06 Nov 2016

#indiatakesnyc: the first month

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.

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I also want to note that since I’ve changed the name of my blog to BooksandBigHair, to match my bookstagram and BookTube Channel, I’m going to try hard to stay true to the focus of the blog [writing, reading, lifestyle– and occasionally hair :)], so I’m going to break everything down in those categories.

Okay, let’s jump right into it!

Writing: So, I haven’t done a lot of writing in NY besides the writing that I do at my job. I do a fair amount, which is great, but as far as blogging, writing articles, and working on novels, that has taken a MAJOR backseat this month which is something I was actually stressed out about at first.

Speaking of novel writing, after a few weeks of playing with the idea, I’ve decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year. I was definitely sad about it, especially since I won last year, but with adjusting to a new city, new job, and new place, it just seemed like something that was going to automatically stress me out, especially now that I know how stressful it can be. I’m actually dedicating an entire blog post on why I’m not participating this year, so look forward to that! The good news is, I’m actually expecting a major change with all three things – more blogging, freelance work, and working on my novels, so be on the lookout for that as well 🙂

Reading: This is the most reading slump-y I’ve been ALL year. I’ve been reading slump-y three times this year: Once at the beginning of the year, once after Madcap Retreats, and now, since right before I moved to new york. I’ve been trying to read Empire of Storms since the week before I left for NY, and I tried reading it for about 2 weeks when I got here before I realized my reading slump was too strong for me to finish at the moment. So I started reading Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland and that was the perfect thing for me. I absolutely ADORED that book. I don’t know if it’s because I had to make a big move to New York just like she did, or because it seemed like the perfect Cinderella story in real life (humble beginnings, rough childhood, and everything changed for the better), but I could not put that book down! Although I am not a ballerina, I’m so inspired by the advances Misty has made for the African-American community as a ballerina and period. I’ve definitely been stalking her website to figure out when I can see her perform live.


Lifestyle: New York. What can I even say about this place. It’s extremely fast-paced, not very clean, expensive, and there’s tons of walking involved. On the flip side, it’s extremely easy and cheap to get around, there’s always something to do here, and the people are un-stereotypically nice. In just this month alone, I was able to see one of my all-time favorite vocalists, JoJo, for free, have tea time in SoHo, visit a wax museum and experience a Ghostbusters Virtual Reality Experience, attend a Natural Hair Brunch, attend a rooftop happy hour or two (or three), and stumble upon a parade or an outdoor bookstore. Some moments, like when I walked upon a bookstore on the sidewalk and talked to the bookseller for 10 minutes about being Christian, I think, ‘living here isn’t so bad’. And then other times, when I’m pressed up against someone on a crowded subway or see a rat run under someones car, I crave the South.


I still crave the easygoingness and comfort of the South and I can’t wait to go back. but there’s a lot to appreciate about New York and I haven’t even uncovered the half of it. It’s nice to actually feel like going somewhere and having a ton of great options to do so. I also got to talk to Sarah Jessica Parker, so that was amazing.


Hair: I’m more of a twist-out girl, but wash-and-go’s and afro puffs have been my best friend while living here. I simply can’t devote 2.5 hours of my time to twisting my hair. I’m always exhausted and my hair is really the last thing on my mind these days.  I’m honestly looking forward to getting box braids, or getting a blowout when it gets a little colder. I’ve been doing wash-and-go’s once a week, and when that starts to not look as good, I’ve been wearing afro puffs.


I actually got a ton of new products in the mail thanks to Jane Carter Solutions that I can’t WAIT to try out. I also got a goodie bag of Bumble and Bumble Products from the TravelLoveGrow Brunch featuring natural hair bloggers Rene Daniella and HeyGorJess. This brunch was the first networking/natural hair thing I’ve done since living in New York, and I’m honestly so glad I went! The food was amazing (hello, bottomless mimosas!), the conversation was incredible, and it made me so excited to travel the world. I’m inspired by those women and their ability to do what they love for a living!


All-in-all, this month was jam-packed with so many things: good, bad, happy, stressful, busy, relaxing, fun, tiring, inspiring, etc. etc. etc. On top of everything else, this is also the month that I turned 25 (!!!), so expect another post about that! I can see why people say New York is a hard place to live, but I can also see why someone wouldn’t want to leave. I actually don’t know how I feel about the city yet! But stay tuned as I figure it out. Also, if you want me to talk about something more specifically, please feel free to leave it in the comments!


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  • 100% would wear this hairstyle today. 😄💕🎀 #thanksmommy #tbt
  • Posting hubby’s #beforeiletgochallenge because I love it so much. 😍 he decided to do his thing and drum to it and I suggested he record it!! We joke a lot that we have an Artist House. He drums for kids while I write for kids. Also, since Beyoncé’s #homecoming documentary was HBCU marching band focused, it’s perfect for us! Rob is a percussionist/former band member and y’all know I’m a proud member of the Beyhive. And we both met at our HBCU. 🐝🥁Show him some love!! ❤️ @rhythmofrob
  • Next up: 🗣THIS ONE IS FOR MY MAMA!!! The funniest, goofiest, most beautiful and lively person I know. ✨ I’ve watched her sacrifice so much for my brother and I over the years, and I can’t wait to pay her back. She’s a teen mom who I’ve watched graduate from high school and become the first person in our FAMILY to graduate college. I’m so blessed and grateful for our bond. I love her so much!!! #Tonya ❤️ 💕#HappyMothersDay
  • A year ago today, I married the love my life. We’ve been together for almost 10 years, started dating at 19, and I still learn something new about you everyday. I love to watch you drum, your passion for teaching, your selfless heart. I love to laugh with you, and I’m excited to grow old with you. A year ago today, two kids vowed to God to love, honor, and respect each other for the rest of our lives. Happy anniversary babe!! I love you so much. One year down, forever to go! 🥰❤️ @rhythmofrob #jumpingthebrowns (SWIPE to the very end for a surprise LOL)
  • I wouldn’t call myself an #influencer per se, but sometimes I get cool things in the mail to share with y’all. I received this @influencehercollective spring essentials kit filled with fun goodies, including face masks, sunglasses, moisturizers, and KIND bars. 😋I loved everything I tried, so if you’re interested, check out the influenceher highlight on my profile! *I can’t speak on the self-tanner bc I have no use for it. I gifted it to someone who’d love it! #ad
  • Tomorrow is #independentbookstoreday, and I’ll be spending it doing one of my favorite things and one of my favorite indie’s: talking about books! If you’re in the Charlotte/Lake Norman area, come to @mainstreetbooksdavidson tomorrow between 1-3pm and let me recommend a book to you! 📚💖
  • Watching Beyoncé’s new documentary as an HBCU grad and someone who is a huge admirer of her work: In high school, there were many microaggressions thrown my way (my teacher got fired for saying the N word in class 🙄) and I felt overlooked. Afterwards, I attended Claflin University, a small HBCU in South Carolina. There, I felt I got the attention I needed as a student, and I didn’t feel discriminated against for the color of my skin or the texture of my hair. It was there where I fell back in love with writing, embraced my natural hair texture, met my husband and my best friend. I built community, confidence in the workplace, and made friends from all over the world (different races as well). Beyoncé’s documentary showcased the beauty of attending a Historically Black College in a world where people constantly judge you for skin color or culture. I’m so glad Bey shed light on HBCU’s — I’m excited for the kids who are thinking of attending an HBCU after watching her performance. I’m motivated by her 15 hr work days, while breastfeeding and eating literally NOTHING but vegetables to gear up for her Coachella performance, months after her emergency c-section w/ her twins. One of the reasons I love Beyoncé so much is how she embodies the Black Southern Woman to a Tee for me. She’s done it again, and I’m continually inspired. 🐝✨#beyoncehomecoming
  • Some of you may know that I used to work at HBO, and one of the coolest things about my job was having a small part in working on Game of Thrones. GoT will always remind me of living and working in NYC, and I’m excited to watch the final season premiere tonight! Who do you think will take the throne? I hope it’s a Stark ❄️🐺😩 #gameofthrones #forthethrone