GRANT YOURSELF FREEDOM AND PERMISSION TO LIVE
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” - Toni Morrison
Upon Toni Morrison’s passing last week I took some time to reflect. on the life I’ve been living, the life I will continue to live, the work I want to do, and the legacy I want to leave behind. Seeing so many people share stories of their personal experiences with Toni Morrison and reminding us of how she inspired so many Black writers and activist from the past and present has inspired me to keep taking my creativity seriously and keep that vision I have for myself in my mind at all times. She used her position as an editor at Random House to help publish other Black women authors, she was a professor who inspired people like Stokely Carmichael, she helped birth a new generation of Black writers through her work and mere existence. Her writing was the kind of work that you read and made you wonder why you even bother to write because her brilliance is so rare, but you still keep going because we owe it to her to pedal through our doubts, insecurities, and impostor syndrome, carrying on in a space that is free of oppression whether it be internal or external.
Toni Morrison was a fully self-actualized woman who was more than comfortable in her skin and speaking her truth, and if nothing else that is something I want to achieve for myself. You could be the richest and most materially successful person in the world but what does that really mean when you don’t even know who you are? When your entire existence has been nothing but living in a self-serving bubble? This is a big world with lots of people, places, and issues. Toni Morrison was a Black woman who was fully aware of the wicked ways of this world and the plans it had for people like her, but she never let that dictate her character or her career as a writer, she never let it consume her. She continued to create work for and give a voice to Black people and Black people only. Outside of racism, misogyny, white supremacy, etc. Toni Morrison was aware of who she was as a person and that is my mission, to exist freely and outside of the box that I am expected to operate and live in. We should all aim to be as wise, free, and pioneering as the beloved Toni Morrison.
COLOURPOP SO JUICY PUMPING GLOSS IN BEACHWOOD
I was born with two-toned smokers lips that I’ll never stop complaining about because lipstick is my favorite makeup product and the color of my lips can completely alter what would’ve been an otherwise cute and suitable color. Lately I’ve been stepping away from liquid lipsticks and gravitating more towards semi-sheer glosses and lipsticks, I’m really trying to force myself to try new things when it comes to makeup with baby steps. I usually wear a matte lip to balance the oiliness in my skin but I love wearing lip gloss these days, my lips always look plump and there’s something girlish and youthful about a cute gloss. I recently bought Beachwood by Colourpop to see how it would layer with my dark lips, as this gloss is a warm brown nude with a touch of pink, and it looks great on me by itself and even better with a lip liner for an ombre effect! If you’re dark skinned or you just like warm, nude glosses in general, would definitely suggest this.
Stevie Wonder is a fucking magician and a gift from god herself. 95% of the time I don’t even be in the mood for that lovey-dovey shit but he’s the only artist I’m willing to listen to at any given time that’s singing about love. I’ve been walking around the house singing All I Do with so much fervor that you’d think I was in a committed relationship with a Russell Wilson clone but no, Stevie just makes me happy and washes my bitterness away, his music always reminds me that there is love around me and love to be found even when I’m feeling alone and destitute of love.
AG CREATION ON IG
My nails have always been absolute trash when it comes to maintaining length because they always break off on the sides, no matter what I do or how gentle I am. I don’t see many nail techs on IG that emphasize and prioritize the actual health of clients’ nails, so it was refreshing to come across this account on my IG explore page. Personally I’m not fond of using tips for length and would rather do some sort of gel or acrylic extension, there’s just something about having a fake nail on that I hate for my nails. Every time I wear tips and acrylic my nails look disastrous when I take them off, which means it’s been done all wrong. This nail tech above uses soft gel as a tool for nail growth to provide continuous protection for the natural nail which is genius, I’ll probably never use regular nail polish after this point. I also read a tip from another nail tech I follow a while ago that when removing gel polish with a drill, it’s a good idea to leave a thin layer of gel on the nail to keep it strong, so the girls are really on to something! I’ve had my eye on those Polygel kits on Amazon and polygel is basically like a hybrid of hard gel and acrylic. It comes in a tube and you just squeeze it out and shape it on the nail like you would with acrylic, then you cure it with a UV/LED lamp. It’s way easier to work with and allows you ample time to work with, unlike with acrylic that air dries pretty fast. If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to maintain your nail health and length, I would definitely consider trying out some polygel!
Before I started wearing more natural and minimal makeup, Nikkie Tutorials was my go-to makeup guru. I was an avid fan of her channel and would be perched for her weekly uploads, I can’t remember why I stopped watching her entirely for so long but I’m getting back into her videos now because minimal makeup is kind of boring to me right now and I want to have a good balance of makeup to accentuate my features while also not straying too far from my features and original face. Since Nikki is a pro-makeup artist who went to school for it and is now the Global Artistry Advisor for Marc Jacobs, I trust her and her techniques even more than I did before. She honestly taught me most of the things I know now when it comes to makeup, especially with doing my eyebrows and over lining my lips which is something I do religiously because of her and it makes all the difference for me. I don’t care what anyone says! Another thing that I have always loved about her approach to makeup and techniques is that 1) she fully embraces the fact that she loves full coverage makeup because it’s clear that makeup is genuinely fun for her 2) nO matter how much makeup she puts on, her skin still looks like skin. Nikki is forever wearing full coverage foundation and concealer yet her skin still looks like porcelain when everyone else is on the gram looking a hot mess. I have to stan again!
Gold Everything, Gold Ass Chains
I’m no stranger to gold jewelry and never will be, there’s no other color in this world that looks as good on me as gold does! My saved collection on IG is filled with gold jewelry from different brands but I’ve been feening for some pieces by Dixie Graze (Black woman owned brand!) and Awe Inspired. I always As you all know I’m obsessed with Medusa and her being a symbol for the scorned divine feminine as well as the snakes on her head representing regeneration, death and rebirth. I think as humans and spiritual beings we all experience death and rebirth throughout life again and again, we become wiser and newer people as we go through phases and retain the wisdom we’ve gained from the school of life. I make it a point to remind myself everyday that I am allowed to change as much as I want to and I’m always allowed to defend myself as I see fit, even if that means turning niggas into stone for just looking at me. Athena was a pick-me ass bitch for what she did to Medusa but I also love that she as a goddess represents wisdom, courage, discipline, and strategy. Having staple jewelry pieces to wear on the daily that make you feel confident and draw inspiration from is the wave.
Shonda Rhimes is a genius and no one will ever convince me otherwise. Scandal low key might be her best show because there’s so many things to take away from it when it comes to power dynamics, it reminds me of Game of Thrones in that sense with people’s quests for power, success, and control. I rewatch this show from the very beginning every few months because I like to study people, whether they’re fictional characters or not, and figure out how their mind works and the motives behind their actions. That’s why I love film and tv so much, because even though most characters are fictional, they’re still a reflection of the kind of people we’re surrounded by everyday. I like being able to experience so many different types of people firsthand and the lives they live and the decisions they make. A driving force in my life is the ongoing need to get to the bottom of things, reveal truths, remove masks, uncover and solve mysteries. I like to figure out as much as I can about things I’m confused, curious, or generally passionate about and one of the ways I do that is by studying the actions of the people involved because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, most things' don’t just happen. We as people make things happen and I always want to know why and how.
Olivia and her family are my favorite characters on the show because they’re calculating, proactive, and completely unapologetic, especially Rowan. Every conversation he has with Olivia is one that I I listen to intently, as well as her mother. They’re the kind of parents that operate with tough love and have clearly prepared Olivia to navigate this world as a Black woman, in politics at that, and they have no problem continuing to give her that guidance and tough love even as an adult. I would’ve offed myself if I had them as parents but she’s handled it well for the most part. I literally laugh out loud every time one of Olivia’s parents mock and pretty much drag her for being so preoccupied with white men and wanting to basically serve them by working in the White House. Rowan and Maya often put things into a very anarchic and lawless perspective that always makes me go, “Wait they might be right…” and that’s really the beauty of this show in its entirety, how every single character operates in a grey area and live in a world where this is no such thing as good or bad, because the ends always justify the means.
I recently bought some travel sizes of the cleanser and retinol and I might have to buy full sizes. The cleanser is great for double cleansing and it doesn’t burn my eyes whatsoever which is a rare combo when it comes to cleansers. It lathers up nicely to get rid of any makeup or excess sebum on my face and my skin always feels soft and hydrated after using this. As far as the retinol goes, I’ve used this before about 2 years ago and I don’t know why I stopped because the texture of this retinol is divine, even it were to stop working as an exfoliant and anti-aging product, I would honestly keep buying it as a night moisturizer because the texture is like butter, I’ve never used anything like it. Last but not least the 4% BHA does what she has to do! I have very oily skin that breaks out immediately if I don’t stay on my skincare routine and use chemical exfoliants to keep my pores clean. The texture of this is a gel but it spreads nicely and is super hydrating, i love using this after I cleanse my face in the morning and moisturizing afterwards if I don’t feel like doing extra steps. This is one of the only products that keeps my skin consistently clear while also hydrating my skin nicely.
Seeing her on this season of Euphoria was a delight and I personally think Zendaya has the range to go further with more serious and mature acting roles. This show has made me see her in a completely new light now because I’m very fond of her acting skills and potential more than anything now, her beauty is just a plus. She’s also one of the few people I’ve seen who can effortlessly tap into their masculine and feminine sides at any given moment, Zendaya is one fluid bih and I love it.
I was seeing commercials for this every time I watched Pose so I decided to give it a shot and got hooked after the pilot episode about T.M. Landry. The truth and honesty are two things that we all owe one another but is becoming such a rarity and a privilege these days, whether it’s in our personal lives or in society. I’ve always been fascinated by the process of journalism and the lengths journalists go through on a daily basis to uncover the truth that is owed to the public, and I appreciate it. Coming out of high school, if I had known myself the way I do now I definitely would’ve gone for a journalism degree. My need for transparency and honesty in all facets of my life with every person, public figure, and corporation I deal with can be a borderline obsession sometimes and my fixation on it can cause me to become overly emotional, losing sight of the goal in mind. A career in journalism probably could’ve helped satiate that burning desire to give us all the answers we’re constantly searching for, but I have been paying close attention to this show and learning how to be more objective and fact-based in life and with my writing as to not get so worked up and distracted by things when I’m trying to make a point. Shoutout to all the pears and journalists out there who value the truth and honesty above all else.