipstick absolutely stunning, it lasts all day! I’m a talkative Tammy who’s always on the go. I apply once in the morning, and don’t have to reapply all day, even after meals. It’s like paint! Not cakey paint, the beautiful paint from Home and Beauty Magazines. Every gal needs a Winter red. This goes on liquid and dries matte. Gah, it’s lovely!
17. Here’s another by Melissa Michelle, because I’m obsessed. It really needs no introduction. I always get complimented on the way my skin glows. Here’s my secret: Sweet Tea Bronzer! I wear it without foundation for a natural skimmer. It also photographs really well. Get this for your girly-girl giftees, and watch them glisten and jingle all the way!
18. I can’t live without these new lip colors from MAC! Gosh, they’re so vibrant and classic. I purchased the new Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag (available for a limited time), and have worn it every day since. It looks good on all shades. Comes complete with a lipstick, lip gloss, lip liner and THE CUTEST holiday bag, which has become my new makeup travel bag. I have never found an every day nude that I adore the way I swoon over this one!
19. Early summer I completed a leadership development course where I was introduced to Dr. Therman Evans. He gifted our class his book From Purpose to Promise Driven Life, and I don’t travel without it. It’s been one of the most influential reads in my adult life. If you’re shopping for an avid reader or someone stuck in the rut of life, give them a gift that has the potential to catapult them into a new, promise-filled season! And get a copy for yourself as well. Also available on Audiobooks.
20. I already told y’all how I feel about crowns so of course this is my favorite in her collection! I first “met” Addie on Instagram @Addierawrr. Imagine my delight when she ended up tabling at an event I attended a while back. I was able to see, touch and learn about her work. Now, her pieces are framed all over my bedrooms walls. Be a unique gifter this year, and share in the joy of Black-women-inspired art with your girlfriends.
21. I had to include the My Muse Dolls Collection this year because, well… #RepresentationMatters. This brand is a socially-minded children’s company that designs, manufactures, and distributes customizable multicultural dolls. BE STILL MY HEART. My Muse also invests its “girl powered” revenue in a portfolio of social impact organizations dedicated to advancing the agenda and maximizing the potential within girls around the world. Y’all. Y’ALL. Just buy them. Do it!
These gifts are great, but remember the reason for the season. And that reason is Jesus, from whom comes all good and perfect gifts (James 1:7). Wishing you and yours the Merriest Christmas, and all the joy your hearts can hold! There’s still 4 weeks left in 2016…FINISH STRONG!
PS. Not buying gifts this year? No problem! I’ll be releasing a list of my favorite charities to donate to either in your name, or on behalf of someone you love. These organizations range from relief funds to some great groups I know that combat sex slavery, bring clean water to communities that need it and work to create a more racial equitable world for all of us. Stay tuned!