THE JUICEBOX TOUR


About a year ago, I discovered this baseball cap-wearing, guitar riffing, musical gem who is Mac Ayres - and I was so enamored by his talent that I had to blog about him!

Mac is easily one of my faves, he's one of those artists that brings back the substance that we need in the R&B world. He seems to capture the many phases of life and love through song - and does it so poetically. As a writer/music lover, I aspire to that level of fluency.

He often pays homage to D'Angelo as one of his heavy musical influences and it shows - as his sound if very soulful, smooth and genuine. He found a way to master feel-good music and I cannot get enough of it.

Check out his discography when you have a chance!
Aisle 5 - Atlanta

SEPT-OBER


My oh my, I have been having some serious blogdrawals! Lately, life has been relatively demanding of all my attention, which has left me minimal time to document my happenings.

I've been so consumed with all of the moving pieces of day to day life that my September and October updates have slipped through the cracks. Even so, Sept-ober has been pretty enjoyable. Here's what I was able to capture:

MY TIME IN CHICAGO


I've been wanting to visit Chicago for a while. A couple of years ago, I spent a short time in the Midway airport while on a layover from Ohio - and just the sight of Lake Michigan amongst my window seat made me want to go back and explore the city.

I've done a decent amount of traveling this year, but most of the places that I've been were previously frequented. Hence - my discontentment with monotony was on an all-time high. I was yearning for a place that was new and completely unfamiliar to me - and all of the signs were leading to Chi-Town!

So, on a late September morning, Rahyel and I were packed and ready to roll at 7amish - but little did we know, the Midwest fog was not so ready for us. The weather advisory turned our early morning flight into an afternoon departure - which gave us a whole eight hours of time to kill in Atlanta.

I WAS ANNOYED.



After many hours of phone scrolling, people watching and fleeting naps - at last, we were headed northwest to Illinois.


We landed, gathered luggage and caught a Lyft to the hotel. By the time we were good and settled, dusk was approaching and it was time for dinner. We had set reservations for a fancy-schmancy Italian feast in the city, but lethargy got the best of me. So we opted to order pizza, change into our jammies and take in the stunning city views from the 20th floor.


The next day, we awoke refreshed and ready to hit the streets - and here's a rundown of what we did:
Chicago, IL, USA

BACKGROUND NOISE


Typically my work week starts off fairly slow. I normally make it into the office between 9:30 am - 9:45 am. Sometimes I offer a cheerful "good morning!" to my colleagues, while other times I don't feel like saying anything at all **shrugs** its the introvert in me.

By 10ish, my laptop is unpacked, my voicemails are checked and all three of my inboxes are cleared. I would love to say that I nose-dive into my workload shortly after, but honestly, it takes me a minute to get good and settled into work-mode.

My start is often rocky because I'm scatterbrained. Sometimes I leave my glasses in the car and I have to go all the way downstairs to get them. Sometimes I'll make a cup of tea, only to let it steep until it gets cold. Sometimes I find myself peering out of the window, thinking about everything except all of the work I need to get done.

In case you're wondering, I work for an RPO agency (outsourced recruiting company - i.e. headhunting) and the environment is often very synergetic. We're placed in a classic, call-center setting, so I can literally hear a medley of conversations in the atmosphere at all times - some work-related, and some not so much. Be that as it may, it can be a challenge for me to stay focused at my place of business, on top of my personal attention deficits.

AUGUST


August was notably and unexpectedly productive for me - in more ways than one:

My credit score went back up
I met my quota at work (come onn bonus coins!)
I rearranged and reorganized my room.
Got some writing done...
and travel plans have been secured for September!



Amongst other things:

I took another social media respite and I'm not pressed about getting back on anytime soon.

Oh, and speaking of social...I haven't really been. People can be a lot - and ain't no company like your own!


I communicated...a lot, and I'm so proud of that. I've been setting (and maintaining) healthy boundaries, standing up for myself and the sound of my truth has been resonant. If you only knew how much of a struggle it has been for me to slap some sense into my inner people-pleaser and speak my mind, you'd be quite proud of me too. Hashtag, growth! okay?

Mac Ayres FINALLY released his new album and announced an upcoming tour. (!!!). The album did not fail my expectations and I can't wait to see his show come November.

I went to my favorite ice cream shop in Marietta Square for a banana split. It was devoured before I thought to take a pic - but on the walk back to the car, I viewed some stunning art from Chalktoberfest.


I attended a surprise Sip N' Paint for my friend Danielle's birthday. We sipped on Aldi wine as we stroked our canvasses to the sounds of trap music, and cut up all night. Shoutout to Dani, it was a vibe.


And that was August.


Thanks for reading!

✌❤









UNDERSTANDING



Understanding to me is one of the most beautiful virtues that keep us, humans, together. Personally, I believe that there is no greater comfort than knowing that one's purest intent, is being purely perceived. Having people in your life who are able to unriddle the heart of you (with or without you speaking a word) is a true gift. And it's something that I do not take lightly.

On my own behalf, I look at understanding as a gift - because it's something that we don't have to grant to others, but something that we can willingly offer to them. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes energy and an abundance of patience - but if the capacity; and more importantly, the empathy is afforded to try to look outside of oneself, shut the hell up and shift our vantage points, it's possible to gain true understanding. Simple as that. Or is it?

It's good to be loved, but it's profound to be understood.

COSMIC WIND


This summer, just two weeks after Ari Lennox did what she had to do on her Shea Butter Baby Tour, Lion Babe made a stop in Atlanta to promote their latest album, Cosmic Wind.

Lion Babe is my favorite (maybe only?) R&B, singer-producer duo. If you're not hip to them, give them a listen. They're so dope!
The Loft - Center Stage Theater

NOLA IN PICTURES


Before the floody waters of Barry came and went (thank God) I was in The Big Easy for a few days last month. I frequent New Orleans quite a bit - and although I'm acquainted with the city, it's so jam-packed with such a unique culture that I'll always come back for a visit.

Our weekend trip was made up of walking the streets of The Garden District and French Quarter with hurricanes in tow, brunching at Cafe Amelie, a burlesque show, art, views, and historical sites. Here is a little piece of Nola in pictures:
New Orleans, LA, USA

SHEA BUTTER BABY


Musically, May was so good to me! Every time I turned around, my Spotify app was going off with album release notifications from a lot of my favorite artists. Notably, Ari Lennox.

I was introduced to Ari Lennox a few years ago. My niece was playing her EP, Pho in the house one day and she's been a frequent since then. Over time, she's released a good deal of singles, but they only made me more anxious. I was over singles - I needed an album...(and a headline tour if she could squeeze it in!)
Center Stage Theater - Atlanta, GA

SECOND QUARTER





: a course or series of events that recur regularly and usually lead back to the starting point.

This is life.
It has its way of keeping you humble - and planting your feet to the ground.
Life is a continual rotation of rises and falls.
Between times, it banes you with spells of unfruitfulness and mediocrity.
While other times, the universe blows you a kiss as you make strides in your favor.
You suddenly feel on top of the world - whereas you've taken steps forward.
Only to be knocked three steps back to square one.
Life - this is life.

It's been a while, three months to be exact. As much as I endeavored to capture all of life's moments (in real-time) on this blog - it's not realistic for me. I'm learning that at times, you have to take a step back and process all that life is giving you - and that's where I've been for the second quarter of the year. Working through it.

It's kind of overwhelming to try and pick up where I left off - but I owe it to myself.

April arrived and I was still coasting with the bliss that the former months had bestowed - in hopes that the latter would emulate the past.

I was in a really good (and stable) place - mentally and emotionally. I started going to therapy, I parted ways with my 2nd job to make more room for balance and everything was harmonious.

I was proudly nourishing myself, minding myself and rubbing shea butter over my entire life. Things were great!

DEAR MARCH


As I look back at the past thirty-one days, I had one complaint (damn you, Navient!) - all else was fabulous: my birthday, wanderlust, family & friend time, the brink of Spring and far more!

March started off with a bang...