March 31, 2011

Linking Up: A French blogger and a Greek fashion brand knocks my socks off; Perfect shoes for "Spring"; An exposed bra look that's actually chic

Le Blog de Big Beauty has me lusting over the Greek brand, Mat Fashion. Now, who can I get to send me some gear to the U.S.? [click HERE to see what I mean]

Refinery29 provides us with the perfect Spring shoes for the not-so-warm weather. I think I need those Maurie and Eve "Phoenix" yesterday! [click HERE to step your shoe game up]

Only Dulce Candy can make an exposed bra look chic! [click HERE to see how]

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March 28, 2011

Jewelry overdose at the vINTAGE rEVIVAL Trunk Show

My personal goal as a fashion blogger is to support independent designers that focus on craftsmanship and quality. And Paula Michelle (shown above) of vINTAGE rEVIVAL is no exception! We met in the Twitterverse a few months ago and shared a common I knew she had a jewelry line that was being sold on Etsy but when she tweeted me about her trunk show, I jumped at the opportunity to finally see her collection in person.

The trunk show was held at Per Populus Gallery, a hidden gem in Pilsen. It was the perfect venue for the artistic concept Paula had for the show. Prior to the event, Paula had photographer James Cox shoot the collection using a myriad of vintage props including a retro television, a vintage camera, old tennis rackets, vintage furniture and clothing. Using those same props, Paula recreated the photos to display her jewelry at the trunk show. It was genius!

vINTAGE rEVIVAL is a collection of spectacular statement jewelry created with elements from a prior era. Old locks and keys? Check. Vintage watch parts? Check. Crystal brooches and earrings? Double Check. Paula mixes these items with chains in varying sizes, styles and metals to build some of the most creative remixed jewelry I've encountered. Within the collection, you can expect to find necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches and even super-cool earring chain necklaces.

Of course, Paula was rockin' one of her own necklaces, which was a mix of glam and industrial.  It added the perfect amount of edge to her otherwise preppy look. 

Besides Paula, I spotted a few more fashionistas in the room wearing vINTAGE rEVIVAL.

How can you NOT love this stuff?!

And the beauty of it all is the fact that no two pieces are alike. As Paula proudly states on the vINTAGE rEVIVAL twitter page, each item is "1 of 1 just as the person wearing vINTAGE rEVIVAL". That level of exclusivity is unbeatable. Not only does that mean you won't catch anyone else wearing the same jewelry but also that when you see something you like, you better act fast! And if you have a design idea in your head, you'll be glad to know that Paula also takes custom orders. How fun would it be to collaborate with an amazing designer and have your design come to life?

Prices typically range from $60 - $275. However, the earring chain necklaces are priced as low as $40. Also, you can grab old skeleton key + ball chain necklaces for $25 a piece.

If you missed the trunk show, check out the vINTAGE rEVIVAL Etsy shop. There, you'll see even more of what Paula has to offer.  And remember, with customization, the possibilities are endless!

What I purchased...
As you know, I had already planned to purchase a brooch. Luckily, when I asked Paula to hold one of her kilt pin brooches for me, she kindly obliged. Then, I came to find out that it included a cameo pendant! There was no way she could have known I was looking for cameo jewelry. Clearly, the fashion gods told her.


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March 24, 2011


Join jewelry designer Paula Michelle Saturday March 26th for a peak into creative prowess at her first trunk show for vINTAGE rEVIVAL at Per Populus Gallery, 626 W. 18th Street.

The emerging jewelry designer will have her Fall 2011 Collection displayed from 6PM-10PM,  complete with complimentary wine bar and hosted by radio personality Consuella Williams. RSVP is appreciated ( but not required.

Visit to get a sneak peek at Paula's amazing work!

I've already got my heart set on one of her brooches.  But I'm sure you already knew that. *smile*

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March 22, 2011

"Rock the Red" Ticket Giveaway Winner!!

A big THANK YOU to those that entered the "Rock the Red" ticket giveaway!  I wish I could take all of you to the event.

Unfortunately, there can only be one winner. And that winner is...

Congratulations to THE WINDY CITY PEACH!
 (I will contact you shortly with details)

For those that didn't win, definitely consider purchasing tickets to the event so we can rock our red pumps together!

Also, I have a few more giveaways coming up. So stay tuned because you never know when it will be your lucky day. 

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March 21, 2011

[Guest Blogger] Finding the Perfect Full Skirt for YOUR Body Type

For this guest blogger post, I had to reach out to my shopping sista from another mista, Chandra (aka @ShiftC). For those of us searching for the perfect full skirt, she has come to the rescue...

What goes around comes around, and this cliche certainly applies to the fashion realm. Full skirts are making their way back to sales racks around the globe for spring 2011, and this dainty, lady-like trend can be enjoyed by virtually anyone.

In order to select the right skirt for your body type, consider these handy tips:

Petite: Petite framed ladies may raise their eyebrows at the thought of embracing the full skirt this season. Be at ease, dear petite framed women. Just be mindful of the skirt's length. Shun a dowdy and homely appearance by selecting knee length skirts. Avoid excessive prints; large patterns will swallow you whole.

Clockwise from top left: Skirt 1 Skirt 2 Skirt 3

Curvy: If you have a curvy apple shape a full skirt can provide a balance to the top half of your body. Another suggestion is to opt for full skirts that have side or back zippers; front zippers will provide unnecessary attention to your midsection. Pear shaped curves will want a solid full skirt and a funky, fun top on the upper half of your body. If you identify with a curvy hour glass figure you can play with the length of your full skirt. For you, full skirts are best worn with a curve enhancing top. A form fitting top also accentuates a smaller waist.

Clockwise from top left: Skirt 4 Skirt 5 Skirt 6

Slender: Slender ladies can create a fuller frame by opting to wear--a full skirt! It's all about the details. Amp up the volume by selecting overtly full and tiered skirts. Add curves by cinching a belt around your waist.

Left to right: Skirt 7 Skirt 8 Skirt 9

Where to Buy:
Because full skirts are back in the spotlight you can expect them to be at many nationwide department stores. Before spending major bucks on a full skirt consider these options:

1. Search Etsy for vintage full skirts. Vintage skirts have playful prints and eccentric details. Plus, you don't have to worry about running into someone else with the same skirt.

2. Head to a second hand store and pick up a gently used full skirt instead.

3. Find a floor length full skirt and take it to a tailor to be hemmed according to your measurements. Shey of Modesty is Pretty has several DIY blog posts that will get you inspired.

4. Check some of my favorite online stores: Talbots, Boden and TopShop

What's your perspective on the full skirt trend? No or Go?

I’m Chandra and I teach 20 second grade students by day, and am a blogging and social networking machine by night. I blog about modest fashion on MoMoMod—More Modern Modesty.

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March 18, 2011

Toe to Toe: Jesenia Fringe Pump by Messeca

I discovered this shoe on the Holier Than Now blog. The Jesenia Fringe Pump by Messeca ($110) is a definite showstopper. Black is such a classic, year-round color. But the blush pink is perfect for pairing with your Spring/Summer wardrobe.

Which color would you buy?


ChiTown Fashionista mention on IFB's Links á la Mode!

Yep. That's right! We have been mentioned on the Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) site for this week's Links à la Mode. *happy dance*

Check out the full article below. You'll see I'm in the great company of some pretty amazing bloggers.

It's a bloggy-blog world....
Edited by Jessie Thorpe of Denimology
Hi all! I'm Jessie from Denimology and I am happy to be one of IFB's new Links à la Mode editors! In the last couple of years, bloggers are being heard far and wide and across the globe. I am happy to be sharing the locations around the interwebs that interest little ol' me with all of you. Included in this weeks links: how to fake that you've gotten enough sleep to Gilt's Disaster Relief Fund and a first hand account of Target's Go International dress collection launch. Get to clicking and show your fellow blogger's some lovin'.

Links à la Mode: March 17th

Shopbop Wedding Boutique: Jen Kao, Rodarte, Marcus Lupfer, Bridal Jewelry, Honeymoon Lingerie, Bridal Shoes, Bags, & Bridesmaid Dresses


March 17, 2011

Linking Up: How plus-size fashionistas can rock high-waist denim; CFI's new class of designers; The scoop on the Michigan Ave. Zara

  • Jay from Fatshionable shows plus-size girls how to rock high-waist denim...WELL!  (Click HERE for more photos)

  • Refinery29 introduces us to the new class of Chicago Fashion Incubator designers. (Click HERE for more info)

  • Second City Style gives us a glimpse at Zara's Spring collection along with shopping tips for the Michigan Avenue location. (Click HERE for details)

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March 16, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to the "Rock the Red" Fashion Event

ChiTown Fashionista is teaming up with The Red Pump Project again to offer a pair of general admission tickets to one lucky winner for this year's "Rock the Red: Bold.Fashion.Awareness" event!

The event will be held on March 24, 2011, in commemoration of annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  It will also be a celebration of The Red Pump Project's 2-year anniversary.

All ladies are expected to wear their fiercest red pumps while guys are being asked to wear their boldest red tie. The runway show will feature fashion from local boutiques and designers, including 14 pairs of custom made shoes by Eidia Lush!

It will be a guaranteed fun time!

The event details are as follows:

Rock the Red: Bold.Fashion.Awareness
March 24th, 2011 - 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Britten Loft, 1420 S. Michigan Ave (Chicago)
Why: As the ladies of The Red Pump Project stated, "Awareness is always in style"

Click here for more information.

To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment explaining why you want to attend the "Rock the Red" event. Don't forget to include your email address.

For additional entries:
1. Subscribe to ChiTown Fashionista via Email or Facebook
2. Follow The Red Pump Project on Twitter (@RedPumpProj)

Simple, right?

Good Luck to you all!

**The giveaway ends at 11:59PM (CST) on Monday, March 21st. The winner will be chosen at random.**

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Chicago handbag designer Lisa Spagnolo launches "Flea Market"

Over the past few weeks, local handbag designer Lisa Spagnolo has been sending out teasers for a new addition to her website. Entitled "Flea Market", I automatically assumed it would include vintage finds. However, I didn't know exactly what to expect. I mean, Lisa knows her handbags but I was curious to see how she would curate her online vintage shop.

Well, the wait is now over! The Lisa Spagnolo "Flea Market" launched yesterday and is filled with some amazing pieces.

I squealed with delight when I spotted the pleated chiffon skirt, the Calvin Klein dress and the leather pencil skirt shown below.

Although they weren't in my size, I kinda wanted to buy them for somebody...anybody!

The idea behind the "Flea Market" is this: while Lisa is travelling the world finding inspiration for her handbag line, she will also shop the markets for unique fashion and home decor treasures. So, although there are only a little over 20 items currently in stock, I'm excited to see what new things will be added to the shop in the coming months. I'm sure they will be nothing short of amazing.

And speaking of amazing, check out the "Flea Market" introduction video. The model is simply adorable and the music is fantastical! Oh, and you'll get to see that pleated chiffon skirt in action. LOVE!

Click HERE to shop the site. And while you're there, bookmark it for future "I need to get my vintage shopping fix" moments.  I can't be the only one who has those....or am I?

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March 15, 2011

The Scoop: Shoe talk with Nicole Tongson, the CEO of custom shoe company, Eidia Lush

As a lover of shoes, I was excited to sit down with Nicole Tongson to learn more about her locally-based bespoke shoe company, Eidia Lush (pronounced: ee-dee-a lush). Of course, I had to get the scoop on topics NOT accessible on the website. We covered everything from naming the business (which is such an interesting story) to what styles and fabrics Eidia Lush will be offering in the coming months (which includes a few things my fellow shoe lovers will be really excited to hear).

CTF: So, tell me how did you decide on the name for the company?
Nicole:  We went through hundreds of name. Naming the company was actually the last thing we did. I was searching through Urban Dictionary, believe it or not, and I came across the word "Eidia".  It had a really cool definition about this girl who is her own person.  She carries red umbrellas, likes waffles, and has a thing for Mexican waiters. She had such a unique personality and the description was exactly what we're about. We like to showcase individuality, just being the woman you truly are.  And whatever your style may be, we want to make sure that we can find shoes that fit it.

"Lush" was added to describe women who loves shoes...since it is like a little obsession.

CTF:  Is the design studio in Chicago? And is everything locally made?
Nicole:  We have two design studios.  There's a group of designers in the city working on some of the newer designs and prototypes. Then, we have a cobbler studio in California. A lot of our shoes are made in California. We do all of our prototyping here in Chicago. Then, we meet with the cobblers who do the lasting all of the "heavy duty lifting" in California.

CTF:  Wow. Are there any plans to move to California?
Nicole:  Eventually. When we get big enough, we may have to open at least some sort of shop there. With the shipping and cost of materials, it makes sense.  Plus, it's better to deal face to face with the team and not have to fly back and forth. It's not in the near future but eventually we may have to.

CTF:  How long does it take to craft a shoe (i.e. from conception to the final product)? 
Nicole:  If it is a shoe that you went on the website and designed yourself, it takes between 5-6 solid man hours to craft it. If you went through the Eidia Lush Platinum Service, where you're working one-on-one with a designer, it depends on the number of revisions to your designs. It could span over a couple of weeks, especially since sketching and contacting take a long time as well.

CTF:  I see that the styles and patterns you offer are constantly changing.  How often do you add new patterns and materials?
Nicole:  We try to switch it up every 2-3 months. We don't buy in bulk because we want to make sure if you're buying a custom shoe, you're not seeing 50 of them walking down the street. Usually we make 5-6 shoes out of one pattern. Our shoes are truly unique.

At the beginning of the summer, we are also planning to offer leather and suede and more silk brocade.

CTF:  Cool! I'm looking forward to the leather and suede! Which styles are your best sellers?
Nicole:  Right now, the Jillian style is pretty hot because of the platform and box toe. We also sell a lot of the Audrey. I think it's just more of a realistic style. Since I'm 5'9".. and a half *laughs* I wear a lot of flats! So, that's my favorite style, personally. I think that's the style that every woman can wear.

CTF:  I see you accept returns.  Are there any plans to resell them possibly at a discounted price?

Nicole:  This summer, we are adding a section to the site - although, I'm not yet sure what it's going to be called - that will consist of already designed shoes that were returned due to size issues. They will be perfectly made shoes resold at a discounted price. That way, I think a lot of people who are a little uncomfortable designing their own shoe but still want that really funky look can just go on the site and pick something out.

CTF:  Yes! Even as a bonafide shoe lover, the site is a little overwhelming. But I love the fact that there are so many options.
Nicole:  Even for me, I'll play around on the site - because I like making shoes for myself - and I'll find myself saying "I don't know if should I do this style or if I should do that style".  I stare at shoes so much, I just let my husband design my shoes for me. And that way, whatever he picks out…*laughs*

CTF:  *laughs* Great idea! Put the decision is someone else's hands!
Nicole:  Exactly!

CTF:  I noticed on the site that you are currently hiring Shoe Stylists.  What does that job entail? And what do you require from a potential stylist?
Nicole:  We want designers who are personable. You have to deal one-on-one with our customers and a lot of times, they can be very picky. The customers are paying a lot of money for a service as well a product. So, they expect someone to be very personable and very attentive to what they're looking for.  A stylist has to be able to read people's style, although you may think that you wouldn't wear it yourself.  You have to be able to put yourself in their shoes, no pun intended *laughs*. And that's a hard thing to find in a designer…someone who is very flexible and creative. Our stylists also have to be great at rendering (i.e. sketching) because we do all of our own designs. They have to be able to convey them in a presentable manner.

CTF:  Would you consider doing a collaboration or capsule collection with local designers or fashion bloggers?
Nicole:  I would. I definitely would be interested in doing something like that. We like doing local events and we want to get in as many shows as possible, especially since we can do custom shoes. So it's fun to partner with someone who has a sense of style we're really into.

CTF:  I love the fact that you also partner with charities. The custom shoe you created for the Red Pump Project event last year was amazing.
Nicole:  And all the shoes for this year's event are pretty crazy! They're all a version of red pumps but in crazy patterns. I also did some really funky wedges.

CTF:  Nice!  Tell me, is there anything else from Eidia Lush on the horizon?
Nicole:  We are adding four new styles by Fall.  In addition to the leather and suede materials (which will have a ton of different color options), we will introduce a low wooden-heel bootie, a slingback open toe stiletto and two wedge styles - a low heel and a really high heel.

After our interview, Nicole showed me a few shoes that were recently designed by customers and fresh from the cobblers:

I was glad to see the shoes in person and get an idea of how customers are combining patterns, colors and materials to create one-of-a-kind designs. I was also impressed by the leather soles - which, as Nicole informed me, are handmade, hand sanded and hand stretched.

Thanks to Nicole for letting me into her world, if only for a few minutes!

Visit to start building your custom shoe. To entice you even more, Nicole is offering ChiTown Fashionista readers a $20 discount! Simply enter FASHIONISTA2011 at checkout.

P.S. If you're in Chicago and want to have your own personal encounter with Eidia Lush, attend the Red Pump Project's upcoming "Rock the Red" event where Eidia Lush will have 14 pairs of custom shoes walking the runway.  Click HERE for more info.

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March 14, 2011

Taking a break from fashion to celebrate LOVE!

Hello readers,

With our wedding anniversary approaching (yay!!), hubby and I decided to release our wedding reception playlist.  We figured it would be the perfect way to share our love for music and each other! The playlist was created and arranged by the two of us and contains music from a wide range of artists including Jamiroquai, Mos Def, Amel Larrieux, 4Hero, Peven Everett, Dwele, Mary J. Blige and "V".

Being that hubby's a radio DJ, we thought it fitting to also include a little intro.  We had so much fun recording it! It truly shows how silly we are together.

Click HERE to access the link to the "Reception Records".  Our hope is not only that you celebrate the love we have for one another but that you also experience it with YOUR beloved.



March 10, 2011

Jewelry Swoon: Ken+Dana Vintage Scarf Necklace

These funky little numbers are part of Ken+Dana's B-Side Scarf Necklace Collection.  They've successfully transformed vintage scarves into one-of-a-kind necklaces by adding their signature brass b-side hardware.  And it's the hardware that adds a certain edge and increased versatility to these already beautiful scarves.

With so many ways to rock this (short, long, or even as a bracelet), it's no wonder these always sell out so fast - half of the twelve scarves that were added to the site just yesterday are already gone!

Hurry over to to grab one before it's too late. Oh, and throw one in the cart for me. *laughing but VERY serious*

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March 9, 2011

Linking Up: What to wear for a 1st date in the Chi; The Show Me the Blog Conference

  • Refinery29 shows us how to use layers to create the perfect outfit for a first date in ChiTown (Click HERE for details)

  • My good friend and fellow blogger, Kim of The Stylish Life, is the official Communications Director of the "Show Me the Blog Social Media and Blogging Conference"! (Click HERE for more info)


March 7, 2011

A Quick Chat with Tamara Mellon Amidst the Jimmy Choo Splendor

A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy Choo's founder and Chief Creative Officer, Tamara Mellon.  She made a brief appearance at Nordstrom, one of three stops on her nationwide tour.  Upon entering the store, I encountered a group of employees lined up à la Soul Train awaiting her arrival.  Customers who weren't aware of the event were curious as to what was going on. After a few conversations involving me explaining to several women who Tamara is and how she, not Jimmy Choo, is the "face" of the company, she finally appeared.

There was a loud applause from the crowd and then everyone congregated around Tamara to take photos and get their Jimmy Choos autographed.  As I waited for the crowd to die down, I perused the collection.  It included everything from great neutrals to Swarovski crystals.

My personal favorites were the Vivienne shoe and the Lottie handbag. With a tribal design comprised of materials like raffia, suede and studs, these are perfect show-stoppers!

Thanks to Nordstrom personal stylist, Jeremy, I was able to make my way to the front of the line to have a quick word with Tamara. I came prepared with two burning questions.

1) If I could only buy one shoe or one handbag from the current collection, what would you suggest?
2) With the Ugg collaboration under your belt, are there plans for any other collaborations?

From the first question I learned that her shoe and handbag picks are the Clue shoe and the Rosalie handbag (see below).

After taking a look, I can understand why. Both are classic styles that will transcend trends andwork well with almost any outfit. Translation: more bang for that extremely big buck!

In regards to future collaborations, I received a little inside scoop. Tamara told me that she is planning to work with Ugg Australia again. I must admit that I, along with the majority of the fashion world, was not a fan of the first collaboration. I am very curious, however, to see what's in store for the next one. I'm not sure what to expect but I'm hoping for the best...or at least better than the last.

Kudos to Nordstrom for creating a mid-day party that also included a DJ and passed hors d'oeuvres...all in the Shoe Salon. It was a fashionista's dream and certainly a nice break from the norm.

More photos below (shoe lovers, consider this as a warning):

Nordstrom personal stylist, Jeremy J.Johnson (gotta love the colors & pattern mixing)

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March 4, 2011

Linking Up: Lookbook + Giveaway from local Etsy designer, Gabrielle Zwick

Today, Refinery29 shared the Spring Lookbook for local Etsy artisan, Gabrielle Zwick. And thank goodness! Especially since I'm always scouring Etsy for Chicago designers.

Click HERE to take a look at Gabrielle's amazing handmade pieces and find out how to enter Refinery29's custom jewelry giveaway.

Have a great weekend!

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March 3, 2011

Mobile Shopping Chronicles - Coach flats (courtesy of TJ Maxx)

Super cute, embellished Coach flats! Available for a price of $79.99.

*spotted at TJ Maxx (1745 W. Fullerton Ave)
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

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March 1, 2011

A Reader's Request Answered - Hunting for the perfect silver cocktail dress

For this Reader Request*, I was asked to find a silver cocktail dress for under $125.

Naturally, the fashionista in me had to layer my own personal stipulations on top of the original request.

And they go a little something like this:
1. The dress can NOT look cheap - which is easy to do when it comes to silver fabric.
2. The dress can NOT look like a prom or bridesmaid dress.
3. The dress MUST be versatile and stylish enough to be worn on many occasions.

Here's what I found.

The SOCIALITE: Hammered Metal Ruffle Bust Dress by Anne Klein - $111

The GLAM GIRL: Sequin Dress by Jessica Simpson - $83

The PARTY GIRL: Silver Cocktail Dress by Greylin - $110

I must admit, this was a challenging request. It is somewhat difficult to find a silver dress at that price point that looks well-made. But I accomplished it!

What do you think about my picks? Do you have any other suggestions on where to find amazing cocktail dresses at an affordable price?

*If you loathe shopping online or are on the hunt to find a specific something or other, email me at I'll be glad to help!

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Celebrating Black History Through Fashion - My final thoughts

Me, at age 4, sitting in the iconic wicker chair (a photography staple in the '80s)

And just like that *snapping fingers*, Black History Month 2011 is officially over. 

I want to give a BIG thanks to all that submitted photos for the "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" blog series!!

I really enjoyed the switch this year to reader submissions.  It was an opportunity for all of us to share our favorite family photos and stories. It also allowed us to see how, when it comes to fashion, everything comes full circle - from nautical styles to jumpsuits to pussycat bow blouses. 

The history of black fashion is not necessarily much different from that of any other American demographic. For we are all influenced by the same trends. And that, my friends, is why I love the "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" blog series (click HERE to view the entire series).  For it is our similarities that unites us as a people and as a country.

And remember: although Black History month only occurs once a year, you are free to celebrate Black history as well as your own family history 365 days a year.  So, continue to dig out those old photos, share them with family and learn the stories behind them. You will most certainly appreciate the knowledge and self-awareness that you obtain.

As Aristotle said, "knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom".

True indeed, Aristotle. True indeed.

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