Last month (September), during a weekend trip away, I made it a point to stop at Nordstrom because this particular location had a Pop-In@Nordstrom shop inside the department store.
Pop-up shops (as they’re usually called!) are always cute and often meant to highlight underground, indie and upcoming brands and this usually occurs in beauty and fashion. As Nordstrom notes on their website: “Beauty’s whatever you make it, and our latest shop highlight’s the best of what’s next.”
The Pop-In is available online and in-person at select Nordstroms. I was familiar with a few of the brands listed already such as Dazey, Verb, Fluide, ohii, Freck and Act+Acre. (The latter three from Urban Outfitters).
I was interested in the black-owned brands they were hosting, two of which I saw mentioned in a few “black-owned brands to support” lists published back in June.
Following the murder of George Floyd in late May and the increased media attention and activism for other victims (Breonna Taylor; Ahmaud Arbery) of police brutality, excessive force by law enforcement, and white supremacy, from fashion to beauty, interior design to foodies, the internet began to show massive support for black-owned businesses.
Lists upon lists were published online and it was impressive how in the span of a week, how websites such as Fashionista were able to find an upwards of a hundred plus brands to check out and purchase from black-owned labels.
While I thought it heartwarming to see industries and art communities do their part, in their own way, to elevate black entrepreneurs and companies, I also felt sad that is took the murders of so many black people to even get these lists up and going.
We can’t just wait for Black History Month to celebrate black business owners and dreamers.
We shouldn’t wait for the devastating murders of black people to finally show up and give a black-owned label or shop a chance.
But even in feeling that, I checked out a lot of those lists and beyond the obvious mentioning of Fenty Beauty, Pat McGrath, Beauty Bakerie, and Uoma (Don’t get me twisted! I own and use products from these beauty brands!), I was jotting down the names of a lot of brands I hadn’t heard of. Three of them I recognized when I eyed the Pop-In@Nordstrom roster later this summer. But I was likely going to purchase two out of the three because I had already purchased Rosen’s Earth Cleanser during an Urban Outfitters beauty sale beforehand.
I excitedly followed the nice employee from the beauty department to the Pop-In shop on the top floor near the Topshop pop-up and women’s lingerie. Once left alone, I went to searching and ended up buying:
54 Thrones African Butter in Egyptian Lavender + Moroccan Mint ($24)
Peak and Valley Nourish My Brain Adaptogen Blend ($38)
Golde Original Turmeric Superfood Latte Blend ($29)
Now, as excited as I was to get my goods, my Pop-In total wasn’t cheap! Yeah, I know. I was at NORDSTROM.
Following are my reviews on all three of the products I bought and have continued to use since!
54 Thrones African Butter
I’m reviewing this first because I’ve only used it once! And that’s because the African Butter tube is small (1.7oz | 50ML) for what you’re paying for. I knew how small it was, but I let out a giggle once I took it out of its lilac box. It’s about the size of an average liquid foundation bottle. Think Urban Decay’s Stay Naked foundation.
Good for both the face and body, African Butter is luxe and its texture is like a Nivea creme meets vaseline. I know that sounds kinda funny, but trust me! It’s got that slight slip to it but is heavier than a body oil.
It smells like what it is made of too, and that includes jojoba seed oil, sweet almond oil and Ugandan and Ghanaian shea butters. I was especially curious on how the Butter would treat my calves and shins as they are the driest part of my body. I got the strawberry leg thing going on too!
I certainly felt moisturized. But I didn’t use African Butter on my face until later that night, after I washed my face and even after applying a face cream, by face still felt a tad dry. (My skin was going through it that week).
My only complaint for the African Butter is the size. If you were to use this as your main moisturizer every time you felt dry or after a shower, you’d have to buy an African Butter every week or a few at a time, which can get pricey since each tube is $24.
I would suggest either using it once a week, naturally when you feel like it, for special occasions (whatever that may be), or when your skin is drier than usual and you need a more emollient product. And on that last bit, if it’s come to that, you may just want to also reach for a little bit of classic Vaseline or coconut oil.
Learn more about 54 Thrones here!
Peak and Valley Nourish My Brain Blend
Sometime this summer, I picked up a new mini obsession: wellness and herbal supplements of the powder blend kind. My first foray was with the Moon Juice Cosmic Matcha that I bought from Sephora. Like Peak and Valley, it is an adaptogenic blend. And what does adaptogenic mean??
From Integrative Therapeutics, adaptogenics “are defined as agents that support the body’s ability to accommodate varying physical and emotional stresses.” Okay.
But admittedly, I’m still learning a lot about this herb and supplement life. I’ve been lacking on my vitamin intake and I believe I eat enough fruits and vegetables, but I felt the urge by summertime to do more for my health and body. I was even exercising for awhile there. (I’ve fallen off the wagon in that department though).
Well, back to Peak and Valley. I chose Nourish My Brain because ever since the pandemic, it’s been hard for me to concentrate and read chapters of a book, an article, or to watch more than one episode of a television series. (I binge watch no more than two episodes). I’m surprised I was even able to write the three articles I did this past spring and summer. When I read, while standing up in the Pop-In, that Nourish My Brain “Boosts learning and memory ability while protecting against stress,” my response was: “Say no more!”
I’ve had it at least four times and the first three I only had the blend with tea but no sugar. I was thinking I would get the most out of the blend that way, but then I got over that. There was no reason Nourish My Brain couldn’t taste good too!
So I visited the website and there are recipes for the blends. I’ve been trying the Morning Warming Tonic, though it mentions the Balance my Stress blend, not Nourish My Brain. Included in the mix are vanilla extract, honey and almond milk.
Everything is good so far and I believe in the product working towards me retaining better focus. Whether I’m at work or just trying to get through an article that to the contrary I’m actually interested in!
At this point, when I am lethargic and feeling full-blown lackadaisical, I know at the core why that is: the pandemic and 2020 fatigue.
Learn more about Peak and Valley here!
Golde Original Turmeric Superfood Latte Blend
The “superfood” Golde I discovered at the Pop-In, and it was pointed out as another black-owned brand in the shop. While I already had Peak and Valley in my basket, I was in a full-blown shopping mood, and intrigued by the addition of turmeric for Golde’s Original Turmeric blend. The ingredient list was short too, which I thought was a good sign. Included is coconut milk powder.
Described as a “golden milk” on the baggie packaging, I didn’t get the golden milk experience my first two times drinking the blend. I drank it with hot water, as it suggested to take the blend with hot water or hot milk over two teaspoons. After drinking it with hot water, which was so bland, I was like, miss me with that, and chose to try the blend with hot milk.
Wow! So much better and tastier. Especially after a teaspoon of sugar. I’m so much more fond of the product now.
So am I already feeling or seeing results? Honestly, it may be too early to tell fully, but I’ve had no allergic reactions or anything of that kind, and since I was already on a slight betterment and health kick, in general, I’ve been feeling good while taking Golde. As well as Peak and Valley. They’re like healthier versions of the cute latte drinks at your local coffee shops.
Learn more about Golde here!