The holiday season represents various things to all of us. However, for Ayesha Curry and her Sweet July magazine team, this holiday season is dedicated to reunions — reunions with family, friends, partners, and most importantly, ourselves.
“For me, I think the reunion part when it comes to this issue falls more on the internal. It’s having the realization that sometimes you get away from yourself — and that with a few rituals and key things in your life, you can always find your way back to you,” Curry told theGrio. “I think for me, that was the biggest takeaway with this issue, and it could be something so simple and small, [like] your skincare routine. As silly as that sounds, that moment with yourself [is] important. I think we get caught up in making those things feel stupid or silly or insignificant, and then before you know it, a year has gone by, and you’re not taking care of yourself because you’ve made it insignificant. So I like to look at this issue as a reminder that nothing is insignificant.”
Sometimes, reuniting with yourself can strengthen your external relationships. In the Winter 2023 issue of Sweet July, Curry explores the power of reunions in all their forms. Highlighting community, culinary, artistic, business, and personal connections, the issue features industry all-stars like Allyson Felix and the champions of Curry’s personal life such as her grandmother, mother, sister-in-law Sydel Curry-Lee, and her 11- and 8-year-old daughters Riley and Ryan. While these integrations add a personal touch to the magazine, Curry shares that featuring her family reflects the magazine’s mission and commitment to multigenerational storytelling.
“It connects to the overall theme of every issue that we’ve ever done, and what [that] comes down to is empowerment. If you’re not empowering the people around you that you walk with on a daily basis, then what are you doing?” the Sweet July founder explained. “So for us, this magazine has always been about telling, yes, the big stories, but also telling those everyday stories that are relatable. [The stories] that you come across and find a sense of community.”
Sweet July’s new “Reunion issue by Ayesha Curry” is its first since Summer 2022 and also marks the first time the brand has been published independently. Excited and grateful for its reemergence, Curry explained that it took a team of people rallying around the magazine and its ethos to make this relaunch possible. When the mother of three launched her lifestyle brand’s eponymous lifestyle magazine, she hoped its diverse and inclusive storytelling would encourage everyone to find their own version of “Sweet July,” a phrase that reflects a blissful time in her life. At the time, Curry understood she was entering a world that lacked representation — and to this day, that awareness fuels her steps as an entrepreneur.
“Some years ago, this opportunity was presented, and it wasn’t something that I had ever envisioned myself doing because there was no representation in that sense, in that space. It’s not something that I knew I could accomplish,” she admitted. “One of the reasons why I said yes was to fill that white space and to be a voice for women and girls like myself.”
She added, “When we had this big transition [to publish independently], it was really important for me to make sure I was still sending that same message that it can be done, even if it’s done in a different way […] and it can be even better when you take a leap of faith.”
Featuring tips, testimonies, recipes, and more, the publication’s latest issue serves as a prelude and prep guide to navigating holiday reunions. As holiday festivities fill the air in the Curry household, the Sweet July founder shared she is most excited to reunite with her family and recreate some of her most beloved childhood memories with her three children. As a child, when she wasn’t outside sledding through Canada’s snow, Curry says some of her fondest holiday memories included watching holiday movies and playing freeze tag in the dark with her four siblings.
“My kids are old enough now where they sit through full movies and actually understand what’s going on, so for me, it’s creating those memories that I had when I was younger with them,” she explained. “I think those like small moments are what excites me the most, like even down to creating time in a sense by taking shortcuts [in the kitchen].”
Through the years, Curry has become known as her family’s “hostess with the mostest.” While she’s learned quite a few things along the way, one of her many tricks during the holidays is making large, simple dishes like lasagna or prime rib to optimize her amount of family time. Similarly, after experiencing a dinner roll baking disaster, Curry, who describes herself as more of a chef than a baker, advises hosts not to take on more than they can handle while trying to do the most. In her words, just “buy the damn rolls.”
Ultimately, whether you’re learning hosting tips from Curry or taking notes on how to create personal reunions, Curry hopes to connect with every kind of reader through this issue.
“The Sweet July reader is every person. When I say anybody can find something in here. I really mean that [because] I don’t think we cater to one audience. We kind of cater to what’s feeling good at the moment,” she concluded. “Anybody that’s looking can find a safe haven in this magazine.”
Find out more details about Sweet July’s Winter 2023 issue at sweetjuly.com.
Haniyah Philogene is a multimedia storyteller and Lifestyle reporter covering all things culture. With a passion for digital media, she goes above and beyond to find new ways to tell and share stories.
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