I know about germs : Empowering little ones during the pandemic

I know about germs I can’t lie, I love fall most of all but wow, 2020 sure has been a whopper of a year, hasn’t it? It’s been the year of the unthinkable. We’ve never seen anything like this. With the changing of each season, I feel renewed hope though Hoping that a vaccine will come Hoping that we’ll get some real change in the political and cultural climate in our country Hoping that we’ll get some good treatments for this horrible virus. Hoping we can get people back to work in some way Hoping we can get out kids safely back learning in their schools. I never thought we’d be approaching fall still dealing with all of this stuff! I’ve got my positive pants on though, and I’m trying to make the most of it. All the bad news can be so depressing for us adults, it’s hard not to focus on the negative rather than take the time to also focus the good coming out of it too. I truly believe the pause in our hurried, busy society has finally given us an opportunity to focus on what truly matters like family, making memories, and the little things in life. If all the bad news can be so overwhelming for us, can you imagine how confusing and scary it must feel for our kids? They may not know how to put their feelings into words so it’s up to us to start that conversation with them mamas! Let’s get the conversation started! recently met the author of a wonderful children’s book called, “I know about Germs”and I wanted to share it with all of you. This fantastic book is written by licensed clinical social worker, Tedi McVea. It’s Illustrated with cute drawings by Noel de la Mora. The book explains, in children’s terms what is happening right now. In terms that are easy to understand, it explains all about how we can all stay safe during the pandemic by washing our hands, wearing masks, and socially distancing. The message in this book gives children ages 2-8 the tools they need to feel empowered, rather than scared during this time. It helps them understand what germs and viruses and how they’re transmitted.. The book explains the happenings in the world around us in language kids can understand and it’s engaging for little ones. They seem to love it and are enthralled in the message. It’s science-based but not over their heads at all. What I especially like about the book is the culturally diverse children in the illustrations. I think it’s important for children to see themselves reflected in media and literature so the message resonates with any little one who picks up this book. Author Bio: Tedi McVea is a Mother, photographer, and social worker. McVea combines her professional training as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with her personal experience as a Mom of three “little bears.” Through various content mediums, McVea brings light to the trials and tribulations that come along with motherhood and womanhood raising children in our current political and social environment. McVea regularly works with other Mom brands to promote representation of all beauty types and strongly feels that when children look to the world, they should interpret open access regardless of their race, gender, religion, social-economic status, or family structure.  McVea’s work specifically focuses on integrating holistic and natural methods to health and healing, acknowledging emotions and validation of the human experience, addressing social issues through the lens of confronting privilege, and building community by bridging gaps through the shared vision of the love of children. Follow McVea on Instagram Check it out McVea’s book:  I know about Germs,  it’s available in paperback and a digital download version on Amazon It is published by Auris Press 

Haint Blue : What the Color ‘Haint Blue’ Means to the Descendants of Enslaved Africans

Haint Blue: In the Lowcountry, the unique shade is both a protective talisman and a source of unspeakable suffering. A lesson in lost US history. Things that aren’t taught in schools. Atlas Obscura- Shoshi Parks A haint blue porch ceiling. Photo by  Lake Lou / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY. (Mama Pacifico is publishing this story on her blog in an effort to spread stories of black history , these are what I am calling “lost lessons” in US history that we were never taught in schools. I believe it’s important for all of us to learn about these things. This story is being re-blogged as part of the creative commons licensing) Beaufort County, South Carolina, a marshy world of low-lying coastal islands, is awash in blue. The cerulean of the skies that darken to shades of cobalt in storm-kissed summers. The blue-gray of the churning Atlantic. The sapphire waters of the rivers and saline estuaries that account for almost 40 percent of the county’s 923 square miles. But while the color blue dominates Lowcountry skies and waters, for centuries it was nearly impossible for human hands to reproduce. Only indigo—a leggy green plant that emerges from the soil in bushy, tangled clumps—can generate the elusive jewel tones. In Beaufort County and elsewhere in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, blue had the power to protect enslaved Africans and their descendants, known as the Gullah Geechee, from evil spirits. But the color was also the source of incomparable suffering. Indigo helped spur the 18th-century transatlantic trade, resulting in the enslavement of thousands. The town of Beaufort, the county seat of the eponymous Lowcountry district, is accented in blue. The elegant riverside town was one of the South’s wealthiest before the Civil War, and one of the few left standing by the Union Army, which set up a base of operations here after its residents skipped town in the Great Skedaddle of 1861. Dozens of antebellum mansions still line the streets, restored to the opulence of their plantation days. The ceilings of their broad summer porches are painted almost universally in just one color: a soft, robin’s egg blue. This “haint blue,” first derived from the dye produced on Lowcountry indigo plantations, was originally used by enslaved Africans, and later by the Gullah Geechee, to combat “haints” and “boo hags”—evil spirits who escaped their human forms at night to paralyze, injure, ride (the way a person might ride a horse), or even kill innocent victims. The color was said to trick haints into believing that they’ve stumbled into water (which they cannot cross) or sky (which will lead them farther from the victims they seek). Blue glass bottles were also hung in trees to trap the malevolent marauders. Blue glass bottles are another haint deterrent. Photo by EricaLianneInglett / Getty Images. While “haint blue” has taken on a life of its own outside the Gullah Geechee tradition—it’s currently sold by major paint companies like Sherwin-Williams, and marketed to well-to-do Southerners as a pretty color for a proper porch ceiling—the significance of the color to the descendents of the Lowcountry’s enslaved people still remains. In Rantowles, a hamlet 14 miles south of Charleston, Gullah families like Alphonso Brown’s painted their homes in haint blue not just because it is customary, but because they fear the havoc that evil spirits might wreak if they abandoned the tradition. Yet not all Gullah Geechee identify with the color’s use. Oral histories recorded as late as the 1930s and ’40s mention haint blue, but a lot was lost when the community became less isolated and more spread out during the mid-20th century. “Haint blue was never mentioned in my family on Hilton Head Island,” says Louise Miller Cohen, founder of the island’s Gullah Museum. “People are saying that we paint our houses blue to ward off the evil spirits. If that was true, all the houses on the island would be painted blue.” Nevertheless, the museum—once the home where her father lived—is painted blue. “Indigo dye is deeply rooted in African culture,” says Heather Hodges, executive director of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor National Heritage Area. So “is the symbolic use of the color blue to ward off ‘evil spirits.” In her book Red, White, and Black Make Blue, Andrea Feeser describes West African spiritual traditions that included wearing blue beads or clothing for protection. “Fetishes,” powerful amulets made out of everyday objects, also often contained blue materials. In some cultures, indigo itself has spiritual significance. In Blue Alchemy, director and producer Mary Lance’s film about indigo around the world, women at a Nigerian workshop are documented delivering a prayer to the Yoruba indigo deity Iyamapo. Haints and boo hags, too, stem from African spiritual traditions—a spirituality in which conjure and color symbolism are essential, according to Rituals of Resistance, Jason R. Young’s book on African-Atlantic religion. Root workers, practitioners of these rituals who often go by the title Dr. Buzzard, were among those forced across the ocean in bondage. Almost 300 years after their arrival, there aren’t many Dr. Buzzards left in South Carolina and Georgia. (There are a few, however, including a root worker in Atlanta whose grandparents chose him to train in their spiritual traditions. “I went to live with them when I was a year-and-a-half [old],” he says. “I was 16 when I quit school to do voodoo full time.”) Yet within recent memory, Lowcountry root workers weren’t so hard to find. In the 1940s, Dr. Buzzard (aka Stepney Robinson) was a fixture at the Beaufort County Courthouse, where he sat at trials “chewing the root” to sway a judge’s ruling. In the 1980s, another Dr. Buzzard (aka Ernest Bratton) shot to fame with his video “Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, You Do,” appearing on Late Night with David Letterman and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Root workers may have mostly moved on from Beaufort County, but HooDoo beliefs still remain. So does the significance of indigo and the color blue in shaping the Gullah Geechee community. Among their ancestors were over 70,000 men, women, and children brought from West and Central Africa to provide the labor required for the South’s roughly 40-year foray into the plant’s growth and production of indigo dye, according to Young’s book. Indigo was first planted in South Carolina in 1739. Less than 30 years later, the colony was annually exporting a million pounds of indigo dyestuffs. Today they would be worth more than $30 million a year. At least some of the knowledge for processing indigo dye came from the enslaved themselves: Indigo traditions in West and Central Africa are at least five centuries old. At the Nigerian workshop Lance features in her documentary, the plant is pounded with sticks that remove and crush the leaves, which are then formed into balls. The balls are sprinkled with wood ash, then left to dry for seven days before being combined with water in dye pits. In Kano, Nigeria, pits dating back to 1498 are still in use today. South Carolina’s indigo production came to an abrupt halt at the end of the Revolutionary War. “The people in South Carolina were producing indigo exclusively for the British market,” says Lance. “So when [the United States] was no longer a British colony, they no longer had that market anymore.” By the mid-19th century, when synthetic blue dye became available, indigo almost disappeared from Beaufort County and the rest of the Lowcountry. Almost. Now a Gullah Geechee movement to reclaim indigo and the blue dye it produces is afoot. As a child, Cohen played among the remnant indigo planted by her enslaved ancestors. In 2016, she planted her first seeds at the museum. “The species that we grow have a peach-color flower,” she explains. Her hope is to grow enough of the plants to be able to process and produce dye to use in local workshops, strengthening her community’s connection to their ancestral past. “I’m interested in learning all I can about the crops that caused my people [the] loss of their freedom,” she says. Cohen’s sentiment has blossomed elsewhere in the Lowcountry too. Though there aren’t many artisans around who know how to dye with indigo, Hodges says that the color “is widely used by Gullah Geechee visual artists and filmmakers as a way of expressing their shared Gullah Geechee heritage and history with indigo cultivation.” The film Daughters of the Dust; the novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo [sic] by Ntozake Shange; and the artwork of Diane Britton Dunham all feature indigo or the color blue. Hodges’ organization is in the midst of a year of events that introduce community members to the craft. The reintroduction of natural indigo dyes, she says, has sparked a lot of enthusiasm. “Many of the West African techniques involve wax, starch, and stitch-resist techniques, sometimes using stamps,” says Hodges. “That can be difficult to teach. [But] we just did a popular workshop that encouraged people to dye African head wraps and scarves as a way of incorporating African cultural expressions.” But as indigo undergoes a resurgence in the Lowcountry, along with other traditions including the Gullah language and foodways, the community hasn’t forgotten the inhumane conditions that led to their arrival and early life in the South. “If [reparations were]* attached to indigo,” says Cohen, meaning if indigo were part of the discussion regarding what the Gullah Geechee are owed for the horrors their ancestors endured, “they would do everything possible to keep the word from ever being mentioned.” This post originally appeared on Atlas Obscura and was published January 14, 2020. It is republished here as part of the creative commons licensing, to see the original article To read another very well written blog post about the haint blue paint tradition in the south, and a DIY porch project, check out Lauren LouiseDesign here.

Weddings In The Age of Covid – Date Changes, Postponements, and Plan Changes, Oh My!

Weddings In The Age of Covid – Date Changes, Postponements, and Plan Changes, Oh My! We know it can be confusing, stressful and totally uncomfortable to have to postpone, change and rearrange wedding plans in light of the pandemic. Communication is key though! If you communicate your new plans, date changes and new arrangements with guests, it will all be okay! We’ve got the best idea for you to relay date changes, and plan rearrangements with your guests. Our trusted partner, Minted, has some pretty awesome items in store to make this part of the wedding planning easy peasy. These samples we’re showing are just a few of the beautiful cards that can can be created for announcing a change of plans, or a resuming of wedding events. You can customize just about any of the invitations, announcements and cards you see on the Minted website. Take a look at these to give you some inspiration (and find the coupon code below that will let you save 25% off your first order on their site!!) Created for you by Minted’s global community of designers, our Event Change designs are the perfect way to announce changes to your wedding plans. All Event Change Cards are printed on luxe paper and are fully customizable. Don’t have enough room on the front? Add a custom backer or interior to include photos and a more detailed message. View all the options  for these postponed date cards HERE *this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my links,  I may receive a small amount of compensation , which I’ll totally blow on my guilty pleasures, Sonic or Shake Shack! See my full disclosure here.   Keep guests in the know with Minted’s event change cards, freshly sourced from their community of independent artists. That’s an idea I can completely support, especially in the age of covid. Anytime I can support artists, and independently employed people, I do. You can view all the options for this very cool save the date card HERE For Mama Pacifico Readers, Use code, ENGAGED25 and Enjoy 25% off any Save the Dates & Event Change Cards (Offer valid through 9/2/2020)  View this change the date announcement card and all the options available HERE   This amazing offer of 25% off these save the date/change the date cards is only valid through 9/2/2020 so hurry, get on over to the Minted site and check out all the save the date cards (view them here) . Have you been planning deep in the throes of planning Weddings In The Age of Covid and unfortunately had to change your plans? Please tell us about it in a comment, we want to hear from you! Don’t forget to Follow Mama Pacifico on Instagram and Sign Up For The Newsletter Here  

We All Have To Start Somewhere

We all have to start somewhere When we own a small business we may not have advertising or marketing budgets (yet!). So I’ll be embarking on a blog series that explores strategies we can use to grow our customer base without using paid advertising or boosting posts. 3 Rags to Riches stories that will inspire you John Paul DeJoria was born in Los Angeles, a first-generation American. He started out his business life selling Christmas cards and newspapers before he even turned 10. He also spent time in a gang. The path ahead looked like a disastrous one for DeJoria. But, instead, he later created John Paul Mitchell Systems using just a $700 loan. He lived out of his car and sold shampoo door to door. Later, he would diversify into diamonds, mobile phones and alcohol; and now has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion. Matt Maloney and Mike Evans, two Chicago software developers got sick of calling restaurants in search of takeout food for dinner, the light bulb went off: Why isn’t there a one-stop-shop for food delivery? That’s when the pair decided to start GrubHub, which went public in April of 2014 and is now valued at more than $7.16 billion. In 1990 Steve Madden launched his company with an initial investment of $1,100, He started out by having 500 pairs of shoes made to his own design and selling them to New York City-area stores from the trunk of his car. after a long hard road of ups and downs, the company is now valued at over $2 billion. The moral of the story is: we all have to start somewhere, right? Most of us don’t have a large nest egg from which to grow our small businesses.  Most of us are over here with hopes, dreams, a little duct tape, and a few paper clips trying to make it all stick together as we get the ball rolling. Organic marketing and social media strategies. Introduction to blog series, explore free alternatives to paid advertising. A good support network is vital to your success. It will be like the super glue that holds everything all together. I’m hoping to use my weekend warrior time to make full use of my keyboard. Through my blogging, I will bring you small business tips, marketing ideas, and social media strategies. Some will be uniquely my ideas, others will be strategies and tips I’ve gleaned from others. I hope the MamaPacifico blog will be something YOU tuck into your business support toolbox as you go forward. Subscribe now to my mailing list so you don’t miss a post in the series. It doesn’t matter if your business is brand new, or 15 years old. Most everyone will find something helpful in my series.  No matter what products you’re selling, or whether you’re marketing YOURSELF most of my ideas will help you refine your vision and get you to look at the bigger picture and think about how you can apply it to your particular situation.  Almost all of the strategies are instantly actionable; and the best part?! 99% of them are free!! Yay!!! Who doesn’t love FREE?! Running a small business is a marathon, it’s not a sprint. This will not be an overnight one and done process. This will be a continuous effort that will require a concerted effort on your part. It will be a one step at a time type of journey, but as long as there is progress, it is progress counted! “We don’t have a budget for that!” I will absolutely have the “we don’t have a budget for that” mindset at the forefront when suggesting strategies for you. I’m not one of those people who will tell you to throw a few hundred dollars here and put a couple hundred dollars into that, because I know what it’s like when you’re just getting started, there’s often no budget for any extras at all. Think of Paul Mitchell and Steve Madden, they started their whole companies on entire budgets of $700 and $1100 respectively. What do you think would have happened if they’d have spent “just” $200 or $300 on only one way to market or advertise their startups at the jump? I don’t think they’d be where they are now if they’d have spent 1/2 or 1/3 of their entire startup budget on just one method. Those men were most likely reinvesting every penny that came in right back into the day to day operations of their business. They had no discretionary or marketing fund, (Yet!  Always remember the yet, all the hard work they did early on, allowed them to achieve success and think of their marketing budgets now!! ) Always Remember the YET!! Today, marketing and promotion of your business can be done with little or no advertising budget at all thanks to the wonderful world of social media. Instagram in particular puts a very powerful tool in the hands of small and large brands alike. The beauty of social media is that it levels the playing field for everyone from YOU all the way to Coca-Cola and the NFL.  It puts all of us at the same basic level at the gate. You can open a basic account on all the major platforms atno cost. My favorite platform is Instagram because of it’s dynamic visual approach. It’s relatively easy to use as well. If you haven’t yet, sign up for a free Instagram account and then follow MamaPacifico. Once you follow us, click to turn on notifications so you don’t miss any updates. We’ll be posting on Instagram and blogging in tandem. Thanks for joining in. Remember, I won’t have all the answers or solutions for everyone. I think everyone can glean something out of what I’m going to share though. What may work well for one small business may not work for another type of business. The beauty of what I will suggest is that it won’t cost you money to try them out, you’ve got nothing to lose. If something doesn’t work for you OR if you get a great response, I’d like to hear about that as well! I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments with each blog post! Just scroll down below and drop a comment.       Don’t forget : Visit the MamaPacifico Shopping Experience and sign up for the mailing list