I celebrated my twenty-fourth birthday last month! I literally cannot believe it and I am so grateful! Strap in, this post is a bit lengthy, but there are some subheaders, so feel free to jump around! My mommy, who is also my birthday twin, always laughs at how over the top I am about my birthday. I really love to celebrate the day I was born, I mean duh! This blog post, is not only the birthday edition, but the joy edition! ✨What brings you joy? Check out some of the responses over on our Instagram page!
Here are twenty-four things that bring me joy:
Dressing Up. Most people describe my closet as being full of "costumes." I have always loved "over-the-top"/maximalist style, but have always tried to tone it down, but now that I am stepping into my me-ness, y'all gone see this glamour! 💋
Dancing. I have over 13 years of dance training, from modern, tap, and ballet, to African, jazz, and danceline/majorette style. Up until college, I spent a lot of time in dance studios, football fields, and running through midtown Atlanta (literally). I did some dancing here and there in undergrad, like helping to choreograph and direct a student production my freshman year, which led to some dance-line style practices here and there, which has now evolved to an entire dance team at UA, S/O to Tyra for seeing that through and creating that space for Black girls that dance at UA!✨Later, I was able to use some of those skills through my undergrad chapter of DST!🔺 I stopped dancing because I began to feel insecure as my body changed and shifted through my college years. I recently have gotten back into dancing and I can feel the difference in my mental and physical health because of it.
Learning new things. I absolutely love learning new things. 🤓I also try and travel with a notebook and pen (shoutout to my friend Becca) to capture moments right then and there, or to even journal along the way. It is always nice to be able to have notes and lessons from experiences and even conversations with others. Recently, through a Gallups test, I learned that one of my strengths is my ability to be a student/to learn. I got that from my granny and my mommy. ✨ I always say that my granny encouraged everyone to "get their lesson." Throughout undergrad, my mom would always tell her of my travels and acts of civil disobedience, wherein my granny would reply, "I know she ain't getting no lesson down there." My mom would proudly assert, "She made the President's list, or maintained an A average." 😉#period
Pinterest Boards. I am obsessed with creating and adding to my Pinterest Boards, feel free to follow me on there. I love to share and connect with folks on Pinterest, it is truly a gem! I use it as a coping skill too, being able to sort and categorize things I enjoy, whether it be hairstyles, outfits, study skills or cocktails, Pinterest allows me to just focus on that and sort through things, literally and figuratively.
Diving into veganism. I recently transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, with my mommy. It has been truly life changing for both of us, more to come on that soon. In short, I have struggled with my relationship with food for as long as I can remember. I was a pescatarian for about 5 years, and this recent switch to no dairy, no meats, or animal products, has really changed the game for me. I have really been finding and exploring new foods that are both good to me and for me. 🌱
One of my favorite and go-to "vegan" meals are veggie burgers. My favorite are black bean burgers, but I am really starting to explore meat alternatives, and have a nice slider recipe up my sleeve. I have been absolutely loving making my patties from scratch, after my cousin MeMe made some for the July 4th cookout day. These patties, paired with caramelized onions, toasted gluten-free buns, and your choice of lettuce and bbq sauce with some tots or sweet potato fries, is a winning meal in my book. *chefs kiss*
Coffee. That's it. But no, seriously, I love coffee, in its many forms. I have been privileged enough to taste coffee all over the world in places like Jamaica, Ghana, and Nicaragua. While studying abroad in Jamaica, we visited a coffee farm and were able to see how and where seeds were planted, and saw the plants in its different stages of life. We then learned about the history of this particular [plantation] and learned about the different types of roasts and which are best because of taste and roast time (medium roast). Finally, this girl really does run on Dunkin', (mostly), but I have really been exploring making my own coffee at home (we got food at home) and to my surprise, I've been loving it. I might stir some caramel or coconut whipped cream, agave sweetener and some ice cubes together and boom, an iced coffee treat. I have also been loving some of the dairy free coffee creamers, some of my favorites have been Nutpods, Silk (many flavors), and Trader Joe's has a good maple dairy free creamer. There are some nut-free options too!
Fussing at my family and friends. Many of my close friends and family sometimes describe me as a bully, others as an influencer, however I am just passionate about a lot of things lol. I am the friend that will send care packages, postcards, and tea, but I will also ask when the last time you slept or had some pleasure in your life, or if you have your election day plan ready, or when is the last time you had some water and will be persistent about it. Just like most Southern Black women and girls, fussing is my love language. 🥰
Drinks. What's your favorite drink? Lately, I have been here for the mexican mule's, which are moscow mules, with tequila. I am a huge fan of ginger beer, and tequila, so these have been a 10/10 for me. Lemon drops, which are pictured, have been pretty tasty, is tart and sweet, and cute for visuals, 7/10. Truly, cosmopolitan's have my heart right now, they make me feel very much, grown. 9/10 💁🏾♀️✨Another personal favorite, mojito's. I love mint, and rum, so this pair is a hit every time. 10's across the board. Lastly, since I recently moved to Louisiana daiquiris are the drink of many occasions. Something that I've found really cool and an awesome option for those who do not or cannot drink alcoholic beverages, are the non-alcoholic drinks that still give those flavors and vibes of your favorite cocktail or beer, with none of the other effects. Cheers y'all. 🥂
Traveling. I LOVE to travel. Going into junior year of COVID-19, I am just now really starting to travel again, and it has definitely been an adjustment, see my last blog post, about my first trip, post-apocalypse. #WearAMask #GetVaccinated
Serving others. I really find joy in being able to serve others, in many capacities. Whether that is traveling to provide aid and support after hurricanes or other natural disasters, or fund raising and boosting community gardens, libraries, and fridges and all other mutual aid projects.
Binge watching literally anything (documentaries, series, reality tv, etc.). Binging allows for an escape, and for me naturally, I enjoy learning things, especially about history, so I will find a good docuseries or documentary and live it up. On the other hand, I love reality tv, it's toxic, it's trashy, but it gets the people going. I also love seeing Black people be Black people and tell Black stories. If I were offered a job in tv, I would absolutely take it! Hi, Issa Rae! 👋🏾
Teaching. Teachers raised me. #Becauseofthem, I have a passion for being able to teach and empower others. I enjoy being able to connect different topics from sex-ed to abolition, in a way that is easy to grasp and allows space for reflection and action. Who were some of your favorite teachers growing up?
Shopping. As much as I try to unlearn capitalistic practices, this girl loves stuff. It is an unhealthy coping skill, but I enjoy it and it brings me joy to see and use my new items. I also love to support other Black owned businesses, see my post Black Dollar$ Matter. Plus, I deserve things.
Drinks with friends. I love spending time with my friends, it brings me joy to laugh and make memories with my friends over drinks and food. #fellowship Plus, it gives us an excuse to dress up and try out different places in the city, bonus points if they are Black owned. ✊🏾
Time in nature. Over the past year, I have found that I enjoy spending time in nature. It reminds me to slow down, to nurture myself, and that I am always growing and evolving. Time in nature reminds me that I need to be watered and poured into. Nature reminds me that I may sway or bend, but rarely do I break. I have found solace in nature's sounds, the sounds of the birds chirping at extremely early hours of the day, the way some plants stretch towards the sun in the daytime and relax in the evenings, even the sound of rainy days, which there have been plenty of. There are so many lessons that I have learned about stillness and listening over the past year, and I hope to implement those lessons daily. Check out Lessons from Plants by Beronda Montgomery.
Jazz and classical music. I am in my second year of law school, and I have had to learn, adapt, and shift to who I am and need to be as a law student. For one, the hours and hours spent reading require some serious focusing. Jazz, classical and lofi music has really allowed me to focus, retain information, but also be creative and innovative. I have always wanted to go to jazz festivals, and jazz in the park events, so it is definitely on my list of things I want to do in the next few months.
Yoga. Yoga is a practice that I really enjoy. It reminds me to breathe deeply, to take time for myself, and to give gratitude to my mind and body, daily. I have not been as consistent in my practice as I'd like, but that is ok. I was happy to step on the mat twice last week! Asè to that! ✨
Chocolate chip cookies. Many of my friends have deemed me the cookie monster. I absolutely love a good chocolate chip cookie. Recently, I have been obsessed with Partake's chocolate chip cookies! What are y'all's favorite cookies?
Daydreaming. Do you ever take time to just daydream? It is super necessary to just allow yourself to dream and imagine your wildest dreams. I try to implement regular time to daydream or brainstorm as a means of rest and recharging.
Changing my hair. In true Black girl form, I absolutely love changing and styling my hair. This love began when I got my first doll-head, the Bratz one, if you know, you know. My mommy also has always treated me like her personal barbie doll, so all that to say, I love to switch it up.
Reading. I always say that I love reading, but outside of reading for school and everyday news articles that pop up on my phone, I am not doing much pleasure reading, but that does not mean I am not always stocking my emotional support library. 📚#RadicalReadz
Planning/Curating events. I have planned and curated events for as long as I know, at least dating back to freshman year of high school. I enjoy an experience, so I need no excuses to show up somewhere with a theme and itinerary put together.
Journaling. Journaling is one of the many ways that I practice self-care. Journaling has always been one of my favorite ways to navigate through my thoughts and to just express myself fully. Me and my diary are serious *cue Moesha’s diary music* I still have journals from years ago, saving them for a future memoir 🤗 Journaling can be used as an intentional self care practice and helps with overall mental health awareness. Journaling helps to track your mood and your behaviors, allowing space to recognize triggers and positive/negative self talk. It boosts your mood and keeps your brain active and sharp. ✍🏾 Not into journaling: Try getting journals with cute designs and quotes, add stickers, and get some good colorful pens or try video journaling/vlogging! ✨Check out the Radical Reflections post.
What brings you joy? ✨