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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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  • I read this amazing anthology back in February — @wellreadblackgirl: a collection of essays edited by @guidetoglo, written by Black women, on the first time they saw themselves in the pages of a book they’ve loved. I’ve read and loved so many books as a child and have related to many characters, but I don’t think I really saw myself reflected racially in a book until my teenage years (except maybe Jesse from the Babysitters Club books?) For me, I always wanted to feel happy when reading, and the books presented to me about Black girls where always sad and/or dealing with slavery. I knew we were worth having more stories with happy endings too, and that thought fuels my writing to this day. ✨ Do you remember the first time you saw yourself in a book?
  • Thank you so much to @disney for gifting me this cute package to celebrate #marypoppinsreturns! It’s out now on digital, 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray. These books are so adorable! Have you read them or watched the movie yet? ☂️
  • I’ve partnered up with @letstalkYA and @freeform books to share a REALLY BIG book haul on my channel that includes this beauty, #TheEverlastingRose. 🌹 The link is in my bio! I can't wait to curl up with this book! Y'all know I am a huge fan of The Belles. Have you started this series yet?
  • These are the books I read in January (I’ll be sharing the books I read in February on my channel soon!) I didn’t plan on only reading books with blue covers. 💙 I really enjoyed all three of these books and two of them became 5 star reads for me. Have you read any of them?
  • This week was such an exciting one for THE FORGOTTEN GIRL! R.L. STINE, the author of the GOOSEBUMPS books, blurbed my novel!! He says "This ghost story gave me chill after chill. It will haunt you." 😱👻 WHAT! I received more exciting news that I can’t share yet, but can’t wait to. ✨ I’m just so thankful. 🙌🏽🙏🏽
  • “One can't stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?” 💗 I finished Anne of Green Gables in January and it became an instant favorite. It put me in a reading slump bc I wanted to read something exactly like it when I was done! Anne is such a lovable character and I feel like we have the same view on life. This is a classic, character driven story with beautiful descriptions that makes you feel like you’re going through Anne’s life with her. Have you read it? What other books give you the same feelings as this one? #AnneOfGreenGables
  • I turned in second pass pages for #TheForgottenGirl this week, so here’s a tiny sneak peek. 😍 Look at the chapter headings! ✨
  • Very cheesy selfie to tell you that I have a new video on my channel featuring the books I read in January and what I’m reading this month! Also this @olay sweatshirt is one of my favorite work-from-home shirts, ever. 📚