Jessie J: Realisations, Obsessions, Sex, Empowerment

I don’t want to make music anymore. I said that out loud. Wow. Then, I tried to stop and I didn’t know how to because it’s impossible to walk away from true love. Art, emotion, lyrics, music, feeling, it’s what I need to survive. Man, that pain woke me up. It’s inside out, you know? I don’t do this because I want to do it. I do it because I have to. I feel everything so deeply. It’s a blessing and a curse.
— Jessie J.

Jessie J is one of those artists who just does not get the credit she deserves as being one of the most talented vocalists of this era. I have been waiting for years for her to give us these sort of soulful, vulnerable vibes through her art because honestly, her vocals are far too impeccable for pop music. I'm really hoping that her next album will follow the same formula as her new material that she's released over this past month. The new project, R.O.S.E. (Realisations, Obsessions, Sex, Empowerment), will be her first album in three years. Beautiful. My Aries sista. I can't wait to hear more.

Five Things: Fall Edition

If you're anything like me, you dread the transition from Summer to Fall. I crave warm nights with the windows open, and dressing in as little clothing as possible, so I'm never really excited to give that up. But alas, here we are. Hello, Autumn. 

Since Fall is officially upon us, what better way to embrace it than by making sure we have all the essentials - those cozy elements that make Fall a bit more tolerable. 

Photo credit: PF Candle Company

1. Candles. I talked about these lovely candles from PF Candle Co. a few blog posts back, and I'm still very much swooning over them. Candles bring such a high level of coziness and ambiance to a space, so be sure to stock up on your favorite scents this season! Looking forward to doing the same. 

2. Red wine. Red wine is the ultimate Fall beverage. You aren't truly celebrating the season (that you all seem to love soooo much) if you aren't indulging in some sort of red - Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, take your pick. The bulk of my red wine consumption usually occurs during the cold months. It's like a hug in liquid form. So appropriate.  Paste Magazine ran down 50 light red wines that are great for Fall, and they're all under $25. I need to write some of these down for myself. PS. Ignore the Zinfandel recommendation. That's just gross.

3. Books. I've been purchasing books like crazy these past few months, but can't seem to sit still long enough to finish one. But the beauty of owning books is that you can read them at your leisure. You can even read multiple books at once. I tell myself this so I can feel better about doing this at times. Fall is the season of "slowing down." Less parties, less running the streets, and more staying indoors. It's that perfect opportunity to catch up on all the books you've purchased, but haven't had a chance to really enjoy them. I plan to finish a book that I started back in May (don't you dare judge), and I'm really looking forward to reading a memoir that I picked up a few weeks ago by Jessica B. Harris.

I'll admit, I knew very little about Jessica B. Harris before my eyes randomly zoomed in on her book cover on a recent trip to Barnes & Noble. I picked it up, read the back cover, and immediately tucked it under my arm and made my way towards the checkout counter. I was instantly intrigued. I had to have it. My Soul Looks Back is about Jessica's life growing up in the 70s in New York. She's a culinary expert and writer, and ran in the same circles as James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison. No big deal. Just a few legends. I'm so excited to read this. Check out some excerpts from her book over at The Cut.

4. Throw Blankets. I'm loving these gorgeous metallic knit throws from West Elm. Of course you don't need to spend $80 on a comfy, cozy throw to snuggle up in, but if you must, I vote these.

Photo credit: THR

5. The final season of Scandal. The final season. Yeah, I'm sad too. But, the awesome thing is Scandal is going out on top. Shonda Rhimes is a genius, so I won't question her actions, but I'm sure going to miss this crazy, emotional rollercoaster of a show. Listen, just make sure you have your Scandal survival kit handy because you're gonna need it. It's going to be a bumpy ride. We've discussed the red wine already, but you've gotta make sure you have popcorn (my vote is this kind from Trader Joe's), and you can't drink your wine from just any glass. You need THE Olivia Pope wine glass (yes, the exact one she has on the show) - the Camille wine glass from Crate & Barrel. It's only right. Treat yourself.

 

Vogue + Tracee Ellis Ross: 73 Questions

I don't know what I'm more excited about - the fact that Vogue took a visit to Tracee Ellis Ross's LA home for her to partake in their adorable 73 Questions series, or her home itself. Either way, here's 10 wonderful minutes of Tracee Ellis Ross sharing with us everything from her favorite time of the day, to the one book that everyone should have in their collection, to her two alter egos, to her favorite place to travel.

But can we briefly discuss her beautiful home? Let's. I haven't seen much of it since it was featured in the February 2007 issue of In Style Magazine (which I still own, by the way. Yes, I'm bragging), and also because she's pretty private, but from the looks of things, not much has changed. A new sofa, a new color on the walls, but it's still just as fabulous as she is. Shout out to the red stove. Check out a few more photos of her home here

She truly makes everything looks effortless. I can't praise her enough. 

Thumbnail photo credit: Maarten de Boer/Getty Images via US Weekly 

Target's New 'Project 62' Line is Every Decor Lover's Dream

When I heard that Target would be unveiling this new modern, simple, mid-century, stylish, afforable line of furniture (yes, all of those adjectives), I became quite anxious to see what they were offering. It's been a long time since I've been this excited about the debut of a new line of products from a major brand. Well, there is Fenty Beauty, but besides that. I think you get my drift here. Project 62 is basically everything I've wished for in my prayers.

The main thing I love about this line (and you will too, I'm sure) is that it looks a lot more expensive than it is. If you're anything like me, you love switching up your accent pieces every few months (or every season) to give the space a fresh feel. With Project 62, you can do just that without breaking the bank. Just off the aesthetic alone, it's giving me West Elm vibes without the West Elm prices (don't tell West Elm I said that; I love them too). I'd say that's a win. I'm literally in awe at how beautiful everything is, and honestly, I need to start making a wishlist. I've already purchased two lamps. This chair is really calling out to me. Maybe Target will gift it to me? I love to daydream.

What are some of your favorite pieces from the collection? I'd love to know! To see the full collection, head on over to Target for pricing, availability, and swooning.

All photos via Target

Writer J. Chavae: Quotes on Working on it

Photo credit: J Chavae

You are allowed to say “I love my life”
& cry some nights.
You are allowed to say “I love myself”
& still want to change.
You are allowed to do better
& evolve
as many times as you see fit.
You are allowed to alter the final product
over
& over again.
Fashion it to a new design
until you are satisfied.
”I am working on it”
is always an acceptable answer.
— J. Chavae, excerpt from On Self Love

J. Chavae's blog: jchavae.com

J. Chavae on Instagram

J. Chavae on Twitter

On Self Love

Matt Bellassai's Revamped NYC Apartment

Matt Bellassai easily became a Tumblr favorite of mine when he would post these mini-episodes called Whine About It in which he ranted about everything that annoyed his spirit - with spirits. Red wine, specifically. Matt, you seem like a really good time, and I'd love to down a couple bottles of Merlot with you. Let's make it happen.

Click here to listen to Matt "wine" about humans and other things.

But enough of that. I was sooo thrilled to see these photos of his NYC apartment because it features so many mid century modern elements; that, and knowing that Home Polish had a hand in styling the high rise apartment makes all the sense in the world. So cozy, and so stylish.  And can we please discuss the floor-to-ceiling windows? A dream, to be honest.

You HAVE to see his full apartment tour, so head on over to Home Polish, check it out, and have a toast of your favorite red wine in his honor.

Photos via People by Julia Robbs for Home Polish

Georgie's Art

Most people may not know this, but back in 2013, I took a few semesters of interior design courses. It was an extremely intense program, and unfortunately, I ended up putting the whole thing on pause because I wanted to focus on other studies. One of the courses that I always wish I would have studied / practiced on my own once I ended the program was my art class. Aside from having the absolute worst professor of all time, it was such an interesting course, and I learned so much. I remember the first time I sketched my first recognizable "thing" (I think it was a woman whose eye I made a tad wonky, not on purpose), I  felt so accomplished. The shit was hard, and the fact that I was able to look at a photo and replicate it by hand was astounding. Don't get me wrong, it was no Picasso, but it was totally pat-on-the-back worthy. 

I came across these stunning illustrations from freelance artist Georgie Ravenscroft, and fell all the way in love. Sometimes, things are just so pretty, you want to share. Check out more of Georgie's illustrations here. I'm almost inspired to dust off my sketchbook and practice. Almost. 

Five Things

Happy September! I am so amazed by how quickly this year has passed. We're well on our way into the final quarter of 2017, and I am simply not ready, particularly because I do not want summer to end (and neither do my plants). I captured this shot of one of my white bird of paradise plants earlier today, and it makes me so happy to see how beautifully she's maintaining. I never thought that something as simple as buying plants for my home would change the way I felt when I am surrounded by them. 

1. I purchased a new lamp for the front room. I'm sure, just like with anything in this apartment of mine, that it will get moved around often, but for now, I really love it next to the sofa. The style of this lamp is very sleek, clean, and minimalistic, and I love the brassy gold color. 

2. This apartment tour of Candace and Jason's is simply stunning. So many beautiful elements! Also, you've gotta check out Kenyatta's Chicago pad. The kitchen, the artwork, the mid century modern vibe. Obsessed.  

3. I took a trip to Madewell this past weekend, a store that I don't frequent enough, but let me just say that if I had to choose a brand that I would want to mirror my entire aesthetic, it would be them. I am in love every single item that they carry, in love with every detail, down to the furniture selected for the space. Anyway, I treated myself to a new purse because it was long overdue. The quality of their bags is amazing. I also snatched up this Amber & Moss candle from PF Candle Co, a line I didn't even know they carried. I have a thing for these amber glass jars, but most importantly, the candle smells great. 

4. I have a part-time gig again. Part of me is looking forward to starting and learning more about the products (and receiving that employee discount, hello?), but the other part is really going to miss having my evenings and weekends to myself, and not be interrupted with work. Here's to it all going well, and here's to maintaining my sanity in the process.

 

5. I bought another plant, but what's new? Seriously though, this was the most totally random plant purchase ever because it took place at my place of employment. They were having a fundraiser of sorts, and there were numerous vendors on site selling all types of cool products, but my eyes zoomed straight towards the plant stand. I'd always wanted one of these hanging plants, but never saw one this small. It was the perfect size. Plus, I don't have one of this kind. It's called a banana hanging plant, or "string of bananas" plant. Such a gorgeous plant to add to your collection. 

For The Quintessential Music Lover

I grew up in a very musically inclined household. My mother and aunt sang in the choir and played the organ (my mother has a Hammond organ in her living room to this day), my brother is a musician, and my sister listened to literally every genre of music, so much so that it became the "thing" in our home. Our thing. Most black kids grew up with parents who primarily blasted soul music for hours on end, but in my house, every genre was a staple. There was a lot of gospel, a lot of classical, a lot of rap, a lot of country, and a whole lot of rock 'n roll. I think this is where my passion for music began to develop and evolve into what it is today. I've always been curious about other genres of music because it was instilled in me at such an early age, and I always held that part of my childhood close to me. The memory of it is still so clear. 

Music is gumbo for the soul. This playlist is for the truly sophisticated music lover who can appreciate a dash of Labi Siffre's Bless The Telephone followed by a cup of Queen's Cool Cat, and a sprinkle of Digable Planets's most underrated album. It's a melting pot of beautiful music that speaks to every ounce of your soul, and seeps deep into your pores. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did curating it. You can listen here

From Around The Web: Balazs Bercsenyi's Williamsburg Apartment

Image credit: Brett Wood for 6SQFT

Tattoo artist Balazs Bercsenyi's advice on decorating an apartment:

1) Be patient, don’t buy everything upon first sight because you’ll end up selling half the stuff—it happened to me; 2) Get lots of plants because they’re good for the soul; and 3) Don’t put too much stuff in your living space. It’s important to let the apartment breathe.
— Balazs Bercsenyi, via 6sqft.com

Image credit: Brett Wood for 6SQFT

When you spend as much time on google seeking out decor and plant inspiration as I do for your virtual 'living space' board, you're bound to stumble across some gems in the form of apartment tours, like this tattoo artist's stunning home in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. I'm even more thrilled to have stumbled upon his tour because it's led me to the lovely site that is 6SQFT, a blog all about the people, places, and things that make New York such a magical place. It's refreshing to discover new places around the web that feature the living spaces of so many interesting people. They have a series on their blog titled My Sq Ft, which I'll probably spend a great amount of time lusting over for the next several days. There are very few things that excite me more than this. 

Image credit: Brett Wood for 6SQFT

Admiring the photos of his space, from the stunning views of the city, to the floor-to-ceiling windows, to his inspiring workspace/office, to my favorite plant of all time, the White Bird of Paradise (I would really have one in every room if I could), you can instantly tell that so much thought was put into personalizing his space. Every detail posesses its own personality, its own vibe. I've naturally gravitated towards the whole bohemian ambiance. I just find it to be a much more interesting, less conventional way of showcasing your personal style. That's not to say that other styles of decorating are boring, because I love a bit of everything (remember how I talked about my style of decor being transitional and everchanging? It really is), but a living space with even a hint of a bohemian modern vibe, and I'm all over it.

You can read more about Balazs and his gorgeous apartment over here

Palo Santo: A Playlist Featuring India Shawn, Jared Brady, Tyler The Creator, and More

Whenever I begin to create a new playlist, I ask myself, "Will I be able to find any more music to even add to a playlist? I've curated hundreds of playlists. It seems I've discovered all the dope music there is to find, right?!" But then I realize that there is never a shortage of quality music out there. The search for dope music is never-ending. There is always an artist out there whose art I've yet to experience, and it's my duty as a music enthusiast to share those discoveries because I want everyone to enjoy quality music, and not just what is fed to them via the radio because who in the hell even listens to the radio to discover music these days? 

I started working on this playlist in June, and I am loving what it has developed into. It's a serious ambiance enhancer. Really feeling this one. Vibe to tracks from Tyler the Creator's latest project, along with SZA, India Shawn, Sabrina Claudio, James Tillman, and more, including someone whom I feel everyone needs to watch out for - Jared Brady. He's a very dope artist, and I've enjoyed all of the tracks I've heard from him so far. You can check out his Soundcloud here

As always, my playlists live on Spotify, so click here to listen. Light up. Pour up. Enjoy.