living

Lemon and Thyme Household Cleaner

One thing that strikes me about the ways of women before us is their ingenuity and creativity while maintaining their household. In my personal research starting this blog, I took the time to dig deeper into how simple and resourceful women were in their approach to beauty and everything around them. A little went a long way. Women stretched ingredients a mile long and nothing ever went to waste. There is a lot we could emulate from those wise women especially if you are trying to live more sustainable in your home. I’ve been incredibly inspired by how food ingredients can be used to make aromatic household products. After picking up some herbs to use in a test dish last week, I decided honor every part of my thyme and lemon. Instead of throwing the lemon peels in the trash, I made a lemon and thyme household cleaner that smells wonderful and does the job of cleaning well.

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares a lemon and thyme household cleaner
In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Wellness Blogger shares a lemon and thyme household cleaner

Lemon Scented Vinegar is a fabulous disinfectant that is great for countertops and bathrooms. I’d equate this to an all natural Mr. Clean but better. It is so easy to make and requires only a few ingredients.

To make lemon scented vinegar, you will need one cup of lemon peels. The first step is to add lemon peels and thyme sprigs to a mason jar or a large sealable glass container. Next, fill the jar almost to the top with distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is one of the best natural solutions ever. I’m pretty sure every household has a bottle in the pantry. It isn’t used as much as it should be because of the smell. It’s really easy to take plain old white distilled vinegar and turn it into scented cleaning vinegar. Ok back to the steps, next seal the jar and allow it to sit for 12-24 hours. You can also let it sit in the sun for a few days to really infuse all of the ingredients. Before using, use a strainer to strain the vinegar and remove the peels and thyme. Pour the cleaner in a spray bottle and enjoy!

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares a lemon and thyme household cleaner

Hope you enjoy making this cleaner!

5 Herbs You Can Grow Indoors for Fall

As summer slowly fades, the abundance of many fruits and vegetables have come to an end. Thankfully, we can still enjoy many herbs well into fall and winter. Even if you live in an apartment or condo without any outdoor space, you can grow herbs indoors.  Here are 5 herbs that are easy to grow and perfect for culinary and medicinal uses.

ROSEMARY

The health benefits of rosemary are so broad making this herb one of my favorites to grow. Rosemary can be used medicinally to enhance memory or the oil can be used for cosmetic purposes. It is a bountiful culinary herb that pairs with potatoes and meats. Rosemary requires tons of sun. You should water sparingly and be sure that it well drained.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares 5 herbs you can grow indoors
In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares 5 herbs you can grow indoors

PARSLEY

Parsley is a workhouse plant. It is unbelievably easy to grow indoors. Place indoor parsley pots in the brightest light possible. It is another herb with great health benefits. Being that it is edible, you can use it as garnish or with a seasonal herbal blend.

THYME

Thyme is a hardy herb that likes to be watered sparingly, bright light, and good drainage as well. It goes well with most baked meals and canned preserves. It particularly love using thyme as a steam in the fall for sinus and allergies. Thyme can be grown with rosemary and lavender.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares 5 herbs you can grow indoors

BASIL

Fresh basil compliments your favorite Italian dishes so well and is very rewarding to grow. It lets you know how well its growing. It will wilt when it’s thirsty and be luxuriant when happy. It’s a great teaching herb. You can dry basil, use it for ear infections, or as a topping on pizza, or your favorite pesto recipe.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares 5 herbs you can grow indoors

MINT

Mint comes in many varieties that you can as a culinary herb, garnish for a cocktail, or for great smells around the home. It’s fast growing and spreads pretty fast so sharing a pot with another herb is not ideal. It requires as much as natural light as possible, weekly watering, and good drainage.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger and Memphis Wellness Blogger shares 5 herbs you can grow indoors

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS

To grow well indoors, herbs need as much natural light as possible. Place them in a sunny spot near a window that faces south and receives at least 6 hours of sun daily. Some herbs that require less light, like mint, parsley, and thyme, can also grow well in west-facing windows. Indoor herbs prefer the same temperatures that most people do—around 65 to 70 degrees F—so if you’re comfortable, they probably are.

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!!!

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.


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!!!!

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.







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....