6 Must-Have Graphic T-shirts that Celebrate Black Women

Yo Amo Mi Pajon
Yo Amo Mi Pajon, by Dominican blogger Miss Rizos

I’m still recovering from Memorial Day! Most of you, like me, probably went back to your cubicle unis after spending the weekend in sundresses, shorts and tanks. Wasn’t it nice to feel the air brush your skin for a change? I love warm weather clothes and I’ve been looking to step up my t-shirt game in time for summer to arrive next month.

I’ve never been big on t-shirts because most run too large for my petite frame. But I bought a graphic tee last year that really expanded my idea of how to dress up a t-shirt and still look well put-together. There are many different styles of t-shirts, but my absolute favorite type is the kind that sends a message or that says something about its wearer.

What do I want my t-shirts to say about me?

I’m a thinker (I won’t even qualify that with deep)
I am pro-Black Diaspora
I am lover of Black women and Black girls
Natural hair is a passion

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you guys a handful of the shirts I’m scheming to buy this summer. I like supporting small businesses or freelance work; the people behind these t-shirts are all independent of mass retail in one way or another.

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari!

Two Must-See Web Series You Should Be Watching

web series
This web series, First, will knock you off your feet.

Last month, I started watching two web series  produced and written by Black actors that are restoring my faith in love at first sight (of a TV show). I don’t rely on television for entertainment for this primary reason:

In a television climate where we have witnessed both Mary Jane Paul (Being Mary Jane) and Olivia Pope (Scandal) do unflattering things seeking the attention of unavailable men, frankly, I’m tired. I don’t want to see another crestfallen brown-skinned face. I don’t want another heartbroken Black girl on my flat screen with a flat-lined romance.

And I no longer want to be that Black girl fed up with poorly written roles that fail to center their lived experiences.

Falling in love can be a dizzying carousel of emotions. Every novel sensation blurs like passing lights, leaving you with nly a lasting impression, an imprint that tattoos itself upon your memory. We hoard mementos from the early days of courtship to remind ourselves–love was not a spiraling fall but a climb from affinity to affection.

Good art makes me feel like this, too. Enamored and intrigued. Appetite whet and senses heightened because the next curve is unexpected. Newness teases out your full attention because its game is so flirtatious.

So I tuned into First, a web series executive produced by rising star Issa Rae. The series is written by and starring actress Jahmela Biggs as Robin, and Will Catlett as Charles, two childhood friends who run into each other and spark a new flame. I also stumbled upon An African City, a web series featuring five beautiful African women returning to the continent to live.

For several different reasons, these two web series make me believe in quality film  entertainment again.

Read my reviews of First and An African City here and here!

8 1/2 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Home

Home buying can be a headache if you don’t know what you’re getting into.

About 3 years ago, my husband and I bought our first home. Prior to that, I knew very little about the home buying process, mortgage loans, homeowner’s insurance, etc. I had worked briefly for a bank and used some professional knowledge to navigate the process, but I ended up doing a ton of research anyway.

Because I know a bit about the customer service side of banking, friends and family sometimes ask me for my input. I am by trade a writing major, so it still surprises me 1) when I am asked for my thoughts on home buying and insurance and 2) when I actually have plenty to say. Yesterday, my aunt asked me to give her some tips for my cousin. I started out typing a short list and ended up with a 4-page essay in a Facebook message. (sorry, Auntie! 🙂 ) 

I figured it might be helpful to share those thoughts on the home buying process with you all. My caveat is that this does not constitute licensed professional/financial advice. These are simply things I have observed as a consumer. Here are 8 1/2 things no one told me before buying a home:

1. Get ready to fill out a ton of paperwork.

Banks will want any applicable employment information including copies of pay stubs, back at least 3-6 months., and they may ask for letters explaining unemployment. They will want statements for all bank accounts you have, even if you are taking out a mortgage with the same bank you hold checking/savings accounts with. Be upfront and give them what they ask for, otherwise the process is really long and tedious.

2. Apply for mortgage loan pre-approval strategically.

Get all your quotes from different banks within 14-45 days; the hard inquiries into your credit report will usually register as one inquiry instead of several. Spreading out the inquiries over months can mean drops in your credit score, which in turn negatively affect the interest rate the bank will offer you.

3. Get your finances in order.

Bring as many of your accounts up to good standing as possible. If you can pay off any debt you have, that will contribute to how much the bank is willing to loan you. Even if you just knock off smaller debts, anything you can lower is helpful. Why?

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari!

On Rejection, Determination, and Wrecking Balls

You may face rejection but determination will push you to victory in time.

Today I was rejected from a workshop I applied to and I can feel that familiar hurt folding me into someone a little less bold. For years, I let rejection (and the fear of it) reduce me into rubble, crumbling any determination I would build into so much detritus. But not again. Not this time.

A wrecking ball only destroys if you place yourself in front of it, if you stand still while the specter of pain becomes too bulbous to avoid and you are overcome. But, hat tip to Miley Cyrus, if you ride that broad, swing on the momentum of having believed in something you desired, even after losing it, and let that energy push you to the next project?

There are only so many Nos you can hear before that YES comes along like a hallelujah chorus. Here is to my next YES. Let’s ride.