Category Archives: Family Matters

My Family

I Discovered the Museum of the City of New York

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 IN: Family Matters I Love Museums On the Road Again

Did you know that New York City has a total of 83 museums among the five boroughs? I had the chance to discover one of them — the Museum of the City of New York.

For those of you who have been following the Age of Grace for the past four years, you know that I very much relish the chance to take a trip to any museum.  No matter the location, the Louvre in Paris,  the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, or the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D. C., I like them all. I’m already looking forward to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute’s, Spring 2017 Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons exhibit.
Continue reading

Honor Thy Father

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Monday, June 15, 2015 IN: Family Matters

My Dad, Gene Russell

My Dad, Gene Russell

According to the Bible, we are commanded to honor thy father.  What exactly does that mean? Since I am a believer of the word of God. I have no problem being obedient to what is written in the Holy Scriptures.  Let’s examine the early beginnings of Father’s Day.

Exodus 20:12

Exodus 20:12

Continue reading

To My Mom, With Love

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Monday, May 4, 2015 IN: Family Matters

To Mom, With Love
One caveat to national holidays are they help everyone to be on one accord. Everyone will celebrate their mother the upcoming weekend, me included. I plan to head to Philly to spend the day with Mom, Then spent Sunday with my family to celebrate my Mother’s Day. I dedicate this post to my mom, with love.

To Mom, With Love

Mother is a country girl at heart, I believe she adopted city style and customs when she moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia. Bessie, her name evokes that of being old-fashioned kind of gal, that she is.
Continue reading

Had Enough Already?

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 IN: Family Matters On the Road Again


Ladies Night

I was hoping to escape the winter gloom when I recently journeyed to New York City to help my daughter celebrate her 28th birthday.  New York isn’t so much fun when you have to trudge through the slush, dirty snow and the prospect of yet another Monday storm. Can I get a show of hands? Have you had enough already?

Wearing old iresident trench jacket, Lafayette 148 NY wool navy a-line dress with Seychelles suede pumps, vintage necklace.

Wearing old iridescent trench jacket, Lafayette 148 NY wool navy a-line dress with Seychelles suede pumps, vintage necklace.

However, I enjoyed the pleasure of my daughter’s birthday celebration with eight other millennials that are truly rising stars.  As a Mom I admire Channing’s “Martha” skills.  You know the Martha Stewart skills that lay dormant until you realize you have a panache to create the perfect ambiance. Her humble abode offered flickering scented candles, flowers and the menu included a nice selection mostly healthy treats:   fresh fruit, olives, homemade pizza and Caprese salad.

Continue reading

A Step in the Right Direction

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Monday, July 28, 2014 IN: Family Matters Fitness On the Road Again


Little did I know that my weekend trip to New York City to hang out with my daughter would help me achieve a step in the right direction on Saturday.  14,022 steps that is!  Thanks to my wearable fitness device that tracks my steps and overall activity, I was able to easily achieve my daily goal of 10,000 steps by sightseeing by foot in New York City.

My FitBit Tracker reading for Saturday, July 26, 2014 sightseeing in NYC

My FitBit Tracker reading for Saturday, July 26, 2014 from day of sightseeing in NYC

This weekend adventure included my first visit to historic Central Park.  So far, my travels to Manhattan just allowed me to drive around, through or walk along the perimeter of Central Park on Fifth Avenue to the Metropolitan Museum.  This visit I took the time to explore a small portion of the national landmark’s 843 acres, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

Wearing T.J.Maxx fit and flare Maggie London dress with Seychelles sandals

Standing in front of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir looking to the West side of Manhattan. Wearing my pink FitBit band,  J.Crew gold tasseled necklace, T.J. Maxx fit and flare Maggie London dress with (old) Seychelles sandals.

Our agenda always includes beauty stop at Sephora and mani/pedis at our fave nail salon, Blooming Nails. I opt for the back massage and mani while my daughter, the mani and pedi. I love the friendly greeting I always receive when I accompany Channing, their regular customer.

Next stop on the agenda included venture to Saks for view the Christian Louboutin windows on the debut of his nail polish line.  It’s wonderful to see the creativity of the French footwear designer incorporate his signature red color into luxury lacquer, not sure what took him so long. The friendly salesperson while restocking the sold out display was gracious enough to share the “Loub” nail polish story about the exclusive debut at Saks and expansion of the nail polish colors to follow this fall.

Continue reading

Genie Boy!

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 IN: Family Matters

My Dad

My Dad

It’s almost the third Sunday in June, you know what that means, time to celebrate Dads! It ‘s Father’s Day!  No surprise that Father’s Day was instituted following the success of Mother’s Day as inspired by Anna Jarvis.  Another woman, Sonora Dodd was behind the movement to recognize fathers and fatherhood. Great time to talk about Dads, specifically my Dad, Genie Boy.

As long as  I can remember when growing up my grand father always referred to my Dad as Genie Boy.  What is it about nicknames?  What do we do to earn these names? Are these nicknames considered terms of endearment? Of course they are! For sure I am named after my Dad, however, instead of my nickname being a direct derivative of my name, I get Cookie, hmmm. Once I became an adult with a professional career, I didn’t being to referred to as Cookie.  But of course my family and childhood friends will never call me anything but Cookie. My hubby calls me Gina. I like Gina, sounds so grown up and professional.

Continue reading

Mum’s the Word!

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Monday, May 5, 2014 IN: Family Matters


My and I at the Philadelphia Zoo enjoying a quiet moment.

My and I at the Philadelphia Zoo enjoying a quiet moment.

Once again the calendar says it is time to celebrate Mom.  I ask the same question last year, why do we need a holiday to remember our beloved mothers.  It does say in the Word of God to honor thy father and mother actually as a commandment.  Anna Jarvis, as a woman defined by her faith,  I am positive this is what motivated her to strive to have a day set aside for people in the United States to celebrate their mothers with a recognized day. This May 11, marks 100 years of celebrating Mom.  So what’s the word today?  Mum’s the Word! My Mum!

My Mom

My Mom, 1998 at my brother Sean’s Wedding

The inspiration of Anna Jarvis reminds me of my mum, my mommy, my Mom, Bessie.  Mom didn’t discover a vaccine, secure a patent, invent a gizmo, or even attain higher education degrees like her children.  Her achievements include her own movement to get her five children educated in the best schools her working class background could afford, raise well-mannered children who fear God.  I salute my Mom, not just as a mother of five, grandmother to three and great-grandmother to three but as a seven year breast cancer survivor. I am truly blessed to have learned kindness, generosity and compassion from my Mum.

Mom, my children at Channing's college graduation

2009, My Mom with my children at Channing’s college graduation

I was born in Germantown and raised in Mt Airy by my parents, both racially mixed sections of Philadelphia.  Little did I know and appreciate then that Germantown was so rich in history and played a significant role in American history. What, I do remember is, as a child walking up and down Germantown Avenue on Saturdays going to the Orpheum movie theater and passing all the beautiful well-maintained stone historic buildings that I didn’t pay much attention as I passed by.

Funny what you do remember from childhood, like, I do remember mamma shopped at a small boutique-like store nestled among the quaintness of Germantown and Chelten Avenues across the street from Linton’s and down the street from the Orpheum movie theater called Sabra Lee.  As seen the first photo, there’s Mom looking pretty sophicated as a twenty-six year old wearing a brown houndstooth coat while I am sitting on the bench shelling peanuts at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Continue reading

Men’s Department

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Monday, June 17, 2013 IN: Family Matters


I remember when I would visit any of the many Center City department stores in Philly, I had the option of taking the escalator or the elevator to the area that I wanted to shop that day.  When you took the elevator, there was someone stationed in the elevator to direct you to that respective department on each floor. Today, I want to take on that role for you. Consider yourself stationed in my elevator. Going up!

I want to share with you, my visit to the Men’s Department, specifically the men that influenced my growth and development: my Dad and grandfathers.

Growing up in the big-city Philadelphia during the late 60’s and 70’s–clearly wasn’t a cake walk with the historically and culturally turbulent times for African Americans.  I have vivid memories of my parents purchasing their first home in the Germantown section where many other working class families lived, worked, played, educated and instilled values in their children in the quiet well-kept community.

I remember my Dad organizing block parties, designating clean street days where nearly everyone came out to clean, socialized and participate, it was a time when you knew your neighbors.  I can recall those hot summer days when he would get permission to turn the fire hydrant on so all the children on the block who didn’t have a pool could cool off because of the extreme hot temperatures during the summers.  I even remember when he participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

My older brother and I had to attend the mandatory Gene Russell Summer School, i.e my Dad purchased summer home-school curriculums for us to do every summer.  Most times when other children were playing, we had to be inside to complete our assignments, but when it was extremely hot we did get to indulge in the cool water of our backyard pool. We were always anxious to complete our assignments so we could go play until the street lights came on.

My Dad made me read the Philadelphia Bulletin everyday to learn about current world events and to increase my vocabulary, I still enjoy reading newspapers everyday, I set aside time every Sunday to read the New York TImes.

Father's Day2Photo of my Dad, Gene O. Russell

Now my Dad’s Dad who we fondly called “Russ,” was a chef, my Nana was fortunate that she almost never cooked. He worked at Horn & Hardart  (some of you may remember this first automated restaurant) and owned his own restaurant at 19th and Rittenhouse Streets until his retirement in the late 1950’s.

My fondest memory, I can recall my grandfather having a wrought iron fence put around their home for when his grandchildren visited especially the granddaughters because at the time there were only two granddaughters, cousin Tish and I.   He didn’t want the “10 boys to come around.”  I can remember the enclosed yard had everything a child could want for fun (playhouse, pool, bikes, and swingset).  I can see him smoking his pipe while listening to baseball on his transistor radio.  My “Russ” lived to the ripe old age of 92 in 1992.

Father's Day3Photo of Paternal Grandfather Robert “Russ”  Russell (June 10, 1900 – October 30, 1992)

My Mom’s Dad, we called Grandpop, he was a big guy, a mason/laborer who liked to play baseball in his free time. My memories of him include coming to my parents second home in Mt Airy, nearly always bringing his Bible.  Widowed at a fairly early age, he would bring fresh produce from the Italian Market on South 9th Street to share and cook with our family.Father's Day4Photos of Maternal grandfather, Robert Lee Davis (February 28, 1908 – August 20, 1989) (big guy in the middle of second photo)

Thank you for riding up in my elevator of memories as I acknowledge the men that made an lasting  impact on my life, I still don’t believe that a holiday is necessary to recognize a loved one but I did have fun thinking back on how my Dad and both grandfathers have impacted my life.   I don’t talk to my Dad like I do my Mom but I loved that I can text him, emailed him and he is a Facebook friend so we can stay connected. What sweet memories do you have of  male influences in your life.

The Women

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Sunday, May 12, 2013 IN: Family Matters

Mother's DayToday is Mother’s Day, and though we shouldn’t need Hallmark to tell us to celebrate the women who gave us life, it’s a nice reminder.

I had no idea the history behind the holiday, did you? One woman, Anna Marie Jarvis from West Chester, Pennsylvania is the founder of Mother’s Day holiday in the United States.  Anna followed her mother’s lead with her Mother’s Day Work Clubs to improve sanitary and health conditions for women.  The Mother’s Day Work Clubs also treated wounds, fed, and clothed both Union and Confederate soldiers with neutrality.  On May 12, 1907, two years after Anna’s mother’s death, Anna held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday.  All because she wanted to honor and recognize the contributions her mother made to her and society.

Continue reading

Empire, State of Mind

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Monday, April 8, 2013 IN: Family Matters On the Road Again Talking Beauty


Always looking for an opportunity to hang out with my daughter, I drove to New York City this weekend to enjoy a weekend of beauty and bring a few much needed items to help Channing get organized in her new abode. Our plans included nails, make-up and hair. But as I see it…I was in an “Empire, State of Mind” for a Girl’s Beauty Weekend. So many choices and so much wealth, you see this in the people, the restaurants, buildings and their history. Competition for your dollar but opportunities to satisfy everyone’s budget.

I got to the Upper East Side late Friday night but immediately, I was impressed by my daughter’s choice of living space: a beautiful well maintained complex built in 1911. Though nicely updated over the years. I found it amazing that two people can function in a 500 square foot apartment with their separate bedrooms.  As  the song “New York, New York” says if you can make it here, you can make it anyway especially in such small living quarters.

Continue reading