Self-Care: 5 Ways I Manage Stress + Anxiety

You've been here before, read a couple of blog posts, and maybe even shared them with your friends (if you haven't, then what are you waiting for?!).  So I am not going beat around the bush or sugarcoat anything with you: LIFE CAN SUCK SOMETIMES.  Everybody is going through something and even if their face isn't showing it, their body is feeling it.  What have I been feeling lately, you ask (dang, you nosy)?  Stress and anxiety.  Anxiety for those who don't know, is feelings of worry, apprehensiveness, or uneasiness, typically about the outcome of something.  Stress on the other hand is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.  The difference between the two, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, is that "stress is a response to a threat in a situation", and "anxiety is a reaction to the stress." 

Lately, I have been dealing with these feelings, and they can be overwhelming.  It happens mostly because I tend to overthink things and play out a million different scenarios in my head, both good and bad.  Obviously, these are not feelings that I want to keep recurring.  So I have found ways to relieve myself of them, and I wanted to share this for others who may be experiencing this, too.     

Turn the music up

One thing that I have found to soothe my anxiousness is listening to music without words.  Music is my escape, and there is a song and genre for every situation.  For example, when I'm feeling all lovey-dovey or in my feelings, I turn to R&B.  For inspiration/spiritual guidance, I look to Christian/Gospel.  When I want to turn up, Hip-Hop/Rap is where I go.  When I find my mind drifting to anxious thoughts, I don't want to hear anyone talking or anyone's opinion, which is why music without words is ideal.  As I listen to this music, I use that time to be present in the moment, and focus on what I'm doing, i.e. blogging, working, studying, falling asleep, or just being still.  When I'm done I find that I am more relaxed and calm.  

Lately, I have been listening to the Spa, Soothing Waters, and Calm Meditation stations on Pandora when I just want to hear the sound of nature's winds and waters.  I have also found solace in the A Soft Jazz Playlist on Spotify.  Again, there are no words.  Just the sounds of the greats: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, John Coltrane, and many more. My favorite jazz album to just let play is Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.  Depending on my mood I choose a sound, put my headphones in, and drift away to the sound of music.


Another go-to is lighting my absolute favorite candle.  The Stress Relief (Eucalyptus Spearmint) candle from Bath & Body Works is the truth!  Its blend of essential oils work together to help slow my mind down from running a mile a minute.  Eucalyptus can increase energy, brainwave activity (by reducing mental fatigue), and more.  Essential spearmint oil relaxes you as it works to relieve stress, and alleviate headaches.  I love this scent so much that I have it in a hand sanitizer on my desk at work, and the air freshener in my car.  Yes, it works that well!  Candles not your thing?  Cool.  You can try adding aromatherapy oils to a diffuser, or an oil warmer around your home or office.  

Don't Wait To Exhale

I close my eyes and my mouth, and breathe in slowly and deeply through my nose.  Then through pursed lips, I exhale.  I repeat this at least five times.  Deep breathing helps to diminish anxiety, and lessens the occurrence of a panic attack.  You can find some breathing exercises, here.

Work It Out

When I can't listen to music or burn my favorite candle, one thing that always works is taking a walk.  This is especially helpful at work.  My job can be stressful at times, and I have found that taking a nice long walk downstairs to get some water or walking around the perimeter of the building and soaking up the sun helps me to take my mind off of the issue for the time being.  Going to the gym and taking a spin on the elliptical or a session with my trainer also helps to lessen the stress of what is bothering me at the time.  

Talk About It

Guess what?  I've been in therapy for almost two years now, and I love it.  When I started, I found myself at a place where nothing I did, said, or thought about would help with the way I was feeling.  So I took a deep breath, and searched for a therapist on the Psychology Today website to find one in my area.  What I love about therapy is that I have this person that I can talk to about anything (and I do mean anything).  I love being able to just get what ever is bothering me off my chest to someone who is unbiased, and genuinely wants what's best for me.  If you are interested in therapy but you don't know where to look, of course you can do a search like I did on Psychology Today.  If you want less formal therapy sessions, you can try out Talkspace.  They offer virtual therapy, and you can text your therapist.  Then there is Therapy for Black Girls, an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls.  There are so many ways to find a therapist in your area to help you with whatever you are dealing with, and these are just a few options to get you started on your journey.  

I know it gets hard in life, but I also know that it gets better.  If you are still looking for other options to relieving stress, the ADAA also recommends getting more sleep, exercise, eating well-balanced meals, and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake to cope with feelings of stress and anxiety.  All I'm trying to say is: take care of yourself.  

♡, antoinette

Please Note: I am not a therapist, and anything that I mention here is what has worked for me.  Please use this information at your discretion, and seek professional assistance for your personal mental health needs.

let's talk:

How are you managing stress + anxiety?

Don't Be Afraid to Go Alone

There is so much peace in spending time alone.  I do love spending time and catching up with loved ones, but there is something so special about being with just the three amigos: me, myself, and I.  Naturally, I am an introvert so this comes easily.  Think about all of the hours in a day, week, or even a month, that you spend around other people for an hour or more.  Our daily activities like school, work, family and friend engagements, church, and social events keep us in close quarters with others.  So it is imperative that we make room for a little me time to reset our energy.  

Have you ever had one of those days where you are restless, and you just want to get out of the house?  That was me a few weeks ago. I was about to dial up someone to accompany me, and I stopped in my tracks.  I thought to myself, when was the last time you did something by yourself?  It had been a minute and since my plans for that day had already been cancelled, I set out to explore the city alone.  

So I drove downtown, and parked my car in a garage and started walking.  The QLine, an electric train publicly transporting Metro Detroiter's north and south along Woodward Ave, is finally up and running so I  walked to the end (or beginning) at Jefferson Ave and waited for it to arrive.  I boarded and rode it just past where I parked, and got off.  I walked a little while longer trying to decide where I wanted to eat and ended up dining at a local restaurant/bar.  

When I walked in, it was a ghost town.  Nobody was in there except me and the staff, so the service was fast and friendly.  I sat down at the bar and ordered some wings, crab cakes, and a salad from the happy hour menu.  By the time my Amaretto Sour arrived, the DJ had started playing music.  I dined alone with just me, myself, and my thoughts as I vibed to the music.  This is what peace feels like.

I think that some people are afraid to be by themselves, or are worried about how it may look to others.  I just don't care.  I personally enjoy going to the movies, shopping, out to eat, events, the gym, and Netflix and chilling... alone.  A few years back I went to an event alone, and because I didn't have any familiar faces to talk to, I was forced to network with others.  This ultimately led me to my position as a content creator for the Michigan Chronicle Online.  NEWSFLASH: you don't always need a plus one, two, or three.  In an article on Psychology Today titled 6 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Aloneit states that we live in a culture tends to equate a desire for solitude with people who are lonely, sad, or have antisocial tendencies, when that is certainly not the case.  The article goes on to state the benefits of seeking solitude include improving concentration, increasing productivity, and that it may even enhance the quality of your relationships. 

If you don't spend time by yourself, how will you know what you really like, or what really excites and interests you?  I like doing things alone because I don't have to wait on anyone but myself, I don't have to agree on what I want to do, and when I'm ready to go, I can go!  Of course, there is the element of safety, which is why you should always use your best judgement before going to certain places alone. Also, don't think that you have to go somewhere to be alone.  Another thing that I like to do to spend time by myself is journal or read a book.  It's as simple as cutting off the television, putting the phone on do not disturb, lighting my favorite candle, and getting lost in the pages.  This is also an ideal set up for meditating or praying.  

So my friend, I said all of that to say: don't be afraid to go alone. You'll thank yourself for it, later. 

♡, antoinette.

Let's Talk:

How do you spend time alone?

♡, Antoinette

Let's Talk Skincare & Self-Care with Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa

Everybody needs a little me time.  It's not selfish, it's necessary.  In today's world, we are constantly taking in information and our attention is being pulled in different directions by our family, friends, coworkers, and responsibilities.  So it is perfectly fine to take some time away from it all, and what better way than to pamper yourself?  Before my interview with the owner of Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa, a one-stop shop in Metro Detroit for every beauty and pampering need, I had an appointment for a facial.  

When I arrived, I was greeted by the receptionist who took my jacket and presented me with beverage options. I chose a hot cup of green tea, and proceeded to take sips in between completing a questionnaire regarding my skincare concerns.  After completing the form, I was met by Bee, herself, to begin the facial.  We discussed my skincare regimen, what products I had been using and their effectiveness.  The treatment room was the perfect temperature as I rested myself onto the bed, and her hands went to work.  Her hands, gentle to the touch, cleansed and moisturized my face as soft music played in the background.  

From there, she massaged my neck, shoulders, and hands, and for a moment I had fallen asleep.  This was the most peaceful beauty service experience that I have ever had, and I must say that my first experience at Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa has certainly made a lasting impression.  Bee's offers premium beauty services including waxing, massages, makeup and eyelash application, and of course facials.  I returned at a later date to get my brows done by Bee, and was met with the same attentiveness to detail and precision in her work.  

the interview

ATBA: Share with us a little about who you are, what you do, and what your brand represents.  


BBBS: So, I'm Bee.  I'm a mother of three, a wife, an esthetician, then I'm a business owner.  I've been doing that for a little over four years.  I started actually getting into self-help, or self-care I should say, based on my own issues being a mom, having anxiety and stress, trying to find an outlet, not caring for myself, and understanding that taking care of my children and my husband meant taking care of me.  I was kinda drawn to this industry from middle school, but I was like I'm not gonna get rich doing eyebrows all day.  So I went to college right out of high school and wasn't really passionate, but I was gonna get the degree, work at a corporate job, and then one day I'll own my own business.  

So, I was doing that in Chicago, and life kinda came to a halt when I was a manager at a Nine West shoe store when the store closed.  I was staying at home with my two kids, at the time.  I did that for like a year, and I became like a zombie.  It was never about me.  It was all about my kids, as most new moms are, and I kinda just lost myself.  I went through anxiety, and all of these different emotions trying to find what it is that I'm passionate about.  So I revisited self-help, and taking care of myself.  I would do my makeup and little things to make me feel good.  I felt like that started to kinda heal me.  

I came here to Michigan and I toured the campus at Aveda in Royal Oak, and I was like oh this is more than just eyebrows, this is a whole thing.  Right there, I called my husband and was like I have to do this program, I want to get into this industry.  I knew I needed to repair myself and gain peace.   I went through the program, and loved it.  It brought me so much peace, so much balance.  Not only balance for my skin, but balance for my life and having time to step away from what I do and get back to myself for a change.  It healed me, and so it kinda empowered me to be like, I wanna do this for every woman.  Every woman needs to know that this is not a luxury that only rich people do.  This is a necessity, it is something that we have to do to take care of ourselves, and treat ourselves.  We deserve it!  We treat everyone else, and we bend over backwards as women. 

So I started my own studio which was Far from Black at the time.  It was just a combination of my last names.  My husband's last name is Far, and my maiden last name is Black.  So it was like Far from Black, the journey of me becoming.  From being this humble little teenager to becoming a wife and mother, and becoming an esthetician.  So, I started there.  I had a room in my cousin's hair salon, and I did that for a couple of years, but I knew I needed to gain more experience in the industry.  So I started working in a spa in Ann Arbor, and that's when I got introduced to Eminence.  That's when I got blown away like this is so amazing, how come we don't have anything like this?  And when I say we, I mean our communities, because this was in a suburban area.  I'm like, how come we don't know?  I was just on this run to educate and tell people.  Yea, I know black don't crack, but we still have to take care, and nurture, and get balance, and our peace.  

I did both for a while, and like most times when you're doing your own business and a full-time job, you get to a road block like what are you gonna do?  I was at that crossroad and I decided, I'm gonna do it!  I'm gonna put my all into it.  We transitioned the name, so I rebranded and redid everything.  So, January this year we did Bee's Beauty Bar and Spa.  It represents balance, and peace, and self-care, and self-love.  I just love the idea of any service that you get, whether it's lashes, waxing, or a facial you come out like wow, I feel good! It makes you feel empowered, whatever service you get, big or small.  I think it starts the momentum of being your best version of you.  


ATBA: I agree!  You kinda touched on it, but on your website it says that you believe that enhancing a woman's beauty can empower her to conquer her daily womanhood roles with confidence.  Was this your motivation behind creating a beauty bar and spa?

BBBS: Yes!  It was definitely how I felt, and how empowered I felt, and how much peace I had.  It made me feel empowered to do all of the roles that we have to do as women.  I mean, we are the best multi-taskers on the face of the earth.  We have superpowers, but we're so cluttered and all over the place with our to-do lists and our tasks, that we have to have our moment of peace.  We need that time.  

ATBA: What can a guest expect to experience during a visit to Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa?  


BBBS: They can expect an experience.  From booking an appointment online or through a receptionist,  your experience starts there.  So how you're treated over the phone or how seamless booking your appointment was, to the time you check-in for your service.  You have the hospitality of being offered something to drink and to take your coat, to when you're in the treatment room getting this one-on-one time with someone who genuinely cares about your wellness.  For an hour, it's all about you.  What are your concerns?  Even when my brow clients come in, and I'm teaching them how to fill in their brows.  It's a whole experience.  

ATBA: Skincare is really trending right now in the realm of beauty. At Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa you offer complimentary skincare consultations.  In what ways is this beneficial to understanding our personal skin care needs?

BBBS: I think for part of that, it has been the thing of Oh, yea we need to get into this whole skincare craze.  So my whole thing is, yes we're supposed to be on board (we were supposed to have been on board), because it is a necessity.  We take care of everything else. We get our nails done, hair done, toes done, waxing done; but why aren't we taking care of our face?  Our brows are nice, but why is our skin not?  I think the biggest thing for me is that it's looked at like it's not a luxury, but something that's vital.  

Then the consultation aids in just educating you.  Most of the time when people are using something, and it's not corrective, they're not getting the results they want, but they're just using it because of their routine.  So they're just in a tradition of using something.  So the 15 minute consultation is a chance for me to introduce what we do here, our product line, and open your eyes to a bigger perspective of skincare, and invite you back for a full experience.  The consultation is 15 minutes, but what if you had an hour to really ask all of the stuff that you want to ask, have your skin looked at under the lamp and do the extractions, and really get to what your concerns are.  

ATBA: Your spa is partnered with the Eminence Organics line of beauty products (the #1 organic line in the U.S.).  What products from their line are in your personal stash?

BBBS: Definitely their Facial Recovery Oil.  It's a blend of different oils, and it's basically a healing oil.  It has a mix of sunflower and some eucalyptus oil.  It's a reparatiive oil, and at nighttime our skin goes in to repair mode.  All the craze right now is beauty oil, and this is Eminence's version.  It's healing, it's hydrating, it makes the skin nice and supple, and brightens.  It's like a little miracle oil in a jar.  Then they recently launched some exfoliating peels that are liquid exfoliants.  Some people don't like the grainy exfoliant.  This is a really simple one, because it's like a liquid solution.  You pump it onto a cotton round, and wipe.  It's like a chemical exfoliant so it uses fruit acids to basically eat away the dead skin.  It leaves your skin nice and soft. These are my two must haves, right now.

ATBA: How often would you recommend exfoliating?

BBBS: Two to three times a week, you want to exfoliate.  So that would be considered a chemical peel, because it does the work for you and you're not manually scrubbing. I would recommend some sort of exfoliation 2-3 times a week.  

ATBA: Self-Care is a necessary part of our lives, and pampering ourselves can promote a sense of well-being.  How do the services that are offered at Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa cater to its clients need for self-care?

BBBS: So for an hour, or how ever long your treatment is, you get me telling you what we need to work on, your treatment and product recommendations, and how to incorporate things that you already love into your skin care regimen.  Then it's me giving you the tools and educating you on how to do it at home because coming in for facials (or a service) is not even half of what you do.  The real change that you'll see in your skin is with the home care.  Those are the things that are going to aid in your full self-care.  You will receive my recommendations here and use them at home until you can come back.  It's not a once a year thing, getting a facial.  It's definitely something that needs to be consistent, but the at home care is the main thing.  I want you to walk away knowing how to treat and care for your skin in the meantime so that we're working for the same results in the end.  

ATBA: So what does self-care look like for Bee?

BBBS: Self-care for me looks like many facials at home. I like a guided meditation.  I'm one of those people that have to cut everything off to be able to get my peace.  I think my biggest self-care thing is talking to God and praying.  That's where I find the most peace.  I look to Him for peace, so I can give it to my clients.  


ATBA: In what ways would you recommend enjoying an at-home spa experience in between visits?

BBBS:  Find your quiet area and designate a time for you.  If you're into skincare then do that, or if you're into makeup you can try out a new look.  I say just playing around with things that you don't like or that you want to enhance for 20-30 minutes. 

ATBA: If someone were to ask you for your advice, and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

BBBS: In reference to life or skincare?

ATBA: Let's do two: one for life and one for skincare.

BBBS: So my skincare tip is to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!  Whether it's a chemical or manual exfoliation, getting those dead skin cells off evens out skin tone, texture, and it helps to reduce pore size.  These are all issues that we all have.  So exfoliating changes a lot!  It helps to prevent ingrown hairs.  I mean, exfoliate from head to toe.  

Then for life in general, I would just say go for it!  I kinda think in life we don't know direction, or what the destination may be.  And I didn't know the destination, this wasn't a clear vision.  It came in pieces.  So I feel like when you get these pieces, or you get this hunch to do something or take a risk, just know that you're not going to get the next tip until you get through this one.  Take the risk!  I got to this point because of the pieces I followed and the small things that I decided to do.  Don't look for the final picture of the puzzle, and understand that you have to put the pieces together through life and through the journey.  So if you get a hunch, do it, because it can definitely lead you to the destination of where you're supposed to be in your purpose.

ATBA: What do you see next for Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa?

BBBS:  Well, next we're going to be doing private birthday and spa parties.  We'll be offering our massage services, and mini facials, and featuring our Eminence collection.  They can bring food and cocktails.  It's women empowering each other and getting pampered.  It's all about you!  So parties are the next thing.

ATBA: Are there packages available for that already?

BBBS: Yes, we have packages.  They're all customizable, starting at five people with a maximum of ten.  We want to be the destination for beauty in Metro Detroit.  We want to be the hub.  I see my clients all the time, one week to get their eyebrows done, the next for a facial.  We've built these relationships and this rapport and they become a part of the brand, or lifestyle, having a local beauty bar and one-stop shop.  We want to become the destination for high-end luxury treatments.  

Need some me time?  

Schedule your beauty and pampering session at Bee's Beauty Bar & Spa, and purchase Eminence Organics products, here!

I Just 'Did It'

Let's consider this the first of many discussions regarding my most recent health and fitness journey.  I kept having people ask me, what are you doing to lose weight?  While the "what" is very important, I wanted to start by sharing the "why" .  

So about a month or so ago, I shared a picture on Instagram where I spoke briefly about how good it felt to shed some mental and physical weight.  I’ve always been a big girl, plus size, chubby, fluffy, or whatever you would like to call it.  For me, losing weight is just as much about changing how I look, as it is changing how I feel.  I hope that you don't take me saying that I wanted to change how I look as me not loving myself or not being happy, because that's not the case.  I can assure you that I love myself as much today as ever before.  None of this work that I have put in is to adapt to society's standards of beauty.  It just feels right, and as I stated in the Instagram post, I am enjoying the process.


Fall 2016, I began working out again.  Here I was paying $29.00/month for a gym membership, and only going a few times a year (talk about a waste of money).  I initially only did cardio during my trips to the gym, and I was still not making the best eating choices.  Then January 2017 rolled around, and of course: new year, new me, but this time I was serious.  For once, summertime fine was not the goal.  I just knew that I desperately needed a change.  So much so, that it is all I really thought and talked about.  I began meal prepping, and making more consistent efforts in the gym.  I wanted to become more disciplined, and to take on more of a challenge, so I hired a personal trainer.  That is probably one of the best decisions that I have ever made in regards to my health and fitness journey.  Over the course of five months, I have watched myself transform physically in ways that I never imagined.  This transformation has not only reshaped my body, but it has reshaped my belief in myself and my abilities.  My exercise and healthy eating regimen has also helped me to be more disciplined with being organized and managing my time more wisely.  

Let us pause for a moment... I do not have it all figured out, and what works for me may not work for you.  This is a personal journey.  We are all motivated for one reason or another, our lives are different, and our bodies are not the same.  The one thing that I had to realize is that I had to do this for me.  I was tired of feeling heavy and getting winded when walking up a flight of stairs.  This is the only body that I'll ever have, so I know I have to treat it right and fuel it properly.  I haven't really shared much relating to this lifestyle change because like I said, I'm still figuring it out.  

I'm not trying to paint you a pretty picture or sell you a dream that it's easy, because it is far from it.  I probably have more cheat meals and snacks than I should, and I don't always feel like going to the gym, grocery shopping, meal prepping, or even packing my gym bag (as easy as that is).  However, I know that the results of being disciplined and following through have surpassed my personal expectations.  I haven't even been able to do too much of anything to my hair in months because I know that it will just sweat out from exercising.  Since adopting a healthier lifestyle, I feel lighter, my clothes fit looser, I have more energy, my blood pressure is lower, I'm not winded from walking up a flight of stairs, and I don't deal with acid reflux symptoms as often.  So a bad hair day here and there is the least of my concern.


You know how the Nike slogan goes "Just Do It"?  Well, I just did it, and I am consistently continuing to do it.  It's a daily choice.  I stopped talking about it, making excuses saying that I'll start next week, or next month or on Monday, and I stopped doubting myself.  One thing that I know for sure is that people get tired of hearing about what you're going to do.  Just make the necessary moves in whatever aspect of your life, and let your hard work speak for itself.  I started putting in the work, making the time for it, and focusing on the bigger picture which, again, is not to be summertime fine (but I will be lol), but to manifest a healthy lifestyle, challenge myself physically, and move far away my comfort zone.  I hope that this personal journey of mine inspires your own.  

♡, antoinette

Self-CareFree Playlist

Self-care is a term that has been floating heavily around the internet, and I think it's time that we (yes, you and I) talked about it.  First of all, what is it?  The most clear and concise definition of self-care that I found is this: the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health.  I have been more aware of my need for self-care in the last year, than ever.  According to an article on MindBodyGreen, self-care is more than eating well and getting enough sleep.  It goes on to provide six scientific reasons why you should add music into your self-care routine like, "music can provide pain relief", and that it "helps to reduce anxiety".  My goal is to share self-care habits every Saturday, so I figured what better way to start it off than with this playlist.


Music is my escape.  I listen to music all day, every day.  From the time I wake up, to when I'm working in my cubicle or working out at the gym, riding around in my car (especially in the car), vibing out with friends, or like at this very moment when I'm writing this post listening to jazz.  Music has always been there.  This is the first of many playlists to come, and it's a special one.  This self-care(free) playlist is for the magical and carefree girl who is dealing with the highs and lows of everyday life, is in search of peace and release, or is looking for a boost of confidence.  It's a compilation of songs that I listen to when I need to think, be alone, dance it out in my room, or if I'm just feelin' myself.  There's something on here for everyone. 

♡, Antoinette

Play & Listen


Let's TalK:

What's on your self-carefree playlist?

#TBT | 2016 At A Glance

I'm not going to act like 2016 was my year, but it definitely wasn't a bad one.  In fact, it was far from it!  Of course there were some bad days, but that's life.  I didn't spend as much time as I wanted to blogging in twenty-sixteen, because I was too busy enjoying the good days and running from the bad ones.  So to make up for lost time, here are a few memories from last year that I never shared.

¡Viva Las Vegas!

This was my first time in Sin City, and it won't be the last!  I can't say much because "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"!  Then again, nothing really happened (lol).  Here's what I will say:  


My friends and I stayed at the Luxor Hotel on the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. (the strip).  I rode my first roller coaster at the New York, New York Hotel, and it's an experience that I won't ever forget and something that I'll never do again (lol).  We celebrated my cousin's birthday at Chris Brown's birthday party at Drai's Nightclub inside the Cromwell Hotel.  My feet were killing me that night (in flat sandals, no less), so I missed most of the show.  From walking up and down the strip seeing the sights (like the water show at the Bellagio Hotel), visiting Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, a day pool party at MGM Grand Casino Hotel, to nighttime turn ups at Tao (the best club that we went to) and Hakkasan, and unfortunately getting bit by a spider, this trip was highly eventful and I can't wait to go back.


Summer Sixteen Tour 


All summer sixteen...

Drake really knows how to put on a show!  He performed damn near every song from his own discography, along with verses from tracks he's featured on.  Future performed his collection of party anthems and then he and Drake did a few songs from their What a Time to be Alive collaboration.  The most explosive moment of the night wasn't the fireworks igniting from the stage simultaneously.  It was when Eminem took the stage to perform Forever with Drake.  The crowd went crazy!  Detroit loves Shady! 

An Afternoon with Luvvie


In October, I attended blogger and activist Luvvie Ajayi's book signing and reading of her first book, I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual.  The event was held at the Detroit's Public Library's main branch.  After reading an excerpt to us from her favorite chapter "Your Facebook is My Favorite Soap Opera", Luvvie went through the experience of writing the book and the motivation behind it.  In August 2014, someone hinted that some of her work may have been plagiarized, and it was.  This unfortunate event inspired her to create a manual to help people "do better".  I haven't had a chance to read the book, but as soon as I do, I will share my thoughts

Wine Tastings 

Hard Cider + Donuts at Michigan By The Bottle


I came across the Hard Cider + Donuts event on Facebook, and who can turn down spirits and pastries?!  Well, to our surprise, they were out of donuts by the time that we arrived.  So instead, we decided to sample a full flight (your choice of 5 different wine pours) which was accompanied by flight bites (cheese and chocolate).  My flight included Bianca Select and Traminette Sweet, both sweet white wines, and the following Chaos CidersJust Apple, Sweet Peach, and Raspberry Rush.  After the tasting, I purchased the raspberry and peach ciders.

Red Wine Tasting At House of Pure Vin


I am not a sophisticated wine drinker, by any means.  If it's not sweet or light in taste, I probably will not like it.  Such was the case when my cousin and I happened upon a red wine tasting at the House of Pure Vin in Downtown Detroit.  The host served us several different wines, and I did not like any of them.  Thank goodness for the crackers and water to wash away the bitterness from my palate.  

First People Mover Ride


OK, so this probably wasn't my first time on the Detroit People Mover (an elevated train), but I just can't recall ever riding it.  We rode the train in a complete circle, taking in the sights of Downtown Detroit on a random Saturday, just as the sun was preparing to set.  This beautiful picture of the Canadian riverfront was taken (by me) as we made our way to the Joe Louis Arena stop on the train.

Grits + Biscuits: A Dirty South Set


I went to the Grits + Biscuits for the first time in 2015.  It.  Was. Lit.  So of course, I had to go back this year (2016).  Here's the gist:  It's a party that goes on tour, and for the most part they only play music from the south.  You don't come dressed to impress.  You come dressed to sweat, to turn up!  This time, the party was the day after my 28th birthday.  I went with my cousin Bianca, her friend Brittany, and we met up with some of my favorite bloggers on the dance floor of St. Andrews, where the party was held.  

2016 African World Festival


My nieces and I attended the 2016 African World Festival at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History this summer, and it was such a great experience. This was my third year in a row attending the festival, but I hadn't been inside the museum since...middle school.  So before we explored the festival, we went through the museum and traveled back into time.  I became very emotional as I found myself standing on the deck of a makeshift slave ship, and heard the excruciating cries of the captives from a recording that was playing in the room.  To exit, we had to journey to the bottom of the ship where there were bodies on top of bodies in cramped corners.  This trip meant more than any other visit in grade school, because I felt and understood more than I did at a younger age. 

After the indoor tour of the museum, we attended a Beaute' Anthologie class about natural hair essentials, then we explored the grounds of the campus and shopped with the vendors.  I purchased a couple of pieces of fabric for my hair wraps, and some hair products from another booth.  Honestly, I can't wait to go back to the festival this year!

Other Highlights

Assisting with and co-hosting a couple of All Curls Wanted events: Let's Chat Curl  and Brunchin' With My Curls.

My biggest blogging accomplishment of 2016 is  easily the one-on-one interview I had with Myleik Teele, the creator of CurlBox.

I also saw Bryson Tiller, K. Michelle + Ro James, Beyonce (Formation World Tour), Lizzo (Coconut Oil Tour), Chris Brown + Trey Songz (The Big Show at the Joe) in concert this year.  

♡, Antoinette