Friday, October 14, 2016

Music Collective: vol. 51 {#BlackGirlMagic, the Play List}

Listen to #BlackGirlMagic, the Play List on Spotify + Apple Music
If you've been keeping up with my life or this blog at all, you may have noticed that I've been focusing more on personal happiness. What better way to channel that focus than through the wonderful gift of music? So I've decided to compile #BlackGirlMagic, the Play List, which is-essentially-the soundtrack of my life currently.

I will say that Solange's recent release of A Seat at the Table, a beautiful record that so many of black women have found comfort/inspiration in, couldn't have dropped at a more perfect time. On a few different occasions, I've curated play list of songs that make me happy; the difference this time is these songs not only make me happy when I hear them, but also make me so damn proud to occupy the skin I'm in, much like how I felt the first time I heard the album. 

If you are a black girl who believes in the magic you possess within you, this compilation is designed for you (and the men who love us). Also, please understand that a celebration of self is-by no means-an expression of hatred towards someone who identifies with a different diaspora.

If you notice there are some of your favorite tunes missing, feel free to leave them in the comment section and/or Tweet me and I'll be sure to add them to the list!

  1. I'm Still Fly - Chrisette Michele
  2. Put Your Records on - Corinne Bailey Rae
  3. The Light - Common 
  4. Feelin' Good - Nina Simone
  5. Black Gold - Esperanza Spalding 
  6. Third Eye - Big K.R.I.T.
  7. Poetic Justice - Kendrick Lamar ft. Drake
  8. I'm the Best - Nicki Minaj
  9. Treat Me Like Fire - Lion Babe
  10. Electric Lady - Janelle Monáe ft. Solange
  11. Golden - Jill Scott
  12. Rise Up - Andra Day
  13. Gust of Wind - Pharrell Williams
  14. Slum Beautiful - OutKast
  15. Don't Touch my Hair - Solange
  16. Brown Sugar - D'Angelo 
  17. * Freedom - Beyoncé ft Kendrick Lamar
  18. Masterpiece Jazmine Sullivan

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ESPN Host A conversation on Race, Sports, + Achievement with President Barack Obama and The Undefeated at NCAT

Photo credit: Delaney Vandergrift, NCAT Photo credit: Delaney Vandergrift, NCAT
"How you do it is less important than your commitment to use whatever platforms you have to speak to issues that matter...Get engaged, get involved, get educated and decide what you can do to make a difference."
—President Obama at North Carolina A&T State University | ESPN, The Undefeated

 On October 11, 2016, President Barack Obama made his way to Greensboro, N.C. to participate in a conversation led by Stan Verrett with ESPN and The Undefeated, hosted by a respected and renowned Historically Black College and University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. With his normal casually poised and smooth demeanor, the conversation began with a mention of the National Museum of African-J American Culture that recently opened in Washington, D.C. and how it chronicles the evolution of the African diaspora in America. The significance in this as a starting point was the acknowledgment of what we have accomplished collectively and how the strength and humanity of perseverance lead what we've been able to accomplish. It also set the tone for the continuation of the conversation to follow. When asked about his personal heroes, he references Arthur Ashe and the great and late Muhammad Ali, both with very distinct personalities, yet transformative in their own right. He also talked about the challenges faced by the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela, how their leadership through unfathomable situations shifts his perspective when there is this pressure to sustain and lead an entire nation. Just the same, he finds motivation in the everyday people, whom he's been dedicated to serving during and before his term as president and making their lives better. 

img_2041 Photo credit: Delaney Vandergrift, NCAT

In terms of current challenges we face in America, our president touched on removing vanity from our personal goals and understanding that one's place and purpose has so much to do with what we can do for others. As president of the United States for the past 8 years, he's listened to the concerns of the people and taken those issues into account when deciding what needs to be done.
"One of the benefits of defeat is to take some of the vanity about what it is you're trying to's not about me; it's what I can do for someone else."
Proceeding a student-athlete's question regarding what can be done, he advised all of us to use whatever platforms we have to speak on things that matter. He used the My Brother's Keeper initiative as an example of what can be done and encouraged mentorship as a way to get involved within our communities. This program, along with Let Girls Learn started by Michelle Obama, prioritized the youth as the leaders of tomorrow. While discussing the the parallel his experience growing up and that of inner city youth that are a part of these programs, he made a powerful statement:
"Understand the power in second chances and redemption."
As it saddens many Americans to see the President's reign come to an end with the upcoming election, there was an emphasis on the importance of social, political, and economic activism to continue to build upon the groundwork that has been established by both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. There is a responsibility that all of us have to maintain the positive aspects of his presidency and bridge the gaps on things that need to be changed. He spoke on the vitality of black excellence, how our work as individual and as a community is: 

"...the foundation stone for building the kind of black middle class, wealth, and ultimate success that will be important to the entire nation."

Photo credit: Delaney Vandergrift, NCAT Photo credit: Delaney Vandergrift, NCAT

 Last but not least, the topic of HBCU's were presented. In contrast to what critics have to say about what hasn't been done, President Obama addressed the many ways in which the historically black colleges and universities in this country thrive, including the increase in funding, the consistent effort put into maintaining these institutions, and their ability to produce the most qualified structure of alumni in an array of America's leading industries.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Make Time for What's Important (an Homage to Personal Happiness)

Amandla Stenberg | @amandlastenberg
"...Livin' my life like it's golden, livin' my life like it's golden..." 
-Jill Scott

As I've gotten older, I've been considering what's important to me at this point in my life. Only naturally, my priorities over the years have shifted, but sometimes I fall into this trap of nostalgia that makes me miss who I used to be, and sometimes even, who I pretended to be. It's actually quite annoying that I've clung so tightly to things that aren't relevant anymore. What a waste of time! Although it took a while, I'm finally ready to burn the books and dead those chapters that should have been closed years ago. Although letting go can sometimes be a very frustrating transition period, it's time to move on. 

Moving on and detaching from something can hurt like hell, I know from experience, however, I'm starting to realize that there is a greater reward on the other side of release. This could be letting go of negative thinking, distancing oneself from toxic individuals, allowing the past to stay in the past, and so forth. It isn't always easy to learn how to live without certain situations. It's a process for people like me that takes time to work through. Eventually, the release will be viewed as necessary, because there is no longer a need to continue to block incoming blessings with things that don't quite fit in your life anymore. Alongside fighting depression and striving to be happy, I'm sure I've written about this before. 

I have to remember to take a deep breath and not allow things I can't control to cause me stress. When I forget, there are gentle reminders all around me, such as my iPhone's lock screen, my mom's encouraging words, my best friends' listening ears. I've even met someone recently, who has been such a breath of fresh air-and with effortless guidance-keeps me just as grounded as the people closest to me. Even on a romantic level, I am learning not to think so far ahead. Staying present has granted the opportunity to find peace in small, yet significant ways and to practice what I preach in regards to affirming my own happiness and finding beauty in all things (without questioning if I deserve beautiful things to happen to me).  Because typically, this is my pattern: I'll write out what good things are happening one minute and completely self-sabotage and abort the next...

Crissle West | @crissles

So back to taking into account all that's important to me at this point in my life, which all boils down to happiness and peace of mind; cultivating the opportunity to receive those things and not distract myself with whatever I don't have. I only want to give energy to things that bring me joy. I only want to make room for genuine souls who are able to reciprocate my effort and my love without me having to beg or compromise my worth. I only want to engage in activities that are positive and helpful to my growth (i.e. the list of 14 things to do in October). I only want to promote love and positive vibrations in all facets of my life. The more I focus my energy on what I do want to grow and proliferate, the less space I make for things I don't want.

Also, I've been spending as much time as possible with my family. Every single day, I run into people who aren't fortunate enough to share special bonds with family members and it reminds me of how blessed I am. Magically enough, it gives me less time to think about people who aren't in my life anymore or cry over who treated me poorly/didn't show love the way I expected and even deserved to be loved, because there are plenty of people who play active roles in my life, even outside of my family circle, whose love sustains me daily. And sometimes the lack of friends in my immediate environment makes me forget all the wonderful friends I've made in my life thus far, who I am 100% sure will be around for a lifetime. It's normal for the people we love to live very busy and separate lives, but we all will always find a way:
Make time for what's important 
...which means carving out quality time for each other. There is no secret science to how to do it; it's actually very simple. For me personally, prioritizing has proven to be a natural remedy for depression, as well as an organic way to keep my anxiety to a minimum. The past nor the future is as important as what's happening in this moment.

These past few weeks have been difficult and super stressful, simply because I was just trying to find balance, yet feeling like I was drowning in the process. But yesterday, I literally woke up and decided to be happy...and, to my surprise, it actually worked! As long as I can wake up and make that choice, I know I'll be fine. I'm aware that everyday won't be perfect and some days are harder than others, but finally I understand just how much I deserve to be happy...

Lizzo | @Lizzo

Smiling from ear to ear happy.
Can't stop laughing out loud happy.
Owning every room I walk in happy.
Excited to face each day and every challenge happy.
Shining from the inside out happy. 
Knowing that everything will be OK + the universe is safe happy. 


♥ @ChymereA


Sunday, October 2, 2016

14 Things to Do This Month | October 2016

Inspired by Cosmopolitan Magazine's monthly "things-to-do" monthly mood boards, I've decided to come up with a spin-off of that concept, composed of short term goals/things I want to push myself to do in the month of October. I'm pretty bad at following a monthly schedule, as I tried to do with the monthly favorites, but I'll try my best to compile at least one every other month from here on out.
  1. Socialize more. Put myself out there. Be more open to making new friends and connections.
  2. Continue to vlog and create content for both my YT channel and blog. The important thing is to just have fun with it. I tend to be so hard on myself when-most of the time-it's really not that serious. I'm also trying not to shy away from vlogging in public, because let's be honest one really cares as much as you think they do. Also, I haven't been blogging or writing in general at all lately, so I have to be more proactive about that as well.
  3. Speaking of writing (as if there isn't so much on my plate already), I have to make time to write this book I've been brainstorming forever seems like
  4. Organize IG theme. I'm not exactly sure if I really want to make my profile public anytime soon, but  if you decide to follow me, please interact with me via Twitter and tell me you're following me in the comment section. I like to be aware of who is following me. 
  5. Start a new ongoing Sports segment on the blog. 
  6. Re-organize Spotify play list and sort through my music library. 
  7. Explore more. Try a new local restaurant. Go on a hike. Find fun (free) things to do in/out of town. Attend local shows and art exhibits. Go on more simple adventures. Be open to discovering new things in the area.
  8. Get back on a regular exercise regimen and join a master's swim team in my area. This is extremely important., because...#FADE. Only half-joking, but I really do miss swimming and training.
  9. Learn how to move on without reconciliation. Every time I cut ties with someone who I've either outgrown or are simply toxic, I always feel the need to seek closure, which I'm starting to see as not always necessary. 
  10. Invest in and restock my "grown woman" perfume collection. Current favorites include Prada Candy, Chance by Chanel, and Chance Noir.
  11. Find small ways to upgrade my wardrobe, because it's been a while and all my clothes feel a little...dated at this point.  
  12. Work on design portfolio. (I'll talk about that in deeper detail later...possibly on a future vlog)
  13. Make plans (now!) to travel more in 2017; I feel like I say this every year. The inaugural year for ComplexCon is coming up next month and as soon as I first learned about it, I knew that would be something I was interested in. However it's not realistic to try to fit it in my budget so that I'm able to go. 
  14. Try to not be a complete buzz kill during #GHOE2016. In case you are wondering, GHOE is a trademark acronym for my university's homecoming, which stands for Greatest Homecoming on Earth. This year, I'm not as excited as I probably could/should be, however, I do have to remember some of the best friends I could ever ask for, who all live in a different state than I do, will be in town, so I owe it to them to try to have as much fun as possible. 

What are some goals you have for the month of October? How are those goals pushing you closer to your dreams?

Created by Chymere x Design