Saturday, November 30, 2013

Soundtrack Saturdays: Vol. 78 {Sailing Out + Black Radio 2}

Albums I've Been Listening to: 

  • Sailing Out x Jhenѐ Aiko
  • Black Radio 2 x Robert Glasper
Lately, I've been obsessing over the melodic and mellow sounds of these two very different (however, equally satisfying) compilations. The jazz piano of Black Radio 2 caters to my inner piano lover while Sail Out just has a nice, slow tempo bass to vibe to. Yet again, Glasper collaborates with some amazing artists, as he did on the first Black Radio, who really compliment his talent, such as Common, Marsha Ambrosius, and Emeli Sandѐ, to name a few. Taking the time to study his work a little deeper is rewarding in itself, because it has been so long since I even touched a piano and now I'm inspired to get back to where my love of music really started.  I'm a little rusty, but it feels good to be in that space again. 

Jhenѐ has this soft, angel-like voice that makes whatever her voice touches on any given track absolutely compelling and she really has a beautiful way with words. Lyrically, her art seems to reflect her spirit, which is always a good thing.  11.12.13, she graced the world with her first studio album as a sequel to the 2011 Sailing Souls mix tape.  What really makes Aiko stand out is how outspoken she is about her own experiences, perils, and triumphs via her music, which is especially refreshing, to say the least. My favorite songs from this very short LP are Bed Peace (ft. Childish Gambino), Stay Ready (ft. Kendrick Lamar), and The Vapors.

Although it's not really on the subject of what I've been loving as of lately, I can't wait to do another vinyl update for SS, which probably won't be until after the holidays. Fortunately, my hobby of collecting vinyls has become something like a repeated trend so contemporary album's are now available on vinyl and I'm like a little girl in her favorite candy store, only with more selections...pretty sweet! 

What albums are you currently loving?

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pearls of Wisdom: A Thriving Culture, According to E.

{image source.}
For a healthy society and a happy and healthy culture, and a thriving culture, people should feel empowered to be more themselves and then to want to consume something because it adds to their lives, and not because it’s something that they need because they are deficient in something.”  
-Elisa, co-founder of StyleLikeU
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide + Christmas Wishlist 2013



Exactly one month before Christmas, it's that time of year again to start our holiday planning and Christmas shopping.  I've combined my wishlist with a relatively short and ambiguous holiday gift guide especially for the music lovers, jet setters, techies, and newly weds/ new home owners. Sometimes it can be hard to shop for the people in our lives, so I hope this guide helps makes shopping a breeze!

besos!
Chymere Anais

My Wishlist:

Sentiment: 

  • Quality time with my family

Charity: 

Beauty: 

  • 'Chance' by Chanel perfume

Book: 

Clothes: 

  • ankle booties 
  • riding boots
  • scarves
  • fitted jeans
  • fleece leggings
  • a staple jacket

Music + Tech: 

  • Modern turntable {Urban Outfitters}
  • New vinyls 
  • HP Split convertible tablet/notebook
  • Professional camera: Cannon Rebel T3i
  • Vlogging camera: Cannon Powershot
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Organic Living | Vegetarian Holiday


Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to embrace the vegetarian lifestyle.  It's been really hard and I admit to having a few love affairs with chicken here and there but, I have proudly maintained a 10% meat diet of only chicken and seafood.  When you're accustomed to meat as apart of your normal for 20+ years, the transition can be very difficult to just cut it out "cold turkey", so this year has really been trial and error for me. However, I will say, that the best part about this journey is how much more creative I am in the kitchen and although I liked cooking beforehand, I enjoy it way more now. 

Recently, my best friend has decided to be a vegetarian also, which is exciting because it's still a learning process for both of us.  Having someone there to discuss the joys and perils of a new lifestyle choice with someone who understands. The other day, we were texting about Thanksgiving plans after I sent her a picture of a vegetarian cookbook I found laying around the house. With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas right around the corner, I searched the web to create a unique menu made up of some of my favorite holiday dishes (with a vegetarian twist), not only for fellow vegetarians, but also for meat eaters who may not know what to prepare for vegetarian guest.  Some of the recipes listed are also vegan-friendly.

It's important to be inclusive when entertaining certain guest during the holidays and remember that vegetarian's eat too and, despite the preference to not eat meat, would like to be apart of the traditional feasting portion of the holiday festivities as well.

Appetizers + side dishes:

Entrees:

Desserts:

To all my fellow vegetarians, what's heating up in your kitchen this season? 
Is anyone expecting any vegetarians at their next holiday soiree? 

besos!
Chymere Anais

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Logic vs. Emotion: The Constant Conundrum

A few months into the new year, I made the big announcement to my family members and close friends about my plans to relocate cross country. Leading up to the month I was scheduled to leave, my mind was literally at complete peace with that decision and was excited about this unknown world I was boldly stepping into. It wasn't until a few weeks before I was scheduled to leave where I started to slowly reconsider, because there were some things happening out of my control. Eventually, I convinced myself that it wasn't the right time, so I postponed the move to a later date.

As you can probably imagine, once the skepticism kicked in, I caught myself constantly worried about whether or not I was listening to my own heart, trusting the spirit guide. So many times, our heart will lead us in one direction and our head will tell us to go elsewhere. What happens when people are totally convinced that the conventional route is the right one? What happens when people lose site of their dreams and initial ambitions? They become someone else...and no matter how content they pretend to be within that, caution is often fear in disguise, which can lead to a life of regret and misery, at least in theory. 

Head vs. heart is something all of us go through at some point.  Unlike me, there are people who can make a decision and stick to it, and not once go back to rethink it.  It's apart of having a mind of good entrepreneurship, because there are many occasions  that an individual will be forced to face, as a business owner and leader, to make a solid choice. Because deadlines are in place most of the time, there isn't always enough time or room to keep questioning whether it's a good choice or not. I'm not wired that way and I certainly hope to one day be that decisive. I suppose I can be in practice, but I'm not quite there yet. 

Right now, I am somewhere between where I should be and where I want to be. However, one thing my head and heart both agree that staying here (mentally) is not the smartest solution. Somehow, I feel like clarity is not as far away as it seems.

Besos,
Chymere Anais

{Special thanks to my good friend J.W. for inspiring the title for this post.}


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Friday, November 15, 2013

Soundtrack Saturdays: Vol. 77 {Nakamarra}


There is a funny story behind this song. Sometime this summer, the television was on MTV and I was passively listening to the music videos they were playing. There was one song I heard while I was doing something else and was instantly in love. Soon, it went off and I wasn't able to catch the artist and title. I tried to remember something to Google it, but nothing matched. For maybe an hour, I was torturing myself, because I wanted to feature it on an SS, but then I gave up and told myself that I'd come across it again...eventually. 

 And that is exactly what transpired months later. 

At the beginning of October, I sent out assignments to all the amazing individuals I'm working with for my magazine project. Topic wise, it was pretty much free reign, because it would give me a better look into what they are interested in and hear their unique voice. One of the writers, who goes by the name of Kathrine, submits this amazing article on a band called Hiatus Kaiyote, and a few YouTube videos in the case that I wasn't familiar. Low and behold, Nakamarra was one of the songs she sent and, ironically, the same one I'd been searching for previously in the year. 

So, I've fallen completely in love with the beautiful song all over again; it's been on repeat all week long. Nai Palm, the lead vocalist, has such an incredible voice and I love the spirit that leaks through. It's amazing and I cannot wait to check out more of their music.

Besos,
Chymere Anais


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Diversity of Being Black

Often times, when people hear or first learn about the African diaspora, it comes from a position of oppression.  To this day, educational institutions mainly emphasize on post slavery conditions and the current state of what it means to be black. Even in African American history courses taught by black professors, the only significant era that is familiar to most of us is the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance. It's a pure confirmation of the theory that what is known by the elite isn't taught to the masses. No one likes to talk about the royalties and immaculate civilizations before slavery or that the basics of everything we know from math to music originates in Africa...oh, but I will. While it is important to know history and not dismiss any part of it, it is also equally vital to know where the history begins and to paint all dimensions of it.  

Attending a HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) really exposed me to a lot of things I never would have known otherwise involving the richness and vitality of black culture, not to be confused with or limited to African American culture. Because of that, I began to learn to fully embrace myself and the melting pot of what I am naturally apart of.  For so long, I "knew" about my roots without connecting to them and could never explain to peers how I identify with mulatto if neither one of my parents are of European descent.  In retrospect, I realize how silly it is to believe that being mixed is as restricted and absolute as I thought it was. This realization was confirmed by a former colleague and white man who I assumed was Irish. Ask me how dumb I felt when he told me he was actually African American? The sad part is that he took more pride in saying he was African American than most black people do.  

If you ask anyone who chose to attend a PWI (Predominately White Institution) why they chose their school, I almost guarantee they'll say it's because of the diversity. I absolutely respect that preference and do believe it's essential to interact with people outside of your own understanding to better explore different backgrounds, but have yet to grasp why they feel like that aspect of college is not offered at a HBCU or why unity of black people are looked down upon. The myth that HBCU's aren't "diverse enough" is extremely close-minded and shows a very limited perspective on the world we live in.  It does stand true that Black schools don't receive as much funding as larger Division I schools and lack substantial resources most of the time, however, each color is symbolic of an array of different, yet equally beautiful, cultural experiences. Perhaps, it is the duty of more black people to love ourselves enough to represent ourselves in a better light in order to recreate the standard.


At the end of the day, I am simply a black woman in this skin I'm in...and it took a while to get to that point. Even though labels don't define who I am or who you are, they are attached to us within this human experience and the ones I carry that with pride.  Don't categorize me or put me, or anyone else, in a box, because we are all multi-dimensional. Don't automatically stamp the context of a person's knowledge or capabilities because of race. Last but not least, don't assume that I'll only want to discuss oppression, when my main focus, when it comes to race, is to talk about truth, liberation, justice, and progression.  

@ChymereA
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Soundtrack Saturdays: Vol. 76 {Songs I'm Loving at the Moment + Updates}

Songs I'm Loving at the Moment:


This week has been both really productive and partially nostalgic, which usually happens when I'm trying to put the puzzle pieces of my life together. After the homecoming festivities died down, I spent a lot of time mapping out the rest of the year.  The best way I know how to describe my year thus far is as a lackluster plateau. The end of it all is so very close. It's very clear to me that November and December are all about reestablishing discipline and focus, so that next year doesn't surpass me the way 2013 has seemed to. And when I turn on BEAST MODE, I cannot be stopped and I've proven that theory to myself plenty of times, so I'm ready to see what's in store for the remainder of the year.

The song featured on today's SS, 'Dear No One', sings my heart. This is definitely my anthem at this point. She always seems to script the very lyrics of my heart, amazingly so, and that is one of the many obvious reasons why I can't seem to get enough of Tori Kelly.  
"...I'm done looking for my future someone/ 'Cause when the time is right, you'll be here, but for now/ Dear no one, this is your love song/ I don't really like big crowds/ I tend to shut people out/ I like my space/ But I'd love to have a soul mate/ And God'll give him to me someday and I know it'll be worth the wait..."
Love and relationships have been on my mind a lot lately. I'm pretty confident that I finally have my head on right when it comes to dating at this point, so all that's left to do is to be patient and patience is one of the biggest lessons I've had to learn and re-learn over and over again in many different areas of my life, so this song really speaks to me in that sense.

I've done enough rambling for now, just wanted to keep my lovely readers posted. Speaking of readers, you guys are so awesome, I feel the love and support every time I receive a comment and it's an incredible feeling that keeps this blog alive.  Some of you have been rocking with me since 2009 on The Sweetheart Chronicles. Even those of you who started with me here on the new blog, it's been almost 2 years! None of it goes unnoticed and I really do appreciate all of you.

That's the end of my spill. Thanks for reading! 

@ChymereA

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Soundtrack Saturdays: Vol. 75 {#GHOE13}

It's that time of year again, where undergrads, professionals, and alumni all gather in an uproar for the best time of college football season.  It's homecoming! And not just any homecoming....it's the

  #GHOE [GREATEST HOMECOMING ON EARTH] at 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University!!! 
Google it, if you don't believe me. 

All week, I couldn't wait to reunite with all my friends and relive the college memories, the best days of our lives. Of everything planned to keep students and visitors entertained from Sunday to Sunday for the momentous occasion, connecting with friends and former classmates is always the best part.  It's exciting to see everyone on a grown up level, all weekend pretending like we're young and uninhibited again with no apologies/ no judgment for our conduct.

Click the link to see last year's homecoming play list #GHOE12

  1. Pour it Up x Rihanna
  2. Worst Behavior x Drake
  3. Levels x Meek Mill
  4. Shabba x A$AP Ferg
  5. Red Nose x Sage the Gemini
  6. Up, Down x T-Pain ft. B.O.B.
  7. Bounce It x Juicy J. ft. Trey Songz, Wale 
  8. Blurred Lines x Robin Thicke ft. T.I.
  9. Clappers x Wale ft. Juicy J., Nicki Minaj
  10. Fckwitmeuknowigotit x Jay Z Ft. Rick Ross
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