Books

Read: A Few Books on My May Reading List

May 14, 2015
Marvin Gaye and Jan Gaye for Sunday PostScript. Her book "After the Dance." Photos courtesy of Jan Gaye.

I’ve been doing a poor job on blogging lately, but whatever, I’m back now. Did you miss me? (lie if you have a rude statement). I’ve been a little busy attempting to figure out how to balance this work/life balance thing so my hat goes to everyone who can manage this well. Although I have been busy, I have been able to find time to keep my sanity in two of my favorite activities: journaling and reading. Last month, I started the highly-anticipated new novel from the icon, and the legend Toni Morrison God Help The Childwhich I haven’t gotten through yet–will review when I do.

These are the five books that I plan to read this month and that you should add on your review. As I have not actually read them yet I don’t have a review so I’ve placed in the buy links and the book descriptions. Continue Reading

Music

Video: Britney Spears – “Pretty Girls” ft. Iggy Azalea

May 14, 2015

Let’s just put this here, growing up, I was always into an eclectic variety of music. I swore I would be the next rapper so I attempted to have a rap group, I also thought I may at some point do a collaboration with Fefe Dobson or get to be an extra in a Young Gunz video – judge me if you wish. In that list of music that I loved I also grew up a Pop Princess. The first album I actually got on CD was Mandy Moore’s debut album So Real, which I can still sing every song in their entirety. Also, I loved me some Britney Spears.

I remember when I first heard “Baby One More Time” and learned the dance choreography. I also went to see her live a few times and sang EVERY SINGLE WORD TO EVERY SONG she performed no exaggeration, you can ask my mom who had to live through this.  That being said, over the years, I’ve kept a watchful eye on Ms. Spears and can’t say that I’ve liked everything however, I do like this song.

Yesterday, Britney released the new visuals for her single “Pretty Girls” featuring no one’s favorite rapper Iggy Azalea. The video is funny because I can’t say that any of it makes sense. Iggy plays an alien or something, and Britney plays herself expect perhaps a little more Valley girl. It’s strange, but it’s the video I get from listening to the song so I’m not very bothered. Can we also say, even though the song is poppy, it does kind of slap though — just saying.

Check out the video and make sure to download and/or Spotify the song.

Books GSD Lifestyle Work

Productivity Tips via ‘Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career’

April 29, 2015
Maximize Your Potential

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog posts on books you should read to have a productive and flourishing 2015 which you can read here. On that list, I included one of my favorite “get your shit done” reads Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks: Build an Incredible Career,  from 99u – edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. I’ve always found the book to be very helpful to help me jumpstart my life and get my side hustles in order so I just reread it over the weekend and once again, I got some great tips.

That being said, for this post I wanted to include ten of my favorite tips here to keep you motivated as well (in no particular order).

“Keeping a diary to catalyze creativity”
By Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer

Authors of this section or chapter suggest keeping a journal can help creatives focus and can work as a sounding board and an “alter-ego” companion. They cite that greats like Andy Warhol and Edward Weston had diary’s that they kept of their life and creative accomplishments as well as a source of solace and inspiration.

Continue Reading

Music

Video: Tori Kelly – “Unbreakable Smile”

April 28, 2015

From the first time I heard Tori Kelly’s mesmerizing cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” I’ve vowed that when I make it big, Kelly will sing my theme song when I walk. What that song is, I’m not sure but I do know it will be something sexy and empowering like Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” or Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” but the point is, I just want Tori to sing it.

That being said, after releasing two EP’s  2012’s Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly and 2013’s Foreword, Kelly is finally on the brink of releasing her debut album Unbreakable Smile, June 23rd via Capitol Records.

The album is executively produced by Max Martin and from the album so far we have heard the first single “Nobody Love” and now the title track “Unbreakable Smile.” The sing/rap that Tori does on this song with the cheerful chorus makes this song feel like love. I love the lyrics of this song as well, it’s cheeky:

“I rather make the yawn than be a pawn on your chessboard. Call me boring, call me cookie cutter, call me whatever you want matter fact call me it loud and don’t stutter. Cuz I know who I am, yeah I’m still the same just a California girl with big dreams.”

Also, can I just write a little bit extra here and say how proud I am that Tori got signed. I feel like we are on first name basis for some reason probably because my friend Andrea and I are always talking about her. She’s extremely talented and seems so likable. I see big things for her in the future, and I’ve been a happy fan watching it all unfold.

Pre-order Tori Kelly’s debut album Unbreakable Smile, now via iTunes. 
Also, check out Tori tonight on the “Tonight Show” where she will be performing the single as well.

Music

Stream: Kehlani – “You Should Be Here” [@kehlanimusic]

April 28, 2015

As an Oakland girl myself one of the albums I have been anxiously awaiting was the new project from singer/songwriter Kehlani in the form of You Should Be Here. Finally, today the album is seeing the light of day and I haven’t stopped playing it today so far. The 13 track album features collaborations with one of my personal favorites BJ The Chicago Kid, as well as Chance The Rapper and more.

From the first few listens, this is a pretty good project. Check out my favorite tracks: “Down For Your” with BJ The Chicago Kid and “Runnin’ Interlude.” Stream You Should Be Here and purchase via iTunes.

Music

Alabama Shakes ‘Color & Sound’ Review

April 28, 2015
Alabama Shakes

It’s a little late to be writing this because the album has almost been out for a week, but I still wanted to take a shot.

It’s been awhile since I’ve actually sat down and wrote an album review because I can’t say I have honestly been moved by much lately. There have been songs on much buzzed about albums that I’ve found myself singing along to and burning on a CD–yes I still burn CD’s keep your judgement and slick comments to yourself, but nothing has really moved me enough to want to write about them. However, when I heard that one of my favorite bands, Alabama Shakes, was releasing their sophomore album Color & Sound after two years, I knew I had to write a little bit of something.

Color & Sound serves as the sophomore album and follow-up to the group’s Grammy-Nominated album Boys & Girls, and includes some of the same elements that has made the band a favorite of many publications, blogs around the world and myself. Although there are some of the same elements–Brittany Howard’s impeccable vocals, great production from the group, there’s more depth and everything sounds a little bigger and just more.

“We took our time to write this record and I’m really glad we did. We were able to sit down and think about what’s exciting to us, explore all the things we wanted to on our first album,” says lead singer Brittany Howard. “This record is full of genre bending songs — it’s even harder now when people ask, “What kind of band are you? I have no clue.”

The genre-bending element is something that can be felt throughout the album as the group delicately weaves between soul, country, rock, folk and other genres. The genre-bending also gives life and a space for lead woman, Brittany Howard’s, vocals to really get the shine they deserve. On this album, Howard’s vocals do a lot to my soul at one point, when I first heard their second single “Gimme All Your Love” I shed a little tear.

With this album, Alabama Shakes did everything to avoid the sophomore album curse — you know, where an artist or group releases a great freshman album but their sophomore album sucks. This time around, Alabama Shakes used their album as a platform to exceed our expectations entering some new territory with ease.

Buy Alabama Shakes’ Color & Sound here
Stream Alabama Shakes’ Color & Sound via Spotify here