Book Review: I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual

Image result for i'm judging youGood Morning! After a great weekend of hanging out with friends, I am ready to get back to blogging. As a certified book junkie, I wanted to start sharing my opinions on books that have resonated with me. I read a lot of romance/mystery/drama books but books that are funny, relatable and give valuable lessons and insights are few and far in between. That’s why I was so excited to read I am Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by blogger/digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi.

I started following Luvvie on Instagram (@luvvie) and her blog AwesomelyLuvvie.com and loved her wit and humor especially as it relates to pop culture, social media and everything in between. I knew I had to read her book and see what the “side-eye sorceress” had to say in greater detail. Even though the internet has connected all of us so we can stay in the loop,  it’s very refreshing to disconnect from the world for a bit and sit down with a good book in your hand (or iPad in my case!) and Luvvie’s book did not disappoint. Some of the memorable parts of the book for me were when she spoke about the “Dinner Scrooges” who make eating out an issue, the different types of friends that you most likely have in your circle (I am a former Flake so that paragraph hit me hard lol ) or the “promise ring” relationships that never seem to last! Even though I only know Luvvie through social media, I feel like she could definitely be one of my friends that would fit right in my inner circle. She would be the one who would make you laugh until you cry, be there to support and uplift you at your lowest points and would tell it like it is even if you don’t wanna hear it! Her “judgment” comes from a place of love and concern (and a bit of self-entertainment too) and as much as she can critique about what’s wrong with the world, she admits that she isn’t perfect and is still figuring this thing called life out (and doing a great job of it by the way!)

I assumed by the title that Luvvie was going to be somewhat preachy and although I do like reading books from experts in their respective fields, sometimes I just wanna laugh and nod my head in agreement without feeling personally targeted.  I’m Judging You does just that while slipping in a lot of gems in between. Luvvie has taught me that it’s okay not to put every moment your personal life on display on social media, (I was never really guilty of that but her words confirmed what I already believed) that there is no one way to live your life to be considered a feminist (thought I was going to have to start making picket signs and put empowering quotes by women in all of my sm bios lol) and most importantly, that we need to be aware of the specific privileges in our lives and help others who are oppressed in whatever way we can. That lesson stuck out because so many of us feel like victims of our own circumstances and feel that we can’t contribute unless it’s some grand gesture. Luvvie makes it clear that by speaking out on the behalf of others who are oppressed can mean a lot and by living your life as a person who tries their best to be a good person and bring positivity to others can be very impactful. I choose to help other women by sharing my stories and experiences to connect with others who may be going through something similar. I believe that together, we can make magic happen and I feel that Luvvie would definitely approve 😉

I don’t do ratings or anything like that but I’m Judging You is the equivalent of jollof rice for the soul (I’ve never had it but Luvvie is OBSESSED with it and I know my Ghanaian/Nigerian friends and readers would agree!) and its a recommended read for anyone who is in need of straight talk laced with laughter and encouragement. Now all I’m waiting for is for Luvvie to write her next book “I’m Doing Better, Now What?” and I’ll be all set!

If you’ve read I’m Judging You, let me know what you think in the comments section below and if you have any other books you would recommend to me, share those as well! Until the next time I post again, always remember to love and live luxuriously!

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Black Panther Review *Spoilers Included*

Good Morning everyone! I know its been close to two months but I’ve been working on my side hustle “Amore Luxe Media” that I will be discussing within the next few days. Working on that project has taken up most of my time but I said in my last post that I would start posting more content so I’m gonna do better in 2018 I promise! I figured I’d start this year on a high note and what better way to do that than to discuss the year’s most anticipated movie. I am talking about Black Panther of course! I have been dying to see this movie for over a year now and when it was released in theaters 10 days ago, I made sure that I had the perfect seats and that I purchased 3D tickets because I had to experience Wakanda in all its glory and  I am very happy with my decision.  Black Panther was such an amazing film that I ended up seeing it a second time. I wanted to wait at least a week to discuss my favorite parts but I couldn’t wait any longer so if you haven’t seen it, close this tab now because I’m about to tell it all or at least the best parts lmao

 

spoiler alert

First off Wakanda is such a beautiful world.The mountains and waterfalls are what dreams are made of! I wish it was a real place so I could save my coins to go visit! The only thing that competed with the scenery were the people. I loved the different tribes that were represented and their attire and I enjoyed knowing that the beautiful people on the screen with their rich brown skin were being portrayed in a positive light and were a part of the most advanced nation in the WORLD! Now when have Black people ever been associated with anything remotely close to that level of magnificence in mainstream media???NEVER that’s what but seeing them reminded me of how great we are and showed the rest of the word that there is more to Black culture than slaves, maids and gangsters. The fact that the rest of the world underestimated the power and intelligence of Wakanda and thought it was just another third world country made it even better.I like being seen as the underdog because people will never see what’s coming when you finally decide to showcase your talents and abilities!

love their brother/sister relationship…couldn’t find the “What are those?!?” gif so I settled for this one lol

Now onto my fave characters: Princess Shuri is absolutely amazing! She was my favorite character because she was intelligent, witty and funny and black girls usually aren’t portrayed as such in mainstream media. She brought out the playful side of T’Challa who is normally very serious and stoic and made him more likable. She saved the CIA agent’s life (while reminding him that he was a colonizer lol) and ended up being his boss sort of speak when its usually the other way around in most movies. She had heart and hella jokes and even though I’ve never read the comic books, I’m sure Letitia Wright did the character justice.

Now my second fave character is a toss up between Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) Okoye is the definition of a strong, fierce, loyal bad ass woman. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and she didn’t succumb to a man because of love and valued loyalty and honor above all else. And she’s an amazing fighter and dare I say it, better than Black Panther when it comes to pure martial art like skills! I bet he couldn’t beat her without his suit on…I would put money on it :p Now as far as Killmonger goes, this was some of Michael B. Jordan’s best work yet. I was never impressed with him as an actor but he really committed himself to this role and I loved his fire and passion even though Killmonger’s approach was all wrong. The line at the end where he said “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ‘cause they knew death was better than bondage.” was so profound and prolific all I could do was say “Damn!” Like even while dying, he still remained true to himself and his beliefs and I respect that. M’Baku who was the leader of the Jabari tribe was funny too and really came through in the end as far as saving T’Challa’s life and protecting the throne. T’Challa/Black Panther and Nakia were good too and their relationship was kinda cute but they didn’t stand out as much as I thought they would…there’s always hope for more character development in   the sequel fingers crossed

Okoye in all of her fierceness/badassery!

Okay so I have to talk about the bomb that was dropped on us courtesy of Sterling K. Brown (Randall from This is Us). Now I knew that Sterling was in the movie but I didn’t realize that he would play such a pivotal role as King T’Challa’s uncle Prince N’Jobu. We find out towards the middle of the movie that N’Jobu was killed by T’Challa’s father T’Chaka,  the former king who died in Captain America: Civil War (I only watched the scenes with Black Panther’s character so I could understand the back story better lol). That was crazy enough but then we find out that the “villain” Killmonger is actually N’Jobu’s son who was abandoned so that T’Challa’s father’s secret wouldn’t be discovered…Mind Blown! That made the plot so much more interesting because it went from brother vs. brother to cousin vs. cousin and two points of view as far as how to advance as a nation. T’Challa believed in isolation as a way to protect Wakanda and its people and Killmonger believed in killing and conquering to help Black people who are struggling around the world. Killmonger’s passion along with Nakia’s reasoning influenced T’Challa to abandon the traditional way of thinking and share Wakanda’s resources with the rest of the world. Looking forward to seeing a sequel (if I keep putting it out in the universe, I can will it to happen lol) and how the world responds to the fact that Wakanda is so much more than what it appeared to be.

Killmonger was militant and violent but I still emphasized with him…crazy right!

I hope that seeing a Black Superhero with a majority black cast will show Hollywood that Black led films do well in the states as well as internationally. Black Panther has broken all kinds of records and has grossed more than 500 million worldwide in a weeks time. Now if that isn’t showing how much the world (not just the black people in it) wants to see diversity on their screens, I don’t know what else can be done. I also look forward to seeing what Ryan Coogler (the director of Black Panther) has up his sleeve because he has shown himself to be an amazing director and visionary so I know this is only the beginning for him!

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below:)

Stay tuned for my “Amore Luxe Media” announcement and always remember to love and live luxuriously!

Selma Movie Review

Good Morning! I wanted to wait until “Selma” was released nationwide tomorrow (January 9th) but after seeing a preview for it for the millionth time on tv, I took it as a sign to give an early review so I could persuade everyone to go out and see it on Friday. I had the opportunity to see the movie right before Christmas at an advanced screening of it in NYC courtesy of http://www.gofobo.com. I knew I was going to love the movie because I am a Civil Rights History buff. When I was younger, I used to read  anything related to the Civil Rights Movement so I was familiar with “Bloody Sunday” and the importance of that moment in history but I didn’t realize how strategic the “non-violent” approach really was in the grand scheme of things. In “Selma”  the viewer is able to see how being non-violent played into the hearts and minds of the public by way of the media. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to show the pain and suffering of African-Americans in Selma and the south by showing that voting isn’t a privilege but a basic human right and being denied those rights is not only illegal but immoral.

I also loved how the director, Ava DuVernay (who is the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe award and hopefully Oscar) approached many of the scenes, in particular, the “Bloody Sunday” scene. The phrase that comes to mind after viewing that scene  is “tragically beautiful” because of all the emotions that occurred in those brutal moments. You could feel hate from their oppressors and mental strength and resilience from the marchers. It is so crazy to realize that all of this actually happened only 50 years ago. We have come a long way but as recent  event such as Ferguson and Eric Garner have  shown, we still have a very long way ago. “Selma” is coming out at an ideal time because we all can learn from the past to make sure that we handle current racial issues in a strategic way to see real progress.

I think that David Oyelowo (the actor who played MLK Jr.) did an amazing job showing the different facets of MLK.  He showed MLK as a funny, down to earth person who even in his greatest moments had imperfections and indiscretions like everyone else. I was really impressed with the fact that he was British because being able to capture the voice and overall essence of someone as well-known as Martin Luther King Jr. is not an easy task. I am sure he will be nominated for an Oscar for his role as well!

Make sure you go out and see “Selma” in theaters tomorrow and come back to the comments section and let me know what you thought of it! Can’t wait to read your replies!

 

Love and live luxuriously!

Mary J. Blige “The London Sessions” Album Review

I couldn’t wait to sign on here and blog about Mary J. Blige’s latest album “The London Sessions”(hence why I am posting this at 9am lol) I have watched various interviews that she has done in the past couple of months leading to her album release and have been slightly intrigued. I was curious to hear the “different direction” she decided to go in this time around after being influenced by the sounds and artists coming out of London but I was skeptical that this album would sound any different from her earlier ones. Mary is always consistent when it comes to making songs about heartache and resiliency but I figured that the album would have a couple of upbeat tracks like she has done in the past with “Family Affair” and “Just Fine” but the rest would be songs about getting through heartbreak, finding strength from within and loving yourself over soulful R&B tracks. After listening to the album however, I was pleasantly surprised. Mary J. Blige took a chance and tried something completely out of the norm for her by working with UK mega producers such as Disclosure and Naughty Boy and having popular UK artists such as Sam Smith and Emeli Sande co-write on tracks. The result is something I like to call “electrosoul”. The majority of the tracks have a electro dance vibe and 808 beats to match but Mary brings something that few artists today can achieve: even on a dance track, she still manages to stand out over the catchy tunes because of her unique voice and candid lyrics. Although the entire album is amazing, here are the tracks that stood out for me:

Track 3- Not Loving You

In the chorus Mary sings, “There’s only so much I can do. If you’re not loving you” It is a very powerful song about someone who can’t seem to pick themselves up from the pain and struggle that life has brought their way. The lyrics are reminiscent of classic Mary hits but this time around, she’s not the one that needs the support but instead is trying to open someone else’s eyes. I love this track because the lyrics are simple but powerful and stir something deep within.

Track 5- Right Now

This song produced by Disclosure is classic Mary with a modern feel. Although Disclosure’s signature sound is heard throughout the song, Mary’s sultry voice gives the track a refreshing twist . “Right Now” is definitely the strongest and most out of the box out of all the singles she’s ever released and bridges her old school flair with today’s heavy drum bass driven tracks. She sings “They don’t see what it used to be from the outside…this can’t be what it used to be from the outside” The only thing I see is this song reaching #1 on the charts 🙂

Track 6-My Loving

Here is another uptempo track from Mary (I am so not used to saying this in reference to Mary lol) As soon as I heard it, I felt like I was transported back into the 90′s when my friends and I screamed the lyrics to “Show Me Love” at the top of our lungs. Mary shows that she knows how to get down and party like the rest of us. I want her to perform this track live on stage and do the “footwork” dance so I can really get my life!

Track 8-Whole Damn Year

UK singer/songwriter Emeli Sande flexed her writing chops on this track which resulted in a soulful track that appeals to Mary’s core fan base but the melody is a slightly different turn that highlights the pain in her voice. She sings “Winter took most of my heart, spring punched in my stomach, summer came looking for blood and by autumn I was left with nothing” The metaphors expressed her sorrow and despair so eloquently and made me want to take another listen.

Track 12-Worth My Time

Mary ends the album with a ballad that shows us that even though she may have switched her sound up this go around with “The London Sessions”, she is and always will be the queen of hip hop soul. In the chorus she sings “I won’t give up if you make it worth my time” After listening to this track and the rest of this album, I can honestly say that listening to this album was definitely worth my time and I can’t wait to purchase it on iTunes so I can put it on repeat on my iPhone:)

Make sure you purchase the album in stores and online in the U.S on December 2nd, 2014 . If you live in the UK, you can purchase it a week early on November 24th (lucky!) Click on the links below preorder the album on iTunes and/or Amazon:

* iTunes: http://bit.ly/MJLondonSessions

* Amazon: http://bit.ly/MJBLondonSessions

You can stay up to date on all things Mary J. Blige by following her on Twitter, (@maryjblige) Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/maryjblige) and by checking out her official website (http://www.maryjblige.com/london-sessions)

Make sure you let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Always remember to love and live luxuriously!

Disclosure statement: I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

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