Amena & Nikki: Our DIY Wedding Will Have Handmade Charm

Amena and Nikki are DIYing some elements of their wedding.

Amena and Nikki are DIYing some elements of their wedding.

As Amena and Nikki get closer to their wedding, planned for September in Upper Marlboro, Md., we check in with the couple to see what they are up to next. We find out that they have decided to DIY (do it yourself) parts of their wedding. They share more about the process below:

 

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): Why take the DIY route in getting some items ready for your wedding?

Nikki: Because we feel more personally attached to the process.

Amena: A wedding is something that is deeply personal. I think it is important to put pieces of ourselves into the event. For me this is not just about the wedding day, it is also about the preparation leading up to it. The work and love we are putting into our DIY projects, reflects the work and love we put into our relationship, and of course DIYing some things cuts downs cost.

 

BL3: What are some of the items you’re DIYing? Why these particular items?

Nikki & Amena: Centerpieces, favors, flowers, save-the-date cards, invitations and wedding planning.

 

Nikki &Amena: As far as the stationary goes in this day and age, it is pretty simple to DIY those elements and definitely less expensive. We used Shutterfly for the save-the-date cards and Vistaprint for the invitations. We had coupon codes for both sites, so we got them for even less. We are going to add some embellishments to the invitations to make them more personal and more elegant.

 

Flowers are VERY expensive. We are not having many floral arrangements, so we are ordering flowers from Costco. Our centerpieces and favors are very personal and go along with the theme of our wedding. Our theme is wine, art, and music. I love all things wine. Nikki is an artist and art teacher and we both have a love for music. We wanted these items to reflect who we are as individuals and a couple.

 

Amena: I love planning projects so there is no need for a wedding planner. Although I am enjoying being my own wedding planner, I will have a day coordinator. This person will handle everything the day of the wedding and takeover communication with vendors the month before the wedding.

 

BL3: Where are you going for ideas?

Nikki & Amena: Pinterest and wedding websites

Amena: I have become obsessed with looking at real wedding photos.  I look at Off Beat Bride and Pinterest quite a bit. I have gotten a lot of ideas from these sites.

 

BL3: Some people are natural at doing some things themselves! What about you and Nikki? 

Nikki: I am an artist so anything that has to do creating some form of art comes very naturally.

Amena: I like decorating and planning. I am LOVING planning this wedding. The fine details like the minute-by-minute schedule and how the favors should be placed on the tables excite me.

 

I Found Real Love at a Couple’s Retreat

Tray and Nisha are committed to growing together.

Tray and Nisha are committed to growing together.

Written by Blu Reign

Four years ago, I met this beautiful, dominant woman with café au lait complexion and locs down her back. She drew me in with her intellect, masculinity and yes, beauty, but as the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” Four years ago just wasn’t our time, so against my hopes and fantasies, we walked opposing paths and found love with other people.

Then February of last year, she waltzed backed into my life. Although she came under grim circumstances, I knew I loved her and I was going to get my diamond out of coal. For four months, our communication remained at a distance. We saw each other twice in four months. It looked like we would never be more than friends until we attended a one-day retreat in Washington, D.C., as friends. It covered emotions, self-esteem, relationships and empowerment.

In short, we learned vital life lessons that were not taught at school or at home.

The retreat allowed my partner, then my friend, to learn how to be transparent about her feelings through effective and mature conversation. She began to shed the pain of her past and learned to make a conscious decision to live towards her future. We attended as friends, and left as hopeful lovers.

Within four months of experiencing our first retreat, my partner and I officially chose to grow together in a fulfilling relationship. We decided to build on that first retreat and attended another retreat with the same speaker, Angie Harvey, who is a phenomenal speaker.

That retreat, specifically geared toward couples, included relationship growth workshops, movies, slow dancing, delightful cuisine, romantic sleeping quarters and relationship trivia games.

I can’t recommend going to a retreat enough. If you desire to grow on an individual level as well as have a relationship with yourself and your partner that feeds you emotionally, spiritually, and physically (wink), I recommend attending a retreat! After all, it worked for me. About a month ago, my partner and I moved in together and we are consciously loving each other and growing together each day.

About Our Love: Valere & Kimbrel

Kimbrel Jackson and Valere Holder recently celebrated eight years together.

“This is me and the love of my life, Kimbrel Jackson. We have been together for 8 years. I wouldn’t trade her for the world. I fell in love with her, when I first laid my eyes on her in 2007. I knew she was the one for me. I didn’t know if I was her type or not. I admit, I was nervous to say anything to her. Come to find out, she was a good-hearted person. As I got to know her, she was always honest and she doesn’t sugar coat anything. I respect her [to] the fullest.

I don’t see anyone else but her.

I think about her every minute on every hour, when I’m not with her. Our relationship is very strong. She is going to be my wife soon. I love you Kimbrel Jackson Holder! You are my soulmate. Thank you for all the love that you have given me. You are appreciated.  March 30, 2007 is a moment I wouldn’t ever forget … the day we went from friends to lovers.”

Geri & Jackie’s Attraction is Deeper Than Physical

On their first date, Jackie and Geri talked for four hours!

On their first date, Jackie and Geri talked for four hours!

After spending two and a half years as friends, Geri and Jackie took a leap of faith and went on their first official date. And on July 5, 2014, the two exchanged vows and became wife and wife. The happily married couple, who live in Upper Marlboro, Md., recently told us their sweet love story:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3) : How did you meet?

Geri & Jackie: We met through mutual friends at a lounge in Washington, D.C. Initially, we were just friends for more than two years.

BL3: What attracted you to each other?

Geri: She is just simply an amazing person. My attraction to her goes far beyond the physical. In my view, she is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful women on the planet, but my attraction goes far beyond that. Ironically, a year prior to meeting her, I wrote a description of my perfect match. Not the physical attributes, but rather the intellectual and emotional characteristics that I view as the most essential in a life partner. Jackie meets every single descriptor I outlined in my blog. It was amazing to find someone like-minded, who has a great love for God, family and friends.

Jackie: Even when we were just friends, I was always drawn to her outgoing personality.

As mentioned before, initially we were just friends, but as I got to know her I became increasingly attracted to how sweet and kind she was, the fact that she was always thinking of others and had a way of making people around her laugh!

As she said, obviously we found each other physically attractive, but our chemistry goes beyond that. We both are silly as heck, and she constantly keeps me laughing. Her sense of humor was definitely a factor in my falling for her.

BL3: Tell us about your first date.
Geri: It’s so funny because we regularly reminisce about our first date. It was really crazy because we had hung out countless times as “just friends” for more than two years, so leading up to our date was both exciting and scary. We had such an awesome connection as friends, we didn’t want to ruin things by taking our relationship on a different path.

Jackie: I was SO nervous leading up to the first date. After being buddies for so long, I was nervous how we would interact with each other on an official date.

Geri: On our first date, I made a reservation at one of my favorite restaurants in D.C. I had her meet me at my job, and when she arrived in my office, looking absolutely gorgeous, all I could do was smile. I instantly stopped viewing her as just a buddy, LOL.

Jackie: Seriously, I was sweating and my stomach had huge butterflies as I arrived at her office. In true fashion though, she made me laugh, and eased my anxiety. From that moment on, the rest of the date was so incredible. We went to the restaurant and ate a wonderful meal and sat and talked for more than four hours. The entire evening was absolutely perfect.

Geri: I knew she was perfect for me that night, because we talked about everything under the sun. Good conversation is a must for me, and we had plenty of that on our first date. And we capped the night off with our first kiss, and that sealed our forever.

BL3: How long have you been together?

Jackie & Geri: We’ve known each other for about 5 years, but have been in a relationship for approximately 2 ½.

BL3: What do you love about each other?

Geri: It would take me the next decade to describe all of the things I love about her. Simply, I love that she is my rock. I wrote a poem for her, in which I say, “She carries the weight of my world on her shoulders so seamlessly,” and it’s so true. I’ve always had to be the strong one, with family/friends, and I love that I have her to be my strength when I feel weak. She is an amazing care-giver, and I absolutely love and appreciate her for that.

Jackie: I love so many things about my wife. She is the most romantic, caring person I’ve ever met. I love that she goes the extra mile to make sure that she shows how much I am loved.

Her actions and her words are always aligned, when it comes to her expressions of love for me. Our relationship is just so easy-going, and genuine, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

BL3: Why did you decide to get married?

Jackie and Geri sport huge grins at a pride event.

Jackie and Geri sport huge grins at a pride event.

Geri: Prior to being with her, I never thought that I would get married. I don’t think that I ever thought that I would find anyone that I could see spending the rest of my life with. Now, with her, I can’t see my life without her. Marriage was just a natural progression for our relationship–the ultimate expression of our love.

Jackie: There was never any doubt that we would get married. I was previously married, and never thought I’d want to get married again, but the moment I fell in love with her, I knew that I wanted to take our vows, and share our love with our friends and family.

11 Ideas to Spice Up Your Boring Love Life

TheLoveGoddess

Written by Giselle Bella

So, you’ve been in a great relationship for some time, but … let’s face it, you’ve become content and somewhat bored. This is causing a yearning for what new lovers often refer to as “The Fire, The Flame.” You don’t want to drift apart, but the telltale signs are there. You feel, believe and know you two belong together, but how do you keep this going? You’re not going anywhere but to a simple or complicated place. How do you stop from making one of the most significant mistakes in your love life?

Start by letting go of your sabotaging ways. That’s right! Release the ideas and thoughts that your relationship is going down the drain. Your thoughts impact your life in a big way. So if you have negative thoughts about your relationship, then you will get what your heart desires. Of course, there is work, which needs to be done but it is not as arduous as you think. It does take diligence to have the relationship you want and you’re worth it. We always hear people in life-long relationships tell us, “It takes work.” Don’t believe me? Ask any couple who has been together for more than 10 years and seem genuinely happy. Note: I wrote seem genuinely happy. That is open to your interpretation.

In order to support you through this humdrum period, I have assembled some ideas, which will keep this fire burning! This is a list of ideas, which may be tuned as you see fit for your relationship. Allow them as part of your love life, not just a list of things to do for your partner or to keep her around. You do not have to do these every day, but use them, one per week, two or more per month, or maybe you are totally indolent and want to do something every quarter.

      1. Compliments: You will find that everyone [pretty much], including you [hopefully], likes compliments. So, share them. After all, they are free. When your partner does or wears something you like, compliment her. Compliment her pulchritudinous appearance. When she works her magic in the kitchen, compliment her. When she has a bright idea and when she accomplishes something; anything, compliment her.
      2. Courtliness: You are building more than a relationship; you are in a partnership, which requires courting. Simply put, maintain good dating manners with each other. Be courteous to each other. Sometimes, pretend you are still impressing her, like the first three months you dated. If you don’t care to open her doors every day then allow it to be some time or somewhere specific. Perhaps when you go to the market, maybe on your date night, or wherever and whenever you choose, make it memorable.
      3. Date [night]: Once a week, twice a month or even once a month works. Whatever you do, do not allow a month to go by without a date with your loving partner. Keep in mind that date night is different than family night. Do more than date nights, have brunch, and have breakfast and mid-evening dates. Get creative with your dates. For Pepa’s sake, do not always just go to the cinema.
      4. Gratitude: Make sure you do not go a week or the very least, a month without expressing your gratitude to your partner. Whether it is during the pillow talk, or the middle of lunch breaks, or during Sunday dinner, take the time to express gratitude. Tell her how grateful you are for something she’s recently done or for supporting you. Gratitude brings forth joy and joy is the sunlight of love. Focusing on gratitude allows more pleasant things to come about.
      5. Love Letters: It seems that we are turning into the age of quick messaging and are leaving all momentous forms of communication behind. Pick a day, a special day to you (both), and write your beautiful lady a love letter. Whether you are expressing gratitude for her presence in your life or writing about her butt and smile, communicate differently. Send it via mail, or leave it somewhere she will find; either via a card or just on paper; do it once a year or twice; just do it. If you are adamant about not putting ink to paper then send an e-mail.
      6. Play: The couple that plays together, stays together. I am talking about all kinds of play here. Have a game night and invite friends over. Enjoy a family game night. Role-play in the bedroom and even outside of the bedroom. Make each other laugh; laugh at each other; just laugh. Play on your dates. Play at home.
      7. Romance: So there is so much I can include here, but I highly suggest you think of Valentine’s Day. Anything to do with or on Valentine’s Day is often catalogued as romantic. You do not have to do these things every day but spread them apart. Don’t just wait for Valentine’s Day or her birthday to shower her with lovers’ gifts of romance.
      8. Spontaneity: Surprise her whenever you feel like it. Big or small, surprise her with a romantic night, sexy date, lunch date while she’s at work, flowers for no reason, a day at the spa, and anything else. Know your partner’s hobby and surprise her in regards to it. Fill her tank up before she leaves for work. Talk to her siblings and/or best friend to get creative with a surprise she wishes to have. I believe you can take this from here.
      9. Talk: Communicate with her by talking about your emotions. Tell her how you truly feel. Let her tell you what she sincerely desires. Listen to her and allow her to listen to you. Talk about your day, your individual goals and relationship plans. Talk about diminutive things and major things. Talk about yourselves and your family. Discuss things in the news or share your knowledge. Those talks will remind you of the reasons you adore your partner.
      10. Vacation: Get away from it all. Take a trip together, yearly. Even if you cannot afford to go abroad for vacation, go somewhere away from home for a long weekend or week. Vacations allow people to relax and therefore allow for cheery behavior. On these vacations, you will not just get to know each other more but you will build more memories to nurture your love.
      11. I love you! Tell her you love her everyday, not just on special occasions. I, for one, prefer that my partner knows it every night before we go to sleep or either at the first call/greeting of the day. Lately, people have attached a lack of emotion to “love you” and especially “luv u.” So stop, and simply say or write, “I love you.” You will not only hear but also feel the difference in the energy it generates.

Once it’s all said, tried, and done, it is about keeping love alive by keeping it going. Remember that communication will support you best. Tell your partner how you feel and what you desire in your relationship. Whether you choose to implement one thing from the list or none, the work starts with you. Finding love is like finding a precious jewel. Creating love is like having a unique jewel only you possess.

My love to you,
-Giselle


Giselle “Gia” Bella is a 30-something woman living in Baltimore. As The Love Goddess for Black Lesbian Love Lab, she happily shares her ideas for finding and keeping your lady love. She wrote the Autumn Falls web series for Topp Bottom and published several books, including Gietic: Erotic Poems/Kinky Love Stories and Gietic II: Love and Loss

5 Reasons Why I’m a Proud U-haul Lesbian

HomeSweetHomeKeyChain

Written by Zamara Perri

She and I have been friends since she was 19 and I was 21. We met at work while in college. She is a brash, funny, liberal and a no-holds barred kinda straight woman so naturally we became really close friends. Over the years, we drifted apart, but I always knew I could call her when I needed to talk and she would do the same. So, when I told her I was moving, she asked me: “Where are you moving to?”

I managed to avoid answering her for the next 10 minutes. Finally, she interrupted my rambling and said, “You’re moving in with your girlfriend. Aren’t you?”

Damn it, I’m 35 years old, why was I having such a hard time admitting the truth to my friend? The truth is that six months after our first date, I moved in with my girlfriend.

So I mumbled, “Um, yes.”

“You are such a U-haul lesbian,” my friend said.

Ouch. No, she didn’t just call me the dreaded “u”-word lesbian. That kind of stung.

At first I was so excited about us moving in together. This was an opportunity for celebration! But, after getting lukewarm reactions, I stopped telling everyone that we had moved in together. My honey just turned 45 and most of her friends have also given her the side eye. Even the mutual friend who introduced us threw major shade when we announced that we were moving in together.

And I realized that I had residual shame from the two other times I moved in with girlfriends and it didn’t work out. Those experiences left me vowing never to move in with another girlfriend again. I have to admit, that I started to have doubts. Was it too soon? Would this be like the time before when I dated my first live-in lover for 2.5 years before we moved in and not long after we had a fiery, devastating crash? Or the second time where I dated another lover for 11 months before I moved in and then moved out only a few months later? These ghosts of failed relationships haunted me for a few weeks. But I still moved in with my love this weekend.

Why I Moved In

beyond_uhaul_lesbian_themed_tee_shirts-r5c97c28cb5644c84bd99689d28e27061_f0yux_1024Why did I move in? Because I’m a proud U-haul lesbian or better yet, I’m an optimist. But make no mistake—love, sunshine and butterflies alone could not make me make such a monumental decision as to move in with someone. I have other reasons, too:

  1. Just because a relationship doesn’t work the first, second or third time, doesn’t mean you give up. As a child, did you give up learning to walk after the third time you fell down? Of course not. You learn from your mistakes and keep moving. Some relationships work and others just don’t. Some live-in situations don’t work out, while others do!
  1. I stopped internalizing other people’s fears. I realize that the same country that brought us Disney’s version of fairytales and the Hallmark Channel’s cheesy romantic movies has a problem with people who fall in love quickly in real life. Americans just don’t believe that commitments made after a short period of time can be long lasting. And there is this myth that lesbians are famous for moving in together too quickly. (For the record straight people do it too.) I have to admit that I’m one of those people who worried when my friend told me that after dating her girlfriend for three months they were moving in together. I was also shocked when a woman told me that she dated her girlfriend for two weeks before she moved in.

Was it a good idea for those couples to move in together so soon? I honestly don’t know and it’s none of my business. What I did notice was that they didn’t seem to have the same fears that I did. Why was I so worried or afraid? I was afraid of making a mistake or worried about what people would think. But I finally came to accept that I really don’t have time for other people’s fears. I’ve had a couple of really horrible heartbreaks and those have taught me how to recognize when someone truly special comes into my life. I refuse to let other people’s fears control my pursuit of happiness.

 

 

Click here for reasons 3-5 🙂