Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Now Playing|| January 28th

I have always been a fan of J. Cole not that I ever made any effort in the past to listen to all the tracks on his album, I simply just liked what I heard on the radio (aka his singles). He's one of few artists that adds something so raw and real to the Hip Hop industry (something that has drawn me to artists like Lupe Fiasco). I mean, he was one of the few people on such a grand stage that spoke about Ferguson especially in the Hip Hop and R&B world.

In a society that is now constantly inundated with music about money, violence, drugs and women, it's nice to refresh by listening to someone like J. Cole. I mean don't get me wrong sometimes the dreamy beats of songs like "I Don't Mind" are to hard to resist as Usher proclaims to our generation that he wouldn't mind dating a stripper. 

With all the hype J. Cole's album has been getting I decided to listen to 2014 Forest Hills Drive and I invite you to listen along as I share some of my favorites. 

Each song on this album is connected together to tell one story about how J. Cole left his childhood home in North Carolina (hence, the title 2014 Forest Hills Drive) to pursue his dream of becoming a musician in NYC (where he also went to college). In no particular order, here are some of my favorite songs off the album:

There's something very irresistible about a person with so much money that chooses to ride a bike through NYC like an ordinary person instead of sitting in the backseat of Mercedes as his driver makes the twists and turns around the city trying to avoid car scratch marks from crazy taxi drivers with his shades on and the dimmed windows of the car up. To summarize all of that in one, J. Cole is such a humble individual and this is easily represented in this video.

As the introduction to his album, in a pained voice, J. Cole croons how he's come very far aka his dreams have come true (the journey wasn't an easy one)

Look how far I done came
They say that dreams come true
And when they do that there's a beautiful thing

Part of the reason why this was published today is because today is January 28th (get it?). J. Cole titled the song after his birthday, which is today.  In this song, he alludes to the events in Ferguson and issues in the black community. He also uses this song to announce his arrival-letting the world know that he's here. 

Like show me New York's ladder
I climb it and set the bar so high that you gotta get Obama to force the air force to find it
Never mind it, you'll never reach that

With a sea-blue moody visual, J. Cole reflects on the rap industry and gives some insight to how he was sometimes limited creatively. He also talks about how the industry has affected his relationship with his family and friends.

Aim for the stars and I shouldn't have missed
But I was riding on fumes so I stopped by the moon
Now I'm sitting on the hood of this
Like thanks for the view

This is the last song on J. Cole's album and it's my favorite song off his album! With this song, J. Cole comes to a point in his life where he can reflect.

He reflects on his journey to success and comes back home because he realizes that love will always be more important than success. He returns to 2014 Forest Hills Drive (I assume) back to his family and loved ones and emphasizes how important it is to love yourz because the limelight (which is far from how great it seems to be) is nothing without being able to share it with those most important people in your life. 

It's beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success
Hear my words or listen to my signal of distress
I grew up in the city and though some times we had less
Compared to some of my friends down the block man we were blessed

I appreciate J. Cole's ability to pour his soul into his music, talks about important topics, introspective and lyrically amazing. Every bar has emotion. He has clearly mastered the art of wordplay and always has a story to tell whether it's about his own life or others and what they go through. He's genuine and relatable, but most importantly he is real and the closest we'll probably every be to the old Hip Hop.

Have you listened to 2014 Forest Hills Drive? Which song is your favorite?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Primark #SS15

Pastels, prints, metallics and more are all what make up Primark’s Spring-Summer 2015 collection.  I am far from an avid follower of fashion campaigns, but when it came to Primark's collection, it was too good to resist.

All the summer bright colors, geometric shapes, florals, holographics are making me anticipate the summer even more now. And this is coming from a girl who shops for summer clothes year-round.

Ah, it's honestly too hard to describe Primark's new reveal in one word, so please excuse the use of all these adjectives, but there is no other way to describe this is a mix of electrifying limes, fuchsias and citrus with delicate pastels, whites for balance and a free-spirited boho theme. If you don’t mind making a statement (which I'm all for), these clever cuts, bright colors and standout prints are definitely for you. Mix and match items from the collection or bring your own twist for a hot casual day out or for a party on breezy-summer night. 

If I could get my hands on this long sleeveless cardigan, I would pair it with high-waisted jeans, navy-gold wedges, a print crop top, light-colored distressed denim jeans and a gold watch to top it off. 

P.S. I have to admit I'm love with the collection as much as I'm in love with the lip color of the models.

I'm a lover of all things lace, so when it came to this crochet lace crop top I couldn't resist. Primark's gold-chained tropical clutch would also make its way into my shopping bag. I would pair it with brassy pointed-toe flats, a royal purple mermaid skirt and a brassy necklace.

The only downside to this collection is that Primark is a UK store. But, a fellow blogger told me that Primark would be making its debut in America by opening a store in Boston. If anyone asked me, I’d say a Soho corner would be even more fitting for their debut in America. But, if they remain true to Boston, a 4-hour trip to Primark might just be worth it.

Until then, I’ll have to stick to Topshop, Forever 21, H&M and the like. 

What's your favorite item from this Primark's collection?

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Fresher Than You

To be honest, we probably don't care about Chris Brown thinks looks good on women 
*Feminists back away and Team Breezy comes in for the attack*
But what can I say? There is definitely some substance in this (are you happy with me again Team Breezy?). 

It seems the only way to be up in the secret society of the "in" crowd within the fashion industry is to literally be up on 6-inch stilts. But if you're like me it just may be time for us to create our own secret society because there's nothing else that can possibly explain why a few weeks ago I set my alarm at a time I am unwilling to disclose for a pair of sneakers. But, wait they weren't just any sneakers, they were the.... wait for it, wait for it... Jordan Retro 11 "Legend Blue" sneakers.

Barely awake, I squinted at the gleam of my laptop screen in the dark room, only to find a screen saying that the website was over capacity and the website would refresh when there were less people on. I didn’t realize how popular the sneakers would be and reluctant to wait for the website to refresh, I shut my laptop and went back to sleep. I was tired, man. With as much effort that I placed on securing those sneakers (very little, but it interrupted my beauty sleep, so a lot), you can imagine my reaction when my friend insulted my love of sneakers.

After final weeks, my friend and I decided to delve into a 2-3 hour conversation when we came into the topic of change and high school gossip. But, somehow we ended up at "yea you and those stupid sneakers" wait PAUSE. 

What? Now rewind. Sneakers were one of the main things you had to keep up with in high school. You see I went to one of those urban schools where in order to fit in you had to keep up. Keep up with the latest trends, brand names, etc. At this point in life, I am over this keep up phase, but I'm pretty we've all been there at some point. But still sneakers are not "stupid." Sneakers are very versatile and they can make for great investments.

Here are a few ways you can ditch the stilts and still make a statement:

You know those nights when you finally have time to have fun- when the club goes up on Tuesday? You shouldn't worry about holding your shoes in your hands and taking a cab to get home because of your sore, aching feet at the end of the night.

This one has to be my favorite because as a college student, I guess it resonates with me the most. With a look like this you're guaranteed to stand out against the thousands of students in your school.

Leave you Louboutins at home because those city sidewalk cracks are no place for your heels. You can wear this to work (depending on your job's dress code).

Sneakers are usually associated with casual wear, so there was no way I could leave this out. 

How would you style a pair of sneakers? Let me know which look is your favorite.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Renew, Refresh & Repeat

See, I get it. You think this is another one of those new year, new me things. Okay, I guess I might as well admit it to you. As you keep on reading you'll see that it is...NOT another one of those new year, new me things. It's a little too late in the game for that now. I mean how can I honestly change ME- me meaning the experiences I've had over the 19 year period of my life within the span of 1 year. Okay, it's not impossible, but it's definitely going to take more than a year to change you as a being unless you were not born too long ago- then I guess that could change things a bit.

I'm so over New Year's Resolutions. I've made too many promises to myself for the new year that have been left unaccomplished. But come on, haven't we all? And I've realized with me it seems as if every time the year ends and goals have been unaccomplished, it's time to give up. It's like I've failed myself and society. But something I've noticed myself doing is setting the same resolution for the next year again. That's why I no longer consider them resolutions, but instead goals & dreams not only for the year for the long term (or even the short term because it shouldn't take years for me to get around to reorganizing my closet, but then just might).

There's nothing wrong with not accomplishing your resolutions for the previous year as long as you continue working towards it. So allow me to reintroduce myself with some of my goals and dreams:

1. Learn how to code- HTML & CSS

<!DOCTYPE html>
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

Hahaha. You probably didn't even understand what any of that meant. Let's be real...I didn't either, but don't worry I'm getting there. Before you know it, I'll be throwing codes at you left and right.

2. Clean Out & Organize my Closet

Okay. This one is urgent. I have a huge weakness for sales, my unique thrift finds and cute things in general. It has gotten to the point where my closet has expanded beyond its maximum capacity. And please keep in mind, I also dorm so the other half of my closet is not even at home. 

My goal is to fit everything in my closet and organize it because let's face it when I decide to dig a little deeper within my closet than I usually do (I just usually take whatever clothes are on the top) I always discover a new piece of clothing that I didn't recall even purchasing. I know it's bad. But, don't worry I've ordered some storage bins and a clothing rack. So I'll be able to keep my closet organized and neat for at least a few days.

3. Open up an online shop. This is pretty self-explanatory. It's always something I've wanted to do- fill up an online shop with curated fashion finds by the one and only moi!

4. Work Out & Get My Abs Back 
I know what you're thinking like come on! Isn't this everyone's goal for the new year? Get back in shape and go to the gym more often, but by the second week of the new year, this is another forgotten resolution. I'm not gonna lie to you, it is.

5. Gain Some Healthy Weight. Again I know what you're thinking this is a total contradiction to that (the above). But guess what, just because you're slim, it doesn't mean you're fit. I miss the days when I could do ten push ups (whew! such a workout). But seriously, I need to eat healthier and pack on just a little more pounds.

6. Cook & Bake!
Last year, you would've never found me in a kitchen, but these days something has changed. I love baking and when I'm hungry I love looking for new recipes to try instead of just eating the food already in the fridge. I would like to do this more often and learn more African recipes.

7. Shop less. Like I said above. I have a weakness for sales, my fancy thrift finds and all cute things. Shopping less would definitely solve my closet problem and is probably the right prescription for the pain I feel when I look at my bank account statements.

8. Travel!
I don't travel much especially during the summer I usually stick to the 5 block radius surrounding my house (okay maybe that's a little too extreme, but I usually stay in New York). This summer, my goal is to go to France and California! Once again, I know what you're thinking (you should just call me a psychic at this point). What big dreams you have, Aissatou? As if you're really going to go from the 5 block radius around your house to another country completely and to the other side of the country. God-willing it will happen. California has always been a dream for me, more than France. I know crazy right? But these are my dreams and goals and I will do what I can to make them happen.

What are your dreams and goals? More importantly, do you have a game plan to achieve them?

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