#BlackGirlLeisure

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I posted a picture to Instagram a couple weeks ago and captioned it with the hashtag #BlackGirlLeisure. Ever since, people have been DMing me, telling me I need to do something with the phrase. I listened and decided to bring back my bi-monthly playlist under a new name! Black Girl Leisure will be a compilation of songs I find myself jamming to in the morning while getting my mind and body r day for the day. 

The first compilation is dedicated to the songs that help me remain positive, motivated, and chill. Check out Black Girl Leisure N°1 here

Cool, Calm, Collected...Canadian?

It's about that time, folks! The first compelling day of spring finally sprung into our lives (global warmed winter days excluded). Though it came as no surprise, it was wildly refreshing to walk down the street without socks and invite a little vitamin D to enter into my depleted being. Unfortunately, I work in an environment in which I'm not permitted to wear skirts or dresses but the warming climate allowed me to test my endurance against a cemented closet staple-the Canadian tuxedo.

The elements of this experiment came together rather serendipitously-I work at 6 am, I was running late, my job prefers denim in the workplace and my boyfriend's jacket was the closest thing to the door as I headed out. A 5:17 am train was also involved but that only puts into context why I was running late. Nonetheless, as I stepped off the elevator and into the street, the 5 am air was atypical to its usual 30º. A warm day was finally among us. 

I felt nervous and unprepared. I had forgotten about the weather front and my consequence would now be turning into a 5'2" swamp monster. *Enter WTF?! here* I left work, the sun in its zenith, determined to enjoy what surely was a beautiful day come hell or high water. No pun intended. I ran a couple errands, bought some snacks and even took bae out for froyo all the while looking, and feeling, fresh under the right-hand twill of "my" oversized denim jacket. I felt breezy and my jeans, cuffed at the ankle, allowed for the occasional gust of wind to kiss the right places. I think it's safe to say that I just stumbled into my new, easy pre-summer look by way of not missing my 5:17 am train...

Jacket + Denim: Levi's / Sunglasses: Beacon's Closet / Shoes: Vans (Duh!)

 

Don't Call It a Comeback

(no pun intended...I know I've been gone for a lil' bit.)

The need for hats and caps seem to be waning with spring impending. The chapeaus are slowly being tucked away into their respective storage spaces to be revisited when the temperatures begin to dwindle, in a few months. Not so fast, though! Berets extend beyond the winter season in more ways than one.

The European headgear had a major resurgence this year with brands such as New York cool girl's Glazed NYC, 80's-inspired swimsuit brand Solarium, and even Gucci taking in on the action. I like to credit this revival with Beyonce's Super Bowl 50 performance, in which her backup dancers embodied The Black Panthers Party in the year of their 50th anniversary - but that may just me. Nevertheless, berets are the perfect accessory to get through the unpredictability of spring. Through rainstorms and daily jostles alike, berets have enabled me to appear put together despite surrounding environments displaying the contrary. For example: Bad hair day? Beret. Pulled an all-nighter preparing an important presentation and ran out of time to physically prepare yourself? Beret. Want to show a new date you are not to be f*cked with? Beret. Two-strand twists still damp because you decided to wash your hair at 10pm? *Enter [BERET!] here*

Furthermore, the beret is a relatively affordable form of gear. That is, unless you're Rihanna donning a leather beret to the Dior show- that, my friends, will cost you a pretty penny. However, I perused my local vintage and thrift stores last year and stumbled upon two, costing me no more than $7.50...each. I get loads of compliments all the time from people in the streets AND it's become my desingated brunch hat-when I can make it to brunch- because Lord knows how my hair is after a Saturday night in New York.

I Just Joined and So Should You...

...if you have time.

Click picture for Huffington Post Black Voices interview with WRBG Founder Glory Edim.

Click picture for Huffington Post Black Voices interview with WRBG Founder Glory Edim.

If you're on the interwebs and have never heard of Well-Read Black Girl then...you're not on the interwebs. You're probably interwebs adjacent. I've scrolled past the Well-Read Black Girl name on my Twitter timeline more than a few times in addition to seeing colorful and vibrant book covers on my Instagram explore page, posted by founder Glory Edim. As someone who has two shelves full of books, however, I know I don't need to lay my hand on nary another. My self-indulgent and impulsive capacity to over-buy books prevented me from wanting to dive deeper into this world of literary meetups. This was a big mistake. Upon closer inspection, WRBG appeared to be more than a minuscule book club but a sisterhood with a syllabus. It's for the introvert who has yet to find a tribe of gal pals in a city made for extroverts or the girl who is the lonesome reader in her group of friends (*cough*). I'm excited to partake in this month's meetup. I just joined, so should you...

Coveteur'd

Me and Blue Ivy will always be on the same page...

Me and Blue Ivy will always be on the same page...

Life has been NUTS! I mean this in both the good and bad sense of the word. Life has been crazy and when life is crazy my emails get neglected. I just so happened to be adulting-lite when I finally opened my email (info@spicy.me, for those concerned). My eyes immediately darted to a name so familiar, I checked to make sure it was a mistake. The Coveteur was in MY inbox asking regular-degular me for an interview!

I've been reading Coveteur since high school. All the stylish ladies and gents in creative careers, as well as closets that finally put into perspective how fashion houses stayed afloat. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I, THEE Spicy Mayo, would be featured. 

The link to my interview is in the first picture (I'm getting fancy, I know) above. In the interview, I discuss my skin routine in addition to shaving my eyebrows and what I do for self-care. Share with a friend! Tah-tah! 

Café Lewks

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I'm the type of person to stay home, churn out my thoughts, get "blogger's block", cry and give up. Sometimes it's so difficult to wax on poetically about a photo I've taken. Lately, however, I've been going to cafés to cure my perfectionism -and it's been working. I get up, throw on whatever's the most comfortable (t-shirt dress, graphic tee, and jeans, big lumpy sweater) and head to my favorite Upper East Side joint. Maybe it's the change in scenery that makes my mind work. I like to think it's the people...and the refillable tea...and the waffles.

Stains...

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It's been unusually warm and thus, time to shed the layers. The textures needn't change, though. A change in temperature doesn't negate the fact that it's still winter. Instead of trousers, I threw on a leather dress and kept my other winter necessities the same: loafers, socks, wool and silk tee. This approach will keep me cool in the high sun and warm as the night cools down the city.  

 

*PS: Don't look at that stain. It's been there since I moved in and I'm too scared to touch it. #NYCProblems

#ProductJunkie: The Pure Stuff

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I liken finding a new product that works to unlocking a piece of yourself. The trial and error of testing new products can be tedious. Thus, the monumental moment when something actually work is real. I cling to tried and true products like a suspicious girlfriend-the latter of which I am not. Nonetheless, the emotions I just described is how I felt when I discovered Dr. Bronner's Castile soap. This soap really is magic, y'all! It's natural, long lasting and the smell permeates my bathroom once unwrapped. I tend to stock up on various "flavors" in order to interchange my aromatherapy based on my mood and what my emotional needs are. Happy = rose, relax = lavender, migraine/refresh = tea tree. The soap isn't extremely drying like some of its competitors which is amazing for a girl like me with a, daily, 5 am wake-up call. On nights when I'm exhausted beyond words, I simply take a shower, unwind under the water beating on my skin and after let the essential oils of Dr. Bronner sweep me off to dreamland in nothing but my towel. 

Yasss Samira Nasr

This month’s Elle magazine is just what Black History Month ordered. Despite one or two articles that required a side eye worthy of Sasha Obama, the latter half of the publication restored life to my weary soul. The giver of this life? Samira Nasr, the magnificent fashion director at Elle Magazine. Ms. Nasr styled covergirl Solange Knowles in addition to a 16-page love letter to Harlem, both of which I am immensely in love with. Her gingerly undertaking and interpretation of Solange’s style kept her recognizable yet, transfixed me. Nonetheless, it the editorial entitled Take the A Train that shook the table. 

I very rarely get this feeling when perusing the glossy pages of fashions periodicals but it appears that Samira’s approach to styling and production involves pensive thought, understanding of and extensive respect for her subject. She takes the time to research and investigate her topic. The end products bear witness to an arduous pre-production. For example,  Take the A Train didn’t plop a model into Harlem “hotspots” and iconic landmarks, called it evoked neighborhood artists, OGs, and pioneers such as realtor Lana Turner and historian John T. Reddick. She involved design-hustler extraordinaire Dapper Dan in the 16-page spread of Harlem, affirming Black creators in these spaces that they are not moot and will not be overlooked -on her watch.

Most importantly,  Take the A Train is a much-need, reassuring, balm. Harlem, as are all Black and Brown communities in the U.S., is undergoing gentrification and with physical displacement, cultural displacement accompanies. This editorial gives readers who may not live in my neighborhood a glimpse at the very real, vibrant, culture that exists there sans the majority.It presents the landmarks and streets of Harlem as self-sufficient and thriving, qualities not normally attributed to minority spaces. The numerous cultural institutions that were created for us and by us are on full display, behind the beautiful styling of Nasr, and represent a reassuring detail of the editorial. The array of beautiful and prominent neighborhood features soothed an aching fear I’ve been feeling with the many recent changes in central and east Harlem. This spread gave me an unflappable feeling of ease knowing that Harlem’s legacy is a much-recorded installment in America's history thus, it can not be easily erased. Thank you, Samira Nasr. 

 

 

Thelma Golden: Curator Extraordinaire

With a last name like Golden, it isn't hard to believe that this woman is precious. I first began to identify her by the eye-catching style that is all her own -her usage of silhouette and print is uncanny! However, it was when I began to explore her career as a curator that she became a personal inspiration. She was the first Black curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art and worked tirelessly to embrace her moment, bringing art with a varied perspective to the masses. In 1994, Thelma spearheaded the popular Whitney exhibit Black Male. It looked at the way Black masculinity was observed in the art world. Following the successful exhibition, she returned to the Studio Harlem of Museum in 2000 as a member of the curatorial team. She's been there since the early aughts but moved vertically into the role of museum director. To my surprise, taking the helm meant more than merely overseeing the artwork that graced the walls. To Thelma Golden, her directorship is about presenting young, excited, Black artists the opportunity to be a catalyst for social shift and change. 

Below is a video from her Ted Talks in which she elaborates about why and how art, specifically black art, promotes change.

Product Junkie: Shea Butta Lips

 
 

In the midst of this cold rendering me, corporally, useless, I mustered up enough energy to refresh myself. I cleaned my room, took a shower, and caught up on a few podcasts. I was finally beginning to feel revived when I looked in the mirror. My lips were in pain and in need of a little extra love -they were cracked. Luckily, I found a remedy during an indulgent trip to the E. 86th Street Sephora.

I'm a sucker for chic packaging and Sephora was right on the money. The chic, minimalistic, monochromatic packaging lulled me into a false sense of security. I had, previously, been curious about the trend of anatomy-specific masks and Sephora could sense it. I compiled a variety pack and set out to test them. One pewter lining later, I'm sick, my lips were in pain, from damage, and I needed a lip job.

I must admit, the mask wasn't bad. It was hard to keep in place, however. The mask kept shifting and I, continually, had to shift it back over my mouth. My lips were worth the work. After 15 minutes, the mask came off and my lips felt pillowy soft. I rubbed in the excess serum, per the nstructions and they glistened with a sheen of revitalization. They looked polished and I looked human - you know, again. 

Cough Drop Confessions

 
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Raindrop, cough drop. That is the abbreviated synopsis of my week thus far. Yes, folks, I am sick. I thought I was cute, bared my legs and ended up swimming in ginger and lemon tea. However, in the words of Jenna Wortham, there is indeed a pewter lining. Thanks to my raging head cold, I got sent home from work and, consequently, got a chance to compose some blurbage about this outfit I wore recently to run errands.  

As it so happens I was feeling low at the time -emotionally not physically. I was stuck in the time vacuum that is Twitter. I needed to run errands but, of course, my opinion needed to be opined! I was furious about the current state of politics and could not let leave the house without giving the current administration a piece of my mind. I also felt as though I needed to drag the various marginalized folks that felt the need to normalize the government in its current state. Basically, I was wasting my time and energy. I was draining my emotional resources. 

Somewhere between the third and fifth season of Living Single, I finally found the power to put my phone down and plop some clothes on. I settled into some sweats but looked the way I felt -hopeless. I needed an outfit that would motivate me out the door. Eventually, I squeezed my afro into a ruled turtleneck and matched my footwear to its pattern. Paired with my mauve coat and an ice blue beanie the color arrangement made for a brightened mood on a bleak and overcast day.