Hey Guys! I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday! This was the first time in several years that I had Black Friday off, so I was VERY GRATEFUL for my 4 day weekend! I just wanted to circle back and share the casual, cheap, and chic tablescape that I created, just in case you might want a little inspiration for something similar during Christmas!

This Thanksgiving was hosted by my amazing in-laws, and naturally put me in charge for setting the table! Of course I love a good decorating challenge, so I obliged! First I met with my mother-in-law to determine the vibe and what I was working with. Then I created a quick scheme board to solidify a couple of ideas... yeah, I'm extra.

Links to these images can be found on my Pinterest page

I'm not a huge fan of table cloths, but I LOVED the idea of using "craft paper" as a runner. I found this one at Lowes which is actually called "builder's paper drop cloth"  for only $10.98! Best thing about it, I have so much paper left over for another occasion!

 I wrote on the paper with a white oil-based sharpie marker. The placemats were from IKEA, which my mother-in-law lovingly stocked up on because she loves to entertain.

I also wanted to incorporate block candles for ambiance, and greenery that looked as if it had been plucked straight from the yard. The candles were purchased from IKEA (which were only $7.99 at the for a set of 5 at the time).

I found the greenery at Kroger for dirt cheap because the Kroger Manager's Special ALWAYS comes through! In fact, I can't think of many instances where I paid full price for anything from the floral department. I bought 5 bouquets of mixed greenery for $1.50 each, yes, a whopping $7.50 total!  We also used a mixed bag of green and red apples, and oranges.

I knew I wanted to add a little bit of luxury to the dinner by using cloth napkins, but quickly realized that it would be pretty pricey for a large crowd (there were 13 of us total, and most napkin sets max out as a set of 12). So I chose these cotton kitchen towels. They come as a set of four, each with a different pattern. To complete the look, I used the twine I had on hand to attach the greenery. For the additional chairs I used a wide roll of burlap to dress them up a bit. The huge leaves were hidden in the greenery bunch, and it was such a sweet little surprise to see them when I opened the bouquets. :)

Huge shout out goes to my lovely sister-in-law for jumping in to help me prepare the tables, and my amazing hubby for taking photos while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything just right. Of course the biggest shout out goes out to my in-laws for hosting this year. Everything was wonderful!

So what do you think? I know, I know... I did probably too much for a family dinner, but you have to admit, it's pretty nice to treat yourself and the ones you love to a beautiful tablescape every now and then! :)

Hey Guys! Halloween is upon us, and I figured that there was no time like the present than to share with you the simple fall updates that did for the fireplace. It's a fall fireplace face lift for less than $5 - say that five times fast! :)

Now if you remember my fall refresh from last year, you'll know that I'm not really the "decorating for Halloween" kind of gal. I typically like to through in a few fall accents (copper, orange, black and white), pumpkin or two, and a banner. This year, I thought I'd try something different. I wondered what our colorful happy space would look like with a little "spook" thrown in. To achieve this look, I went no further than my attic for some of last year's pumpkins, and of course Target for a 1$ spider web and a large $3 spider.

Side note: Can we just talk about how long our pathos is getting? I feel like such a proud plant momma! Also my copper plant holders are just begging to get filled with more plant-y goodness, but I'm unsure about what species of plants I want to use. Do you have any house plants that you swear by? Any and all suggestions are totally welcome.

Instead of going with several small spiders, I thought to only do one large spider for 3 reasons:
1. The web looked large enough to be created by one HUGE spider
2. Honestly, one spider freaked me out enough
3. In a moment of panic or delusion I could always discern whether or not this was fake.

It's so weird because it creates just enough tension emotionally for it to be effective. I'm a little thrown off every time I come into the room. In short, I pray I never see a spider this large in my home.

Fun fact, when you rotate this Goodwill painting 180 degrees you still see a man in a hat. It's crazy. And once you see it, you can't un-see it. THANKS BRANDON! The copper candle holders were also a Target steal from last year that I snagged from my coffee table.

To apply the web, I just started at the top corner of the large artwork and worked my way down spreading the cotton as thin as possible. It's was honestly pretty simple. It stuck remarkably well to the moulding of the fireplace. I was pretty pleased for 5-7 minutes of effort. :)

Also, for the bonus round, check out the quick tablescape that I created. This was definitely a use-what-you-have-on-hand creation. I purchased a cornucopia in the summer time with intentions of using it during the fall months at some point or another. I paired it the with pumpkins and skull babies that I had in the attic, and just like that... a small Halloween cornucopia moment. 

I may find a way to remix it when Thanksgiving rolls around. Of course just taking the creatures away would suffice for the next holiday. I'll see what I can do and get back to you. Also, at some point I'll get window treatments for the dining area... I'll keep you posted on that too! 

Thanks for stopping by! Are you doing any fall decorating in you place? Tell me about it in a comment below! Better yet, a picture's worth a thousand words! If you're on Instagram tag me @rajaune or use the hastag #chiclittleme  :)
Back in May I introduced a series to the blog that received such amazing feedback that I HAD to circle back and give you more! Chic Little Me's Creative Woman of Color series is all about celebrating fellow minority women in creative fields who are amazing at what they do, and are simply crushing it at life. Today I am super excited to present to you my close friend, Ruth Brooks, who has not one, not two, but 3 design degrees! I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth while we were just little high school nuggets! We were also in Marching Band together (Go Trojans), and we even graduated from the same interior design program at Georgia Southern.  

In addition to being a freaking awesome human being with an incredible sense of humor, she's also one of the most super cool, down-to-earth people that I know. She's my friend, my little sis, my bridesmaid, my buddy... I'm so excited for you to learn more about her! Here we go! 

Creative Woman of Color

Name: Ruth Brooks
Age: 29
Location: Albany, Ga
Bachelor of Science in Interior Design
  Georgia Southern University – Statesboro, GA
Master of Architecture
  Florida International University – Miami, FL
Master of Art in Architecture
  Florida International University – Miami, FL
(Yes Folks, that's 2 different Master Degrees! )
Occupation: Architecture (Architectural Intern)
James W. Buckley & Associates – Albany, GA
Website: coming soon!
Social Media : Instagram: @travelandbean (photography)  @ruth.jenese (lifestyle)

What served as the catalyst for you to begin your creative career journey in Interior Design and Architecture?
My first film photography class in high school opened me up to the creative world. I have yet to experience many more feelings that are better than being in a dark room and developing a picture. That’s when I knew I needed to do something creative with my life, but I wasn’t exactly sure what. The idea of pursuing photography sadly was never in my vision, mostly due to my own insecurities as a photographer. But how I found my way into interior design school is honestly due to the lovely creator and author of this blog! I admired Rae in a way that I never expressed to her and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. And I tried, but at the conclusion of my interior design education, I realized that interior design wasn’t for me.  I couldn’t keep being a follower and I had to find my own path. A year later I took a leap of faith, moved to Miami to start my architecture education, and I guess the cool kids would say the rest is history.

If you could describe your design style in 3 words, what would they be?

Minimal, geometric, transparent

Who do you design for?  What would be your dream project be at work or on your own? 

In my real world I work on education projects, mostly k12. But in Ruth’s world I design for the minimalist. Someone who appreciates simple geometry, details and materials in their natural state. My dream project would be to design an urban, affordable housing project that is ACTUALLY AFFORDABLE and is ACTUALLY UTILIZED by the most vulnerable population.

What trepidation did you have, if any, going into your chosen field? 

I had a lot of fear about not being successful. I am still fighting that battle at times, but those fears are lessened every day that I leave the office knowing that I’ve positively contributed to the firm’s work in some way, no matter how small.

How would you describe your creative process?

In school, my friends always said that my design process is backwards. In a way, you’re taught to come up with a concept, sketch those ideas onto paper, and then create a whole by continuously developing that idea and piecing things together. But I tend to create a whole first, break it down into parts and then come up with my concept by making those parts work together in some way, shape or form. Also, I don’t sketch. In fact I hate sketching lol. At times, it has crippled me but I have always found a way around it. I tend to work through ideas in diagrams on the computer.

How do you stay inspired? 

I am a part of a very small group of African-American women that don’t even make up a percentage of architectural professionals in the United States. Not only am I considered an underdog but that’s the market I wish to design for. I want to make a difference and create some type of social change through architecture. If I could inspire just one person who does not fit the norm of a woman in the design field to hop on board and to make a difference, then I know all my struggles have been worth it!

What doubts, obstacles, or barriers have you had to overcome to get where you are?

I found out along the way that I was my own barrier to accomplishing many things. Some say that you are your worst critic and I found that to be very true for me. I had to overcome a lot of self-esteem and identity issues. I have God, my family and close friends to thank for overcoming that! 

Who is your biggest supporter? 

My family. They believe that I could literally move mountains! Lol! That’s how much faith they have in me, and I am more grateful for that than they know!

What do you wish someone had told you before you began your educational / career trajectory? 

That it’s okay to not have a clear vision of what you want to do right away. That it’s okay to follow the unbeaten path. That your idea of success may differ from everyone else’s, and that’s okay.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way? 

I need to learn to ask for help because sometimes I can’t do it all on my own (no matter what trending mantras are saying).

What is the best advice you have ever received regarding your life or career? 

When I first decided to move to Miami for graduate school, I was terrified and almost decided not to go. But then a lovely friend by the name of Rae Cook told me that if I went and didn’t like it after a year, I didn’t have to stay. I’ve honestly taken that approach with many things in my life. My life is flexible enough that the decisions I make do not have to be permanent for the most part. I feel very blessed in regard to that! For instance, If I move somewhere for a job and give it a fair shot but do not want to stay, I don’t have to. That advice has allowed me to take more risks and I haven’t regretted a single decision yet!

What’s next for you? Where would you like to see yourself in a few years?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately for some reason. I’ve been teaching for the past 2 years before I started my first job in a firm 5 weeks ago. Although I am enjoying it, I know I will eventually find my way back in education. I love learning and there’s no better way to do that than in the classroom, both as a student and as a professor. So honestly, I see myself most likely working towards another degree and/or getting some type of fellowship and doing research somewhere. No matter what I end up doing, hopefully I will end up creating social change in some way.

What’s the one thing that every creative young woman should have?

The confidence to not follow the crowd.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Food. Any kind really. I’m a foodie.

What music do you currently have on rotation (and your choice of device)? 

J. Cole, Lauryn Hill, and Mosaic Music. I can go from trap music to gospel in a heartbeat. Honestly depends on what mood I’m in, which are as up as down as my music choices to be honest lol. I’m usually at work or in my car when I’m listening to music.

What’s one thing you miss from the “good ole’ days”? 

Being in marching band in high school and college. Those were times where you could forget about whatever else going on in life and be with fellow nerds who loved music and color guard as much as you. Football games were a plus!

What is your go-to outfit? 

A black dress with sneakers

Any favorite design pet peeves?

Not really. But I do have an issue with the design industry and how it’s marketed to society. It’s seen as very inaccessible to people of color. I guess that’s a nice way of saying we need more black folks, lol! I just wish that people of every background could see that there is a spot just for them in the design world!

What design trends are you currently loving? 

Uhhhh, as a designer is it wrong for me to say I don’t keep up with current trends?? Oops!

I’m kind of weird when it comes to… 

being clean and orderly. I need to be clean and orderly or I get hives, lol!

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

It’s okay to have some fear, but don’t let that fear hold you back from taking the next step. Also, buy those shoes, you deserve it!

Ruthie! Thank you so much for participating in this series! You are such an inspiration to me and I am so proud of what you and all of your accomplishments. I love you, Girl!

So readers... what do you think of Ruthie's story? Did it resonate with you? Leave me a comment below and let me know! And as always, I'm looking for more creative minority women to feature, so if you would like to participate (or if you would like to nominate a friend) let me know! :)
If you didn't know, going thrift shopping is one of my very favorite pass times. Just thinking about the hunt makes me giddy with excitement! The idea that I might find something special that no one else I know has in their home is pretty awesome. Over the years, I have found that one of the most fun ways to furnish my home using thrifted finds is to start a collection. Currently I have one going for decanters, and I recently started one for colorful vintage cocktail glasses. Check it out!

All of these glasses came from Goodwill (my favorite store) with exception of the yellow ones, which I stumbled upon during a spontaneous trip to the Salvation Army. Side note, I love how the pink ones are two different shades. I think it gives them even more character! :)

So far I've collected green goblets, yellow coup glasses, indigo cordial glasses, and pink highball glasses. Of course, I'm not specific on which type I collect. I figure at some point or another we'll use whatever size we have on hand to make a cocktail, plus they're so gosh darn pretty. I've also accepted that I will inevitably have odd numbers of the same type. Visually odd numbers are more interesting in design, so why not embrace the orphan glasses as well?  My criteria for deciding if glasses come home with me?
  • Are the colors bright or bold?
  • Are they vintage?
  • Do they make me smile?

If they pass these few questions with a yes, then my collection grows. Of course with every collection, the hardest part is being patient. Ideally, one day I would like to have the whole rainbow represented. Truth be told, I thought that indigo was going to be the hardest to find, but I lo and behold I hit the jackpot! Red, blue, orange, violet... where are you guys hiding?

What I love most about this collection is that it reminds me of grandma's house! I mean, didn't everyone's grandma have glasses like these green ones?

Here's where my collection is living for now. The Vittsjo shelving unit that once held my decanter collection is now collecting glassware just off the foyer. I tried hiding the glasses away in my kitchen cabinets, but it just didn't feel right! Now when I enter the room I can always enjoy them!

So what do you think? Have you started your own collection at home? I want to hear about it! In the mean time I'll keep Goodwill hunting! And don't worry... I'll definitely let you know what I find. :)
Here in West Midtown Atlanta, there are a TON of apartment complexes popping up on nearly every corner! When Brandon and I lived in the city, we had a small, narrow balcony and to tell the truth, I didn't really know how to give it life. Now that I'm older and much wiser, I know that all it really needed was a great foundation. A cute, little bistro set is a great way to immediately inject color and personality. In the spirit of dining outside, or even enjoying a good cocktail (or cup of coffee, it you're into that sort of thing) here are a few of my favorite bistro sets... and they're all under $200! Summer's not over yet, so why not enjoy the rest of the warm weather that mother nature has to offer via a new, super cute bistro set for dining alfresco? Here are a few would recommend! 

one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / eleven 

My favorites have to be #6 and #10 because I love a good, strong statement. But take note that you don't necessarily need to commit to a bold color (although that's definitely my jam) in order to create a big impact. You can always go for a neutral set and infuse it with color to add a little personality.

Here are a few other ideas on how to add a little bit of zing to your outdoor space after you get your seating together!
  • throw pillows 
  • chair cushions
  • plants and flowers
  • floor and balcony railing planters
  • an umbrella - this one is great for a balcony
  • outdoor rugs and runners
  • string lights

And if you haven't done anything with your sad, little outdoor space - now is the time! Most retailers have their outdoor stuff on sale right now, so get on it... and let me know how it turns out!  

So here's the situation: My hubby and I were invited to dinner by some sweet friends of ours, and I wanted to create a cute, little hostess basket for them. I had noticed from their social media that our friends had been doing a lot of baking, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to give them something that could aid their process in making all of those wonderful baked goods. 

I have found that gift giving around a theme makes it super easy for the giver. Furthermore, sticking to a specific color scheme also makes gift wrapping and presentation a breeze... and we know that as with most things in life, it's all about the presentation! 

So the gifts themselves, which I purchased from IKEA, came in right under $20. I jazzed up the basket with Givande paper ribbon from the IKEA papershop (which I already had on hand) and a wire basket from Target's Bullseye Playground for $3. The cake decorating set was wrapped using a paper bag that I cut flat and trimmed out in Scotch Washi Tape from my craft stash. To assemble the basket, I gently folded the textiles, added the wrapped box in back, then slid a hand-written card between the folds. Easy peasy, right?  If you want to create something similar - here's a little help! 

Unfortunately the Sommar towels and apron I used is no longer available, but no worries! You can find other super cute kitchen textile collections here or even here!

And if your hostess (or host) isn't a baker, here a few more theme ideas:
  • The coffee or tea lover (mug, french press, tea or coffee, milk frother, batteries)
  • The bartender (ice molds, cocktail shaker, glasses, coasters, wine opener)
  • The neat freak (brushes, sponges, cleaning cloths, mini dustpan, soap)
  • The workaholic (notebook, notepad, pens, pencils, scissors, paperclips)
  • The chef (timer, garlic press, peeler, meat thermometer, oven mitt, trivets)
So what have we learned today about creating an easy, effective hostess gift? 
  1. Make it easy, stick to a theme!
  2. Using a color scheme creates a bigger impact.
  3. Keep a small stash of gift supplies.  
  4. Presentation is EVERYTHING!
  5. Great gifts don't have to cost a lot - they can be small, but also chic!
Lately I've been doing my best to keep my energy up so that I feel in the decorating mood after work. Frankly, my job can be so mentally and physically challenging, that it's a miracle when I can cook dinner and take a shower in the evenings. But I've been doing my best, and there have been quite a few changes in our place since my last house update. Check it out!

First up, we upgraded our West Elm Cooper Sofa to an IKEA Stockholm sofa (originally $999, down to $599). And no, I didn't misspeak when I said upgrade, I really meant it. Yes, it is indeed possible to upgrade from West Elm to IKEA. You see, Cooper served us well (for 7 years in fact), but truly it's more of a shallow, tight back sitting sofa, and not a lounging sofa. It had a white cotton cover with a tailored skirt that was great for washing, but the sofa underneath was a simple base covered in muslin, and supported with plastic legs. Cooper was doing just fine, until one day I noticed that the right front leg was bent and began to rock the sofa whenever you graced it with your backside. I suppose that I plopped down on it one too many times because Cooper was over it! And this happened at the exact same time that the Sandbacka Green Stockholm Sofa went on sale. Coincidence? I think not.

Our new sofa is super deep with zippered enclosures, loose back and seat cushions that can be flipped and rearranged, is covered in the most luxurious green velvet, and has solid walnut legs! It's definitely a show-stopper.

And before you say, "Hey Rae, a green sofa... really?" I say, "Hello, have we met?"

I fall hard for color, and this baby had just the right amount of sass to land in our living room. Also, this totally isn't our first foray into bold-colored sofas. Remember the our CB2 Movie Sofa? Brandon and I are definitely not afraid to choose statement pieces that pack a decorating punch. In fact, I'd say that we're quite the color-confident couple! 

And while we're on the topic of the Movie Sofa, it too needs to be replaced because it's ripping at the seams (it lacks a knife or welt edge; a true flaw in its design). It's a shame because we love our Movie Sofa, but I'm sure that I won't have a problem finding a suitable replacement. :)

I'm loving the new living room sofa, but the frame is pretty high, which actually dwarfs our current accent tables. Therefore, I'm on the hunt for higher accent tables to flank either side. Around 24" in height would be perfect. But don't worry. I'll let you know when I find something! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen our new bar cabinet. And if you're new to 'chic little me', just believe me when I say that I probably have a bigger vintage decanter collection than anyone you've ever met. After much contemplation, and to the dismay of some friends, I decided that the collection's permanent home would be behind closed doors. Initially I wanted to show it off, but the dust is crazy real.  I also contemplated on placing them behind glass doors, but I just couldn't find a glass door cabinet that I really loved, and honestly I just wanted to minimize the amount of visual stimulation in the living room. That's the thing with having a proclivity towards bright colors, you have to know when to let the eye rest. But I must say that it's pretty awesome when we have guests and I start pulling decanters out for drinks. The ooohhhs and ahhhhs never get old. Nothing wrong with being classy; I always say.

In fact, I think that my next project will be organizing the inside shelving with lighting and the drawers with napkins, candles, and other entertaining accouterments. P.S. The world's biggest cocktail shaker was a gift from my Dad and stepmom. First I was thinking, "What kind of drinker do you think I am?" Then I figured it WOULD save me a lot of time, so I guess I'm okay with the message that it sends. 

Oh, and did I mention that we got a new dining room table? It's quite amazing, and it's now the centerpiece of the entire main floor! It's the IKEA Skogsta Dining Table and it's solid acacia. Of course when you change the star player, you have to switch up your game, so I'm planning a little dining refresh soon by purchasing new chairs to replace our current ones. Definitely stay tuned for that!

I've also managed to finally hang our CB2 whirly hanging tealight candle holders in our entry. Instead of using candles, I ordered air plants on Amazon, along with moss and fertilizer.

So far everything is doing well. I did have a casualty with the smallest one, but it was mostly because I got lazy and forgot to dunk them one week (they need to soak for 30 minutes every week to stay healthy.) Otherwise, everything has gone swimmingly. 

Speaking of the entry, you probably noticed that there is some new kinetic energy going on near the front door! Well, since the opposite wall had a occasional table and "all the things" accessory-wise, I decided to keep this wall pretty devoid of stuff, yet I still wanted a POW when you walked through the door. I achieved this by using Scotch Expressions Washi Tape that I picked up from Target for $2.99 a roll. I ended up using 2 full rolls for this project. And no, I had no plan, I just knew that I wanted intersecting lines. I did have to slow myself down a bit to make sure the lines were relatively straight, but it took only about 30 minutes to execute. I let the tape overlap with the ceiling and corners, then later went back with an Exacto knife and trimmed the extra bits.

I know the pattern's not everyone's cup of tea, but for $6 plus tax I love it! And the best part is if I ever get tired of it, the tape peels right off with no residue! So no harm done. I ran my fingers over the tape the day after I installed it, and it hasn't lifted at all. It really looks like a wall covering close up and you'd never guess that it was tape. I think it catches visitors off guard when they come in, but they usually comment on how they think it's pretty cool. Our townhouse is pretty traditional from the outside, but people know from the moment they walk in the door who they're dealing with! 

On the adjacent column, I chose to stack two Tjusig hangers for hats, purses, scarves, coats, etc. After going back and forth, I decided that too many hooks on that wall would take away from the pattern that was making me love the nook in the first place. From the living room, they can barely be seen. We just put them up last week, so I'm pumped to have the first guests use them when they come over. 

If you remember the post where I talked about bedside sconces, we pulled the trigger some months ago and mounted Tived lighting behind the bed. It makes reading in bed 100 times easier, and I really can't see any of our future master bedrooms not having them. It's totally worth the small investment if you love to read in bed, or just desire a little bit of ambiance. We use them every single night. I highly recommend them! 

Well that's it for today, Folks. So what do you think? Are you a believer in the "it's a marathon, not a sprint" mantra when it comes to furnishing and decorating a home? What are you currently working on in your place? Let me know! I love to talk ideas! 

Since my 30th birthday a few months ago, I've been doing my best to live my life with more intention. I've really been thinking about what I can do to propel myself forward in my personal as well as professional life. What really matters? What do I want for myself? Somewhere along my new journey towards self discovery, I realized that I have developed a sincere need to see other women following their passions and taking advantage of their lives in a meaningful way. 

This very idea inspired me to take a closer look at other creative women of color. To be honest, there simply aren't enough sources telling stories from our point of view. What are our dreams... our successes, our struggles? What have we learned? How can we relate to other women? Well, I want to expose my readers to the young, creative, talented, driven, and even entrepreneurial-minded ladies out there that inspire me to keep going. These are women that I truly admire. Hopefully this interview series will become a regular post on the blog. Make sure to comment and let me know if you like it. If it's successful, I'll circle back  to give you more. 

Today I want to introduce Mrs. Heather Twitty of HALT Boutique. Heather is a Visual Merchandiser in the morning, and a Fashion designer and stylist in the afternoon. Heather is a dear friend of mine, and she has incredible creativity, style, and poise. Please give her a warm welcome!  

Creative Woman of Color

Name: Mrs. Heather Twitty
Age: 35
Location: Atlanta, GA
Education: Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Fashion and Marketing
    American Intercontinental University - Atlanta, Georgia
Occupation: Visual Merchandiser for IKEA / Owner + Designer + Stylist of HALT Boutique
Website:  www.etsy.com/shop/haltboutique
Instagram: @ne_nee7

Heather, did you decide on the name 'HALT'? 

My name is Heather, my middle name is Anne, my maiden last name is Lang, and my married name is Twitty. So I just put all it together to create the name for my boutique. 

How would you describe your style in 3 words?

Sassy, eccentric, creative

What are you currently selling on your website? 

Currently I'm designing and selling tab button earrings composed of various types of fabric.  I'm thinking about expanding that idea and creating pieces using embroidery and monograms as well. I'm also interested in adding a line of coasters and other kick-knacks for the fashion-forward home. 

Cookies + Cream Collection by HALT
Who is your customer? 

My customer is a woman who does not refer to herself as 'plain' or 'ordinary'. She wants something different, and does not care to rock what everyone else is wearing. 

Besides earrings, what else keeps you busy?

I'm  also a freelance wardrobe stylist, so anytime I get gigs I like to concentrate on those opportunities. I've styled for movies, a few commercials, and also events. It's kind of sporadic until I can transition full-time, but I'm optimistic. Right now, I'm open to whatever I can do to get my feet wet and to learn more about the styling industry. 

Sparkle + Shine Collection by HALT

What would you say was the catalyst for you to start your creative business?

When I graduated I knew that I wanted to do my own thing, but somewhere along my journey I got a little stuck. I began working at IKEA after graduation, and I've been with the company for 12 years! I consider myself a very hard worker, and I do enjoy visual merchandising, but I realized that I was investing a lot of myself into a company that wasn't mine. I decided that it was finally time to start depositing something into myself. I was very afraid, and I thought that I might have lost my touch for fashion, but I had to put those doubts behind me and allow myself to follow my dreams.  

How would you describe your creative process? How do you stay inspired?

I like to browse magazines and I also enjoy watching tv to keep up with trends. I get most of my inspiration from people. I love to engage with new and interesting people. You never know how different individuals can influence your view of the world, boost your creativity, or help you find beauty in ordinary things. 

Color Me Bad Collection by HALT 

What doubts or obstacles have you had to overcome to get to where you are right now?

Fear and self confidence have been my biggest obstacles. I went to school with very artistic people. You go in thinking you're great at what you do, but then you allow yourself to become deflated when and you meet people that are better at certain things than you. Eventually I had to realize - that's them, and I'm me! I bring something unique to the table like everyone else does, but it took me many years to figure that out. You won't get anywhere when you're constantly worried about what others are doing and analyzing what you don't have in comparison. Sometimes your thoughts can be your worst enemy. But I'm hear to tell you that there is a seat for each of us at the table.  I'm sad that it took me so long to learn that, but I know it to be true now. 

What do you wish someone had told you before you started your own business?

Success takes time, so you need to have lots of patience and discipline. Greatness does not happen over night. I wish I would have grasped that concept a long time ago because I would have been grinding from the very beginning! If I knew what I know now, I would have had the confidence to start my boutique years ago.

Parks + Recreation Collection by HALT

What is the best business advice you've ever received?

I've learned that just because you launch your dream it doesn't mean that you can quit your day job. Sometimes you have to keep your day job and hustle along side your new adventure. Just because you have a good idea doesn't mean that the world around you stops to make room for it. Also, nothing great comes without hard work. I may be cute. I may even have a nice smile and personality. But that doesn't mean that what I want is going to come easy. Nothing is going to fall into my lap. Believe me when I tell you... it just doesn't happen like that. 

Who is your biggest supporter?

I would say that my husband is my biggest supporter. My husband constantly encourages me. It probably comes as no surprise that with my fear of failure, I obviously don't want to fail at ANYTHING! He taught me to put my best foot forward. He also let me know that sometimes I will fail, but one day I'll make it work. My husband is my biggest cheerleader for sure! Also, I must include that my family wouldn't care if I wanted to sell painted cotton balls! They continue to support me regardless of what I'm doing.

Peace + Love Collection by HALT

Where do you see HALT in the next 5 years?

I would love for HALT earrings to be sold in the mall. I could envision them in Claire's Accessories stores. I definitely see value in continuing sales online, but I would also like my pieces to have store presence for customers who prefer to shop in person. I would also like to have a plethora of products for the HALT customer that extends beyond earrings. Ultimately I want to be a well-known brand.

What is one thing that you think every creative woman should have?

Every creative woman should have a thin, lightweight scarf! You can wear a scarf in the spring, summer and fall. You can wrap your hair with a scarf, put it around your neck in the winter, or even wear it like a cardigan or sweater. If you can't find  the perfect necklace, a scarf is a wonderful substitution. If you don't have an extensive wardrobe, you can always count on a scarf to boost your outfit. And guess what - everyone can afford one!

Pastel Pretties Collection by HALT

What would you splurge on with $100?

Fabric! Of course I'd use a portion of that fabric to create new earrings, but I also like to sew dresses. I wear pants every day, so it's very refreshing to slip on a nice dress every now and then.

What is one thing you miss from the "good ole' days"?

I miss having an answering machine. In the "good ole' days" it was nice to go to the grocery store and just focus on groceries. Now when you go the grocery store, you're looking at your phone to see who's trying to communicate with you. When we were growing up it was so much easier to focus on the task at hand. It's so much harder to focus now, especially because of social media. I really wish that we could go to those days! I know that cell phones are convenient, and they're wonderful, but sometimes I really wish that I could disconnect.

What is your go-to outfit?

Okay I don't want ya'll to judge me out there, but my go to outfit right now happens to be workout clothes. I don't want people to sleep on this! They're good for working out, but women especially buy workout outfits to look cute in, and outside of the gym. Recently I injured my patella and had to be on leave for three months, so compression pants really help with my knee. Workout outfits are also great for running errands. I hate to say that, but comfort is just so important right now. They also keep me motivated to work out more often! 

Within your field, what is your biggest design pet peeve?

Nude leggings! I don't care if you're 100 pounds or 250 pounds! I don't think anyone should walk around with nude leggings because I don't know if you're naked, or if you're just wearing ridiculous leggings!

What advice would you give your 25 year-old self? 

I would tell my 25 year-old self to grind, grind, and grind! You lose so much valuable time if you're not grinding. And when you're not grinding, you're falling behind. Whether you're in the fashion industry, the interior design industry, or any creative industry for that matter, you have to stay 10 steps ahead of what's going on. Apply yourself and do everything you can to get ahead. Take an extra internship, volunteer to work in your industry for additional experience, and whatever you do - don't limit yourself! Oh, and if you can't draw, who cares? If you can't sew all that well, who cares? If you keep pushing yourself and practicing, you WILL get it. I mean, just look at Beyonce! She didn't get that fierce overnight! 

Styling and Makeup: Heather Twitty
Earrings: HALT boutique
Photography: Rae Cook

Heather!!! I can't thank you enough for being the first chic little me 'Creative Woman of Color'! I really appreciate your honesty and patience as I corralled the vision that had been tugging at my heart strings for quite some time! For everyone out there reading - if you want to browse more looks from HALT go here. Also please leave a comment and let me know how you enjoyed the feature. Did any of Heather's insights resonate with you? What other questions should be included in future interviews? And if you know a young Creative Woman of Color who would like to be included in future posts, email me at rae@chiclittle.me. As always, thanks for stopping by!