The Spice Suite Founder Angel Gregorio Shares Her Favorite Self-Care Spots In Washington, D.C.

The Spice Suite Founder Angel Gregorio Shares Her Favorite Self-Care Spots In Washington, D.C.

Food & Drink

This post is in partnership with Toyota.

Angel Gregorio, a former school principal turned culinary maven, was born and raised in Washington, D.C. but has left traces of her flavor all over the world. Her seasoning company, The Spice Suite, is nestled in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and frequently draws in corner-circling lines of customers waiting to purchase her hand-tossed seasoning blends. Angel's spice mixes are a labor of love; she travels around the world, sourcing spices from different countries and cooking up unique blends like Sri Lankan curry and smoky tea rub, so it's no wonder she keeps a packed house and sells out online spice boxes in minutes.

As a business owner, wife, mom, and avid traveler, Angel's time is precious. More than that, she knows exactly who she is and what's made for her. That's why she's leaning all the way into the "soft life" by outsourcing her to-do list and having her favorite service providers make house calls. "I am all about convenience," she tells xoNecole. "So while I love a good farmer's market, I also enjoy grocery delivery services." She's also deliberate about pouring back into the community, saying "If ever I'm out and about spending money and not eating at home, then it's almost always going to be with a Black business."

Just like the new Toyota Corolla Cross, Angel is always on the move and making space for what matters. "The way that I make space for myself, even when there are hiccups in life, is to not accept excuses...even from myself," she says. "If I have a nail appointment at 10 am, I'm getting to my nail appointment at 10 am. [Store] shipment delays can't delay my self-care."

The Toyota Corolla Cross is the perfect hybrid vehicle for a road trip with its spacious interior, immersive sound system, and fuel-saving efficiency. Pair this with the scenic views of D.C., and I'd say you have the perfect summer getaway. And when you get there, whip out this to-do list curated by Angel of the best Black-owned businesses in Washington, D.C. to eat, shop, get pampered, and unwind.

She Nailed It, East Capital St SE Washington, DC 20019

"In terms of self-care, I think people who follow my page know that nails are a thing for me. I probably change my nail designs weekly. So having a really bomb nail tech is really good. And even that is a form of convenience for me because [my nail tech] will come to me."

2D Pole Fit 11392 Livingston RoadFort Washington, MD 20744

"I've been going to this place called Two D Pole Fit for aerial yoga and pole classes which keep me active. It's a Black woman-owned studio and I fell in love with it."

Catwalk Boutique, 225 7th St. SE Washington, D.C. 20003

"I love to shop, but I mostly shop online. There's a boutique here by Eastern Market called Catwalk Boutique, and I've been shopping with her for years. I found her while shopping for my baby shower [twelve years ago]. She will let me try things on at home and pick it up whenever they're ready. Her clothes are [made by] low-key designers across the world. I've found the most whimsical, feminine, funky things I've found from her."

Turning Natural Juice Bar, 1380 H Street, Washington, D.C. 20002

"I don't always want to [leave home]. But if I am getting out, it's usually for something quick and simple, but really good. Turning Natural is one of my favorite juice bars in the city. They do really simple, clean smoothies and vegan treats. I'm not even vegan, but they do desserts really well."

Byrd's Nest Box

"I have friends who garden, and I'm grateful a lot of them will grow things for me. My friend Falani has a business called Byrd's Nest Box and she grows organic produce. So if I'm making salads or sandwiches and I need lettuce and tomato, Falani will pull up."

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It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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