Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Look Book | Sporty Chic

Sporty Chic

Although my style has evolved quite a bit since high school, it has always been pretty simple; casual with a hint of feminine.  Sometimes, I get a lot of back lash for not dressing like a grown-up-whatever that means-and at some point, I took on that negative energy about what I choose to wear. On occasion, I do clean up quite nicely, but when it comes to my everyday style, I really just prefer comfort over everything and I've learned to embrace that about me.  

This outfit works really well for my lifestyle, because it can easily go from work (clearly not an office job), to school, to the gym without me having to worry about changing clothes too much. It also is suitable for a day full of errands. 

How would you define your everyday style?  What are some of your staple pieces?


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Music Collective: vol. 23 {Tetsuo and Youth}

"The very personification of what hip-hop truly is-Lupe Fiasco, man..."  

When it comes to art, the biggest flaw is the lack of substance, as well as the lack of appreciation for other artist. Modern day culture is so synchronized with instant gratification, that sometimes, we're not in a position to experience the kind of art that takes time and effort and skill. It's the same with music. We don't want art, we want hits and even though the two can ride the same wave at times, they can also be very different. There is a time and place for thought provoking lyrics, a time and place for heavy bass lines, and I think the most hated rappers in the game get a lot of back lash for having content that this generation doesn't seem to want anymore. 

<<<  Click here to read full review on 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Let's Plant a Garden

"Give people flowers while they have an opportunity to smell them."  -Unknown
Recently, I had an outburst of appreciation and admiration for all the amazing people in my life. Let me tell you why...

The other day, I was conversing with a good friend of mine, while he was preparing for a job interview for a position he'd been hoping for. Despite him trying to play it cool and modest over the phone, I could hear the excitement in his tone of voice. We laughed about how fluently he was able to negotiate or talk his way out of any sign of trouble in college, how, initially, I couldn't stand how obnoxiously confident he was (and still is), and how both qualities - when channeled correctly - would be beneficial to his future career path. However, when the joking died down a bit and the air became silent, for the first time in 8 years of knowing him, I sensed a hint of nervousness about playing in the big leagues. Reassuring him that he'd be fine and wishing him the best of luck through the entire process, I couldn't help but to be so proud of him, because I know that he works extremely hard and had been waiting patiently for an opportunity like this to open up for him post-grad.  

I told that particular story to emphasize the importance of keeping people around who are not only self-motivated, but indirectly motivate you to become a better person. It's strange the way my circle is set up; I've always felt like the wayward black sheep of every one I am close to. Despite feeling like that, not once have they faulted me for "not keeping up" with them or for choosing my own path in life. Instead, they've always been there to encourage, pray for, and inspire me, without ever being condescending and judgmental. We never try to out shine each other. It's both phenomenal and empowering to have friends that elevate you higher, simply by making moves and reaching new levels in their own life, and it's such a blessing that I never forget to count.

Chasing dreams is like planting a garden. In order for the flowers, vegetables, fruits, etc. to grow properly, the foundation, first and foremost has to be set. The environment must have suitable conditions in order to achieve positive and long lasting results.  Apart of the process of gardening is making sure your garden has the space it needs to thrive. That's exactly what you're creating for your dreams when you intentionally surround yourself with positive energy and people who believe in and support those dreams.

This could very well be another self love post to save for SLS, but today it's not about me at all. Today, I just wanted to take the time to reiterate how vital it is to hold tightly to genuine friendships; to tell you how important it is to cherish those people who, without a shadow of doubt, will be around for the long haul. And if any of my friends are reading this, just know that I have so much love and respect for all of you, new and old. Let's plant a garden and watch it be magical.

♥ @ChymereA


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Music Collective: vol. 22 {A Night With Sza}

Remember back in 2012 when I hinted at a foreshadow that a lady that goes by the name of Sza would blow up eventually? Well, she did...and quite magically, but still extremely underrated in my opinion. This past weekend, I had the wondrous opportunity of seeing her perform live for the very first time at Center Stage ATL, a sold out show that was nothing short of amazing.

Giving us the best of her vintage work, as well as more recent music, some of my favorite songs by her were performed, such as Ice.Moon, URChildsplay, and HiiiJack. After hearing Sobriety and Sweet November live, I've added those to my list of favorites; some songs just taste a million times sweeter unplugged.

It was no surprise that her off the record sound is just as good, if not better, than her studio mastered vocals on record. And the band that accompanied her was equally incredible. Needless to say, I fell in love with Ms. Solana Rowe all over again, as if I didn't love her enough already. Words can't begin to express how it felt to even be in her presence, but I'm so happy to have had the chance to do so.

I was able to capture pretty descent photos from where I sat, but honestly, a majority of my night was spent vibing and getting lost in the music...and I'd do it all over again if I could. The good vibes, the natural high I got from her energy, her incredible vocals filling the intimate space like fairy dust...all I can say is...what a night.

Last but not least, huge thank you to my blogger-boo-turned-best-friend, Ms. Sheriden, for surprising me with tickets for Christmas, knowing how badly I wanted to go to this concert. She's "the real MVP" for that one.

♥ @ChymereA 

+ Music can be found on: See.SZA.Run // S // Z on SpotifyiTunes +


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Do What You Love (A Fresh Perspective)

Contrary to popular belief, there's a lot of wonderful things to be said about this generation and the one to follow-full of hope, innovation, and leadership qualities that erupt from time to time. Granted, there is a select cluster of them who are misguided and have yet to realize their significance in this world, but I am so inspired by the young people who make conscious efforts to take the world by storm, who rise up, knowing that their part in the world we live in is indeed significant.

One of the things I love about the internet and technology in general is just being able to interact with individuals I would not have met otherwise.  Reading the insight a fellow blogger, Dara, shared about what love means to her in regards to her career inspired me to write this post. A line that stood out and took a strong hold to me was scripted in such a thought provoking way, it affirmed my own purpose and brought my focus back to it's rightful place:

I recently realized that I romanticize my work the same way I do love. I’ve always been the type of girl to chase a fairy tale, the realism of which could be debated. But, that’s the same way I think about my future and career. I yearn to be hopelessly in love with the work I do, for the realization of my purpose to be love at first sight...

It's bizarre to have watched this beautiful, intelligent young Nigerian bloom into quite an exceptional young lady; being able to witness and somehow, feel connected to that growth is empowering, even from a distance. I know her family must be proud, she must be proud, for I am proud, as I always am when it comes to our youth chasing dreams at full speed. Keep chasing, keep thriving, keep growing. The world needs you, so don't give up.

I don't really know that I'll have all time time in the world to live out my dreams. I do, however, know it is my responsibility to make the moments I'm given count for something. I want to wake up every morning with a glow that no one has the power to shake. I am eager to experience that joyous feeling of daily success, simply because I love what I do. Every morning, I anticipate getting ready in a hurry, simply because I am excited to go to "work". I want to come home confident that something I did or contributed to that day will transform society in a positive way.

I want to be in love-enamored, passionate, inhibited love. We're all somewhat conditioned to attaching that kind of love to people, believing that one day, we will meet our star crossed lovers, grow madly in love and live happily ever after. While I am still optimistic about receiving/giving that kind of love to someone one day, I want to focus on feeling that way about my life's work, at least for the time being. 

At this point in my life, I really want to work on getting me together and ultimately doing what I can to design the life of my dreams. Although I'm open to dating and getting to know people, I want to make sure Chymere is happy, complete, and well taken care of before I can allow anyone further into my space. I'll know when it's time, I'll know when I'm ready, but for now, I just want to continue this beautiful journey of self-love with no interruptions or distractions.

I'm not exactly where I want to be, but I'm thankful for how far I've come. It's a great feeling to know that I'm on the right track and can only progress and elevate from here.  


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Self-Love ♡ Sundays | To the Woman Who Taught Me How to Love Myself

I would not be the woman I am today without the force of this queen guiding me towards the woman I was born to be. The love she has for God, for her family, for others trumps the love she holds for herself-it is so wide and expansive-and I am beyond grateful that she was chosen to bring me into this world. In honor of her, I want to discuss, as briefly as I possibly can, my struggle to love myself and how the part my beautiful mommy continues to play in discovering myself.

For as long as I can remember, my mom would wake up at the crack of dawn to pray, dedicating her waking hours to meditate and honor God. When I was younger, I didn't understand the practice itself, but I know now that the faith my mom has is immaculate and I believe her prayers have saved my life many times. She is constantly striving to grow spiritually, actively welcoming God's presence into her space, which, actually, directly affects everyone who crosses her path.

She taught me that knowledge is power. Not only did she teach me this, she embodied it. Because of her, I know that my mind is my most powerful tool. She would always tell me that knowledge was the one thing I could acquire that no one could ever take away from me. Growing up, she made sure that my learning experiences extended the school curriculum through exposure to things beyond my immediate environment, no matter how much she and my dad had to sacrifice to make it so. 

There were many times where I didn't think I was smart enough to do certain things and rather than coaxing my insecurities, she'd say something along the lines of, 'It's only true if you believe it to be.' Although I knew she believed in me, her saying that implied that her belief alone would never be enough to make me achieve the goals I have. It challenged me to be disciplined and to find motivation within myself to write my own success story, not one that was birthed out of obligation.

Contrary to popular parenting, I was given the liberty to think for myself, invariably. Once I reached a certain age, she gave me room to make my own choices, allowing me to find my own path, make mistakes, and if a certain route didn't work, to get back up and try again. Even with all the accolades she has under her belt that I still don't think I could live up to in a lifetime, not once did she make me-or anyone else-feel less than.  I am very grateful for that freedom to just be myself, because as many times as I've encountered failure, I've always had the resiliency to bounce back and it taught me how to be independent in a way I would have never know otherwise.

Among a list of other life lessons, the most important thing I could have ever learned from my mom is how to love myself; how to be my own person and how to love who I am at every stage of my life. It's such a blessing to be loved by a woman like my mom. What an amazing woman! I can't imagine life without her (wouldn't dare try), but I'm more than honored that every day is a new opportunity to be her daughter.

I love you so much, mommy, my queen. 
H A P P Y  B I R T H D A Y ! ! !

♥ (always) // @ChymereA


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Self-Love ♡ Sundays | Believe in Abundance

Through much trial and error with investing so much of myself, my time, and my energy into things and people that weren't designed to benefit me, I've learned that when I am focused on improving self, everything else naturally falls into place.

When I'm aligned with my purpose, I don't have to stress about things that don't exactly go as planned nor do I have to doubt that my prayers are being heard, because I know that everything is moving in the right order, at its natural speed, even when I don't always see it working out. 

See, there is a huge difference between praying/waiting and begging. In my experience, I've never been placed in a position to beg for anything. When I willingly put myself in a begging position, it almost never worked out. If it did, it's becomes more of a lesson than a blessing and I had to learn how to stop being so desperate to make my plans fit where they don't necessarily belong.  

Once I was unable to see the bigger picture with my own eyes, I was almost forced to trust God and the process/struggle of my life over my own limited view. The moment I did is when the image in front of me became much more precise. That's when I was reminded that what God has in store for me is absolutely mine and no one on this earth can take it away from me. There's also no need or room for me to beg. At that point, I was able to handle my prayers with caution, because I may very well receive what I'm praying for and it may not always turn out to be what I expected it to be. It's not to say that I don't ask for certain things, but to imply that not everything we're given in this world requires a chase. 

Every person that walks your way ain't for you. Every opportunity is not yours to take advantage of. That doesn't mean people you've personally invited into your space are bad people nor does it make you stupid for opening your heart to them. Closed doors aren't an indication of some kind of hole in the universe or that you've somehow miss the chance to utilize your gifts and passions here on earth; it just means that everyone ain't for you and those "missed" opportunities just weren't yours to have in the first place.

In other words, stop thinking that just because things don't happen within your expectations that there is some kind of lack in the world around you. It's all about what you are actively see(k)ing. 

We have to learn how to take responsibility for the part we play in certain situations. All day long, people are hosting endless discussions about the lack of good men, the scarcity of employment, and what's the news or in the tabloids. Meanwhile, we pretty much convince ourselves that it just isn't enough good to go around; that love, happiness, success are only given to select few and the rest of us are left wishing on a star. I'm here to tell you that's not the case, because although tragic things do happen and bad people do exist, there is an abundance of goodness floating around universe, waiting for us to not only be ready and open enough to receive it, but to also believe in abundance itself.

Keeping that in mind, I don't worry/stress about who or what comes and goes anymore, because that's not my concern. All I have to focus on in this moment is the development of self; to grow, to learn, to cultivate the dreams in my heart, to appreciate the things/people I am already blessed with, and to allow the energy I put into myself to attract the goodness that I know is out there, designed especially for me. 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Music Collective: vol. 21 {M.anifest}

Almost naturally, I'm drawn to music that is able to express the beauty of both struggle and triumph; the ones that are able to vividly paint an in depth perception of how the world looks through the artist's eyes. Whether it's an open interpretation, back and forth dialogue between instruments or through actual words, I really love songs that tell stories. I appreciate music that's saturated with heavy bass lines and addictive rhythms, but even more so, I love music that creatively promotes positive messages of hope and progress. It takes me to an extremely happy place when multiple facets of what I love about music in general exist in one space. Songs like that really move me on a much deeper level and I'm always on a quest for music that sets my soul on fire.

Some time recently, a song that I was in love with circa 2007 popped into my head randomly and I went on a serious web hunt looking for it. I couldn't remember who the artist was, just a few words from the hook and a vague recollection of the melody. Finally, I re-discovered She Lives from his debut album, but only reveled in it long enough to get the song out of my head.

Little did I know, being re-introduced to Ghanaian artist, Kwame Ametepee Tsikata (better known as M.anifest in the music world) would be one of those blessed moments where the whole listening experience felt like pure liberation. This man's talent is groundbreaking and absolutely deserving of worldwide recognition.

Earlier this week, as as I was jamming to his latest project, Apae: The Price of Free EP, the prolific lyrics throughout the entire album touched me in a soft spot, and I was certain that I stumbled across pure gold. Of course, it wouldn't be much like me if I didn't hunt for more of the music from an artist I'm semi-unfamiliar with, and I was equally impressed with everything I was able to find.

So open your heart, open your ears, and just press play. If you really listen to the songs I've selected, maybe you'll be able to spot the many reasons why I'm completely smitten. Enjoy!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

In Defense of My Defenses (Against Love)

You awaken oceans inside of me, so why is it that I'm so barricaded against you seeing the waves? 
Am I scared that you would either drown or not try to swim upstream at all? 
My heart is constantly flying into the galaxies, but I have to keep reminding it of gravity, 
and of how hard it is to recover from that kind of fearless fall. 
When I find myself exiting the world's endless masquerade, 
allowing all the facades to fade in front of you, I remember to not get too lost in your kingdom, 
even when I am enjoying the view. 
I can't be deceived by those honey eyes that aren't really windows to your soul
(because eyes never really are that introspective) 
but that beautiful fantasy keeps me locked in, even when hope is thin. 
I want so badly to accept you on a individual basis and to not sort through all my journal pages 
that have captured the tears of previous stages, 
yet, here I am, caging myself again and crawling behind my defenses, 
protecting myself from the relentless possibilities, 
like the daggers you might possibly use against me. 

My mind and heart are no longer racing, both out of breath and fatigued.
Finally emotions and logic reach a compromising medium- 
that I can love from a distance, to avoid all the hurt, 
but in the hidden crevices, it's you I crave the most. 
One day, you're going to notice that I'm literally counting every breath 
and watching every step as if balancing on an invisible tightrope. 
And like previous lovers, it's going to be too much to try to love away whatever is holding me back, to try to rearrange all those damaged pieces of mine to figure out this complicated puzzle. 
I'll want you to be here, wrapped in my arms forever, but pride will never ask you to. 
Then, you'll find another muse and I'll convincingly pretend to be happy for you two. 
To stop myself from crying waterfalls, 
my mind will say: "You've loved before, and You'll love again."
Heart will respond: "...but I can never seem to learn the rules. 
Here I stand in a false reality, scenarios I play like dead melodies in my head, 
full of non-existent nightmares and words unsaid. 
In moments that my heart so eagerly wishes to whisper 'I lo...I lo...' 
I look for ways to conceal the truth, 
so maybe this locked box of poetry will fade away before you even knew.

01.03.14 // Chymere Anais Poetry


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Nguzo Saba

Jambo, beautiful kindred spirits, and congratulations to making it through and to another year! 

January 1, 2015 is not only the mark of a brand new calendar year, but is also the seventh and final day of joyous Kwanzaa. Today represents Imani, which means faith in in the Swahili language. Coincidentally, it's a fitting word for where I am in my spiritual journey. I'm walking confidently in the direction of my dreams, as quoted by Henry David Thoreau, only because my faith in God has, is, and continues to carry me.

Last year was an interesting year for the black community, mainly because we, as a whole, fiercely struggled to understand what exactly can be done to wash away and rise above the hostility and injustices we've faced for years. We asked questions such as: How are we supposed to protect ourselves and our children from a system that was never designed to do that? How do we stand against racism without taking on the traits of oppression? How will educate our youth, when their own history is being re-written, misinterpreted within curriculum? Whether it was bringing back our girls or preventing the victimization/crucifixion of our men, it was all very surreal to experience a direct parallel of events that occurred during the Civil Rights era in this lifetime.

The most beautiful aspect of this past year was seeing so many young people of different ethnicities and backgrounds across the world rise to the occasion and using their voices to make a difference. It was tragedy that brought on a spark of hope and it can not be said that this generation is not willing to stand for what is right. The most overlooked aspect was witnessing this huge celestial cluster of melanin queens standing up for and protecting their kings, but in that regard, I digress. Through it all, I learned so much about who I am, what I stand for, and what I believe in with endless gratitude for a means to express whatever that may be.

However, this post is less about current/past events and more about applying the Ngozu Sabali (the 7 principles) of Kwanzaa to my life in the new year by making conscious habits to personally contribute to a thriving society. With all that has happened in 2014 alone, it's forced many people of color-including myself- to question if they are a part of the problem or the solution. Chanting about change means nothing without action. Honestly, I can't think of a better way to implement action than by being more aware of the lifestyle choices I'm making for myself on a daily basis and a conscious commitment to making this world a better place.

Listed below are the 7 principles, the breakdown of what they mean, and how I plan to apply each to my life. 
  1. Umoja: Unity 
    • "To strive for and maintain unity within the family, community, nation, and race." 
    • I sincerely believe this is the leading principle for a reason, because I don't believe a society can survive or thrive without it. 
  2. Kujichagulia: Self-Determination
    • "To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves." 
    • No more doubt. No more worry. Sans inhibitions. If I want something that the universe has made available to me, I have to go get it. Dreams will not awaken if I am still asleep. 
  3. Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
    • "To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and solve them together."
    • In order to rebuild and restore, we have to work together. Much like organs and muscle composites of the human body body, we all have unique, individual functions that contribute to a properly functioning body. We have to do our part and be willing to work together to make postive things happen in our communities. 
  4. Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
    • "To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together."
    • This principle deals with innovation, entrepreneurship, and the  ongoing support and growth black owned businesses.  There is so much untapped potential roaming this earth; black magic just waiting to be explored and presented to the world. Burn it down this time and it'll only come back stronger. 
  5. Nia: Purpose
    • "To restore African people to their traditional greatness.
    • We are literally the descendants of royalty. I think the overall purpose of strong traditions such as Kwanzaa is to make people more aware of who we are, of who we always were. It is our purpose to allow that self-knowledge to guide us when it comes to setting personal goals that are selflessly beneficial to the community at large. It is our natural obligation to be great, because greatness is forever imprinted in our DNA.
  6. Kuumba: Creativity
    • "To do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it."
    • Mere scraps of what someone else has created are no longer acceptable. If we expect see powerful, dynamic, amazing things taking place in our own community, we have to utilize the skills and talents we have to create a better and more prosperous reality for the generations to come. 
  7. Imani: Faith
    • "To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers and our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."
    • I believe in a higher power just as much as I believe in my ancestors, teachers, and guardians, a great deal of whom exemplify black excellence. Because I believe in such things that are bigger than myself, I have faith that the resilience of my people will shine and conquer. 
I know this post was pretty long-winded, but it is my hope that whoever read it was able to learn something, at the very least. It's possible to apply these principles even if a person who has stumbled across this isn't African. It is my personal pleasure to bypass cultural differences through things I can personally relate to.

What traditions do you celebrate? What do they mean and how can they be applied to enhance the quality of life for you?

♥ Chymere A.

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