Nouveau Heritage: Social Networking part 2

When I initially crafted my first post I didn't anticipate a part two but here I am again and so soon. This time the focus is on our mini’s. Have kids hand write, draw or craft notes and special tokens to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other loved ones. Thus making that social exchange more personal and more heartfelt that those brief moments over the phone or skype/face time. In my household we do this all the time. Handwritten thank you notes are a must. Especially to friends and classmates. It helps keep their skills sharp (particularly in those off months like summer vacation). Letter writing for my 9 year old helps with sentence structure, paragraphs and completing thoughts. My 5 year old benefits from letter recognition and penmanship. They really get into these projects. The grandparents love receiving these love notes and we find them proudly displayed on mantles and refrigerators when we go for visits.  Plus the grand’rents will reciprocate which sets off another round of letter writing. Email be damned!  

Mrs. Jones

First day of school

The kids went back to school yesterday. Sir Lil Jones started Kindergarten (milestone!) and Lady Jones is in the 4th grade. The summer went by way too fast and my babies are growing up with each blink of my eyes. I’m not sure how to keep up or hold on. Before long I’ll have to let go completely and watch them soar. For now I’ll cherish every moment. Like Sir Lil Jones confessing to his teachers that he was nervous the night before. What a sweetie! Lady Jones was just happy to see some of the friends she didn't get to see over summer break. I’m on vacation this week. Organizing, relaxing and just having some me time as I recharge before we begin our school, work, homework, activity fall/winter schedule. Fresh starts all around!

How cool is it that at my children’s school the first day starts off with a celebration?!?! The entire school parades around the neighborhood cheering and carrying balloons. It’s a great way to get the students excited for the new school year. 

Dear Life style: Wear that edition

I may be slightly obsessed with leather and because my style is more casual cool than rocker chic the below two outfit options make my heart sing. This JCrew Tweed-front sweater reminds me of a sweatshirt but more structured and dressed up. I think it will look hot paired with a leather bottom.  A slightly flared or pencil skirt will work with a classic heel for 9-to-5.  On the weekend kick off those heels and add some vegan leather leggings and your favorite pair of chucks. 

JCrew top, Patterson J. Kincaid skirt, All Saints Skirt, Zara heels, Sanctuary leggings, Converse sneakers

Nouveau Heritage: Social networking

Put social back into networking. Get ready to clutch your pearls: schedule coffee or lunch with a new colleague, prospective friend, or contact! Do this instead of emailing, FBing, Instagraming, Tweeting and whatever else for extended periods of time. Crazy I know but we are losing social skills fast and these face-to-face interactions should not be limited to just weekend play dates for the kids.  I received this advice from a respected colleague who has built his reputation and career around these types of community principles. Put it to the test and let me know how it goes.

I for one want my kids to benefit from this old school style of social interaction. Engage with your friends without needing a screen!

Mrs. Jones

Says the lady with a blog! HA! #Isntitironic

Phillip Lim for Target

I'm patiently awaiting September 15th and the release of the Phillip Lim for Target line. I've wanted his Pashli satchel for quite some time now so you know I did a happy dance when I saw that he was releasing a like product as part of the collection. Oh I know the quality will not compare but who cares! A Phillip Lim bag for $50 versus $825?? Yes, please! 

Now if only Chloe would take the hint and release an affordable to me version of the Marcie!

Mrs. Jones says: what I learned from my friend

Monday was hard ya'll. Not as hard I anticipated but still hard. My friends service was a beautiful testament to his life. Standing room only with overflow in the hall and people literally sitting on the floor in the aisle just to be connected and engaged. Whenever Bob Marley and Special Ed songs are played at your funeral you know you've lived quite a life. It is amazing how many lives were touched. I wanted to pay tribute with this special edition of thoughts. These are all the gems I learned from my 21 year friendship. I didn't realize the lessons as the time that they were happening but in hindsight he was quite the teacher.

In memoriam

All my talk about getting old seems so trivial now. On July 30 a great man died. A dear friend of mine from my college days passed away at the age of 39 leaving behind a wife, a toddler age son and a 4 month old daughter.

He died from a heart attack.

He died at the age of 39.

He left behind a wife, a toddler age son and a 4 month old daughter.

I had to marinate on all of that for several hours.

When I received the phone call shortly after his passing I was stunned speechless and immediately rendered numb. I mean Jumaane? Dead? How is that even possible? Yes the intellectual side is fully aware of how it is possible. It’s a birth right. One day we will all die. But that less logical side, the emotional side, the part of me that detaches from reality and lives by the creed forever young, that side right there is confused. I did my part and reached out to my girls to share the news. It was hard to deliver. I mean we were tight back in the day. He was my people. He came to my wedding. We shared thoughts on life. We exchanged advice on everything from careers to relationships. Less than 3 short years ago we talked about his excitement and apprehension on becoming a father for the first time while his wife was pregnant. He worried about being an “old Pops”. He worried that maybe it was time to move out of Brooklyn. He was now looking around his house and wondering if it was enough. He wondered if he should stop working for himself and rejoin an established firm. He worried about being a good provider. Typical thoughts of a first time parent. I know I felt and faced all of my self-perceived inadequacies when I found out was pregnant. We all want to give our children the best. I did my best to calm his nerves. Prior to that he worried about finding the one and getting married. Again he didn’t want to be the “old uncle” up in the club at 50. Single and talking about “watch out there now”. I did my best to calm his nerves. He had a baby. He got married. He had another baby. This time the girl he always wanted. He loved his family.

This dude passed away? Nah! Something is not right. But it’s true. The outpouring of love and adoration has been amazing. I mean post after post, text after text, pictures, thoughts. Watching it all unfold has been mind-blowing. My friend touched the lives of so many. He was a husband, father, son, brother, friend, confidant, mentor, teacher, entrepreneur, activist, leader. Active in his community. He subscribed to theory of giving back. To whom much is given much is expected. And he stepped up. This dude passed away? My heart is heavy.

It took a long time for me to thaw and to finally cry that day. I don’t recall meeting him for the first time I just recall always knowing him. 22 years of friendship. The way he said my name with that Brooklyn twang that would always transport me back to home. His slang terms like “sus” and “antics” and his love and pride of his Caribbean roots. Jumaane Stewart was a solid guy. One of the coolest cats I’ve ever had the honor of meeting. I love him deep. I love him like family. I have to attend his funeral. It does not seem real.

I don’t question why because there is a larger power at play and He does not make mistakes. I do question how because I’m selfish and would like one more chance to talk to my friend, twirl a loc and give him a hug. And that is the only part that makes me sad. I grieve for his family no doubt. I can’t imagine what they are going through right now. I have nothing but good memories of our times together. Even when the situations were deep. I still hold those memories near and dear. So I smile when I think of him and I’m comforted by those thoughts. I pray that I’m living a life where those who know me will have more good memories of me than bad. His passing makes me want to be a better person.

Brooklyn Massive my friend! You are loved. 

Nom Nom

I've been on a juicing kick for the last couple of months. From a full-on 3 day fast to starting my day with a green juice. I find that I feel so much better when I forgo a traditional breakfast for a nice tall glass of green goodness. Not only that but my skin benefits tremendously. My juicing obsession has now morphed into a fruit and veggie smoothie feast. I can't seem to get enough.

Last Thursday I worked from home and I found myself whipping up this bit of love.

Coconut Milk
When I'm feeling fancy I add spinach and/or kale to my smoothies. So good! Nom nom!

Dear Life style: Wear that edition

Once upon a time I posted that I purchased these pants. Yeah well, for me? Not so much. Had to send them back. Fast forward a few months and I found these beauties. 

Joe Fresh Pyjama pant

Can you say work horse? I've worn them with a simple white tee. (Currently obsessed with the fit of the women's U-Neck from Everlane.) And a pair of neutral heels. (Currently obsessed with these simple pumps from Nine West). I've also paired them with a dressed up black button down and a pair of flat sandals. I'm next planning on rocking them with a denim shirt and my white converse. I mean no matter what you can't go wrong.  Joe Fresh I love you!

The age of old

At what age do you start to feel old? And at what age are you officially old?  I know for me the closer I get to a certain age bracket the more I view that bracket as still very much young. For example I'm still a couple of decades away but I view 60 as still very young!

My friend Li sent this group text to a bunch of us college homies:

She then attached 3 pics of herself all looking very fly. I was ready to fight her and told her so in my reply but then I had to really stop and think about it. We are all entering our 39th year (well they have. I still have 5 months to go!) and juggling careers and kids and relationships. That kind of load can weigh you down. Combined with the moments Li describes above and its easy to feel old. I know I do to a certain extent. I mean I still feel like an early 20 something but then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I'm reminded that I'm not. I don't look my age (thanks gene pool!) but I also can't pass for a baby faced 21 year old. Not that I want to mind you but you get where I'm going. . . I hope. I'm in that weird contradictory space of appreciating my grown woman status but not wanting to look like a woman of a certain age. Does that make sense? All I know is that ma'am would definitely set me off too!

I believe in the power of love.  And the power of good news. And the power of chubby baby cheeks. And a laundry list of feel good moments, things, and people.
This week I believe in the power of starting over. Of letting go and letting God. Yes I believe in a higher power.

This story, which has been all over the interwebs these last few weeks, is new to me as of last week thanks to six degrees of separation. Facebook tells me that the bride and I have 2 mutual friends, my girl Li and one of the kindest souls I know Tracy! It was Li who posted this and almost had me bawling at my desk in the middle of the day. This is the love story of Jordan Rice and Jessica Moreland-Rice.

In sharing the back story with Mr. Jones over the weekend he said that he was always so scared when I had to go to the ER or to a doctor’s visit due to my heart (more on that one day in the future).  I knew he was concerned but I never knew how much it scared him until this past weekend when he his eyes became watery while he was telling me.  I love me some him!

Dear Life style: wear that edition

My co-worker K wore a very simple black maxi with Birkenstocks looking oh so chic. The perfect hot weather outfit to combat this recent heat wave we've been experiencing.

On the left is K’s version and on the right is my interpretation of her style.  Cube life fashion.   

Oasis v-neck drape maxi, Organic by John Patrick tank, Birkenstock

Dear Life style: wear that edition

I work for a major publisher within the tech field in a geographic area not exactly known for fashion. I mean the techies here are not your stereotypical hipsters rocking the latest and greatest but instead the techies of yesteryear who wear t-shirts, cargo shorts, knee socks and sandals/loafers/sneakers. I kid you not. Good people but fashion mavens they are not. Which is why any nod to fashion, and to be fair we do have our fair share, stands out and is quickly noticed.

With that said this is my ode to cube life fashion. The other day my co-worker rocked a green and white striped long-sleeve polo, with a cream pleated satin mini, electric blue mary-janes, a messy top-knot and geek chic glasses. She killed it!

I can’t recreate her outfit instead this is my contribution to her jam (old school hip-hop flash back) or better yet this would be my rendition of her style. Beat bitter! 

Joe Fresh silk tank, Tibi Eniko faux leather skirt, Zara heels

Mrs. Jones Says

Sound advice I'm passing on to Lady and Sir Jones. It took some time for me march to my own beat. Lady Jones is at that age where she is easily influenced by what others have, say, do, wear, want. I'm teaching them that what works for their friends does not necessarily work for them. To be an individual and give me and Mr. Jones THEIR thoughts on why they need [insert whatever is hot with the 10 and under set here] and not just because "everyone" has one!

Justice for Trayvon Martin

I debated long and hard about whether or not to post this. Why? I’m not really sure. It’s definitely not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed of sharing my thoughts, opinions and feelings. Perhaps the reason is I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Yes, even as a woman I can relate to his story. Or maybe I’m still trying to figure out for me personally what happens next. After the peaceful demonstrations subside. How do I contribute to the dialogue while keeping the momentum and moving the change forward.?

I think the real reason I was hesitant is because the situation is very complex. Simple some may say in theory but deeply engrained and institutionalized within the fiber of this country and my people. And because of that I’m deeply troubled, afraid and sad. Sad. Most definitely sad.

Sir Lil Jones is five. He is one of my two best contributions to this world. He is my legacy, my footprint, my heartbeat. My everything. I truly start to breathe whenever I see his little face. Oh of course as a parent I complain about the hard times, the whining, the tantrums, the moments of misbehavior, and the constant demands. We don’t live out every day twirling in a field of clover. But my children are truly my joy. I love them to the core with all that I have. And I am fiercely protective over them. I worry often and everyone they come in contact with gets the side eye and the once over. I can’t play when it comes to my children. Don’t blame me. It’s my natural instinct as their mama.

Sir Lil Jones is five. He is not a suspect . . . yet. The day will come when that sweet face will be profiled, followed, targeted, stereo-typed, demeaned, and every other verb used to belittle and repress. This is a fact. Or has that day already come? Is someone already pegging my son for failure? Does someone already consider him a menace to society? Did the parents of the kids who did not show up to his birthday party, hell didn’t even acknowledge the invitation, prevent their kids from coming to play with my baby because they already feel that he Is not worthy? Those thoughts shake me to the core. They make me sad.

I can dress him to the nines, I can change his zip code, I can correct every grammatical error in his speech, I can enroll him in the best schools available, I can push him the highest point of greatness my energy will allow but I can’t prevent him from ever becoming a suspect. Someone somewhere will judge him for the smallest of out of place hair and conclude the worst.

Sir Lil Jones is five. He is not a suspect. Remember that.

Putting folks on notice,

Mrs. Jones

Dear Natural Hair

Together we will teach Lady Jones to love her coils and curls. Now I can't say that my girly girl hates her hair texture.  That would be an unfair and inaccurate statement. Lady Jones will proudly shake her mane and strut her stuff after getting a fresh braided or two-strand twist style. Add some beads or a headband and forget about it. You can't tell her nothing! On the other hand she is fascinated with the concept of "flat" AKA straighten hair. She also believes that if only I would take her a professional wash and blow out then her hair will hang way down her back and over her shoulders like some of her friends and classmates. Sigh. . . oh baby here we go. 

I'm team natural. Now I used to be team creamy crack AKA perm dependent. I'm not even sure how old I was the first time I got a perm. Middle school age but not sure when exactly. And the perm was good to me. I maintained a healthy and growing head of hair for many, many years. Achieving that flat down my back and over my shoulders look my baby girl is drawn to. Then 13 years ago I went natural. However I relapsed maybe a year later and returned to perming. Fast forward to the birth of Lady Jones. Instead of the post preggo breakage my hair thrived! However having a girl made me more conscious of me as a woman, a female and the impression I would be making on her. From my style of dress to the tone of voice I use and the words I use with her to what I do to my hair. I started thinking about transitioning again. Fast forward (again) to the birth of Sir Lil Jones. My postpartum hair was a hot mess. Dry, breaking, nothing was working. I struggled along for two years in this state before I decided to transition and I'm so happy I did. I'm 3 years perm free and I love it. And I try to rock the biggest, baddest, curliest styles I can so that my little girl associates beauty with the attributes she was born with versus chemically manipulating her locks. Straight looks are cool and I do blow my hair out from time to time to rock stretched styles. My goal it teach Lady Jones that natural hair means options and that she can set trends among her friends with her curly looks versus trying to fit into their straight ones. 

One day when she is older she may make the decision to perm her hair and it would be hypocritical of me to discourage her. Hair and style are both so personal. I just hope that if that time ever comes her decision will be based on a desire to try something new and not because of self-esteem issues. 

Lady Jones' current braided, beaded and banded style. 

Mrs. Jones

Pantone color of the year: Emerald

Photo credit: Mrs. Jones for Dear Life the Blog. The bits of green in my life.
 My beat up Chucks.

My ode to Solange Knowles. I've yet to wear this shirt. Need to remedy that stat!

The newest addition to my green collection. A Christmas gift from my girl A!

I even opt for green when choosing lip balm! LOL!

Who doesn't own a pair of Hunter wellies right? They need cleaning.

Another gift from A from holidays past. Made with Jade and other stones.  Paying homage to the boho side of my style. 

Live into the answers: An insightful series

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013. It's day three of the new year or what I'm calling the third fresh start of the year. There are 365 opportunities in a year to start a fresh.  Make the most out of all of them!! Given that this is a brand new year how fitting is question 8??

I have much planned for 2013 for Dear Life:. Both the blog and my offline real life. A fresh start. A new day. Opportunities await! Lets go get 'em!

Mrs. Jones

All questions in the Live Into the Answers series is from the book: Ever Wonder: Ask questions and live into the answers. By Kobi Yamada

Missed past questions? Check them out here: Live into the answers.