weekend music: oshun nyc

burn some sage and vibe out to oshun nyc.

i hope your weekend has brought lots of peace.


pic via okayplayer


crush of the week: afia and jay

simply calling jasmine my style crush isn’t sufficient. her wardrobe is beyond.  she’s more than epic style though — her blog, afia and jay, bridges the gap between fashion and career advice for millennials. check her out and fall in love.


the top 3 lessons from my #blackgirlsabbatical

my sundays used to be filled with anxiety. all i could think about was work — the insecurities i’d released on saturday would climb my back like demons determined to steal my peace. much of my anxiety came from the fear that i was missing something or wasn’t performing up to par professionally. this fear forced me to obsessively brood over mental to do lists. i suffer from a type of self-induced stress that only people who’ve been told (and believe) they’re not good enough can understand.

i couldn’t keep navigating constant stress this way. not only was i fighting demons, but i was fighting myself. after a 30 day sabbatical, i believe now more than ever, that peace is mine to claim.

i marched into my sabbatical like it had stole something. armed with reading material, two scheduled trips, a major event to host and two family visits, i was ready to focus on me. or so i thought. it wasn’t until we returned from costa rica that i realized i planned way too much. it was 30 days, not six months, and my type a personality had made my sabbatical a project to manage, not an experience to explore.

SPRINGTIME#blackgirlsabbaticals lesson one: trust the process.  dedicating space to self care is hard. be proud of yourself for taking the first step, but challenge your normal work habits to truly get the most from it. growth requires us to dismantle old habits and interrogate our current paradigms.

despite doing a lot to start, i wouldn’t trade the time i spent with my family for the world. i’m known as the hard to reach family member living a crazy (and weird) life far away from home.  i hadn’t realized how much that somewhat true distinction separated me from the ones i love.

i’ve missed the jokes, lazy days, family meals, softball games and more without knowing how much i’ve missed them.  being around family reminded me of these moments’ significance and how much i need home for comfort, healing and affirmation. #blackgirlsabbaticals lesson two: whether a person, place or thing, home feels like the safest place you’ll ever know. honor that place and turn to it often.SPRINGTIME (1)

my sabbatical opened up suppressed feelings and gave me a sense of awareness that a daily grind can stifle. not only did i recognize how much i’ve missed my family, but i also recognized how quickly time is passing.

my cousins are growing up, my grandparents are getting old, shit, i’m getting old and long-term friendships aren’t as strong as i’d remembered. this realization wasn’t easy — it caused me to spend an entire day crying. reality was just too much. in the end, my tears brought a much-needed lesson about vulnerability and growth. #blackgirlsabbaticals lesson three: tears aren’t a sign of weakness. since birth, they’ve been a sign that we’re alive.Copy of SPRINGTIME

after 30 days off from work, i’m a little lighter, a little wiser and vibrate a little higher.  however, while i celebrate my growth, i can also recognize the professional and financial privilege that allowed me to take a sabbatical. in fact, this is the first time in my life that not working was a choice.

how can we support sisters who don’t have the privilege of taking time off from work, especially those navigating parenthood, poverty and toxic relationships? one systemic support is to join the national fight for $15, a movement calling for better pay and stronger benefits for underpaid workers.

politics & fashion is holding space for a self-care movement among black women. we all deserve to claim our peace.

local love: spice suite


i’m 19 days into my whole 30 cleanse (but who’s counting), and food has never tasted this good. eating only protein, fruit and vegetables has called for creative recipes — so i was beyond excited when mariama of brownbelle recommended we meet up at the spice suite in takoma park.

DSC_6616nestled on a short strip of local businesses, the spice suite is owned and operated by chef angel anderson. glass jars of internationally-sourced spices line the wall, boasting unique flavors like mesquite salt and raspberry sugar.

aside from selling spices and soups, the ambiance is delightful. it’s the kind of place that makes you want to post up with a good book, sip angel’s strawberry basil lemonade and chill on a quiet saturday afternoon. it’s like a black-owned cheers with a cozy, bohemian vibe. DSC_6622

not only is my pantry grateful for some new flavors, but i’m ecstatic to have finally met my blogger boo mariama! her lifestyle blog is a must read for food, interior design and style inspiration. she’s even lovelier in person, and i can’t wait to create magic together.

if you’re like me and think you’re doing something fancy by using trader joe’s sea salt, then it’s time you stopped by spice suite to get your life. nervous about delving into spices like saffron without a tutorial? no worries, angel’s hosting a sip ‘n spice on november 22nd to sip, chat and learn all about introducing new flavors into your cooking routine.


confessions of an obsessive travel planner

confession: i have obsessive tendencies. once i pick up a new hobby or interest, it’s full steam ahead until i’m pulled into the next adventure. since i’ve crocheted my entire family multiple scarves, it’s time for something new.

thanks to the growing black travel movement, exploring the world is my latest obsession. remember my summertime fine piece where i made a commitment to adding more stamps to my passport?  thankfully, i did just that with a recent trip to costa rica. cool breezes, palm trees, beaches, delicious food — we lived la pura vida for five relaxing days (check the ‘gram if you missed it).

while we were still in costa rica, i was already planning our next trip abroad. i mentioned i was obsessive right? here are my top social media and black travel bloggers who give invaluable access to a world without borders:

    1. zim ugochukwu and travel noire: get real familiar with zim and everything that is travel noire. after losing her job, traveling the world and sleeping on a friend’s couch, she emerged from a personal journey with a dedication to encourage black folks to see the world. she’s lowkey my latest inspiration, and travel noire’s #tndistrict is one of the most creative ways imaginable to connect with black folks around the world. check out zim’s interview with time magazine for more insight into the black travel movement.
    2. oneika the traveller: traveling to 70 countries on 6 continents has made oneika a certified travel expert. she’s been everywhere — when i say everywhere, i mean EVERYWHERE — you ever thought about traveling and thankfully chronicled her experiences online. browse her blog for top notch advice before you even think about booking a flight.
    3. catch me if you can: me and j.nambowa should be friends. her courage to get up and go off the solo move inspires all type of black girl magic. not only does her blog offer travel tips, but her periscope takes things a step further with realtime visuals from her epic locations. plus her advice on saving to travel helps squash that voice in the back of your head saying “you can’t afford to take that once in a lifetime vacation.”
    4. hashtags, hashtags and hashtags: #blacktravelers, #blacktravelhackers, #travelisthenewclub, #travelnoire and #jettsettingchicks are my go to hashtags for travel experiences. just scrolling through the pictures will inspire you to get up and go.

living in a fast-paced-urban environment provides lots of distractions from my inner self, but travel puts life as i know it to a halt. traveling is not only my latest obsession, but part of my dedication to self-care.

explore the black diaspora through #strollingseries

i’ve never felt more american or isolated than while watching strolling series. created by cecile emeke, the short films explore the black diaspora through complex topics such as feminism, afro-futurism, capitalism, music and immigration. what’s most interesting is uncovering the ways race and nationality are shaped by physical location.

while we have a long way to go in america by way of representation and inclusion, strolling series reminded me that black-american art influences the international black experience. there’s privilege in living at what some might consider the epicenter of black life.

one thing’s for sure — black womanhood is lit no matter the location, and these young sisters’ analysis is so sharp until i beamed with pride.