There’s nothing like a good sale when you have a few extra dollars.  You almost can’t wait to give your money away for whatever tangible item it might be.  Well, I must confess, I don’t like spending a lot of money.  I like the classic combo of a sale price coupled with an exclusive coupon.  So, one Saturday morning as I’m scrolling through emails I find this and jump right in the shower and prepare myself for the journey.  I mean seriously, how could I turn this sale away.  I love 1/2 off – not as much as 75%.  😉

The second-hand store has my heart. I’ve always had a love for old pieces.  As a child, we would visit the antique market in the Eastern Market weekly.  I didn’t get into buying clothes from the thrift store until I was an adult. It started in small boutique shops then I ventured into the larger chains. I’m hooked and I can admit it. Oakland County locations are the best and if you’re from around here you know what the OC means! So, I walked into the Value World location with no purse, comfortable shoes and nothing but time. Yup! I was prepared for the hunt through stale industrial detergent smelling items for little gems I could add to my wardrobe. (I’ll be sure to take you along for the next round in a few weeks to show you what it looks like.)

My methods are focused and success driven. I have an idea of what I need in my wardrobe and what sections may produce the unexpected steal. These are the areas I focus on when entering a large thrift store for fashion: work, trends, men’s.

 

The men’s department gave me a blue oxford shirt (I forgot to get a picture.) This is generally what I pick up from that section or a cardigan/sweater.  It’s the tomboy in me that keeps me in that section. I like oversized sweaters and men’s dress shirts for casual days and weekend attire.

My shopping didn’t end with those 7 pieces.  The journey continued as I sought out a few trending items. Kimonos, scarves, and sequins.  Only one of these were fruitful – scarves. I like to wrap my hair/head up from time to time.  Sometimes it makes an outfit grand.  I only wanted the ones with great pattern or silk.  Now, if a scarf embodied both of these characteristics, God bless us all. After searching each end cap’s selection of scarves, I walked outta there with 6.  Some restraint was displayed because at one time while in the store I had 14 in my cart. Then when I got home I realized one of these things was hiding a secret.  I’m not a label whore but I literally screamed when I saw it but it said Balenciaga.  SCOOOOOOORE!!!!

The only hang up I have with Value World is their lack of fitting rooms. I’ve been spoiled by Salvation Armies, Mother Fletcher’s (RIP), and Lost & Found. The majority of your goods are clothing items and the return policy is non-existent. So, why wouldn’t you want to have at least one small area dedicated to physically seeing if this garment works for you?  I mean, I literally had an in-store associate cover me while I got 50% naked to see if that black dress would fit nshit. Heaven help someone that doesn’t feel this motivated to make meaningful purchases in the second-hand store.  I don’t care if the thing is only $5. It’s my money and I don’t want to waste it.  Do better Value World!

Tags

These are the tags from my haul. Okay, not all of them but 80% is damn good. LOL! Now, add them all up and divide that by .50. I walked away from the register with 20 items for $45. BINGO! The time spent was well worth it. All of these items haven’t been placed into the rotation. Some are scheduled to go to the cleaners. The scarves, shorts, and tops have been washed in Tide/Downy Scentables being dried with a Bounce dryer sheet.  That’s all I really need – ensure they are clean.

Since I began shopping at these type of stores, my anticipation about the mall is ever present. I don’t like spending full price and appreciate the individuality of secondhand finds.  It almost guarantees I’ll be the only one with a specific garment on at a particular time and I relish in my individuality.

Are you a fan of the secondhand/thrift stores?

 

 

After gracing the scene for one solid decade of NYE celebrations, I decided to do something different for 2017. Stalking in and slaying out. I designed a playlist of old favorites, missed productions and indies coupled with Chinese food and Belvedere. The look was simple:

  • Designer – Victoria’s Secret
  • Footwear – Bath & Body Works
  • Hair & Makeup – Puff & Not A Drop

Around 1:30A, I made my way to the bed. Oh, what a night to remember. I’ll be back! Most of all, I hope you enjoyed yourselves all over the world.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 🙂

I love music and live music is euphoria to me.  It had been a while since I had been to a concert.  You all know I get out to the Jazz Fest every year but I mean a real purchase my tickets show – not since the OTR show.  This wasn’t going to be my fate in 2016.  The way the year was shaping up, I better get out and see my favorites before I get a breaking news notification on my phone. RIP Prince. I didn’t get to all the shows but I saw a few.


It all started with Foreign Exchange.  After a change in plans, I ended up going to this show alone.  Needless to say, I always know somebody when I’m out but I truly enjoyed myself and will check them out again in the future.


The Queen announced her tour after Lemonade dropped and I had my coins together to purchase my tickets.  As I sat at my desk in some serious password detective work with Wait Wait Whut, we finally got through and got my tickets.  I didn’t know who I was going with but I had 2 seats at Ford Field in Detroit.  I had never witnessed Beyonce perform a solo concert.  She was amazing!  I sang along with my favorite songs old and new.  This was a perfect way to start the summer.


In Detroit, we have this thing called River Days and it filled with family fun and music. We’re a music town (only second to being a car town.) I had to see one of the greatest performers and bands of my life on the schedule. This year I saw Mint Condition and Jeffery Osborne. Would you believe it started raining? Not a big deal for me, I have the hook up to the VIP tent and was shielded from the elements. It was truly an enjoyable evening.

The Jazz Fest allowed me to witness a portion of greatness through the lips of Roy Hargrove.  He was accompanied by the DSO Strings section to play selection from his album Moment to Moment. It was a beautiful set filled with memories and classics such as You Go To My Head and I’m Glad There Is You.  There was a quiet murmur in the Carhartt Amphitheater with regard to the performer’s current drug use.  I tuned that out and listened to the familiar sounds of the strings and the trumpet.  He was the highlight of my Labor Day weekend and I saw both shows.


The final show came after listening to The Heart Speaks In Whispers album by Corrine Bailey Rae multiple times and deciding I needed to see her live.  The again, I sang along to the tunes and swayed my narrow hips and newfound weight.  Yes, I traveled to St.Louis to see her but it was well worth it.


I’m ready for 2017 and all the music it’ll bring my way.  The start may be my birthday weekend there are some pretty big names on the calendar.

 

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty organized person.  Even with things highlighted in my phone or a handwritten note, I was missing things.  A co-worker /friend introduced me to the planner life.  You know the story!  I thought it was going to be a phase that I was going to go through.  Nope.  I found myself looking forward to getting my 2017 edition.  The next year will be filled with dates, deadlines and I wanna be ready.
My 2016 planner has a complete story for the year.  I learned how to do a bullet journal, track my habits and diagram my financial goals.  It didn’t look like the master planner layouts you see on Instagram or Pinterest but I understood it.  I used my colored pens to distinguish events.  Decorative tape assisted me in creating a code without writing the full details.  There are scratched out areas, notes, phone and confirmation numbers throughout.  I take it everywhere I go.  At times, it has proven to be more useful than my phone.  The covers edges are curling but I still love it.


After weeks and weeks of pondering over the design and trying to add a picture, I finally was ready to seal the deal.  However, no matter how much money I have, I’m always looking for a deal.  I had a $10 off offer code but I needed more.  The original cost of the planner was $65.  Then after reading a few reviews about the ’17 model and watching YouTube unboxings, I knew I needed a few additional accessories this year.  So, my cart was filled for quite some time before I pulled the purchase trigger.  Then one day before I got off work, I went and checked the website to learn more about the decor items.  Would you believe they were having a 30% off promotion and I could stack my little ten dollars on to that?  Yep, SOLD!

I waited for my new baby to arrive and of course the leasing office was holding it, hostage, again.  This one was just as beautiful as the last minus the custom photo.


Purchasing a few rolls of washi tape on clearance from Home Goods.  I had all I would need for the coming year.  In addition, I also had 2 more offer codes from Erin Conderon for 20% off my next purchase. (If you’d like to share in the savings, be the 1st to comment on this post and I’ll send you the code.)  I was a little confused that these expired 12/31/2016 but I’m sure I’ll make it work to my advantage.  I’d like a sticker book to add to the planner decorating team.


The main reason I enjoyed this tool, it gave me accountability, put things right in my face and acted almost like a call to action.  I could do it, move it or disregard it.  Either way, it was my decision.  Let’s see how wild 2017 can get.  I have a special feeling based strictly on the numbers.

😉

I’m always catching somebody’s germs.  My contact with different people every day is off the charts.  Hand shaking and sitting in close quarters aid in me contracting something nasty.  Over the years, I have figured out a thing or two that helps me in these situations.  Allow me to show you how Pinterest and a few awesome results created the real EmerGIN C in my home.  One battle already fought and won with this and the season hasn’t really started.

Sore throat relief.  These are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Fresh Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Raw Honey
  • Mason jar/ resealable container

Cut the lemon and ginger into fine slices. Remove seeds from lemon. Ain’t nobody got time to be dealing with seeds if they’re feeling under the weather.

Layer ginger and lemon into the jar alternatingly.

Once you have completely layered all the lemon and ginger. Pour honey over top.

When you feel something trying to come on, add a tablespoon of this to hot water for relief.  Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

For instant relief to soothe your throat. Boil water and steep a small piece of ginger. Add honey, a shot of ACV and a dash of cinnamon.  Drink while hot.

Within 2 days I’m back to my old groove.  Let me know if you’re willing to try this.  What home remedies do you use to combat germs during the changing of the seasons and winter?

I’m a Midwest girl and we aren’t known for our fashion forwardness.  Most of us prefer to be comfortable daily and dress for occasions.  More than anything else we possess a special kind of individualism that creates a couple head turns.  I never really try when I put a look together.  My fashion is determined by several factors, iron, mood, and weather.  Accessories are not my thing either but this item has been included in more looks than my favorite wig.  Let me tell you a little bit about my go to adornment.

Belt

My leopard belt. I picked this up several years ago at Target.  They were having a sale on the belts and I was in need of a one from the brown family.  The other belts looked cheesy.  You know the braided type and then there’s the wrestling belt.  In need of something to tie my look together I settled on the leopard.  I’m a fan of the big cats but not in my fashion.  Little did I know this was totally going to upgrade me.  After a short while, I noticed whenever I was getting ready, which includes the look selection, that belt would make it to the bed as an option.  It was totally becoming a favorite.  Here are a few times it won the “Battle of the Belts.”


As you can see I’ll put this bad boy on with anything.  It just adds a bit of visual interest. Call this piece a little unexpected.  It’s not overpowering at all.  However, after years and months of wear and tear, I’m on the hunt for a replacement.  It has started to split at the seam and some of the faux fur has been rubbed off.  Until I find another, I’ll be rocking it.  Even in its less than pristine condition, people still say “love the belt!”  This thing has kicked my fashion score up a few notches.
Yes, this midwest girl may never be considered a fashion icon.  No, it’s not from a luxury designer collection.  Maybe, it’s not as impressive to some people but it’s a staple in my life. If you happen to know where I can get another (everyone in the tri-county area of Detroit must have one), let me know.  I’ll be sure to pick up 2 the next time. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m no fashionista. Just a regular degular shemegula girl that likes to look great no matter what the occasion. As I become more responsible with my finances, the Internet has become the best place for me to treat my retail addiction.  Here I can fill shopping carts, stalk sales, and shutdown without feeling the impulses the stores create.  Then there are times when I have cash and this form of therapy isn’t an option. Step in Polyvore app.  Here I can become inspired by all things fashion including home. Let me show how this has become my favorite app for my closet and living quarters.

(Just a little background – Tamika and I love fashion but these Midwest professional streets – wanna hold us back. Cue the Rick Ross tune.  After a few short hours of intense research on her part we had both developed a new hobby.)

I was in complete awe when I saw all the options and items.  We had always wondered where those pictures came from and now we knew.  However, we didn’t know it was going to be like this. Here are a few sets I created in my inaugural weeks.


There’s no denying fashionable side.  My true love is home fashion and interior design.  I often think about how great my place would look if I had an endless amount of cash – OMG!  Moreover, I have made a point to create a less than common approach in my own home.  Polyvore allows me to daydream in color and change my mind millions of times without spending a penny or having to return something because I found something better.  This was my 1st home fashion set on the app and it took me almost 2 days to create it.



The very unexpected component of this app is the functionality to purchase what you like.  I’ll keep my retail-addicted heart calm until I get a few more things in order before I start going crazy.  In the meantime, Polyvore is keeping my mind off of things I tend to think about more often than needed.

Join and you can follow me @marleazwilson.

 

 

 

I’ve been waiting on Frank Ocean like a little kid on the porch counting the minutes until their parent comes to pick them up from grandma’s house.  His music is unexpected and captures some foreign emotion that pulls at me.  I’ll give an artist a substantial amount of time to get their creative juices flowing to put out a good project.  After that amount of time has passed, I start looking for them even harder.  Check out some of the tweets I published in search of Mr. Ocean.

So, you already know how excited I was about the new music released last week.  This album has been on repeat, repeat 1 song, shuffle and let’s go back to Blond again.  I just wanted to share my most played song.

I removed the link due to copyright.

Are you enjoying Blond?  If not, I’ll give you a while to jump on the bandwagon or take a long hard listen to another great body of work from the elusive Frank.

“He’s dead!”  The only words I truly remember hearing on July 22, 2005.  This short narrative on what has been coined “Flashback Friday” will show you that miracles are still happening.  If I start rambling, please forgive me and understand that even 11 years later – I still get choked up.

We were planning a nice evening for ourselves after walking in the suburb of Grosse Pointe eating ice cream enjoying the afternoon.  You see, his mother had come and taken my kid to stay with her for the weekend. I was only a little uncomfortable but felt I could show them I trusted her with The Kid.  As we parted ways to get dressed for the evening activities, I received the call no mother wants.  I heard him trying to say the words my mind wouldn’t allow me to hear through tears and a muffled tone.  His exact words were, “They say he’s dead.”  In my disbelief, I responded, ‘who?’  The answer was my son.

I was driving and pulled over to the side of the road and began to sob uncontrollably.  No one was there to console me during this horrific hour. In a flash, I called my mother.  She asked me to come to her but I couldn’t – I had to get to him.  I had to be there with him.  I needed to find out where he was.  I wiped my eyes and headed toward Belleville, MI to find my one and only son.  I had the news but something wouldn’t let me rest.  The horror of calling his dad filled me and I didn’t even bother to call until I saw him for myself.

As I broke every traffic violation between Detroit and Belleville, I thought about the funeral arrangements for about 10 minutes.  Then I said “No!”  A simple prayer was all I could focus on for the rest of the ride ‘Lord please give him back to me, please don’t take him away.’  As I got closer to the exit, I realized I was going the wrong way, I needed to find out where the hospital was that held his body.  A gas station at the exit ramp became a figurative fork in the road of this entire story.

I jumped out of my car and began to ask everyone where the hospital was and shared the tragic ordeal and begged people to help me.  When I tell you not one person had the answers I needed and shared no additional information.  I screamed and cried louder and harder at every person that offered me no assistance in my time of need.  Then someone in the crowd called the police on or for me.  As he approached me, I was ready to give him the complete business if he didn’t display a spoonful of decency.

He was the sign that people always say they’re looking for from God – sent here to give me a message.  He begged me to calm down, sit down and breathe.  After several minutes of resistance, I followed his directives without sitting down.  It was in this moment that he probably became the best part of this day.  A 13-year-old boy from the apartment pulled him from the bottom of the pool. (His name is Matthew.) He informed me The Kid was at University of Michigan hospital.  The 1st officer on the scene had administered CPR 3x and he was NOT reviving.  The officer went beyond the instructions and tried one more time and The Kid began to choke.  My knees gave up on me and I buckled right there in the gas station.  He informed me that the pulse was faint but he was en route to the hospital.  Thank you, God!

I got in my car as a passenger by legal intervention and allow my ex to drive me there to the hospital.  While in the car I called my mother again, she said she was praying for him but she heard the EMS’s siren and knew they were preserving life in the vehicle.  She informed me she would be there shortly.  I was calming down at a rapid pace.  His dad was called and he informed me he would be there.  I just needed to see my boy.

When I arrived at the hospital the attendant began telling me to calm down and explained even more to me.  She said “he began modeling (1st stage of rigor mortise) and was unresponsive again in the EMS.”  At this point, I didn’t care what she had to say. In a VERY authoritative tone, I told her – take me to him now.  She informed me she was trying to prepare me for what I was about to see.  We began walking toward the room and I told her ‘he just learned how to ride his bike, was only six and was so excited to visit with friends this weekend.’  As I walked in that room, my knees failed me again.


There was a machine assisting him to breathe, tubes were injected in him everywhere and he had a shiny glaze over his entire body.  This wasn’t my boy.  They hadn’t determined if he was out of the water (no pun intended) and I went to him and whispered in his ear “I’m here… Stay here with me.”  I walked out the room and into the waiting area.  The Kid’s family started filing in to see him and check on me.  I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, hugs or explanations. I needed to know this would be alright despite how it looked.  As the early morning hours of the 23rd fell upon us and family members began to go home, I saw the opportunity I was looking for and I took it.  I just wanted it to be him and me.

I apologized for not being there and for his current state. I told him I needed to go home but I would be back before he woke up.  Getting comfortable in the chairs was almost next to impossible.  I guess the chairs were operating as designed. (Just a little work jargon to make me chuckle.) Something inside of me knew that everything would be alright. Around 3 in the morning, I tiptoed out of the hospital, cruised home to shower and get more comfortable.

The next morning he was awake and that evening they took the machines off him.  When he saw me he screamed my name in excitement.  The next words were etched in my heart and brain for eternity:  Him: Mom, we’re about to go swimming. Me: You already went.  Him: No, we didn’t.  I began to cry.  He’s brain damaged was all I could think.  It was later explained to me this could be blocked by the traumatic experience and all of the medication his little 6-year-old body was exposed to in the last 24 hours.  I accepted this way of thinking.  They moved him to another room for observation.  Sunday afternoon, we went home.


Outside of some slurred/incoherent speech and reduced cognitive impairment due only to the meds – he was perfect.  So, if you ever wonder – why I go to the mat about him it’s because I know he’s been given a second chance.  I refuse to sit by and watch him throw it away. So when I hear people say miracles aren’t real – I look or think of my son and tell them “every day is a miracle.”  Never stop believing in the impossible.

Reading has always been my joy.  A few years ago, I started a book club and it lasted a little over a year.  It allows my mind to journey off to far away places and get my mind off stressful things.  So, when I heard Sistah Souljah had released the third installment of the Midnight series – I was on it.  After a small riff in my household about the book, I finally got my hands on it. Who knew the events to follow would make one of my dreams come true?

The Midnight series is one of the most guarded collections in my personal library.  Sistah Souljah was the 1st author I read to reignite my love of reading as an adult.  “A Moment of Silence” was right on time.  I needed something to get my mind off of everything that was going on in my life.  My beau and I got into a huge fight because I wanted him to pick it up and he didn’t.  He doesn’t understand how important books are to me (in addition he probably doesn’t understand that I’m a real brat.)  It’s equivalent to his need for music.  This led to me waiting, even more, time to get me hands on the book.  One Sunday after church, the kid and I stopped at our local Barnes and Noble to cop the new SS read.

Half way through the read I was talking to my homie Mercedies.  During our conversation, we discussed the upcoming plans and you won’t believe the little nugget she dropped on me.  Sistah Souljah would be at the beautiful Detroit Public Library Main Branch to discuss her latest book. Hold please – I needed to write this down and put an alarm on everything I owned that would remind me to be ready.  In her very next breath she told me all the tickets were gone.  I told her I didn’t care what they said I was going to be there.  She quickly reassured me I was welcomed to join her.


The day arrived and the auditorium was packed.  We got some really good seats after dodging the big hair crew.  As the library introduced her we were informed to put our phones away and prohibited from recording the discussion.  I was in complete compliance.  When she spoke you felt her sincerity, passions and connection to the characters in the stories.  Something that latched on to my brain was her explanation to why women liked the Midnight character.  She said, “Women are attracted to him because he is a Muslim.”  I never thought of it that way.  He has always been the strong silent type and that’s very attractive to me in a man.  Hell, anybody that can keep their mouth’s closed get an extra point in my book (that’s another conversation.)  With my latest book in tow, I listened and prayed she wouldn’t tell too many parts I hadn’t reached in the book.  The Lord heard my prayer and she didn’t utter a word farther than my bookmark.  The real test was about to start – the book signing line.


This wasn’t a new an upcoming author.  This was one of our generations greats. She was a rapper, activist, and writer of the urban classic “The Coldest Winter Ever.” The line was serious – like out the theater serious.  I wanted to make my experience memorable and I had a strategy.  Being the last person in line was my goal.  As I waited I chatted with a few fans of her work, discussed the wait and offered book recommendations.  I’m not even going to go into detail about another incident I had while waiting in line. All I will say is, my parenting is universal and I will tell you if I see your kids doing wrong.  After waiting an additional 2 hours, it was my turn to meet her.

It was everything I expected- minus the 2 ladies that snuck in behind me and the chick trying to shop a play or whatever the hell she was pitching to Souljah. She didn’t even have a book for her to sign, ugh.  I could tell she was tired and we chatted for a few minutes about her works and my current enjoyment of the book thus far.  As she signed my book, Mercedies morphed into a photographer to grab a few shots for my post.


This is a moment I will never forget.  I’m smiling and finishing the book.  Pick it up if you enjoy a good read.  Midnight is an awesome character to get to know.  🙂

This one is getting placed right with my other signed books from Shaka Senghor, Billingsley, Alex Haley and a few more.