I am a visual person so the best way to show someone New Orleans is through an in-person tour or in pictures. My brother and I went on Saturday for Essence Fest and intended on coming back that same night. However, New Orleans has some magic and a family friend of ours who was there for a girls trip invited us to join them that night. Eventually, it was too late to go home so we crashed at their beautiful air bnb and did leave until Sunday evening. I didn’t take any pictures at the concert because my phone was dying but just to break it down for you: Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, Salt and Pepa, Brandy, Xscape, and Mary J. Blige all had really awesome performances. Without further ado, let’s get to the photos.
Day Activities : click arrow for next picture in slideshow
Let me just say that the food in New Orleans never disappoints. Definitely, a must visit place if you’re ever in the Gulf Coast area of the U.SA. And yes I do believe in magic….New Orleans magic 🙂 ❤
The last time I did a taking stock post was April which is a different season so it just makes sense to do one for the summer season we are now in.
Making: my bedroom prettier with each run to furniture and home décor stores. My bedroom theme is mainly black and white although my bedding colors are mainly dark blue and white. I totally revamped my room this year with new furniture, carpet, and bedding. I wouldn’t call myself an interior designer but I do know what I like. So far, I am happy with the look.
Eating: is not as healthy as it usually is. I blame this on the summer season because it inspires you to eat out a lot because who wants to be inside during good weather. My weakness is the Maui Wowie pizza from mellow mushroom which has jerk chicken, pesto, banana peppers and thick crust. I actually ate this pizza twice this week so pray for me y’all.
Drinking: Ice pops. Another summer weakness is flavored ice pops which I eat every day because they’re so good for calming down the body and brain (at least that’s how I justify my intake). Luckily the brand I like is only sold in the summer so this won’t be a yearlong thing.
Reading: I can’t make this up by Kevin Hart. I know he’s cheated both of his wives but my favorite non-fiction books to read are those written by comedians. After not being able to get Trevor Noah’s book at the library, I thought Kevin Hart’s book would suffice for now. So far it’s actually an interesting book.
Playing: lots of tennis. This week I played tennis three days for a total of 4 hours of play time. This week I discovered muscles I didn’t even know I had when I played an older lady (maybe 30-40 years older than me) and she whooped me which goes to show that tennis is a lifelong sport. However, the sunscreen I’ve been using is causing breakouts on my face so I am ditching it and trying Aveeno SPF 70. I hope this works.
Creating: memories with my family. My younger brother graduated in May and we’re happy that he’s now started his career. My little niece is getting smarter and bigger every day. We are all hoping that she’ll be left handed so she can be an undefeatable tennis play (and by we, I mean me haha).
Wishing: that everyone who is hurting in the world, may find peace within themselves and their greater purpose on this earth. There’s entirely too much loss and pain in this world.
Enjoying: discovering new music. I am a soundcloud type of girl and I credit most of my musical discoveries to the app. Yesterday, I discovered a new Indian artist known as Pav Dharia and I am so excited to listen to his full album.
Liking: positive energy. It’s always refreshing to meet people who have great vibes and resonate with your wavelength. I am happy to have found some of these people.
Wondering: what to wear today to a dinner my family has been invited to by a fellow Kenyan. I am thinking an African dress at the moment.
Loving: my current work life balance. I am blessed to have a job where I am not constantly stressed every day and to be able to have the time to enjoy life outside of work (i.e. tennis, vacation, and free weekends).
Hoping: my friends in Kenya are able to get me a book by a Kenyan author (namely Drunk by Jackson Biko).
Marveling: at how time is flying by. I can’t believe half the year is almost over. So much can happen in a day let alone 6 months. I am happy that so far, this year has been promising.
Wearing: my night gown because my official night clothes have either been bought for me by my mom are or “borrowed” from my mom.
Noticing: that romantic love does have seven stages: Stage 1: Appreciation. Stage 2: Infatuation. Stage 3: Attraction. Stage 4: Impression. Stage 5: Conviction. Stage 6: Reaffirmation. Stage 7: Commitment. I noticed this from watching an Indian movie, Dil Se, last night which draws from the seven stages of love in its story.
Knowing: that life is full of ebb and flows (up and downs) which is what makes the experience so interesting. As Forrest Gump would say, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Thinking: that music is the spice of life. It truly makes life more enjoyable, more bearable, more relatable.
Feeling: at peace. Namaste fellow readers. May peace be with you. 🙂 ❤
In the event of Kanye West saying “slavery was a choice” and people we looked up to such as Morgan Freeman being accused of sexual harassment, we have to acknowledge the duality of human existence. A person can be a great musician, actor, co-worker etc but still be a less than perfect human. When we revere people to the extent of unrealistic adoration, we are bound to be disappointed because no one can ever live up to such expectations.
In the words of Tupac, “ a role is something people play and a model is something people make. Both of those things are fake.” I think it’s okay to have a role model for a specific facet of their life but not for their entire being. For example, we can admire Michael Jackson for his work ethic but not for his other life choices. We can admire Kevin Hart for his humor but not for his infidelity. When we realize that people are more complex than what we see with our eyes, we allow them to make their choices and have their peace.
I was watching an interview of Keke Palmer on the Breakfast Club radio show. Let me just say Keke is able to dissect being human so well for a person who is just 24 years old. In the interview, she discusses going through depression and growing up in the limelight. Her most interesting discussion for me is when she recalls the first time that her parents fell short of her expectations. She wasn’t trying to throw her parents under the bus. She was simply making the point that everyone is bound to disappoint us at one point or another. However, the greatest disappointment is when our parents first let us down. It’s not until that we are adults that we are realize that our parents are just human and were trying to do their best when raising us.
So to drive the point home, It’s important to recognize the complexity of human nature. It’s important not to harbor hate or judgment towards someone because of his or her life decisions. Everyone is going through life without a road map just like you. Nobody is perfect, including you, so don’t expect perfection (even from yourself). This post feels like a TED talk or therapy session, I’ve been avoiding writing this one for a while but I am glad that it finally came together in my head.
My second guitar cover is finally here! As I’ve mentioned before, Redemption song is very close to my heart. I would listen to it practically every day when I was in high school as I was very obsessed Bob Marley fan back then. In fact, I once had a crush on a guy (who I ended up sharing my first kiss with) but one day he remarked that he didn’t think that Bob Marley wasn’t that great of a singer. As you can imagine, that was the end of that crush. Without further ado, here is my rendition of Redemption song. 🙂 ❤
If you haven’t heard of Diamond Platnumz, you probably haven’t seen that video of Chris Brown dancing to his music or his collab with Ne-Yo. I can 100% say that Diamond is the hottest artist in East Africa right now. What I really like is that he seems to be 100% confident of himself and his culture. I think this video portrays his Tanzanian culture the best. Keep in mind that a lot of people in Tanzanian are Muslim so you might see a bit of that influence in this video.
Flavour is a Nigerian artist who’s also been on the scene for quite a while. I think this is the first video I’ve seen from him that is shot in a village, which is cool in my opinion. I’ve always been obsessed with this song and video since they were firs released. The video shows village life in a positive way including the traditional process of marrying a chief’s son.
DJ Chameleone is one of the first modern artists from Uganda. He is well known for his raspy voice. As many other artists usually do, this video was shot in South Africa (Durban to be exact). I’ve actually been in those exact landmarks as this video was shot near a water park called Ushaka Marine. He does have videos shot in Uganda, if you want to look at those as well on youtube.
I just recently became familiar with Willy Paul’s music. He’s actually a gospel artist but is sort of crossing over to secular music. However, he does mention God in this song when he states “sina mengi ile naweza sema ni asante kwa mwenyenzi mungu” which means “I don’t have much to say other than to say thank you to God”. I love this video because it shows dating culture in Kenya. My theory on why the chick in the video throws juice at home is because he is not romantic ( a lot of Kenyan men have come under fire for this). My theory is further supported by the fact that he makes an effort to be romantic during the rest of the video. This video was shot in Nairobi which is the capital city of Kenya.
Sauti sol’s “sura yako” song is probably their most popular song to date. When I was in kenya in 2014, they were playing it everywhere on the radio, Tv, you name it. After watching them live, I think the band is very talented musically but they could improve their dancing skills. Nevertheless, this is a good video on Kenya’s pre-wedding culture where a man and his posse go to his girlfriend’s village to ask for her hand in marriage. Also, we usually veil the girl and her posse in colorful sarongs known as lesos so that we see that he knows how to identify his woman without seeing her.
If you’re from a country in Africa and I didn’t include a video highlighting your country, please feel free to drop a video link in the comments! 🙂 ❤
My guitar teacher/neighbor challenged me to try song writing as he plays more of his original songs than covers. The catch in songwriting as he told me is that you don’t sit down and say you’re going to write a song. It just comes to you, when you least expect, so aways have a paper or phone at your ready. Another tip he told me is that songs that open with the words me, you, or I are more likely to become hits as the audience can relate to them. With that said, here’s my first song inspired by love and weddings. 🙂 ❤
You told me I was the one you were looking searching yearning for
We performed this dance while on vacation with the family. This dance was dedicated to our parents 29th wedding anniversary which coincided with our vacation. Thanks mom and dad for inspiring us with your love. 🤗❤️
As promised here is the first full video of me playing guitar. I’d like to give a shout out to my next door neighbor for the guitar lessons. I always had the greatest desire to learn how to play guitar from the first time I heard a Bob Marley song (currently working on one so might post that in the future). I recognize this isn’t the best quality video (it looked much better on my phone). Next time I’ll definitely use a real video camera.
Closing words: My journey of learning the guitar has definitely taught me not to limit yourself. As a girl who can barely clap on beat, I thought I could never play an instrument but this goes to show you can do whatever you put your mind to. I hope this inspires you to try something new. 🤗❤️
Disclaimer: these lyrics are not arranged in a hierarchical order. I know how to play four of the songs of the guitar. With that in mind, please guess which song I will perform on video and post on my blog next week. Winner gets to choose one of two Kenyan jewelry pieces or a painting by me (more details to come).
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind – -Bob Marley, Redemption song
Passes things get more comfortable. everything is going right – Gwen Stefani, Cool
I am thinking about that day, it will be just you and I – Flavour ft. Chidinma, Ololufe
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in till I reach the end and then I’ll start again – Shakira, Try everything
Affairs of the heart, together we’ve grown. If ever apart, all I want you to know is your love is life changing – Damian Marley, Affairs of the heart
Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai (translation: I see God in you) – Rab ne bana di jodi movie
Would you love me if I was down and out? Would you still have love for me? – 50 cent, 21 questions
If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change – Michael Jackson, Man in the mirror
And I’m free, free fallin’ – Tom Petty, free fallin though I prefer John Mayer’s version
Keep ya head up, ooh child, things are gonna get easier- Tupac, Keep ya head up
NB: Please remember to leave a comment with your guess of which song I’ll play in my video to be posted next week. Only the first to guess right will get the prize of their choice. 🙂 ❤
If you’ve been to college, you’re probably familiar with the term “thirsty Thursday”. If not, here’s the breakdown: a day where students oppressed by the daily routine of college decide to celebrate the weekend early by consuming a lot of alcohol. I won’t disclose whether I participated or not but I will provide you with a song of my choice if I could participate today. Don’t worry I am over 21 and have just chosen as of a few months ago to stop drinking for good (for financial reasons lol….I prefer shoes over cocktails). Although I was first exposed to alcohol at an appropriate age, I remember being exposed to one of the African songs that glorifies drinking culture in a classy traditional way. Ladies and gentlemen, that song is Umqombothi by Yvonne Chaka Chaka who has since been dubbed as the Princess of Africa.
As you may or may not know, I proclaimed that I would dedicate this week on my blog to all the women who have served as inspirations in my life. Although “thirsty Thursdays can be fun, that’s not what I truly associate Yvonne Chaka Chaka with in my memory. I was first introduced to Chaka Chaka’s music as a young girl (probably less than 9 years old) in Kenya when my dad brought home a video tape (dark ages lol) which was a music collection of Chaka Chaka’s greatest hits. As I think back on that now, I realize that she was the first musician that I had ever seen on our TV. From research (wikipedia *cough* *cough*), I have discovered that she was one of the first Black people to air on TV in South Africa (apartheid *cough* *cough*). She was truly an icon. Even my less than 9 year old self could see how glamorous and confident she was in her videos.
Chaka Chaka represented an African Princess though she was not one by birth rite. In fact, she was raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet with her meager salary as a domestic worker. Her father, a struggling musician, died when she was 11 years old. Therefore, I find it inspiring that Chaka Chaka still decided to pursue music despite the reality of her father’s struggle as a musician and the reality of segregation in South Africa. I think she represents female boldness and perseverance when the odds were against her. Her story shows that success is not determined by where you came from or who your parents are. Instead, success is determined by what you decide to do and how you choose to do it. With that I am reminded of a quote from a CEO that I met at a conference this year. It might be corny but I think it rings true: “If not you, who?” If you don’t pursue that dream you have, who will? If you don’t work hard for what you want, who will do it for you?
I don’t mean to sound like DJ Khaled here but you are the “major key” of your life. Let us seek inspiration from those who have made it so that we may be inspiration for others. With that said, many thanks to you for reading my blog and many thanks to Yvonne Chaka Chaka for blessing our ears with her music.