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A “Love”ly Playlist

Growing up music was always playing around me.

I was born in Washington D.C. and have very early memories of the originator of the “Quiet Storm” Melvin Lindsay lulling me to sleep with his show on WKYS that my mother religiously turned on every night. Come to think about it, I’m not sure our radio ever went off. I remember seeing live concerts as a child at the Carter Barron eating the goodies my mother packed in our picnic basket.  I’m pretty sure this is where  my love for music started and to this day I prefer old school music over new school as it reminds me of how lovely my childhood was.

Speaking of lovely, for Valentine’s Day, I put together a playlist of my favorite old and new school songs that have the word “love” in them. Initially I was  going to include 45 songs since I’m turning 45 in a few weeks, but once I was done “Shower me with your love” popped in my head and I don’t think the list would’ve been complete without that classic, so the list has 46 songs. We’re taking almost 4 hours of hits from Miki Howard,  Phyllis Hyman, Daniel Ceasar, Teyana Taylor, and more. I hope you enjoy and be sure to share!

The playlist is on Spotify. Listen here!

Books Living

My Top Reads of 2023

I set a goal for myself last year to only ready BIPOC authors and I accomplished that goal. Taking a look back at everything I read, black women wrote well over 90% of the books that I read. Instead of buying books last year, I utilized the library. For books my branch didn’t have I placed holds on them and they were sent to my branch and I only purchased the books I loved. I’ll “mostly” continue this process moving forward

I’m proud of myself for scrolling less and diving back into reading, something I’ve enjoyed since I was a child. Last year I read a total of 26 books, my goal was 50 and I could’ve made it but I hit a slump over the summer. I have a goal this year to read 45 books, but no pressure. When we put pressure on things it tends to remove the fun and make it just another thing to check off a list.

This year I would like to introduce video book reviews, I’m not sure if that will be something I do monthly, but I’m pretty sure that is something that I will indulge in from time to time. I’ll still continue to share my reviews on Instagram.

I came across some really good books last year, there weren’t that many that just blew me away, but there were really good ones,  some that I still think about today.

Top Books I read in 2023

Instead of dividing them out by stars, I’m going to categorize them into three lists, “Blown Away/Couldn’t Put Down” , ” Highly Recommend”, and “Honorable Mention”. All of the books on these three lists were my top reads of the year but when compared against each other some stood out against the others.

I’ve linked to each book on Amazon, you will also find the full official review there.

“Blown Away/Couldn’t Put Down”

  1. Hold You Down | Tracy Brown – Whew! I never cry at books, this one got me in the feels. It’s about two sisters, one likes to play with fire and the other plays it safe. So many emotions with this one. Reminded me so much of “The Coldest Winter Ever.” This was the first book I’d ever read by this author and unfortunately she passed away last year. I have heard nothing but great things about her other books and I plan to read them. Trigger Warnings: Every one you can think of.  This was my favorite read book of the year.
  2. The Two Lives of Sara | Catherine Adel West– I still think about this book. Something about the writing and Sara, the main character that just won’t turn me loose! It starts with Sara involuntarily moving to Memphis to start a new life. This book has a sequel “Saving Ruby King” which I also read. I think you are supposed to read that one first but I did it backwards and I don’t really think it makes a difference.
  3. Summer on the Bluffs | Sunny Hostin – I love a good book where I can imagine I’m in the pages and living the lives of the people in the book. I read this in the Summer and it was perfect. A fairly light read, with a lot of drama and luxury! There is a sequel, “Summer on Sag Harbor” it was just okay, but this one was too good!

 Highly Recommend

  1. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois | Honore Fanone Jeffers – This was so close to being in the top 3, the issue is it started to ramble in some areas for me, but other than that I could barely put it down. It’s 800 pages of literary genius. The book intertwines various generations of Ailey, the main character’s family from when her ancestors land was stolen to current day. I listened and read this one, the audible was also very good.
  2. There You Are  | Mathea Morais – As a music lover this book drew me in. The chapters are the background soundtrack to an uncanny love story between two teenagers growing up in St. Louis.  80s/90s R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz were at the forefront. I want to say there were playlists in it, but I can’t remember.
  3. How to Say Babylon | Safiya Sinclair – This was good, there were a few slow moments but overall I highly recommend. This memoir chronicles Safiya’s journey to escape her father and the strict Rastafarian practices he forced in their home. Some of this stuff in this book was wild.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Bet on You | Ayanna Anis– I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction books, but this book felt like a pep talk from a home girl on manifesting the life you want and making bold decisions. If you need some encouragement to move, this is the book to read.
  2. Before I Let Go | Kennedy Ryan – The sequel to this comes out in March and I can’t wait. This was a great story about love and loss. This is a quick, light read. Think beach or vacation
  3. The House of Eve | Sadequa Johnson – This was good, but I didn’t care for the ending. That being said, I still say read it.
  4. Black Cake | Charmaine Wilkerson – I really liked this book and it is a bit different from the Hulu series and I loved that about this. I felt like you got two experiences for one. This one also started to ramble for me in places, allowing me to put it down for days at a time, but overall I did enjoy it.

I hope you find your next favorite read on this list! Stay tuned for more book content this year.



Happy New Year Friends!

Last year I’m not sure I had many “visible” accomplishments, however there were so many  wins on a personal/spiritual level that I’m going to keep them to myself, but in a nutshell I am so very proud of myself for exhibiting so much discipline last year in so many things. That discipline was a long time coming and once you do it once, you know you can do it again. And once you know you can do the hard things, the next step is to do the things you weren’t sure you could do. The AUDACITY to reach for what you once felt was unreachable. I’ll be 45 in exactly 2 months and one year from today I want to look back and say “she turned all the way up!”



I’ve also come to terms with the realization that when it comes to how my brain works, there are some challenges and that looks like if I’m to get where I’m going, I’m going to unapologetically need some help.  I’m so optimistic for so many good things next year, I hope this feels contagious and rubs off on you. None of us know what 2024 holds, but we can certainly go in with high expectations!

A few things to expect from my online presence in 2024:

  • I’ll be blogging and showing up more online…I’ve enlisted some help and automated some processes to keep me honest.
  • My newsletter on Substack will remain free, but I’ll be adding a paid version as well. The paid version will provide access to some exciting things I’m building out to include a “45 and Unfiltered” series where I’ll be sharing my unfiltered thoughts (I’m quite sure some of you know I have a bit of a different side that I don’t always show online, you’ll hear/see about it over there). I’ll also be doing a “45 Experiences” series where I’ll be crossing 45 things off my bucket list next year.  I’ll also be doing giveaways, exclusive video content to include book reviews, playlists and whatever else I think of. I’ll also be offering discounts to Unlikely Market. Subscribe to both options below, it will immediately subscribe you to the free version, you’ll need to opt in for the paid version which is $5/month

I’d love to have you join me on Substack, you can join the list here.

Here’s to showing up (for ourselves and others), living free, getting back up every time we mess up, being kind to ourselves, and finally being audacious to go after all the big things we’ve been putting off.



Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Quick Change of Scenery – Blue Ridge, GA

The internet might have possibly, in some way subconciously convinced some of us that getaways need to be extravagant, but in my older age I am starting to see right through that narrative. This past weekend , my husband and I took a quick drive to Blue Ridge, GA which is  about 2 hours from our house.  According to all of the fall foliage maps this was to be the peak leaf weekend, but the early frost we got last week proved that a LIE. All of the leaves were brown, crispy, and off the trees, but we made the best of our day trip.

It was a beautiful mountain day, temp was in the mid-70s with a light breeze, the sun was shining, it was the perfect backdrop for us to peruse the little shops, and have lunch. It was giving  Hallmark harvest movie vibes.

We ate lunch at the General Ledger, the food and service was impeccable. I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu and highly recommend you order it if you ever find yourself in Blue Ridge  (no photo cause I was hungry). I had the best spiced pear sangria and we got an impromptu whiskey lesson which I could appreciate because I’m always looking for new brands to add to my bar.

The General Ledger Blue Ridge Menu


Rowan's Creek Bourbon Whiskey

Here’s a quick (and raggedy) snapshot of me. My husband isn’t the best at taking photos but he tries!

Welcome to Blue Ridge Bear

I wore my viral TikTok $20 Avia “dad sneakers” from Walmart. Talk about comfortable, and my favorite Old Navy bodysuit ( at the time of this post, it’s on sale for $15.47) under an old hoodie from Zara.

A quick change of scenery, a  moment to steal away alone or with your favorite person can absolutely do you some good. We’ve committed to taking more short trips around the state, stay tuned!