lifestyle

What I'm Reading: March/April Reads + Favorite Local Bookshops in New Orleans

My last book post hasn’t been since December which isn’t surprising to me at all. I say that because when I first had the idea to document any reads on here, I knew it would be a somewhat sporadic thing. I’m an all over the place type of reader and sometimes I forget to follow up once I’m done because my main focus is just starting the next one. I promise I’m working on this though. For the sake of all the book lovers interested in what I read and what I think, I’m working on circling back to do FULL reviews. A few people have sent me DMs on Instagram asking for my thoughts on certain books, but of all the times its been requested, I only did so once. And it was brief as hell. However, you’re in luck if you follow my book Instagram page because I for sure post all of my reads on there AND I leave little tidbits about what I thought. They don’t tend to be too detailed and verbose for the sake of me not giving away any spoilers, but I’ll definitely let you know whether or not it’s worth spending your had earned coins.

March has been a slow reading month for me. There were books I started but couldn’t finish. There were books that stopped being interesting to me about 50 pages in. There was a bunch of other real life things happening that pulled me away from actually being able to stay focused long enough to make any headway. CC: my dog dying, life being in shambles, etc. But alas, these few made it through! I read two books this month. Two. That’s slow for me but provided the circumstances, I’m glad I was able to do that much. Plus, there’s no race when it comes to reading for me. This is a fun hobby of mine so no stress, no pressure…ever. I do set goals for each month though. Doing so helps keep me on track actually look forward to reading because I won’t be stumped about choosing the next book. I set a goal to read at least three books in April. If I show up and show out and/or actually feel like it, I’ll go for four. It is what it is. We shall see!

What i read in march:

My sister the serial killer by oyinkan braithwaite

Of course, the title grabbed me. I heard a lot about this book via the #bookstagram community, so I felt like it was an obligatory purchase. Though the hype was exciting because I had been in a reading rut, I would give this book a 3/5. It had an interesting storyline and plot, but I was left a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I just had super high expectations since I heard so many great things. Here’s a little bookish pro tip: when it comes to books, it’s okay to ask folks what they think, but always do your own research and review searching too! We all have different perceptions about what’s good to us.

lets explore diabetes with owls by david sedaris

You guessed it. Yep, I’m reading yet another work by David Sedaris. He was featured on my previous what I’m reading update, and that book was hilarious. I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to discussing how funny and witty his writing is but it’s facts! If you need some light-hearted texts that’ll make you laugh, please check him out!

What i plan to read in april:

Black is the body: stories from my grandmother’s time, my mother’s time and mine by emily bernard

While perusing the many mounds and aisles of books at the Garden District Book Shop, I came across this title. The cover looked a little familiar, but I soon realized it wasn’t anything I’d seen before. Emily was stabbed at random in a coffee shop in an old New England town (what the fuck, right?!) She said how that crazy act of pure violence set something ablaze within her and it pulled out the storyteller that is she. The backstory that encouraged her to write was so out of the norm, so I had to pick this one up.

the care and feeding of ravenously hungry girls by anissa gray

I need some good fiction in my life again so I turned to this one. I read a couple good reviews that said if you enjoyed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, this one would be a good choice. I did in fact enjoy that book, so yep. We’re doing it.

the source of self-regard: selected essays, speeches and meditations by toni morrison

I mean, Toni Morrison. I don’t need to say much else. She’s such a dynamic writer whose stories have been in my life for as long as I could remember. I’m genuinely excited about this one.

That’s what my literary month is looking like and I’m pretty excited about it. My reading has been a bit slow lately because I haven’t come across a lot of stories that wowed me, but I have faith in April. I really do. The weather is nicer, Mercury is finally out of retrograde or whatever the hell it was in and things are slowly getting better for me on my end. #GRATEFUL

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
— Lemony Snicket

Allow me to switch gears for a second and mention a few bookshops in New Orleans that are simply amazing to me. While I love a good trip to Barnes and Noble just as much as the next person, I would much rather buy local when possible.

If you ever find yourself out this way, definitely check these places out:

Blue cypress books

Nestled on cozy Oak Street, this is my favorite bookstore right now. Please visit, the staff is so friendly and the store is so cute.

garden district book shop

This shop is located in a historic space called The Rink which is at the corner of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue in the Garden District. For some reason, I can never just browse when i visit this one— I buy something EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Garden District Book Shop. I took this a few months ago but if you follow my book IG, you’ve def seen it there too.  hint hint wink wink  follow my book page lol

Garden District Book Shop. I took this a few months ago but if you follow my book IG, you’ve def seen it there too. hint hint wink wink follow my book page lol

octavia books

This such a jazzy bookstore located Uptown on Octavia Street. Though I don’t visit this one as often as I’d like, I love the ambiance, the book selection and the fact that they have sooo many book signings so often. Note to all my book lovers: visit this place. You’ll love it.

peace and blessings,

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Three Inspirational Women and How They've Impacted Me

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.”
— Sojourner Truth

In honor of International Women’s Month, I felt the need to shed some light on a few lovely ladies that I find most inspiring. They’re a bunch of bosses too so that’s just the cherry on top. Can’t leave out that super important detail. Beauty, brains and a boss mentality? It’s honestly just a trifecta of awesomeness that I’m here for. This month and every month we celebrate women, our achievements and our willingness to succeed in a world where the odds are constantly stacked against us. We are beautiful, ambitious, talented, worthy…literally so much more that can’t be accurately summarized. These three ladies have been key factors when it comes to inspiring me and my grind so I really just want to take a moment to show them some appreciation!

Carlie Carpio of holistically dope.

Women who inspire me to live my best, healthiest and most aligned life are my favorite. Carlie runs a podcast called Carlie’s Couch with Lex where they discuss the importance of crafting a life you love, staying true to self and above all, being gentle with yourself in the process. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be hectic, but we have to always remember to refocus and check in with ourselves internally. Carlie is also a personal trainer and yoga instructor (among wearing so many other professional/creative hats because boss lady) so she’s a true advocate for feeling good from the inside out. She inspires me to be mindful about the food I consume, to make time for more meditation and self awareness, working out and really just putting my goals at the forefront of my life then shamelessly attacking them. Glasses up to you, Carlie girl!

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Courtney brand of thebwerd.

This woman is amazing. She’s a bomb PR professional who is also the creator of one of my absolute favorite lifestyle blogs. Courtney has been SO helpful to me throughout my blogging journey in ways she doesn’t even realize. Through ebooks, resource guides and tons of random info, she helped me realize that when it comes to blogging and creating a strong brand and social media presence, it starts with you and how hard you’re willing to work for it—anything is possible. I was only giving 10% of me thinking I was doing soooo much, but then I’d be upset when my results were 10% as well. My motto for this year has been this very simple phrase: keep your head down and work. Once I got a clear handle on my creative goals, things started to line up for me and the road ahead seemed a little less blurry. But the key thing here is the work. Consistent and hard work. Through the frustrations and self doubt, Courtney has helped me find that spark to continue believing in myself to achieve whatever I set out to do creatively. I just wanna take a minute to thank her for being the boss that she is!

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Michelle obama.

Ah, thee queen. She HAD TO be on this list for me. She just had to. One thing I absolutely adore about this woman is how authentic she is and how she throws inspiration around like confetti. The way she lifts up women (black women especially) is simply beautiful. In her book, she highlights the power we as women possess by merely existing and how she worked to follow her passions yet still make a lasting impacts within her community. Reading about her journey since she was just a little girl instantly made me feel like I could do absolutely anything with a discipline, faith and hard work. Thank you, Auntie Michelle.

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Bottom line: Women are amazing as hell. If you haven’t already, take a moment to reflect on a the women you have in your life that push you to be your best self! Let them know they’re appreciated, loved and respected.

peace and blessings,

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How to Motivate Yourself When Things Are Off

Pull up a chair, love. Lets talk.

No matter who you are or what you do, you’re bound to run into those moments when you’re just not motivated. Those times when the idea of doing nothing but being wrapped up in some warm bedsheets sounds like a dream (thee dream) is unavoidable and they can creep up on us without warning, making us feel inadequate, lazy, etc. Sometimes this happens more often than we would like but we have to keep pushing because responsibilities and real life don’t stop for us. We have a list of things we can’t avoid because we have deadlines to meet. We have people depending on us. But if one were to take a little peek into the cluster fuck of confusion we’re experiencing internally, they’d see we’re not fit to perform at our best. cues tiny violins.

Usually when things are “off” for me creatively, I step away from whatever it is I’m working on until I feel sprouts of inspiration again. I don’t pressure myself to make “magic”. I look at it like this; the whole purpose of creating (for me) is for it to be fun and fulfilling. If things aren’t lining up in that moment, I can’t beat myself up over it. It took me some time to get to this point but I truly feel a sense of peace now that I’ve learned to go with the flow and not let the very natural thing such as not feeling motivated 24/7 bog me down.

“What about when you lack motivation professionally with tasks you can’t just let sit until you feel inspired?”

If you’ve reached a point at work where the thought of mandatory projects or everyday responsibilities makes you cringe, there are a few things you can do to remedy the disinterest. Let’s take me for example: I was having the hardest time at work around this time last month. I lacked enthusiasm and I was in this constant state of annoyance when it came to…working lol. It was a mess and each day seemed to bring on a new set of struggles. Bottom line was that I had to adapt to what was happening because there was no running. I had to get intentional about getting out of that rut because fighters fight…period. If you’re reading this, I believe you’re a fighter too. So c’mon, lets do this. You got it! (This is me being your virtual cheerleader so you might as well embrace it!)

REFOCUS + REDIRECT YOUR ENERGY.

If you’re like me, when you’re really bothered, it’s difficult to focus on what’s right. You’re wrapped up in the problem at hand. Please realize that this is just a phase and how you get through it is up to you (because you WILL get through it). In that initial moment of feeling a lack of motivation, think about what could’ve brought you to this point. Be honest with yourself and think about what could’ve been a trigger. Instead of complaining, be driven to find solutions; that alone will improve your mood and help you get back on track. As cliche as it sounds, the power of the mind is something serious. Think it and it shall be.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
— Confucious

Give yourself some time

YOU GUESSED IT. TAKE A BREAK. STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND BREATHE. I don’t know why I used to feel like if I shut down shop for any amount of time, that would cause everything around me to go haywire. When you think about it, you’d actually be worse off if you force yourself to do shit you’re not in headspace thats conducive to any type of real results. Trust me on this one, relax. Take some time for self then get back in the swing of things when you’re feeling better.

eliminate distractions

I think most of the times that I find myself truly unmotivated, a direct cause is the fact that I’m hella distracted. Usually if I can get some damn order in my personal life, that motivation isn’t too far behind. For example, I love to read. Mindful reading requires concentration and the ability to stay focused for an extended period of time. If I can’t sit for 30 minutes to an hour and just read, that’s how I know in some area of my life motivation is lacking. Ah, gotta love self awareness.

turn to your feel-good playlist

Because some songs just make you feel like you’re the baddest, most invincible being known to man. You need the same energy rappers have when they talk about their money and success. Buck that head of yours up and get to work, sis.

look at how far you’ve come

Look at your progress. Look at all the leaps and bounds you’ve made and think back to when you were hoping and praying to be where you are now. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve done and use that as fuel to keep on pushing. The road to whatever the fuck it is you’re trying to achieve isn’t some cakewalk, so definitely remember where you came from. I instantly feel relief and a sense of peace whenever I’m reminded of my own progress. It’s refreshing and humbling and also makes me get out of my own head when things don’t immediately go my way.

peace and blessings,

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