Elite Urbanite Tries Something New: Rage Ground

Elite Urbanite Tries Something New: Rage Ground

Remember when we were allowed outside? Me either. There are still a few things I do remember prior to the pandemic. One of them being my time at Rage Round! For my birthday, I often like to something I’ve never done before. I feel like I can go out and party any other day so why spend my special day not doing necessarily, well, special.

Though I’m turning 27 this year, one of the best birthdays I had was my 25th back in 2019. As a Sagittarius, I’ve got a lot of anger in me. So sometimes I’m in the mood to just smash shit! So Rage Ground was the perfect place to release some tension!

When you go to the website to book your ticket, you can choose from several different options. You can have a session as short as 20 minutes, or even one that’s over an hour long. I even saw that they recently added a paint splatter session as well as a car smashing session!

Before you get to smashin’, you’re given a coverall suit, thick contractor gloves, and some protective face gear. Then you’re guided back into the room, where the only two rules are don’t hit each other and don’t hit the walls. Once you’re squared away, they turn the metal mayhem music up and you get to breaking stuff within the allotted time!

With the stressful year and a half we all experienced, I feel like the like Rage Ground is not only a great stress reliever but also a fun place to make memories. If you’ve been in the mood to punch someone in the face during these “unprecedented times” like I have, Rage Ground is the perfect place to go!

Ozzy’s Pet Playlist

OZZY’S PET PLAYLIST

If you know me, you know that there’s not many things I love more than my LITTLE OZZY! I’ve had a few dogs throughout my life, and I hate to play favorites, but Ozzy is the best dog I’ve ever had. When my first dog of my own passed, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get a dog that was replaceable. Of course, my little cool, calm, and collected Chuck will always have a special place in my heart, but there’s no dog quite like Mr. Ozzy!

Because he’s be around humans his entire two years of life that’s all he knows, so he doesn’t even try to get along with other dogs. Plus this little 8 lb rebel will pounce at pit bulls and german shepherds all for the sake of protecting his momma. Not the best idea, but greatly appreciated. Even though he loves to run around and cause trouble, he’s still a lovable little mush who loves having fun, just like his mommy!

That being said, Spotify has this great thing called pet playlists! You describe your pets temperament, then they generate a playlist based on your music taste and your dogs personality. To nobody’s surprise, Ozzy’s is a great mix of vibey bops and turn up tracks. Not going to lie “Your Adorable Beast” by Bobby Bare Jr. almost made me cry. Take a listen below and make one for your own little furry friend!

My Reduction Story

MY REDUCTION STORY

February 8th, 2021 was the day my life changed forever. Every little girl dreams about growing up and growing into their figure. Even as adults, women run to plastic surgeons offices to get a pair of bouncy double D’s. But not this gal.

I never really felt comfortable with my curvy figure to begin with. As a kid, I loved staying active. I would go fishing with my dad, play sports with friends, go swim in the backyard. But once I started developing at a young age I felt uncomfortable with myself. Even in the locker room, other girls would comment on the fact that I was wearing a bra in the 5th grade. Nobody would say anything bad, in fact they were envious! But being the center of attention for something I couldn’t control was very uncomfortable.

Part of this, was because I was diagnosed with something called “Precocious Puberty” when I was around six years old. Which meant my body was developing much quicker than necessary. Every month I would have to get a big ass needle shot into my thigh to slow my body’s development down. I’m sure most girls would have loved to come into their body and develop hips and thighs, but that was never me. I felt as though I was robbed of a certain aspect of life.

By time I got to middle school, I was around a C up. From what I can remember, I was one of the only girls who had grown out of a training bra at the age of f*cking 12! Sure as an adult a C up is great, but what is a 13 year old supposed to do with those? Also, this was before IG and TikTok, when teenagers still looked and acted like teenagers. My momma didn’t raise a little fast ass, so all my outfits made sure not to accentuate my figure.

The older I got, the larger my boobs continued to grow. For years I wore baggy t-shirts and sweatshirts, mostly because clothes weren’t made for shapely girls. As much as I wanted to wear cute little crop tops, tank tops, or strapless dresses, I just physically couldn’t. Fast forward to my twenties, the prime time of your life where you’re supposed to go out on the town and feel your hottest. Well, I honestly felt my worst. My breast had grown to be TRIPLE D’S! Obviously, I couldn’t work out as much as I used to without being in pain for months, I couldn’t dress in the cute outfits everyone else was wearing, I even avoided the beach because I haven’t been comfortable in a bikini since I was 4 years old.

For years I had wanted to get a breast reduction, but my parents thought it was purely for cosmetic reasons, when in reality I just wanted to me myself again and enjoy life. I would casually joke about how annoying my chest were, but would be told that it’s just our genetics so I’d have to deal with it. Then one day last summer, I finally told my mom that I was miserable feeling the way I did and that I KNOW for a fact that I would feel much better if I got a reduction. What helped drive my point forward, was that two of my close friends had gotten breast reductions too. And their lives almost immediately turned around for the better! New jobs, new boyfriends, new outfits, and an overall better outlook on life. To my surprise, my mom finally understood where I was coming from and told me to go for it. Now, I knew the one that would really need convincing was my dad. Because I know him so well, I did all the research and planning first, and waited to tell him a few weeks ahead of my surgery date. Of course, he tried to talk me out of it, but after decades of misery not even Oprah herself would be able to convince me not to do this.

Though I was excited to finally get this done, I was not excited to have to go under the knife. Based on my past experiences I mentioned earlier, I have never been a fan of the doctor because it always came with a negative connotation. Every time I’d go to the doctor I’d discover there was something wrong with me, or they’d tell me I was “overweight” so from then on I always assumed the worst. In addition to that, I feared that something would go wrong with my surgery, or that something would happen to me while I was under anesthesia. But luckily, my whole reduction experience was exceptionally smooth.

One thing that was important to me was finding a female doctor. I read way too many horror stories about male doctors not giving women the size they wanted. Just the other day actually Sharon Stone talked about how a male doctor gave her bigger breast than she asked for. I mean how fucking traumatic! So not only did she not like her results, she had to go under the knife AGAIN which is extremely risky. I find it ironic because though male doctors can do all the research they want, they’ll never understand what it feels like do be a woman. They might know what they like to see on a woman, but they’ll never be able to understand the emotional and physical aspects of having you like to see in the mirror. This was something I had to explain to my own dad too.

Through my insurance, I came across about THREE female doctors. But only name stuck out to me. Dr. Charlotta La Via was the only doctor I had a consultation with. As I said before, all my doctors appointments typically end with a negative outcome. I remember when I had my tumor, I had to go to three different doctors just to find out what it even was! So I assumed the same thing would happen here. I’m so glad I was wrong. I told Dr. La Via why I was there and what I wanted the outcome to be, a better overall feeling about myself and life in general. And she completely understood! She actually was the one who told me I was a DDD cup, all this time I thought I was still in the DD range. Looking back that makes so much more sense. I of course came in there with a baggy sweatshirt, so when I undressed and showed her the goods she was in awe! She told me I had such a nice figure and it was about time I went out there and showed it off. And I wholeheartedly agreed!

The next hurdle was the cost, there was some confusion with one of the women at the front desk with how much my insurance would cover. Because I was going from a DDD to B cup, the overall cost of the surgery was going to be $15k. That of which I only have in my dreams. Though my insurance gave me a rough estimate of around $2-3k, I was still fearful that I would have to blow my whole savings. Girl… the surgery only ended up costing $705 after insurance!!! Imagine if I wouldn’t have just gone for it?! I would have been pissed.

Another thing I don’t enjoy is sitting around doing “nothing”. So I was eager to get up and move as soon as I got home from surgery. Although a few days later I was like oh shit, THERE’S the pain! Luckily the recovery time went by pretty quickly. Six weeks sounds like a lot, but it’s really just to assure there aren’t any complications. I was fine to get up and move around on my own after about three weeks.

I also feel like the timing of it all was meant to be. I had been scheduled to start a new job March 2020, but unfortunately due to the pandemic those plans were put on hold. I assumed the company would eventually move on and find someone new. But when I reached out one last time, they said they were finally able to hire me within that next month, March 2021.

I’m such a strong believer in fate and that the stars align for a greater purpose, so I feel like it was my destiny to get this done at this specific point in time. We’re still in a pandemic, so life isn’t fully 100%, but I feel so much happier now that I can enjoy life again. I’m part of the itty bitty titty committee and I couldn’t be prouder. I haven’t been a B cup since I was in the fifth grade… I feel like little Tiffani again! I’m able to workout and not be in unnecessary pain, I wore a cute strapless dress to easter dinner, and while I’m still single, I’m much more confident going on dates now! If you’re considering getting a breast reduction I say GO FOR IT! You’ll regret all the time you spent considering not doing it.

Elite Urbanite Tried It… Oak & Poppy!

ELITE URBANITE TRIED IT… OAK & POPPY!

As a Sagittarius, I have a natural flair for rebellion and spontaneity. When people ask “why?” I say… “why not?!” So it’s no surprise to anyone close to me that I’ve collected quite a few tattoos and piercings over the years. I got my first piercings when I was 3 MONTHS OLD! So I don’t remember what the hell it felt like, that was early 27 years ago! All I know is that I’ve always had my ears pierced and never really questioned how or why.

Once I started to come into “myself” I wanted to reflect that on the outside as well. When I got my first few tattoos, I really didn’t think much of it. Sure the feeling is weird, but not necessarily “painful”… at least to me. But the thought of a needle going THROUGH my body is something else. Needless to say, every time I thought about getting my ear pierced as an adult, I kept chickening out.

Until.. back in late 2018, I had surgery to remove a tumor in my parotid gland. The entire story is for another time, but, because of that surgery I still experienced some numbness in my right earlobe. So FINALLY an opportunity for me to get my ear pierced and not even have to worry about the pain!

Besides dealing with the pain, I’m also afraid to just go anywhere, I mean I hear so many stories of peoples ears getting infected or bodies rejecting the ear piercing. While I spent years debating and researching, I came across a lovely place called Oak & Poppy! Once I saw the countless celebrities like Anna Kendrick, Kylie Jenner, Usher, and Chrissy Teigen were frequent customers of this Woodland Hills tattoo and piercing shop, I knew this was the perfect place… to suggest to my younger brother! LOL.

I like to say he served as the guinea pig. After his piercing properly healed I finally bit the bullet and got my two little gold hoops I had been wanting for years! Donnie Byrd over at Oak and Poppy was so warm and welcoming, she did both of my piercings! The first time we talked about our dogs and chatted while my mom held my hand (LOL jk but she was in fact there with me for the first one!). For the second one, we laughed about how tiny my ears are as I tried not to think about how much pain I was about to be in. The craziest part was that it didn’t hurt AT ALL! Sooooo many years went by that I put way too much thought into the pain and aftercare of this little teeny piercing. I got that snake piercing below about 2 weeks ago and I honestly forget it’s there now!

That being said, if you’re looking for the perfect piercing place in LA (because I know there are SO many), look no further, Oak and Poppy is the place to go!

Elite Urbanite Tried It: Color Me Mine! (FINALLY)

elite urbanite tried it: color me mine!

Since I have lived in California (EIGHT YEARS!) I have been wanting to go to Color Me Mine. I’m a big kid at heart, so a lot of acquaintances in the past who *thought* they were adults felt as though they were too cool to go paint on the weekends. Honestly, I much rather be “uncool” and paint a ceramic unicorn than be “cool” and have everyone in LA know what the inside of my vagene looks like. But, different strokes for different folks I guess… (in this instance, I much rather brush paint strokes than get a few weak strokes from someones dusty son). OK anyway, back to what I was talking about… LOL.

One weekend I was feeling a bit down and was looking for something both cost effective and fun to do. When I was at my parents house, there was a Color Me Mine right around the corner, calling upon me everyday, mocking me if you will. Then, low and behold… I’m driving around, running errands, and BOOM! There is also a Color Me Mine right around the corner from my apartment! *Cue Hallelujah* So I came home, quickly got changed and got hyped for my solo date night at Color Me Mine!

Let me tell ya, I am SO glad I went. I’m sure most people are uncomfortable with doing things alone, but I genuinely love it. It was such a peaceful experience. I went a little too close to closing time, so the perfectionist in me was disappointed that I had to rush at the end. I actually made the guy stay 15 minutes past closing time, sorry dude. But, now I have this wonderful addition to my (already quite busy) apartment… Meet Mystery!

Boss B* Highlight: Oluchi Vintage!

BOSS B* HIGHLIGHT: OLUCHI VINTAGE

Hello Urbanites! As you’ve seen before, I’ve interviewed fellow boss ladies about their ever growing companies, being that we are still in Women’s History Month, I’m highlighting another black and female owned company, Oluchi Vintage! I have been wanting to get into thrifting for a long time, but I could never quite find anything that fit my style, that is, until I came across this brand! I went ahead and bought myself this super cute purple jacket that I cannot WAIT to wear out and about when the world is 100% safe to inhabit once again!

Cynthia Alozie has curated her upscale thrift brand, Oluchi Vintage, using her distinct fashion sense and eye for statement pieces. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, Nylon, and even offers her own styling services! She combined her love for fashion and marketing to turn her thrifting past time into a full time business, what a bad@zz! Learn more about her and her brand below. Also, follow @oluchivintage on Instagram and check out her website oluchivintage.com and upgrade your wardrobe ASAP!

1. Who do you draw most of your style inspiration from? (Are there any specific celebrities, tv shows/movie characters?) 

I get most of my style inspiration from old pictures of my mom in the 80s and 90s. She loves wearing quality fabrics that are easy to wear and maintain, like cotton and linen. And she’s a lawyer so she wears a lot of suits. Seeing how she has been able to keep items in her wardrobe for over 20 years really inspired me to focus on collecting pieces to have in my forever wardrobe.

2. What are your top three favorite pieces or outfits that you’ve sold? 

I LOVE a good two piece set and this lemon lime set was such a great find!

I’m obsessed with this vintage fringe leather jacket I found last month. I live in Texas and I’d been on the lookout for a vintage fringe jacket for over 2 years. when I saw this I bought one for myself and bought as many as I could find for the shop and it’s been nice to see my customers love it as much as I do!

I’m also a big fan of skirt suits. I love this fuchsia set so much for the vibrant color and how it’s paired with a pleated skirt. So cute!

3. What has been the highlight of building your brand thus far? 

So far the highlight has definitely been being able to make the transition from selling part time to having this shop be my full time job. I really never set out to run Oluchi vintage full time. I actually have a marketing background and was set to go into consulting. So I feel blessed that I get to wake up each day, own my time, and do something I truly love.

4. In what ways would you like to see your brand grow in the next five years? 

Wow this is a big question! In five years I would hope that I am still loving what I do, and I’d like to possibly see my product offerings extend to include vintage home decor!

5. Lastly, what advice would you give other black women who want to start a business of their own? 

I’d encourage them to try to find creative ways to use their gifts and talents to serve others. Starting a business is always going to feel scary and having moments of doubt is a part of the process–but if you’re doing something that’s true to you, you’ll always be able to overcome those feelings to keep pressing forward. I believe that’s how we begin to live in purpose and align ourselves with what we were put on this earth to do.

Sis is preaching! Well there you have it, miss Cynthia is a woman with a plan. We love to see it! Once again, check out her vintage thrift brand Oluchi Vintage via her instagram (@oluchivintage) or her website to purchase (oluchivintage.com).

ELITE URBANITE TRIED IT: Catch Los Angeles!

ELITE URBANITE Tried It: CATCH Los angeles

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, I visited your favorite celebrity’s hot spot, CATCH! If you simply google “Celebrities at Catch” pages on pages of results will come up of them walking out of the hotspot looking chic. Even if you follow some of the biggest influencers or celebrities on instagram, chances are you’ve seen them post on their story about their night out at catch. So that being said, I just had to see what it was all about!

When you walk into Catch, there is an awesome mural of some of the most famous and influential celebrities of all time. Then, you check in at the front and the host directs you toward the elevator allll the way up to the rooftop restaurant! Very fancyyyy! My favorite part (and a lot of other’s favorite part based on all of the “photoshoots” you see on IG) was the walkway decorated with all sorts of greenery and flowers. I love seeing restaurants that are dedicated to setting a chic and calming ambiance for their patrons. If you’ve ever been to The Bellagio in Las Vegas, it gives off that same vibe! I took my brother along with me, and we had a reservation for 8:45 pm. The place was pretty poppin’ at that time. Which is such a weird thing to think about now. Busy locations?! Like imagine walking into that now, whew. Being that it is such a popular LA spot, I’m sure they are figuring out the best way to accommodate their guests in the safest possible manner. Also when I had gone there, it was Cinco De Mayo (which I hadn’t realized at the time) so plenty of people were having fun and ordering drinks.

Once we were seated there was sooo much food to choose from. In my older age, I’ve really started to LOVE seafood. I guess I got it from my momma’s genes! So needless to say the decision was pretty tough. Luckily, the style of the restaurant is that everything on the menu is made to share, so my brother and I ordered the California Roll, Truffle Sashimi, Lobster Mac & Cheese, Crispy Shrimp, and King Crab Tempura. And boy was is amazzzing. Actually I’m drooling over it now just thinking about it.

I’m glad I finally made my way to Catch LA and got to see what the hype was all about! I can’t wait to bring my friends here when the world opens up again. I know once my New York girls finally visit this is a place they’d love to go to. Based on the location and popularity of this upscale West Hollywood Restaurant, it might cause a bit of a dent in your wallet (if ya know what I mean $$$!) But who cares, YOLO right?! Do the kids still say that??? Anyways, if you’re ever in the West Hollywood area and you’re in the mood to spot some celebs, make a reservation at Catch! Tune in next week for another Tiff Tried It!

On Our Grind, from 9-5!

on our grind, from 9-5!

I need to shout out my gal pals real quick because we are having a moment!!!! 2020 was a tough year, but it wasn’t ALL bad. It sucked having my new job be put on hold for SO long, but for some reason in the back of my mind I always knew it would work out. I guess it’s just that Sagittarius optimism! I also am glad I chose to revamp this blog Elite Urbanite to what it is today.

Initially, the main focus of Elite Urbanite was for me to go to exclusive events and restaurants around LA. But since all things of that nature are a bit unsafe for the time being, it has become more so about me and who I am. Which I’m actually happy about! I had been afraid to openly say what I have been going through for 26 years of my life, because for so long I was made to feel as though I was “crazy”. Of course, when things like festivals and award shows are safe to attend again I will be the first one in line, but I’m enjoying exploring myself and sharing who I really am deep down inside with friends and strangers alike!

I am the type of person who is very focused on my future. From as far back as I can remember, my mom has always asked us what we wanted to be when we “grew up”. I always knew I wanted to be involved in pop culture and entertainment in some sort of way, but never in a way that would compromise my identity. Hence, the reason I left my previous job. I’m all for hustling and being on my grind, but not to the point that it sacrifices my mental health and well being. So I went off of a whim and asked my friend if he knew anyone that was hiring. I sent in my resume and was called in that following day for an interview. There’s an old saying in the “biz” that it’s all about who you know. Yes my friend helped me get this interview, but I didn’t know these people personally like I did at my previous workplace. So needless to say I was pretty nervous, especially after I was brought in to interview three different times!!!! *cries in fetal position* but hey, they must’ve liked me because I got the job! Then covid hit and I was worried that something I was so excited about would be ripped out of my hands just as soon as I got a hold of it. Well, as I said before, they must’ve liked me because they have been waiting for me to join the team for nearly a year. I’m truly so grateful and I know working for them is going to be such a great change of pace!

My female friends are also f’n killin’ it! It’s always important to me who I keep in my “circle” some may call me picky, but I like to call it “careful”. Honestly this is a very small city, everyone knows one another and most people know everything about you before even meeting you! So in a place where reputation is so important, I like to keep mine squeaky clean. It’s taken me a bit of time to find some good friends out here. But honestly when you’re looking for quality over quantity, that’s bound to happen. I’m so proud to say that I have friends that either just finished, or attending grad school. Friends that are studying for the bar, one that even just passed it and is officially a lawyer. I even have friends who are absolute crushing it in the production field and working on some of the hottest and upcoming shows.

Even when it comes to relationships, my girls know their worth. They have no problem being blunt about how they expect to be treated. And I admire that so much. I have friends that are starting new relationships or furthering their current ones by getting engaged. Some, like myself are choosing to stay single and focus on ourselves until that person enters our lives.

That brings me to a recent friendship breakup I had. Honestly the friendship had been over for longer than she knew. We met in 2016, but by 2019 I had already been tired of going to clubs. While fun at times, I wanted to feel like more than just a hot piece of meat on a Saturday night in a sticky bar. Every single time we would go out, it was mass chaos and a lack of organization. It’s pretty frustrating to get a $80-100 (roundtrip) Uber to Santa Monica from Calabasas and back only to spend 30 minutes in a bar because she couldn’t get the plans together.

Like… that behavior is acceptable when we’re in college or our early twenties, but at 25-26 girl I have a job to go to and errands to take care of. You know, adult shit. Not only that, but the stress from my job put me in a place where the last place I wanted to be was on a long a* line for a stupid a* club with stupid a* men who only wanted me for the night. I eventually expressed this to said friend and said I would be glad to do more low key things like game nights, hikes, or farmers markets… never happened. I can’t seem to grasp why people cannot understand just how taxing my job was. I don’t like to put other peoples jobs down, but unfortunately I can’t have much sympathy for someone who has only worked part time jobs at her big age expecting me to make plans when I was working quite literally 24/7. I would be answering emails as I was brushing my teeth and driving into work, and doing the same as I was heading home. There were some days where I’d be in the midst of happy hour and would have to pause everything to answer an email. Even on Saturday mornings I would get emails from people who weren’t even my bosses! Now I know this comes with the territory, but going through that from week to week, there’s no way in f*ng h* I would want to go to the club. I want to SLEEP.

So when I started to realize that this person only saw me as a plus one to the club, I also realized that this friendship was over. Fast forward to 2020, as I mentioned before, me and my girls have been on our s* …OKAY! This particular friend mentioned she was going to apply to grad school, and to that I said that’s awesome! And her response was that we were finally becoming adults. We…? WE?! Now… just because I don’t post about my life 24/7 doesn’t mean I’m not grinding. I move in silence baby. Turns out, just like everything else in her life, that idea of grad school was just a figment of her delusions and when I would ask, she would make up some excuse as to why she hadn’t applied yet. I get grad school isn’t for everyone, I’m not going to grad school anytime soon. I hate school. But like… don’t just throw ideas out in the abyss.

I also found it a bit insensitive of her to not fully listen to my struggles and what I asked of her as a “friend”. Which really wasn’t much. Especially after I did SO much. I have a good friend who from the beginning has always said she doesn’t like partying, knowing that, I never forced her to go to any parties in college because I would never want her to be outside of her comfort zone. But we would do other things like go to coffee shops instead. The word “friendship” doesn’t automatically mean someone is obligated to do what you say. Sure I had fun going out to the bars (when we would ACTUALLY get in), but there’s really so much more to life than that. In my late twenties, my mindset is so different than it was in my early twenties, and hers hasn’t changed. The best friendships are the type that grow as you continue to grow as people.

Fast forward to last month, after coming down off of her cloud of delusion she finally realized I had unfollowed her on social media. Cause honestly I was a bit tired of her posting nonsensical TikToks and spreading eagle on her “influencer” page. She messaged me asking why I had done so (months ago) and I explained to her that I no longer felt this friendship was what it used to be. Long story short, she was more upset about the friendship ending rather than taking accountability for her incapability of being a good friend (a pattern I had actually observed for years). I assume she thought she would get some sort of apology out of me, but I was polite, kept the conversation short and dry, and said that I no longer wished to be friends (even though she tried to claim the idea as her own). She said she didn’t want people on her “team” that weren’t for her. I’m not really sure what and how I would need to be for someone who doesn’t even know what they want for themselves in life. Plus, I don’t wish to be part of the B-team anyway. We parted ways and that was that. Then a WEEK later, I get another text from this same girl bringing up the conversation again. Ok now girl, I was very mature and kind the first time… but now you done woke up the beast! Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I basically told her that I’m not reading that long a* paragraph she had sent because this conversation and friendship were BOTH over. Girl use that extra time you have to think so ~deeply~ to take a look inward and see how you can improve YOUR life rather than projecting on others. This B even tried to tell me I should work on some therapy and coping mechanisms and gave me a podcast to listen to… now girl bye. The one who needs therapy is the person who sends pictures of used condoms and monistat and/or vagisil boxes on snapchat. Or the one f*n dudes on a mattress on the ground because he can’t afford a bed frame.

As you can see, this friendship was bound to end. And I’m totally fine with it. It was something I began to dread more than enjoy. I have so much that I want to do in different aspects of my life, and I’m so glad I finally found a likeminded crew of boss ladies with similar goals and morals.

Boss B* Highlight! – Chill Mary

I come from a family where even though they aren’t necessarily “Holy Rollers”, they definitely believe that G-d will pray everything away. Ironically I have been trying to “pray away” my crippling anxiety to no avail. But I’ll let y’all debate on that one on your own. That brings me to my true lord and savior Sweet Mary Jane, aka Marijuana. Again, my parents are the type that still think that marijuana is the devil’s lettuce, well call me the devil’s dame because this sh*t works for me! I’m not much of a drinker, maybe on the weekends I’ll treat myself to a glass (or two…) of Prosecco. Or if I go to a bar my limit is 2-3 vodka cran’s (yes basic AF, I know). However, one thing I always bring to the function is a joint. Not because I’m looking to get “lit”, but because it loosens me up a bit and helps me with my social anxiety.

However, one issue I kept running into was stress at work and day to day life. I know weed is very common now, however working in a corporate environment, I don’t particularly feel comfortable showing up every day smelling like Bob Marley’s basement. I’ve always been told that CBD products are a helpful solution, but as someone who experiences bad allergic reactions to nearly everything, it was difficult to find the perfect product. That is, until I found Chill Mary!

Chill Mary is a company started by Kimberly Crooks, a young black woman in her twenties, who like me, struggled with anxiety in a very fast paced work environment. As you can see in the photo above, Kimberly aka Chill Mary’s products are so “aesthetically pleasing”, I mean just look at the way it’s glowing with my little plants outside! And they’re also small enough to put in your purse or backpack. I love the fact that her products are vegan and non-toxic, because that’s extremely important to me! We’ve only got one body, so it doesn’t matter how young you are it’s important to pay attention to what you put in it. I don’t go around boasting that I’m soOoOoOo healthy but in reality, I am. I really take into consideration what products I use inside and outside of my body. In my search to find the perfect CBD products, I came across so many products with too many strange ingredients and some that hadn’t even been tested in a lab. I mean sheesh! Luckily, all of Chill Mary’s products are “curated with quality non-toxic, sustainable and vegan ingredients” as well as lab tested. Girl take all my money now! I’m never using anything else!!! In fact, I have been using the “Ease Me” Wellness Tincture every. single. day. My life has already improved so much. I love that it’s light and airy, but still does the job… (if ya know what I mean! *wink wink*). This product only has a few simple ingredients, which is exactly what I’ve been looking for; Organic Coconut Oil (MCT), Full Spectrum Hemp-derived CBD Oil. The Ease Me tincture is good for a few things, in Chill Mary’s description she approves this product for; “moments of anxiety, body recovery, restless nights, stress and when you wish people would say less.” LOL! As someone who is also very active, I feel the recovery after my workouts has been so much better. I’ve definitely been experiencing less pain during my workouts as well. My knees say “thank you Chill Mary!” Also, has someone who mumbles “shut the F up” several times a day, this product is perfect for me.

Another product I love is the “Best Bud” Facial Oil. As someone who suffers from very cystic acne, I’m always hesitant to try out new things in fear of getting an adverse and extreme reaction. Chill Mary strikes again, because I absolutely adore what this product has done for my skin! As I mentioned before, I love sticking to natural products when it comes to my body. Just like the things we consume, SO many beauty products have a bunch of ingredients we can’t even pronounce, that don’t even work! The “Best Bud” Facial Oil is made of Rosehip Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT), Hemp Seed Oil, Cranberry Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Carrot Seed Oil,  Full Spectrum Hemp-derived CBD Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Rosemary Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Rose Buds. Now I know y’all can pronounce those! When is comes to skincare, there also aren’t a lot of products out there that tend to black women’s skin the way it should. The Best Bud Facial Oil has my melanin poppin okay hunnnnny! There’s even a nice little shimmer tint in this product which is so fabulous. Chile I cannot wait to show it off when the world opens back up again!

What also drew me to this company was the fact that Chill Mary is a BLACK and FEMALE owned business! Weed and CBD is nothing new to the black community. We’ve known about the positive effects of weed since the beginning of time. Ironically now that it’s legal, it’s a majority white dominated industry. So when I found out my good sis Chill Mary was a black woman, she had my FULL support. Besides the relationship between black people and the decriminalization of marijuana, it’s also just difficult overall for women, especially black women, to be taken seriously as business owners. Which is a crock of horsesh*t because we put in the most work. Anytime I see a black woman doing her thing in the business world, I will ALWAYS give my support because I know first hand how discouraging it can be. Which is exactly why you should go purchase Chill Mary’s products, I know she’s definitely got a lifelong customer out of me!

Boss B* Highlight: RETRODEO LA by Emily Rose Watkins

Boss B*tch Highlight: Retrodeo La

As a female owned brand, I love to shine a light on other women who are on their grind. It’s important that us women support one another in a world that just wants to see us fail! You all know by now, my brand Elite Urbanite is all about being “eclectic and culturally aware”. This means being in tune with many different trends while being a bit quirky or “different”. With no shame of course! This doesn’t just stop with music, fashion, or television, it applies to decor aesthetic as well!

A few months back I posted the before and afters of my apartment here, but I’m always looking for new design inspiration on Instagram. In my search I came across an awesome page called @retrodeo.la! Retrodeo LA is a Los Angeles based vintage furniture company owned by the lovely Emily Rose Watkins. She has a fantastic eye for style that is rare to come by, and I’m completely obsessed! Her most recent project was helping Big Mouth writer and instagram comedian Jordan Firstman achieve the Barbarella inspired bachelor pad of his dreams (here)! I was in awe when I browsed through all the unique pieces. I immediately wanted to do my whole apartment over! As someone who wants a Studio 54 themed wedding, Emily’s style totally fits my vibe, so naturally I reached out to ask her a few questions about her super groovy company Retrodeo LA, check it out below!

Q: What event sparked your interest in starting your own brand?

A: I considered starting this brand when I moved into my first apartment in LA. It was the first time I had a space to call my own, and get creative with all the wild decor ideas I’d had floating around in my head. I started sourcing things from all over the place, and couldn’t stop! I’d get so inspired by all the vintage finds, I’d want to change my decor each week. As I started to swap things out, I began to sell things on, which later turned into ‘I just wanna find this cool stuff for everyone’. I’ve always been drawn to colors, and somewhat ‘loud’ styles, so starting a vintage homeware brand that reflects my personal style seemed like a match made in heaven.

Q: Who or what do you draw inspiration from when it comes to you & your brands aesthetic? (Any specific movies, tv shows, celebrities, etc.)

A: I draw a lot of inspiration from music, film and fashion. I originally moved from London where I worked predominantly in fashion and sang in clubs and bars in the evening. Fashion inspires my use of color a lot. I even sometimes drape clothes over items of furniture to check which colors work in my interior. Working in music, I’d always admired the style of Kurt Cobain, Elton John, Freddy Mercury, not just for the music, but they all have that eccentric ‘I’ll wear what I like’ approach which accentuates their artistry. I originally moved to LA to pursue acting, so film and being on set has been a huge inspiration! My last shoot was set in the 1950s, and the set designers did a phenomenal job. I’ve since sold some items to film sets, one of which is an upcoming Will Ferrel film. I wasn’t allowed to know deets, but I’m hoping I see Ron Burgandy using my side table for his glass of scotch so I can say I’ve made it. I’d love to involve myself more on film projects. I’m so busy looking at set design in film, I miss half the plot line. ‘Scarface’ brings huge inspiration. From the 80s Miami Vice feel, to Michelle Pfeiffer’s wardrobe. ‘The Shining’ is also phenomenal, especially that hotel carpet and pea green bathroom. A more recent watch was ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. The set and costume design in that whole series is unreal.

Q: Do you have any pieces or projects that you’re especially proud of?

A: I get especially enthusiastic when I find lip sofas or palm tree lamps! I feature these heavily on my page so I try to stay consistent. They are just so unique and fun. Who wouldn’t want to sit on a giant mouth or have a palm tree in their living room with glowing coconuts? 

Q: What is some advice you’d give to other female business/brand owners who are just starting out?

A: To trust your own creative style, if you have a vision, use it. Don’t let instagram create illusions! Running a business, in my personal experience, is sometimes difficult and very chaotic. It’s the behind the scenes that we don’t see enough, which isn’t so glamorous. And be patient. ‘Growing’ your brand and learning along the way is the fun part.

Q: Lastly, knowing what you know now, what’s the best advice you would give your 13 year old self?

A: You’re gonna be filling peoples homes with cool vintage furniture one day, and you’re gonna love it, so quit worrying about what you’re doing with your life.

See what I mean! Look how cool she is?! I can’t wait until I get my own home so I can work with Emily to create the Studio 54 pad of MY dreams. Now that you know more about the woman behind the business, check out her page @retrodeo.la and get inspired!