December Favorites

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

I'm back with yet another informative monthly favorites list. These products entail the very feeling of warm and cozy holiday cheer. I've incorporated some of my favorite black-owned brands with a mix of other on-the-rise businesses to keep your eye out for. At last, I couldn't forget to throw in some of my favorite holiday movies to end the list off in a very merry manner.

1. Alexandra Winbush Candles and Tea [Insta:@thealexandrawinbush]

These cute and cozy candles from Alexandra Winbush paired with her delicious teas go well with a lit fireplace and a cold winter night. Her ability to paint a picture through refreshing scents is what makes her brand so special to me. Her website layout is something to die for! For me, it's all about aesthetic, and she uses the concept of image to the best of her ability. As you all know, I'm always on the lookout for a killer candle to add to my collection, and these have been my next great find. I recommend pairing her Twelve AM candle with her Rooibos Vanilla Chai tea for your first time--you won't regret it!

2. The Manner Co. Jewelry and Accessories [Insta:]

The Manner Co. first brought me in with their feed on Instagram that featured all types of black women rocking their accessories. Let me just tell you, you won't have to worry about being basic in any of their pieces. One of the things I love the most about them are their statement earrings and bulky bangles. You can tell their pieces from a mile away without any of them looking the same, and I find beauty in that. If you're planning to cop any of these lovely accessories, I hope you do it fast! They sell out in the blink of an eye, so always be a step ahead.

3.SoukBohemian create+her Coffee mug [insta: @soukbohemian]

If you've been to my about page on this website, you've seen these words. When I saw them on a mug that looked like it could hold all the morning tea I needed, I knew it was meant for me. Not only is this mug super cute, SoukBohemian has other mugs and products that are a blogger's dream. Their products say a lot without all the extra fluff--they're straight to the point and picture perfect. Something on my wishlist this year would definitely be their Roma Norte Fan. While they are also my absolute favorite for being a black-owned business based in the south ( I'm a Southern Belle), their eccentric style is something that made them my love at first sight.

4. Valjean Labs Foot Cream [lavender]

Let me just say that I use this faithfully, every day, since I brought it home from my local TJ Maxx. I recommend using it after a nightly shower and following up with some fuzzy socks to lock in the moisture. Not only has it made my soles and heels softer, the lavender aroma makes it easy for me to wind down. I'd say it's a perfect ingredient for a self-care day. Mine ran for as cheap as four dollars, but that may be because I did pick it up at TJ Maxx. Check your local one for this product and so much more!

5.olehenrisken 2-in-1 polishing sugar mask

This smells absolutely divine to me. It's like I'm putting my morning time tea on my face--I kid you not! I apply this after I've cleansed my face for the day, and let me say that I feel super refreshed after every splash to wash it off. I've definitely seen a difference in the brightness of my skin, and have even come to notice that my tone has evened out in just the short time of using it. I only recommend using it three times a week, since it is a scrub and using it too much can be harsh for your skin. Now she's a little pricey (forty two dollars) , but it's definitely worth the coin. Try checking your Local TJ Maxx for a jar ( I got a good deal for about twelve dollars)!

6. Around the way girl [Taraji p. Henson]

I've been reading this book for a short portion of December and have already fallen in love. I was always a fan of Taraji for her stellar acting, care-free spirit, undeniable beauty, and the fact that she is a Howard alumna. I won't spoil it for those who are late on picking this gem up (like myself), but just know that it's a lens on her life like we've never seen before. Here, she is vulnerable, strong, and honest through pages that entail her personal journey. If you love a good memoir and a strong black woman, then this book needs you!

7. DVSN- The Line

I've been listening to DVSN for about a year now and got to see them preform live for free this past fall (thank God for blessings), where I fell even deeper in love with their sound. All I have to say is that if you haven't picked up on DVSN, what have you been doing? Although you may have been slacking, you aren't too late. Mainstream media hasn't gotten their hands on them just yet. One of my favorite songs would have to be "The Line." It's more than a song, it's an experience. I know I've been known to be a bit dramatic, but I'm not exaggerating this time. I would recommend this song to any first time listener of DVSN. The vocals, the beat, the lyrics, the feeling--is just indescribable. Click on the video above to fall in love just like I did and thank me later.

8. the last holiday

This is one of my favorite holiday movies where the plus sized unconventional beauty finds love and life without any of her "flaws" being magnified for a storyline--ah, a concept. Georgia Byrd finds herself letting go of her silent fears and living life to the fullest when an unfortunate event creeps up just in time for the holidays. We laugh, we gawk, and we cry at one of the best Christmas movies created. I recommend it for any and everyone.

9. the perfect holiday

Here lies another all-time favorite where two darker skinned love interests find each other in the most unbelievable situations. Both carry heavy pasts and hopeful futures--that just might hold each other in them. Be prepared to laugh, sing, roll your eyes in frustration, and embrace the holiday spirit. For as many times BET has played this cinematic embodiment of a warm hug, I'd hope you'd recognize a good movie when you see it.

10. this Christmas

Last but not least, I present a classic black holiday film. A film where many grab the popcorn and can't wait for that one scene that mentions the Los Angeles River. This is a story about family and how deep their love for one another can go when tested to all limits in a sunny California December. I know I watch this movie about thirty times a year, and I bet you do too. Matter a fact, where is my remote?

Now that I've given you a few of my favorites of last month, tell me what gave you extra holiday cheer this December in the comments section. Remember to create, learn, and explore in style this new year!

-Ashley Lauren

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