Valentines Day Gifts to Encourage

Elizabeth Stilwell of The NotePasser is one of the first blogger friends I made years ago and she has been a big encouragement to me as a writer for quite some time. In the past year I've been deeply touched by Elizabeth's efforts to promote diversity and support oppressed people by owning and leveraging her privilege, talent and platform. In a discouraging season, she reached out to me about collaborating and I just couldn't be happier about it. Check out Elizabeth's Love and Solidarity Valentines Day  picks. You should also check out Selva Beat, a fun and beautiful guide to vegan and palm oil free living, where Elizabeth serves as web editor. 

I love that once a year we give each other extra permission to be super sappy and celebrate love. We would all be so much better off in our relationships and society if we gave ourselves permission to do that every day! I created this list thinking about people in my life I love that need encouragement. What if we made it our mission this Valentines Day to think of love beyond romance and truly focused on what it means to love someone? I hope these ideas get you thinking about people in your life that you can show some extra love to this Valentines Day.

Additionally this list features black, female owned businesses. I find it extra meaningful to share this list with you during Black History Month but you can expect to find more curated posts like this throughout the year. For more insight into why this is important to us please refer to the previous post.


For the Friend with the crappy job:

Candlessentials Sweet Earth Candle

I wouldn't advise anyone to stay at a job they hate long term. But sometimes the best thing we can do is hunker down and work through less than perfect situations when they are a means to getting closer to the life we want. I was in that situation while waiting for our adoption to go through. I loved burning candles in my office to boost my mood (and my clients loved it as well!). These candles made by small business owner Tashah Johnson use natural ingredients and sustainable packaging.

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For the friend in a rut:

Becoming Me: A Work in Progress: Color, Journal & Brainstorm Your Way to a Creative Life by Andrea Pippins

Andrea Pippins is pretty much the coolest and one of our favorite bloggers and artists. This is a great gift for anyone who is needing encouragement to dream bigger, get out of a rut and live a more creative life. 


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For the Chemo Warrior:

The Wrap Life Kendi Wrap

I love love love these wraps. I think this would be a really beautiful way to adorn the bald head of a person you love who is going through chemo. And can we all agree to go ahead and just drop the cultural appropriation comments here? If you are going through chemo you get to do whatever you want. There are so many gorgeous wraps from this brand but this one is speaking to me today.The Wrap Life was created by Nnenna Stella in Brooklyn, New York.


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For the friend that deserves to be celebrated:

Birthday Girl by The Pairabirds

Maybe she's one year sober or finally broke up with that loser boyfriend. No matter the reason, we can celebrate the accomplishments of the people we love. We personally own this exact piece and it has been such a fun bright spot in our home. It used to hang in our kitchen and now it is displayed in our babies room. Tabitha Bianca Brown, the artist behind this piece has so many other incredible pieces in her shop and they are all very reasonably priced.


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For the Not So New Mom:

Linea Germania Butterfly Dress

Being a mom is a wonderful journey, but it is also a messy one. I find it tempting to only ever purchase pieces that I wouldn't mind getting destroyed so fancy clothes feel really fancy and special. I love these gorgeous dresses because they are easy to wear and their flowy shape can flatter a wide variety of gorgeous but new and tricky post baby bodies. For larger sizes I'd recommend a beautiful scarf from this line as these dresses are one size fits s/m. 


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For You and Me. Because taking care of yourself allows you to love others well:

Lavender and Wild Orchid Relief Soak

Okay so this one isn't exactly a female led company but I still think it deserved to be celebrated. Started by Sofi Tucker in Sierra Leone, this mega brand is redefining the beauty aisle and I am a huge huge fan. The brand's commitment to ethical sourcing, their reasonable price point, and the fact that you can find it almost everywhere makes this a brand that I can get behind...and if you could see the amount of Shea Moisture products in my home you'd understand that I'm not playing.

Who are you shopping for this Valentines Day? What black, female owned brands are you loving right now? Share in the comments below!