Happy Black History Month! I know it’s the very last day, but I’ve been working on this newsletter for a while and wanted to share before we head into March. Supporting black businesses is one way to observe the occasion (and obviously not something to be confined to this month alone!), but I don’t want to give the impression that doing a little afternoon shopping is a substitute for… filling your brain with new information.
I’m neither black nor am I an expert on the ways to observe Black History Month, but Black HISTORY is literally in the name—learning a little more about it feels like the least that non-Black people who, for lack of better words, give a shit, can do. I started with the internet route, googling and reading these short bios of figures whose names I recognized (and many whose I didn’t) who I really didn’t learn much about in school. Then I picked up Clint Smith’s “How the Word Is Passed”—a book about the legacy of slavery’s deep impact on this country. I’m still early into it, but Clint is a beautiful writer and I’m learning a lot about the hidden history within some of this country’s most famous landmarks and most mundane foundations.
I’m struggling with the best way to say this, but I’ve been feeling like a lot of people in my orbit—people who once actively cared about anti-racism, or at least actively cared about not sounding insensitive or ignorant about race—have become a bit more complacent or even less thoughtful recently. I’m struggling with how to say it because I’m not perfect either—over the past few months I’ve also felt myself becoming a bit less attentive to these issues in my community and less active than I once was. But whatever I have to chalk that up to—laziness, pandemic burnout, the overwhelming shittiness of our world pretty much across the board at this point—it’s still not something I feel ok about letting slip.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the push to learn and to care back in June 2020 and the months that followed was a good thing. And I don’t want us to go back to how we were before then. If you also feel like you’ve let this slip a bit—whether it’s in terms of speech and thoughtfulness, action and attentiveness, whatever it may be and whatever level you are at—I hope this can be our collective nudge back.
As for the shopping component of this newsletter, I promise it’s here too. Here are a few special recs from black women-owned businesses that deserve your support today and for years to come:
La Botica Casablanca: This was the first candle I ever purchased without having smelled it first. It was early 2021, not particularly a time when people were out and about, plus this brand was brand new to me, but I kept hearing enough good things that I was tempted. Plus I wanted a chic candle for my (then new) apartment, and preferred to support a small business over another D*ptyque or B*redo. This is perfection—a figgy, cedar scent that’s warm and lovely, especially at night. Now they sell it (and some of the brand’s other scents) on Revolve, which is amazing because they’ll get it over to you in two days. Soho is next on my list to try as soon as I’m moved into my (now) new apartment. It seems like a good bedroom scent to me. Hot tip: It’s never a bad idea to have a few extra candles on hand at home for easy gifting whenever there’s a housewarming, or simply for when you run out.
Pat McGrath Lip Gloss (Flesh 4): My first encounter with this product was on a woman shopping in Sephora who I fully walked up to inquire about her lip color. The (very nice) lady said it was Pat McGrath, but that she didn’t remember the shade (bummer). Five minutes later, in another area of the store, she flagged me over to show me the tube she had found while rummaging around in her purse. She insisted I take a picture of the label so I could purchase the right one (and good call, because though Pat McGrath is stocked in Sephora, this particular shade wasn’t). This has a beautiful color, especially for darker skin tones like mine, and a fun, sexy finish for a night out. You can read more about Pat McGrath, who I think is one of the only world famous makeup artists I know of by name, here.
Estelle Colored Glass: Are these not the most gorgeous things??!! I love that they’ve been popping up on more wedding registries lately—they’re great to snap up and gift to a couple you love (especially because then you know exactly what their color preference is). If you’re buying for yourself, how amazing is this mixed collection of blush pinks/smokey hues?! Still debating on my color preference, but feel free to circle back in a month or so if you would like to get me a housewarming gift!
The Coy Collection: I am dying over these cutie pie mugs omg!!!!! I was debating holding out for one of her limited edition drops, but I have to cave—she has a ton of happy designs available to order and I’m in an intense debate between the rainbow mug and the upside down holographic smiley—help!!! Heads up, the mugs are all made to order, so there’s a little lead time involved, but at this point we’re all used to the SUPPLY CHAIN—we can handle it. I also gave her a follow on IG so I can stay on top of any fun drops in the future.
That’s it for today’s recs. I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves in our crazy world. I didn’t even talk about what’s going on in Ukraine in this newsletter, but if you’re looking for a way to help out from home, this is a good collection of places to go from a very trustworthy source. And if you’re reading this online thinking you might like to see more, check out shitiboughtandliked.com for the archives and to subscribe to this newsletter. As always, I’d love to know what you think, what you’ve liked, and what you want to see more of from me!