søndag 10. januar 2016

Self-Care Sunday: Creole Comfort Food and Couch Coziness

As I mentioned in my resolution post, self-care is going to be a top priority in 2016. I'll document that in a new feature called Self-Care Sundays. In today's tribute to this particular resolution, I started my day working out. Then I spent quality time with my sister, and two of our close friends, eating comfort food at a local Creole restaurant. Now I'm cuddled on the couch with my sister and some vanilla-flavoured Hagen Daaz doing some planning for the coming week. 


How did you practice self-care today?

lørdag 9. januar 2016

100 Days Of Positive Thinking: Day 54 (Resolution Time)

New year, new me? It seems it's become super out of fashion to have new years resolutions, but I am a sucker for the promise that a new year brings. I find that the crossover between an old year and a new one is a great time to reflect on the things I want to work on about myself. Resolutions are a wonderful way for me to outline these goals and map how to make them happen.


Resolutions for 2016:

Embrace Being a #Carefreeblackgirl 
As a rather socially conscious individual, I found myself getting rather exhausted this past year as each day brought news of acts of hatred and violence around the world. I was disappointed when I noticed how selective our grief is, how the pain of some is elevated above that of others. It felt at times as if my heart was constantly bleeding for something. Being conscious is something I never wish to lose. I always want to strive to be more empathetic, more open to learning from others, and striving to make the world a better place. However in 2016, I want to work toward balancing this with being a happy human being.

Take Care of My Mind, Body and Soul
Quite simply because my perception of my body has changed so much. I realize more than ever that this is the vessel God has given to carry me through my life. I need to nurture her and make sure she is well-exercised, well-watered, well-rested and well-nourished. Towards this, I want to make sure to go the gym at least 3-4 times a week. I also want to make sure to drink plenty of water each day. I want to get 8 hours of sleep nightly, and practice good skin care.
  
Journaling
Writing and scrap-booking has always been an important way for me to process the things happening in my life. Not only is it a wonderful way to decompress, but I also relish the idea of looking back on these memories years from now. I want to do more of this in 2016.

Develop This Blog
I want to make sure to put up at least three posts a week on the blog. I want to push myself to post more lifestyle and outfit photos on this little corner of the internet that I get to call mine.

Make More Art
Whether it's photography, writing, music, choreographing I want to make more art. It is really a goal of mine to both bring more beauty into the world, and observe beauty as it manifests all around me.

Travel More 
I am the child and grandchild of migrants. My existence and way of life has always been centered on travel. I spent a sizable part of my childhood years in transit. However there are so many places I yearn to visit and experience. In 2016, I  plan to do more traveling. I just returned from a week's visit to Chicago, and in a couple of days I'm heading to the East Coast of the United States for the time. So travel-wise, 2016 is already off to an excellent start.

Enjoy My Final Semester of College
This time will never come back. It's been amazing ride, with both its highs and lows. and I am realizing more than ever what a privilege it is to be in college and to have had the opportunity to learn in the environment I have been in and to meet amazing professors and peers. Over this semester, I want to bask in this.

In the words of Kate Bush, "I just know something good is gonna happen" in 2016. Excited to bring this blog along with me on the journey.

What are your resolutions for the coming year?

Song Of The Day: 'Time Flies' by Lykke Li

It's getting to be the time of year where birthdays and celebrations remind me of those no longer with us. Yesterday was the birthday of a beautiful friend who abruptly passed last summer. Tomorrow is the birthday of another beautiful friend who passed after a long illness. One of them I met in high school, and we quickly became close friends. The other I knew since childhood, and she was a friend who became like a sister. I imagined both these friendships lasting a lifetime. As we cross into 2016, it's been almost a year since they both passed. It's definitely a reflective time. To match this mood, I have been listening to this song by Swedish singer, Lykke Li called 'Time Flies'.


And I get weak, I get weary
I miss sleep, I get moody
I'm in thoughts, I write songs
I'm in love, I walk on 

The lyrics of this are so beautiful and melancholy. To me, they get at the challenges and joys of being a human being, opening up to other humans and giving them a spot in your heart - there's always the risk that you might lose them. And with loss, you risk getting hurt. Still it also reminds us that there is beauty in having loved, and that somehow we find the strength to move on. 
Thanks Lykke Li for this beautiful track.

fredag 1. januar 2016

100 Days Of Positive Thinking: Day 53 (Hello 2016!)

I saw this goofy graphic on Tumblr that read something like: "I think 2015 tried to kill me". Alas, this quote is used somewhat in jest, but 2015 was indeed probably the most challenging year of my life. There have been a number of not-so-happy days, which is the main reason it's taken me over a year and half to get to Day 53 of my positive thinking challenge. I lost two dear friends in the first half of the year, and honestly the thought of entering a new year without them in the World had left me in a rather melancholy and contemplative mood.

 That being said, these losses have been constant reminders of Carpe Diem - to seize the day. Life is for living. Each moment is an opportunity to move closer to the kind of person you want to be. Though I struggled this year, I also found the courage, with immense support and inspiration from family and friends, to step outside my comfort zone. It's been important to me this year to be very real about both the highs and the lows, because life is a messy, beautiful hodgepodge of all those moments. So here some of my most memorable (for better or worse) moment of 2015. Warning: picture-heavy post ahead!

In January, spent some time at home after my semester in Ghana. Going to my little Norwegian village always allows me to recentre and figure things out. This time at home was much needed after a very brainy and emotional time in Ghana. I feel so grateful to have been able to go home and spend Christmas and New Years with my parents and sister, who flew in from the States. There's really nothing like a Norwegian Christmas.





After coming back to the States for school in mid-January, I returned to Norway
for the burial of a dear friend at the beginning of February.
 On the day of the funeral, it rained, as though the sky was weeping with us.


When I got back to school, I participated in a production of Ntozake Shange's For Coloured Girls. I played The Lady in Purple. Formed some amazing friendships with the women I performed with and grew so much as person. I'm so grateful for this experience.


In March, W. Kamau Bell visited my college campus, and some students had the opportunity to chat with him. My friends and I made sure to get some pictures with him.


In April, I saw one of my favourite bands, Ibeyi, live in an intimate concert with my sister and some friends. We got to snap photos with them after the show.


 In May, my beautiful and intelligent rock star of a sister got her Master's in Business and Administration! Our parents flew in from Norway, my grandmother (who lives in Ghana, but was visiting family in the US at the time) was able join us, and my uncle and aunt from San Diego drove up to celebrate her achievements as well.




Several of our adopted siblings, our chosen family who mean the world to us, joined us. Our sister, Mariama, also made the trip to celebrate Nana. It was a big, beautiful family reunion. We were all so proud of our MBA!



The turn-up was amazing. We had a blast! #NanaisanMBA

 


After graduation the parents, big sis and I joined our Californian family for a road trip to Yellowstone, Las Vegas, and joined them at home in California. Then we bid adieu to the parents, sending them back to the land of the midnight sun. 

Sis and I took our first trip to Disney World with our aunt and uncle. It was wonderful. 



 And then a few days later, I headed to Ghana to continue my fieldwork in Accra. In Ghana, I got the explore new parts of Accra while trekking around the city to do interviews and participant observation. My friend, Rhoda, a true Accra girl, was a tremendous tour guide. I also had time to catch with my friends from study abroad, and attend graduation at our school.





I returned to the States for to spend my first full summer here working and taking the time to get to know my city better, and enjoy all it had to offer. My sister Nana, and my friend, were my partners in crime as we explored park, new cafes, and restaurants, and enjoyed moments of carefreeness under the summer sun.




 



 


In August, I took a spontanous trip to Chicago with a group of friends. It was my first time in the Windy City, and I have to say, the city stole my heart.





The end of summer saw our cousin marrying her best friend. My sister and had the privilege of attending the California nuptials. It was a beautiful ceremony, full joy and love.



This semester, I signed up to have my own radio show on my college's radio station, which has been an item on my college bucket list for some time. I played a variety of Afro-diasporic music, particularly emphasised sharing Afropean sounds not on Top 40 lists with my community.
 It was a blast, and I was so humbled by my family and friends who tuned in from different parts of the US and across the Atlantic Ocean to listen in! I am excited to continue this next year.


Another item on my bucket list that I wanted to cross of was to contribute to my college's newspaper. I signed up to write a coffee column for the food and drink section. I explored different coffee shops around the Twin Cities, and reviewed both the beverages and the ambiance. It allowed me to explore the city and the response from my peers was amazing. My first article was one of the most shared throughout the semester. 


I got to see another of my favourite artists, Lianne La Havas live.
Words cannot do justice to how great she sounded and how wonderful the experience was.
 It was AMAZING! I smile just thinking of it ...


My friends from high school, who I had not seen since we graduated three years and half years ago, came to spend Thankgiving with my sister and I. We were joined some other friends based in our city and it was a beautiful time of reconnecting.

 

The holiday season, spent here in the States this year has been a time of rest, reflection, and laughter. I am grateful for my sister, parents, and friends who have become like family, and love me, as imperfect as I am. I am grateful for life and for the lessons this year has taught me. I am looking forward to applying these lessons in the new year.


I particularly want to give  shout out to these individuals, Nana and Hanna, who have been my pillars during this time. I love you both.

And also pho. Pho was really the homie this year. Thank you, Vietnam, for this beautiful dish.
 The ultimate comfort food.


2016, I am excited for what you will bring! Please, be gentle.


In my next post, I'll talk about my New Year's Resolutions. But for now, I am going to eat leftover pizza, write some notes, and watch the Jane the Virgin. 
Happy New Year, everyone!