If you came here for a think piece, this ain’t it. When you’ve been in the house two years, what you create is inspired by what you experienced in solitude and what you wish to experience once you return outside.
I did a lot less in 2021. I rested. On purpose. I tended my 40 plants, I cooked, I read. I slept and decluttered. I walked and ran.
I refused to document most of it publicly, because I want it to become the norm. Honestly, that was hard. Social media has conditioned us to believe if we don’t post a pic or a reel or a TikTok of us posed as if we’re doing something — particularly something everyone else is doing at the same time, or something many others can’t do — it didn’t happen or is irrelevant.
I also dislike this “main character” narrative and energy social media supports. If I’m the star, what does that make you?
A natural introvert, I found peace in complete silence, an empty calendar, in declining invitations. My health flourished, for a change. Instead, I chose to work on projects that have deep meaning for me, that challenged me but that also nurtured me.
But I prioritized rest.
Resting saved me from the overworking that used to make me feel needed, from the nonstop busy-ness that made me feel…worthy.
Resting saved me.
And as an unexpected result, I’ve done the very best work of my career as a journalist and writer so far. I’ve shed over 1,000 items and become more self-aware about my relationship with acquiring, saving, and wasting things. I developed healthier habits and am enjoying the best health of my life. But not because I overworked, dieted or shamed myself into being an exhausted, starving, tightly wound, profoundly unhappy perfectionist.
Despite my disconnecting from parties, projects, certain people, and other “opportunities” that I opted out of and after having lived in almost total solitude, I experienced genuine abundance and connection last year. I’ve learned that when I am rested, I have the capacity to do what matters most. To show up for the people who count in ways that are actually valuable. To feel joy, to be hopeful, to be present instead of posed for a photo, to create from a place that only I can access.
No matter where you are reading this, I know to some degree what you may have experienced over the last nearly six months.
You may be working from home.
You probably are wearing a mask when you leave your home. (I hope.)
Your socializing has been curtailed.
You pay much, much more attention to cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting your home, car, groceries and self. You’re social distancing, and Zooming, and you’ve probably danced in Club Quarantine with D-Nice at least twice.
You either know someone who has had or died COVID-19. You may have been tested for it or had it yourself. And if not, maybe it’s consumed your thoughts. You wish life would go back to the way it was while knowing it will never, ever be that way again.
So I don’t feel comfortable sharing outfit posts or “lifestyle tips” anymore, not even on quarantine couture or my process for safely grocery shopping. It feels tone deaf and privileged in a way that is extremely narcissistic and gross in its attention-seeking. It was fun while it lasted but it doesn’t reflect what I spend most of my time thinking about or doing, or who I am. And honestly: it never did, outside of showing you a carefully curated slice of who I am and what I enjoy.
But I do want to acknowledge this space as a place to remember exactly what this time is like, in a way that feels appropriate. I do want to document how we carry on. If no other phrase accurately describes this time for me, “same chic different day” does—although my brand of chic is leaning toward cut off shorts, house slippers and lots of self care (reading, running, and praying) in solitude.
So I’ll resume posting periodically, but they may not look like anything I’ve done before (as you probably have already noticed).
But I’m still here. And if you’re reading this, so are you. That’s something to be extremely thankful for. For today what I want you to know is: I hope you’re safe and well. Mask on, and mask up.
Be juuuuust the right shade of light and dark With natural hair that looks like weave Or weave that looks like it’s your natural hair Be ambitious at work but domestic at home Honest but not direct Smart, but not smarter than you And never smart enough to see through you Beautiful, but not in a way that outshines you A workhorse who doesn’t try too hard Be over 18 but look forever 21 Be a contender but not a threat Be an asset but don’t ever expect reciprocity Have a lot to offer but be willing to accept the least and last Curvy but only in the right places Strong enough to hold you down but ready to also be your doormat Holy but down for whatever A “real” woman, but not the kind with periods Or empty wombs A perfect lady but a ‘round the way girl Well-dressed but not materialistic Speak up but don’t be outspoken Assert yourself but wait your turn Get paid but, you know, not in an equitable manner Of childbearing age but not with too many children or baby daddies Independent enough not to ask for your financial support but submissive Desired and desirable but not for the streets Eloquent but careful of how we talk to you Pro-Black but not militant Refined but God forbid bougie Down to earth but definitely not country or ghetto Available but never thirsty Untouchable but not frigid Well-maintained in an effortless way…but not high maintenance of course Well-read and awake but not vocal or opinionated Ready to lead as long as you go first or determine the vehicle, destination, direction and speed Equal but not…
I promised on Facebook that I’d second line if Bama beat LSU, so enjoy this modified version since I didn’t get a parade permit.
This special parasol was a gift that was made just for me, and I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. Last night’s 29-0 win over the Tigers (the eighth time in a row) definitely qualifies! I do go a little bit overboard on Game Day, but it’s all in fun. I love having a parasol that celebrates my favorite football team (next to the New Orleans Saints) as well as my family’s heritage.
Cue up Rebirth Brass Band, because the Crimson Tide is rolling straight to the SEC Championship game!
For the 13th year in a row, the Junior League of Birmingham will hold its Shop Save & Share fundraiser in October. This initiative supports the League’s more than 30 community projects while at the same time driving customers to local retailers and restaurants.
When you purchase a Shop Save & Share card or app for $40, you receive a 20 percent discount on merchandise and food at the fundraiser’s more than 500 participating stores and restaurants. Since its inception, Shop Save & Share has put more than $650,000 back into the community.
“Shop Save & Share gives those in Birmingham a convenient way to not only save 20 percent at more than 500 Birmingham retailers, but also to know the funds used to purchase Shop Save & Share benefits women and children in the Birmingham community,” said Ellen King, Junior League of Birmingham 2018 Shop Save & Share Chair.
One card purchase can:
· Provide necessities for 4 survivors of sexual violence through the Crisis Center of Birmingham
· Provide 10 meals for homeless women and children through Pathways
· Provide diapers for one child in need for a month through the Junior League’s Diaper Bank
· Provide a tank of gas for the Yummy Truck, the Junior League’s mobile teaching kitchen
Shoppers can purchase and download a SSS card from a link on the website (ShopSaveandShare.net) or by texting “SSS” to 205-660-0030. For a chance to win a card, comment “I want to shop, save and share!” on this post! I will draw one winning name on October 15.
This year’s Shop Save & Share program will run from Oct. 17-28, and the Junior League of Birmingham is thrilled to have Birmingham’s best retailers and restaurants on board for 2018. Ready to shop? Join the JLB at the SSS KICKOFF PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/219449042089572/
Bey rocked a $22,000 Gucci S/S 2017 print kimono with fur trim to the NBA All-Star game this past Sunday, and it’s such a chill yet “unapologetically glamourous” (per Vogue) look for the upcoming season–whether you’re expecting twins or not.
I’ve been slow to embrace the pajamas-as-daywear look, but I have been saving an H&M kimono that might work this way. Here’s my take on the luxe and laidback look, featuring an ivory silk cami from J. Crew and destroyed denim from American Eagle Outfitters. (I may try this with white denim and denim shorts too.)
And now that I’m really looking at it, a little fox fur D-I-Y may be in order.
His music was for the nonconformists, the dreamers, the mad poets, the unapologetically funky. The first music I bought with my own money was a Prince cassette tape that I had to keep hidden because my Mama literally did not play that.
Prince’s fight to control his catalog and own his image and presence as TAFKP set the stage for what we know now as intellectual property. He made it ok to be different, to be strange, to be artistic and creative and answer only to the muses in one’s head. I used to not get why people lost it over Elvis and The Beatles. But I’ll admit I felt some type of way when Johnnie Taylor and Luther Vandross died. I got it when Michael and Whitney died. But now I REALLY get it. I wanted to be Appollonia Kotero. I wanted to be Vanity. I would’ve been ok with trading lives with Lisa and Wendy (who played in his band and got to wear awesome pink furs and go on stage when he won an Oscar for Best Original Score in 1984). But I REALLY wanted to be Sheila E. When I was a little girl, I would dance and lip sync to “The Glamorous Life” in my babysitter Laura’s kitchen. I wanted to live that life when I grew up.
When I became an adult I realized that in writing the song, Prince was reflecting “cynicism for the decadence and materialism of the song’s protagonist, referred to in the third person, who “wants to lead a glamorous life, although she is aware that without love, it ain’t much.” (Wikipedia) And in some ways, maybe you get a sense of that on this blog. I could listen to his music–or Whitney’s or Michael’s–and be five, ten, or fifteen years old again. Yesterday the music died for me.
Maybe I’m not just crying for Prince. Maybe I’m crying for my aunt and my grandmother too, and the many ways in which the familiar, the beautiful, the precious, the irreplaceable and well-loved elements of my life are being erased and eroded. Prince’s music was always part of the soundtrack.
“Until the end of time/I’ll be there 4 U/U own my heart and mind/I truly adore U/If God one day struck me blind/Your beauty I’d still see/Love’s 2 weak 2 define/Just what U mean 2 me…”-Prince/”Adore”
If you have already read this announcement on Facebook or Instagram, I apologize! But I’m so excited to share that I’m in the January issue of Glamour magazine, which is on stands now!
I am so used to writing away behind the camera that it was a shock to be the focus of a camera’s lens. The photographer had to remind me to breathe! It was also a great reminder to always be open to new adventures and to expect wonderful things to happen when you work hard. From the moment I was notified that I’d been chosen, to being picked up by a chauffeur, to the royal treatment I received in NYC – it was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m so grateful to Glamour and Estee Lauder for the opportunity.
Enjoy some of the behind-the-scenes shots from the photo shoot, and stay tuned for more from my first ever trip to the Big Apple! (I took so many photos that it’s taking me a while to weed through them!)
This time last year, I was putting on my crimson Keds and backpack for the first day of graduate school. I promised I’d tell you how I did it. And I was scared to death. From hitting the books…to the long commute…to covering the First Lady’s trip to Tuskegee…to SCDD’s shenanigans…to writing like my life depended on it, it was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. THANK YOU for being part of the journey.
Without further ado, click HERE to read about my journey back to ‘Bama.