blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2019

February 1, 2019

20 Children's Books for Black History Month!

Happy Black History Month!! If any of you have followed my blog or insta for some time now, you know I believe in celebrating our blackness every day, and making sure the girls get plenty of positive reinforcement and normalization of their skin color, their curls, and those that differ from them. While it's true that no child is born thinking differently about another race, they are inundated with messages from society and the media daily - so parents, try to be active as possible in highlighting our differences and the beauty in those differences! As I like to say, raise them to be colorkind, not colorblind. And for some of my followers who still have trouble accepting all of this black pride, or feel like it's not fair - I've had comments on "wouldn't it be racist if I said white pride" - please understand, those of us who identify as Black in America are from a lineage of ancestors who were stolen from their countries and forced into slavery. The idea of race and black vs white is A social construct, created to instill a social ranking order, where whites were superior. So I absolutely think it's ok (and wonderful actually) to have English pride, or Irish pride, or Italian pride, or Polish pride, etc.,  please realize that blacks in this country don't know what country we even came from (we can make guesses of course), but we don't have that history or that culture. All we have is our blackness, something that for much of our history was something that was seen as inferior, so instead we celebrate it. For anyone who wants to read more, I highly recommend Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People, and Ibram Kendi's national book award winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

Alright, with all of that said, let's jump right into some of my favorite children's books celebrating black history, black culture, black hair, and inclusivity! I really hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do, and feel comfortable inserting these positive messages regularly into your homes and schools!

  1. A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (A Child's Introduction Series), Jabari Asim
  2. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
  3. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, Derrick Barnes
  4. Dad, Who Will I Be? G.Todd Taylor
  5. Dancing in the Wings,  Debbie Allen
  6. Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library, Julie Gassman
  7. Emi's Curly Coily, Cotton Candy Hair, Tina Olajide 
  8. Hair Like Mine, LaTashia M. Perry
  9. Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? Patrice McLaurin
  10. Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, Ellen Levine
  11. I Am Enough,  Grace Byers
  12. I Have a Dream (Book & CD), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
  13. I Love My Hair! Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  14. Jabari Jumps, Gaia Cornwall
  15. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Vashti Harrison
  16. Look What Brown Can Do! T. Marie Harris
  17. Mae Among the Stars, Roda Ahmed
  18. The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, Julia Finley Mosca
  19. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, Cynthia Levinson
  20. Yesterday I Had the Blues, Jeron Ashford Frame

All of the books listed above are arranged alphabetically and linked up, just click any one! Please feel free to pin this post or share to anyone who may find it useful! 

January 28, 2019

Our Stay at Four Seasons Orlando

As I relish in a week of a much needed vacation (currently sitting in a coffee shop down the street from my house) I've been thinking about (very) last minute getaways, and of course at the top of my list was a quick trip to Walt Disney World (WDW). Still haven't booked anything yet and I don't know if I will (the feeling of sitting here getting things done feels really good), but it DID get me thinking about where I would stay if I planned a little bit farther in advance. And hands down it'd be the Four Seasons Orlando.

And then I realized I never actually posted about my FS Orlando trip, and you guys had SO many questions from what I posted on my Instagram feed and stories! So, today I'm finally getting around to sharing details from our stay at the Four Seasons Orlando! And reliving it all (it was so incredible).

First, in total disclosure, FS Orlando treated us to this stay. But also in full disclosure, our first trip to WDW where we stayed at Disney's Boardwalk Inn was paid for by Disney (so I'm not loyal to any one hotel, just love Disney in general and whatever allows me to spend quality time with my family there)! And we've also stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (that we paid for ourselves). It's so funny to think that 2018 was our first trip to Disney and we've since been 3 times. And I *think* this year I'll be biting the bullet and buying Florida resident annual passes. We love it. Ok with all of that said, this post will be a summary of our stay at FS Orlando and will 1000% be my own opinion!

I almost canceled our trip, as literally the morning of our stay I got the call I had been dreading for weeks - my aunt, my dad's only sister, and the woman who helped raise me and continued on as one of my greatest cheerleaders, had died. After an unexpected colon cancer diagnosis last summer and a courageous battle, she left us that morning. And I didn't think I had it in me to travel and visit the "happiest place on earth." But I cried at the thought of telling the girls we wouldn't be going (well, I had been doing a lot of crying that morning), and I knew we just had to go. And this trip really did help so much.

So - on to the happy stuff!! If I had a choice (and a bigger bank account) I'd stay at the Four Seasons Orlando every single trip to Disney. I'd say truly the only "con" is the price tag - but hey, you get what you pay for.

To make the most of a very regular 2-day weekend trip from Miami to Orlando, we drove in Friday night after we both got out of work (which was late)! We got into the hotel around midnight, and were welcomed to an incredible room set up for bed, and the sweetest kids robes, a few sweets, and dress-up props for the girls! Also included was a great crib with nice linens and even some baby goodies (leave it to the FS to have a luxurious line of baby products)!

Our suite also had an incredible bathroom that had a touchscreen mirror (whoah now, was suprised to see "Good evening, Dr. Scott" on the screen when I walked in!) and a deep tub - a luxury we don't have at home! I definitely made it a point to soak in the tub, even if the kids still couldn't be bothered by the idea of mommy time lol! The balcony was another huge highlight - it overlooked the Magic Kingdom nightly fireworks! It was so sweet watching them from the comfort of our room one night! I'll share more on the great location of the resort later! 

The rest of the property was just beautiful - from the fireworks chandeliers in the lobby to the magical gift shop, the open terraces, and all of the restaurants!

Speaking of restaurants, one of the most fun experiences at the hotel was the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and his pals (his pals being a very famous mouse couple and a duck couple, I'm sure for some weird licensing thing they can't list them, but the whole gang is there)! Let me tell you - for those spending longer in Disney, this character breakfast gives just enough of Disney characters to feel super magical, but offers a chance to get a break from travel and going to the parks! This was my first character breakfast so I can't compare it to any in the parks or the other resorts, but per a few of the mamas I met while waiting for the bus, this was the best character breakfast in Walt Disney World! Per them, more time with the characters spent, tons of photo ops, and most importantly delicious breakfast. As I said, I can't compare, but the breakfast was delicious and the girls were beyond star struck every time one of the characters came by! We loved it!

From the breakfast we headed out to Epcot (one of my favorites in WDW, especially during Food & Wine Festival!). This was another huge bonus of the FS (especially after having stayed at other WDW resorts) - it's smack in the middle of Magic Kingdom and the rest of the parks, so the bus rides to any of the parks really don't feel long at all! And yes,  the Four Seasons is located inside the WDW area (a question I got a lot) and the buses work just like the other resort busses! Except for a few MAJOR upgrades - first and most importantly - the bus doesn't require that you fold up your stroller to bring it on - in fact, the driver will just place your open stroller in the bottom luggage compartment. For anyone who has used the buses to get around WDW, you know this is one of the hardest things (especially if you have multiples) - having to take your kid(s) out of the stroller, empty stuff out, and then fold it in record time! Such a hassle and I was so thankful to not have to do this each time we got on! As a bonus, the seats are fabric and cushioned and there are TVs inside playing Disney movies (think Greyhound bus vs public bus).

We spent all day at Epcot and made it home in time for baths, nighttime chocolate cookies, and the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our balcony. This reminds me - at Four Seasons you can still enjoy WDW Resort perks like extra magic hours (when the park either opens an hour early or stays open later only for select guests - definitely a nice way to experience the parks)! On top of it you can book package deals with WDW and basically just get all of the same perks as staying at any of the WDW resorts!

The next day was already our check out day (like I said, we tried making the most of a very normal 2-day weekend), but we woke up early and made our way to the pool! Seriously jaw-dropping. I loved the kids pool and its fountains (did I mention there's also an adults-only pool?? The only one in WDW and much needed if you're spending more time there - it looked heavenly)! Floating down the lazy river with my clan was definitely a highlight of the trip! We worked up quite an appetite and enjoyed a delicious meal poolside (the PB&J and pizza were huge hits with the kids and I devoured my fish tacos)!!!

All in all the trip was incredible, and I loved chatting with the other parents who really felt this was the best resort in all of WDW. I definitely have to agree with them, and can't wait for our next trip!!

PS - for more of my Disney park tips, check out this article I wrote for Disney Family!

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