Happy Sunday and welcome back! I know some of you are giving me the side eye like, "Where have you been?!" haha and I can explain, I promise! These past few months, I have been revamping and working with an AMAZING creative designer to do what I like to call, a majorrrrr makeover! I wanted to add a more fun, bright creative feel to the site, where you all can have easy access to everything! We wanted to create a more uniform feel to add that extra POP to the site that I felt was missing! We are also working to add a "Shop" section for those of you inquiring about apparel! Be on the lookout for more fun accessories such as mugs, journals, fun pens, buttons, etc to be added as well! Thank you all for your amazing suggestions! I'm listening, and I'm here for you! Thank you so much to all of you for being so patient and understanding during this crazy time of rebuilding, reconstruction, and most of all, RESETTING! Now, since that is out of the way...
#SoulfulSunday! Well if you have been following me for sometime now, you may remember #SundayRESET right? Still similar concepts, but this time I decided to add some soul to my attitude now baby! :) I decided to create #SoulfulSundays as a way to showcase amazing authors, writers, entrepreneurs, musical artists, visual artists, and more! There are so many amazing people right under our noses that we don't even know about! I wanted to take at least two Sundays out of the month to showcase these amazing people as a way to allow readers to connect! I LOVE interviewing, so it is truly a pleasure for me to dig deep and ask all of the burning questions! I find it so much fun to get to know other awesome people by digging deeper into their craft!
I want this experience to be a way for all of you to see that everyone has to start somewhere! No dream is too small, and there are so many amazing resources out here for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE! I love what I do as a blogger, but honey, I had to start somewhere too! A pencil and paper were not enough for all of these cooped up ideas, so here I am, and you can do the same if not MORE! Our first #SoulfulSunday guest is not only my best friend in the entire world, but my sweetie who is a PHENOMENAL writer/cook! It is always so amazing shooting with people who are super inspiring and amazing at what they do, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts! Our special guest is not only a great cook, but she is also a dope individual, and it was so fun shooting this interview with her! I hope you all have fun with this segment, but most of all, get inspired! Remember, the sky is the limit, and you are too far up to come down now! I hope you continue to enjoy Sundays and Wednesdays with me, and welcome to our first #SoulfulSunday of November! :)
FOR THE SOUL...
Get Yo Life, Be a Badass: A Book Review
Hi guys! Cheers to making it to yet another Wednesday! YOU DID DAT sis! *clink clink* and welcome to K's Get YO Life, Be a Badass (BITCHHHH) book review! I wanted to share with you one of my favorite reads that I have picked up thus far! I am not a huge fan of self-help books because usually they all start sounding the same, well at least to me. Although I typically feel this way about many books of this style, this book right here was TOTALLY different. I have been raving about this book to anyone that'll listen (and YOU BETTER LISTEN! haha) since I finished reading it, and it was also this month's book club selection! (Join now!) I came across this book randomly on snapchat by one of my friends, and first of all, the title itself snatched my edges IMMEDIATELY! I am one for a good title! I know they say "Don't judge a book by its cover", but honeyyyyyyyy I'm judging, because I got my entire life, the next life, and then some! I don't know what it is, but this book gave me AMAZING ideas and motivation to kick it into high gear, get my life on track and to not be afraid to engage in challenging goals! I felt like Jen read me for filth throughout this entire novel, and I loved it. So boom! Here's the tea:
Behind the Badass:
"Jen Sincero is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, success coach and motivational cattle prod who’s helped countless people transform their personal and professional lives via her products, speaking engagements, newsletters, seminars and books. Her #1 New York Times bestseller, You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life (2013), has sold well over two million copies, is available in twenty-plus languages, and continues to grow in popularity around the globe. Her follow-up, You Are a Badass® at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth (2017), also a New York Times bestseller, is written with the same inimitable sass, down-to-earth humor and blunt practicality that made You Are a Badass® an indomitable bestseller and Jen a celebrated voice in the world of self development." Basically, in a nutshell, she's A BAD BITCH. k?
Caution: Snatched Edges!
Have you ever felt like, wait is this all I can do? Is this it? Have I reached my ultimate greatness? Well, after reading this book, I can personally say, HELL NO SIS! GO INTO THE LIGHT CAROL ANNE! You still have major ass to kick! In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, Jen Sincero highlights in her 27 bitesized chapters, hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy yet thought-provoking exercises, and the occasional around the way girl attitude, connecting with her readers on how to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that can stop you from getting what you want, Create a life you totally love. And create it NOW, Make some damn money already. The kind you've never made before. (I'm HERE for that!) By the end of You Are a Badass, I finally understood why I am the way I am, how to love what I can't change, how to change what I don't love, and how to use "The Force" to kick some serious ass!
To Be a Badass, You Must First...
1. Appreciate how special you are: SISSSS let's face it! There will never be another exactly like you, so love yourself! You deserve it, you're a queen/king, and no one can take that away from you! You have created your own unique path, and self-love looks good on you! Accept it, appreciate it, love it, and confirm it! You're a big deal!
2. Create daily affirmations: Affirmations are key! If you don't believe it, you won't achieve it! No, you don't have to write them all over your mirrors or get a special notebook for them, but if that works, go for it! Figure out which affirmations you need to hear the most whether it's subjected around beauty, finances, career, and create that space to rewire your brain. Repeat these affirmations all day long in your head, in the car, while you're walking down the street pretending to be on the phone, whatever! Write them on post-it notes, chalkboards, dry erase boards, etc. Write down your favorite affirmations ten times every morning and ten times every night before you go to bed and say them out loud. For example, when I was studying for my North Carolina Board of Nursing licensure, I wrote down my full name with RN behind it all over my apartment to encourage me to continue studying and that I would pass on the first time. Long story short, affirmations work! I am now a registered nurse and have been for over a year and a half at Duke University Hospital. Believe in yourself. Believe in your goals. Believe in your journey.
3. Do your best where you are: Remember, no one wakes up rich. No one wakes up successful. Take Cardi B for example. No one knew anything about her until she made her debut on Love & Hip Hop: New York as the feisty Bronx firecracker with memorable shade lines that slayed your entire life. How can you forget her B A N G I N G anthem Bodak Yellow that took the world by storm, and had me patting my weave?! And NOWWWWW, she's sort of a big deal! Tyler Perry slept in his car while writing his hit plays featuring Madea. Oprah was fired from her first TV job in Baltimore. Yepppp Oprah got the pink slip too! Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. THE Michael Jordan you say? Y E P. Basically, what I'm saying is, kick ass where you are in your life right now. See each milestone as a stepping stone to the next goal, the next big thing. No matter where your first step lands you, if you want to keep moving forward, appreciate where you are! "Everything you do along your journey contributes to where you're going."
4. Remember: Your Brain Is Your Bitch: Our thoughts are the most powerful tools that we have. As Jen Sincero says, "It's through our thoughts that we create our realities." Basically, as my sweetie would say, your thoughts manifest. If you want to change your reality, you have to change your thinking. If you want to be a millionaire, you must have a millionaire's mentality. I can guarantee you that a millionaire isn't just sitting on the couch letting life pass them by. I always say, if Oprah is still creating, so can I! One takeaway that I loved from this book was that you must change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true. As Jen would say, remember, everything you need is right here, right now. You just have to shift your perception in order to see it manifest. P R E A C H.
5. Upgrade your environment: Upgrade as far as the people you associate with, your surroundings, your lifestyle, your EATING habits (I know I tapped a nerve on that one) and more! Surround yourself with people who are achieving their goals and are supporting your goals. You know the old saying, "You are who you hang around." Well, hate to say it, but it's true! So make sure that the people that you are accompanying are the same ones that are supporting you and your future endeavors. If you are thinking and imagining the change before it happens, do what you can to make some upgrades to where you want to be. If you are applying to a new job, dress for the job that you want, not the job you have. Get new furniture. Meet new people. Read new books from authors that you wouldn't normally read. Step out of your comfort zone! Don't just say you're going to make the necessary changes, do it! Show the world and The Universe that you're serious and you're not here to play games with your goals and your future. De-clutter your life S I S.
"In Order to Kick Ass, You Must First Lift Up Your Foot"-Jen Sincero
More From Jen Sincero...
Look At Your Neighbor & Say, Level Up!
Happy August everyone! Where has the time gone? It was just yesterday that January lasted a lifetime, and now we are into August! This Wednesday, I wanted to revisit goal setting! I know some of you are like, "Really Kiera? Goals...AGAIN?" but I cannot stress ENOUGH how important it is to set CONSISTENT goals for yourself on a regular basis. Whether you tell yourself, okay. I am going to do one load of laundry by the end of the week. That's a goal! It's something! Sometimes I find myself reaching the middle of the year and ask myself, "What am I doing? What am I supposed to be doing?" We lose sight of those goals and resolutions that we set for January, that we start to forget about them when we reach the middle of the year. I am here to tell you, I am right there with you! Those 10 pounds I said I would lose and that "snatched" body I said I would have by summer AIN'T HAPPEN. Still got rolls, still got the FUPA, AIN'T NOTHING CHANGED honeyyyy. BUTTTT. Yes, there is a but. I still encourage everyone including myself to keep those goals alive! Stop procrastinating and GET TO IT! Start small, but don't be afraid to go big! Goals should be continuous; a constant cycle of rebuilding and pushing yourself! As you kick off your August, and for my Leos, helloooo Leo season, check out below my favorite ways that I like to follow through with my goals! Happy reading :)
Push Through, Follow Through!
1. Divide & Conquer: MAJOR KEY...Divide your goals into a set of small, achievable steps. Pick one step, do it well, and move on to the next step! Don't look back! Set yourself up for success!
2. Put Fear In Its Place: There will be scary moments when failure knocks at your door, and seems inevitable and all of your goals seem impossible, but guess what? DO IT ANYWAY! It's life! Don't let failure be the reason you stop shooting for your goals. Go for it! Ask yourself, what's stopping me? Why haven't I reached my fullest potential. Don't get in the way of you!
3. Expect Setbacks: Remember, a minor setback is only going to set you up for a major comeback! Setbacks are part of the process, not the end of it. Don't be discouraged when you don't meet your goals! Revisit them, revamp them, and RESET them! Rededicate yourself to your goals after each and every setback. One of my favorite sayings is, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
4. Learn Along the Way: Keep the practices and tools that work and get rid of the ones that don't! If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but if it's broke, find a way to learn from it and fix it! Unexpected challenges only open opportunities to learn new skills!
5. Shout It From the Rooftops: Tell someone who matters! Write it down! Record them in your notes on your phone. Whatever it takes! Find a way to keep those goals close! Do the unexpected! E-mail someone big and brand yourself! Apply for a job you're not qualified for! Revamp your resume! Pledge to make your goals a reality.
"Ki-Ki Do You Love Me?"
Hi guys! Happy hump day! We are halfway through the work week! Can someone say, Halleluuuuu?! *sips wine* I decided to create this post because I was completely inspired by a Sunday message from Pastor Andy Thompson of WOCC in Durham. He talked about Good Marriages: What It Is & What It Ain't. Now, I'm not married, so I couldn't relate so much with the married portions, but I could definitely relate to how some of the points connected with relationships in general. With this post, I decided to put my own little spin on it, and give y'all some TRUE tea about relationships from my experience. Straight talk, no chaser! Now, we've all been in relationships, whether good or bad, and you would think by now we would know what we want, but sometimes that's not the case! Sometimes, we think we met Mr/Mrs. Right and we get all giddy and cute and want to love on them, and BAM! We get played. It's life.
The TRUE tea is that many studies have shown that we only fall in love with three people in our lifetime. THREE. (Stop counting the side pieces) I SAID T H R E E! The first love is what I call "Puppy Love". You remember this love. Your high school sweetheart. Neither of you had a car, but you had each other. It’s the idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children. This is the love that appeals to what we should be doing for society’s sake, and probably our families, but if you had a black mama like mine, you weren't dating until you were 30. Anyways...flashbacks lol We enter into it with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be. With this type of love, how others view us is more important than how we actually feel. It’s a love that looks right, but remember, everything that glitter ain't gold.
The second love is what I like to call the "Love With Limits". Now, this is the hard love. This is the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation. We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are still making choices out of the need to learn lessons, but we hang on. This is the love where TIME plays a factor. You know they ain't shit, but you've already spent so much time investing in them, grooming them, molding them that you don't want to start over. Right? Sound familiar? Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before. Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this storyline, because it’s the emotional roller coaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high. With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should. It’s the love that we wished was right. This is the GET YO LIFE love! K sis?
Lastly, you have what I like to call "A Love Supreme". This is the love we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. This is the love that comes so easy it doesn’t seem possible. It’s the kind where the connection can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it. This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are. We are just simply accepted for who we are already—and it shakes to our core. It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true. This is the love that keeps knocking on our door regardless of how long it takes us to answer. It’s the love that just feels right. Maybe we don’t all experience these loves in this lifetime, but perhaps that’s just because we aren’t ready to. Maybe the reality is we need to truly learn what love isn’t before we can grasp what it is. Possibly we need a whole lifetime to learn each lesson, or maybe, if we’re lucky, it only takes a few years.
Perhaps it’s not about if we are ever ready for love, but if love is ready for us. You have to ask yourself, "Am I ready for love?" Are you emotionally, mentally, and physically capable of loving someone? Do you love yourself first? I often hear people say, "Love is hard work! It's a job!" See, I disagree with this statement. Now, yes, it does take time and effort to develop and build, but it should never be hard. This love should be effortless, freeing, open. It should consistently remind you why you fell in love with this person from the beginning even through the arguments and disagreements. It should be healthy! Remember, a healthy love starts within. "You love yourself, you love others."-Pastor Andy Thompson
And then there may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath. Those faded and worn pictures of our grandparents who seemed just as in love as they walked hand-in-hand at age 80 as they did in their wedding picture—the kind that leaves us wondering if we really know how to love at all. But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones. They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love. But there’s not; it’s just a matter of if their partner loves in the same way they do or not. It's about getting on the same page and staying there. Remember, just because it has never worked out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work out now. What it really comes down to is if we are limited by how we love, or instead love without limits. We can all choose to stay with our first love, the one that looks good and will make everyone else happy. We can choose to stay with our second under the belief that if we don’t have to fight for it, then it’s not worth having—or we can make the choice to believe in the third love. The one that feels like home without any conditions; the love that isn’t like a storm, but rather the quiet peace of the night after. Sometimes we have to think that maybe there’s something special about our first love, and something heartbreakingly unique about our second…but there’s also just something pretty amazing about our third.
The one we never see coming.
The one that actually lasts.
The one that shows us why it never worked out before.
a love supreme.
And it’s that possibility that makes trying again always worthwhile, because being with them is worth the wait. <3
When Poetry Meets Pain...
Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week full of love, light, and positivity! As many of you may know and some who may not, I LOVE poetry! Poetry is definitely my favorite genre of reading with mystery being a super duper close second! I featured this picture that I took Monday in my living room (shoutout to my iPhone for the angles!) because I really love each of these authors! I believe that they are each a force to be reckoned with! I have been writing poetry for many many years and it has always been my comfort zone. Sometimes, I find myself going so deep that I am crying by the end of the poem, but that's okay because with poetry, every emotion must be REAL. It must be YOURS. It must be BELIEVABLE! Because I know there are so many amazing poets out there, I wanted to hold an "A Dose of Poetry" contest for a chance to win a fun self-care bundle filled with amazing prizes! Read below for the tea!
guidelines & rules.
I love to keep things positive and fun, but I also understand that pain is an extremely important part of poetry and most importantly, healing, which is why I love poetry so much. Each of the amazing authors that I featured in the above photo exemplified a piece of pain, a sense of longing, heartbreak etc...which made their work relatable, believable, and most of all, moving. For this contest, I want you to dig deep and reveal your deepest pain in the form of poetry. I want to FEEL something. I want to be in that moment with you. I want to cry. I want to heal with you. Don't hold back those painful emotions or feelings.
release. feel. heal. repeat
What We Not Finna Do: A Word!
Hi guys! Cheers to making it to Wednesday! *sips wine* I wanted to share with you an AMAZINGLY relatable and real book that I came across by Erin McLaughlin called What We Not Finna Do: The Broken Girl's Guide to Love. I am not usually a fan of these types of books because they can always be so biased and outdated, and they typically remind me of the Steve Harvey books, you know the Think Like a Man and Straight Talk, No Chaser "guide" for women on how to find love. Coming from a man of many divorces, I would always ask myself while reading those books, "How can Steve Harvey, a man that obviously wasn't successful at love on numerous occasions, guide me?" I mean the blind can't lead the blind. Come on somebody! (Love ya Steve, but got to keep it real). Although I typically feel this way about many books of this style, this book right here was TOTALLY different. I felt like I was kickin it with the girls talking about our trash ass past relationships, sippin wine, and GETTIN MY LIFE! I felt like Erin read me for filth throughout this entire novel, and I loved it. So boom! Here's the tea:
What We Not Finna Do: The Broken Girl's Guide to Love is a lover's guide filled with ten chapters of advice focused on the actions women need to take in order to break unhealthy dating habits in relationships. In this novel, McLaughlin shares many inspiring and hilarious anecdotes of her dating past and her muse of writing this novel; heartbreak. What I love that she talks about on her website is the concept that so many women go through shitty relationships, whether they are casual "situationships", friends w/ benefits, or down to the abusive, manipulative "You won't find another me" bullshit that women go through each and everyday. I can speak for myself on that matter. Thinking that he was ALL I had, and that I would never find better because that's what he told me, and like many women, we believe that. We honestly and truly believe that we will never find better, and it's sad. BABYYYYY let me tell you, there is ALWAYS better. There is always someone willing to do what someone else won't do. There is someone out there where you don't have to beg for your expectations to be met, they just meet them. So, don't believe anyone when they say those tired bitter lines. Next, the healing process is null and void and as women, we don't have a clue where to go from there. Some women don't even know what they are healing from or why they need healing. Others don't see an issue, and that my friends, is an ISSUE. So what happens is we go through this continuous cycle of "Am I the problem?" "What am I doing wrong?" and we end up finding ourselves right back in those same fucked up situations again and again because of comfort. (I'll talk more about that later, so grab your wine, hide your kids and hide your wife!).
See What We Not Finna Do Is...K's Get Your Life Tutorial:
1. Stop Thinking That Every Person You Meet is THE ONE: SISSSSSSSSS...how can you know if he/she is the one, if you don't get to know them? The ins and outs of them, how they move, how they treat their family/friends, their gestures, hell do they brush their teeth? Do they even text back? Does the fart shoot out their ass a certain way? I mean really! Sooo many women mess up because they are so ready for somebody to put a "ring" on it, but yet they have no idea about the person and vice versa. Hell, I need to know if you know Martin lines before we can even make it to the first date! Come on somebody! Every person is NOT relationship material. Check the hood of the car before you out here riding around thinkin that's your man/woman and they don't even know you exist! Okay sis? You feeling what I'm putting down?
2. Ain't Nothing Wrong With a Good ol Friend Zone: One of the biggest takeaways that I got from this book is something that I am ALWAYS preaching to my friends and something I live by for myself; be friends first! That whole "talking" phase is trash because there still are no boundaries set, and you still have the potential to be out here looking stupid. Going into a relationship without romantic intentions is KEY! I don't know how many times I've gone into a relationship thinking that's my man because we're "talking" and then I see them on Instagram posting another woman or thinking that we are going to be something and the something is actually nothing and then you find yourself out here slashing tires and going on stakeouts. NO SIS! NO! Not worth the time! Friends first not only protects you, but you can really look at the person through a fine toothed comb. Some of the BEST relationships stem from friendship that blossomed, and turned into beautiful and healthy relationships in the end. BABY STEPS. Crawl before you walk. Or in adult terms, eat before you drink! Got it? Creating a platonic relationship for as long as you can will really help you feel them out before jumping into anything serious. You both not only save time, but also less heartache in the end, so don't be stupid!
3. Stop Dumping Your Life Struggles on People: I'm sorry but WE DON'T CARE! I don't know how many times I see people on social media ESPECIALLY Facebook dump their entire lives onto people they don't even know! Yep. The entire world now knows that Ray-Ray getting evicted and didn't pay the rent. Okay, okay! I get that social media is an outlet for some people, but if you need to talk about your second baby daddy who is not paying child support, GET A JOURNAL! Same, when meeting people. Stop dumping your life story onto the people that you meet. This is not Keeping Up With The Kardashians. A lot of people don't really seriously want to get to know you. They are just nosy. They want any reason to escape from the bullshit that they are going through, so your problems are intriguing. Instead of truly helping you or listening to you, they are actually taking notes of when to throw it in your face the next time you don't respond to their "Can you do me a favor?" text. It is not uncommon for people to dig into your personal life solely for entertainment, but there are also people who are actually genuine and DO want to get to know you and listen to you. Know the fine line!
4. Settling + Comfort = Get Your Life: A lot of the reasons that I find that people go back to the same thing that they are used to is because it's comfortable, convenient, readily available. So many people are afraid of starting over, but would you rather start over with someone fresh or consistently deal with the same baggage of the person you keep going back to? Sadly, many people including myself at one point, choose the baggage. Why is that you may ask? One word. COMFORT. It's easy, they already know how the person moves, but the part that consistently gets skipped is the fact that it's toxic. Why keep indulging in someone who you know ain't shit, you've seen ain't shit, but for some reason, you think they are going to miraculously "change". First of all, change is a choice. People will change on their time and sadly, when they are with someone else. I used to always say, "I'm basically teaching him how to be a better man for the next woman" and yeah, you kinda are, especially when you continue to wait for the "change" that isn't gonna happen. For those of you who continue to stay, ask yourself, "What is the incentive for staying?" Why do you feel that this ONE person out of about 8 billion people is worth your time being consistently wasted? If it's sex, quick reminder: you can get good sex anywhere. Hell, even escorts are offering low rates (hey, keeping it real). Remember, you can get sex anywhere, but sanity? That comes a dime a dozen. If you can answer those questions without a shadow of doubt, then stay. If you have any form of doubt, you are on the right track to K's Get Your Life Tutorial.
5. Love Yourself Girl Or Nobody Will: I repeat...be your own person! Still go get brunch with the girls or play basketball with the guys. Still have ladies night with Netflix, gossip, and tequila! Still BE YOU! If you went to church before you met them, continue to go to church when you're with them! Don't stop your day to day activities and the things that made you who you are for ANYONE! I love that Erin says, "Your partner or even someone you're talking to isn't obligated to be up your ass about everything all the time and include you in everything that they do, but they do need to be thoughtful from time to time and make the effort to include you in their lives if they are serious about you." That's so true! If they truly want to get to know all parts of you, they will make an effort to do so. There needs to be a balance between the both of you having lives of your own, but also including each other in those important moments of progression. As Erin says, "You have to learn to function and live your own life by your own standards and rules without the constant validation and inclusion of your partner." In other words, BE YOU!
Thank You From Me to You!
I would like to send a hugeeeeee thank you to everyone who came out and supported my first social book event! I had a blast, and it was so much fun meeting new faces and grabbing some awesome reads! I am super excited to have created something that so many people enjoyed, and could relate to! Creating my first book event was scary, but A M A Z I N G! I smiled the entire day, and it was awesome seeing some of my friends support my brand as well as my event! Another huge thank you to Palladian for allowing me to have this event, as well as the amazing promotion! I can't wait to continue to create positive social events for all of you, and I must say, if you did not come, you missed out! It was a blast full of positive energy, dancing, and good vibes through the exchanging of great books! I am working on creating this event again since so many people would love for me to host this event again! Thank you all for making my first social book event a success! I am truly humbled by this experience, and I can't wait to continue allowing my blog to grow! Check out some of the fun pictures that we captured from the event, and again, THANK YOU!
books, mimosas & more!
"The BEST time that I have ever had!"
"I floated to the surface with my heart's message in a bottle. I survived you."-K.Y. Robinson
About the Author...
K.Y. Robinson is an introverted writer based in Houston, Texas. She received a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in history from Texas Southern University. She has loved words pressed against pages since childhood and has been chasing them ever since. The Chaos of Longing is her first published poetry collection. Robinson draws from personal experiences as a woman of color, trauma, and mental illness survivor, and hopeless romantic.
"The Chaos of Longing is a brutally honest poetry collection exploring desire--physical, emotional, and spiritual. Organized in four sections (Inception, Longing, Chaos, and Epiphany), this collection explores what it is to want in spite of trauma, shame, injustice, and mental illness. It is one survivor's powerful testimony, and a love letter "to those who lie awake burning."-K.Y. Robinson
Let's Talk Mental Health & More With K.Y. Robinson!
K: What is your inspiration behind writing?
K.Y. Robinson: So many things inspire me: black womanhood, trauma, heartache, love, lust, and music.
K: Why did you become an author? What drives you?
K.Y. Robinson: It’s always been my dream to become an author. I’ve been writing since I was about 11 years-old. I initially wanted to write romantic novels, but I became more drawn to poetry instead. The need to tell my story drives me. I didn’t think my story was worth telling until I start reading poets like Nayyirah Waheed, Warsan Shire, Yrsa Daley Ward, and Rupi Kaur. Their work made me realize that there was room for my voice too.
K: What was your muse behind writing The Chaos of Longing?
K.Y. Robinson: The Chaos of Longing started off as a collection of unrequited love poems after a failed relationship. I was so heartbroken that I wrote day and night. I wanted to know why he couldn’t love me. I wanted to blame him for the demise of the relationship. After I noticed that I repeated certain toxic patterns in other relationships, I knew I had to dig deeper. I realized that there was chaos within me that I had to confront like past sexual trauma, mental illness, and low self-esteem. I was trying so hard to make others love me when I didn’t even love myself. I guess the book was about putting a mirror to myself and not just my past lovers. I finally removed the rose-colored glasses and saw things for what they were.
K: What do you want your audience to take away from this collection of poetry?
K.Y. Robinson: I want the reader to find order in their own chaos and take a journey towards wholeness, whatever that might look like for them. It could be self-love, self-care, to leave a toxic relationship, to use my story as a cautionary tale, etc. Art is subjective, so the book will mean different things to different people.
K: Describe your writing process! Do you have any crazy funky routines?
K.Y. Robinson: My writing routine is erratic. One day I could wake and write for hours. There are times I can only write in my bed at night. I could hear a song, or a phrase and have to squeeze a poem out of it. My process is all over the place.
K: What is your favorite poem from your debut? Why?
K.Y. Robinson: My favorite poem from my collection is “melanin”. Every time I read it I feel nostalgic. It’s like I’m falling in love with my muse all over again. I can smell and taste the first time I laid eyes on him.
K: How do you feel you have evolved creatively as a writer?
K.Y. Robinson: Reading a variety of writers helped me a lot. I used to write poems that rhymed and were very cheesy. I began experimenting with metaphors and became more honest in my writing.
K: What was one of the most surprising moments you learned in creating your book?
K.Y. Robinson: I was surprised by how much I revealed about myself. I’m such a reserved person. I would never say half of the things I wrote aloud to anyone.
K: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
K.Y. Robinson: Be yourself. Write from a place that’s rooted in passion and authenticity. Don’t try to be the next so and so. Read other writers. Don’t think that you can’t learn from anyone else.
K: As an author, why do you feel mental health is not openly discussed in ethnic communities?
K.Y. Robinson: The stigma frustrates and saddens me. I can’t count how many times conversations about my mental illness was swept under the rug or minimized. There are so many people suffering in silence because they feel like they can’t talk to anyone.
K: What was the hardest part about creating this book?
K.Y. Robinson: I was worried about others would perceive me. I opened up about trauma and living with mental illness. Many loved ones weren’t aware of those things, but they’ve been so supportive.
K: What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work?
K.Y. Robinson: My earliest influences were Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and She by Saul Williams. I could relate to young Maya’s trauma, sexism, and the black struggle. The honesty and imagery blew me away. I think all black girls should read this book. I read She religiously in my 20s and I still pick it up now and then. It’s a vulnerable journey about the ending of a relationship. Williams weaves words so beautifully and cleverly. His work helped me with metaphors and how to hide meanings in my writing. I’ll never be as talented as these two but they were my early inspirations.
K: Who are your favorite authors to read?
K.Y. Robinson: A few of my favorites are Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, Saul Williams, Ocean Vuong, Nayyirah Waheed and Warsan Shire.
K: What book or books have had a strong influence on you and your writing?
K.Y. Robinson: I would say Maya Angelou books. I draw a lot of inspiration from her raw honesty. A lot of her poems felt like a warm hug and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
K: It's #WineDownWednesday w/ K! Do you have a favorite wine?
K.Y. Robinson: I used to be a Moscato girl but now I’ve fallen in love with Riesling.
K: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
K.Y. Robinson: To discover more about me and my work, they can follow me on social media—iamkyrobinson on Instagram, Twitter, Tmblr, and Facebook. You can also find me at kyrobinson.net.
K: What can we expect to see next from you in the future? :)
K.Y. Robinson: More books! I also would like to be more active in mental health spaces, especially with the black community.
I would like to send a special thank you to K.Y. Robinson for taking time out of her schedule to interview with me! Her wise words of wisdom and vulnerability has really strengthened and humbled me as a new writer, and I can't wait to work with her again! Mental health is an important topic, so please make sure that you are not only tapping into your mental health, but reaching out to those who may be struggling with their own. Everyone is fighting their own demons, and you never know when you may be in those same shoes. Please take the time to acknowledge and listen to someone, and also if someone is speaking of harming themselves or others, that it is taken seriously with a clear mind and open heart. If you or anyone you know is thinking about committing suicide or inducing harm in any way, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I hope this post touches someone in some way, and I hope to continue spreading positivity in many lives. You are worthy. You matter. Your life is worth another day with us. You are loved. You are beautiful.
QTNA: In what three ways do you take control of your mental health? How has this strengthened you as an individual? Leave comments below!
Who is the Girl Behind the Pen?
Happy Wednesday! I decided this week to pull back the curtain! I wanted to share a moment for all of you to get to know me! I am always asked, why I started blogging, why books, my book selections, + more! This week I wanted to reveal those burning questions many people have about me and plus shed some light on some funny crazy things you guys may not know about me! This will be a fun way to get to know one another! Feel free to comment, ask questions, and join in as I share some of the funniest yet insightful questions that I have received throughout my writing journey! :)
Get Your FAQ's Straight...
Q: What made you start thebookspot by: K. Gardner?
K: I get asked this SO much and I love answering this question! thebookspot by: K. Gardner was literally just an idea that I had, but never saw it going anywhere in the beginning! I was in nursing school and would get so stressed from studying, testing, clinicals + more that each month, I would start adding more and more ideas that finally, I got the guts to create my website and make it my own! I love reading so much, but in this day in age, when you hear books, people don't see it as "cool" or "trendy" and some see it as "boring" that I decided to create a fun outlet for people to gather and find fun books that match what they enjoy! Also, I wanted to create a positive atmosphere for people to network, and to showcase new and upcoming entrepreneurs right in our areas!
Q: What is the funniest book related moment you've had?
K: Haha definitely when I brought a book to a date! Hey, don't judge me! The funniest part is that when he went to the bathroom, I would pull out my book from under the table and read until he got back then throw it back under the table! haha let's just say, he didn't make the cut!
Q: Who was your inspiration behind reading?
K: My beautiful and loving mom! She was the first person who introduced me to reading and I fell in love with ever since! My mom and I are complete bookworms, and that is the continued bond that we share, and why I am soooo grateful for her for introducing me to reading and books! Thanks Mom! :)
Q: What is one thing that you've learned about blogging since you started?
K: Yikes! There are so many! I would have to say the one lesson that I've learned since I've started that has continued to stick with me is definitely to not focus on what other people are doing and focus on me! This was the hardest thing to do especially since I am a new blogger and had no idea what I was doing when I started, I would go to other blogs and try to use their ideas (which is fine to feed off one another with permission of course!), but it can take you off your A game! Or K game as I would like to say :) It's always best to just focus on you and what you can bring, and the rest will come after! Have fun, don't stress about the numbers, and create a platform for others to feed off of and learn from! Best advice that I have ever given myself :)
Q: Who are your musical influences?
K: I am always a BEY fan! Definitely love the internet, Masego, Alina Baraz, Chloe x Halle, Iman Omari, Phony PPL, Tiffany Gouche, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, India Arie, and many more! I always felt that I was born before my time! I am a complete R&B and soul with a dash of old school fan for sure! I also love underground music from artists that are A M A Z I N G! Singing, playing instruments, and writing has allowed me to be exposed to so many types of music/genres! I also believe that my influences are tailored off of how I am feeling at the moment! I believe that music has that impact, which is why I love it so!
Q: Where do you get your blog posts ideas?
K: Usually my ideas stem from what's around me! Whether it is my neighborhood, what's trending, music, new books that I have been reading etc! I just like to find blog posts that are fun to read and fun to explore for my readers! Sometimes I'm Kobe in the 4th quarter and other times, I'm just lost and have no idea what I'm doing! Blogging is an up and down hobby! Some posts get amazing views while others may not and it doesn't mean that your writing sucked that day, it just means that maybe what you posted related to some and not to others and that's okay! It's your creative writing and style! Just keep writing :)
Q: How has writing inspired you? Do you feel pressured to write certain blog posts to appeal to your audience?
K: Writing has inspired me in MANY ways! I never knew that my writing could even go anywhere until my junior year of high school when my English teacher at the time and family friend Mrs. Rouse told me how amazing my writing was. At first, I thought she was just saying that because she's a family friend, but I really asked myself, "Damn, am I really good at this?" I found myself getting lost in my writing and started writing poetry, songs, and the rest was history! haha To answer the second question, I never feel pressured to write certain blog posts to appeal to my readers. At the end of the day, you either are vibing with it, or you're not. I write what inspires me for the day, what I found interesting that week, anything! Like I mentioned in the last question, everyone is not going to connect with what you're writing for that day, and that's okay! As long as you stay true and humble in your journey, people will eventually get on board. Write for you. Not for other people.
Q: How late have you ever stayed up writing for your blog?
K: Do you really want me to answer that? Haha hmmm...probably 6am! I am truly passionate about what I am writing and I will never just post something because I want to get it over with or for "views". Everything I post is from my heart and I put 100% into each post that you see on my blog! Sometimes, I lose many nights of sleep, but as they say, "A creative mind never sleeps."
Q: What book has your attention currently?
K: Definitely Black Girl Magic x Mahogany L. Browne, Idrissa Simmonds, & Jamila Woods! An amazing powerful collection of poetry from the canon of hip-hop by African American women. I am so glad that I picked this read up and am honestly almost done with it after starting it last week! A MUST READ!
Q: On a lot of your posts you talk about self-worth and beauty and what it means to find yourself. Was there a point in time that these concepts weren't in your life?
K: YES! I was in a toxic relationship where I thought that they were the "one" as always right? Well, I found that in that relationship, I lost myself trying to always please him and his needs and what he wanted, forgetting about me and what made me whole. I wasn't valued in that relationship for a plethora of years and I would justify it by thinking it was me or maybe I wasn't doing enough to satisfy, but in reality, I wasn't satisfying myself. I wasn't giving myself the credit of being a beautiful woman with so many aspirations and goals for myself. I didn't give myself enough worth because I consistently allowed someone to diminish that. NOT OKAY! So, from going through that, I consistently want women to know that YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Find what makes you whole and run with it! Never allow someone to make you feel less than the diamond that you are, and through my posts, I hope to reach out to someone and touch them in some way. I'm human and I hurt just like millions of other people out there. If I can touch one life, that's all that I need to touch many others. I love writing and I love that I have an outlet of my own and many others to speak out and find love within myself again. I am now in a healthy loving relationship and completely happy! I am thankful for my blog and the ability to find escape through it to reconnect and rebuild within myself! :) This was an amazing question! Thank you!
Please continue to ask questions! Leave comments! Also, follow my social media outlets @thebookspotbykg on IG and Twitter to send in questions! Make sure to hashtag #GetYourFAQsStraight! I will be answering questions all day today :) Thank you!
Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope all of you are having a F A N T A S T I C hump day, and remember, it's two days until Friday! :) I decided to create this post of "K's Favorite Things" stemming from an ICON that I LOVE and who's book club I am apart of; Oprah Winfrey! Some of you may remember on Oprah's long running and amazingly legendary talk show, she periodically would do a segment of Oprah's Favorite Things! I absolutely loved when she would do this segment because not only did she share items that she raved about and loved, but she would give them away to her audience as well! Now, I'm no Oprah haha but I thought it would be fun to revamp this legendary segment and do one of my own! As many of you may know, and some who may not, I LOVE showcasing new and upcoming entrepreneurs out there, especially during my #SundayRESETs that I post periodically, so I wanted to share with all of you some new and fun entrepreneurs that I've discovered along the way as well! Some of my favorite things include self-care products, apps, amazing restaurants in town, and much more! Kick back, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy as I share with all of you my favorite things! :)
1. Zulu Body Butter x NoiaBrittany
Ok guys! I LOVEEEEEEEE this product! I have never been a huge fan of body butters because either I look like a bucket of Crisco or I look like Tyrone Biggums (My real OG's know who this is!) haha but never a really good in between glow until NOW! This product is absolutely amazing, and really gives your skin that nice shine that you need especially during those dreaded winter months! What I love most about this brand is that it uses all natural ingredients and it also caters to dry, oily (ME!), sensitive and combination skin types! Can you say no to irritation? I can! This product doesn't cause irritated skin (another big issue that I found when using various body butters), and it SMELLS AMAZING! Brittany Bygrave, founder of NoiaBrittany created this brand to celebrate ALL skin types! Best part? She's based in Greensboro, NC! Make sure to check out all of her products + more on her Instagram: @Noiabrittany and her website: www.noiabrittany.com! MUST GRAB! :)
2. True Flavors Diner :)
Yes! I know, I can't mention my favorite things without mentioning my favorite local food places! If any of you follow me on social media (which you should!), I am always talking about this place! Local and black owned, True Flavors has THE BEST brunch foods in town! From the delicious homemade biscuits, to their mouth watering chicken and waffles and french toast platter, down to their classic shrimp and grits, this place is the real deal! The unique aspect of this awesome diner that I love is that each day, they showcase a jelly of the day! Absolutely delicious!!! Closed on Tuesdays, True Flavors opens from 7:30a-2:30p each day, and on Sundays, 9:00a-3:00p! Make sure to get there early, because this place is always BOOMING! :)
3. #WineDownWednesdays w/ K Call For Stella Rosa Black!
#WineDownWednesdays w/ K = Stella Rosa Black! I LOVE this wine! I know you guys have seen me talking about this wine on several occasions on my blog, so of course I had to add it to my favorite things! I love a nice sleek sweet red wine, and this is my absolute favorite! It's a perfect blend of sweet that I love especially when reading an awesome book! The Stella Rosa brand has amazing wines even if this one isn't your go to, there are several others that are awesome as well, and gives you an opportunity to explore and step out of your comfort zone! First time wine-o's, Stella Rosa Black is the way to go to get that nice buzz that you need to unWINE :)
4. Mask of Magnaminty x LUSH
Self love is the best love! So many people ask me how do I keep my skin looking ageless with that extra glow, and this is one of my secrets! I have really oily skin, so I am always looking for a great product that won't dry me out, but will suck out some of that extra oil that cakes up on my forehead and nose! I LOVE Lush products, but definitely this awesome and amazing mask! Mask of Magnaminty is an all natural product by LUSH that creates that nice tingly, minty face and body mask used to deep cleanse and ridding your face and body of that dreaded dirt and debris! Kaolin clay and peppermint oil are the main ingredients in this mask great for the face and fun fact: peppermint helps with memory! This product gives my skin a nice clean finish with a refreshing minty scent giving me that everlasting GLOWWWW. Shine baby shine!
5. Reclaim Piece x Peace Journal x Tatiana Jerome
One of my favorite outlets when stressed or in a lost space is to journal! My fifth favorite thing is my journal Reclaim. Piece x Peace x Tatiana Jerome! I picked up this journal during a particularly hard time as I was going through various transitions in my life, and haven't put it down since! What I love about Tatiana's journals is the self-love aspect in each page! I love that she creates quotes throughout the journal to get you through and remind you that you aren't alone! Journalling is a wonderful and creative outlet to get you through those unprecedented times in your life as well as those wonderful and elevating aspects as well! I definitely try to journal everyday to start my day off positively and create a space of good energy and uplifting spirits. Interested in journalling but not sure what to focus on? Check out Tatiana Jerome's amazing journals on www.setinsoul.com :)
6. Goodbudget Budget Planner App!
Now I don't know about all of you, but I LIVE for a great budgeting app that keeps me on track with my spending, saving, and the answers to where all of my money is going! Some people hate apps that do this because they believe that it gives a false representation of spending habits or it's not "exact", but I hate to break it to you, sometimes guys it's us! There have been many times that I've looked at my account and shake my head because most of my money goes to yep...FOOD! haha eating out, fast food, groceries...all of those things ADD UP! I love anything that helps me save money and watch my spending, so this is a great app for those of you who just can't keep up with it in your head and need a little extra boost like me! The cool thing about this app that I like is that it's awesome for families! You can share and sync budgets across multiple phones, and to other people, which is a great way to create a budget as a family unit! Goodbudget is super secure, so you don't have to worry about any funny business! Great app to use to help understand where your money is going, and how to save! Collect your coins 2018! :)
7. Offline App!
If you're like me, I love to find fun events in my area, but I NEVER know what's going on in Durham especially from working all week and looking to unwind for the weekend with something fun! Offline is an amazing app to find fun and sometimes FREE events in the RDU/Charlotte area! I love that it categorizes events by food, drinks, date ideas, art & entertainment + more! Offline is my favorite thing because I love to explore new places/events in my area and this is the way to do it! Stop being bored and explore your town! I have found so many fun events by using this app, and I especially enjoy using it when friends are in town and ask the popular question, "What's the move?" haha Put a hold on Netflix and Chill and explore fun events and entertainment in your area with Offline :)
8. Record Player/Music Corner :)
One of my favorite gifts that I have received so far has definitely been my amazing and decked out record player! I have wanted a record player for many years and never had the chance to get it for myself until a special person got this for me after years of wanting it! I am a true oldie's fan at heart and I love this record player soooo much especially it being my favorite color! As you can see, I am a huge fan of all the great legends such as: Sade, Al Green, John Coltrane, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington, Erykah Badu and many many more! Music has always been a major part of my life, and I couldn't imagine my life without it! It's in my ears, my voice, my soul! Nothing beats the sounds of the 70's/80's era to me! The music had more meaning, more alive, and the voices were of this world! I always said that I was meant to be born in another time by how much oldies and soul music I listen to on a regular basis! This record player will always hold a special place in my heart and will always be one of my favorite things :) Thank you M <3
9. I Am Very Busy...No But I Am :)
Okay, I don't know where I would be without my planner! My classmates and my family and friends will tell you that nothing gets by without me looking at my planner! It is literally my life! I have no idea how some people keep everything in their phones, but I am a traditional write it down, mark it off kinda girl because that shows me that it's done! Every year, I have to have a new planner to keep myself updated and most importantly, helping me with not forgetting major events/work days/classes etc! If you want to know my life, take a look in my planner! haha :) I love this planner because it sets goals for you each week and also gives really nice cute quotes when you're having a rough time! It's cute and girly and also super organized + comes with fun stickers to personalize your planner and make it your own! This is definitely a K's Favorite!
10. Drum Roll Pleaseeeeeeee!
Now I can't end K's Favorite Things without talking about my favorite book so far this year! I have always been a fan of Jenifer Lewis, but reading this book has really shined a newfound light of her life, struggles, and amazing successes along the way of her career! This book gave me different emotions! I couldn't decide whether to laugh, cry, yell or all of the above which for me, exemplifies a great book! I felt like through every aspect of her life I was there as a reader. She took me to places that were familiar to me and some unfamiliar. I loved the way that this book made me feel as I turned each page not knowing what I would get as a reader. This “Mega Diva” and costar of the hit sitcom Black-ish bares her soul in this touching and poignant—and at times side-splittingly hilarious—memoir of a Midwestern girl with a dream, whose journey took her from poverty to the big screen, and along the way earned her many accolades. With humor and warmth, Jenifer Lewis reveals the heart of a woman who lives life to the fullest. Definitely a must read! :)
QTNA: What are your favorite things? Feel free to share & leave comments below! :)