Luxury Laundry: Managing the Household Load

Having the ability to do everything does not mean that you should. Whew – glad that’s finally out and in the open!!!
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed take a look at your to do list and ask yourself:

Do I have to do this?

If the answer is No – then delegate it or completely get rid of it.
If the answer is Yes – I challenge you! Are you absolutely sure you have to do this? Does it have to be done at a specific time?
Let me explain.
In my household – I handle the laundry.

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Continue reading “Luxury Laundry: Managing the Household Load”

How to care for cut hydrangeas

How to care for cut hydrangeas
I have officially graduated from the “Grab & Toss Club”!  You may not be familiar with this club because I just made it up 😀 – but don’t worry – I will give you the insider scoop!!! This club refers to the group of folks that love to grab a bouquet while out shopping, toss it into a vase at home, and step back like they just created magic.
My husband would watch me doing this every week and encouraged me to step into floral arranging. I decided that he was on to something and started to watch flower arranging YouTube videos to get my knowledge up. On our next grocery trip to Trader Joes I picked up 4 different bouquets to make a blue color schemed birthday bouquet. That handsome guy below just stepped into the Terrific Twos 😀 !

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I spent $15 dollars on flowers at Trader Joes and got to arranging once all the kiddies went to sleep.
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 I played jazz, sipped on sangria, and wore a newly thrifted floral robe set. This mama was living her best relaxed life and loving every bit of it! I will admit before I started snipping and arranging – I was very nervous! I was nervous to mess up – but then remembered it’s art and to just go with it. Deep Breaths – woo saa- snip snip & Bam! $15 dollars worth of flowers were turned into 2 beautiful arrangements.

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Y’all, I was sooo pleased with the results of my first flower arranging session!!! Until I learned that the blue hydrangeas – didn’t want to let the arrangement be great! 😦 I had been away from my flowers for less than 12 hours and returned home to find that the hydrangeas in the taller vase had wilted! That morning they looked fine, but by the afternoon they were on the struggle bus.
20180507_133701.jpgWilted Hydrangeas 😦
 I was soooo sad, but now I am glad that it happened – Why?

I Learned Something New

Cut hydrangeas are needy flowers and require lots of hydration! Before placing them into a vase be sure to:

1. Submerge the Flowers
Yep – baptize those beauties in a bucket of water except hold them under for a little while. Hydrangeas absorb water through their petals even when cut and require lots of water to stay perked up. Take your hydrangeas, snip the step, and fully submerge in cold water. I recommend leaving them submerged for a few hours, pulling them out, and giving a good shake. You can repeat this if they begin to droop again.
2. Cut & Split the Stem
Once you’ve taken the hydrangeas out of the water bath give the stem a horizontal snip with floral shears to get a clean-cut. Then take the scissors and vertically cut up the stem to increase water absorption.
3. Remove the Leaves
Those huge dark greens are beautiful and take up a lot of water. For the greater good of the petals – remove a couple of the leaves.

I followed the steps above for my wilted hydrangeas and they perked back up! They were restored as if freshly cut! I was beyond amazed & it reminded me to :

Never Give Up on People or Situations that Look Hopeless

My hydrangeas looked beautiful when I brought them home and due to improper care they wilted. Once I submerged them in water to give them the TLC that they needed – they perked back up. They showed no signs of ever being depleted – all because they were nurtured back to health via a 5 hour love bath.Y’all- I  saw a video where cut hydrangeas had been kept out of water for 5 days (they looked dead) and were placed in a bucket of water for 24 hours – & they came back to life!
Please let this serve as a reminder to immerse yourself in an environment of love and to get help if you feel you are struggling with life. That time of intentional love may be what you or someone else needs to make it through a difficult season.
20180511_171453.jpgPlump Hydrangeas 🙂
 Additional Hydrangea Care tips:
  • Hydrangeas release a sap when cut that can act like a barrier – preventing water from being absorbed. Dipping the stem in boiling water for 30 seconds and placing in cool water assists in removing the sap. I do not do this, however, if my hydrangeas were truly struggling I would jump on this.
  • Hydrangeas thrive in shorter vases – because again water. The stem is shorter, therefore, water can be absorbed quickly.
  • Cut hydrangeas should not be placed in direct sun – and should be kept in a place with some shade
  • When away from home or sleeping – placing the hydrangeas in the fridge helps retain moisture and increases the longevity. This tip goes for all flowers!
Have any of you played with hydrangeas? Do tell!
Peace & Blessings,
Lo Johnson

Love Series: Be You

In a world of constant sharing it is easy to scroll into the trap of comparison. Followed by its big sister – Ms. Inadequate. 😦 This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit – but you know what! Enough is enough,  let’s all stop being okie doked.
Seriously, if you sense it coming on – just throw the dag nab electronic device! A soft surface to minimize screen cracking – is ideal! Oh and make sure the phone isn’t thrown too far so you can quickly pick it back up! 😆 😆 😆 I do this all the time to try and –

Snap Out of the Trance

Don’t get it twisted! I am all for admiring others and cheering them on but –

Let’s Not Envy Them

&

Let’s Not Try to be Them

Sometimes we have to disconnect from this overly social world and embrace ourselves. Like really – I am not joking – give yourself a hug!
20180225_203446.jpgHugging myself & this pre-loved ❤ Ellen Tracy Dress (size 4).  Available for purchasehere.
Appreciate every little thing that makes you – You! Remind yourself that only you can pull off the –

Art of Being You

No one else in this entire world can accomplish that. God did not mess up  when he molded you. The life you have is beautifully yours despite the seasons of waiting and turmoil!  Fall so in love with how you are fearfully and wonderfully made – that you do not even think to be a copycat. 😸😸

Be an original – remain authentic.

You have something amazing to offer this world. We all do!
One of my favorite songs that reaffirms the beauty of being you is a song by Ashley Dubose.

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 If I could pick a soundtrack to play while reading this blog post – this song is it!!! Here are a few of my favorite lyrics:

” It’s ok to be you – You are different – Ain’t like none of them “

 

” You got your own swag – your own style – oh baby, baby that’s cool “

20180225_205618.jpgI am tolerant. C’mon these boys are precious, but rough!

” You’re supposed to be who you are “

20180225_173047.jpgI am wannabe thick. 😆

” Do ya thing, do ya do ya thing”

20180225_203309.jpgI am a thrift loving, model posing, go getter Queen! 😛
Listen to the lyrics and check out the music video –  here . I hope you love it as much I do! 🙂
May you discover who you are and be you always!
Peace & Blessings,
Lonisa

Love Series: Pearls of Wisdom

My whole life I have been surrounded by incredibly strong women!
In fact, the Lord blessed me with the honor of having 5 grandmothers during my lifetime!!! 3 greats and 2 grands – to be exact!
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Photo taken in my Great Grandma Pearl’s formal living room – wearing my favorite thrifted overalls.  Isn’t this red throne & dreamy artwork – gorgeous!?! 😍😍😍
Over the past 4 years, three of them have passed away and my heart will never be the same. I am forever grateful for all they taught me and miss them dearly. Thankfully I will see them on the other side – in eternity with our maker.

We All Are Passing Through

My Great Grandma Pearl is the last Great I have left on this Earth and she just celebrated a birthday on love day. ❤ To be 94 years old and still living in your own home – in your right mind – giving the Lord all the glory – #goals on #goals on #goals!!! 🤗
To celebrate this blessing of continued life I road-tripped to her house with my kiddies and siblings! We took her out to dinner and commenced to have a sleepover! She had us cracking up with all of her stories and life lessons! Listen –  it was midnight and she showed no signs of wanting to sleep! At 94, she was trying to have a stay up all night over!!!!!  Welp, her great grands couldn’t stay up and hang! 😂😂😂 We tapped out at midnight – don’t judge us.
In between giggling and cackling I  managed to jot down a few of my Grandma Pearl’s knowledge drops. Check out these:

Pearls of Wisdom

  • Be Thankful & Grateful
    •  Everything about her spirit exudes this. She is thankful that the Lord has provided for her and that she has lived to see generations of her family.
  • Live Spirit Led
    • She described a time where she wanted to fuss about something and the Lord told her no good would come from it – so she obeyed. She raised her kids to know the Lord and got them in Sunday School. To this day she looks forward to going to Sunday School at her church.
  • Prioritize Family
    • She raised 6 kids and was a working mother.  Being with her children was her top priority and she was not one to go out partying.  It her belief that leaving them alone and not being present – can cause kids to go astray. There was a time where her and my Great Granddad worked the same shift – she talked to her boss and asked him to switch her – so one of them could be home with the kids and not a sitter.
  • Choose Balance
    • In her younger years – an older woman and her doctor told her to “not do it all”! They told her if she continued working all day, come home cleaning & scrubbing, then cooking, getting the kids down, and polishing shoes – with no real rest – that her kids would have no mama. She definitely did not like the idea of  leaving young kids behind – so she let some things go and introduced balance. She chose to let her husband pick up some things – like cook dinner from time to time.
  • Nothing is “Free”
    • There is always a catch or some fine print – sooner or later. Ask up front and don’t fall for the tricks!
  • Get an Education
    • Just having a high school degree means the world to her! Getting a college degree is HUGE! Attending our graduations was always at the top of her list and made her so very proud. On this last visit, she made it a point to speak over my 5 year old and tell him he is smart!
  • Men: Treat your Ladies Right
    • I overheard her telling my brothers this. That as a man you may think you are getting away with mistreating your lady – but it will catch up to you. This goes for us all and is bible. “Love your neighbor as yourself” – read the verse here. Loving God and others – are the greatest commandments
I picked up on these nuggets and more during our conversations. Plus we got to make  more memories and just love on each other! That is what family is all about.

Spend Time with your Elderly Loved Ones

They have sooo much wisdom and you might just get a six-pack from non stop laughter! Okay maybe a 2 pack, but you get my point. 😂 In all seriousness, they have been there done that! Get those pearls of wisdom and family history  – written down.

Pass it to the Next Generation

On this last trip I did just that and snapped lots of photos – my favorite being a 4 generation family picture. Tripods sure do come in handy – so no one gets left out! 🙂
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My Great Grandma Pearl, Granddaddy Young, siblings, and kids. I am wearing a groovy thrifted Anthropologie top – available for purchase – here.

 

 

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Group Hug!
Peace & Blessings,
Lonisa

Love Series: The Black Woman

Love Series: The Black Woman
Dear Black Woman – This one is For Us By Us.
If you are reading this and are not Black – that is okay! I love you too! As Tina Lawson, the mother of the dynamic daughters Beyoncé and Solange, said on the “Tina Taught Me” interlude:

“ It’s such beauty in Black people, and it really saddens me when we’re not allowed to express that pride in being Black; and that if you do then it’s considered anti-white. No! You just pro-Black. And that’s okay. The two don’t go together. Because you celebrate Black culture does not mean that you don’t like white culture; or that you putting it down. It’s just taking pride”

Please take “A Seat at the Table” and grab you a nice fresh glass of “Lemonade”.
To be a Black Woman is an honor. I love being Black and part of a beautiful dynamic race of people. Every single shade of our spectrum oozes with melanin magic! A magic that has overcome obstacles of every kind. A magic that can not and will not ever be contained.
As much as society tries to replicate us they just cannot pull it off.

Our Swag is Non-Transferable.

Every time I am dealing with my coily kinky curls – despite the toil – I sure do love its versatility! I can rock a fro. I can wear braids. I can do flexi rod sets. I can wear it straight! Shoot –

Our Crown Can Conquer it All!

There is nothing it cannot do! Our hair is an outward reflection of our inner strength!
The world can press us, throw water on us, cut us, try to get us to curl up and lay flat – BUT

We are Resilient!

If I could choose a celebrity ‘Galentineine that represents this well – it would be our very own:

Tracee Ellis Ross

What a breath of fresh air! Seeing a Black Woman that advocates for all women yet never forgetting her own. A woman that is hilarious and highly intelligent. & doing it with a STYLE that is out of this world!
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Credit: Official traceeellisross Instagram
She holds us down in real life and on her latest show, Black-ish, – as the driven Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson! In 2017, Tracee won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Comedy or Musical. When receiving her award, she said:

“This is for all of the women of color and colorful people whose stories, ideas and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important”

May we all embody that mindset daily never forgetting to help the sistah behind us and the ones walking beside us.
These days I don’t watch many shows – but you best believe I stay on top of my “Black-ish”. One of my favorite scenes is from the Season 4 Episode “Working Girl” – the dialogue plays out like this:

Bow: For so long I have worked so hard to prove myself and I have always asked myself the same question. Can I do it all?

Dre: Of course, you can.

Bow: Yes, obviously I can do it all Dre! I can do everything. I’m great!!!

Pause – on all the dag nab levels! Her Black husband affirmed her greatness and she let it be known that she never forgot!!! Yassssssssss!

Thank you to our Black King’s that support us and lift us up.

We appreciate you, honor you, and pray for your protection daily.
Dear Black Woman, Keep showering the universe with all that magical Black fairy dust!

You are my Galentine– forever and always. 💋💄💋

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Inspired by Tracee Ellis Ross. Wearing French Connection (Size 6) – available in my Poshmark Closet
Peace & Blessings,
Lo Johnson

Love Series: Validation

I found this beauty on my last thrift trip!
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Halston Heritage Red Leather Shoulder Bag
It was jumbled in with a bunch of basic clutches in a random AF rack – waiting to be discovered!!!!


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The funny thing is that many of us (looks in mirror) find ourselves in similar spaces – wondering when somebody gonna recognize real and put some respeck on our name!?!  Ya know, pull us out of the “basic” pile and see our greatness! 😂🤔😲😁

To that thought – I say these facts:
1. You are deeply loved even when you are not “seen” by others.
2. Stay consistently true to you.  & what is for you – who is for you –  WILL find its way to you!
3. The love that the Lord has for you crushes any validation from others. & it’s not fleeting.

You are not forgotten and all of your hard work will pay off!
Your dreams and desires will come to past – you have them for a divine reason!!!

Promotion & Elevation Come From The Lord

My Mother reminded me of that truth during a season where I felt overlooked. I felt like I needed to impress people & whine about what was rightfully mine. UGH! That is tiring and folks are so flaky and fake at times – that you never know where you truly stand. 
To shake that futile pursuit –

Psalm 139 is the Perfect Validation Remedy 

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
YEP! I know that was a lot to read, but those verses are just soooo good and edifying! You can read the rest here. 🙂
To know that the Lord created you, knows you, sees you, and loves you – changes everything!
Friend – let’s rest in our:

Validation From The Lord

Peace & Blessings,
Lonisa

Put Self Care on the To Do List

It is a priority – period – point blank – end of story.  

For the past few years I’ve planned an Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party to catch up with my Sorority Sisters that live in the Chicagoland area. This year the numbers were small, but the tugs on my heart were mighty. I am always 110% down to break away from the norm to share how life is really going and not give a canned surface level “Things are Great” response. We talked about our struggles (we all have them), how God is moving, and of course our families!

Being surrounded by Dynamic Diva’s fills my bucket and is one of my favorite forms of self care!

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Plus – when you’re all dressed up in festive sweaters how can one not get warm and fuzzy feelings! My thrifted vintage sweater gave me the boost I needed to  shake off the crazy work day! Literally, shake it off with the sound of 100 gold rings clinging together!

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            Sweater: Bonnie Boerer & Company (Large) – available here

Taking time for you is much like those instructions the flight attendant gives on the plane. It doesn’t matter if you are a frequent flyer or an occasional one – the attendant always gives the Oxygen Mask Reminder. Basically, if ish gets crazy on the plane and an oxygen mask drops – put the mask on yourself – then help others.

 

This is your reminder. Put the oxygen mask on yourself – first.

Grab the YOU time, breathe it in to the max, and then get back to conquering the world.

I am not a self care expert by any means, however, I know what it is like to be running on E for days on end. To be honest it can be weeks. To be suuuper honest it can be months with lots of patch fixes applied. I will do my self care favorites like a girlfriend hangout session, solo thrift store trip, manicure, or a car jam session (I love this!!!). All of these help me take the edge off , but they do not last! Like for real – the girlfriends have to go back home, the clothes get sold off, the no chip – chips, and the dang song ends (nooooooooooooo)!

 So, what was the point of you reading all of this?!?

It was for me to tell you the best form of Self Care in all of the Land!

Pretty bold statement, I know. Here it goes –

1:1 quality time with the Lord.

This is the form of Self Care that should be at the top of every To Do List.

Listen, snuggling up with my Bible has been at the bottom of mine and I can feel the impacts. This is coming from an extremely flawed human being that tries to do it all in one day! Sound familiar?

The Holy Spirit has been nudging me to hit pause and bask. So I am listening, finally.

Many times we need to just sloooow down and talk with our maker.

In my personal journey – I have jumped into reading one chapter of Proverbs to correspond with the day of the month. 

There are soooo many ways to connect with the Lord and the beauty of it is that he is right in the midst of our favorite self care outlets.

1:1 time with Jesus + whatever helps you unwind (responsibly Image result for smile emoji ) =  Self Care

It is my prayer that every person reading this comes to know that the best oxygen to breathe in is the presence of Jesus and that he belongs first. May Proverbs 3:6 take root in your heart.

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Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

P.S. I would love to hear ways you spend time with the Lord and your favorite self care activities.