Black-Owned: AA DJs

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!

AA DJs was put on my radar because someone tagged them in the Black-Owned Business directory and then I had the opportunity to listen to their set last summer for a few nights at Stone City Ales and I spent my whole meal bopping my head and shrugging my shoulders. Ayanda and his team bring great energy to the space. They also produce a really great photo booth! Find out a little more about AA DJs.


When and why did you start AA DJs?
AA DJs got started in May 2017, because one of my best friends and I saw a need for a new approach to the experience couples got from DJs at weddings. We felt the client experience, overall visual presentation, and music style could be updated and refreshed to better suit the needs of people getting married these days.

Why Kingston? 
The community. We both grew up in Kingston, and it’s always been home for us. What better place to start a business than somewhere surrounded by your friends and family, inside of a city that has so many great small businesses to draw inspiration from? #YGKLove haha.

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Black-Owned: Cher-Mere

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!

I met Aba years ago at a local event and we’ve been connected ever since. I admire Aba for all of the work she does for our community (she does a lot of volunteer work and is on many, many committees!) while running two spas (and raising four children!)! My favourite items from Cher-Mere are the moisturizing hair products and body oil, they are especially appreciated in winter when everything is dry! This past year Aba has been responsible for the Let’s Talk Kingston series that’s done a wonderful job of breaking down barriers and having honest conversation about the things that impact our community. Learn more about Aba below.

Why did you choose Kingston? 
I came to Kingston to go to Queen’s for an undergrad from Engineering and then along the way I decided to do a Masters and then along the way I started to do a PhD and then along that way I was in a relationship and got pregnant and had four kids and we became Kingstonians officially (laughs). My husband always says “I wanted to go to a big city” and we kind of just ended up here. But we really like it here.

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Downtown Kingston is Lit

Downtown Kingston Light Installation

I don’t even know if the term “lit” is popular anymore but I am going to roll with it for the purpose of this post which is to tell you about Kingston’s beautiful light installation downtown. The bright, twinkling, (they literally twinkle), lights are certainly needed at the end of this dreadful year. No, they will not act as the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, however, with Christmas around the corner it’s important to find the silver-linings available to us and hold on tight to them! We can’t control  the current state of the world but we can control how we react to the madness! Continue reading

A Good Review: Our Latest Purchase from Kingston’s Carloft.ca

 

I am going to preface this post by saying the whole reason I started this blog was to share great experiences I have in our community. Most of the time it’s related to food and I am always happy to support local. This post is a little different! It’s about our recent trade in experience at CarLoft.ca’s Kingston‘ location. It was awesome enough that I feel the need to tell you about it.

About a month ago (when we were not in the middle of a severe covid outbreak for our region) we finally decided to test drive a vehicle we had our eyes on. For full context, we bought a brand new truck five years ago and we are over it. It was very much the Kingston thing to do coming from the GTA (a driveway, no street parking, shorter commutes = truck). But it’s not practical. And we’ve been talking about trading it in for months. I digress…So about a month ago we test drove a vehicle and liked the salesperson who helped us, Devon, so we grabbed his business card. Three weeks later after more consideration, we texted Devon to follow up. Fast-forward and we have said goodbye to our truck (we named it Buck) and hello to our newer, more affordable, SUV (name tbd). If you’ve been patient enough to read this far, thanks for sticking it out. Continue reading

Kingston’s Local Holiday Shopping Guide, 2020 Edition


2020 has been a real shitshow, amiright? Consider how hard it’s been for our local business owners that depend on local tourism and foot traffic. If you have a favourite local shop or restaurant and they are still surviving this pandemic, there is no better time to celebrate them than supporting them this holiday season. Lots of these businesses have gone online this year so no need to go out in the cold, just visit their websites and social pages and click a few buttons to order your gifts. You can find many of the vendors I mention at the Kingston Holiday Market, they ship and have items available for a safe pick up! If you’re looking to support Black-owned businesses this holiday, please take a look at this working list!  Update: *Note: the Holiday market is closed for this season. Check out Artisan Made Co  for more local makers! For a list curated from community suggestions, check out, “Community Curated Local Holiday Shopping List

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Kingston’s Black-Owned Businesses

In light of the movement to amplify black voices and in response to my recent share, I’ve been encouraged by our community to highlight Black-owned businesses in Kingston and the surrounding area. My long-term goal is to extend this list to include businesses owned by Indigenous and People of Colour in our community but we are going to start here. This is an opportunity to support the movement, locally. Thank you to those who contributed to the working list on my Instagram and Facebook page. This is a working list, if I’ve missed one (or a few), please include in the comments. Continue reading

Being Black in Kingston

When I started this blog almost 5 years ago, I planned to keep things light and positive. I would only post about good experiences and encourage the culture of supporting local. I also made the decision to not include myself in any of the photos because I wanted my audience to be able to picture themselves eating at these restaurants and taking part in these fun events. But if I am being honest with myself, I didn’t think people would relate/care about my content if they saw that I am Black. And I’ve never addressed race here because I just didn’t want to go there, really. But recent events and my peers’ reactions have made it clear that I need to address a few things. Continue reading

Local Closet Organizer, Popped Closet, is Here For You

closet organizer

I’ve got a confession to make. I am a very messy person! I try on a bunch of different outfits before leaving the house and don’t put back the rejected blouses and skirts. My closet typically resembles some sort of clothes monster with unhung dresses and and trousers pooling on the floor. It’s not a great situation. But that all that changed this weekend! Is it too late in 2020 to use #newyearnewme? Closet organizer, Jocelyn, of Popped Closet came over and turned my closet into a space my mom would be proud of. Jocelyn is new to Kingston and she brings this magical skill of transforming cluttered spaces and turning them into soothing, organized, colour-coated dreams. And all without judgement. Just kindness, enthusiasm and efficiency. I can’t stress that enough! Continue reading

Enright Cattle Company Hosts Successful Second Annual Crop Circle Dinner

If you’re familiar with Kingston’s food scene, you’ve probably seen the Enright name listed in one of the many menus around town. The Enrights pride themselves on their sustainability, ethically-raised cattle and providing the best quality beef to Kingston’s finest restaurants.

Every summer they invite the community behind the scenes to experience their product in an intimate setting at their Crop Circle dinner. Continue reading

Venture into Kingston’s Brand New Co-Working Space


Co-working spaces are becoming more and more common as more people decide to embrace their entrepreneurial spirits and launch small businesses. These spaces fill a niche, by providing a place that offers more than a home office can as well as a community of like-minded people.

There is a new co-working space in Kingston, Venture Club, offering that and more. The new space on the corner of Queen Street and Barrie offers reception service, printing services, meeting rooms, fast internet in full furnished spaces to those looking to rent an office space. Continue reading