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.


crush of the week: yoliswa mqoco

slay isn’t the right word. murder? annihilate? assassinate? whatever verb you choose, know that yoliswa mqoco does it, and she does it well.  born in pretoria, south africa, this aspiring fashion journalist’s instagram account is the most delicious thing you’ve ever seen. art, style, makeup, you’ll get your life and feel more creative by osmosis. Yoliswa2 Yoliswa3 Yoliswa4 Yoliswa1Yoliswa6

all pics via instagram

my hair, my way, go to hell

french montana learned the hard way about messing with a black woman about her hair. after posting an instagram picture clowning tichina arnold’s gelled down edges, the actress snapped back with the toughest read i’m sure he’s ever received.ta and fm

hearing about this situation begged a larger question for me: why is there so much commentary and criticism around black women’s hair? for example, twitter is constantly ablaze about blue ivy’s hair. you’d think beyonce and jay z were depriving the child proper nutrition the way people feel the need to go in. then there was that whole gabby douglas fiasco.  the poor child couldn’t even relish in the glory of winning an olympic gold medal without folks talking about how her hair was poorly groomed. and don’t forget all those chewbacca memes poking fun at pam oliver during her super bowl coverage. according to the masses, she offended humanity by not having a fresh weave for the event.

add tichina arnold to the cast of sisters mentioned above, and there’s an undeniable pattern of black women being victimized by our community’s stringent standards regarding our hair. like most black women, i grew up getting my hair pressed, braided, pulled and curled, but must admit that i never enjoyed the experience. while it was a chance for me to bond with my grandmother who was a dynamic kitchen sink beautician, we certainly could have found other means to deepen our relationship outside of mild-grade torture.

with these experiences in mind, i’m extremely critical of any beauty standard in our community that 1.) removes people’s individual agency over something as superficial and insignificant as strands of hair and 2.) lacks a clear male equivalent.  the former plays into respectability politics and what black folks, in particular black women, must do to remain upstanding ambassadors for our race. dare to miss your appointment to get your weave tightened and you shall be outcast and ridiculed, fodder for social media posts that reach millions of people. the latter point connotes the role patriarchy plays in forcing women into a role where our appearance is grounds for widespread celebration or degradation — both defined by the male gaze.  it’s not surprising that french montana and not a sister posted the above photo of tichina arnold. it’s male privilege that gives him license to fire shots at a celebrated actress in such a public manner.

in light of yet another hair controversy, i have a psa for my beloved community: whether our names are blue ivy, gabby douglas, pam oliver or tichina arnold, we will do whatever we good well please with our hair. we invite you all to go to hell on scholarships if this fact displeases you.

retail therapy: exodus goods

exodus goods is a recently opened new orleans boutique founded by sisters darlene and lizzy okpo and armina mussa. darlene and lizzy are the dynamic duo behind the fashion label william okpo, so naturally their pieces are available in the store.  unfortunately, those of us outside the french quarter can’t shop online just yet — judging from the pictures, i can’t wait to visit during my trip to nola this summer.



all pics via exodus goods on instagram

instagram tips from song of style

i’m addicted to instagram. it’s my favorite form of social media and an artistic platform that i literally can’t get enough of. aimee from song of style has done the instagram addicts of the world a huge favor by creating a video full of great tips for posting pics.  watch and learn from this blogger extraordinaire:

crush of the week: bazaar bohemian

2 4 516bazaar bohemian’s tumblr and instagram are delicious.  constantly mixing bold textiles, i’m slightly obsessed with her aesthetic.   she’s launching a lifestyle brand this spring, stay tuned.