Lipstick Love | Black Radiance Perfect Tone HD Lip Sculptor

As the seasons change, I always find a way to add a few new lipsticks to my makeup bag. It's such a habit! And while I like to peruse the beauty aisles for what's new, looking for long-lasting shades and finishes that promise to hydrate and show-out, I sometimes tip-toe back to the familiar. You know how it is. You get all the compliments from that lipstick you were rocking at the function last year only to find it has long run out. You recall that lipstick you used to wear before the pandemic that people passing by always said looked amazing on you and realize you need to see if it's still available in stores. Those were my feelings when I sought out to repurchase the Black Radiance Perfect Tone HD Lip Sculptor Lipsticks I swooned over in the drugstore a couple of years ago.

fall lipsticks

When I first purchased a couple of these beauties, I had not saw many reviews of them online. However, I haven't been disappointed by Black Radiance yet. With an array of shades to choose from and an awesome price point, I knew it would be no problem for me to purchase and repurchase these lipsticks for as long as they were in stock. And since I was so impressed with the formula, I bought quite a few as my local store started discounting them recently.

Read below the jump to learn more about these beauties!

RECOMMENDED READING: CAREFREE BLACK GIRLS BY ZEBA BLAY

"How do Black girls find freedom? Where do they go to find it, to feel it, uncomplicated and uncompromised?"


carefree black girls zeba blay


Carefree Black Girls is a collection of writer Zeba Blay's musings on the #carefreeblackgirls we identify with in society and pop culture. If artists like Lizzo, Cardi B., and Nicki Minaj come to mind, you are in luck, as they all make appearances in these essays. 


Blay writes with so much insight and introspection that I could not help but to lean in and nod repeatedly as she spoke about feelings I've had about my own body and life. The essay "Girlhood" could have easily been written for me, with my obsession with the Spice Girls (particularly Scary Spice) in middle school and my unrequited crushes on guys that would never really "go" for my type. 


It was cathartic reading Blay's experiences in this book, as they mirrored quite a few of mine-- giving me the language to articulate thoughts I couldn't quite form before. This was a great collection of essays that brought up so many points I can't wait to discuss with my good girlfriends. 


Thank you, Zeba Blay, for keeping these necessary conversations going. Special thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the eARC!


To purchase your own copy of Carefree Black Girls on Amazon, click here

WILL YOU BE READING CAREFREE BLACK GIRLS?

Riding Up The Coast With You On My Mind | A Playlist

There's something magical about traveling to a familiar location with the perfect playlist as background music. Ever went cruising to the beach on a cool summer night and the drive up always reminds you of "that particular song?" If you're like me, and you set your vibe with the most fitting tunes, this beautiful feeling may be familiar to you. But if not, and you're constantly searching for just the right song to set the mood, I might be able to help you with that. Imagine the late summer temps outside are equal parts cool and sultry. You're heading to (or from) that beach town you haven't visited since your undergrad years with the windows down and the winds blowing through your hair. The smell of salt is heavy in the air and it gives you all types of nostalgia. All my southern North Carolina folks know the vibes.  What songs are you playing? What music instantly comes to mind?


Alternative R&B vibes are some of my favorite types of playlists to make.  And because I've been enjoying late night beach rides this summer, I'm writing with some of my favorite riding tunes as background music. A friend of mine asked me to share this playlist publicly, so I thought I'd share it tonight with you guys! 


riding-playlist



QUEUE THE "Riding Up The Coast With You On My Mind" PLAYLIST:  This is for that proverbial night ride up the coast fueled with nostalgia and reminiscing. Let the music take your mind to that relaxing atmosphere and see what thoughts come to mind as you listen. Click the image above to open the playlist up in a new window. 


Loving these Spotify playlists? Let me know in the comments if you want more here on the blog. And be sure to give me a follow if you're on Spotify, too. I love making mixtapes and sharing music with my good boos over there.


WHAT SONGS ARE YOU VIBING WITH
ON A LATE NIGHT RIDE?

Recommended Reading: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

 "The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.


There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher’s wife. At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta’s “same time next year” arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other.


With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be."



Recommended Reading | Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story by Talib Kweli

"Before Talib Kweli became a world-renowned hip-hop artist, he was a Brooklyn kid who liked to cut class, spit rhymes, and wander the streets of Greenwich Village with a motley crew of artists, rappers, and DJs who found hip-hop more inspiring than their textbooks (much to the chagrin of the educator parents who had given their son an Afrocentric name in hope of securing for him a more traditional sense of pride and purpose). Kweli's was the first generation to grow up with hip-hop as established culture--a genre of music that has expanded to include its own pantheon of heroes, rich history and politics, and distinct worldview.


Vibrate Higher illuminates Talib Kweli's upbringing and artistic success, but so too does it give life to hip-hop as a political force--one that galvanized the Movement for Black Lives and serves a continual channel for Black Resistance."


vibrate higher talib kweli


Reading Vibrate Higher was like sitting in a hip-hop class with a world-renown professor and respecter of the craft. It's quite obvious that Talib Kweli is a hip-hip scholar and as a fan of the way he so beautifully weaves together rhymes and prolific thought, I hung on to every word he said while reading. From musings on his upbringing in Brooklyn, NY, to his experiences with life and music, I enjoyed learning more about how hip-hop became such an integral part of his life. It was a treat to learn of how Talib Kweli first got connected to Nkiru Books/Nkiru Center for Education & Culture and detailed accounts of his collaborations with other creative artists, especially Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def). 


In Vibrate Higher, Talib Kweli covers so much territory. From his friendship with Yasiin Bey, his feature on Kanye West's College Dropout album, his family life (and relationship woes), on down to the state of our current political climate, Talib Kweli holds nothing back. He speaks with such conviction and honesty at every angle. The one thing I could say against this book was that it ended too soon. I honestly did not want it to end! I suppose I will have to listen to more of his podcast episodes to get my fill. In short, I was so invested in this book. 


Any true student of hip-hop will love this one. Anyone who simply appreciates the art and appreciates the true artist that is Talib Kweli should definitely get familiar with this read. You will not be disappointed. Also, checking out the audiobook version is the perfect cherry on top!


Major thanks to Netgalley + Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the copy of Vibrate Higher in exchange for an honest review. To purchase your own copy of the book, click here.


4.5 Stars

INTERVIEW | DEPARTURE STORY BY ROWANA M. ABBENSETTS-DOBSON

 “But ironically, amidst the wide range of inequalities that America shoulders – inequality is the great equalizer for Blacks. No one cared that I was born in a different country… In one glance, it was easy to deduce I was just Black – an equal part to one blanket “Black” race and one social status.” – Rowana M. Abbensetts-Dobson, Departure Story



The experiences of Black immigrants are largely invisible to Americans, despite their growing numbers – 4.2 million throughout the country (The Immigrant Learning Center, 2020). 

In her debut novel, Departure Story [Published June 1], Rowana invites us into the world of Celestine Samuels, a young Guyanese woman arriving in the U.S. for college, carrying the hopes of generations before her, while imagining new opportunities for personal growth.

Celestine’s studies are interrupted with devastating news - her beloved Uncle, a Guyanese politician, has been murdered as a result of rising turmoil within the government. She feels lost and homesick, but turns that grief into action, and joins the Student Council Diversity Committee, advocating for Black creatives on campus. Eventually, Celestine meets resistance from the administration, and so-called friends alienate her. All the while, “home” haunts her dreams, and eventually leads Celestine to investigate unforgivable family secrets, and uncover answers she may not want to know.

Departure Story is my love letter to the Diaspora,” Rowana says. “It’s a novel about displacement and creating home… It’s also about finding your voice within the chaos and making a stand for what you believe in wherever you are. Celestine gets to a new country, and she’s testing the boundaries of her power in love, friendships, and politics… I hope it will make some Black girl who is reading white male authors in her American lit class feel seen.”
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