I’ve made the journey from South Carolina to New York City about a month ago– the last time I’ve updated this blog! Ever since I’ve changed the name from IndiaHillWrites to BooksandBigHair, I’ve been meaning to give this blog a revamp and jumpstart things with series about living in New York. Of course, it was easier said than done because I’ve been super busy literally since I stepped into Manhattan. Not an exaggeration haha. But, maybe it’s is a good thing, because I’ve been here for a month and I have more of a grasp of what I want to say.
If you have been following me since I started blogging in 2010, you’ll know I’ve changed my blog name and/or layout at least 10 times. It started out as The Reddlipstick Blog, and it was entertainment focused with a black and red theme. From there, it briefly changed into xoxo India, then TheReddBlogger (that layout is still one of my all-time favorites!) and then IndiaHillWrites (another one of my favorite layouts) and now we are here at BooksandBigHair.
BooksandBigHair is the name of my BookTube channel. I love it so much and it’s definitely one of my favorite passion projects to date! The bookish community is so kind and I love how excited about books we all get together. When I started that channel, I wanted my blog to have the same name, but I didn’t want people to think that I would ONLY talk about books and hair things here, so I stuck with IndiaHillWrites. It sounded practical, and it worked because I’m a writer (duh).
I had two separate snapchat accounts, but I didn’t think that my book followers would want to see snaps of my everyday life, and the people in my everyday life wouldn’t want to always see snaps about books. But switching between two snapchat accounts has proven to be VERY annoying, and I decided to ask the followers on my bookish snapchat what they thought about me merging the two accounts and would they be interested in my life outside of booktube?
While the majority said yes, one response actually stuck out to me: Be Authentically You. It made me think; being me is being a book nerd and loving rap and a million other things and I don’t need to separate it. I decided to not only merge my snapchat, but have a more cohesive brand with everything having the same name. So, here we are! Also, BooksandBigHair will also still fit when I become a published author. 🙂
Honestly, since I’ve moved to New York, I wanted a fresh start to the blog, anyway. I like this because it’s bright and me, and it has something of a southern flair that I can always look at when I get homesick (plus the anchor– Hebrews 6:19).
I’ll go into details about my first week at the job and in New York soon, but in the meantime, for all you book lovers, I have some prerecorded videos coming to my BookTube channel, and you can follow along in real time on either instagram (1 and 2) and snapchat (booksandbighair)!
So, I can’t promise that this change will be permanent. I would have actually kept the old layout if I could have made a new logo as pretty as Whitney Blake did, but since she is no longer freelancing and I’m no designer, I downloaded a template and tried to do a little something myself. I’m already thinking about what I want an actual logo to look like, so that will definitely change before I’m happy with it. But, I hope you enjoy the content. Let me know what you think!
As you’ve probably guessed by the title, next month (!!!) I will be moving to New York City, as I’ve accepted a spot in a Fellowship Program! Although this is a program I’ve applied for earlier this year, the interviewing process and actually getting a spot happened so FAST. The actual turnaround was so quick that I barely had time to process what was going on!
Happy Friday! I had an idea to do occasional weekly rounds-up of things I’ve done this week and things I’ve seen on the internet that made me smile. Just something that you can look at on the internet that’s guaranteed to be 100% positive. Until I can think of a better name, I want to call this little post The Happies!
I know we’re already halfway through the month of April, but I still wanted to check in with my goals. I also wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind, which is knowing when to say no to things.
I’m I have a hard time saying no sometimes, and I know my friends who are reading this are probably rolling their eyes or laughing, because I am notorious for cancelling plans in every one of my friend circles. But one thing I’ve reealized is, I say YES! to a lot of things even know that I’m probably not going to be able to commit to this project or attend that event. I always have this notion in the back of my mind that I can make it happen if I really try. Fast forward to the due date of said project or time of said event, after realizing that I’ve scheduled five things at one time, is when I have to come clean and this always makes me feel like a flake. Even when it all could have been avoided in the beginning with a simple, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
Hey y’all! I wanted to do another “Currently” post so this blog just won’t be filled with Goals recaps. I just to fill you guys in on what’s going on with me! Check out my last one here.
Feeling: The end of February and the beginning of March have been so busy for me. My boyfriend had a death in the family, and there’s not (and shouldn’t be) a very convenient way to be there for someone you care about, everything else kind of becomes secondary. Needless to say, a lot of other things got pushed to the back burner as I navigated being a shoulder to lean on and traveling to see his family. Of course we traveled for a somber reason, but as always there was a silver lining, as I got to meet some of his extended family and visit a city I’ve never been to before. Now, I’ve just been trying to play catch up. Getting back into the groove of things is exhausting, but worth it.
Reading: I’ve been reading some really good books lately. I read All-American Boys, which is a YA novel that talks about police brutality in a way that is conversational. I was scared to read this, because police brutality and racism are two subjects that really leave me feeling helpless. But because of the way this story was told and the charisma of the main characters, this book became a favorite of mine that I gave 5 stars. I reviewed it here.
I’m a little late, but here are my February goals. January was a great month and I think I did really well with my goals! Although I did struggle with one thing: time management. I think it’s because I wrote down so many goals in my Powersheets that I wanted to accomplish, when January 1st hit I came flying out of the gates, trying to do every single thing I had in mind: editing vlogs for Booktube, editing my manuscript, writing articles and blog posts and exercising and work, etc. etc. etc. I couldn’t figure out why I was so exhausted everyday, even though I scheduled out everything to a tee. After a talk with my boyfriend, I realized I was trying to make every single thing a priority, every single day of the week, and clearly that isn’t possible. I realized that I need to focus on things I really want to do, and be okay with other things falling to the wayside a little bit.
Since I want to be a full-time author/writer, I read a lot of blog posts by authors. I realized that they rarely blog , probably because they’re too busy writing their next book. It’s crazy of me to think that I can be put my all into writing books and articles when I’m also trying to put my all into blogging and recording and editing videos everyday. Like the saying “Jack of all trades, Master of none,” you can’t put 100% of your attention in everything you do, 100% of the time. But you can have main priorities with little things that branch off of it. So, this month, I scaled down on the goals a little bit as I tried to zone in on the things that I really want to accomplish, and not treat all of my hobbies (like blogging and booktube) like jobs.
First, a look back on my January Goals:
Begin my meal prep: I’ve actually done pretty good with this, especially for like the first two weeks of January. There have been times when I forgot to meal prep and had to buy a salad or make a smoothie for lunch, but for the most part, I’ve stayed away from fast food throughout the week (Except for cheat days, but those were on the weekends :)) Go to church/Livestream when I can’t: Still need to actually go to church more, but I’ve been keeping up with Livestreams pretty consistently.
Pay more on Student Loans Debt per month: Didn’t do this. Ugh. Hate student loans!
Hang out with a friend or Line Sister: Yay, this is bolded because I did both! I hung out with most of my Line Sisters for our Sorority’s Founders Day on January 13th. The things is, I was feeling really sick that day and didn’t want to do anything, but I knew I would regret spending time with them, especially because we are all so busy now. We had a great time and great conversation and I’m so glad I went! I hung out with my best friend and boyfriend in Charlotte and that might have been the highlight of my month. We had such a good time!! Finish 1st round of novel edits: Halfway crossed out because I’m only halfway through the novel. This is exactly why I had to revaluate my priorities. My hobbies were getting way more attention than this novel, which is directly linked to what I want to do AND it’s the novel I spent slaving over for days upon days during NaNoWriMo. No excuses, these edits should have been done last month. Make Waves In Freelance Writing: This is crossed out, underlined and bolded because I definitely CONQUERED it! As most of you already know, I was published TWICE in TeenVogue.com this month! Teen Vogue is my absolute favorite magazine right now and to be published on their website is just amazing. I feel so blessed and even a little nervous as I took in how many people read my article about Black Girl Authors and, the one that’s so personal to me, about how Beyonce’s Formation Video is So Important during Black History Month.
So all in all, I think I did well with those goals, but like I said, for February I just want to scale back a little bit:
Finish 1st Round of Manuscript Edits: This HAS to get done.
Buy Tickets to Beyonce’ Concert: I saw Bey live during the Mrs. Carter Tour, but I missed her during On The Run and I’m not having that this time.
Have a Great Valentine’s Day
Secure Travel Arrangements for Nashville Trip
Pay More on Student Loan Debt
Continue Exercising and Eating Better
I’d love to know your goals for the month! Leave them in the comments down below and lets encourage each other!
As I’ve stated in 2016 goals, I want to lose a few pounds, become healthier and just get in better shape overall. This week, I cut out all fast foods, SUGAR (more on this. omg.), junk food, all beverages except coffee and water, and most carbs. I’m trying out this new meal plan and I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you guys. I know this blog is mostly a writing blog, but I do plan to include lifestyle posts here and there. Since this is directly correlated with my 2016 goals posts, I’d thought it’d be fun to share small updates.
Also, please note that I am NOT a food photographer and I promise most of this food tastes better than it looks! 🙂
Vegetable Raised Brown Egg Whites and Ezekiel Bread: This was the very first “healthy” meal of the year and it wasn’t bad, just dry. I wanted something on my toast, like jelly or butter, but I just used honey. Instead of salt, I used chipotle seasoning and pepper. After a few days I got really used to this meal and actually started to look forward to it.
Baked Chicken, Brown Rice, Broccoli: This is a pretty basic and safe meal, so it was pretty good. I knew that it would get old fast, though, so I had to switch it up! I would switch out the broccoli for string beans and rice for sweet potatoes.
Vegetable Stir Fry: After a few meals featuring baked chicken, I started to get bored and irritable (also because of the lack of sugar. More on that at the end of this post!) so we made a stir fry with brown rice, baked chicken, cilantro, onions, red and green peppers, and broccoli. It was delicious and just what I needed!
Chicken Florentine: THIS. WAS. SO. GOOD! The best healthy meal I’ve had by far. I had to double check and make sure it was healthy, lol! Basically, it was kale, red peppers, and baked chicken. The sauce did have the tiniest amount of cheese though, but seeing as though it was split between four people, I didn’t think it would be too bad.
Popcorn: Besides Hot Cheetos, popcorn is my favorite snack! I’m so glad that popcorn is considered healthy, I just added a little pepper to it and it was good to go.
SUGAR WITHDRAWALS. Can we PLEASE take a second and talk about sugar withdrawals? Like honestly, what is that about and why didn’t anyone warn me? When I gave up white sugar (purely to lose weight, otherwise I don’t have a problem with a little white sugar in my diet) I was irritable, dizzy, sluggish, unfocused and even a little sad. I thought I was coming down with something until I heard someone talk about sugar withdrawals. After research, I knew that was the problem was. Sheesh! Who knew our bodies could become so addict to sugar that it would have such a major reaction without it?
How do I feel? After I week, I’d like to say that I see tiny improvements in my body and my overall mood, especially after I got over the “withdrawal” feeling. I’m actually starting to crave salads and vegetables, something that I have never experienced lol. I’m also finding that I’m not getting hangry when I go a few hours without eating like usual. Although, I am a huge carb person and I find myself still craving potato chips, white bread and pasta. I plan to have a cheat meal at the end of the month!
Weight Loss? The funny thing about this is I don’t have a scale right now, so I’m just going by how I look. I plan on getting a scale so I can track my process a little better, though.
These healthy eating/ weight loss updates won’t be weekly, but I do want to touch base with my goals every now and then, including this one! Do you have any suggestions on healthy meals or exercises that work for you? I’m thinking about going on a juice cleanse but I’m not entirely sure about this. Please leave any suggestions in the comments!!
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a paper goods addict, and that includes planners. I LOVE planners, and have been getting one every year since high school. I’m 24 now and after (literal) months of debating, I decided to go ahead and purchase Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner.
I purchased my first Emily Ley planner in 2014 for my first year of freelance writing. That version was gorgeous, but super big to tote around, but since I *thought* I would be working from home mostly, I was okay with the size. I started going back to work and since I wasn’t doing as many articles day to day and had more of a set schedule, I didn’t use it as much. I’m rough on my planners and after a while, the band popped and the binding came loose, and I had to stop using it completely.
From there, I purchased the Lilly Pulitzer agenda (which I reviewed here) which was completely adorable but just didn’t have what I was looking for, other than size. It was only available in a weekly format, and it didn’t have enough room for me to plan how I wanted. I’m getting back into freelance/manuscript writing this year and really missed the daily format. It helps me focus on tasks from a day-to-day basis instead of thinking about everything I have to do all week at once.
So like I said before, I decided on the Daily Version of the Simplified Planner in the Mint Dot style. I had the Navy Dot version last time, and I was contemplating between the Happy Stripe and Mint Dot this time. Before I made my decision on whether or not I was even going to by the Simplified Planner again, the Happy Stripe sold out completely, so the choice was made for me.
I was looking at a ton of different planners (my best friend and I would send each other suggestions all day!) but I knew I wanted to go back to the Simplified Planner. No other planner really had what I was looking for in terms of a daily format, and I’ve already bought more than a few things from the Emily Ley shop, so I trusted the quality, especially since this planner promised new binding!
I decided to go ahead and purchase the planner when Emily released a code for free shipping, which really helped knock down the price!
Like I said, I love this planner for it’s daily format. There’s a page dedicated to each day, with a schedule from 6am-9pm on one side and a to-do list on the other, along with a space to meal plan and a notes section. I also love the fact that each page has an inspirational quote at the top!
The weekend pages are a bit different, with Saturday and Sunday sharing a page and no schedule. However, there’s a space for a “Weekly Checklist” in the Sunday section, with things like “Meal Prep for the week” and “Tidy up for a clean slate” already filled in.
I was really excited about getting my Simplified Planner and comparing it to my old one. One thing I really love about this new planner is the size! It’s perfect for toting around in my bag for days when I have to go to the office. I think it’s cute and compact, especially to be a daily planner! I also love the quality of the pages in the new one, and the new binding. It’s more sturdy and I don’t think I have to worry about the binding unraveling in the new planner.
I also really love the keepsake box that the planner came in. It’s perfect for receipts, letters, and etc.
All in all, I love this planner and I’m excited about using it this year. I still haven’t been using the schedule side as much, but I plan to use that side for appointments, meetings, dinner dates and things that I actually need to set a TIME to do, or I might skip out on (like laundry). I love the daily quotes and the dinner slot because it helps me keep track of my new “diet”.
I recommend it for someone who wants to focus on their schedule one day at a time and doesn’t like to get overwhelmed with all of the whistles and bells of planners. I’m not going to lie, this planner is a bit pricey, but I consider a planner an investment because I use it all year. I chose Emily Ley’s because I love her “Simplified” mantra and have been a longtime follower of her brand.
Do you have a Simplified Planner? Would you get one? What planner are you using now? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to chat with fellow #planneraddicts out there!
*This post is not sponsored! I purchased the Simplified Planner with my own money.
Happy New Year! I haven’t said it on this blog yet, but I hope everyone has had a great start to 2016. This year, I had the pleasure of seeing Lauryn Hill LIVE in concert and she was just as amazing as you’d think she would be! Us South Carolinians have had a rough year in 2015 (Flood, Charleston, Confederate Flag, and Spring Valley High School) and I think bringing someone as influential and inspiring as Lauryn really helped with the morale and togetherness of the state.
2015 was an interesting year for me. Although I had a few highlights (seeing Ariana Grande in concert, hosting a beauty event, meeting Chrisette Michelle, and appearing in Southern Weddings magazine) and ups and downs just like any other year, nothing really stood out. I had some part in this, because I didn’t take risks or do the things I needed to do to really have an outstanding year. I’d call it a “transitional year”, because I really found out some things about myself and wrote two manuscripts (!!!) and I’m super excited about working on them, and tons of other things, in 2016.
I wrote my goals in my Lara Casey Powersheets this year, and it was so helpful to me. I’ve already talked about why I love them so much, but I can’t reiterate enough how much it helps you figure out your goals by asking questions like “How will this goal get me to where I want to be when I’m 80?” and “What will I regret if I don’t achieve this goal?” She also breaks them down into yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals, and helps you create action steps to achieve them.
Although the Powersheets are so helpful, I want to post my goals here monthly so someone can keep me accountable. If no one knows my goals, it will be easier for me to give up quietly, and I don’t want that!
Okay, onto the goals! This post is a long one, so grab a snack 🙂
I talk in depth about my readings goals on my book related YouTube channel here! In short, they are:
- Read something out of my normal genre (I tend to read fantasy and contemporary more than anything)
- Get my family/boyfriend to read more
- Read a classic
- Dive to my OWN book collection and stop buying as many books
- Provide more original content for my bookish YouTube channel
Polish Manuscript(s) and Send to Literary Agents: I’m serious about this, espeicially the NaNoWriMo manuscript. The mistake I made last year was not getting my manuscript as polished as it should be before I sent it to agents. The novel is now on the back burner (although I love it so!) while I thoroughly edit my NaNoWriMo novel. I just love it so much and can’t wait to get to the point where I can start querying agents about it.
Apply to Writers’ Residencies: Uninterrupted writing time in a beautiful location, while maybe even getting paid to do it? Yes, please! A writer always makes time to write, but it would help to be in an inspiring environment (like a cabin, or a big city) without daily stresses to distract me. I’m going to be applying for a few this year.
Drive more traffic to my blog: This blog is very new, and I want to drive more traffic to it this year. I plan to do this by writing guest posts for other bloggers and doing a giveaway soon.
Make Waves in Freelance Writing: I want to continue freelancing while making some huger strides doing it this year.
Create Bloggging/Vlogging Schedule: I want to create a schedule that works for me as far as blogging goes and stick to it. Right now, I’m going Vlogs on Sundays and Blog Posts on Wednesdays, so we’ll see how this goes.
Lose weight, get fit, become healthier: I know this is very cliche’ but its’ so true. I’ve gained a lot of weight in 2015 to the point where I don’t even feel comfortable wearing certain things anymore. My healthy eating habits have also plummeted– I’m just out of shape, to put it bluntly. I’m already preparing a meal plan and I may start to share it on the blog once I officially start it this month!
Listen to God MORE: I can be very impulsive on certain things (in 2013, I quit my full-time job to pursue writing full-time) and I need to make sure before I make a big decision that I consult with God and counsel before acting. I want to make sure I’m acting according to His will, and the only way I can do that is by listening to Him. Let me know if you have any advice on this!
Become financially responsible: I’ll be honest here. A big reason that I wasn’t able to have an ‘outstanding’ year on some fronts is because I was not as responsible with my money as I should have been. I really want to change that this year and do more with saving, budgeting, and not impulsively spending money.
Become a better friend: I know A LOT of my friends are side-eyeing me right now. I’ll admit it, I haven’t been that good of a friend this year! I suck at texting back, and I haven’t been available for a lot of coffee dates or just lazy days at friends houses’. Part of this is because I’ve been sooo focused on the writers’ end, but I realize that isn’t necessarily the life the want to cultivate for myself, all work and no play! So I definitely want to change that.
Establish Independence: I’m 24 years old, and although I try to deny it, I’m pretty much in my mid-twenties and I’m not “straight outta undergrad” anymore. There are some things I need to accomplish in my life pretty soon, independence-wise. Seeing as though being 10 years old again isn’t really an option.
Begin my meal prep: Going along with my weight loss/healthier eating goals, I need to start prepping meals if this is going to be effective. If I’m supposedly on a diet and caught without any food at any given time and I’m closer to a Bojangles than a Whole Foods… well, what would you choose? Prepping meals will help me buying unhealthy food impulsively.
Go to church/Livestream when I can’t: I know nothing beats actually sitting in church, but on the days I can’t go, I need to make sure I’m continuing to Livestream a church service. I’m doing good with this so far, but I need to be active in GOING. TO. CHURCH. this year.
Pay more on Student Loans Debt per month: Ugh. This is self-explanatory and not fun. But like I said, I’m trying to be more financially responsible.
Hang out with a friend or Line Sister: I have so many people I need to catch up with this month! I want to try to hang out with at least 1-2 of my friends or sorority sisters this month. Texting is fine but nothing is better than in person conversation!!
Finish 1st round of novel edits: Right now I’m just in the stages where I’m figuring out if the pacing and overall story line makes sense before I get into the “nitty gritty”. I’ll keep you posted!
Make Waves In Freelance Writing: I’m working on something right now that might pertain to this goal already. Very exciting, and I’ll will be sure to post more about this when I can!
This post was a doozy! I would love to know about your 2016 goals and January goals in every aspect! Let me know in the comments and we can chat about them!