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Edible Flowers and Fruit Ice Cubes

When you have a garden, there are endless possibilities for the use of edible flowers, fruits, and herbs. One of my faves things to do with edible flowers is freeze for parties or just add beautiful details to water or teas. Herbs can be frozen to make decorative ice cubes for party drinks. Here's how to make the easiest detail for your next summer garden party or dinner...

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Wellness  Blogger shares how to make edible flowers and fruit ice cubes

I gathered my edible flowers and herbs from the garden first. Cucumber flowers make the sweetest and most vibrant edible flowers like ever. I picked cucumber flowers and fresh mint from the garden. I also love the calm fragrance of lavender in vodka cocktails so I pulled a few lavender sprigs as well. Next, I used a store bought berry medley of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to make decorative ice cubes. 

Add the flowers, herbs and fruit to ice cube molds and continue adding water until the mold is filled. Next, place them in the freezer and wait patiently for the ice cubes to freeze. 

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Wellness Blogger shares how to make edible flowers and fruit ice cubes
In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Wellness Blogger shares how to make edible flowers and fruit ice cubes
In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Wellness Blogger shares how to make edible flowers and fruit ice cubes

Using your beverage of choice, simply place the ice cubes in a glass and pour your beverage and enjoy!!!

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.