#20: Hiatus, Feelings, Recent Favs

*4 months later*

After the ridiculously long hiatus, I’m back. And it feels good.

Where was I, you might ask? Well, after I finished finals, my summer kicked off with a trip to Atlanta, a new internship, and a whirlwind of emotions to say the least. It’s been a very eventful season so far. So thank you for bearing with me. I’ve had at least 3 people in the past week ask me what happened to the website. Thanks for the push, y’all. Let’s chat.

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Beauty from Atlanta.

What I’ve learned recently…

For starters, I learned that vegan Chinese food places exist in places like Atlanta. If you’re in the area, I highly suggest a place called “Herban Fix” for fusion cuisine. And I for one want to say how AWESOME that is! Not sure if I’ve told you this before, but I’m a vegetarian. That just means I don’t eat meat (e.g., chicken, pork, beef, etc.) but as long as I’m not eating at a steakhouse, I can usually sort through sides and veggie platters and find something to eat. Walking into a vegan food spot was a whole different experience – I could eat absolutely everything that was on the menu. And that felt amazing! More vegan food places, please! If you know of any great vegan or vegetarian restaurants near you (no matter where you are), let me know. I’m always down to travel and eat great food.

Another pretty important thing that I’ve learned is how to truly love my natural hair. Almost two years ago, I decided I would stop using relaxers on my hair and instead grow out my tightly coiled, natural strands (shoutout to my beautiful friends and family who helped me with that transition).

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That moment when you successfully do a twist out but one loose strand wants to ruin your picture and you won’t allow it. That’s meeee.

I knew I wanted to try going natural at some point. I also knew by the warnings of many that it would be a lot of work to maintain. But I wanted a real relationship with my hair – so yes, sis, that took and is still taking work. As all relationships do! But the work is so worth it! Wash day for my hair is a self-care day for me. Twisting and seeing how versatile my hair is has been a beautiful experience.

Another gem that has come up for me recently is the idea that you attract and maintain relationships with others based on how you make them FEEL. I was speaking with my dad about this in the car one day, and it really stuck with me. It seems like so often when we’re looking to make real connections with other people, we place a disproportionate amount of that energy on things like our appearance more than how we feel and how we’re making the other person feel. Now DO NOT get me wrong. Keeping yourself healthy and taking care of your physical attractiveness is essential for both feeling good in general and initially catching someone’s eye. Continue being a snack, please. The issue comes in when we forget that for the people in our relationships to feel good when they are with us, we have to be authentic and feeling good ourselves.

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We all know that person that lights up a room when they step in. We all have a friend that we feel entirely safe with and can confide in. We all know someone who is basically doing a killer stand up comedy set whenever we see them. The point is, we remember how the people in our lives make us feel. That sticks out to us a lot more than other stuff like aesthetics, especially in the long term. So be yourself, and bring joy to others when you can. Doing so allows others to genuinely connect with you and want more of that sweet, happy feeling they get when they just think of you.

What I favorite recently…

DayDesigner planner – if there’s one thing you’ll learn about me, I like planners. LOL okay let’s be real here, I love them. And this one, in particular, is super useful to me because of the weekly and monthly spread. To build a great life, you gotta get strategic, people.

Summer Durant – “Same” – Spoken word poetry has always held a place in my heart. Here’s one of many that have stuck out to me recently.

Latino Men Try Therapy For The First Time – I’m a big advocate for taking care of your mental health. I also believe that specific communities (like those of people of color and men) need to be encouraged to do so more because of the stigma surrounding things like going to therapy, opening up about how you’re feeling, and being vulnerable. This video appealed to me for all of those reasons.

Tyler Perry’s BET Award Acceptance Speech – help somebody cross.

Four months was four months too long to be gone, I know. Let’s start again. For now, have an incredible week and enjoy the last of July! And tell me, what have you learned recently?

#6: Blessed, Overwhelmed, and Braided

Happy Sunday! Let me update you on what’s been going on recently.

For starters I had a wonderful birthday weekend celebration FILLED with partying, food, friends, and cake. My friends threw me a surprise party, and for the first time I went to the Cheesecake Factory! Their ‘Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake’ is amazing, and I’m missing it.

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With another year under my belt, I’m really excited to start another one. As I read my cards and spend time with loved ones, I find myself more mindful of the fact that these moments matter. I feel a wave of gratitude wash over me as I receive hugs, beautiful words, and massive amounts of affection. I’m a believer that every day we are alive is a blessing; a blessing that prompts us to create and decide. I’d like to add to that.

Every day is a blessing for us to create, decide, and love.

Aside from all the wonderful birthday wishes, I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed by the amount of work I’ve taken on. You know when you bite off more than you can chew? I took a realllllly big bite.

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I’m grateful for all the opportunities that have been attracted into my life, but it’s been difficult trying to manage it all. As a student, I’ve found some helpful organizational habits that have put my schoolwork in place. If you’re a student, or know someone who is, check out this article I wrote for HerCampus with tips and apps that will make the semester less stressful.

Lastly, I put my hair into braids! I’m going natural, and wanted to try a protective hairstyle before I trim my hair (I’m transitioning instead of big-chopping). I’m looking to learn as much about natural hair as possible. I’ve searched up Youtubers, asked friends, and researched on various websites. If you have any resources or helpful information, please comment below!

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No, this picture’s not of me. It’s of a beautiful goddess named Amandla Sternberg! Also shout out to the beauty that’s in the header photo! Not sure of what her name is, but we should be friends. I like her glow!

Weekly Favorites

From Monday to Sunday I enjoyed lots of good food, music, and conversation. Here’s some of what I enjoyed most:

  1. Nine Track Mind (Deluxe Album) by Charlie Puth – My favorite songs are Suffer, Some Love, River, and of course Attention.
  2. Holy by Jamila Woods – this song makes me feel so calm and empowered.
  3. He Like That by Fifth Harmony. I can’t stop watching the music video for this song! These women are incredible, and their songs are really catchy!
  4. “Our mission right now is to get better, to get disciplined. It might take some time to master all the elements, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Aang didn’t master fire, water, earth, and air in one day” – paraphrased motivation from my accountability partner and best friend! (shout out to those who know all about Avatar: The Last Airbender… no that’s not the movie with blue people)
  5. The Cheesecake Factory! The avocado egg rolls made me melt. Also the cheesecake I mentioned earlier *drools on keyboard*

This week was eventful and beautiful. Cheers to another one filled with food for the soul, mind and body! I intend on being fully present, and productive this upcoming week. What about you?

All the best,

Valencia Saint-Louis