An English Wedding

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A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend my cousin’s wedding in the UK. She’s the first of the cousins to get married, so this was an especially big deal!

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In Nigerian culture, it’s actually common to have two weddings, which is what my cousin did. Her first wedding was a traditional Nigerian wedding, and a week later she had a Western church wedding. I wish I could have gone to both, but I was only able to make it to the second wedding.

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The wedding was held in town called Burton upon Trent (isn’t that name so British?!), which is a few hours north of London. I flew in on a Friday morning, my cousin picked me up from the airport, and we drove straight on to Burton. That night, we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to work on a few last-minute wedding details, and then woke up to a beautiful and sunny day.

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Everything was so conveniently located. We were able to walk from the hotel we were staying at to the church, and after the ceremony, we walked over to the Town Hall for the reception. Then it was dancing, drinking, eating, and general merriment for the rest of the night.

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I just have to take a moment to gush about how beautiful my cousin looked on her wedding day! Actually all of my cousins, both the bride and her twin sisters, looked stunning.

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Ahhh, going to the wedding of a close family member or friend is simply the best. Congratulations again to the newly-wedded couple!

Garden Retreat

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People often ask me if I really do like living in New York City. I had some family passing through town yesterday (visiting from the Chicago area), and naturally, they commented on the hustle and bustle of the city. Then, one of my younger cousins asked that frequently asked question, and my response was “Yes, I do love it here.”

One thing I love about New York is that you can walk or take the subway to a different neighborhood, and suddenly it does feel like you’re in a completely different place. A couple of weekends ago, on a warm and sunny Sunday, I took the train uptown to the Conservatory Garden. I’ve been once before, and the garden was just as quiet and peaceful as I remember.

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It’d been quite a while since I took my camera out for a spin, and I wanted to get some practice in before my trips next month. For a while, I wandered around, snapping pictures of the various blooms. Then I just sat on a bench, watching people pass by, enjoying the feel of the sun on my skin, thinking, listening to the various sounds, and dreaming.

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Currently 05.

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I don’t know exactly why (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the recent bout of beautiful weather had something to do with it), but I’ve felt more motivated recently. I’ve noticed a pep in my step these last few days and I’ve been bitten by the blogging bug again. I want to roll along with this feeling while it lasts and take advantage of the motivation.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and now I’m finally getting it together- I’m going to have a travel week on the blog. Starting tomorrow, I’ll recap and share recommendations from my last two trips (one in July 2016 to Seattle and Vancouver and the second to London in December 2016). I think we could all use a getaway right about now. Since I can’t jet off right this second, I’m doing the next best thing and reliving my last trips.

Before that kicks off though, I wanted to check in and give a bit of a life update. 2016 has been rough for a lot of people and so far, 2017 seems to be following in 2016’s footsteps. At the beginning of this year, I had to take a step back because everything just felt wrong wrong wrong. I stopped checking Instagram, Snapchat, and most of my usual social media haunts, except Twitter. I’d get home from work and trepidatiously open up Twitter to see what fresh horrors had happened during the day, because I wanted to stay informed. Believe me, staying informed and being aware was not one of my strong suits until last year. But now I have to pay attention, I don’t have a choice anymore. There are things going on that affect all of us as a nation, women, black women, and on the most personal level, people in my life that I care about.

It all felt extremely surreal and it continues to feel that way. I didn’t know what to say or think that I had anything important to say. I didn’t know what to do or how I could help. At the same time, I can’t ignore any of this, or pretend it’s not happening. As much as I want to curl up and hide sometimes, I can’t do that.

I’m not sure if I’m making any sense and I certainly don’t have any answers, but it’s always helped me to write about what I’m feeling. In the meantime, I’m continuing to pay attention, working on educating myself, making an effort, and trying to help in the small ways that I can. I don’t know that it’s enough, but at least it’s a start.

Now that you have a sense of how I’m currently feeling, let’s talk about some other things that have recently caught my attention. I’m currently:

Listening to Lemonade and A Seat at the Table a lot recently because they give me something hold on to when everything seems too overwhelming. At the moment though, as I type this, I’m listening to Tom Misch. His music is a great combination of upbeat and relaxed, perfect for background listening when you’re working on other things.

Watching Buffy. A few years ago, my roomie and I started to watch Buffy all the way through (I’d never watched it before), but then we trailed off somewhere around the end of season 2 or beginning of season 3. Fast forward to a month or so ago and I decided to start watching again. I couldn’t remember where we left off, so I started from the very beginning again. I’m in the middle of Season 4 now and so much is happening!

Reading The Sellout. I’ve been focusing on books by black authors for Black History Month and this is one that I’ve been meaning to read since it was first published in 2015. This book is wacky and funny and bananas, but not really that bananas in this current political and social climate.

Eating at home more often. This month, I’ve been trying not to eat out at all (except for last weekend when I was in Philly. I gave myself a pass for that weekend since I knew I’d be out and about with my friends). I’ve been pretty good about making my lunches for the last couple of years, but this month, I’ve been cooking more often so that I could eat better, home-cooked meals for lunch and dinner, and to cut back on spending. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve been getting groceries every week now, instead of every two weeks, and I like trying new recipes. I think I’ve also cut down my food expenses, which was the main goal, but I still have to check exactly what the difference is.

I think that’s it from me for now (until tomorrow)! In the meantime, let’s chat in the comments below- what’s going on in your life at the moment?

(image via Death to Stock Photo)

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

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Well, we made it. The clock has turned, the calendar’s been flipped, and it’s officially 2017. You know, I’ve been reflecting on 2016 and it wasn’t the worst year in regards to my personal life. I think 2016 was an absolutely terrible year for humanity in general, but personally, 2015 was much worse for me. So let’s just say that it’s been a rocky two years and I’m ready for better times to come around again.

Best of 2016

In the spirit of focusing on the good, here are some of my 2016 highlights:

Weddings: 2016 was the year of weddings for me (they were right when they said that the number of weddings really starts to pick up in your late twenties). I was able to see my cousin get married, as well as a close college friend, and best of all, I was a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. Such good times and I have so much love for my friends and family that got married.

Family Vacation: I love traveling and exploring new cities and this year we decided to go to Seattle and Vancouver for our family vacation. It was my first time in Canada and my first visit to Seattle. I really enjoyed both cities and the time we spent there was a good mix of exploring and relaxing. I suppose it’s not too early to start planning our 2017 vacation!

Christmas: I spent Christmas in London with my immediate family and London fam and it was so much fun. I hadn’t seen some of my cousins in ages and I loved being able to spend time with them. And I’m so happy I got to see all of my immediate family. Before we’d figured out all of our plans, I wasn’t sure that I’d get to see everyone and it made me really, really sad. But it all worked out in the end and even for those I only saw briefly (my mom only had a layover in London), a little time spent together was certainly better than nothing. As you know, I absolutely love Christmas, but I’ll admit that Christmas 2015 was really, really rough (it was our first Christmas without him). This year was better though and reminded me that I’m so grateful for the family that I have.

Looking forward in 2017

I like to set goals at the beginning of the year and I usually post them on the blog (I missed last year, but here’s 2015 and 2014). I’ve tried to keep my resolutions short and sweet this year:

Creativity: Last year, my energy really faded when it came to my blog and booktube channel, but I’d like to get back into my creative mode. I still enjoy blogging so much (obviously, or I would have shut this down a long time ago) and whenever I’m not working on a creative project, I really miss it. So in 2017 I’d like to get back to pursuing my creative passions because they continue to be important to me.

Movement: I tend to settle into a routine and get stuck in it. This year, I want to break out those ruts and push myself out of my comfort zone a bit.

Travel: All of my 2016 highlights involved traveling and in 2017, I’d really like to take advantage of any opportunity I have to get out and explore the world. In particular, I’d love to go on a solo trip. This was one of my goals last year, but I didn’t get the chance to make it happen. This year, I’d love to save up some money and go somewhere. It doesn’t even have to be far away- I’d just love to plan and experience a solo trip.

What was one of your 2016 highlights? Do you have any goals for 2017?

(image via Death to Stock Photo)