Just to See You Smile | A Playlist

As many of you may know from reading here for a while: I am of the generation of making a "mixtape" for everything. And with so many music streaming services available at our fingertips, it's been easier than ever to make a playlist for any occasion. Add to that modern convenience, the fact that I'm a "make me a playlist so I know it's real" type of lady. Not only am I a person who loves for someone to send me music, I'm a person that loves sending music to others.


Sending music to friends, family, and others we share a closeness to, is a love language. Making the perfect playlist for those people is also a labor of love. It takes time, focus, and a bit of knowledge about the people we're sharing music with to make the perfect playlist for them. My goal for making someone a playlist is usually to put them on to music I feel they would enjoy, or simply to make them smile. I can't tell you how many times hearing a particular song has brightened my entire day. And since that is a feeling I love experiencing, it's one I love to extend to others. While it does take a bit of effort, seeing someone smile while enjoying their personalized playlist makes it worthwhile.


Looking at my latest posts, I realize it's been a while since I've posted a playlist for you guys to enjoy. So, I decided today that I would share a playlist to make you smile. Yes, YOU. Hopefully the vibes from this particular playlist bring about some positive feelings, make you reminisce on something nostalgic, or simply make you smile with the knowledge that I made this just for you. 




QUEUE THE "Just To See You Smile" PLAYLIST:  This is one of those playlists created for no other reason but to evoke positive feelings. Perhaps there's a song listed that shows appreciation. Maybe there's another that makes you feel empowered. Hopefully a couple of them make you feel inspired. Either way, I hope it adds a bit of joy to your day. 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 DO YOU LISTEN TO THAT INSPIRE HAPPINESS, LOVE, OR JOY?

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Recommended Reading | Rhythm & Muse by India Hill Brown

Rhythm & Muse, by India Hill Brown is described as "Cinderella meets Cyrano" in this pitch-perfect YA rom-com that is a celebration of Black joy, first crushes, and putting your heart on the line for love.


ya romance by bipoc authors

When a daydreamer falls for someone, it happens first in his head. Then, unfolds in a perfectly synchronized rhythm, if timed correctly. The only downside to this proverbial falling, is that the daydreamer may trip and fall with nothing substantial to catch him, if he doesn't wake up from his daydream. That's been the case for me and many other daydreamers I know. And I'm pretty sure Darren, our MC, can attest to this.


Rhythm and Muse by India Hill Brown introduces us to high-school overall good kid, Darren. Darren checks all the good-guy boxes and never colors outsides the lines. He thinks before he speaks or reacts, and often overthinks so much, he misses the opportunity to take action. But the thought of trying on a "love thang" with his crush Dillie D has him stepping outside his comfort zone in ways he wouldn't have imagined before.


Meet Delia, aka Dillie D, according to her podcast listeners. Delia is a free-spirited young woman who knows what she wants and doesn't hold her tongue when it comes to expressing those wants. She hosts a podcasts most teens & college students in the local area tune into each week without fail. But one thing that seems to elude her is that connection from a special someone, since her boyfriend broke her heart last year. Pouring all her time and energy into her podcast proves to be quite the distraction until she has the bright idea to run a contest for her listeners to find the perfect jingle for her show. This contest brings our MC Darren and Delia together in a serendipitous way that I'm gonna spare you the details for, because I need you to go read this for yourself! Will Darren be able to get out of his head long enough to get the girl of his dreams? Will he seize the opportunities laid before him to be recognized for his talent? 👀


I won't overshare here, but I will share one of my "musings" from Rhythm and Muse I wrote in my while reading: Beautiful things can happen when you get out of your head to enjoy the rhythm of the present moment around you every now and again. ❤ This quote personally conveys the message I received from this book, and I am grateful for the reminder.


I rated this one 4 stars only because teenage angst stresses me out sometimes. I think Darren being in his head so much affected his connections tremendously, and it started to wear on me a bit. I wish I could have seen his relationships develop more organically, outside of his thoughts & fantasies. Overall, I enjoyed the read and hope you check it out as well.


Major thanks to Netgalley and Quill Tree Books for the eARC!


⭐⭐⭐⭐

ya romance by bipoc authors

WILL YOU BE READING RHYTHM & MUSE?

WHAT'S THE LAST YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE YOU READ? 


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Teenage Dream | A Playlist

The late 90s and early 2000s were an interesting time to be a teenager. Well at least for me, it was. This time, for me, was a culmination of trying on different personas, trying to figure out which one felt more comfortable-- switching hairstyles, accessories, and sometimes even peer groups, trying to find my way. The slightest newfound emotion would take over me in waves. Heartbreaks felt like the end of the world. The ending of friendships were (and still are) more heart-wrenching than break-ups. But finding new friends that shared similar interests and getting into my first choice school seemed to make things infinitely better, for the time back then. Ah, to be young. 


I've been reminiscing on teenage years a lot recently, especially with my daughter graduating high school and entering college this year.  Watching her navigate the high school/college transition, friendships, relationships, developing a school/work balance, and managing newfound emotions had me one part nervous, two parts nostalgic, and one part empathetic, to say the least. And while we are so very different, our glaring similarities show up almost every day, it seems.



In many ways, watching my children grow up reminds me of how much growing up I've done as their mother. I was practically a kid myself, learning how to properly care for them and nurture them the best way I knew how. Seeing them as human beings with their own unique personalities, perspectives, and attitudes towards certain things has taught me to parent them with grace. It wasn't that long ago that I was processing internal battles and braving the world as a misunderstood teen in similar ways. Paying attention to the way in which they define themselves takes me down memory lane quite a bit these days. So much so, that I've started making playlists to create a bit of a timestamp of what my teenage years felt like for me.


If you've been here for a while, you already know how much music colors everything I do. I have a playlist for every vibe, mood, experience, memory, and feeling, no matter how fleeting. Reminiscing on simpler times is no different. So for today's playlist, I'd like to share the musical time machine I hopped into, titled "Teenage Dream."


30" BUSS DOWN | FEATURING WOWANGEL HD LACE WIGS

If you're like me and love a good wig, you'll want to read all about this high-quality, HD Lace Frontal Wig I've been wearing as a protective style lately. While this post is a paid partnership with WOWANGEL Wigs, all thoughts and opinions about the hair + experience are my own. To read more about my disclosure policy, click here.


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It's no secret that we love a high-quality wig around here. Since growing out my natural tapered cut, I've been wearing braids and wigs to protect my natural hair from the elements. And as much as I love wearing lace front wigs, all of them are not created equally. Some don't have the parting space I need. Others don't have the density to rock the full look I usually go for. And I'm not always able to find a nice, HD lace that melts perfectly around my hairline with minimal effort. However, after rocking high-quality HD Lace Wigs from the likes of WOWANGEL Wigs, I have become hooked! Read below the jump to learn more about my experience with the latest 30-inch Buss Down I've been wearing lately.

Summertime in The Country | 90s Kid Edition

I miss summertime in the country as a kid.


Grandma's sun tea was always the right amount of syrupy-sweet. All the movies on G5-20 pulled in from that giant satellite were the best. We could play outside even after the street light came on because we were with family & didn't have school. We'd be outside from sun up to sun down, & didn't care about smelling like "outside," nor did we ever get too tired for hide-and-go-seek. And mamas always said yes when we asked to go stay with our cousins in "The Hill."


I loved the sleepovers. Even brought church clothes with me when I stayed on weekends. Went to church even though we stayed up all night & I'm fighting sleep while Reverend Peterson's heavy preaching got the entire congregation "hoopin' & shoutin'." We made it through the sermons unscathed. May have even caught the Holy Ghost ourselves a few times. And I even promised mama I wouldn't get my church dress dirty. Though I rarely made good on that promise once church was over & I hit grandma's backyard (where those bitter, dark berries I secretly indulged in hid).


But anyways, you know the type of broken promise I speak of. Like when summer ends & your cousins have to leave "the country" to go back home, promising to keep in touch with you via the landline. Perhaps those weathered scraps of paper with our phone numbers delicately scribbled on them got lost in the backseats of Cadillacs & Buicks. Months pass. Seasons change. But best believe, once summer hits-- we'll be back outside again racing by foot "in the net" like we never lost touch. And I'll always be that country girl that gets excited about a race.


family photos

[used this pic with these words because I totally just stole this from one of my cousins on FB. Thanks for sharing this, Consuela. And yooo, we look cute, Callie! And yes, that's Jj on the accidental photo-bomb. The family reunion brought back memories.❤]


When you think about your favorite summers as a child, what comes to mind?

Recommended Reading | Sisterhood Heals by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford

Sisterhood Heals, by creator of #TherapyforBlackGirls Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D, is a beautiful testament to the power of sisterhood and what it means to Black Women. 


sisterhood heals by dr. joy


Publish Date: June 25, 2023


There is beauty, power, love, joy, and safety in the kinship we share. This book explores the various ways in which this community acts as a safe space and healing balm for us. It also illustrates how sisterhood is a means of survival for us all, as well. Covering topics such as cultivating friendships, finding our "place"  & "holding space" in groups, seeking community, and navigating the life stages of our friendship circles, reading Sisterhood Heals feels like listening to a good girlfriend. It is insightful, relatable, and lists reflections at the end of each chapter that readers can apply to their own lives. 


It would be love if all my sisters and those who love + support us check out Sisterhood Heals. Buy a copy for someone, even. This book is a celebration & poignant reminder that we are out here supporting each other, loving on each other, and making the world go round in the process. It also serves as a toolkit for optimum community within our own respective groups. Sisterhood Heals is an absolute must-read for me! 


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 


Special thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing/Ballantine Books for the eBook! 


Have you read Sisterhood Heals yet?

If not, will you be adding it to your reading list? 

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