andrea fenise

Healthy Hair Journey | September Check In

Hi guys! I’m checking in on the healthy hair care journey as promised. As fall is approaching and we are almost near the end of summer, my hair routine always changes. For the most part, summer is the opportunity for my curls to hang free. Wash n go’s become my staple look. After long runs in Memphis heat, there is nothing more refreshing than a soothing shampoo and sitting outside to allow my curls to dry. The colder temperatures that come with fall and winter call for a different hair regimen. I tend to normally lean towards straight hair or blow dried waves during colder months. It is a bit more low maintenance but requires a bit of preparation work to maintain its health.

In Search of our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger healthy hair journey check in

CURRENT HAIR REGIMEN & MAINTENANCE

Currently, I am following our healthy hair care journey regimen . I wore my hair in a high bun for an entire week due to a busy schedule this week. I have to be very mindful of maintaining and combing my hair while in a ponytail. I followed the regimen very closely but noticed more shedding than normal. It was due to note running a comb through my hair. As I get ready to apply more heat than normal, I have to be extremely mindful of protecting it from heat and deep conditioning. It is very easy to have breakage and lose length retention. Oh and I must get my ends clipped very soon. I last had a trim in May. I rarely go that long without a trim. Since having the baby, I haven’t been able to get to a salon. This week, I plan to go through my hair section by section and trim off dead ends so that I don’t incur any breakage. As far as styling, I plan on doing roller sets for the next couple of weeks to reduce the amount of heat used.

CURRENT LENGTH

Before trimming, my current length is 12 inches. I will probably cut off about half an inch to be sure I take care of any damaged and split ends. I’m not too worried about losing too much length right now. My hair growth oil and conditioning it will help grow it another inch or so within the next month. My goal is to be an inch or two below bra length by Christmas.

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares healthy hair journey September Check in

My daughter Amira is joining in on the healthy hair care journey as well. I’m elated to have her along this journey. It’s so important to begin a healthy perspective of her hair now at a young age. I remember being 10 years old not fully embracing the texture of my hair. Thankfully, it is the total opposite for Amira. She loves her natural curls. And, actually prefers wearing her hair curly over straight. Our goal with Amira’s hair is growing. She wants a huge curly afro and waist length hair. i really want to help her with that. I firmly believe black women and little girls can actually have long beautiful luxurious hair. And, I also let her know it is ok to desire beautiful long hair. What we have to keep reiterating is that she must learn to take care of her hair. Her hair is a beautiful adornment that she must embrace and love on. It is her crown.

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares healthy hair care journey

CURRENT HAIR REGIMEN & MAINTENANCE

Amira’s regimen is very simple. We follow the healthy hair care journey with her as well. I make sure to always do a pre-poo treatment before shampooing. Amira’s curls soak up any moisture almost immediately. So, it’s important to to do a hot oil treatment to retain moisture. Lately, I’ve been doing very low maintenance styles on her hair. Mainly, we do a few mohawk buns or a high bun due to ballet practice. Here’s where we have disagreements in styling. I would love to keep her hair braided (no extensions) . It would help timing in the mornings but also keep from having to manipulate her hair during the week. She on the other hand hates braids unless she has extensions. Prayerfully, we come to a happy medium on a style that’s easy and growth inducing. It’s my goal to only style her hair on once a week, Sunday’s, maximum would be two to three times a week.

CURRENT LENGTH

Amira’s length is 11.5 inches long. I have to admit something about her length. Last summer, she had braids and while taking them down I cut a huge amount of her hair. I underestimated her length and chopped a good portion off. To add to that, her front sides are much shorter than her back. We are working hard to recover much of what I cut off. We both Cosme to an agreement that we wouldn’t cut it to even it out. However, we do trims very often to catch the back up.

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares healthy hair care journey

Interested in joining us? To participate in the challenge, please list your starting length and your goal length [in the comment section]. I will start product recommendations, regimens, tips and advice for each growing healthy hair.

If you would like to be notified of the check-in dates ahead of time, and receive a newsletter, [one newsletter per month and we will cover a range of topics from protective styling options, to product recommendations, DIY hair care recipes, and more.

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The Beauty in Friendsgiving

This past weekend, my soul was nourished over laughs, giggles, conversations and dinner at my first Friendsgiving with some of my closest creative friends. Holidays for me have always been about family and might I add family that I love dearly. So many may not have that same sentiment. Therefore, some people have now openly embraced Friendsgiving as a way to celebrate the holidays with friends that are like family. This Friendsgiving was special to me because it was an opportunity to spend time with friends outside of work and have a cool evening getting to know each other outside of the normal creative conversations.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner

Carmeon, interior designer, welcomed us into her gorgeously decorated home to host an intimate Friendsgiving. My girlfriends Kim who took all of the beautiful photos and Quaneshia joined us aind brought fun, laughter and great stories to bring all the feel goods to life. We sipped rose and indulged in the cutest charcuterie board before starting dinner. There is something so special about letting your hair down, sipping rose and chatting about life with girlfriends over cheese, olives, and wine.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner

I think it’s pretty self explanatory that when you get a group of gorgeous women who are content curators and storytellers in one room, there will be pictures. The beauty of having girlfriends who are creatives is that we all understand the immense value of capturing candid moments but also being present in the moment to actually enjoy each other. We all shared on IG and of course as we should. Because for me, it’s so important to highlight the value in having smart, talented and genuine friends that you can enjoy and nurture relationships with.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner

We shifted into the dining room to move the laughter and conversations about family, love and 90s RB so that we could begin dinner. Carmeon prepared the cutest tablescape with a floral centerpiece by Everbloom Design and a place setting with rosemary adornments. We enjoyed roasted chicken, rosemary and thyme candied carrots with honey, creamy homemade mashed potatoes, and buttery asparagus. Everything complimented each other so well. Carmeon really put a lot of thought in carrying the tastes through out the entire dinner. There wasn’t a detail untouched. The cardamom carrot cake by Sadie’s Cake Co. with pecan pie filling and chunks of raisins and a rich yet light cinnamon butttercream icing was the perfect ending to a beautiful night.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner
Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Simple Living Blogger shares a Friendsgiving Dinner

The beauty I found in this Friendsgiving was sisterhood and passion. Life with a group of friends who are deeply passionate not just about work but about family, love, creativity, food and finding joy is worth celebrating every single day. Joining my friends was both motivational and inspirational. It showed me how important it is to embrace your friends, celebrate with them and find the beauty in what we each give to each other. That’s friendship!!!!

DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask

While in my downtime of rediscovering myself, I vowed to make time for self care. Self care was all about baths and skincare and getting rid of these raccoons with luggage. I made myself a DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask and I'd love to share it with you. 

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Mask for puffy eyes and dark circles

Let's briefly talk about the eyes and the use of cucumbers and rosewater for this mask. The saying is true the "Eyes are the window to the soul" but I think they should have added a few more---signs of aging, lack of sleep, stress and dehydration. The eye area lacks oil glands to help keep the skin looking plump, youthful and fresh. Essentially, oil glands help keep the skin moist and hydrated. It is a bad combo when you already don't get enough sleep and then you are dehydrated. Cucumbers and rosewater however is the perfect natural combination to freshen the eye area up, brighten and moisturize the skin. Cucumbers have numerous skincare benefits mainly reducing inflamed or irritated skin as well as hydration due to the high water content. Rosewater is great for inflammation as well and getting rid of redness in the skin.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

+ half of a cucumber sliced

+ 1 ounce of rosewater

+ cotton rounds

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask for puffy eyes and dark circles

In a blender, blend the cucumber and rose water until it becomes a liquid blend. Transfer to a bowl, then soak the cotton rounds in the mixture, squeezing out excess and then re-soaking for optimal absorption. Store the extra soaked cotton rounds in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for future use.

Thaw the eye pads for about 10 minutes before you use them. To apply, place the half moon eye pad underneath the eye, making sure to apply close to the bottom lash line. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask
In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber Rosewater Eye Mask
In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask

So to apply, place the half moon eye pad underneath the eye, making sure to apply close to the bottom lash line. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, paint your nails, read a book or just be.

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask

Five small habits to simplify your life

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in the middle of my walk in closet, overwhelmed at my to do list, which was laid out strategically by the hour but I know within an hour everything planned would fall through the cracks. The to do list was crammed with work for clients (entirely too much for one person), Amira’s ballet schedule and school work, meeting reminders, household chores, and “busy” work. Suddenly, I realized I no longer wanted my life to be so “busy” yet unproductive and complicated.

Like many of us women of our generation, we have bought into the “Girl I’m soooo busy philosophy. We rip and run from this meeting to this event, over busying our children, multitasking with social media management in the cars and grocery lanes— all for the “grind til we shine” lifestyle. Then we gradually collide and began to realize we are anxious, nervous, and overstimulated by living a life with just way too much to do. I had always known.

Over a period of time I sat alone in the peaceful silence of my home and came up with a list of things I could do to improve the quality of my life while decreasing the complexity. I had three specific goals in mind. First, I wanted the things in our lives-our home, our cars, our clothes, our diets, our finances-to be small enough and few enough and simple enough that we could easily take care of them ourselves. Second, I wanted to free myself from the commitments, the people, and the obligations that kept me from having time to do the things I really wanted to do. Third, I wanted our lives to be consistent with our desire to live in harmony with the environment.

For me, simplifying and minimizing was not “living off the land” or throwing away every single thing in my home. Nor was it about living cheaply. For me, living simply meant reducing the scale, maintaining the comfort, eliminating the complexity, and minimizing the time demands of life as I had known it.

Let’s take advantage of the movement to reclaim our lives, simplify and live with intent. Here are habits to implement in your daily life. And enjoy.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Wellness Blogger In Search of Our Gardens shares 10 habits to implement daily to simplify your life
  1. Create routines

    Routines are the foundation of a simple life. They give structure, eliminate stress, and definitely make me more put together. Create a morning, evening, meal planning, laundry, or whatever routine you find helpful.

  2. Turn off the Background Noise
    We have access to constant noise in our culture and I think it’s easy to become immune to it, but building intentional quiet into our lives is so important. Turn the TV off. Turn the music off. Turn the phone off and listen to the sounds of your mind. Extra noise can often mean extra stress that we don’t even know we’re adding, so turn down the noise. Keep a quiet house (and car!) and see how it affects your family and stress level.

  3. Know Your Style And Create Uniforms

    Having a strong understanding of your personal style simplifies life in a lot of ways. It makes shopping easier and faster. You’ll buy things you’re more likely to wear and love. You can also double down on perfecting your personal style by creating several types of uniforms you love and fit your lifestyle and aesthetic.

  4. Cook Simple Meals

    We have access to basically any food we want, which is great, but sometimes it seems like a burden because we have to decide which meals to make each night. Sometimes those “perfect meals” just turn into entirely too much. If you want to live simpler and lower your stress levels, then come up with a meal plan with easy, basic meals. Every night doesn’t have to be special or fancy. Make a list of easy, no fuss meals that the family enjoys and rotate them throughout the month.

  5. Declutter Your Home

     If you’re always bringing stuff into your home and never getting rid of anything, then sis we need to declutter. Sitting around in a home that is full of clutter and stuff can stifle our creativity, stress us out and also make us depressed. Think about how much time you spend cleaning, moving, picking up and rearranging your stuff. Then doing it all over again. Pretty crazy, right? The less we have, the more freedom we have and the less burdened we will feel. Set aside a time each week to go through one area of your home and make a donation pile of the things that you don’t use, like or need. I bet you’ll be surprised at just how much has accumulated.

images via Pinterest

images via Pinterest

What other tips do you have to simplify your life?

My Mama Said, "God Dwells in Cleanliness and Order"

My mama used to say and still does today, when I need reminders, “Fenise, God dwells in cleanliness and order, only the devil is in mess”. My mama lived her entire life that way. It was almost godly or supernatural. Our home was always a special blend of comfort and cleanliness. Every single thing down to safety pins had an ordained place. Clutter never existed. As a child, I always thought an immaculately well kept home was the normal and expected.

My mother was just like any other mother who juggled two kids, mostly as a single mother and with a demanding work schedule. Yet, she made sure her acts of cleanliness were her way of worshipping Jesus, like her special ministry, I thought. Every morning when she rose, there was prayer and then tidying up. Every evening before she laid down, there was prayer and tidying up. Saturday was like worship service—clean, family time, cook preparing for after church’s day of rest on Sunday. That’s because, my mom’s philosophy is deeply rooted in the belief that not having order and structure, and not being in control of your home and your life can trigger depression.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Blogger shares the need to be clean for mental health

Now in hindsight, I can attribute my desperate need to declutter, tidy up, and simplify also being closely related to restoring my mental health. You all can’t imagine, how many times I’ve heard her voice when things are all over the place, physically or mentally. Seriously, I would pace the floor in disgust that I had let myself, my home, and my life get in shambles. Because, the more I lost control over my business every thing else spiraled down a windy disastrous road of confusion and chaos. The truth is I was depressed. Grief and the pressure of being a mother and entrepreneur were getting to me. Slowly, I began questioning everything great about myself and making sure my inner self knew that I wasn’t “all that”. There was one simple thing I couldn’t manage to do and that was keep a tidy house to save my life.

I had no other options but to pick myself up and get it together. What getting it together looked like for me may be quite different for someone else. I grew up in a minimalist lifestyle without knowing. My mama didn’t call it “minimalism”. She always would say that we don’t need all of that junk cluttering up our house. She bought things of great quality and great use. Whatever it was, It would purpose and immense beauty.

So I didn’t start a life-changing journey into minimalism with a heaping amount of clothes to get rid of or furniture and useless things to donate. I have never been an over consumer. I don’t know if it’s because I’m pretty resourceful. Or, if it’s because over consumption has its own psychological baggage that I have never wanted to carry.

This journey was intended more so to clear the mental clutter so that I could make time to be the absolute best woman I could be. A minimal, slow and simplified lifestyle opens the door to create more freely and be more present with myself and my family. I want to be able to operate fully in my gifts and talents without distractions. I have found a creative mind needs a minimalist space to thrive.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Blogger shares cleanliness is next to godliness

Just like my mother, I am in search of beauty and abundance through slow and simple living. I’m starting with creating household rituals of cleaning, decluttering along with rest and balance to be able to enjoy my work and my home in a more gratifying way. Taking steps to simplify my life means getting back to the basics of how my mother raised me. Also, finding ways to adjust them to my modern life and my own family. My mother didn’t spend countless hours cleaning, absolutely not. She had a precise way of taking inventory of time spent, creating systems and a routine to make sure there would always be time to enjoy herself and her family. It’s about figuring out what is really important and necessary.







Why I Began Searching for My Garden and Living Simply

You don’t get to this place in my opinion by chance. No way! You are here in the place because you lived your life in a manner in which “busy”, “stressed” and “grinding while getting to the money” was your default mode. Scenario two, you felt your life was cluttered—- home, car, finances, everything was chaotic and you desperately needed to make a change. Lastly, you really felt that somewhere deep in your soul, you would magically discover there was “more in less”. For me, it was all three. I didn’t know what was going on in my life, how I would get to the woman that I kept visualizing on well designed vision board when my life was in utter disarray.

At the time, I was working way too hard and not making substantial financial or professional progress. Twelve hour sewing days with multiple projects and yet still at the beginning of the month, I barely made enough profit to pay rent. How and where do they do that? My constant grind was preventing me from spending quality and undistracted time with my daughter. My dating life was in shambles. I would never date. My desires for my future husband were not going to be met with the way I was living. No way— my husband would not be looking for me behind a sewing machine. Self care was a thought that never crossed my mind. Most importantly, I was facing an all out catastrophic battle with my inner self trying to balance the divine feminine aspect that need to flourish.

But, on one glorious day and a two hour conversation with my sorority sister Shemika, I had an epiphany. I felt deep, like down way way deep, in my core—that I was in the wrong place that was conducive for growth. In order to save myself from myself, I had to abruptly cease every way in which I was living my current life. A creative sabbatical, just 5 days initially, was the first step. I disconnected from the world. I initiated my own weekly day of rest and decided to be still. A trip to the bookstore led me to “In Search of My Gardens: by Alice Walker and the journey to simple living began.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Wellness Blogger and Memphis Lifestyle Blogger shares a new journey into simple living.

The significance of reading this book during this time was major in my shift. In the book, Alice Walker speaks about her search for the African American women’s suppressed talent, of the artistic skills and talents that they lost because of slavery and a forced way of life.  Our great great grandmothers who were artists, seamstress, writers and goddess of the Earth could not relish in their gifts. They were being stripped down to nothing by hardships or manipulative America that robbed them from their being. These women, our great great great grandmothers were artists “driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release.”

The suppression of talent that Walker spoke of that frustrated me but wasn’t the only thing that really resonated with me. It was the strength and tenacity of those women, mothers, Black women that moved me. The collection of essays offered hope, healing, and wholeness to my broke world. It showed me that despite the current climate of darkness and trouble, if I searched for my mother’s garden that determination, strength, yet simplicity of living. I could bring light, hope and harmony into my own.

While In Search of My Mother’s Garden, I began getting revelations that my personal life was in shambles because of me. Unknowingly, I was in a war against myself, fighting the need to express myself creatively and be myself. I didn’t know my purpose. I just knew I hated sewing for people and I wanted more meaning to my work. I had changed. The things I was interested in had dramatically changed. I wanted to show the world the carefree, simple living, natural remedy loving woman despite the portrayal on social media.

Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect of strength-in Search of My Mother’s Garden, I found my own.
— Alice Walker

My weekly rituals of rest became days of decluttering and reading. I began working my soil and planting my own garden. Taking the time to play music and make my own clothes without being rushed. Dinners were made with vegetables that I grew with my own hand and love. My rosewater facial serums were created by me and for me. I had finally gotten to the point to have the courage to live in harmony with myself. I could no longer live in two different worlds pretending that working 16 hour days were the final destination. Over consumption could not be my narrative. I wasn’t living that life. I was searching for a way to express myself and honestly nurture my spiritual self by way of manifesting and exuding love, beauty, strength and creativity through my work. Now, I am here. Here in a place that illustrates vividly how I can now dream dreams that someone knows unlike my great grandmother. I can carry on a legacy of making everything I touch reveal grace and beauty. And, I can do that my living intentional and simple with meaning.

In Search of Our Gardens, the blog, was conceived out of a desire to put more of my authentic self in the digital world.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Slow Living Blogger shares journey to simple living

DIY Grapeseed Oil for Eczema

Healing eczema isn't the easiest thing to do when your skin has reached the point of open and dry patches. Trust me, I have been there many many times. Winter is approaching very soon and anyone that suffers from eczema knows how harsh this time of year is on your skin.  Don't down all of the Merlot just yet. I have grape expectations this year of you of finally having glowing and healthy skin. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares a DIY Grapeseed Oil for Eczema

Grapeseed oil is one of my tried and true natural products in my skin care regimen. My regimen is very simple and clean and free of steroids. It is a three step process--- Clean-Moisturize-Occlusion. The occlusion step is one that I think many do not implement when treating or healing eczema. However, it's essential. Skin occlusion is just an effective way of absorbing creams or lotion  because it leaves your skin hydrated. Simple and plain, occlusion locks moisture into the skin to allow it to speed the healing process up. And, applying grapeseed oil does a magical job at occlusion. It brings skin healing properties to moisturizers. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Wellness Blogger and Slow Living Blogger shares a diy grapeseed oil for eczema

The easiest way to create your own moisturizer is to add oil to oil. Pick an essential oil with a smell you love. I have tried lavender, rose, and orange. Now, I take my grapeseed oil formulas a little further since I have a garden and add fresh dried rosemary for a savory and bold scent. Just mix a few drops of your essential oil of choice into your grapeseed oil. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Slow Living Blogger shares DIY Grapeseed Oil Eczema remedy

Here's a regimen I suggest after a shower or bath. Moisturize your skin really well with a lotion of your choice. My favorite for eczema is Vaseline Intensive Care. I don't know what they use in their formula but my eczema has been clear since using it. After applying your lotion, seal the moisture in by applying grapeseed oil all over your body. Not only is the oil creating a protective layer to lock in moisture but it is healing the skin as well. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares a DIY Grapeseed Oil for eczema

Balsamic Vinegarette Chicken with Roasted Veggies

Balsamic Vinegarette Chicken with Roasted Veggies

Many of the things I enjoy eating and cooking are highly shaped by watching my mother cook or savoring the taste of her food. This Balsamic Vinaigrette Chicken Recipe is a blend of my mother's baked chicken and how she would eat veggies drenched in balsamic dressing.... 

Our Hair Journey : In Search of Beautiful Long Healthy Hair

Our Hair Journey : In Search of Beautiful Long Healthy Hair

Here we are moving forward, documenting our search for luxurious healthy hair with simple and sustainable hair regimens. I take the vision of this blog seriously. It is perfectly aligned with my mission to live a simplified life with beauty.

Herbal Self Care Bath with Roses and Mint

Herbal Self Care Bath with Roses and Mint

Herbs, flowers, and oils have been used as therapy in baths to relax the mind, soothe sore muscles, and promote softer skin. I'd love to share my rose, mint and essential oil bath that I faithfully indulge in during moon cycles, after menstruation or just when I need to relax.