Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monthly Faves: July 2014

Despite the heaves of creative blocks and sometimes wondering how I was going to pull this off, the SSE blog challenge 2k14 is finally complete! Writing everyday can be challenging, so I can understand why some people chose to not participate, but I certainly appreciate the few bloggers who put in the effort. Shout-out to my girl Ashley @ Akording to Ashley, Haley @ Haley Rankins, to the lovely Jaz Jones @ Joy of JL, Sheriden @ The Indie Byline and to everyone else who extended their support by sending amazing comments, tweets, and emails my way.

There's a lofty post in store for you guys today with my current favorites [Chymere A. Loves...], July photo diary to summarize the month, and a complete blog recap, just in case you missed a post, so let's get right into it:  

♥ On the WWW:
♥ Music:
♥ Books:
  • Loved: 'Ghana Must Go' by: Taiye Selasi [Read my review on H E R E]
♥ Beauty:
  • Scrambling blog/internet archives to shed light on nude lippies suitable for women of color, I finally found my perfect nude lip combo, Mary Kay's Raspberry Ice liquid lip color on top of Natural Beaute true dimensions lipstick. My mom is a MK beauty consultant, so of course a majority of my collection is Mary Kay by default. Isn't it pretty?? [If you love beauty/inspiration on your TL, follow her on Twitter: @LadyBlessed_MK ...and no it's not Mary Kay talk 24/7]
  • I'm very particular about what shampoo products I use on my hair that tends to get really dry, especially during swim training. Organix Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Shampoo has been a life saver, an answer to my prayers. No sulfates. No animal testing. And it smells so good. Automatic win.
♥ Miscellaneous:
  • App(s): Beats Music app : combines all my favorite music apps into one and I love it. | Twi Phrasebook : currently teaching myself Twi, a native language of the Ghanaian people. 

Outside of blogging, it's been a really incredible month. From hitting the quarter century mark to falling in love with my city again, and appreciating the little things, such as spending quiet moments with my dad in his garden, life has been interesting, to say the least. I'm quite excited to discover what the remainder of the year has in store.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Music Collective: vol. 7 {Electric Lady}

Today was the third visual release from Janelle Monae's latest album, The Electric Lady [click HERE to check out the album review I did on my old blog].  By the implication of 8tracks, classic cars, and vinyl records this video perfectly captured the nostalgia of earlier college days in a contemporary setting. It was pretty clever for the directors to play on the HBCU Greek life in the party scene and to feature a few well-known faces from Atlanta's booming music scene, paying homage to where her music career began. The appearance of South Atlanta High School's marching band at the end was a nice touch as well. It was such a fun video with classic Janelle Monae elements and I absolutely loved it.

Hopefully, the next visual will be to 'Givin' Em What They Love' ft. Prince (??); fingers crossed.

- ♥ Chymere Anais

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Zone

I am my best self in or near the water. When I'm wrapped up in the world that way, looking up at the massive sky, it feels like I'm one with the universe, at least at peace with it.  At the same time, I realize that despite how small I am in comparison, God still hears my prayers. Something similar happens when I create something beautiful or hear a song I like, however, I get this feeling, mostly, when I'm in a large body of water. It there that I am able to sense just how colossal God is; and how creative...and amazing..and powerful. Whether I am in the ocean or in an outdoor pool, my element is water, which is the ultimate happy place for me. 

Where do you go to feel alive?

♥ Chymere A.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ghana Must Go

Parallel to the poetic voice of Toni Morrison, but not the same, Taiye Selasi has this elegant and poetic way of crafting a literary work into a cinema. Full of vivid imagery, this book was written so beautifully and it's really no other way to describe it. I was highly impressed by 'Ghana Must Go', her debut novel, simply for the richness, the cultural relevance, the drift between contemporary and historical worlds, and the complexities of each character. I was able to really transport to lands I've only dreamed of and encountered people who don't even exist! 

The book opens with the death of renowned surgeon, Kweku Sai. As the story unfolds, it takes into account the life he lead leading up to his death and how his life choices affected the people around him, more specifically his wife and children. The best parts were hidden in the details and not so much the most obvious points in the plot (i.e. his death). Rather than explaining what and how something happened from one point of view, the reader has a chance to delve deep into every misconstrued perception of the main characters. Although the story starts from a point of death, the story unravels with so much life and depth. 

Despite Kweku abandoning his family unannounced, leaving his wife, Folasade to raise 4 young children on her own, the Sai children grew up to be exceptional people, at least on paper: Olu, a married surgeon; the twins, Taiwo, an accomplished attorney, and Kehinde, a world renowned artist; and the baby Sadie, a college scholar. Connected by the success and beauty gene they all seemed to naturally inherit, there were still years worth of personal issues and untold secrets they'd dealt with in silence that kept them distant from one another, for various reasons. The mysteries they failed to communicate made an estranged family unit, but it was so amazing how well they could feel each other, despite the distance-physically and mentally-among them. 

Everyone's reasons for hiding things were apparent to the reader and mysteries to each other. The author, Ms. Selasi, gives an interesting perspective on a host of things that varied with throughout the story, such as loss, abandonment/trust issues, self-esteem, and the concept of family across culture lines.

The death of their father brings them all back together in a way that only tragedy tends to do, back to Ghana where the story started for both parents. It's funny how this book came right around a time where I'm discovering my Ghanaian heritage for the first time well into adulthood, just like the members Sai clan. 

Overall, this was a really great read; a bit long, but an instant and unexpected classic. Books like this have to be read more than once in a lifetime. I look forward to future projects from Taiye Selasi. 

♥ Chymere A.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Music Collective vol.6 {Songs of Summer II}

With fall semester being right around the corner and I settle back into a normal swing of a hectic school/work schedule, it only reminds me that summer, as I know it, is almost over. Next thing I know, it'll be Christmas! Since I didn't make room for road trips to the beach every other weekend, poolside BBQs, sun-kissed skin from playing in the sun, etc. summer turned out to be nothing like the fantasy. However, here are songs, new and old, that have been on my radar lately to put me in the perfect summertime mood:

  1. Maps x Maroon 5
  2. Am I Wrong x Nico & Vinz
  3. New Flame x Chris Brown ft. Usher and Rick Ross
  4. My Sweet Summer x Dirty Heads
  5. Sing x Ed Sheeran
  6. Rude x Magic!
  7. Foreign x Trey Songs
  8. Next to It x Lupe Fiasco, Ty Dolla Sign
  9. Bullit x Watermät
  10. On Top of the World x Imagine Dragons
Also, did any of you notice something different about today's music post? Well, if you didn't or you're new here, I am doing away with the infamous 'Soundtrack Saturdays'...for good. No need to fret; in its place, I'm simply renaming the music series on my blog to Music Collective. I decided to do this so that my music post are no longer restricted to just Saturdays, leaving me room to post music related post multiple days of the week, if I choose to do so. Because this blogging platform is relatively new, you'll see some changes to previous post as well. If you're ever feeling nostalgic, or curious to take a look inside my music library, feel free to browse through the SS archives H E R E.

What songs make you feel like summer?

- ♥ Chymere A.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


My youthful hands loved to rub my Grandpa's facial skin, fascinated by how loose and prickly it was. He would get frustrated on the exterior, playfully shouting things like 'Go'way, gyal!' in his thick, Geechee accent, but I paid it no mind, because I could see the blush beaming through his caramel colored skin. I'd caress his face the way I treasured it and became joyous by the texture. Gramma would sit in her chair across the room and laugh like a giddy, adolescent school girl. Whether it was an expression of butterflies that existed after all those decades of marriage or her simply thinking the interaction was comical, I could feel the love and admiration there. A love that ascended from her to me and from him to me; from him to her and her to him. It flowed continuously like a peaceful river and in moments like this, I always felt so lucky to be there with them, to be surrounded by the gentle, yet powerful spirit of love. 

Over time, the skin became frail. Every time I touched it, it seemed like he would vanish in an instant. I couldn't understand how something that was so fun once upon a time now saddened me at the possibility that these moments would no longer exist and how him laying in a hospital bed didn't have the same affect as him sitting upright in a chair. But I still tried to touch him for as long as I could. As the rectangular box was ushered out of the church and finally lowered into the ground, I wept with anguish, realizing his physical presence would no longer be in my reach.  

Every time I visit my Gramma I sit and sleep in his recliner. I always thought it was so comfortable, but was never allowed to sit in it long, for he'd come in the room, commanding his spot be vacant. But since there was no one there to claim it, I sat there. One day, I walked in the room and sat, creating a mold with my body into the cushions. She laughed. She wasn't doing anything that I sensed would cause it, but she laughed some more to the point of hysteria. She couldn't explain why. Then, I laughed too. Reaction more than an actual feeling.  

That outburst would happen a few times within the next few years and even to this day. I finally understand why: it was his spirit was in the midst, that gentle yet powerful spirit, beaming through the reality of the natural realm.  Nostalgia captivated us both, and we laughed in light of the memories of him being there in that space with us, barely even noticing that he was gone. 

♥ Chymere A.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sink or Swim

'Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)' by Hillsong United passed through my ear plug speakers on repeat as I sat nervously at the bus stop. It was 11 pm. and by this time, the metro stopped running. The busy hustle of Los Angeles' traffic finally reached a calm and local establishments were beginning to close. I turned the music lower to be mindful of noises that could easily be omitted by loud music. My guard was up, firmly cemented around my senses of vulnerability, and in that moment, I felt more fear than I ever had in my life. I didn't have many options other than to just sit there and try really hard not to cry. It will all be over soon, I reassured myself, trying to find comfort in knowing my mom was thousands of miles away praying for me. I couldn't understand how it came to this, how the city of my dreams became such an atrocity, so I just continued to hum the lyrics as if my life depended on it

"...I will call upon Your name/ Keep my eyes above the waves/ My soul will rest in Your embrace/ I am Yours and You are mine..."

Daybreak came and it didn't cross my mind that I had not eaten, or showered, or slept. Maybe I had slept, but it just didn't seem like sleep at all.  When the first bus came, I hopped on as if the night hadn't been spent in that same spot. Where was I headed? Starbucks. I loved it there. It was just so welcoming, people treated me fairly, even if I didn't buy anything, and I could charge my phone. As soon as I arrived, I went to the bathroom to clean up and pulled out clean clothes to change into. It was now 8 am. Life was so much better in the day time. And I was headed to my first business meeting.

The meeting went well, my bosses seemed to like me. They threw around words like charismatic, confident, and well-mannered. I was glad they only saw the surface. I was glad that I didn't open my mouth about my living situation, or lack thereof. Maybe I should have said something, maybe they could have helped, but...would've-should've-could've doesn't change what is or what was.

Back at the train station. Night time again, walking from bus stop to bus stop. Slowly dozing to sleep on a crowded train. Waking up, repeating the steps in reverse to end up at Starbucks again, only to get to my destination and realized I'd been robbed of the little money I had, the cards too. So no more money. Then to McDonald's. That's when I met her. Usually, I read people well, but for the first time in a long time, I couldn't discern whether or not she could be trusted. This foreign stranger saw me crying and wanted to help me or at least drag me along to help her. The details didn't really matter, I just appreciated her company for the time being. But that gratitude slowly morphed into fear; fear for my life and fear that I couldn't protect her from the life she already surrendered to long before meeting me. As I watched her wave goodbye, eyes low and body week from the injection, I couldn't help but to feel remorse for not being able to protect her...

Over the years, I'v been insanely spoiled-yes blessed, but spoiled all the same- inclined to thinking that stuff like this happened in the world, just not to me. Never to me. I can watch a show all day centered around meth, the dangers and affects of it, the greed behind it, but assumed it would never reach my front door step. Maybe it has and I never noticed. Maybe I needed her to show me a layer of myself. All I do know is, during the countless moments God brought me to safety-at the bus stops, the train stations, on my journey-by-foot through the dark shadows of Los Angeles, CA-I no longer felt a sense of entitlement and stopped thinking that shit could never happen to me. 

I'm home now, finally home, finally having enough courage to openly speak on "what happened to Cali". No, this is not just an elaborate story of a fictional novella, this is real life. It was my last night in LA and I had to decide if being there was worth the struggle, if it was worth being so displaced from the only home I've known with the family that would never fail me, if it was worth being practically homeless until the second, or maybe even fifth, pay day. Was I going to swallow my pride and admit that maybe I moved too fast or be tempted to keep up with the performance of living in my dream city and doing well? Do I sink or swim?

I had to learn that it wasn't a matter of sinking or swimming, but surrender; to accept that God is ultimately the one in control, to learn to distinguish my voice from his (or hers...whichever gender you prefer), and to be humble or get humbled; to trust in spirit to direct me rather than trying to lead myself. I have found peace in knowing I acted fast and did what I had to do the moment I realized what needed to be done. Despite how ugly or horrifying, I am grateful for the experience and I trust that where I am and wherever I end up next is exactly where I need to be.

♥ Chymere A.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How I Write: A Blog Tour

Today an interview scheduled that ended up not happening, so I figured I'd do this tag before it completely slipped my mind to do it. Actually, I was tagged at the perfect time, so thank you, Sheriden over at The Indie Byline for tagging me! Click  H E R E  to read her responses.

1. What are you working on? As far as the blog goes, I'm always working on consistency. If there is anything I've learned from blogging is that you have to be consistent and being inconsistent has really worked against me. For me, I started over with an intention to be more consistent and this time around, I felt that I had a more clear vision of what I wanted to say on this platform. Speaking of time, I'm also working on time management, making sure I always find time to write-on the blog or elsewhere-and make an effort connect with the people who take the time to read my work, no matter how busy I am in real life.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre? I think bloggers have more similarities than differences and the only thing that makes us different is authenticity.  When you are true to who you are and take on task that align with who you are, you stand out automatically.  There is nothing I do that is just intentionally "different", I'm just me and connect with individuals (both in and outside of the blogging world) with the same mentality about being exactly who they are .

3. Why do you write what you do? I write what I take genuine interest in. Even though I may like what is high demand here and there, I don't waste time skimming through what's popular. It's not my niche to outsource popularity. This goes back to the point I made in #2 about being true to self. 

4. How does your writing process work? Honestly, I don't know if I really have one. If I do, writing is so sporadic for me, so it's hard to tell what the process is. Inspiration hits me at random time and in random places and I'm always taking notes, whether it's on my iPhone, my computer, my journal, a napkin, anything I can get my hands on really. I do know, however, that I can't force it. I'm not the type to turn on music, make some tea, and sit at a desk and start writing; I've tried it and it just does not work for me. 

5. Tag 3 writers to answer these questions next. 

I tag...Lindsay of 2nd and L, Haley of Haley Rankins, Nina of With Love Nina, and anyone else who would like to participate!!!

♥ Chymere A.


Thursday, July 17, 2014


Consistency is one of those things that I’ve been learning and relearning throughout the course of my life. I’ve had mentors, friends, and professors alike “tell me about myself” in this regard.  Up until recently, I was too blind to be able to see it for face value and failed to realize how vital it is to be overly dedicated to something (no pun intended) if you want to be successful.  Of course I didn’t listen and was going to do it my way, even if it meant the difficult/unnecessary/could-have-been-avoided way.

For so long, I wondered why certain things weren’t happening for me, not taking into consideration the deadly pattern of rarely really sticking to anything long enough to feel any sense accomplishment. How could I be upset that everyone in my vicinity was graduating college and going on to get their master’s and other degrees when I kept taking time off from school? How can I be jealous of people in thriving long-term relationships, when I fear commitment, not allowing anyone to get too close, and therefore creating my own blockage within relationships? Most importantly, how can I create my own happiness if I’m busy observing others’ version of such? Needless to say, inconsistency is counterproductive, a symptom of laziness that I’m glad I’m able to unveil that character flaw now versus later in order to be better, to do better, and to live in a way that I’m proud of. I am a work in progress.

On Twitter the other day, I came up with a few bullet-points that are the framework of this discussion. It all started with this: “[Fill in the blank] Consistency breeds ________.” Allow me to elaborate:

(( Continue reading H E R E ----> ))

Tattoo Matters

On March 4, 1957, artist Amon Kotei introduced the Ghana Coat of Arms and is now found on all official government letterheads. Two golden eagles, both with black star medallions, hold up a banner that reads, 'freedom and justice', which is the motto of the Ghanaian people and authority.  

When I got this tattoo back in February of this year, I didn't realize the connection.  Something in my spirit lead me to get the word 'freedom' in plain typewriter style lettering, placed strategically on the back of my arm where my acne scars are. Although everyone of my tattoos mean something to me (not that I think every tattoo has to), this particular tattoo, that fell unconsciously into the place of my favorite number 8, is my favorite of them all.  It holds so much more weight now that I feel it connects me to my heritage in a way. Very soon, I'll be adding 'justice', possibly in the same spot/same font on my other arm. 

Other than cultural significance, freedom has so many other meanings and all of them are/will always be relevant. Freedom to establish my own truth. Freedom to make my own choices and think/act according to what I believe to be right, freedom to write. The liberation to simply BE. I could literally write an entire 10 page essay on what freedom means to me and I'm just really happy that freedom is now a permanent part of me.

My second favorite tattoo is a colorless cancer ribbon with a 'beauty for ashes' written in cursive on the side of my rib cage. (I'm sure I have a photo of it somewhere and when I find it, I'll include it in this post.) My grandmother, grandfather, and close friend all fought a different cancer battle and each one of them eventually lost the earthly fight. Isaiah 61:1-3 in the Bible kept me strong during such times:

[The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.]

There was a point in time where I allowed someone I respected to make me feel ashamed of my tattoos; would even walk around jealous of women who didn't have any, who were just coated with pure skin. That person had me feeling under-valued by God, as if my tattoos were scarlet letters for my sins. I no longer feel that guilt. I have already made peace with my choice to have them and what they may or may not turn into when I'm in elder stages of life. I know that what makes me beautiful is about what's on the inside and the people who value that won't judge me by what's on the outside.

Do you have any tattoos that mean a lot to you? 

♥ Chymere A.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inspiration + Prequel to Self-Love Sundays

Starting August 10, 2014, I will be implementing a 'SELF  LOVE SUNDAYS' weekly installment on the blog. After having a binge of AshleyDBeauty YT videos and listening to some of Heather Lindsay's podcast one night, I was on this natural high and immediately knew it was something I wanted to implement in my own life and add to the small collection of series on my blog. Of course, my journey will be slightly different from theirs as it won't be solely about relationships and romantic love, but it was definitely inspired by these 2 beautiful and amazing women of God. God confirmed the motive in my spirit  through an epiphany I had/experienced on my birthday. Without giving out too many spoilers, I'll just say: I cannot wait to inspire others as much as I can  by sharing more personal pieces and allowing God to speak to and through me.

Chymere A.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Think Global, Act Local

Many times we tend to believe that when something happens on a global scale, there is nothing we can do about it.  We think that small acts won't make a difference, when it's not taking action that is worse.  Even I, sometimes, have a hard time understanding that my seemingly minimal acts can make such a colossal difference. How dare we bask in our own daily luxuries, fooled into thinking that sitting idle will ever trump acts of service, acts of kindness.
"...I don't care what kind of brand you are/ I'm concerned what type of man you are/ What your principles and standards are..." -Mos Def, "Sunshine"

With this in mind, I've gathered some information geared to create a sort of graph of problems in the world including solutions as well as local volunteering opportunities in the city of Atlanta.  Most of the websites linked have access to locations elsewhere.

I strongly encourage all of you to reach out and do something that matters.  At the end of life, claims to fame, social media status is insignificant compared to what is most important, which is what kind of impact you've made on the world.

Chymere A.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Knowledge is Power

Although I don't consider myself to be a gladiator or a huge fan of the popular sitcom, Scandal came to mind immediately when I was thinking about what to write for this post. Not sure which episode I'm referring to, but during an intense altercation between Olivia Pope and her dad, one that seemed more like a lecture, I was reminded of something that both of my parents have warned me about my entire life; that as a black woman, I have to work twice as hard to have half of the privileges of the majority.  The older I am, the more I understand it. I think it's something any minority group can relate to, especially those overachievers who come to America and bust their asses to make something of themselves. It may seem like an unfair and harsh reality, but it doesn't change what is.  This is why education is so important to me now, because I didn't get it until I experienced life the hard way.

Certainly, education isn't limited to nor does it begin in a classroom.  Education is utilizing as many resources available as possible contingent with a person's individual interest, whether that is to go the traditional route as far as school goes or finding a career based program to learn new skills. Just like we learn to run by walking first, learn to walk by crawling first, it's the same process with everything else. Even when it comes to talents, we must know how to do something before we can acknowledge it as a gift. No one comes out the womb shooting a perfect 3 point shot, playing a flawless cadenza on the keyboard, or coding a state-of-the-art software system. No one. As humans, we connect to our strengths and weaknesses through learning; we hone our strengths and improve our weaknesses through practice. 

College, at least in my case, is more about overcoming than it is succeeding. I'm typically not one to victimize myself as "one of the oppressed", but the cold truth is, institutionalized learning was never a system that was constructed with an intent for me to win.  Complaining like some scatter-brained conspiracy theorist and being totally against it doesn't propel me forward; that mentality is counter-progressive. Therefore, the ultimate challenge in completion and obtaining that degree is about making a system designed against me, work for me in the long run. 

Knowledge is power. People say money is power, but what good is money without knowing how to manage it? Give every person in a highly populated society all 10 million dollars each and there would still be a separation of class, the thin blurry lines between greedy, hungry, and starving. (This is just an example and not to exclude happiness as the most important element of it all.) There are a lot of people who profit greatly from bamboozling the ignorant and I refuse to be one of them. God gave me this beautiful mind for a greater purpose, to fulfill a plan that I can't even imagine for myself, as well as a world filled with resources. Why would I not use both as much as I possibly can? To be content with ignorance is disrespectful to the creator, so I always aim higher and strive to do better. 

- ♥ Chymere Anais

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Music Collective vol. 4 {24 Summers}

Today is my 25th birthday so, I thought it would be fitting to create a play list of some of my favorite songs from each year/summer since 1990. Even though I grew up mostly listening to music that was before my time, this is more of an homage to the songs-mostly mainstream pop-from my era. The hardest part was choosing just one song from each year (I originally wanted to do 25 miniature play list, but...that was doing too much lol) As fun as it was to build this musical time machine, it sure did it make me feel super old-a quarter of a century! But it's cool. I finally decided to make peace with the aging process. Here goes Chymere's mega birthday play list:

  • 1990.        Escapade x Janet Jackson
  • 1991.        Summertime x DJ Jazzy Fresh and Will Smith
  • 1992.        Free Your Mind x En Vouge
  • 1993.       If I Ever Fall in Love x Shai
  • 1994.        Diggin’ on You x TLC
  • 1995.        You Gotta Be x Des’ree
  • 1996.        How Do You Want it x Tupac
  • 1997.        Honey x Mariah Carey
  • 1998.        My Way x Usher
  • 1999.       Livin’ La Vida Loca x Ricky Martin
  • 2000.        I Like It x Sammie
  • 2001.        Fallin’ x Alicia Keys
  • 2002.        The Whole World x Outkast ft. Killer Mike
  • 2003.        Frontin' x Pharrell W. ft. Jay Z
  • 2004.        It’s My Life x No Doubt
  • 2005.        Gold Digger x Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx
  • 2006.        Unwritten x Natasha Bedingfield
  • 2007.        Summer Love x Justin Timberlake
  • 2008.        Kiss, Kiss x Chris Brown ft. T-Pain
  • 2009.        Best I Ever Had x Drake
  • 2010.        Hometown Hero x Big K.R.I.T.
  • 2011.        Knee Deep x Zac Brown Band ft. Jimmy Buffet
  • 2012.        How We Do x Rita Ora
  • 2013.       Q.U.E.E.N. x Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu
  • 2014.        Hell of a Night x SchoolBoy Q

What are some songs you grew up listening to? 

Chymere A.

Friday, July 11, 2014


image source.
Just like every other blogger on this side of the world, I picked up my own copy of #GIRLBOSS by: Sophia Amoruso...and let me try to tell you how much of an investment it has been.  

First of all, what an incredibly genius marketing strategy to put a hash-tag in not only the title, but one that repeated throughout the pages, so that ending up to Twitterland was inevitable.  The simple, yet repetitive placement of that well-known social media trademark got the word out at light speed. And of course, when people (including me) realized the quality of the content absolutely lived up to the hype, they instantly resorted to Twitter/Blogs to talk about it publicly.  Genius.  

A couple of years ago, I purchased Kelley Cutrone's Normal Gets You Nowhere and I immediately became a complete stan after reading it.  Although this book was structured a bit differently, it's comparable to the message I was also able extract from Ms. Sophia's work. These are women who took life into their own hands and was able to steer themselves to major successes, despite the road being  a jaded, unconventional path.  In Sophia's case, she was able to craft an incredibly inspirational memoir of a girl, who, through much trial and error along with self-taught skills, found her passion and turned it into a multi-million dollar business, simply by consistently committing to doing the work she believed in.

"Who cares if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it? The tree still falls. If you believe that what you're doing will have positive results, it will-even if it's not immediately obvious."

What I loved the most about #GIRLBOSS, other than Ms. Amoruso's cut throat approach, was how closely I related to her. There is an uncanny resemblance between her crazy misadventures to my own. As I traveled down memory lane to the time I decided to hitchhike to North Carolina with 2 strangers...or move to Rhode Island on impulse with my cousin and her girlfriend in the midst of all their drama...or even the most recent event with my living situation in California (a story that I don't have the courage to talk about in full openly yet),  I just saw myself reflected at different points of her life and the timing that I started reading this book amazes me; it just fits. And that fit was the what stood out the most. 

Another aspect that caught my attention was how she discussed her choice to not do the school thing without bashing those who do decide to go to school and finish.  A lot of times, people who drop-out and do well tend to go into a rant of sorts about why college is just a bad idea...and vise versa. Instead of doing that, she commended people for having the attributes, such as discipline, patience, so forth to finish. That was probably the most seemingly insignificantly awesome part of the entire book; to take responsibility for her journey without tearing down someone else's. Because of that, she was could connect to a variety of audiences, rather than only one group of people to understand where she was coming from.
"Your challenge as a #GirlBoss is to dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your invention.."

The book is full of refreshing perspectives and insights. Combining the voices of notable names in the fashion industry, it covered everything from how to develop a #GIRLBOSS mentality to get what you want out of life to the importance of budgeting and finance management. It's full of information and funny life stories constructed to help the reader find something to spark that inner magic, and a certain level of confidence, to make a positive impact in the world. A few valuable life lessons, such as owning your style and turning negatives into positives, reoccurred throughout the book.  To me, it painted a picture of allowing; allowing the universe to work. Knowing that your path is your own and making peace with whatever decisions, big or small, that you have to make as a person and as a boss, alleviates the unnecessary stress about where you're headed-as long as you keep going and keep striving for greatness. Last but not least, it's about redefining failure and opportunity and stopping at nothing until both have proven to be profitable.
"One of the best things about life-a reason to not go blindly after one goal and one goal only-is that sometimes it will take you to something that is way cooler than anything you would have consciously set out to do in the first place." 

Basically, whether your dreams are to become a CEO of a thriving company or to start your own business, #GIRLBOSS definitely needs to be staple element of your coffee table collection.

- ♥ Chymere Anais


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Essentials | Look/Feel/Smell Gorgeous

Summer Essentials

These are my absolute go to beauty products year round, but especially for summertime. For me, the most important thing when considering my daily beauty regimen is to keep it simple. When it comes to skin and body care, I stick to products that lock and retain moisture and are suitable for dry, sensitive skin. My make-up has to be light and breezy, which is why I love Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream. Mary Kay also has one, but I haven't tried it out yet. I just don't like (or need) heavy coats of foundation; my skin has to be able to breathe. Speaking of skin, I have to be sure to wash with MK Botanical Effects skin care and protect it with sunscreen lotion on those summer days as I'm out and about, frolicking with Mr. Sun. Although, lipstick and nail polish are the main products that I like to switch up from time to time, as far as colors go, I mainly just wear subtle shades of pink for my everyday look. I really like OPI's beautiful collection of pinks. On my lips, is usually a combination of Burt's Bees lip balm and NYX lip butters, as well as MK tinted lip balm, which keep my lips nice and smooth. I won't always wear perfume, but when I do, I automatically reach for my Marc Jacobs 'Dot' (need I mention how gorgeous the packaging is?) or my signature scent, 'Chance' by Chanel (not pictured) when I'm feeling fancy. Because my mane tends to get really dry, I found that Cantu's leave in and TRESemmé's Moisture Rich rinse out conditioners work perfectly for my hair. And of course, sunglasses are imperative, because what's summer without a pair of funky frames?

What are some of your summertime beauty favorites?

♥ Chymere A.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Art Appreciation | The Art of Architecture

SGNW House in Zimbali, South Africa. Designed by: Metropole Architects
Because of the structure and mathematics behind the creations, architecture isn't always considered to be an art form, or at least not by conventional standards. As artist, we tend to throw things that involve S.T.E.M. into an unwanted pile of art world nemesis. Basically, it's the mentality that anything that can't be translated as self-expression isn't art. Why is that? The precision that is behind amazing masterpieces all over the world, such as the SGNW House in Zimbali, South Africa (isn't it just stunning??), challenges that notion. Not only does an individual architect have to know how to communicate and function as a team player in order to collaborate effectively on different projects, she/he has to be mindful of how every little detail is expressed, from the sketches to the actual engineering that goes into bringing a floor plan or a model to life. In all actuality, architecture, although it is a collective from of art, is just as much an art as writing, painting, dancing, playing an instrument, etc. and a field that I am pretty stoked about being apart of. Life is art. 

- ♥ Chymere Anais

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Love Conquers All

1Corinthians 13: 1-12
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Monday, July 7, 2014

July 4th | Weekend Summary

Me and this girl. Not a fan of my face, but whatev.
On Friday, I hit the city with Ms. Sheriden for a cookout for Classik, which is a really dope artistic brand here in Atlanta. A more detailed synopsis has been posted on Sheriden's blog already). Later on that evening, I reconnected with an old friend of mine and had a enjoyable time catching up over fruit infused Sangrias and backyard fireworks. Saturday, I hung out with my mom all day. Sunday, I went to church, had dinner with a friend, and wrapped the night up with ice cream and movies. This weekend was pretty amazing, but still very low key, just the way I like it. I didn't even get to take many pictures. To be surrounded by good energy, good people, good food, good music, and fireworks ...what more could I ask for?
♥ Chymere A.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Love Your Reflection From All Angles

image source
The 6 word story: "Love your reflection from all angles." -Alicia Keys

Well said, Alicia. 

Too often, we get wrapped up in what/how/who others think we should be, too tied down to the labels people have aimlessly thrown our direction. That vortex of trying to be anything outside of who we are in an attempt to "fit", to be inhibited by the shackles of society, is a dangerous place to dwell in. Compromise, in that aspect, doesn't benefit us in any way. We are all multi-dimensional. Our finger prints are not unique so that we can live our whole lives being robots; they are unique because we were not designed to be boxed in. Our brains are wired differently so that we all have something special to contribute the world. It took a while for this theory to totally register and at times, I like to forget. However, I am still learning-more and more- how to love every single cell of me equally. 

What I mean is, life (for the living) is about embracing who you are on every level by.
  1. Celebrating and learning all there is to learn about your heritage. My family is one big melting pot of cultural groups. Even with all the interracial love that has transpired, I never knew much about my roots and could never properly explain to peers how I identify myself. Honestly, I didn't realize the importance of the connection. All I knew was mulatto and was always taught how to be color blind when it comes to love. Recently, my dad and I have been conducting research to discover our ancestry on my paternal blood line. The coolest thing was discovering that I'm Ghanaian, which brought a fresh perspective and has now become a major part of me to love and celebrate. 
  2. Honoring your spiritual beliefs. My spiritual beliefs are enforced by staying in tune with my own divinity and uncovering my own truth. I do believe I God and consider myself to be of the Christian faith. However, when it comes to others, it's not my mission to convert or judge, but to simply love. I could probably write an entire post about religion and my spiritual journey. Perhaps I will one of these days. In a nutshell, I do believe that we all have different paths, different ways that connect to a higher force, and I don't believe anyone has the right to determine what's right and wrong in that sense. Namaste
  3. Loving your physical appearance. Let's face it: at some point in every girl's life, she has had issues with self-image, including me.  One example of this is how much I used to loath my upper womanly parts also known as breast. All throughout junior high and high school, I would do everything in my power to try to hide what I considered to be large, unnecessary lumps of meat. 'Swimmers don't have big breast,' I'd think to myself as I find new methods to awkwardly conceal them. Although that wasn't the only thing I didn't like about myself physically, I'm finally at a place where I love the whole creation and show that by working on what can be approved and accepting what can't.
  4. Doing things you love, things that make you happy. My definition of doing what you love is to enjoy all personal interest and to invest in the subjects that matter to you, openly and shamelessly. So what if you don't have enough rhythm? So what if you're mocked for your geeky obsessions? So what if the world doesn't accept the person or the way you choose to love? As my favorite slogan states: Just do it. This doesn't necessarily mean to be defined by what you do; it's all about finding time, space, and energy in your life for the things that matter to you and not wasting time worried about what everyone else has to say about it. 9/10, the people who are most likely to have an opinion are the ones who wish they had the courage and the audacity to be true to who they are.
  5. Not allowing mental defects, learning disabilities, or any other diagnose to hinder you from moving forward. Of all these pearls, this lesson is one that stands out the most, because for so long I felt trapped by conditions I felt were permanent. This was one of the reasons why college was so stressful for me initially. During a certain era in my life, I didn't really believe I could overcome a lot of things, and was, therefore, limited in what I could accomplish. Other people believing in me meant nothing if I refused to believe in myself. My strength in finally applying it came from hearing amazing stories about people who dealt with worse, but, in the end, came out victorious-in spite of. 
  6. Last, but not least, trust the process. The best analogy I have for this: 'Rome wasn't built in a day' and was actually destroyed and rebuilt several times. We're talking about one of the greatest standing historical monuments of all time here.  With that said, it's not realistic to wake up one morning with all the answers. Everything's Eventual, meaning everything thing works out, eventually (Stephen King reference, for those of you who are unfamiliar). A lot of us are constantly perusing the next big thing/moment/deadline, but trusting is all about being present and having the will power to not try to control the timing...of anything, in any way; it's working, but still allowing things to happen in their natural order, rather than rushing to the end result. 
I didn't learn any of this over night and a lot of it is still being learned. It took me a while to free fall in love with who I am from every point of view, but, the point is, I'm finally falling and I have a long way to go. Hopefully sharing tidbits of my story will inspire someone with similar struggles and serve as some sort of catalyst for change in their life. 

♥ Chymere A.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Music Collective vol. 3 {4th of July Anthems}

This is number 2 of Soundtrack Saturdays: vol. 10 {National Anthem} [07.07.12]. This could very well be another 'Songs of Summer' installment, since the tunes I chose are more on the lines of a 4th of July cookout than a memorandum of this particular holiday, but I'll keep with it as is.

1. Slum Beautiful x Outkast
2. Heartbreaker x Mariah Carey ft. Jay Z
3. Shantytown Carnival x Jehro
4. Sweet Life x Frank Ocean
5. Groove Me x King Floyd
6. Sexy Ladies x Justin Timberlake
7. Summer x War
8. Good Kisser x Usher
9. Work it Out x Beyonce
10. Oye Como Va x Carlos Santana
11. Video x India.Arie
12. Domino x Jessie J. 
13. Outstanding x The Gap Band 
14. Boombastic (Sting rmx) x Shaggy

What songs would you would hope to hear at a summertime soiree?

♥ Chymere A.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bedtime Stories | Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Growing up, a big thing in my family was taking pride in who we were and to never feel less than when it comes to the way God created us.  Some people would consider my dad to be pro-black and I guess in a way he was, because he always made sure I was exposed to black excellence in some shape or form, even it it wasn't always him. My entire family did an incredible job at painting successful images of African culture, even if they had to go outside of themselves to do it; meaning if they weren't doing well, they made sure I was exposed individuals who were doing better. I am so blessed. Because my family is one huge interracial melting pot of people, I never grew up with a string of color-ism, shade-ism, or any of those absurd things embedded in me that continue to demolish and destroy minority groups. Call me sheltered, but it wasn't until I was much older that I knew about race issues that existed within the black community.

One of my favorite bedtime stories was Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by: John Steptoe.  As you can see, I still have it, because I think it's a brilliant children's book and it gives young black princesses hope; it depicts black queens in a pretty and honorable light, which today is something this generation is in need of. Now, this was not something I was aware of when I was younger, but seeing a book full of illustrations of queens who looked just like me and hearing my daddy read it to me made a world of difference in my own life. In the same breath, I only played with dolls who were shades of brown and black (not that I had many to begin wit, but the ones I did have were all of color). It wasn't that my dad was against non-black/white people or anyone of European descent, he just wanted to make sure I fully understood that I, too, am beautiful and didn't want to saturate my absorbent, little mind with society's ridiculous ideas of beauty, class, grace, etc.  So to me, black "queendom" was the norm.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is a book that I'd want my future daughter(s) to read and fall in love over and over again. It takes place in a small suburban village in Africa under the leadership of King Mufaro. It's African folklore structured somewhat like a typical Disney fairy tale. Scripted with both a villain and a protagonist, the story, in a nutshell, is about the victorious underdog; how, ultimately, kindness always wins and beauty is skin deep. It dives into the opposing dynamics of two sisters, Manyara and Nyasha, and their journey to being wed to a prince. It's full of these incredible paintings full of life and beautiful colors in every face and every landscape. Reading this as an adult brought back wonderful memories of how beautiful it was to me as a young girl and I applaud Mr. Steptoe for this masterpiece. I think every little girl deserves this book, or one like it, to set the building blocks for her budding library; it's up to us to build it for her.

Do you remember your favorite bedtime story? What was it and what do you think it taught you? 

- ♥ Chymere A.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Zero Degrees

[This particular piece was a bit challenging and it was probably the hardest time I ever had writing a poem, but the challenge I gave myself for epic poetry was to create a 26 line poem, each line subsequently starting with a letter of the alphabet...and it had to flow in a way that would make sense. Without even realizing it at first, it ended up being a sequel to the last poem I wrote, as stated in line 3, which is kinda cool. Enjoy! ]

Zero Degrees
Always and in all ways, I will love you, no matter what
Because you were my first love, the neglect is like salt to a cut.
Can we experience a Summer of Love together like the last poem I wrote?
Do you think that arrangement would be the best way to sail this boat?
Even after all this time that has painfully transpired, somehow I still just know.
Forever seems like destiny, but if we tried again, will we be allowed to grow?
Growth is a product of choice, not chance so,
Help me understand your stance.
I can’t possibly be the only one ready and willing to fight for us
Just knowing love is still omnipresent has to be enough.
Kinetic energy is stagnant and the future is no guarantee.
Life without you is how the earth would be without sea.
May we restore and cultivate our love without restrictions?
Nothing will be able to stop us if we are equally committed.
Opportunity lies deep in your eyes, like never before
Prepared to hide myself, but they see me right to the core.
Questions arise that we both never ask; too much pride to digest.
Resurrection is only possible if we remove our masks in order to progress.
Something magical still lingers in the gap of our distance. 
Tortured by the mystery of the unknown, we’ve become resistant.
Uprooted from our history, we still have the tools to make this work.
Vainly, we sit here convinced that the damage can’t be reversed.
We are blind star crossed love-birds with broken wings, unsure of how to heal and mend.
‘X’ marks the spot of where we should start if only we opened our eyes and adjusted the lens.
You and I are so close (yet so far away) from the heights we’re meant to achieve,
Zero degrees separated from where we’re meant to be.

- ♥ Chymere A.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Morning Glory

The idea of this post was to write down my waking thoughts today and write a post about it. I keep my journal on the coffee table next to my bed, so I wrote this in my journal before typing it here.

I’d planned to write an entire post about how much I love him, respectfully so, since I still do and probably always will.  However, I realized that right now is the prime time for me to work on becoming complete without attachment to another person, without limitations.  It is the perfect time for me to commit to loving and building myself up, not to be anything for you, him, or anyone else, but to simply grow into the woman I’m supposed to be.

As the years have gone by, I admit to have grown a little sadder about being alone, but this morning I had an epiphany: In order for me to attract what and who is best for me I have to first find comfort in being the best woman I can be. That means to understand when I am ready, things like love and companionship will begin to manifest. The love I carry for myself is the most important aspect of becoming. In the case that he and I are meant to be, I must first learn to let go, hope that whatever route he takes is that of happiness and truth, even if it doesn't involve me, and not obsessively worry about where he is at any point in his life. 

This morning, I thought about the love I have held on to  so tightly in a different light. I literally woke up feeling Oren Lavie's 'Her Morning Elegance' video. Instead of allowing nostalgia to dominate the present moment like I usually do, I allowed myself to feel a [deeper] love I forgot existed and was so happy to wake up in all her excellence. 

♥ Chymere A.

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