black minimalism

Generational Gardens

Yesterday while waiting in the lobby of the doctor’s office, I had an eye opening epiphany. A casual conversation with an older black lady about the wait lead into an oral lesson in herbal medicine and self healing. The remedies used to heal indigestion and breast milk stimulation flowed from her mouth like molasses slow but with ease. “Chlorophyll, getchu some chlorphyll to stimulate your breast milk. It’ll make your milk like sweet milk to that baby. It’ll leave ‘em full and nourished, she said. “

In that moment, I knew this community and space isn’t necessarily lacking but needs to be illuminated. Our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers have held these magical potions of healing and creativity since the beginning of times. Inheriting the creative spirit to heal a nation for generations to generations. They have stories, life lessons, and creative resources to share with us and vice versa. We have stories to tell of love, beauty, perseverance, and legacies that must be passed down.

In Search of Our Gardens, this community, was birthed to heal and restore the ways of these women before us. Women of color have a duty and a responsibility to “pull out of ourselves, look at and identify with our lives the living creativity some of our great-grandmothers were not allowed to know.” The freedom to be and bask in creativity without burdens or restrictions. We owe ourselves and the women before us a garden overflowing in beauty, substance, and grace that is as expressive as our strides to pass down to our future. We aspire to share the ways of those before us in this space. Cooking, healing, art, living, gardening and all of the magic that makes us unique. In Search of Our Mother’s Garden, we yearn to find our own.

In-Search-of-Our-Gardens-Black-Women-Passing-Down-Healing-Remedies

Do you have any stories that have been passed down from your mothers or grandmothers you’d like to share?

10 Ways to Create a Simple and Natural Home

It is always been said your home is your place of refuge. Our homes should be a place of comfort, rest, and relief from the world. We all want to create a peaceful home and to enjoy people and things that matter. By taking small steps to simplify our home, we can create a more natural home that rewards us with loving environment to thrive.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger shares 10 ways to create a simple and natural home

We all know that going green and minimalism isn’t a trend, it’s what has been done for countless generations. Many women before us lived a simplified life before modern conveniences. It’s incredibly important that we are mindful of our actions as individuals today. Our day to day decisions are incredibly significant, and like many other changes we wish to see in the world, it starts at home. Some changes that can easily be made to live more simply can start with food, cleaning, and beauty.

FOOD

Eat whole unprocessed foods.

By eating whole and unprocessed foods you are not only giving your body the best advantage to stay healthy but helping the environment as well. Cutting down on the energy sources needed to produce processed foods directly benefits the environment.

Purchase food in season.

Seasonal food is better for the climate. When your food travels around the world to get to you, it uses lots of energy. Produce, especially local produce has a significantly lower carbon footprint.

Replace plastic storage ware with glass.

Take a pledge to become less wasteful and start by replacing plastic for glass. Glass jars are almost the symbol of the zero waste movement. Here’s the great thing about glass jar in your home, they can be used over and over.

BEAUTY

Add natural remedies to your medicine cabinet.

Incorporate the healing benefits of plants into your life. There’s nothing more simple than going back to using 100 percent natural remedies and medicines.

Try making your own lotion, soap, deodorant, or toothpaste.

Many beauty products can be made with cleaner and less toxic ingredients right at home. Be more resourceful and use common kitchen ingredients or natural products like essential oils.

Choose non-toxic, natural cosmetics.

The enhancement of beauty should not be a big deal. Our approach is to always be simplified and sustainable. Choose cosmetic brands that are non toxic, free of animal testing and without harsh chemicals.

CLEANING

Make your own cleaning products

There are countless options of home cleaning products that are simple and very effective. Your cupboard has some magical ingredients to clean and deodorize.

Know the recycling rules in your area to ensure proper recycling.

In the days of immense waste, recycling should not be a second thought. Find out what your neighborhood days of recycling are scheduled or recycling centers in your neighborhood.

Run the dishwasher and laundry machine only when they’re full.

Cut back on electricity usage and product waste by only running the dishwasher or laundry machine after you have a full load.

Try a cup of white vinegar instead of heavily fragranced fabric softener to soften clothes.

White vinegar can be used for so many home hacks. One of our favorites hacks is as a fabric softener. You can save money and the environment.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger shares 10 Ways to Create A Simple and Natural Home

Creating a natural home takes time—it’s a process that occurs over years of changing your mindset and your lifestyle. By implementing a few of these small steps at a time, you can become a better steward of your family’s health and happiness and decrease your environmental footprint. Let’s all commit to creating the best possible home!

We have many, many, many more ways to create a simple and natural home. Come back for our weekly homemaking series to get updates on more ways to create a simple and natural home.


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

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.







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.