Hot girl summer has been a trendy term since 2019, made famous by the rapper Megan Thee Stallion. However, for us ladies who love bookstores, rom-coms, a bottle of bubbly or wine, and all things nerdy, I decided to make a fun list of essential things for an intellectual girl to have an unforgettable summer.
Find a beautiful bookstore or library. Try a vintage bookstore or an independently own bookstore; here you will find some classics and treasures.
Watch Black & White Movies. I love black and white movies like Casablanca, It Happened One Night, Sunset Blvd & many more.
Shop at a thrift store, vintage consignment shop, or boutique to find unique pieces to put in your wardrobe.
Read your favorite genre, whether romance, thrillers, or suspense.
Go out in nature or sit at your local park & connect with God’s creation.
Create a fun playlist with all of your favorite music.
The summer is a time to bask in the glow of slowing down, finding your rhythm, and diving into the routine of stillness. However, we find ourselves encumber with an extensive to-do list, places to go, and itineraries to accomplish every summer. However, when we decide to take a different route by slowing down and infusing ourselves in the present moment, it is in this instance we can enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing.
An Italian term, il dolce far niente, is translated into the meaning of the sweetness of doing nothing. Doing nothing requires us to be still and detach ourselves from the concept of mindless busyness. However, in America, we are brainwashed into believing our worth is connected to how hard we work, and our busyness equates to productivity. Recently, I have realized that slowing down has helped me become more productive. Also, I have discovered doing nothing is practical too.
This summer, I began to embrace an idea of a slow summer, with no agendas, no rushing, no plans, and accepting stillness. When my daughter was out of school every summer, we would plan our family trips and travel. But since she graduated, things have changed. A month ago, I told her we could make a down south road trip, and instead of anticipating her excitement, she declined the offer. At first, I was frustrated because it was routine for us to take summer trips, but I had to understand she was no longer in high school and her priorities had shifted. And so she suggested I take a summer trip by myself, and for the first time, I accepted the idea of asking myself what I desired to do for the summer?
Slowing down has become a new lifestyle for me that has been fun to implement. The slow living movement started in the 1980s with Carlo Petrini in Italy with the concept of the slow food movement. And now, in the United States, people are jumping on to this trend for a slower life. With the onset of the pandemic, people have felt exhausted in their careers and opted for a more sustainable and slow life.
Below are three key ways you can embrace summer’s slowness and enjoy the moment’s stillness.
Say No to Overwhelm & Say Yes to what you want to do. When you say no to things you don’t enjoy, it makes room for what you really desire to do.
It’s Okay To Do Nothing. Doing nothing is a form of productivity too.
Be Still. It is easy to be busy but being intentional in getting away from the noise takes practice.
If you glance in Webster’s dictionary, the term strong is defined as the capacity for exertion or endurance. When you state that someone is strong, it is often received as a proud statement or a compliment; however, over the last couple of years, African American women are choosing to redefine their strength.
When I was growing up my mom always would say that she was raising me to be a strong black woman and I didn’t realize later in my life I would loathe the term of “being a strong black woman”. As I begin to grow into my womanhood I embrace being a strong black woman and it became a badge of honor. Friends and family would be in awe of how strong I was when I went through traumatic challenges in my life. But it became a strain to carry the weight when everyone depended on me to be this superwoman. I became angry and hurt because I wasn’t asked about my well-being. I felt like people assumed I was doing well because I held on to being “a strong black woman.”
In 2018 after hitting burnout, I decided to slowly unravel the strong woman persona and release myself from the superwoman black girl syndrome. While saving everyone else, I didn’t realize I needed to save myself. Now in this new revolution of women taking back their power, making their voices heard, and standing up for their rights, we are redefining terms that have crippled our growth to become limitless.
Below are a couple of ways you can redefine the strong black woman dynamics:
Ask For Help. If you need help, reach out to someone. Needing help doesn’t mean you are weak, but it means you are brave enough to trust someone with your vulnerability.
You don’t have to be the strong one. If you are the only person in your group where everyone comes to you for strength, then find another circle. However, if you find that you like being the person everyone depends on, there may be deeper issues where seeking therapy is necessary.
It’s okay to say you don’t know. People may identify you as a strong black woman because you seem to be the expert on everyone’s problems. It is okay to tell others that you don’t have the answer and for them to seek professional advice or help for their issues.
Create a new narrative about “the strong black woman.” It is up to us to create new stories about a black women.
Representation. You are your best representative as a person so make sure you are expressing yourself the way you want others to see you. (Think of adjectives beyond strong to describe yourself).
Before you can understand how beautiful, complex and intricate you are first you have to break open all those lies you have believed about yourself.
When was the last time you believed positive things about yourself and had someone affirm those positive things?
Lately, I have been reflecting on the painful words people spoke about me. And the saddest part is I started to believe the lies about how other people saw me. I began to see myself in the image of others’ opinions, manipulative comments, and misconceptions.
However, I realized it was generating self-hate. I began to believe that I was not enough or not worthy of good things. I was starting to settle for friendships, relationships, and living a life beneath my standards.
Recently, I had an epiphany about how I was not seeing myself in a clear light, the way God saw me, and the person I am. I knew it was time to let go of the lies, toxic thoughts, and self-hate. Before starting this royal process, I knew digging up unhealthy beliefs was the first step to seeing my royal image.
Before starting your royal journey, here are a few things to start your process.
Write a list of ten negative things people have said about you and circle all the ones you start to believe about yourself.
Now make a list of ten good things you think about yourself.
Ask this question: Are the adverse/toxic people still in your life who said negative things? If so, then why are they in your life? (journal your answer)
Another question: How can you disconnect from people who make you feel bad about yourself? (journal your answer)
Ways you can rebuild your self-confidence/self-esteem & self-image:
Personal Development (books, find supportive communities, join memberships/clubs that foster your enjoyment & passions)
If so, maybe it is time to revive your mind, body, and soul. Often we let days, months, and years pass before we decide to reconnect with our inner being. And we find ourselves out of alignment after feeling the pangs of overwhelm, stress, or burnout. Life can feel rough, leading to dead ends and taking us off the path we desire to go. However, reconnecting to the spirit within can lead us to a road of fulfillment to get back on track.
In the last five months, my life has felt out of balance. Somewhere between relocating, dealing with unnecessary drama, and settling in a new place has made me feel abnormal. However, last week was the first time I felt like my life was taking a turn in a positive direction. The positive direction was a sign of everything calming down in my life. And I began to realize how reestablishing self-care routines, spending alone time, and creating a schedule for well-being is vital.
When we take a daily inventory of our emotions, we will bring awareness back to ourselves—spending more time reconnecting and disconnecting from things that disrupt us from living a well-balanced life.
Below are three powerful ways you get back in alignment, find fulfullment and honor your soul within.
Put Yourself First. This new self-care movement has everyone finding ways to fill up their cup, but surface self-care isn’t enough. When you are intentional about asking specific questions to gain clarity, you will find that putting your needs (mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.) first will assist in moving in the direction of alignment.
Go M.I.A. It is okay to disappear and not feel like you need to be in the midst of everything. When you take the time to regroup, it allows you to see things from a better perspective.
Slow Down. When our life is disoriented taking time to slow down can guide us back to our place of fulfillment.
If you desire to reconnect with your mind, body & soul check out myfree ebookon creating a self-care plan.
It is never easy to have a life filled with challenges, losses, and heartbreak. However, you get to decide how you want your life to be and feel each day. Each moment, you have to be willing to let go of the past and create a future that aligns with the person you desire to be. And who you choose to be is specifically up to what you are willing to invest in yourself.
Thirteen years ago, my life was on a rollercoaster of ups and downs where feeling vibrant and happy was buried underneath heaviness. The heaviness came from the death of losing my two-year-old daughter, losing friendships, and eventually not recognizing myself. Despite the struggles, I knew I had a choice to allow the pain to define me or find joy in the pain. After different processes and inner healing, I decided to let go of the struggle and embrace ease amid challenges.
We know that life doesn’t always look or feel like a wonderland, but a life of luxury can happen if we implement moments of pleasure and ease. If you look up the word luxury, it is defined as the state of great comfort and extravagant living. How can you live comfortably or extravagantly when things are falling apart? First, you have to be willing to change your perspective and give up the concept that struggling is a way of life.
Lately, I have been researching a “soft” life movement. According to the urban dictionary, a soft life is making stress-free decisions and choices that will align with your peace of mind. And now is the time to embrace the luxury of a gentler life even when challenges arise.
Here are a couple of ways to live a soft luxurious life without breaking the bank.
Create Luxurious Moments.
Every day, add a little luxury to your day:
Reading your favorite book for fifteen minutes
Taking a short walk in nature
Sitting in complete silence
Luxury is a state of mind, not money.
2. Prioritize Your Peace. Make up in your mind that your peace is non-negotiable and eliminate anything that disturbs your peace (people & environments).
3. Embrace Ease. Everything doesn’t have to be complicated or a struggle, so make better decisions that will help you save time and money and be at peace.
4. Flow Into Your Feminine Energy. It is essential to tap into the power that your feminine essence holds, whether slowing down, listening to music, or creating movement in your body; these things will help you become rooted in your feminine power.
5. Release The Past & Embrace The Future. Be willing to let go of the past version of yourself to tap into your future self.
The words vibe, energy, and spirit are synonymous terms used to describe our inner being. Our internal self is comprised of our heart, spirit and soul. It is vital to create our inner being to attract the things meant for us. However, many of us look externally to get the things we need, whether trying to find happiness, love, acceptance, and peace in a person, place, or thing. We set ourselves up for mental and emotional disaster when we seek outside validation.
The world we live in glorifies the external successes, gains, and materials, but inside, we may fail to love ourselves, accept, and feel worthy. I have learned throughout my life that nothing externally can fulfill me until I look within myself. Yes, we all look for external validation from other’s to feel accepted, but immense acceptance is loving yourself and the life you create. This year I have concluded that liking myself and loving what I do is the ultimate success; everyone else enjoying my presence is a bonus. I have become comfortable with accepting others’ rejection of me. Overall, self-acceptance is a goal that we all should strive for to perfect within ourselves.
Below are three ways to help you vibrate higher to attract the people, places, and things you desire in your life by healing internally.
It AllStarts With You. When we work on ourselves we become in tune with what changes can be made.
Implement New Things. Surround yourself with new people and environments to match you spiritually as well as energetically. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Give Yourself & Others Space. In life, we will outgrow others, and they will outgrow us. When we give ourselves the space and grace to let go of people who have expired in our lives, we make room for new opportunities.
Spring is the perfect time to take inventory and declutter your life. However, we often limit spring cleaning to our home and disregard utilizing the same methods to spring clean our mind, body, and soul. Lately, I realize how important it is to declutter my emotions, plug into a healthy emotional state, and let go of the toxicity.
The last couple of months of my life has been emotionally draining, and I’m ready to take my power back. I spent the last three months living with someone during my relocation journey, which affected my emotional state. When you are unaware of others’ toxic behaviors, it can cause emotional distress. Emotional distress can cause anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, and much more. It is vital to take inventory of how you feel, identify your feelings, and find solutions to foster emotional well-being.
Emotional self-care sets the foundation for handling your mental capacity to deal with daily challenges in life. I decided to implement self-love, self-compassion, and self-kindness as essential points to overcome emotional meltdowns. Overall, taking care of yourself should always be on your daily agenda.
Below are a couple of ways to spring clean your emotions to relinquish the unhealthy emotional roller coasters in your life.
Identify how you feel. When you are honest about how you feel you will be able to work through every emotion even the uncomfortable ones. (Journal how you feel about an issue or situation and list the emotions that resonate with you.)
Treat yourself with kindness. It is vital to not to judge how you feel but be kind to yourself & give yourself time to process each emotion.
Release the emotional baggage. After you go through your process take time to let go of the toxic people, things & environment that contribute to your emotional roller-coaster.
It never feels good to feel discomfort, uneasiness or being out of your comfort zone; however, to soar to new levels in your life, you have to be willing to trek through the growing pains. Growing pains often stretch your capacity, build character and force you to face the uncomfortable. The biggest lesson I have learned is that growing pains is vital to your evolution. For example, I decided to stay with a friend after relocating, but the transition was challenging because my daughter and I gave up our privacy and personal space. And it was eye-opening because it revealed why living with friends can sometimes create pressure within the relationship. Overall, the journey made us stronger, wiser, and better along the way.
When life is challenging, it causes us to grow to a deeper level in our lives. We are encouraged to become a better version of ourselves. I believe growth happens when we take a leap of faith and decide to leave our comfort zones. Although my journey has come with stress, wins, and aha moments, I realize I would not be where I am today. Growing pains are never easy, but they are worth the evolution you experience mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Below are some tips you can apply to help you use your life challenges as stepping stones to an upgraded and elevated life.
Be kind to yourself during the process. Sometimes the way we desire our life to transpire isn’t the way we experience it, so it is essential to be kind to yourself when life is not kind to you.
Have Faith. Faith is having an unshakable trust and confidence in the intangible. When you exercise you faith in adverse situations it gives you the strength to move forward even when it is hard.
Be better, not bitter. It is easy to be upset when people, things & circumstances are against you, but it is better to take every bad life experience as a lesson to create a more assertive character within yourself.
Detach Yourself. Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from people, environments, and situations that stunt our growth, contaminate our peace of mind, and violate our mental health. Detachment is a form of self-love.
Evolve to Elevate. To upgrade your life, you have to be willing to evolve through all the hurt, pain, and joy that motivates you to become an extraordinary version of yourself.
Everyone wants to be happy, yet they find themselves aimlessly looking for happiness. Happiness is not attached to a specific person, place, or thing, but lasting joy is in your daily choices. Happiness is not attached to a specific person, place, or thing, but lasting happiness is a daily choice that is made.
In the last four months of last year, I spent my life jumping the broom of my comfort zone & skydiving into living a life that made me happy, and the results have been inspiring. I spent thirteen years suppressing my happiness and living in a place I didn’t enjoy. Once my daughter graduated in 2020, I felt like my life was at a crossroads.
So at the end of Sept 2021, I decided to sell my home, take a 4-month road trip with my daughter, and live vicariously. And now I can honestly say I found the me that was lost behind grief, anger, and feelings of unworthiness. As I began my journey of inner fulfillment, I have learned that my choices are not contingent on others’ opinions but on godly guidance and personal desires.
Once you identify a clearer picture of your life’s happiness, then you can reevaluate the path you wish to take to obtain a joyful life. I have become a firm believer that everyone deserves to live a life filled with possibilities, exciting expectations, and opportunities. People who fear living a life true to their happiness will fall into following the crowd.
Below are a few tips to help you unlock the door to your happiness on your terms!
Tip #1: Define your life happiness. Everyone has their own visual perception of what life they desire to live. Make sure you visualize the life you want and then take time to define your life’s happiness.
Tip#2: Reevaluate your environment: Your environment plays a significant role in how your happiness will be destructive or constructive. If your environment drains your joy, it may be time to relocate.
Tip#3: Reevaluate the people: In your journey, you have to be willing to subtract people who put strain or stress on your positive development. It is not meant to allow everyone in your space. When you remove relationships that are not conducive to your growth, it helps you move in the direction of happiness quicker.
Tip#4: Exist outside your comfort zone: Nothing great can ever be developed in your comfort zone. Be willing to take chances and risk to stretch yourself. You never know what could make you happy if you are never willing to give it a try.
Tip 5# Take back your key & open the door. Do not let anyone disturb your peace or steal your joy. When you allow other’s indirect or direct behaviors to influence your happiness, you subconsciously give them the key. Your life happiness should not be contingent on what people do or do not do for you.
Be bold enough to take back the key & unlock the door to your happiness!