Monday, February 23, 2015

The Dream-Chaser Check-Up: March + 2nd Quarter Goals

Life has been so hectic and overwhelming as of late-and rather than being fueled by the chaos, I made every excuse in the world as to why I lost momentum. However, today is Monday, which means it's a new day, a new opportunity to put it back into gear and re-focus. In my journal, these are the goals I have written down that I would like to accomplish before the end of 2 quarter (June 2015), and I decided to put it on my blog for accountability reasons.
  • Go on a few road trips (April/May/June); try to finalize as many travel plans as possible for #Ghana2k15
  • Register for at least 2 U.S. Masters swimming swim meets happening this year.
    • ...and although this goes without saying, train's time to level up.
  • Create a new budget plan for this quarter and next
  • Include a reasonable estimated car note and rent in that budget
  • Complete and submit all scholarship applications for next semester
  • Invest in a quality/professional camera
  • Spend more time working on a project that I've been thinking about for quite some time, especially now that I have someone on board who I'm super excited to work with and is equally enthused about it as I am. I've become a stickler about protecting certain dreams/ideals, but, mark my words: more details are coming once we're closer to completion.
    I strongly believe it's important to goal-check every once in a while, just to evaluate where you are on your personal journey. For an ambition-ista like myself, dividing my year into 4 quarters really makes me feel more accomplished throughout the course of the year. It also allows me to see the fruits of my labor, rather than waiting for some grandiose thing to happen at the end of the tunnel. For others, that evaluation may be a little less frequent. Either way, do whatever keeps you focused and motivated. Take advantage of wherever you are on the journey to success; think positive, work smart, use what you have, stay disciplined, and always remember: the only person stopping you from achieving greater is you.

    Hope you guys are having an incredible day! 
    Happy dream-chasing!


    Saturday, February 21, 2015

    Progressive Love + Open Relationships

    {Disclaimer: Every opinion expressed is that of my own, supported by previous research and experiences.  I am aware of the controversial theme of this topic that could possibly cause debate, but before commenting, I ask that you please read the article thoroughly, and to be respectful of me, as well others who have commented before you. Try not speak out from a defensive standpoint, rather than an intellectual one. Thank you so much for your cooperation.}

    Growing up, I was constantly exposed to couples who held monogamous romantic relationships in high regard. Naturally, it molded my perspective on relationships.  Not to say that everything I grew up with is still relevant to how I choose to live my life now, because there are several beliefs and practices that I don't hold onto anymore, but for the most part, my core values haven't changed.

    When it comes to progressive love, there are certain aspects of this theology that I respect and happily apply them to any relationship I have, such as open communication and the principle of constant growth.  The part I don't understand is the celebration of several different committed relationships at once.  People who practice open relationships have clung to the theory that in order to enhance, enrich, and create harmony within their love and sex lives, they would allow love and sexual energy to flow through to multiple partners at one time. It wasn't until Kenya K. Stevens {to watch her video on What is Progressive Love, click here} hosted a seminar at my college that I knew it was even a thing; to ditch ancient ideas of love and relationships and shift into this contemporary paradigm that went against all "normal" standards of society. 

    I've always thought of myself as an open-minded person, which is the way I am with religion and spirituality. I'm not the type of person who is completely for or against anything that involves my faith and that of others, because I think that truth can be found from all sources. On the contrary, when this movement became more mainstream to my culture, it made me rethink how open I really am.  

    Despite my own rigid beliefs in regards to marriage, or how any committed relationship should operate, it was still intriguing to discover that people are actually okay with their partners participating in outside emotional and sexual relationships, even the individuals who grew up with the same understanding I did.  No matter how much it was discussed, my reaction was unchanging, a stiff opposition each time.

    Now more than ever, couples across the board have deviated from traditional lifestyle values and migrated towards what I'd like to call, an agreement of infidelity. It's not to sound harsh, but that's the way I view it. Maybe the switched views brings about different terminology, but in chemistry, the form may change but the identity doesn't. In other words, no matter how it's worded, it's still the same and I honestly can't quite wrap my finger around that being an ingredient to a better relationship or marriage. Not implying that it is wrong; I'm just saying I don't think it's for me.

    Just like anything else, monogamy, open relationships, and polygamy are a matter of personal taste and the preferences of the two (or more) individuals involved. I do not prefer to date women, but that doesn't mean I am against the people who love that way nor am I against same sex marriages. And if a group of people can experience love and happiness in a way that I may or may not comprehend, my opinion really doesn't matter. The opinion I have is not to knock someone else's view on how they want to live their life and I am in no position to dictate what is wrong or right for them. If anything, it sure does serve as a great debate piece, especially when all parties are willing to reveal why they hold on to certain beliefs, practices, ideas, etc. and are willing to listen to all sides presented. 

    What do you guys think? Are you "hip" the whole idea of progressive love? Would you ever, or have you ever been involved in, an open relationship? Can you explain your experience?
    Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

    -original publish date: February 15, 2013

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    Music Collective: vol. 25 {The H A P P Y Mix Tape}

    Music plays a colossal role in my life. On so many different occasions, it reflects who I am, what I've been through, and whatever current situation I'm dealing with. If I'm ever feeling down, and run out of prayers to ascend and words to write, turning the music up loud is the one thing that never fails to cheer me up. With losing my dog unexpectedly and "celebrating" death dates of two of my close friends earlier this month, my depression definitely resurfaced. This week, I could feel myself recovering and back in a much more peaceful mind space.

    Typically when I experience these moods, I just lay in the dark and allow my music to play on shuffle, but that doesn't always do the trick, because it causes too many mood swings to not know what to expect to play on queue. For this collective, I wanted to browse my personal collection and intentionally curate a play list in honor of bouncing back with a quickness. These are some of my favorite songs to jam to when I'm not feeling up to par.  Some are old classics, some are more recent hits, but all of the songs instantly put me in good spirits every time I hear them and definitely were able to pull me through tough times. This compilation could also work as fitness music to rock out to at while working out.

    So if you want to get happy, give this play list a listen and tell me if it brings a little sunshine in your life, even if it's just for a little while:

    1. Breezin' x George Benson
    2. Put Your Records On x Corinne Bailey Rae
    3. Escapade x Janet Jackson
    4. Good Life x Kanye West
    5. P.Y.T. x Michael Jackson
    6. Been There Before x Ghost Beach (Shoot Remix)
    7. Because of You x Ne-yo
    8. Disparate Youth x Santigold
    9. Elevate x St. Lucia
    10. 1990 x Daryn Alexus *
    11. Go Baby x Lupe Fiasco ft. Gemstones
    12. Heart Smile x Jahkoy *
    13. Ain't it Fun x Paramore
    14. She Wants to Move x N.E.R.D.
    15. Let's Groove x Earth, Wind, & Fire
    16. Fly x Nicki Minaj ft. Rihanna
    17. Happy x Pharrell W. 
    18. Running with the Boys x Lights
    19. My Last x Big Sean, Chris Brown
    20. Telegraph Ave. ("Oakland"-Lloyd) x Childish Gambino
    21. Feel x Bombay Bicycle Club
    22. Fancy Footwork x Chromeo
    23. Holding on to You x twenty one pilots
    24. Victory x Janelle Monae
    25. Band Practice II x 9th Wonder ft. Phonte, Median

    + Shameless plug: Many of the songs listed were featured on the Soundtrack to My Life Tag over on my YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out! +

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Peace of Mind, Pt. I

    When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was lock myself in my room and listen to music. Sometimes it would be just me and the music. Other times, I'd write a few notes in my journal. Most times, I would be laying on my stomach, flipping through my latest magazine. I wasn't old enough to subscribe to any, so every time I went grocery shopping with Mother Darling, I'd buy a new one using the little money I saved, along with a thrifted vinyl if I was lucky. Through the walls or a cracked door, I could hear whatever my parents were watching on TV or listening to on dad's big stereo above whatever I was listening to with my headphones...because back then, I didn't have a personal television and was, therefore, subjected to portable cassette and CD players for entertainment.

    Days/nights like this still occur from time to time as an "adult", but nowadays, the magazines have pretty much been replaced with text books and advanced technology and the family is in a bigger house, so it's much easier to choose which sounds occupy whichever vicinity we choose to be in when we're apart from each other.

    After the NBA All-Star events went off this past weekend, I found myself back in a childlike state, locked away in my room, entertained by the music playing in the background while I shopped my ridiculous bin full of 3 years worth of magazine subscriptions (I'm a hoarder when it comes to that). It was so relaxing to be completely lost in my zone again, doing something as familiar as skimming through those articles and images like they were headline news. Plus, I get exhausted by trends and what is happening in the world today. Meanwhile, I could hear my parents downstairs from my lofted area upstairs watching the Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life Tribute; I unplugged my ipod speakers so that I was able to listen from my room. Amazing tribute, by the way.

    Initially, I thought nothing of it, but something happened. Out of nowhere, a rush of gratitude and nostalgia really inspired me. I took photos of my newly cleaned/rearranged, dimly lit room, which made me fall in love all over again with my space and all the little pieces I've accumulated over the years to make it mine. I smiled at the framed pictures of my loved ones, feeling blessed to have such incredible people in my life. I was inspired by none other than Mr. Stevie Wonder to touch my very first keyboard, the one my parents sacrificed to buy me when I was 10. I played a song I made up in my head-something beautiful that I'll probably never play again-on those beautiful black and white keys for the first time in several months. And here I am, at 2 o'clock (going on 3) in the morning more inspired than I've been in weeks. I cannot explain this force, but the stars are aligning and God is so good.

    I once learned that the way you treat the present prepares you for how you handle what happens in the future (i.e. how one manages finances when they're "broke", de-cluttering to make room for new things, freeing oneself of toxic relationships/situations to make room for positive ones, etc.). All I can say is, if my current feelings, as well as my silent actions are any indication of what's coming, I'm looking forward to it all.

    ♥ Chymere A. 


    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Look Book | Casual.Classy.Cool.

    As I've mentioned on previous look books, my go-to style is very casual relaxed. I styled these outfits for someone like myself, who is may or may not be dating, but likes to have fun regardless of her relationship status. Valentine's day is one of those holidays that people either love or hate. Personally, I've always appreciated the whimsical feelings that surrounds February 14th, because I just love love. I absolutely believe that love, not necessarily in a romantic sense, should be celebrated, but I also think it's an appropriate day go the extra mile for the people you care about.
    Little Red Valentine

    The first outfit works for multiple date nights. The denim jacket is more low-key, like open mic at a coffee house. If you switch the jacket for the poncho, it gives it a more classic feel, that can be worn  to something more formal, such as a nice dinner. These varying outfits, as well as the one to follow, are also simple, yet perfect outfits for a night out with the girls.
    Letterman Pink

    The second outfit is my favorite of the 3 looks. This one is more relaxed the the other 2, so I visualize this one as a more interactive date. An outfit like this would be perfect for a sporting event or a place like Dave & Buster's. To me, those are the kinds of dates I love the most, especially for a budding relationship; not only are they fun, but the environments take the pressure off and break the ice, so that the individuals are able to ease slowly into the getting to know each other process. 

    Red Risque

    Finally, the last set is definitely on a more grown and sexy level. A live jazz and dim lights, 5 star meals and vintage wine options kind of evening. The kind of night that's usually reserved for that special someone on some grandiose and significant occasion. I added a risque element to this very outwardly classy outfit. To be clear, that part doesn't necessarily have to be shown to him, but there is some level of confidence a woman gains when she wears properly fitted lingerie, whether "he" sees it or not. I am willing to admit that I haven't quite reached this level with anyone yet, but I'm certain it'll happen one day in the future. 

    As far as I know, I currently don't have anything special planned, but I am looking forward to spending my weekend with some very positive individuals in my life.

    What are your plans for the Valentine's Day Weekend? Which ensemble is your favorite?


    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    A Girl's Best Friend

    People without pets may not understand the emotional attachment people have to their pets, but those who have grown to love and accept them consider them family. This beautiful creature became apart of my life at one of my lowest, darkest points. At the time, I didn’t know that this sweet, loving, enthusiastic dog would have such an incredible impact. With her beside me, I’ve learned so much about myself…about love, patience, and understanding . It didn’t matter how mad i was when she destroyed my property or how many long periods I was away from her, her loyalty and unconditional love never failed.

    There’s definitely a void now that she’s gone. I may have rescue her, but little did I know that I would be the one who needed saving. I am eternally grateful for her presence in my life. Missing my baby and best friend so much already. If all dogs go to heaven, I pray she rest in peace.


    Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    Music Collective: vol. 24 {Albums of the Moment + The February Mix Tape}

    Every year, I look forward to the album releases of new faces and old favorites; it's like Christmas for my beating heart. Musically, 2015 is already off to a pretty positive start, especially seeing that old, personal favorites (i.e. Lupe Fiasco) are back on the music scene, renewing my deep-rooted love for them as an artist. If I have a hard time getting into hearing new music on the radio, that's when I can depend on Soundcloud and/or tumblr to discover a new sound to listen to. Sidebar: Rumor has it that Corinne Bailey Rae and Ameriie are both making comebacks this year, so I'm really anticipating the possibility of that happening.

    Albums I'm Currently Loving: 
    1. Tetsuo & Youth - Lupe Fiasco: I've always been a huge supporter/fan of Lupe, but I admit, he lost me a little when Lasers dropped back in 2011. So of course, my number one favorite album at the moment is Tetsuo and Youth, because I absolutely L O V E this album. (( Read the full review H E R E ---> ))
    2. Non-fiction - Ne-Yo: As much as I adore Ne-yo, this album was a bit predictable. However, it has more than enough gems on it to keep me, as a fan, satisfied. In his case, predictability can be a good thing.
    3. The Pinkprint - Nicki Minaj: To be completely honest, this one came as a surprise, because I've never been a hardcore "post-mainstream" Nicki fan. Even though she has a more polished image these days, which I love, I'm seeing more raw talent and she's been slowly winning my heart again.
    The February Mix Tape:
    1. Stuck x Oshun: I don't remember how I came across their music, but the two young ladies that make up this phenomenal, NYC based duet won my heart instantly. Also, this song couldn't have showed up at a more perfect time; it literally belongs on the soundtrack of my life.
    2. Jump Hi x Lion Babe ft. Childish Gambino: The first song I ever heard by duo Lion Babe was Jungle Lady. My friend Sheriden introduced me to Lion Babe via her blog not too long ago and I was smitten. Also love: Little Dreamer
    3. Wind Blows x Kristen Walker: I stumbled across this track via tumblr and I can't get enough of it. Although I don't know much about the Bajan singer/songwriter herself, that voice is enchanting and I will be keeping an ear out for more. 
    4. You Are Luhh x Frank Ocean (cover): It was also Sheriden who told me about Frank Ocean's cover of The Isley Brothers/Aaliyah At Your Best when I inquired about where Frank Ocean has been hiding. How could I expect it to be any less than amazing? It was everything and I could appreciate that it was released on what would have been Aaliyah's 36th birthday. 
    5. Mustang x Ameriie: Although this song was released last year, I would still consider this to be new in 2015, since it was released at the end of December. I absolutely love the carefree-ness in this song and lyrics that I can relate so closely to. 
    6. Ray Gun x Ghostface Killah ft. MF DOOM: Explaining my love for this song is more difficult, but I think the video is what brought me there/here. MF DOOM intrigues me and he, along with Ghostface Killah are in that cluster of what I consider to be legendary hip-hop, so any collaborative of these two would be a winner for me. 
    7. Gone x The Internet ft. Syd: If you're familiar with my music collection at this point, despite how eclectic it may be, you'd know I love what some would call "stoner music". I just love the chill ambiance of it. This song has that kind of vibe, which is very typical of The Internet and Odd Future as a whole.
    8. Ocean Floor Kisses x Galimatias: Back in October 2014, I became obsessed with Fantasy by Alina Baraz and Galimatias, a song featured on The October Mix Tape, no. III. Recently, I stumbled across Ocean Floor Kisses and knew this playlist would be incomplete without this beautiful song, with it's sultry melody and subtle reggae undertone. 
    What are you currently listening to? 
    As always, if you have any music recommendations, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section; I'm all ears! 


    Monday, February 2, 2015

    Monthly Faves | January/February 2015

    It's been quite a while since I've done a monthly favorites segment on my blog, mainly because my favorites were pretty consistent. Since I've made quite a few purchases so far this year, I figured now would be the perfect time to bring the series back and talk about all the things I've been loving this month. 

    ♥ Beauty: 

    • Tree Hut Shea Moisturizing Body Wash in Coconut Lime: I probably buy way too many body wash products, but I've been loving this one. Typically when I shower, I reach for certain scents for different times of day, gravitating more towards fresh and light in the morning after I wake up and something more calming before bed. This fragrance is pretty versatile and perfect for any time of day. Although this particular product isn't 100% natural, I love that it's sulfate and paraben free and it doesn't leave my skin feeling dry and stretched like a lot of shower gels tend to do. 
    • St. Ives Indulgent Coconut Milk: It's not much to say about this product, other than I love the way it smells. I love mixing it with my Tree Hut to bring out more of the coconut scent.
    • Oklima Hair/Body Butter: Last month, I attended an event in the Atlanta University Center with my mom. They had a lot of different vendors there promoting women's health. One of the goodies I purchased was this body butter from Chic Afrique and have used it religiously ever since. A unique blend of shea butter, cocoa, and mango butter. It not only smells divine, but it also makes my skin feel super smooth and goddess-like. I know pretty soon I'll have to put in another order in for more. 

      ♥ Music: 

      • Albums: Non-Fiction - Ne-yo | Tetsuo and Youth - Lupe Fiasco | B4.Da$$ - Joey Bada$$ | 50 Shades of Grey interest whatsoever in the movie or the book, to be clear.
      • Mixtape: Two-9's mix tape B4FRVR that dropped 02.09.15; such a dope project. Check it out and support H E R E!!!

      ♥ Books: 

      • Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adechie: I loved this book so much that I purchased my very own copy {via} to add to my personal collection. It did cost a little more to ship, but I just wanted this one, simply because I like the cover that was manufactured in the UK better. Maybe I'll get around to doing a book review one of these days. 
      • High Hopes: 170 Ways to Lift Your Spirit by: Patrick Lindsay: This beautiful book was gifted to me from my friend and pen pal who lives in the UK. It couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time and I just felt so blessed that she thought enough of me to ship it over to me. 

      ♥ Technology:

      • App(s): #Hashed: We all love social media, but have you ever wished you could choose what shows up on your TL? Well, there's an app for that, where you can set your own personalized aesthetics for Instagram. All you do is sign up {via IG}, create categories, or Hashboards catered to your interest and it even filters what you see based on the people you follow. Cool right?

      ♥ Style:

      • My Sankofa earrings {pictured left} were hand crafted by a kind woman I had the pleasure of meeting there. Sankofa, is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that represents 'to return back and get it', which basically means to reflect on the past in order to build a better future. I think it serves as a tangible reminder of the purpose behind the Ghana trip I'm planning for this year.

      ♥ Miscellaneous:

      • I can't help but to be extremely proud of Janelle Monae for her partnership with Epic Records to launch her record label, Wondaland. Her growth as an artist has been delightful to witness and now she's apart of the young mogul movement. I am super excited about what's in store for all the talent that's about to emerge, 2015 and beyond. Young queens prospering; here for it.
      • The gorgeous Ms. Melody Williams relaunched her site this month, which made me happy because I became newly familiar with her blog as she was beginning her 6 month hiatus, but she's backkkk! 
      • Looking to start a freelance, work from home business?? Find out exactly what your home office should look like on Tech Cocktail
      ♥ @ChymereA

        What have you been loving so far in 2015?

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