Golden Hour

Portrait of a Lady

vintage dress by Diane Freis

“If you look back in history of the women who are most memorable and most stylish, they were never the followers of fashion. They were the ones who were unique in their style, breakers of the rules. They were authentic, genuine, original. They were not following trends.” ~ Nina Garcia

With her perfect curls and effortless style Golden has always been able to make sequins and sparkle the must to every outfit. Golden is the owner and creative mind behind Paper Dazzle custom event stationary. If you have an event from wedding to graduation she’s a great source of creative energy to set your invitations apart. (She has done the invitations for my wedding and most recently my goddaughter’s quinceañera). A business owner, wife and mother of two wonderful boys it’s amazing how she does it all.

I wanted to do a photoshoot as a gift for my cousin Golden’s milestone birthday. Prepping for the day I looked for inspiration from photos by a few of my favorite photographers James Van Der Zee, Carl Van Vechten, and Seydou Keita. We found dresses in thrift stores but many options came from her very own stylish closet. She had dresses from the 60’s, African dresses it was almost overwhelming. We finally settled on a vintage lavender dress by Diane Freis and an African dress that was so beautiful against her skin almost capturing the sun.

What is your perfect day? My favorite day would involve rain, masala chai and a reason to wear something pretty/sparklier than the sparkly things I wear daily. I love Fridays because I like the anticipation of the weekend.

What is it that you do? I’m a graphic designer. My specialty is event stationery, particularly weddings, but I’ve been doing more digital corporate work recently. I’m also a mom, so I’m constantly feeding my children and teaching them how to be good humans. 

Why did you choose this profession? It kind of chose me! One of my first memories of college was meeting with someone about my work-study job. I was slightly interested in psychology, but hadn’t even taken a class yet. The counselor asked me what I was interested in doing and I told her, “I’ve never had an office job. I want to try filing and stuff.” and she goes, “You don’t want an office job. You’re gonna have to deal with huge piles of paper like this…” and she points to this huge stack of files on her desk! Then she wrote down this lady’s number and told me to call her. It was for the Student Activities Director. As her office assistant, I did small office tasks, hung flyers around the campus, and fell into designing the monthly campus events calendar. I faked my way through the software and eventually took a class to make sure I was doing it right. After a few more classes, I decided to I major in Graphics and minor in Studio Art. My graphics classes were in the Technology building, but the moment I stepped in the art building, it just felt right. 

What has motherhood taught you? Patience! I’m probably losing it over the years, though! I’m still practicing consistency. Now that I think about it, I realize that it could easily be the foundation of parental success! It applies to discipline, school work, scheduling, building trust. I think kids are most comfortable when you’re consistent. Consistency is what gets your voice nagging in their ears, even when you’re not physically there! 

What do you like about you? I like that I’m such an individual. I never got trendy clothes when I was younger, so I convinced myself that I wasn’t into name brands lol. I’ve loved thrift shopping since middle school, and that means I get all the unique things. All the gems. Sometimes, I shop in the kids’ department (because I’m cheap) and I laugh and show a random kid when we’re wearing the same thing. I’m 40 and I still wear glitter almost every day. At the same time, I know how to use power tools and like the satisfaction of dirty work. I also like that when I explore things that I enjoy (like baking, styling hair and random crafts) they tend to turn out well.

In the current climate how to you find your calm? I don’t immerse myself in it. These are upsetting times, but hanging on every dumb word I hear only fuels my personal fire. And the way my sanity is set up… I don’t have room for that in my life. I know that everything happens for a reason and that God always works things out for the good. Our society is in a transition, and change is hard! 

So growing up I never realized how great of an artistic vision you have, Who inspires you? I didn’t either! From 4th grade on, my classmates often told me that I was creative; I didn’t know what they were talking about! I’m inspired by other artists. Kehinde Wiley amazes me, and I see strength in Frida Kahlo. I’m just as inspired by local artists and random ones I find on Instagram because they are just out here feeding their passion and expressing themselves. Many of us don’t make the time or are brave enough to put our stuff out there. That keeps me in awe of art, in general.

Motherhood is… love

Art is… passion

Happiness is… love

Women are… love lol Second choice: Strength. We’re like the world’s glue

Love is… patient

Marriage is… 100/100, not 50/50

Being a black woman is… empowering

Beauty is… a glow

Coffee to me is… meh. It’s a treat (with a ton of cream and sugar), but I don’t need it.

In five years I plan to be… happy

Fashion to me is… stirring

Saturday Brunch with Family

panza llena corazón contento

Fully belly, happy heart was the theme of Saturday’s family brunch. Mimosas flowed while the cooks cooked. Laughter filled the room rivaling the noise of the neighbors deck building. This past Saturday we had a lot to celebrate. My husband’s great aunt Ida along with her daughter Lisa came to visit and grandpa Roberto has been doing great in his journey. This past April my husband’s grandfather suffered a stroke which left him temporarily blind and the ability to only communicate is Spanish. Recovery has been slow but he can see fully in one eye and partially in the other. He is back to speaking both English and Spanish. However, that storyteller in him I have come to know all these years is what we all miss. He is still a jokester at times, which is wonderful when you’re having to learn how to manage life differently. We remind him as much as we can of how far he as come.

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My aunt Ida is so much fun and would have to be a favorite of mine (shhh, don’t tell my aunts). My husband and I had her laughing as much as she made us laugh. She and my not so little were inseparable from the moment we walked in the door. Per usual I was again in trouble for not calling or texting enough. We teased Lisa about her fireman, looked at old photos from the 1800s trying and almost arguing about which baby it was in the photo with great grandma Eliza.

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Brunch as total Pacific Northwest spread. My husband made jerk shrimp and toasted baguettes to be dipped into the buttery juice from the hot skillet. My mother-in-law made two quiche, one with crab with corn and the second meat lovers of sausage and bacon for the few of us who don’t do crab. There was also sliced potatoes with melted cheese, fruit plate (those strawberries were delicious) and last but never forgotten the melt in your mouth salmon. This trip was a first of few things for cousin Lisa who’d never had salmon or figs before.

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Chata waited for anything to fall from the table sitting near anyone she could before giving up and lying on the carpet.

I tell you there is nothing more special than Saturday brunch with family………..

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At the Sugar Factory

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday was the start of my birthday week with two of my favorite gals treating me to a brunch at the Sugar Factory. I have no doubt I consumed enough sugar for two days. We started off with drinks, of course. The drinks themselves seemed like a desert. A sparkling cocktail was garnished with hibiscus flower, a yummy caramel macchiato martini topped high with whip cream and for me a red velvet martini with a rim decorated in cream cheese frosting. Talk about a desert!  We ate. We talked. We laughed and poked fun at each other in a way only friends with a long history do. It was a perfect way to end the weekend and a lovely way to start my birthday.

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