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! 


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.


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


 “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.”


Nothing puts you in a mood on a storm-fueled rainy night quite like some smooth tunes. If you've ever turned your radio on to the late-night "quiet storm" set, you already know the vibes. Perhaps it's pretty chill at your place and you're relaxing until your favorite slow jams lull you to sleep. Or maybe you're hanging out with your good boo and looking to set the mood with a particular romantic vibe. What songs are you playing? What music instantly comes to mind?

Late night R&B vibes are some of my favorite types of playlists to make.  And because it's a stormy Saturday night, I'm cuddled up on the couch listening to slow jams. It's been a minute since I shared a playlist up here on the blog, so I thought I'd share one tonight with you guys! 

spotify slow jam playlist

QUEUE THE "Before the New Day Breaks the Dawn Kinda Jawn" PLAYLIST:  This is for those late nights when you wanna vibe to some smooth R&B with that special someone in mind. Maybe you're in a nostalgic mood or there's a song or two that stirs up memories of your old good bae (or current bae) late into the midnight hour. 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.


Quick & Easy Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi with Wildtree

Do you have a quick fix meal on hand? At the ready? You know, one you can throw together in a pinch that doesn't sacrifice quality or flavor? I like to keep a few of these meals in mind, because in my busy house, someone is always craving something tasty! And most of the time, I'm trying to come up with something delicious that isn't too time-consuming.  

Today for lunch, I made a quick & easy sheet pan shrimp scampi with Wildtree's Scampi Blend, and it was love, y'all. My shrimp scampi was soooo good and the scampi blend made seasoning the easiest part of preparing the meal. Providing high-quality flavor solutions for busy people, Wildtree offers premium organic spice blends, sauces, seasonings, culinary oils and more that are shipped directly to your door. 

Check out how I made this delicious meal in about 15 minutes by reading more below.

shrimp scampi recipe

Book Feature: The Adventures of Pamela King

"The Adventures of Pamela King" series follows Pamela King, a 6-year-old girl exploring the world through her many adventures with her family. Pamela is curious, imaginative, outspoken, and aspires to be the world's best detective. However, sometimes Pamela's eager curiosity can get her into rocky situations, as she is still learning the importance of THINKING BEFORE SHE LEAPS!

"Once Upon a summer Day, Pamela King prepared her gadget bag for a day of travel with her family. Today, the King Family is visiting their Uncle Luther at his giant castle that sits on top of the biggest mountain in town...Now Uncle Luther was not like any normal uncle. He was a world-famous scientist. He invented big machines and had a science lab the size of a house. This trip was the adventure Pamela had been waiting for all summer."

-From "The Adventures of Pamela King Series: Volume 1: Pamela & The Time Machine Mystery: A CHILDREN'S BOOK by Julia Aaryn Montanez, copyright © 2020 by FreeSpirit Ink. Publishing

Book Feature | Sugar Mama: A Keilanii Jennings Saga

Sugar mama keilanii jennings saga

From the creative minds of Lalanii Wilson Jones and Treavion Davenport comes Keilanii Jennings, a sexy, feisty, independent, proud Texas mogul in the making who makes no apologies about splurging on her lavish lifestyle, designer labels, 5-star getaways, and her “boy toys.”

Keilanii is a confident, self-made success story whose life takes complex twists and turns while building her empire. Things start to heat up when she meets Elliot Jennings Jr., a handsome, charismatic companion who turns out to be her worst nightmare. Like most women, Keilanii wanted to have it all, including her happily ever after. This seems imminent until she discovers that the man who stole her heart tries to steal her fortune and is exposed as the ultimate gold digger.

My Evening Skincare Routine

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive commission if you make a purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. To read more about my disclosure policy, click here.

In my last skincare post, I shared my simple morning skincare routine with you guys. And while I admit to sticking to the same formula throughout the seasons, hydration is an absolute must for even the oiliest skin in the winter. I make sure to target my trouble areas, such as the hyperpigmentation on my chin, in conjunction with keeping my skin lush and hydrated. 

In my evening skincare routine, only a couple of steps are altered from the morning routine. My biggest concerns at night are thoroughly removing any debris from the day and targeting hyperpigmentation overnight. And with this easy, low-maintenance regimen, I've been able to do this well. Read below to check out the full details of my current evening skincare routine.

My Morning Skincare Routine

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive commission if you make a purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. To read more about my disclosure policy, click here.

How do you attend to your skincare needs as the seasons change? Does the change in seasons even affect your skincare routine? As someone with oily skin throughout the year, I usually stick to my core products. I will, however, add or remove serums or moisturizers according to my skincare concerns. And though I may switch one product for another, or try a new product or line every now and again, there are some products that hold permanent spots in my skincare stash no matter the season. 

Today, I'm sharing my current regimen and rotation of products with you guys. While I have oily skin, my t-zone is oilier in the warmer months and fairly dry in the winter months.  So, I make sure to keep my skin hydrated as much as possible these days. My biggest skin concerns are currently keeping my skin radiant and correcting my hyperpigmentation . Through this regimen, I've been able to take care of these issues quite well. Read below to check out the full details of my current skin care regimen.

morning skincare routine

LIPSTICK LOVE | Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks

I know everyone is in love with so many of these new creamy lippies that have been showing up in the beauty world. Believe me, I do, too. But can we please take a second to pay homage to my favorite lipstick finish for a few minutes? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about the ever-so-faithful matte. Once you get acquainted with a nice matte lipstick, she will stick closer to you than a supportive homegirl. 

matte lipsticks

And since we've been wearing masks, matte lipsticks are the only lippies up to the task of lasting through the extra layer of protection.  So how about we take it back to some of my favorite matte lipsticks for a bit? Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks have been getting a lot of play around my way this winter and since I haven't shared any swatches here on the blog, I thought today would be a great day to do so. 

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