My Delicious October Mood Board

Pumpkin pies. Ghost stories. Golden leaves. HOCUS POCUS!!!

halloween dancing GIF

October is absolutely my favorite month (followed closely by December), so today is a day of skeletal, pumpkin-spiced celebration! When I was a child, my little bro and I would go wild with the scary films and candy. We had The Nightmare Before Christmas playing on a loop while we carved pumpkins to decorate the house, hoping to scare the life out of a neighbor. Then, of course, there were the costumes, all made by my Mom – mermaids, witches, werewolves, princesses, and one year I went as a pair of conjoined chickens. Obviously, I was a strange kid.

The themes of Fall – the spookiness, the dying off of all the green, and other aspects – never frightened me. On the contrary, I found the possibilities of magic and wonder more exciting than anything my regular-degular life had to offer in Kansas. To me, a roaming vampire would infuse a little adrenaline into my town. I’ll always love October for those reasons, and I hope that never changes.

My mood board in honor of the coolest month is below. Enjoy!

          

   

          

                               

         

               

 

Let’s get spoooooooky 🙂

A Perfectly Odd September Mood Board

When I prepare a mood board it’s usually done with the intention of reflecting what months, or various times of year, mean to me. December is a time for holiday imagery, October is solely for pumpkins, and that has worked great for me in the past. But what happens when you come to a month that has no easily assigned imagery? What are we supposed to look forward to without the road map of cultural practices to guide us? Better yet, what do we look forward to when the page of the mind is blank?

I’ve run into this conundrum with September. In my culture – black, American, raised Methodist – there’s really nothing. There are events that have been solidified into the mind like Labor Day and 9/11, but I couldn’t put a finger on what the month of September was besides the period of time before Halloween. Being a professional over-thinker, I started to explore what I wanted this time of year to symbolize for me. To start, I listed off all the things that have happened to me in September: I was married last September, ten years ago I survived a suicide attempt and recovered in September, and I love the fashion spreads that hit the shelves in September.

From there I looked a bit deeper, in the hopes of pushing away the words to get to the feeling in my heart when I thought of those things. The words that came to mind were love, strength, beauty, and freedom. Love kept me alive long enough to meet my soulmate, strength got me out of bed and out into the world to try life again. The beauty of the world, and creativity of its inhabitants, keeps me excited and enthralled in life. Last, but never least, I discovered that every day can be an opportunity to free myself from the darkness of my past, and that I am no less amazing from the days I might fail. Now it seems September might be the most important month of them all.

So, in honor of those truths, those lovely feelings in my heart, I want to share my September mood board with you. Enjoy!

Tessa Thompson for The Cut by Awol Erizku
Tessa Thompson for The Cut by Awol Erizku

Via Into The Gloss

 

Inspired by the Freedom of Afropunk Fest

Every year I look forward to seeing images from Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn. I believe the guests are hands-down the most stylish on the planet! Founded in 2005, the event offers people of color the space to express themselves without the binds of what they can or should be. As I travel forward on my journey to self-acceptance, I pull so much inspiration from the love and care displayed by the guests toward themselves. It is truly a radical act to like yourself enough to be who you want.

Black folks being “weird” and artistic and FREE is a mood we should all get behind. Here are some of my favorite images from this year’s fest. Enjoy!

All photos by Cheryl Dunn

 

 

 

 

 

Go check out more of these beautiful images over at The Cut!

Your August 2018 Mood Board

I wake up in a cold sweat the first day of August. This happens every year, without fail. I jolt from my bed in a total state of terror that I’ve forgotten my homework or am running late for practice. I think spending all that time procrastinating, then rushing around, is to blame for my negative association. In reality I truly loved school – it was where all my friends were, where I could express my self and grow. So, after the dread falls away in the morning, I think of other kids (big and small) preparing themselves for the next step in life. I hope they are afforded the kinds of safe places I was, havens to be themselves.

Today’s mood board was created with the intention of evoking thoughts of education, growth, and the discoveries of life. I hope you enjoy it!

What’s motivating you this month? Have you had any homework dreams? Hit me in the comments!

 

Friday Media Prep: The Human Spirit is Unstoppable

Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!

This week’s media prep is all about the beauty and power of the human spirit. Whether it be saving your soccer team, making music meant to encourage social change, or merely wrestling with concepts through art, we are a sight to behold. Let’s jump right in with this week’s good stuff!

 

Music

Mavis Staples. If you need more than that, you’re on your own. Google her!

TV

The World Cup Finals

In all honesty, I don’t even really like soccer. My husband used to play, so my propensity for making fun of all the flopping was an early point of contention in our relationship. Sure, I played for a few years as well, but every single person who has ever sported was thrown onto a soccer field by their parents as a five-year-old to learn how to follow a ball around. However, it is my rule that if there are black folks doing something, I’m going to cheer. Whether it be tennis or a spelling bee, I’m here for the melanin. Now that France (a team that’s black as hell) is heading to the final against Croatia (a team that is the complete opposite of black as hell) you might as well just call me a fan until Monday. Don’t hate. You can catch the battle for the gold? Gilded boot? Trophy! on Sunday. Belgium and England will be playing for 3rd place on Saturday.

Movies

Skyscraper

My stance on cheering for black people regardless of the event is the exact same for The Rock. Along with my brother and father, I used to watch with the elation of someone who just discovered processed sugar as Dwayne Johnson tore up the wrestling ring. I’ve seen all of his movies (even Baywatch), because he represents such a carefree time in my life, when pain would stop and I could laugh with my family like a normal kid. What I love about his movies – that seem to come out every 3 months – is how lighthearted I leave feeling. It might be a guilty pleasure to  some, but not for this girl. In his newest film he plays the a guy saving the day like always, so why not?

Articles

“What Marilynne Robinson’s and Margaret Atwood’s Gileads Can Teach Us” by Alissa Wilkinson

I borrowed my mother’s copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson a few years ago, when I was looking for a change of pace from mystery novels, comics and Marvel movies. I picked up the book expecting to a gentle mental push, but got more than I bargained for in this exploration of humanity, love, loyalty, and religion in the Iowa town that bears the book’s name. After reading Robinson’s take on the concept of Gilead, I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for a book club. Only two of us could finish it, and I’m so glad I did. Sometimes being shaken to the core is what the doctor ordered.

I love how Alissa Wilkinson explores the nature of paradise through these two works. Our “promised land” , whatever you choose it to be, is more than a place. A promise and a curse, an end to pain or the discovery of frightful new depths; perspective is everything in this world, no less so than in the arts we love.

You can Read Alissa’s piece for Vox here

“Thai cave soccer team: how Buddhist meditation kept them calm ” by Eliza Barclay

Self-care is very often a means of survival, as we have seen in the harrowing story of the young Thai boys trapped in a cave with their soccer coach for two weeks. Their coach , Ekapol Chanthawong, lived and trained in a monastery for ten years, beginning at the age of 12, when he was left orphaned. He learned to meditate as part of that training, and taught the young boys to as well, to keep them calm during the ordeal.

There are so many messages to take away from this moment in history, from altruism to the wonder of modern technology, however what will stay with me is the knowledge that the human spirit is durable beyond measure. I highly recommend this article by Eliza Barclay if you want to feel better about the world, learn more about the remarkable young man who kept his team alive, or need a reminder of your own potential for survival.

Read it here

That’s all for this week! Enjoy your weekend (and life) the best way you can!