My ‘Granny chic’ Style Really Comes From My Grandma

My grandmother died of lung cancer in 2008.

I’m the oldest of approximately 15 grandchildren. My family has always been pretty dysfunctional so I hesitate to be sure. Because I am the oldest, and my mother was always the most reliable of her siblings, I got to spend a lot more time with her than some of my other cousins.

My mother hit a rough patch around 2007 when the job market became very tough. We moved in with my grandmother in a situation that was mutually beneficial as my grandmother began to show signs of her health declining.

My grandma with my uncle Melvin – “back in the day”

As a lifetime lover of quirky fashion, I’ve always been really big on chunky, colorful and just fun costume jewelry. That is my jam. Living with my grandmother, she and I quickly figured out that we had this in common. One day I came home from school and found my grandma rummaging through some of her old things. With hands that seemed frozen in time with the painful arthritis she was experiencing, she gifted me a ton of her old jewelry.

My sophomore year in high school, she gave these items to me knowing that I would incorporate them into my funky and 80s inspired wardrobe.

2010 rocking out

She passed away sometime shortly after this gift exchange and in retrospect I recognize that there were many little ways she was telling us that she knew her time was up. Sometimes you just can’t see what’s right in front of you when love is involved.

Over the years my vintage custom jewelry collection has grown monstrously in size. I love it. Some people have an aversion to fake jewelry and that’s fine, if we’re being honest here sometimes I’m allergic but I’m not sure if there’s much that could keep me away from achieving the look.

I want to do more posts exploring ways others could become more comfortable incorporating fun and out-of-the-box pieces into an every day wardrobe. Keep an eye out for that. But today I just wanted to share a little bit about my grandma with you and one the ways that she has made a contribution to the Kristianna way.

Finding the Rainbow (A life Update)

 It’s the start of spooky season and your girl is shook and shocked at how quickly time has passed.

September was definitely a doozy as I decided to get a few more college credits under my belt while the world around us continues to melt. Like tens of thousands of Americans right now, I’m unemployed and trying to survive. When I first got laid off from my job, I thought I’d take three months to get myself realigned and then I jump back out there; obviously Miss Rona had other plans. 

To be honest I feel like choosing to spend my time in college is also helping with my mental health. Having something to look forward to every day, someone expecting me to work hard towards a goal. Honestly speaking I don’t expect October to be any less busy. I’m now in the thick of it with school work, I’ve been really hustling on my social media game and I’m participating in Vlogtober on YouTube this month. For those who are unfamiliar, Vlogtober is when you vlog every day in October leading up to Halloween. I haven’t done a YouTube marathon since my younger days on the platform. It’s still early in the month but so far so good. 

I’ve been having some really good days, some not so good days as well. I had an idea for an Instagram real inspired by my favorite movie the Wizard of Oz. After listening to Judy Garland a couple of times as I created my content, I started thinking about the times over the years that I have sought refuge in the things that I love. There’s been so many times in my life that have felt out of control and I’m a control freak Capricorn so it’s kind of serious. I’ve always found that honoring my childhood self has been helpful in centering myself. Something so simple as sitting down to your favorite move can be extremely healing.

At least for me.

Bringing myself back to myself.

It might sound silly, but I think I’m about due for another trip back to Emerald City.

I’m worried about us,

but I know that we can only do so much right now.

It’s definitely therapeutic for me to have an outlet like this. I hope that if you’re reading this, you have also figured out ways of coping in this moment.

PS. I did a Get Ready with me for this look — Find it HERE

A Woman of the Labor Movement

It’s Labor Day weekend!

For some people this is just another random day off but for the labor movement, this is our moment.

Labor Day means so much to so many people, in many different sorts of ways. To me, this is the time that various labor unions and their members come together across the country in solidarity, brotherly love and sisterly affection. We come together to celebrate how far we have come and what we building in this country for working people.

In Philadelphia there’s normally a parade every year but considering our current situation, you already know the deal. *eye roll*

Sometimes I feel like a broken record but then I always remember that there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard my story.

I wasn’t even old enough to drink when I was first approached by a labor organizer who was organizing my workplace at a casino in Atlantic City.

I’ve always been a very vocal person in the face of inequality. In elementary school I got into a lot of fights, usually defending people who were being mistreated. As an adult I still do this. No matter the consequences. No matter if I’m afraid.

Prior to meeting this union organizer, I had no idea what a labor union was. I later found out that I actually have the union in my blood. I have grandparents and great grandparents that were movers and shakers within their unions back in the day.

This makes me smile.

A woman named Danielle (Dani) pointed me in the direction of the movement and shortly after introduced me to my union family. They showed me a better way to stand up for myself in my workplace and this literally change the trajectory of my life.

The union changed my life.

My entry point into the social justice movement comes from women being verbally abused and sexually harassed in the workplace. It is not easy to work in a casino. Aside from my personal story with sexual-harassment in the restaurant that I worked in, I later on would encounter countless women also dealing with bosses taking advantage of them in the same manner.

As a labor activist, organizer and representative, this is one issue I don’t play with.

When I die I want to be remembered as someone who was a champion for women.

Speaking of women, I will leave you with some links to start or refresh your research on the many Black women in the movement that have paved the way for all of us. There are so many more but these were the first couple I thought of today.

To be a Black women in the labor movement today is to be tough. Not even the union is a perfect place for Black people. Everyday we push forward regardless of the obstacles in front of us.

We are the movement.

Ella Josephine Baker

Fannie Lou Hamer

Marsha P Johnson