Quincy Square Winter Market

Quincy Square Winter Market Logo

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year already, but Happy Holidays! Next week is Thanksgiving and it’s quite late at that.

I was so happy to learn that Quincy is going to have its own winter market! While I didn’t grow up in Quincy, I’ve lived here for so long that it’s definitely one of my hometowns.

This city is growing and changing in so many ways. Having a winter market where we can easily support small businesses is a welcome addition.

The Quincy Square Winter Market features artisans from the South Shore including, glass, jewelry, local retailers, leather, crafts, gifts, art, nonprofit organizations and more.

Opening day is Friday, November 29, 2019, 4pm – 8:30pm at 1469 Hancock Street. The winter market will be open through December 21, 2019 on select days.

Thursdays and Fridays, 4pm – 8:30pm

Saturdays, 12pm – 5:30pm

Sunday, December 1st and Sunday, December 22nd, 12pm – 5:30pm

There will be live music on Fridays and Saturdays and a Beer Garden by Widowmaker Brewing each day!

Vendors to date:
Back on the Rack
Blue Butterfly Wellness
Boston Cannons
Caryn’s Corner / Coffee Break Cafe
Church Street Brewing Co
Designed by Yuliya
E & T Ceramics
Grandasia Bridal, Prom & Fashion
JAT Creations
Kathleen Lesko
Littlefield Salon
Made with Love Creations
Marji’s Ocean Art
Mercedes Harris Shop
METTA Wellness
Miam Miam Macaronerie
Milton’s Billion Backyard Bee Project, Inc.
My Friends Call Me Martha
Personal Letter Art
Piper Dee Naturals
Smoking Goat Arts LLC
Stella & Dot
The Classic Closet Boutique
The Gifted Heart
The Mad Strapper
The Mutt
The Power of Positivity
Townie Frozen Desserts
Tribute Products
Twisted Knits
Vedic Botanicals

Check out the Quincy Square Winter Market Facebook page for more updates!

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Credit: Logo and vendor list from Quincy Chamber of Commerce website.

Boston Black Restaurant Challenge: What You Should Know

Have you heard about Boston’s Black Restaurant Challenge? It began on the first of February and ends tomorrow.

The challenge is to eat at four black owned restaurants in Boston during the month.

February is Black History Month and a great time to learn about the past. But it’s also a great time to learn about what’s happening now — and take that knowledge and use it to plan for the future.

So what do you do when the month is over? What if you missed the challenge?

Keep on or start supporting these small businesses! Now we have a great restaurant list.

Let’s be real. February is the shortest month of the year. In Boston, it’s filled with snow, ice, cold and generally blah weather. This year, the flu kicked into high gear and many people were sick.

But now we’re moving into March. There’s more daylight. Warmer temperatures. At least for me, the better the weather, the better I feel. So, I’m more inclined to venture out. I’ve tried a few places on the list already and I’m looking forward to trying some more.

Something else to know about the Black Restaurant Challenge is that it’s not just in Boston. Many cities around the country have been promoting Black Restaurant Week for the past few years and more are joining in.

Now this is a tasty trend that I hope keeps growing.

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Image: Boston Black Restaurant Challenge


15 Black Owned Beauty Brands

Black Owned Beauty Brands

Cannot believe that Thanksgiving 2017 is already a thing of the past!

Well, today is Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday is coming up in a couple of days. So we’re officially in holiday shopping season! With each purchase we make, we are also showing who and what we support.

Supporting small and local business is important to me. And being a Black woman, I like to support women, Black people and other Black women in particular.

After Retweeting a list of black owned lingerie brands by She Tweets Truth, Izzie responded asking  if there was a similar list for cosmetics. I had already been thinking about possibly blogging a list like this, but our Twitter conversation pushed me to do it.

Izzie mentioned Juvia’s Place and I learned about Faith’s Naturals from my cousin. While searching, I found a few lists from prior years and a post that seeks to correct some of those other lists. There are companies that focus on Black beauty products, but are not Black owned. Some of these companies are mistakenly listed as having Black ownership.

It’s easy for this to happen, because sometimes they may have originally been Black owned, but the Black founder no longer has a controlling interest or the company was sold outright to another company that is not Black owned — like what happened with Carol’s Daughter. Lisa Price founded the company, but in 2014 it was sold to L’Oréal USA.

From what I can tell, these companies listed below are currently Black owned in 2017. But who knows how things will change in the future? So if you’re reading this list in 2020, you might want to double check the ownership.

Also, I found that some of the companies in other listings no longer seem to exist. I figured with my new additions and corrections, another list would be helpful to me. Hopefully for you too!

This list is certainly not all inclusive or the end all of lists, but it’s a start. Happy shopping! Oh and there are actually 16 brands, because an additional one was added soon after the post was published.

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Danessa Myricks Beauty

Faith’s Naturals

Ginger + Liz

Glow by Melodye

Gold Label Cosmetics

Hanahana Beauty

Jacque Mgido Cosmetics

Juvia’s Place

KA’OIR Cosmetics

Laws of Nature Cosmetics

The Lip Bar


Mented Cosmetics

Pink Stiletto Cosmetics

Plain Jane Beauty

Vera Moore Cosmetics

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Image Credit: Collage created from Hanahana Beauty, MDMflow and Plain Jane Beauty website photos.

Nift: You Got Me Miffed

Colorful circles in shades of red, green, orange and yellow, on a Nift Neighborhood gift card.

Have you heard of Nift? I hadn’t until this past fall when I received a Nift card as a gift.

When I went to the website to redeem my gift, I was very excited. According to the face of the card (see picture above) I would have $50.00 or more to spend. The “or more” should have put me on notice that something might be a bit off.

Anyway, Nift seems more business focused than consumer friendly. It’s a way of introducing local businesses to consumers. Which is actually a great idea.

But most of the suggested businesses weren’t that easy for me to get to in my normal day to day routine and I wasn’t that interested in the merchandise of many of them. However, there was one suggestion for a place that I had planned on going to anywayChill On Park. A new ice cream shop in Dorchester.

Within days of activating my card, I planned to meet a friend there. I arrived first, during their normal Saturday business hours and they were closed for some reason. Maybe Thanksgiving? I don’t know.

But my friend and I had to find another place to go, so we went to Dot2Dot Cafe, which was very close by and a place we had been to before and really enjoyed. I had planned to blog it, but never got around to it.

Anyway, back to my being miffed by Nift. You should note that Nift expires very quickly. I activated it around November 17, 2016 and the expiration date was December 22, 2016. It was only good for a little over a month. That seemed odd to me. And rather unfair.

It was my understanding that in Massachusetts, gift cards are good for at least seven years. This is true, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. I emailed Nift’s customer service about this and received the following response.

Thank you for reaching out! We are well versed in gift card law. If the gift expires any funds if paid are returned. If you have any questions about this, please refer to our Terms of Service.

I just extended the expiration date of your Nift to March 1st, 2017, so you can now use it at Chill On Park, in Dorchester. You can also find again your gift certificate here. After having used your gift, click on the “Redeem in Store” button. This lets Nift know that you’ve used your gift. We will then send you a new gift code, via email, including your residual value.

Please let me know if you have any other questions, and enjoy your gift!

Based on my understanding of their TOS, the business that purchased the Nift card is the customer, not me, and any money left on the card after the expiration goes back to the purchaser.

I didn’t get a chance to use Nift by March 1st either, so I sent another email and received another extension until March 30th.

You can probably see where this is going. I didn’t get a chance to go by March 30th either. When I sent another email, I was told that there were no more extensions.

Then I received an email stating that my “gift” had expired and would I please give some feedback. I told them that I didn’t have a chance to use it.

It seems to me that if you really want people to use a gift card, they should have more time to use it. It’s probably why Massachusetts state law allows at least seven years for gift certificates to be redeemed. Four months is hardly enough time. Especially when that time is the winter. Oh well.

For anyone considering buying Nift for their customers, buyer beware.

Amplify: Innovative Food Businesses in Boston

A collage of foods, from Amplify in Boston, which focused on food innovation.

Amplify, was a food event put on by Branchfood to showcase innovative food businesses in Boston. This post has been a long time coming, since it took place back in early May. Time flies!

At Amplify, I met Helen Rennie, founder of Helen’s Kitchen Cooking School and later learned about New Grounds Food co-founder Johnny Fayad. For some fun reading, take a look at the You Pick Six interviews with both of them when you get a chance.

Other ideas (recipe creations) I had for a post never came together the way that I intended. But I really like several of the companies and want to make sure that I share some of my favorites. They are all local companies, so supporting them is a great way to buy local! I’ll go in order that they are displayed in the picture above.

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Veggie Fries are the result of a family trying to find a healthy, but similarly tasty and crispy alternative to frozen French fries. Along with potatoes, they mix in vegetables with herbs, spices and sea salt. Veggie Fries are “vegan, Non-GMO certified and free of the top 8 allergens including gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat.” I think they succeeded and very much enjoyed eating them.

Curio Spice Co. was founded by Claire Cheney. She travels the world sourcing directly “from farmers and producers, using the highest standards in organic and fair trade agriculture.” She has several unique blends, including one made with flowers. All the blends are made of freshly ground whole spices that are packaged in beautiful vintage style tins.

Minus the Moo makes lactose-free ice cream. It’s delicious! Even though it’s made with dairy, it’s safe for those who are lactose intolerant. It’s made with the lactase enzyme. Co-founder Katy Flannery is lactose intolerant herself and missed sharing ice cream with family and friends. She’s also a pediatric intensive care nurse, so she used her health science background to experiment with different recipes and formulations. The rest is ice cream history!

EHChocolatier makes handcrafted artisan chocolates. Elaine Hsieh and Catherine Sweeney met in 1999 when a mutual friend brought them together to make her wedding cake. They remained friends and opened their business in 2010. Their small batch chocolates are pretty little works of art that you can eat. A very special chocolate that you could put on your own pillow as a treat before you drift off to sleep.

Gutsey bars were created by Carrie Forbes with the traveler and commuter in mind who is looking for a nutritious snack. The bars “contain only good fats and organic ingredients. No GMO’s, no grains, no gluten and no added sugars.” The packaging is fun with state themed names — Maine The Way Bahs Should Be, New Hampshire Eat Clean Live Free and Boston Wicked Strong Bah. What New Englander can resist?

Fancy Pants Baking Co. make peanut and tree nut free cookies that are also Non-GMO Project Verified, 100% natural and certified kosher. They build their own cookie cutters by hand and their Instagram Feed will have you drooling over the many varieties of cookies with colorful frostings and shapes.

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Picture Credits: Collage created with images found on websites and/or social media accounts of companies mentioned.

Disclosure: As an event attendee, I tasted samples and was given free products to take home.