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The McBride Sisters
November 12, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

A McBride Sisters' Guide to Thanksgiving Pairings

Thanksgiving can be a tricky meal to pair with wine. All those beautifully different flavors, sweetness levels, and culinary influences can make picking the right bottles a challenge – especially in potluck situations when you aren’t 100% sure what’s for dinner. 

Don’t worry, though! The sisters have you covered with this quick-reference guide to the best Thanksgiving wine pairings, from appetizers to desserts to all those delicious leftover creations you’ll be feasting on afterwards. Cheers to giving thanks with the perfect wine!

Hors d’Oeuvres and Appetizers

Nothing kicks off a holiday meal like a glass of sparkling wine. The McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé makes a gorgeous pairing for your charcuterie board, spiced nuts, and bacon-wrapped dates. The bright red fruit flavors and bubbles provide a dynamic counterpoint to rich snacks, with a bold bit of zing that refreshes the mouth.

If you’re serving a cheeseboard, or an assortment of creamy dips, offer some Black Girl Magic Riesling. This white wine’s rich, full texture and apricot-like flavors make a great complement to triple-cream cheeses, classic onion dip, or super seasonal pumpkin queso fundido. The clean finish leaves your mouth ready for the next exciting bite, whatever it might be.

In California, many families start their Thanksgiving feast with Dungeness crab or fresh artichokes. Rich, succulent crab pairs well with McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé or Black Girl Magic Riesling, but artichokes need special handling – they contain natural compounds that make whatever you eat or drink next taste sweet. The best wine pairing for artichokes is dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, like the McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s bright acidity and citrus flavors are a fantastic match with artichokes, as well as crab, shrimp, and pretty much every other type of shellfish. Make it your signature pour for fresh veggie and seafood starters!

Thanksgiving Main Course(s) and Sides

Whether your family does traditional turkey or likes to spice things up, the McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir delivers just the right amount of sweet red fruit, silky texture, and warm oak spice for your holiday.

This wine is light-bodied enough for turkey breast and vegetarian mains like whole roast cauliflower, but still has all the heft it needs to complement dark meat, stuffing, bacon-y brussels sprouts, or an elegant mushroom Wellington. 


Unlike a lot of red wines, our Central Coast Pinot Noir has enough acid to meet your cranberry sauce where it’s at, and the tannins won’t clash with anything on the table. You really can’t go wrong pairing this wine with a traditional Thanksgiving menu, but it also flatters a huge range of globally inspired dishes like shiitake sticky rice stuffing, “Indian-ish” sweet and sour butternut squash, or turkey with Oaxacan mole.

If you’re serving something seriously spicy – or you just prefer white wine – reach for more of our zippy McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This versatile, charismatic wine pairs like a dream with punchy fall salads and herb-rich dishes, as well as fiery foods like tandoori turkey or this West African-inspired tamarind and scotch bonnet-glazed bird.

And then there are the real Thanksgiving rebels. You know who you are – making your own holiday traditions with deliciously non-turkey meats. The cocoa and herbal notes of our Black Girl Magic Red Blend make a brilliant match with succulent rib roast or earthy cassoulet. For Korean barbecue, glazed pork, and any other rich meats with a touch of sweetness, the ripe cherry and chocolate flavors of Black Girl Magic Merlot get our vote. Both these reds are smooth, bold, and unapologetic – just like your Thanksgiving menu.

Thanksgiving Desserts

Desserts can be tricky to pair with wine. The dry wines you loved with your main meal can sometimes taste harsh when you’re sipping them with dessert. Solution: Pick sweeter wines when the pies come out! 

Our lightly sweet SHE CAN Berry Spritz adds a fun blackberry sparkle to classic pumpkin or apple pies, and makes a fantastic pairing for dark chocolate brownies or other chocolatey nibbles. If you’ve got coconut flavors on the dessert table, reach for the island vacation vibes of SHE CAN Tropical Spritz – a natural with macaroons, coconut cookies, and beignets of all kinds. Cheesecakes on the not-too-sweet side will find a fantastic partner in our SHE CAN Crisp White, whose juicy pear and citrus flavors meld with soft floral notes.

Leftover Magic

With a little creativity, Thanksgiving leftovers can be every bit as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner. This kind of playful, and transformative cooking deserves wines to match – and we’ve got just the ones you need!

The classic Thanksgiving leftover sandwich – filled with turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce – finds its soulmate in SHE CAN Dry Rosé. Ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit aromas bring out the best in this traditional Thanksgiving mouthful. Layering turkey, stuffing, cranberry and gooey cheese into a Thanksgiving quesadilla, though, calls for SHE CAN Berry Spritz, which has the effervescence and bright berry flavors to balance every bite.

After a while, though, everyone wants to mix things up. A leftover turkey carcass could become fragrant turkey pho, paired with SHE CAN Crisp White. Slices of breast meat that maybe weren’t picture perfect can find new life as Thai turkey laab salad, or coconut green curry, both of which pair beautifully with the lush fruit flavors of SHE CAN Tropical Spritz. Dressed up with herbs and pickled vegetables in banh mi sandwiches, your Thanksgiving leftovers take on a whole new persona – shown off by the rich red fruit of SHE CAN Dry Rosé.

Chef Claudette Zepeda’s recipe for adobo sauce or Nik Sharma’s guide to murgh makhani (butter chicken) can transform your leftover bird into an incredible filling for tacos, sliders, or wraps – or just on a plate with rice or leftover mashed potatoes. Open a can of SHE CAN Tropical Spritz or Crisp White to boost the heady fragrance with refreshing fruit aromas.

Turkey isn’t the only leftover with potential, of course. Mashed potatoes can become pan-fried potato cakes or even potato waffles in just a few minutes – just top them with lox and sour cream, and pair with SHE CAN Dry Rosé for an amazing Thanksgiving weekend brunch! (This also works fabulously with leftover stuffing; try this topped with ham or bacon and paired with the sparkling sweetness of SHE CAN Berry Spritz.) Mashed potatoes also make easy air-fried potato croquettes, seasoned with leftover herbs and some hot sauce – your new favorite happy hour snack paired with SHE CAN Tropical Spritz

If all else fails, you can always fall back on eggs. Leftover mac and cheese, roast veggies, and even grain salads get a total makeover when you put them in a frittata. Add chopped herbs to change up the flavors, maybe some more cheese from that cheeseboard, and sit down to a whole new meal in 15 minutes. Pair with whichever SHE CAN wine you like best, and pat yourself on the back for a Thanksgiving weekend done right.

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2023 at 12:31 PM Permalink to A McBride Sisters' Guide to Thanksgiving Pairings Permalink
The McBride Sisters
October 16, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

At Home With: Shiza Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder of Our Place

Hello, Shiza! Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' Series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get acquainted in true McBride Sisters fashion -  over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine. Thank you for being here with us!

A Pakistani immigrant on Forbes’s “30 Under 30” list of global social entrepreneurs and Time Magazine ``30 Under 30” list of world change-makers, you are a force… As a female business innovator, activist, investor and educator, your accomplishments include co-founding the Malala Fund, an international non-profit advocating for girls’ education in the most vulnerable communities, and creating one of our favorite socially-conscious kitchen and dinnerware brands, Our Place.

Shiza, could you please start by sharing a bit about your journey from co-founding the Malala Fund to founding Our Place?

I’ve always built organizations that address an issue I see in the world, and to try to make it better. That’s why I co-founded the Malala Fund - to help girls in vulnerable communities around the world access an education. And that’s why I cofounded Our Place - to create a brand in kitchen and home that represented and our values, and how we actually cook at home today. 

How did your upbringing in Pakistan influence your perspective on social impact and entrepreneurship?

My upbringing in Pakistan shaped who I am in so many ways - Pakistanis are deeply hospitable, and welcoming, and they will always feed you! I carry that spirit of generosity and love with me, and it’s part of Our Place’s DNA.   

Our Place is all about creating a sense of togetherness and community through shared meals. Can you tell us how this ties into the lifestyle you envision for your customers?

Our customers love food. They express their creativity, and learn about culture through home-cooking, and they enjoy gathering and forming connections around food, and drinks!  At Our Place, we obsessively design better products to make cooking easier for our customers, so we can enable more of these moments. 

Any particular memories or personal associations to share around shared meals or foods that bring you feelings of comfort and community?

I love hosting dinner parties - we have an absurdly long dinner table in our home that fits 16 - and we love gathering new and old friends, cooking up a meal, and sharing our stories. When I first moved to America, I built my community around dinner tables, so it’s a tradition I hold close, and one that Our Place is founded on. 

As we explore The Art of Entertaining this Fall and Holiday season, we are thrilled about your new Party Coupes wine glasses. Tell us about these gorgeous new pieces!

Our Party Coupes were almost two years in the making, and we’re obsessed with them. We wanted to design an unfussy glass - that worked for wine, cocktails, aperitifs, even desserts! We spoke to our community and understood the features that mattered most to them - stackability, versatility and durability - and paired those with our signature Our Place design aesthetics creating the most beautiful and functional, hand-made, two-tone, color-infused glass you’ll ever see!  

Do you have holiday traditions or are you looking forward to any other moments of celebration this season?

I’m fortunate to carry and participate in my own traditions, and those of my partner and friends - so there’s always something to celebrate: Eid, Diwali, Nowruz… Currently, I’m most looking forward to Friendsgiving - as an immigrant, I love the idea of a holiday to celebrate chosen family. 

If you could put together your dream dinner party, who would have a seat at the table and what would you prepare? Any favorite McBride Sisters Collection wines to pair? ;)

I’d curate people from different walks of life, because a diversity of thought and lived experiences enriches everyone. So let’s say Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Jane Goodall, and Malcolm Gladwell? And we’ll have the McBride Sisters Red Blend 2019

As a successful entrepreneur and advocate for social change, what advice would you give to our audience on leading a more purposeful and balanced lifestyle while making a positive impact in the world?

I believe our happiness and wellbeing is directly connected to the depth of purpose we feel in our day to day lives. I’ve always sought out ways to have a positive impact in the world , and it’s made me a more fulfilled and joyful person. So if you feel a lack of purpose in the life you are living, that’s your inner wisdom calling on you to make a change. Don’t ignore it! 

What can we expect from you next?

Building Our Place is my purpose, so I'm going to be staying very focused on our mission and work here. Keep following us for exciting new product launches, community events, secret recipes, and more.


Time Posted: Oct 16, 2023 at 1:39 PM Permalink to At Home With: Shiza Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder of Our Place Permalink
The McBride Sisters
October 5, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

A McBride Sisters' Guide to Pinot Noir

This month, we’re thrilled to release our very first McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir – Certified Carbon Neutral and sourced from a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard!

This sustainability certification means the grapes were grown using practices that respect the environment, employees, neighbors, and society, and that are economically viable to keep using in the long term. It also means the fruit is beautifully balanced, free of harmful chemicals, and full of delicious flavor! 

Bright, luscious, and elegant – our new 2022 McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir is a serious triple threat. Fresh cherry and raspberry aromas open into plush plum notes with subtle spice, and brilliant red fruit flavors that linger for days. 

One taste, and you’ll see why Pinot Noir is one of our favorite varieties, and favorite California wines!


A Pinot Noir Primer

This thin-skinned red grape is so silky and fragrant, it will sweep you off your feet from the very first sip. Pinot Noir grows best in cooler climates like the Burgundy region in northern France, where it produces some of the most famous wines on earth. The grape thrives in Central Otago in Aotearoa New Zealand (where we source fruit for our acclaimed McBride Sisters Collection Papatūānuku Pinot Noir Reserve), and the foggy, maritime-influenced Central Coast of California – home of our Cocky Motherf*cker Reserve Pinot Noir and our new Central Coast Pinot Noir.

Soft tannins and a lighter body than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot make Pinot Noir a great red wine choice for more delicate foods – think fish, plant-based dishes, and meats with tender textures. Grilled salmon and roast chicken are classic pairings, but it’s also incredible with BLTs, mushroom tamales, and pork tenderloin. Pinot’s signature bright red fruit and earthy flavors really shine with earthy ingredients like beans, braised greens, roasted root vegetables, and mushrooms. And, of course, it’s amazing with cheese!

We asked our friends at Point Reyes Cheese Co. – another sister-owned Bay Area business we’re proud to partner with – to share some of their favorite pairings for our California Central Coast Pinot Noir. Their wide range of suggestions show how incredibly versatile this wine is – and how many delicious pairings are in your near future. Read on for their top three choices!



TomaRashi was the team’s top pairing with the 2022 Central Coast Pinot Noir. This is a new cheese from Point Reyes Cheese Co.’s “Toma with Attitude” lineup, which brings exciting flavors to their original award-winning cow’s milk Toma. 

The key to TomaRashi is a Japanese spice blend called shichimi togarashi, which includes chili flakes, nigella seeds, chili powder, orange peel, ginger powder and nori flakes (dried seaweed). 

This cheese has great umami richness and nutty flavors, with a warm and gentle heat that lingers on the palate, and complements the Pinot Noir’s bright red cherry fruit. 

You might notice hints of dried guajillo chili on the wine’s finish, rounding out the chili heat from the cheese and bringing all the flavors together in perfect harmony. Need a three-ingredient appetizer for your next get-together? You won’t go wrong with TomaRashi, crackers and McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir


Toma Truffle

TomaTruffle is another “Toma with Attitude” that made the Point Reyes Cheese Co.’s shortlist. Infused with Italian Black Truffles from Umbria, the TomaTruffle balances their irresistible earthy aromas with notes of fresh strawberries, dried fruit and a hint of cocoa in the buttery richness of the cheese. This fragrant, fruity and luscious treat makes a natural partner for the silky red fruit flavors in our Central Coast Pinot Noir.

Aromatic truffles tend to love Pinot Noir as much as we do, and these Italian specimens are no exception. 

To take this pairing to the next level, top your TomaTruffle with some caramelized onions – and if it suddenly becomes grilled cheese sandwich night, you’ll have no regrets. Want to dress things up? Melt TomaTruffle over French onion soup, and break out the Burgundy-style wine glasses for some very elegant indulgence.


Bay Blue

Rounding out the top three cheese pairings for our Central Coast Pinot Noir, we have Point Reyes Cheese Co.’s classic Bay Blue – inspired by the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area’s coastal climate. This rustic-style blue cheese is known for its mellow flavor and sweet, salted caramel finish.

While more pungent and salty blue cheeses might overwhelm our Pinot Noir’s delicate texture and aromas, Bay Blue melds seamlessly with the plush plum and red fruit flavors. The creamy natural sweetness in the cheese makes a perfect match for the Pinot’s silky fruit. 

Whether you crumble Bay Blue over a roasted beet salad, or stir it into a sauce for tender steak medallions, this Pinot Noir pairing makes entertaining a snap.





Time Posted: Oct 5, 2023 at 2:09 PM Permalink to A McBride Sisters' Guide to Pinot Noir Permalink
The McBride Sisters
August 17, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

Magic Maker: Unveiling Dreams and Dresses with Bridal Babes CEO Ashley Young

Hey Ashley!!

Thank you for inviting us into your studio.

You’ve changed the game with your inclusive bridal designs and style for some time now, and we’re excited for the opportunity to share your story and magic with anyone who might not know you yet.

First off, will you please tell us a bit about your background, what were you doing before Bridal Babes came to fruition?

Prior to starting Bridal Babes, I was a Marketing Manager for various campaigns in the Federal Government most notably youth tobacco prevention work at the Food and Drug Administration. I’ve worked across Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing since my initial introduction at Universal McCann in 2009. Fun fact, Cara Sabin was one of my clients on Neutrogena back in the day. She’s now the CEO of Shea Moisture.

While I was working at the FDA, I also worked part-time for a multicultural wedding blog Aisle Perfect as their Sales Manager. At the time, it was just because I was obsessed with weddings! I had no idea that foundation and those connections would come back around when we launched Bridal Babes!

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Bridal Babes? What motivated you?

When I was planning my wedding in 2016, I remember thinking “It shouldn’t be this difficult to find bridesmaid dresses that will make my best friends look and feel amazing by my side". My bridesmaids were mostly curvy women and there was nothing on the market that was beautiful, flattering, and size inclusive.

I remember searching high and low across the internet to find something that wasn’t frumpy and unflattering. I finally found dresses that included plus sizes and achieved my vision for my bridesmaids but of course - they were not from a traditional bridesmaid dress store.

After that experience, my husband and co-founder, Charles and I got to work building Bridal Babes – the first size inclusive bride-to-be and bridesmaid gown line. Bridal Babes was created as a solution to a common wedding planning problem - the lack of fashion-forward, curve-hugging bridesmaid dresses for women of all shades, shapes, and sizes.  

Bridal Babes is not just revolutionizing how people shop for wedding attire, but we are committed to making a space for diversity in the multi-billion dollar wedding industry by showcasing models and clients of all shades, shapes, and sizes. It is so important that women can see themselves in our gowns and our models may or may not resonate with every client (although we hope they do!).  

For that reason, we also showcase our gorgeous clients who represent the brand and become ambassadors for us to their friends, family, and community. 

How has your personal background and experiences influenced your journey?

Growing up I loved classic shows like “Say Yes To The Dress” and “Platinum Weddings”. I guess weddings and reality TV have always been my thing. But, I never noticed the lack of representation and how that impacts your viewing and perception. None of these shows seemed tangible to me because I rarely saw people who looked like me.

When I started working with Aisle Perfect, a multicultural wedding blog, my eyes were opened to this beautiful world of weddings that were completely under the radar. Lavish Nigerian weddings, tradition-rich Indian ceremonies, and so much more!

I knew there was an huge untapped market that was overlooked by the traditional bridal industry. This insight was key in the development of Bridal Babes.

How do you and your husband, Charles, set boundaries between your work and personal life when you're constantly together conducting business and tending to your relationship?

It has been a really fun (but intense!) process working together - especially when we were building the brand with two under two out of our basement during the Pandemic! We have since moved into a larger warehouse space which allows us to focus on our core areas. 

This separation of tasks is important as we each work on very different parts of the business. We meet every other day to discuss any urgent or overlapping business areas.

We try our best to not bring work home, but during our busy seasons, it’s a little more difficult. The most important “meeting” is our date night. We plan a date night every other weekend whether it’s a Netflix night or out to a hot, new restaurant in DC. This allows us to re-connect and we keep all conversation very light and fun. We also meet weekly to discuss personal and business schedules, tasks and goals. This keeps us connected and focused on our overall goals!

What was the experience like pitching your business on Shark Tank and what was the impact overall?

Pitching on Shark Tank was phenomenal. It still feels surreal. When we started the brand, people would always ask “When are we going to see you on Shark Tank”? I would always laugh it off because I heard the application process was nearly impossible.

I applied on a whim one day and received a call about 2 weeks later to start auditioning. After all of the auditions and due diligence, pitching on Shark Tank was a breeze!

We actually didn’t know Emma Grede, the Co-founder of Good American and Founding Partner of Skims, would be the Guest Shark during our pitch until a few weeks before. Once we knew she’d be on, the stakes were so much higher. We knew we had to have her on our Cap Table.

Having Emma as an investor, has been so valuable. She’s very hands-on and really wants our business to succeed. She has provided a wealth of resources including inviting us the Fifteen Percent Pledge Annual Gala earlier this year. The Shark Tank platform has been an amazing springboard for our success!

What is your creative process and how do you continue to find inspiration?

I am truly a creative at heart. So, I try to keep 1-2 days free of meetings so I can brainstorm, go outside, visit museums and hotels to keep my mind open for inspiration. Traveling also helps me broaden my mind and soak in new cultures, colors, textures and more.

As your business grows, what are your future plans and aspirations for the company?

In the short-term, we hope to expand to a retail showroom in the DC area, where clients can try on dresses and order directly from our store to ship to their homes. We want to expand past weddings and become the top special occasion store in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.

What is the most rewarding part of your journey since starting Bridal Babes? Have there been any experiences in particular that stand out?

The most rewarding part of my journey is being able to set my schedule and spend time with my family. This was always the goal for me with entrepreneurship. You certainly don’t have more time, but you get to have more flexibility with your time.

What have been your proudest accomplishments to date? 

Biggest challenges?

My proudest accomplishment has been our community of over 200K aspiring brides, lovers of weddings, brides, and bridesmaids. 

They have not only become our advocates and ambassadors, but many have become friends of the brand - supporting us on our launches, celebrating our wins, visiting our design studio to give live feedback and scheduling brunch dates to check in. 


What advice would you give to aspiring women of color starting their journey in entrepreneurship?

I have two important pieces of advice. 

Celebrate all your wins! Big or small they are all important and you have to take a moment to savor the
fact that you accomplished another goal.

Don’t get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. Business, especially entrepreneurship, is a
rollercoaster. There are always going to be setbacks so the ability to stay even keeled is a crucial skill.

Do you have any favorite Black Girl Magic Wines?

I love the Sparkling Wine – it is at almost every personal and professional celebration! I also enjoy the Red Blend for some of our at-home date nights.

I didn’t mention this earlier but my husband is basically a Chef! The Red Blend pairs well with many of his dishes.

What does “Black Girl Magic” mean to you?

Black Girl Magic is our innate sense of style, confidence, and poise. When we design our gowns, we design with us in mind. We are the blueprint. 

We just do everything so effortlessly, it’s like it’s magic! 


Click here to purchase our collaborative Bridal Babes Bundle available on our website!

Time Posted: Aug 17, 2023 at 10:51 AM Permalink to Magic Maker: Unveiling Dreams and Dresses with Bridal Babes CEO Ashley Young Permalink
The McBride Sisters
August 11, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

At Home With: Jon Gray, Co-Founder of Ghetto Gastro

Hello, Jon!!


Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' Series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get acclimated in true McBride Sisters fashion -  over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine.

We are so happy to be here with you! 

For those who don’t already know, Jon is a born-and-raised New Yorker who brought the flavors and style from the Bronx to the world through food, fashion, style and design.

He co-founded Ghetto Gastro, a culinary collective that uses food as a platform to spark conversation about larger issues surrounding inclusion, race, access and how food - and knowing how to cook - provides freedom and power.

Tell us, Jon. How did you get here? How did Ghetto Gastro start and what is your role in the group? 

Ghetto Gastro started with friends. Just with a vision of creating a new vernacular and in the food and art space, really wanting to highlight Black Culture, flavors of the Diaspora, and the stories of the Diaspora. My role within the Ghetto Gastro… they actually call me a dishwasher and I handle the creative direction. I sit in the CEO role when it comes to executive duties.

How has the collective evolved?

We started doing parties and events, and as we've evolved, we've gotten more into publishing. We published a book called The Black Power Kitchen that we released last fall, along with more products. We just launched edible/consumable goods at Target. Toaster pastries, syrup, and pancake and waffle mix. Also a bunch of fashion, collabs and whatnot. So yeah... Went from the ephemeral to the tangible.

You have collaborated on a laundry list of unconventional projects, keeping us all on our toes. How do you approach partnerships, and do you have any favorites? 

I don't have any favorites because I think each one is so different, but typically the way we approach partnerships is just from a state of curiosity, and it all happens organically. We're collaborating with people that we were friends with and that we've been fans of for years. So, it all happens organically over conversations and just vibes. We don't necessarily set out with a crazy strategy like, “we have to do these collaborations and these different spaces”, it more just happens, with friends. There's mutual respect and we think the world doesn't need more things, So if we think we can offer something of value that's not plentiful in the universe, then we move forward.

Ghetto Gastro’s first cookbook, Black Power Kitchen, was released last year including 75 recipes along with loads of cultural context and gorgeous photography. What was that process like? Would you do it again?

It was a grueling process, but it was a beautiful process, because for so long in our tenure people often thought Ghetto Gastro could be an abstract idea that goes over a lot of people's heads. So this was a chance for us to really distill what it is. We approached the book like, alright, if this is our first book or our last book, let's make sure we give them enough food for thought to really understand what we were thinking about. [With the thinking that] the book would outlive us, so just having an artifact to give to the world. So it definitely wasn’t easy.

It was probably, at the time, the hardest project we ever worked on – that got harder and harder as we kept going, because it almost felt like it was never ending. It's like you come up with the concept, you come up with the recipes, and have to get them tested. Finding all the artists and getting the artists on board. Designing the book, doing the photography, it was just a lot of grueling parts, but It's something that we're really proud of. So, it was a beautiful journey and just a reminder that the work doesn't lie. If you put in that work. Then, something good is gonna come out of it.

When you’re not disrupting the culinary world, you’re also an avid art collector. What are your most prized pieces and what’s on your wishlist?

I have a difficult time picking favorites, but the collection is definitely centered around black women and artists from the diaspora. 

Whether it's a black, female identifying painter who makes the work or artist that makes work (because I have a few sculptures as well), or they're being depicted and represented by a male identifying artist. 

It’s funny because I get a lot of joy from artwork and me being a custodian of these artworks is a pleasure. If I had to think of things on a wishlist, I definitely want a Wangechi Mutu piece – I love her, I love her sculptures. Her paintings are incredible too. She is just such a generational talent. Simone Leigh, Jennifer Packer, Firelei Baez, and my dear friend Lynetter Nylander. These are people that I have a deep adoration and admiration for. Those are the people on the top of my wishlist and when I get to another tax bracket, I might have a chance to make those dreams come true. 

If you could put together your dream dinner party, who would have a seat at the table and what would you prepare?

My dream dinner table definitely doesn't involve me preparing food [haha]. It'll involve me eating. I think of the people I'd like to break bread with. I think for a great table,  you’d want some comedians in a seat to keep it light. Chapelle would be dope. Mo’Nique, maybe to keep it spicy. The McBride sisters, of course, someone got to bring the wine! Some activists like Dream Hampton, to make sure we having, purposeful discourse. And someone like Toni Morrison.

What can we expect from you all next?

Next, we just keep building. We’re definitely interested in creating more media because I think media is so influential in how people see themselves, and see the world, and understand the possibilities. if you don't see it, sometimes it's hard to believe you could be it or achieve it. 

We definitely want to showcase more of the possibilities that we feel are under expressed, and media. Also more product, more flavor. It's more flavor for you, your eyes, your ears, and for your mouth. More product expanding on a product. We're gonna keep building.

Possible to share a recipe or two with us and our community? Maybe a few favorites from the Black Power Kitchen cookbook, and which McBride Sisters Collection wines you would recommend pairing with them?

We’re big on the brunch occasion. I would do the McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé and Ghetto Gastro Strawberry waffle mix, I would do the pancake and waffle mix strawberry with some berries and our spicy maple bacon or something like that. So, you got the spicy Mighty Maples syrup. Big big, waffle and rosé energy.


Time Posted: Aug 11, 2023 at 12:33 PM Permalink to At Home With: Jon Gray, Co-Founder of Ghetto Gastro Permalink
The McBride Sisters
July 14, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

Celebrating the Maori New Year: a Matariki Feast with the McBride Sisters

Today is Matariki Day in New Zealand, and we’re celebrating with traditional kai (food) and nontraditional wines from the McBride Sisters Collection!

Though Matariki Day has only been a public holiday in New Zealand since 2022, the holiday has a long history with rich traditions. Matariki is the Maori name for the Pleiades constellation – one of the key astronomical guides the Maori used to navigate on their first voyages to Aotearoa New Zealand. When this constellation returns to the sky each year in mid-winter (June/July for the Southern Hemisphere), Maori culture welcomes it as the start of a new year and new cycle of life. 

Traditionally, Matariki’s return is a celebration of the dead, when loved ones who passed in the last year take their place in the sky as stars. It also celebrates the completion of harvest, and honors our connection to the natural world. Many people in New Zealand mark the occasion by watching Matariki rise just before dawn, reflecting on the past and hopes for the future, and – of course – gathering with their whānau (family and chosen family) around great food!

What do you serve for a Matariki Day feast? Find inspiration in Maori tradition, and include ingredients celebrating the earth, the sea, fresh water, and the sky. To honor the earth, you can’t do better than our McBride Sisters Collection Papatūānuku Pinot Noir Reserve, grown in Central Otago, NZ and named for the Maori Mother Earth. The bright red fruit and mineral notes would be amazing with roast or grilled pork, and a side of kānga waru (steamed corn and sweet potato bread)! 

To salute the sea, seek out some fresh pāua (abalone) to eat raw as sashimi, or breaded and fried as spicy seafood patties. Pair either one with our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé from Hawke’s Bay, whose fresh and fruity bubbles are a perfect foil for spiciness. Or, steam up some New Zealand green lip mussels in coconut milk with lots of cilantro, ginger and chilies for an amazing match with our zesty McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

To bring some freshwater foods to the feast, whip up a creamy smoked trout dip and enjoy with a glass of our luxuriously textured McBride Sisters Collection Reserve White Wine “Abalone or Pāua?”

To honor the sky, pick foods that grow high on trees – cherries, peaches, plums, figs, walnuts, almonds etc. – and use them to elevate your salad greens or creamy burrata. Fresh nectarines or peaches would be amazing with our McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Pinot Gris! You could also bake your “sky” fruit into a crumble or crostata to end the Matariki feast on a sweet note.   


Whether your Matariki Day menu is traditional or totally original, we hope it brings your whānau together in the joyful bounty and spirit of the new year.


Mānawatia a Matariki! Welcome Matariki!

Time Posted: Jul 14, 2023 at 12:26 PM Permalink to Celebrating the Maori New Year: a Matariki Feast with the McBride Sisters Permalink
The McBride Sisters
June 26, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

Magic Maker: Mallory with the Flowers – Embodying the Essence of Black Girl Magic through Floral Artistry

Introducing Mallory Browne, also known as Mallory with the Flowers—a Pasadena-born creative spirit who embarked on a transformative journey after graduating from the University of San Francisco. Leaving behind her marketing career, Mallory fearlessly declared herself a florist in 2017.

Starting with store-bought flowers and YouTube tutorials, Mallory honed her craft in her garage while searching for her unique artistic voice. Thus, Mallory with the Flowers was born—a creator of custom arrangements and hand-tied bouquets, and curator of breathtaking floral experiences.

Collaborating with renowned brands like HBO's Insecure and Toyota, Mallory's evolving creativity shines through each unique piece she crafts. But it's her dedication to the community that sets her apart. Mallory intertwines her work with her mission as an entrepreneur, uplifting and empowering those around her.

Meet Mallory

Hey Mallory!! Thank you for inviting us into your studio. You have captured our attention with your unique floral designs, and style for some time now and we’re excited for the opportunity to share your flowers and magic with anyone who might not know you yet. 

First off, will you please tell us a bit about your background, what it was like growing up with such internationality, and how you got into floristry? What inspired you to create Mallory with the Flowers and start sharing your floral designs with others?


Hi! I grew up in Pasadena, CA and am the daughter of two immirant parents - my mom is from the Philippines and my Dad is from Barbados, so I grew up with lots and lots of flavor, laughter and passion.  Being a first generation daughter, I had a lot of expectations placed onto me; finishing college, getting a good corporate job, etc. I did all of those things, realized I wasn't truly happy and that I was really yearning to create -  and specifically create with my hands. I started buying flowers after work everyday from the grocery store and would youtube how to make flower arrangements.  I started posting them on Instagram everyday and the rest is history!

How has your personal background and experiences influenced your journey?

My parents are both creative people, I remember my mom crafting alot and my Dad loves music, so I think I bring a lot of that creativity to my floral designs.  Also, growing up in LA, we’re exposed to so many different cultures and visually appealing landscapes. I take a lot of inspiration from that.  I’m not scared to mix things together or add tons of color to arrangements. 

What is your design philosophy when it comes to creating floral arrangements?

When I put too much pressure on myself or my designs, they never really come out right, so my design philosophy is to just go for it and do what feels good.  I try to not limit myself to any rules, but create in a more free flowing way that feels organic and natural.

Summer is here and so are the festivities! When it comes to putting together a special get together for your friends, what are your go-to elements or ideas that you love incorporating to make it memorable and reflective of your personal style? 

I LOVE a good summer gathering! My favorite thing to do is combine all my favorite pieces together, nothing too matchy matchy when creating a table scape. 

 A plate from here, a glass from there, etc. Mixing pieces creates a fun and relaxing vibe that your guests will love. Also, filling your favorite vase or vases with flowers from the grocery store or even foraging in your neighborhood will add a touch of nature with beautiful colors and textures. 

How do you continue to find new creative inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. I love to look at what my fellow florists are trying and take extra laps around the flower market to check out new products, but it’s also important to look beyond flowers! Music videos, editorial shoots, even driving around my neighborhood sparks new ideas.

What have been your proudest accomplishments to date? Biggest challenges?

My proudest accomplishment is finding an amazing team of florists that join me in the studio.  Having a team you can trust is so important and I couldn't thank them enough for all the love they pour into Mallory with the Flowers each week.  We’ve built a beautiful ecosystem of support, knowing we can all call on each other whenever we need extra hands and for that I’m super grateful. On the flip side, the biggest challenges I face are really just the ebbs and flows of entrepreneurship. Each day we face a new hurdle and challenge that we have to solve - but I still wouldn’t choose any other path.

Do you have any favorite Black Girl Magic Wines?

The Red Blend!! Fire! That’s always my go to for my quick wine pickups.

What does “Black Girl Magic” mean to you?

What Black Girl Magic means to me is doing whatever you want and however you want and standing in your full truth and power. 

What can we expect next for Mallory with the Flowers? 

We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on events and corporate clients, so next we're working on expanding the business to reach people on a more personal level - workshops, products for your home, etc - CAN’T WAIT!

Thank you Mallory for allowing us into your studio and for allowing us to be part of your extraordinary floral adventure. To keep up with Mallory and her floral adventures follow her on instagram at @mallorywiththeflowers.

Time Posted: Jun 26, 2023 at 10:31 AM Permalink to Magic Maker: Mallory with the Flowers – Embodying the Essence of Black Girl Magic through Floral Artistry Permalink
The McBride Sisters
June 7, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

At Home With Kelis

Hello, Kelis!!


Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get to know each other in true McBride Sisters fashion -  over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine. We are so happy to be here with you! 

You are a born-and-raised New Yorker who travels the world performing music on stage in front of huge crowds. How unexpected it is to find you here, on a remote farm compound in California’s Temecula Valley, surrounded by wine country, orchards, and all kinds of animals! Will you please give us some background on how you got here?

I think I've always loved just being outside and having the freedom of space. I went to a school called Manhattan Country School when I was growing up. To graduate, we had to spend time on the farm and learn how to “work the land”. I guess everything always comes full circle, so here I am… being free. This almost feels like my rebellion against everything, you know, that the system doesn't want us to have. 

What are you enjoying most about life on Bounty Farm? Is there such a thing as an “average day”??

I’m definitely very busy! This life is not for the faint of heart or the lazy, but it depends. My average day could be spent in the garden, or it could be working with the animals, or making products for my business, Bounty & Full. I guess it just sort of varies. I'm usually outside most of the day, which I really love. 

We have some things in common as women - and women of color - in spaces that are typically male dominated. What has the experience of becoming a black, female farmer been like for you? How has it met (or completely derailed?) your expectations? 

I think it's interesting because I was expecting and pretty much always faced opposition, unfortunately. Its become a prerequisite for everything else that you're trying to do. 

You are an accomplished, Le Cordon Bleu trained chef. And you’ve also been quoted describing sauces as “what accessories are to a woman’s outfit”. Would you consider your food to be equally as bold and expressive as your own bold style and fashion choices?

Yeah! I think my food is definitely an extension of me, very much. You know it’s always kind of like my memory, my thoughts, and my aspirations, on a plate. It's the things that I love and that speak to me as a person. I didn't realize how Puerto Rican I was, really, until I started cooking. It’s like, you cook the things that you love and that remind you of home. I definitely think my food is as bold as my personality, for sure. 


If you could put together your dream dinner party, who would have a seat at the table and what would you prepare?

I feel like food is a gift, right? So, I just love being able to cook for people. I love being able to feed people. I don't know that it really matters who it is, honestly. I think it's just dope to be able to break bread and share, using ingredients from all over the world or right here from the farm. I don't know that I care who is at the table… I just like to feed people who like to eat. That's who I want at a dinner party! 

What can we expect from you next?

What can you expect for me next with Bounty Farms is expanding and growing up. It is to become wellness and food-focused. My goal is to begin to cultivate a small retreat, a resort-style space on the other side of my property! I would like to start hosting private dinners here, and hopefully some wine pairings with you all at McBride Sisters… that would be amazing! I want to keep building on more food, and more creativity. I am working on a new album… So that's happening! And, just see where life takes me, since that’s always been my motto anyway.  

Possible to share a recipe or two with us and our community? Perhaps something to pair well with our wines for a summer cookout or outdoor meal shared with close friends?

Sangria feels like summer to me and everyone drank it like water when I was living in Spain. I serve it all the time when I entertain at home. It’s refreshing, delicious and it looks really pretty in a big jug. Also it’s perfect for a summer barbecue or picnic. You can make a red version with strawberries, black grapes, and oranges, or a white one with white wine and thick slices of citrus fruits. I like entertaining so it’s fun to be able to serve a good sangria.

Click here to get Kelis' Summer Red Wine Sangria recipe! 

Time Posted: Jun 7, 2023 at 1:14 PM Permalink to At Home With Kelis Permalink
The McBride Sisters
April 30, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

At Home With Christina Stembel


Have you ever scrolled through endless flower options online only to be disappointed when a lackluster bouquet was delivered? Christina Stembel was, too. That's why she founded Farmgirl Flowers in 2010, from her one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. Since then, the female-founded company has grown to become a nationwide flower delivery service, known for its signature burlap-wrapped bouquets made from donated coffee bags and plant arrangements sourced from the best U.S. and international growers. 

But Farmgirl Flowers is more than just a flower company. As part of its With Heart program, it partners with nonprofits and donates to various causes, contributing almost $1 million since 2016.

Farmgirl Flowers is a primarily women-run e-commerce flower company, dedicated to sourcing from other women-owned or women-run businesses when possible. The company's team of mostly women carefully curates beautiful arrangements that they themselves would want to receive. Offering a range of gorgeous options, including specialty tulips and garden roses,  So why settle for lackluster flowers when you can have a one-of-a-kind Farmgirl bouquet? Read on to learn more about Christina’s inspiring story and the impact she's making on the floral industry and beyond. 

Meet Christina

Hello, Christina! Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get to know each other in true McBride Sisters fashion -  over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine. We are so happy to be here with you! 


First of all, thank you for having us over to the Farmgirl loft, right here in our own backyard in Oakland, California! What can we pour you today? 


Thanks so much for thinking of me for this series, and for doing this series in the first place! My passion is supporting other females in business, especially entrepreneurs who happen to be female for the simple reason that success comes harder for our gender for so many reasons. Not to mention the fact that we’re socialized to compete with instead of support each other, so anything I can do to change that narrative, I’m here for – even when there isn’t delicious wine involved, but not going to lie, I’m super excited that there is today! My go-to is a big red wine (usually a cab) although I do enjoy a glass of champagne every now and then.



Farmgirl Flowers is the only large-scale, female-founded and predominantly female-run direct-to-consumer e-commerce flower company in the business. And, just like us, you too have been called the black sheep of your industry. Cheers to that!! Of course, these are things we can truly appreciate and would love to hear more on how you got here. Was it always a priority for you to do things differently, from the start?


SO much yes to the black sheep!! I think I’ve always been that from a very young age, so it just makes sense that I would be in business too.


I had the idea to start my own business long before I actually started Farmgirl. I’d just moved to San Francisco and it was 1999 - the middle of the first dot com bubble. I say all the time that it felt like a business plan was to an SF entrepreneur (and for context, there were usually at least four of them in line waiting next to you anywhere you went) what headshots were to aspiring actors in Los Angeles. Start-up culture was a thing you could feel, and, personally speaking at least, it felt revolutionary to me. And that feeling was one that I wanted to feel personally, so I didn’t want to just take someone else’s idea and tweak a tiny part of it - I wanted to swing for the fences and change up an entire industry. Which is a lofty goal, and partly why it took me many years to figure out what industry and idea I wanted to take the leap with. 


For context and more specifics - there were a few things that led to the idea for Farmgirl, but the moment I knew this was the idea I could build into a big business happened back in 2010. I was researching the e-commerce floral space and found that the industry in general was ripe for disruption. One of the very problems that had led me to our first business model (i.e. the endless scroll I had to navigate on so many giant e-comm flower delivery company’s websites when sending flowers to my mom back home in Indiana) was also a problem I found was shared by so many other consumers. 


While deep diving into research, I discovered that the online flower space was actually shrinking for customers in my age group at the time, and this was at a time when just about every other industry was growing by leaps and bounds online. And that was the key. With just a few major competitors in the space who weren’t appealing to consumers like me, and with a market size of billions of dollars, I knew the idea of Farmgirl had the potential to build into something big - and checked the box of creating something completely different. 



As Founder and CEO, you launched Farmgirl Flowers in 2010 with just one daily arrangement. Since then, you have fully bootstrapped what has grown into an international organization, shipping hundreds of thousands of flower bouquets each year. No doubt, you’ve seen your fair share of hard work and challenges. What keeps you going?


That’s a question I get asked a lot, and I’m not really sure what the most accurate answer is. Maybe it’s a combination of all of them really. First, my parents raised me to know what it is to work hard and to respect the outcome of that work. They weren’t giving lessons in entrepreneurship when I was little per se, but there’s nothing like having to mow the entire back forty to teach you the meaning of resilience. 


There wasn’t ever a conversation about what it took to get the job done - it just needed to be done. So it felt like, while I was developing this sense of persistence and grit there wasn’t space for a conversation around motivation. The work itself was/is motivation - the want to get it done. I think that’s served me almost every day since starting Farmgirl. There are very few instances where I have to set up specific circumstances to get a certain task done or to get through a day. Just like it’s always been, it’s one foot in front of the other. Then repeat. But the other thing about me that I’ve found to be far less common than I thought was the fact that I believe in myself. That may sound narcissistic or self-centered at best, but I promise, that’s not what I mean. I definitely have my fair share of insecurities like everyone, but I’ve always had an inner voice that has told me that I can do what I set my mind to. I think if more people had that, they’d be far less scared of failure and be able to be more courageous in every area of their lives.


All that said, I’ve definitely had my fair share of difficult days, and when I feel like I’m getting knocked down more than I can get up (which happens more often than I ever thought possible), I do what I need to do to clear my head and get back in the game. I love to move when I’m feeling stuck in a problem - do a Peloton ride or a Pilates class. I’m also a prolific white boarder. When a million and one possibilities are flying around my brain it helps me to get them all down in front of me and sort them in terms of priorities right then and there. And resting is key, too. For me that usually means spending time at the water.



We think you have a great sense of humor and simply exude positivity. Have you ever had a “laugh out loud, but also how did I get here??” moment feeling beside yourself in the midst of everything you have going on?


Haha, well thank you! I feel like I could write the book on these moments! They happen almost weekly if I’m being honest. A particularly funny one just happened a couple months ago during one of our biggest holidays, Valentine’s Day. I was in California making bouquets at one of our partner facilities and then needed to fly out on Monday, Feb 13th for a speaking engagement I had booked for Feb 14th. That’s another story why I said yes to speak on our second busiest day of the year, but it made sense, promise! ;) So, after making bouquets for probably 16-18 hours a day that week, I went to check in to my hotel the night before the flight at midnight, and there was a snafu with my hotel reservation (which was at the Best Western, not the Four Seasons to give you a glimpse at how we travel) via Hotel Tonight (because that’s how I roll) and I couldn't get into my room until they sorted it out with the front desk agent which required him to reboot his entire computer system which was taking a pretty significant amount of time. I hadn’t had time to go to the hair salon and my roots were in dire need of some covering, so I did what every self respecting CEO does, right? I bought an at home kit and planned to do it from the hotel room prior to the event, and this was the last chance I had before the speaking engagement but the stars were definitely not aligning for me. I was watching the clock on my phone keep getting later and later and with it my anxiety level was too. So after waiting probably 20-30 minutes, I asked the front desk agent where the hotel bathroom was and if he had a towel (he did!) and proceeded to dye my hair in the sink of the lobby bathroom at the Best Western at almost 1am in the morning. When I came out the front desk agent thought I was nuts, but had my room ready for me so I could get a few hours of sleep with newly dyed roots before hopping on a plane for Texas. I swear, you can't make this stuff up!



You put the “Farmgirl''in Farmgirl Flowers, because you were actually raised on a farm in Indiana. We imagine this is how you developed such a stellar work ethic. Your grit. What was childhood like for you? 


I grew up in a very traditional home. I was expected to go to church, marry a man (ideally from said church) and have children who I would then raise in the church as well. My parents meant the very best, and still do - they are, hands down, the two nicest people I will ever meet, period - but that life was just never for me. What I found, then, when I moved to San Francisco was what it felt like I’d been looking for my whole life. 


Ever since I’d left home I always ended up turning a 40 hour/week job into an 80 hour/week one - there was always something left to do or to make better. Suddenly being immersed in start-up culture, the idea of being an entrepreneur, and putting all those OT hours in for a business I was building myself made sense in a way that nothing else had before. 


I also have to say, I don’t know if that light bulb moment would have been as bright had I not had (and have) the work ethic I do. To that 80 hour/week job tendency, my parents raised me to know what it is to work hard and to take pride in that work - whatever it was. I worked so many wage level jobs in my teens and twenties, from fast food, to coffee shops, retail and hospitality, and each one taught me that there are no shortcuts to doing the work. So while SF was the spark that lit the kindling, the particular mix of variables that helped make me (and Farmgirl) what it is today very much started with my parents back home in Indiana and all the wage level jobs that taught me how to do mundane tasks for long periods of time – which is Angela Duckworth’s suggestion of how to build grit (from her book by the same title). And, while I wasn’t super grateful for that “education” at the time, I am forever so now. 



With Mother’s Day just around the corner, which is the busiest time of year for Farmgirl (you’ve been quoted calling it “the Superbowl of the flower business”), do you manage to send your own mother flowers for the holiday? If so, what does her bouquet look like?


Despite the busyness of Mother’s Day, I always make sure to send my mom flowers. My mom is the OG farm girl, and the kindest and hardest working person I know, so I want to make sure she knows how much I appreciate and love her.  I tend to send her flowers throughout the year because moms do so much and deserve to be treated more than once a year. I usually send her our gerbera daisy bouquet (the Whoopsie-Daisy) because those are her favorite flowers, but for Mother’s Day I’m sending her our fully designed Force of Nurture because I designed it with her in mind. She loves to garden - I swear she’ll be gardening into her nineties at least, and this arrangement feels like an English garden, which is something I know she’ll love! 



Are there any particular memories of your mother that have resonated with you the most? 


The term labor of love always comes to mind with my Mom. She’s the most selfless person I know who will always choose to give instead of receive. She used to always come help for holidays - even Mother’s Day when she should be on the receiving end of the celebration. But in true Beth Stembel fashion, she would be the first in and last out on those really long holiday production days - even though she’s physically challenged and probably shouldn’t be on her feet even a fraction of the time needed to get through a peak day. 


A story I’ll always remember happened on one of those holidays when she came out to CA from Indiana to help - and that she did. Back then we used to cut burlap by hand with very heavy industrial scissors (which makes it especially challenging for me when people complain about having to use the much easier equipment we grew to finally have!), and to say it was the worst job in the workshop would be a gross understatement. We would limit that duty to one hour increments because it was so dirty and laborious and, frankly, not fun. I asked my Mom to cut some burlap first thing that morning so I could get the rest of the team going on their tasks and then had about five level ten fires arise back to back all day, which (please don’t judge me too harshly!) caused me to forget about my Mom in the back of the warehouse cutting burlap. Probably 8-10 hours later, I finally remembered to check in on her, wondering where she was, and found her still at that cutting table – with literal burlap bandages wrapped around her hands to cover the blisters, covered in burlap dust and probably sweat, but still cutting burlap. I don’t think anyone on the team had ever endured more than a few hours of cutting time, but my 60+ year old, physically challenged Mom not only did, but had figured out a way to cut them more efficiently so it would stretch longer (b/c we were short a few hundred pieces that holiday) - and never complained once about the blisters, burlap dust, exhaustion, or boredom. And once again, proving she has more grit and resilience in her little finger than most of us have at all.



If you could drop everything for a “Spring Break” and travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Who would you bring? What would you see? What would you eat!?


Oh wow, that sounds amazing! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to drop everything and truly go on vacation. Most of my trips are 99% work, 1% play time. I think the last time I went off the grid was a couple years ago to Bora Bora for a quick 3 day Thanksgiving trip with a couple of my closest friends - and even though it was short, it was literally a bucket list trip. I’m so lucky to have friends who have let me be their 3rd or 5th wheel and act like they’re winning by having me along.


I’m hoping to get more time to put the computer down and enjoy being in the now more in the near future. There are so many places I’d go for a spring break trip - back to Italy which is one of my favorite places in the world, or a new bucket list place like Iceland, Greece, or Africa, which are all on my short list. Italy and Greece would be for the food, wine, and views. Africa for the experience, culture, and wildlife. Greece for the natural beauty, views, and design. But my list is really, really long. I’m hoping after Farmgirl that I can take an extended spring break of sorts! 



What area do you spend the most time in, in your home? Do you have a space that you would consider a retreat? 


The water is my retreat and I just moved to a house on the water in Washington State which is literally filling my soul. The life of a CEO/bootstrapped company doesn’t come with a ton of downtime and I spend a lot of my time working so my office location is crucial. I set up my desk right in front of a window facing the water so I get to enjoy the views while I spreadsheet, zoom, whiteboard, and everything in between. That’s my version of balance. The water not only calms me,  but when I’m challenged with a problem I’m not sure how to handle, it provides focus and grounds me in reminding me how small and really insignificant I (and my problems) are in the grand scheme of things. 


How do you prefer to enjoy your wine? Over dinner with friends, while cooking, out at restaurants? Do you have any wine-drinking rituals, personally?


I’m definitely a social drinker. I rarely ever drink at home by myself, as I think it makes it even more special to enjoy it over dinner with friends. Although I will sometimes pour myself a glass while I arrange flowers - I’m pretty sure there’s a few Sunday DIYs on Instagram where I’ve done this, but then I feel like I’m with friends while chatting about flowers with our followers who feel like friends! 




What are you looking forward to, personally and/or professionally?


Hmmm…so much! I’m really looking forward to the economy rebounding in the next year hopefully (fingers crossed!) which has been especially tough for us this year professionally. I’m also really focused on what my next chapter is right now - and I’m not sure if that’s because it’s my light at the end of what has seemed to be a very long tunnel it feels like we’ve all been in since March 2020 with the pandemic, or if it’s because of my age (being in my mid-40’s officially now). Whatever it is, I know I want more in my life than continuous 100-hour work weeks so I’m working to hopefully create space for more diversity in my day-to-day life. I don’t like to really call it balance because we all have choices of how to fill our 24 hours each day, and I’ve made the choice to fill it mostly with professional goals, but now I’m working to make different choices to hopefully allow for fulfillment in other ways as well. I’m not there yet, and hope to be in the near future! 


We can't wait to see what Christina comes up with next as she continues to bring joy and beauty to her customers' lives. For more information and to order an arrangement, visit the Farmgirl Flowers website and follow them on Instagram: @farmgirlflowers.

Wine and flowers is a match made in heaven, in celebration of amazing women-owned business, enjoy15% off any order of flowers or wine with code BLACKSHEEP from now through December 31st 2023! Cheers!





Terms and Conditions: Discount is valid on purchases made from Monday, May 1, 2023 12:01a PT to Sunday, December 31, 2023 11:59p online at farmgirlflowers.com and mcbridesisters.com. Discount applies to products only - not gift cards, applicable taxes or shipping. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts and is not applicable to arrangements, plants or other merchandise in the Sale or Free Ship Shop categories at farmgirlflowers.com. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts and is not applicable to gift cards, gift sets, shipping or taxes at mcbridesisters.com. No adjustments on previously placed orders will be given. Promotional offer is subject to change without notice. To use, enter promo code BLACKSHEEP at checkout.

Time Posted: Apr 30, 2023 at 10:15 PM Permalink to At Home With Christina Stembel Permalink
The McBride Sisters
April 17, 2023 | The McBride Sisters

Breaking Down Barriers and Making Magic: A Chat with LU KALA

Next up in our Magic Makers series, we’re celebrating a rising star and absolute icon, LU KALA. The fiery-haired powerhouse of a woman first captured our attention with her glam style, raw honesty, powerful voice, and honest lyrics that speak to the soul. And did you know her first language is French? 

Born in Congo, and raised in Toronto, LU’s resilience, determination, and unapologetic vulnerability have propelled her to success. Over the past few years, she’s gained a large following with a dedicated fanbase that just keeps growing. 

LU's music is a reflection of her struggles and triumphs, as well as a powerful statement on body positivity and self-love. Through her music, she seeks to dismantle the divisive barriers of the music industry and pave the way for more diverse representation in the pop genre. Her EP, “Worthy,” released during the height of the pandemic, is a reminder to everyone that we are all worthy of self-love, acceptance, and happiness.

2023 has already been shaping up to be a big year for LU, with her track “Lottery” with Latto debuting at #83 on the Billboard Hot 100. We’re excited to see what else the year has in store for her – read on for more.




First off, will you please tell us a bit about your Congolese-Canadian background, what it was like growing up with such internationality, and how you got into music? 


I was born in Congo and raised in Toronto, Canada. It was cool living in two different cultures, a Congolese culture at home and a very multicultural one outside of my home as most of my friends come from different backgrounds. It was a bit difficult at times when I was younger living in two worlds as no one wants to be different but now I appreciate my background so much more because all of that makes me who I am.

I’ve always known I wanted to do music, I’ve always written songs, even from a very young age. I started performing locally and then traveling to network with people in the music industry. I never knew how I was going to make it but I knew that I would somehow and I was relentless in my approach.

You have been labeled as a pop singer. Would you define yourself this way, and what or who has most influenced your musical style?

Yes 100% I am a pop star through and through. It’s taken a lot of work to attain that title and I am glad people are finally seeing me for what I am.

Many different artists. Some of my favorites are Rihanna, Sia, Katy Perry, Destiny’s Child and Aretha Franklin. A bunch of strong women who set the bar.


Your music is emotional and real. So real that you tied a mental health campaign to the launch of your EP, Worthy, covering the cost of therapy sessions for 12 people. Your lyrics cover topics of self-love and acceptance. Do you have a favorite song, or one so personal you keep it closest to your heart?

It's a toss up between (DCMO) Don’t Count Me Out and Love Shit. DCMO was the first song I ever released and it’s about feeling counted by this world and being told you aren’t good enough. I feel like I entered the industry swinging saying F that I am good enough and worthy of being here. Love Shit is my baby because I wrote it at a time where I felt like I was ready to love and worthy of being loved.

How do you continue to find new creative inspiration?

All my inspiration comes from living life and whether I’m writing a song about what’s going on at this current moment or about something that happened 3 years ago, every song I write is about my experiences.

What have been your proudest accomplishments to date? Biggest challenges?

Having my songs charting on radio in the US and Canada, moving to LA, I heard Lottery for the first time on the radio the other day in my uber in LA with my cousin and we were both freaking out! Pretty Girl Era and Lottery are both currently in the Top 15 for Top 40 radio in Canada so I’m really proud of that. Working with some of my idols these last few months & releasing my first project independently. Getting billboards from Spotify, TikTok and Amazon Music in different cities like New York City, Toronto, and LA.

Being a black woman in a plus size body in pop music comes with too many challenges to name. Especially having to fight to be labeled as a pop artist but I know I will break down the barriers for more artists to follow after me.

What artists and songs do you currently have on rotation right now?

People by Libianca featuring. Arya Starr & Omah Lay, Trustfall by Pink, Die For You Remix by the Weeknd & Ariana Grande, Heart Wants What it Wants by Bebe Rexha, Heaven by Niall Horan & Cuff It – Wetter remix by Beyonce, Worth It by Raye, Special by Lizzo and Sza, Low by Sza.

If you could create a record with any musician throughout history, who would it be?

Rihanna – that’s my girl, an absolute icon.

Do you have any favorite Black Girl Magic Wines?

Black Girl Magic Rose and the Black Girl Magic Bubbly Riesling.


What does “Black Girl Magic” mean to you?

Black women being able to be any and everything they want to. Black women working on their craft, black excellence, not being afraid to be yourself and do what you love. Supporting and celebrating other black women. So many of us have that magic, it’s a matter of letting it out.

What can we expect next for LU KALA?

Lots of new music, a project coming this year and more performances.




Time Posted: Apr 17, 2023 at 12:28 PM Permalink to Breaking Down Barriers and Making Magic: A Chat with LU KALA Permalink
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