Boss Bae: Rickeya Pryor

Rickeya sits across from me patiently waiting for me to scribble down her previous statement. I am woefully unprepared, but she graciously powers through. Meanwhile I kick myself for leaving my phone at home and scheduling an interview directly after the gym. Tragic. 🤦🏾‍♀️😒

RT: How long have you been decorating venues and helping people to create meaningful events? Do you have help?

RP: Two years now. My mom, sister, niece and nephew help. My mom is great with customer service, and my sister is an accountant. She sets the financial boundaries and makes sure I get paid.

RG: How did you know this was what you wanted to do?

RG: I’ve always had a creative bug.

RG: What are your goals with Celebrated Simply?

RP: Well my goal is to be the first black woman to own and operate a theme park. But for now, I want to start hosting very exclusive themed parties.

RG: What thing did you struggle with as CS started?

RP: Marketing. Getting enough of a following with people to support me.

RG: What do you want a CS client to feel or experience?

RP: I want them to feel like I exceeded their expectations. I want the space to look like we stepped into a themed world with food, smells, and colors.

RG: What’s one piece of advice for an aspiring event planner?

RP: Don’t alter the customer’s vision, but stand your ground. Believe in your abilities. Overachieve.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see a team of creative individuals. I will be booked years in advance! [Celebrated Simply] will be a well-known brand. I want my events to be more of an experience than decor.

I want customized party-wear in Party City or my own boutique. I want to be hosting well-known annual events; haunted houses, proms, and weddings.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

I listen to life advice from mentors. “Don’t try to be something or someone [you’re] not. Let [your personality] carry [you] to where [you] want to achieve!

What’s the worst advice you’ve gotten?

“Go to art school!” I started College in art school, now I’m in debt!

[General discussion about the benefits of community college and how slept-on it is]

Start at a community college, then figure it out. Miami Dade College really prepares you for whatever school you want!

If you could teach a class at any level, what would it be and why?

I would teach middle to high school children a creative business class. The class would teach them how to take their passions and turn them into a business; developing and marketing a business and having fun!

[commiserating about working towards someone else’s dream]

Where can people find you, or how can they contact you?

Instagram. Search for Celebrated Simply. Look out for a couple of events!

Be sure to check her out on Instagram, and if you’re in the South Florida area, hit her up to personalize your next event or get-together. Mention my name for a 0% discount. She’ll giggle.

FebYOUary Lesson #2: Don’t Hide!

It has been many moons since the last time I was in front of a camera. It’s also been many moons since I really felt creative. I’ve been carefully squirrelling my light away under a bushel. I’ve been calling that bushel “adulting”. This immovable obstruction pressed so firmly against the base of my skull that I can hardly get oxygen to my creative cortex.

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I miss my bald head! #goodknocking #usf 

I’m lying. I’m a liar. I lied. I’m hiding.

Out here in the “real world” (a saying that WISH teachers and well-meaning advisors would stop using IMMEDIATELY! It minimizes the experiences of adolescents and students that haven’t yet been thwarted by the pressures of life! #rant) the support of your student organizations and friends just ain’t what it used to be. Bills need paying and passion-projects don’t contribute to your 401k (don’t even get me started on how horrifying a concept saving for your retirement is!). I so often wish I was still her, lil’ Roze, as I affectionately call my former selves. Before the newest updates. The new fears. The grownup challenges. So I hid(e) in old memories relishing. “In undergrad I used to…”

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Look at my smug lil’ no bills havin ass face! 

Sure, I kept up with the blog, but I haven’t been taking chances. Haven’t had as many firsts in the years since matriculation. But I don’t want those parts of me to rust. Spoil. Die.

Somehow conversely, I think I’d been idealizing a potential 24/7 non-stop musing life. Some dopamine-fueled Issa Rae ecstasy dream where I only ever do what I want. Make what I want. Live how and where I want.

Hiding. Hoping. Not crafting or creating.

I want to be more Issa and less cubicle drone worker-bee, sure. But I also don’t wanna have to find individual health insurance on an open market. *gag*

So this is the middle road. Invest just a little more over time. Churn out better quality work more consistently. Collaborating. Saying loudly and proudly what I’m passionate about, and sharing/connecting with others. Taking MYSELF seriously. My talents seriously. Because I don’t want those parts of me to rust. Spoil. Die. Considering my day job, as just that; a temporary gig. I’m not trapped if always have creating as an out.

So here goes something new. I’ll admit I was a little uncomfortable reacquainting myself with a camera. Knowing it would capture my new adult body a little less forgivingly. Knowing that I’m still writing and rewriting my definition of sexy on a thrift store etch-a-sketch.

Heck it!

SaFALLri

Wise Kouture and Roze Goes meet up to create a lookbook to help you work furs, camouflage, (p)leather, camel, and olive green into your wardrobe. Might just be the inspiration you need to put together your Black Panther opening weekend outfit!

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Camo Pants OOTD from Rozeena Taylor on Vimeo. Check out my boo Wise Kouture!

Some faves!

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This one I call “The Wakangregation”!
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Here I’m definitely dubious about the occupants of this sabal palm.
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The Sun is my best friend!
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I am just an icon living! 
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“Don’t make me come down to that school!”
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Perhaps you should speak to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous and, just now, kings are dying like flies!
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Fin.

I’m also considering improv! Took a drop-in course at the Villain Theater. It put a lump on my throat and a race in my heart. It felt uncomfortable, new, perfect! I’ll be back for more.

Check Wise Kouture out in a previous post! Art Basel 2015! Friends support friends.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? What was it? What’s keeping your light under a bushel? Finances, lack of opportunity, time? Share below, because I need more new. More firsts. I can’t be done already!

I don’t want those parts of YOU to rust. Spoil. Die. Eat the world! If even in tiny bites!  Love you,

Roze

Roze Goes Footer

Black Love & Buttah Babez: Beauty Bae

I try to support small business. Especially when they’re owned by snazzy young black female entrepreneurs. Especially in the face of massive consumerism and ritual holiday competition.

My get-ready ritual is a science. It differs slightly depending on the season and occasion, but by now it’s muscle memory. So when I add a new product, and like it, It becomes canon. I’ve given ButtahBabez a try, and I’m so happy I did!

I discovered this guilt-free, ethically-sourced, homemade beauty boutique on Instagram, and was immediately attracted to the sample sale she was hosting featuribg a new formula; “Black Love”. Samples are my way of avoiding goop-hoarding. Y’all know I’m tryna live free and travel light! ::Points 👆🏾 tagline at top of website::



She was fast and courteous. She spoke to the at-the-time ashy, soon-to-be-classy young 👸🏾in me! In no time she had processed my order and my package was on its way!


The packaging was simple, transparent, and elegant; just like her product!

ButtahBabez did not disappoint!

GIIIRLL… THE SMELL!!

Like Michelle and Barack. Like Claire Huxtable. Like Oprah’s hair. Like the Three Wisemen Combo: Gold, Frankincense, AND Myrrh!

THE TEXTURE CHILE!!

Smoov like a whale’s belly. Whipped to perfection! Like rubbing Migos’ “Bad and Boujee” on your neck, elbows, and shoulders. I caught sight of myself and caught an attitude at my reflection. How dare I wait so long to try her products!?

But don’t you worry your dry lil’ knuckles!


BUTTAHBABEZ IS HAVING A BLACK ASS BLACK OWNED BLACK FRIDAY SALE!


Check her out on Etsy! She has even more than BUTTAHZ! She’s got masks, and scrubs, and an assortment of products with ingredients you can identify!

www.etsy.com/shop/ButtahBabezLLC#

Check her out! Tell her I sent you! Probably won’t get you a better price, but maybe it’ll get me a discount!

Roze Goes,

If I love you, I can’t let you be a chalkboard. And I do love you!

Roze Goes Footer

Levar Burton: Reading Rainbow Bae

I LoVe-ar Burton

I met LeVar Burton at Florida SuperCon.

And I cried. Real ugly. Snot and all. Bad. Not a singular thug tear rolling gracefully down my cheek, but an awkward choke-sob. Bad.

I managed to be partially coherent. I did my best to form sentences in front of someone I hadn’t even realized was so important to me.


I stood in line, and it moved pretty quickly. From behind two other fans I saw his prices, and after scoffing repeatedly, I decided I would just talk to him. For free.  As I opened my mouth, my eyes filled with tears.

I’d spent years worth of Saturday mornings with him. For a three-year-old that could read it was like Oprah’s Book Club. The Reading Rainbow was a weekly wish list for the literate toddler elite.


LeVar Burton is black excellence. All in one singular pop-culture era he was our past, present, and future. He was history, literacy, and science fiction all in one breath.


He embodied Alex Haley’s “Kunta Kinte” turned “Toby”, hosted the world’s most diverse children’s show, and starred as Geordi La Forge; Chief Engineer and Lieutenant Commander of the USS Enterprise. All at once he was the unyielding  spirits of our ancestors, a buttress for our imaginations, and the ingenuity and hope of our future.


LeVar Burton was IT for me. And obviously, as evidenced by my tear-stained twenty-six-year-old face, he still is. Standing there in front of my pre-k idol, I cried unexpectedly. It snuck up on me clenching my throat and burning my eyes like an expired 4 Loko.

I loved him. I love him still. He was so effortlessly fly in his linen fit and 90s-magician jewelery.  His brow wrinkled in surprise and confusion before his eyes softened. He smiled and I felt a little less like a freak. He gave me two fist bumps and a handshake.


I wish I could have said all the things that I’ve written here. I wish I would have said any of this. What I did manage to squeak out was a snotty apology peppered with mutterings about the importance of representation and Saturday morning cereal binges. What I should have said was nothing.

He encouraged us to explore our ancestry. He encouraged literacy and incredulity. He showed us that we too have a place in the stars. His show highlighted characters, authors, and children of color. He showed me, me.


But hey, don’t take my word for it.

I love you. Go read books!

Roze Goes

TV Bae: Shonda Rhimes/Year of No

Have you ever been alive on a Thursday? If so, you’ve heard of Shonda Rhimes! A creator and innovator of modern television drama, this MAGICAL BLACK WOMAN is a perpetual motion machine for quotable pop-culture tidbits.

She’s the reason you say vajayjay!

She works every day to bring black, queer, female, gender nonbinary, differently-abled, and all other  of non-mainstreams to the forefront.

Madam Rhimes is a paragon of gained wisdom and earned experiences. Thusly, she felt it fit to leave us a manual. A guide to using “yes” as tool to make better happen. It’s an insightful look into the makings of a literal literary monster, but it’s also a vulnerable examination of a regular person just trying to do and be better.

She is goals. Black excellence. College-educated. Award-winning. Making single motherhood look almost Beyoncé effortless. She makes her ideas, imaginings, mumbles and scribbles real. She’s what I want to be when I grow up. She wants to be Toni Morrison. Irony.

Sorta Summary

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Through a thought experiment straight from the tomes of The Actor Formerly Known as Jim Carrey, she has crafted a richer and more fulfilling life. She simply said yes more often than not and was privy to a slew of new experiences and perspectives.

In realizing [through the insistence of her older sister] that she was on a long-lasting no-fueled funk, she set out to examine and undo all the negativity that had led her that point.


The book is full of so many simple and humorous realizations that can be scaled and adjusted to fit the user.


You may not be a mother or parent, but you know what it’s like to compare yourself to the ever-pressing and present YOU that you think you SHOULD be. You know what it feels like to fall short of the expectations you have for yourself; knowingly or not. Sister Shonda does too.


She tackles the guilt we often feel in contemplating our situations. In critiquing ourselves for accomplishments or lack thereof.

Do I even have the right to complain and feel so dissatisfied? I have two working legs and a freezer full of Ben & Jerry’s! 


She cheers us on and reminds us that women, a particular focus in this book, are endlessly capable if we view ourselves through the lease that we make for ourselves.

My Thoughts

Her voice is so familiar. She sounds like Olivia Pope and Anneliese Keating. Like your favorite characters and friends. Like someone you know.


She exudes a feminine self-deprecating multilayered humor that hints at what she has suffered, acknowledges her progress, and reminds you that she has chosen to make her own way.

In her carefree neuroticism she addresses her weight gain and eventual weight loss, parenting and its struggles, romantic and platonic relationships, workplace woes, and self-care/image. A cookbook for light laughs and life changing. Get into Shonda’s kitchen!


The Takeaway 

Shonda teaches us the framework to ask ourselves the important questions.

1. How did I get here?

2. What am I avoiding or running from by choosing to say no to this?

3. How would saying yes affect my life? Those around me?

4. What do I stand to gain or lose?

Ms. Rhimes’ year of self-investigation has inspired me to look more intentionally into mine and resulted in Roze’s “Year of No”.


I’m a little bit less Lulu Lemon. I find inspiration in sources that are little more Eric Thomas than Iyanla Vanzant. My list needs to work for me.

 


This is my playlist. I’ll be keeping it on repeat till I see the results I want. My calendar year begins on my birthday. I’m three days into my 27th year, and the finish line is fastly approaching.  I’m sharing in the hopes of gaining more accountability partners. Hold me to my word.

I’m really too young to be feeling this old.

I love you,

Roze

Angela Y. Davis: Activist Bae

The morning featured a host of speakers; well traveled women (and one man, my BFF) that gifted us gems from their hard-won perspectives. Each one of them taught us about how women (and one man!) leaders frame ally-ship in the disabled, LGBTQ, and medically underserved communities.

We listened intently and applauded appropriately, but we knew who we were really there to see: The incomparable Angela Davis! With almost 60 years of activism to call upon, she is one of the best examples of what a woman can achieve as an ally, activist, and thought leader.

Needless to say, I was HYPE!

Recalling some of her lived experiences, she painted a vivid picture of the past while gracefully imbuing the future with her personal brand of realistic utopian hope.

It’s possible, she told us, to take what we [women, and women of color] are often given – resistance, racism, sexism, and capitalism – and mold them into narratives of progress. Mold them into avenues for reprentation and justice.

Davis, now 73 (and trust, she look goood), was born in Birmingham, Alabama in a neighborhood knows as “Dynamite Hill”. Aptly named as it was a hot bed of racial conflict that manifested in frequent and gruesome attacks on black families and institutions. It was notorious for fires, bombings, and shootings incited by white residents to scare off black families.

Who would have thought such a rocky start would be the solid foundation for one of our nation’s most prominent thought leaders?

Without her, we couldn’t accurately address some of the gravest ills in our society. Without the language necessary to pinpoint the structural violence that marginalized people’s face, we cannot name and shame our oppressors and their wrong-doings. Language is the framework for our thoughts; a powerful tool in addressing injustice. A powerful weapon in disenfranchising those considered less powerful. Write them out, and write them off.

Davis created and popularized unprecedented terms  like “heteropatriarchy”, “clandestine racialization”, and the now-ubiquitous “prison industrial complex”. Without which we wouldn’t have tongue and teeth to know the horrid specters that wither and steal away many of our brothers and sisters.

Davis counseled us to find our niches in the struggle. To use our gifts and passions in service to others. Perhaps, she queried, that protesting or community organizing isn’t the best use of our particular talents; that our voices may take the forms of paint and brush, song and dance, or pen and paper. But each, she asserts, is necessary. Vital. We’re not far off from a great change, she believes. And although it may not happen in her lifetime, she will be there in spirit because she labored, in part, to create it.

See Angela speak! Watch in 1080p!

Teaching, leading, writing, and always challenging. She is the ultimate #wcw 🤤😍
Roze Goes… crushing

Can I Have an Aaliyah Moment?

Can I come over? Come over… to see you tonight? Nights like these make me wish I had a single bed. That other side ain’t nothin but mockery. To press my forehead up to yours. Sappy eskimo kisses. Inhale kisses on your collarbone and exhale a warm embrace with hands wandering my thighs. And we’ll breathe like that every night; slow and easy.