Book Review: Colored People-A Memoir By Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Book Review_ Colored People -A Memoir By Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


One Sunday I met with my cousin for lunch at D’Bronx Pizza down on 39th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. After we said our goodbyes, I was anxious to get across the street to one of my favorite bookstores in the city, Prosperos. I think my husband and I discovered this little spot, oh probably when we were dating about 12 or years ago. It’s a quaint little bookstore with a variety of books and a basement with books as well (side note: they have Plexiglass on the first level where you can see the basement through the floor. I’m not sure why that’s cool, but I like it).

Anyways, I decided to venture into the basement where I discovered a section for Autobiographies. I personally love reading about other peoples lives, so this is a section I usually frequent in the library or bookstore. Plus, I had just finished Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming” the month before and was still in the mode of learning about others.

While browsing this book stuck out, “Colored People”. I thought to myself, what an odd title. ‘Cause in 2019, we wouldn’t dare use that term to describe ourselves. As long as I’ve been alive we have referred to ourselves as “Black” or “African-American”, maybe even
“People of Color”. Any Black or other wouldn’t dare use that term, unless they were looking to get knocked out, right? Then I saw who it was by and I got it. Immediately, I decided that was my read for the month.

I have watched many episode of “Finding Your Roots” hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS. It is show that actually prompted me to do some of my own research on my mother’s mom’s side of the family, which I didn’t know too much about (side note: this is my grandma Alice, who if you read this blog you know I talk about her quite often and I named one of my vintage shops after).

It’s quite interesting to find out where your family comes from and your heritage. In addition to that, I enjoy reading about, as well as, learning about black history and how things were “back in the day”. I guess that may have something to do with what I do for a living with vintage stuff. It’s just intriguing!

The book is a memoir about Mr. Gates’ life, a vivid walk down memory lane and a brief telling of how blacks have went from being called the N-word, to “Colored”, to “African-American”, to “Black”. It’s also a tale of how racism existed even in this small town and how color-ism existed in his own family with the Coleman’s (his mom’s side of the family) and the Gates’ (his dad’s side).

Mr. Gates grew up in the mill town of Piedmont, West Virginia during the 50’s and 60’s. Obviously a time of segregation. He recounts a relationship with a white girl he had liked since elementary school and how dangerous it was to be seen together when they started dating even in the early 70’s. His tales of his mother pressing hair,  and the double meaning of what the “kitchen” is for black folks. For me the way that Gates, Jr. tells these stories I would liken to the way my Dad tells stories.

His descriptions of different uncles and aunts, local neighbors and town people are so vivid you can almost see the person. Descriptions of Family Reunions, Sunday Dinners, how to make an old school du-rag out of pantyhose, faith and (“gaw-duh”) as well as, learning about taboo subjects like sex from your Barber were some of the highlight of his upbringing.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It made me laugh and think. It was a good description of small town fun and how black families were and still are in many aspects. It was definitely relate-able for me.

Great read.

To check out what I’m currently reading, follow me @nicolealicia on Good Reads!

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Mommy Struggles: Living Up To Our Mother’s Expectations

Mommy Struggles_ Living Up To Our Mother's Expectations

My house is a mess.

It seems that I clean up one room and the next gets messy. Then magically, while the house is getting dirty, a mountainous pile of laundry has appeared out of thin air.

It’s a never ending battle!

Yet, week after week, while still working on my shops Blu-83 Vintage and Dear Alice Company , I some how manage to tidy up and have a functional home.

Many times when my mom decides to come over, isn’t up to her standards? I get the “you just let dishes pile up like this?” or the infamous “why are all these clothes just piled up and not hung up?”

While washing dishes the other day, I began to contemplate as I was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes and mess in our kitchen. Do you ever stop to think, “How on earth did my mother do all this?”

giphy-downsized (2)

My mom was not a stay-at-home mom my entire childhood, but worked off and on outside the home. Our house was almost always clean. Everything had a place, clothes were folded and put away and our sink hardly ever over flowed with dishes.

Then I took it back one more step, my Grandma Alice, my mom’s mom…her house was never ever dirty (well until she had 4 grand-kids…my cousins messed it up for me LOL). My mom has always told me stories of how my grandma kept a clean home, cooked and worked as a nurse with 3 kids and without the conveniences of today. (I don’t know about y’all but my calendar on my phone is a lifesaver and pick-up grocery service too. I don’t think they had that in the 60’s)

They didn’t have a dishwasher, nor did my grandfather ever help out (because that was “women’s work” to him).

Sometimes I can’t help, but wonder am I doing this right? Could I be doing more? I know I strive to keep a clean home, but let’s be honest ladies….it’s down right exhausting sometimes!

Are there any mom’s out there who can relate?


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Why Non-Entrepreneurs Will Never Understand You

Why Non-Entreprenuers Will Never Understand What You Do

Back when I graduated in 2006, from College the term entrepreneur was something foreign to me.

As an elective I took this class on Entrepreneurship. I had been taught that you go to school, get a job and work doing something you may hate for the rest of your life (or whatever job paid well).

The thought of being an entrepreneur never really came into play as a “do-able” thing until I started dating my now husband. He was from a family of entrepreneurs, so it was just in him. His grandmother had her own salon, an uncle of his had a shoe shining business and my husband (boyfriend at the time) was a graphic artist and had a business.

The thought of actually doing something “you love” and getting paid for it was a fairly new concept for me and hard to grasp. I had always loved writing and wanted to go into Journalism or major in Creative Writing mid-way through College, but decided I was not about to change majors to be in school another 1 1/2 possibly.

My mindset was just totally different than it is today.

Those that I speak to usually about my vintage shops on Etsy or being a writer, usually have that far off mindset that I used to have. Or to them, it’s like that’s a nice hobby.

However, sadly it’s usually those closest to you who just won’t get it.

Even if you break it down to them, it’s still usually such a far-fetched, far out sounding thing for them. Some may even think you’ve lost your mind.

Although I have two shops, am working on a second novel (I self-published the first back in 2017) and blog I still get from family and friends. “Hey are you still doing that thing with old stuff?” or “Are you still doing you’re writing thing?”

I may have a handful of people who really get and support what I do. It used to bother me that some family and friends didn’t take me seriously, but now nearly 2 1/2 years into it with my vintage shops (Dear Alice Co. and Blu-83 Vintage) and after being a blogger for nearly 10 years now it doesn’t bother me as much.

Being an entrepreneur is truly a mindset.

Some people will get what it is you’re doing, some people won’t.

Yes it’s a struggle. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, I have a College degree and could easily apply for jobs in the field I majored in.

But at the end of the day, If you love what you do and you’re happy….that’s really what life’s about isn’t it?

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Loosing Grandma’s House, Gaining Treasures (1)


The ladder part of 2018 really got to me for real on an emotional level.

I started loosing direction as far as what I was doing business wise and started trying to think too much.

I know some of you maybe wondering why I fell off the face of the earth and stopped blogging all of a sudden. Well, I’m about to explain, a little…

Running an online business or in my case, businesses is far from easy!

On top of  all the “life stuff”, I had going on, I had received my first discouraging remarks from a customer on one shop after nearly 2 years of only positive remarks. For me this was so hurtful. Not only as an entrepreneur, but as a woman I think I took it too personal.

Then in September, I received a call from my Uncle stating that my grandparents house was to be foreclosed on and we need to go get stuff out, before a certain date in mid-September. But, before I go forward, let me back up and give you the history.

In 2004, my grandmother started having trouble staying awake. She was tired all the time and went to the doctor finally. They determined she needed to have a stint put in her heart, which was supposedly a routine operation, but unfortunately she never recovered and passed away July 5th, 2005.

My grandfather had been still living in the same house, but in the earlier part of 2018, it was determined that he couldn’t take care of himself any longer and the house had a mold problem to which was a health hazard.

Dear Alice Company is a vintage home decor and collectibles business, which is named after my maternal Grandma, Alice Roberts. Largely because of her home and all of the cool things I’d find and pretty things stored in her China cabinet I became to be a true lover of old stuff (aka vintage).

1970’s Daisy Chain Correlle Mug and Plate from Nicole Alicia’s personal collection

Going back to that house after my Grandma had passed was the worst!

I had spent so much time at my Grandma’s house as child. I practically grew up there. There was so much I was going to miss. From the swing set in the back yard to the upstairs room which I used to go and play video games.

Largely I felt that the house died, when my Grandma passed.

Unique Glasses 2 of which were from my Grandmothers house, the other two I found at a thrift store!

Because of my Grandfathers health and mental condition, the house was not kept up and long story short was foreclosed on.

Thankfully, I was able to keep many of the treasures from her house, but many of them did get left behind sadly.

My grandmother had a collection of cute little Salt & Pepper Shakers, this is just one pair I thought were cute approximately from the 50’s that may have been my Great- Grandma Reba’s

I’m still sad about the loss of what used be a beautiful home.

Now every time I pass it, I get a very reminiscent feeling of what was yesterday and I remember the great times I had at 4287 E. 62nd Street.

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Halloween Then Vs. Now

Halloween Then Vs. Now

I was born in the 80’s. A carefree time where life consisted of Smurf Cartoons in the morning and watching Ninja Turtles when I got home from school. Recess was the highlight of my school day.

Being an only child wasn’t lonely for me all the time. I made up imaginary worlds, drove my dolls around town in my pretend car, with a Frisbee as the steering wheel in our plaid love seat in the living room of our cozy apartment.

Back then Halloween wasn’t really a big deal with my parent. I wasn’t forced to go to “Hallelujah Night” at church, thank God. My Mom said I could pick out whatever costume as long as it wasn’t something like a witch or a devil or something super scary. So, I got to pick my costume, paint my face and went to something here in Kansas City at the Mall called “Trick-Or-Treat Village”.

It was exciting for me, they made a little village in the mall, painted it to look like little houses and people dressed up to hand out candy. Simple!

Because we lived in a an apartment complex and my grandparents didn’t live in a good neighborhood, going door to door to Trick-Or-Treat just wasn’t a great option at that time. When we moved to a house when I was about 10, my dad took me to a few houses around the neighborhood, but being in the cold and dark really wasn’t my thing.

Anyways in short, Halloween was enjoyable for me. My parents didn’t go all out and it wasn’t a big deal to me.

I got all the candy I wanted. Didn’t have to share with any siblings.

Although, somehow my candy stash would dwindle down mysteriously with out me knowing it (thanks mom and dad).

However, now as a parent of a 4 year old, for the past couple years we go to a few Trunk-Or- Treats. We live on a street that doesn’t have very good lighting after dark, so not many of the kids come our way.

My husband on the other hand, Halloween was a bit different for him. Halloween was a big deal in their house, because both him and his sister had October Birthdays. He went door to door to Trick-Or-Treat, and wants to go here there and everywhere to Trick-Or-Treat with our son.

In past years we haven’t had the best luck. Either people just aren’t handing out candy or they are out taking their kids Trick-Or-Treating.

I’m not a fan of door to door Trick-Or-Treating, really. For safety reasons and personal reasons. For that my husband thinks I’m super weird.

So what if I don’t want to be out in the cold and dark to get candy, I’d rather stay here handing out candy, watching scary movies and eating pizza.

How do you guys do Halloween? Is it different than when you were growing up?

Until next time…

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month (2)

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. More specifically recognized on October 15.

This is a subject I know all too well, unfortunately.

My husband and I have 5 angel babies, 4 miscarriages and one stillborn son.

Loss is a odd thing.

People will say all kinds of things that are supposed to be comforting, but most we’re more hurtful than anything.

Like the time I was asked if I was attending a baby shower for a friend of my husbands less than a month after we had loss our son Nicolas who was stillborn.

I am aware most just don’t know, what to say or are just unconscious of the things that may come out of their mouth at this time.

I still grieve for the babies we lost.

Although our first loss was almost 10 years ago and our most recent was a little of 2 years ago, everything seems so fresh.

Healing is different for everyone.

Earlier this Summer, I started writing a memoir about my journey to motherhood which has been a very interesting one.

I believe the more we share our stories, the more we may be able to help one another.

Until next time,

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Waiting For The Perfect Moment

Waiting For The Perfect Moment


As I am writing, my guys are taking a late nap at 5pm on a Saturday eve.

My husband has had a pretty long week and so have I. My son, is sick….again for the 3rd time in the last 2 months!These up and down temperatures of our mid-western Fall weather do him in something terrible!

However with myself, I haven’t been feeling 100% this week this week either.

I’ve been struggling with running a household, keeping up with my son’s school activities and running two businesses. I won’t lie, writing has been tossed to the side…once again.

This is the first chance I’ve had to journal this week.

As a mother and a wife, I often am searching for time by myself to write.

I am often waiting for the perfect moment.

A moment of quiet, of seclusion and solitude.

Does anyone else out there need to be completely alone sometimes to write?

Until next time…

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When God Leads You Somewhere Else

When God Leads You Somewhere Else

I started off this year with this idea for my second fiction novel.

I had been setting goals and deadlines for myself, as all good writers do.

I plotted and tied.

Then I wrote.

Then researched.

I got to the end of the first four chapters and just couldn’t go any further.

Something just wasn’t working. Something was missing.

Seemed like the more I tried to tie things and figure out what the meaning of the story was an plot, the more I couldn’t.

I had another story on my heart for awhile, but didn’t really work on it. A story that is very near and dear to my heart.

The story of how I been came a mother after having miscarried more than 3 times and going through a very difficult pregnancy with my son who is now 4 years old.

I was hesitant because although the birth of my son was very emotional and I still cry about it. But it’s how God revealed things in this journey I feel I should share with other women.

Although it has taken roughly 8 months to listen and respond to what God has put on my heart, I am actually acting upon it now. (Stubborn, I know)

I only have a few pages written right now, but I hope to publish it next Spring.

Sometimes we have to shift gears I guess.


Until next time….

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