Chocolate Cake w/White Icing ⏤ Vol 34
It's a Birthday Party! Let's chat about some of my favorite things!
Hey you Monday Luncher!
Welcome to our final volume of 2021 and my special birthday edition. Before we get to the birthday party, how was 2021 for you? Did you accomplish a goal or two? Did you have a mantra that you stuck by this year?
I accomplished a few goals and rediscovered things that mattered the most. Ditching a lot of unnecessary weight I was carrying.
One thing I love to do at the end of each year, on December 31st, is read my journal entry from the end of the previous year and then recap the current year. I love reflecting on how life is going from year to year. Hell, I love reflecting in general. It’s a good way to measure your growth, reflect on obstacles that seemed major at the time, and even boost yourself up.
If you’ve been lunching with me for a while, you know I am an avid journaler, and if you are looking to pick up this habit in the new year, I highly recommend the Day One journal app that can be used on your phone, tablet or computer. And check out my journal jems articles to help you jumpstart your journey.
Now, let’s get to the party!
This year for my birthday, we are talking about my favorite things — Twitter, Books, Food, and Music.
Grab a slice of cake and let’s party 🎂 🥳
Y’all know I love Twitter. It’s the best. And y’all love it, too, because folks love posting tweets on their IG.
Anyhoo…I’ve been saving some of my favorite Twitter discussions for today so that we can talk about them together.
Mine is 5 minutes. I got this lil’ saying from my grandma. Everything to her is 5 minutes. When we are on the phone, she will say, “hold on 5 minutes”. Or when I caught her napping and woke up, she responded with, “I was just resting for 5 minutes”. My favorite was when she would say something would take her 5 minutes, knowing damn well she live in the country and everything at least 20 minutes away. Not to Mary Evelyn Young; everything is 5 minutes.
Flip phones! Yea, I said it. There was no better feeling than slamming that phone close when you tried to make a point or hang up on someone. I don’t know if they could hear the slam on their end, probably not, but on my side, it was invigorating.
I also enjoyed the simplicity of non-smartphones. Yes, the technology we have now is great, but the simple life living of having your phone do 2-3 things was amazing. Folks were glued to their phone 247 like they are now. Picking it up at every idle moment of the day. You picked it up when it buzzed; that’s it.
What was your favorite non-smartphone? Mine had to be the Nokia jawn that allowed you to change the covers. I had cell phone covers for daysssss.
Really, my only response is Teena Marie. But if I follow the directions, the other three would be Teena Marie, Princess Diana, and Lisa Stansfield.
Teena was on the scene before I was even a thought. You could not tell me Teena was not a Black woman the way my momma and aunties raved about this woman. So when I finally got around to hearing this immaculate voice as a child, I swore she was Black. I don’t think I found out she was white until my late teens.
But this thread has some wild responses, and you can tell folks’ age by their comments. Someone really said Kylie Jenner. Ha!
“Don’t be cute”
Cute in this form doesn't actually mean cute, but you should’ve known that part already.
There are so many sayings that we grew up with that still hit the same today. Honorable mention to “who all gon be there.”
The vest, 3/4 shirt, big pearls, and a large purse was the name of the game in the mid-00s. What were we thinking wearing all this to the club back then?
When I was younger, I swore 30 was old. And you couldn’t tell me that by that age, I wouldn’t be married with kids (not babies) and a career all figured out by then. HA! Age really is just a number.
Little did I know, in my 30s, is really where I began to discover who I really am; it’s when I came into my own. And in my mid-30s, I still don’t really know what the hell I am going to do with the rest of my life. It will probably have something to do with writing, but besides that, I have no clue, and that is OK.
Reply or comment and tell me your thoughts on any of the above.
Reading is fundamental. Did your parents or family tell you this growing up? I am sure mine did, but I don’t remember. Nor do I remember how or why I fell in love with reading.
Although she always read magazines, I don’t recall my mom reading many books, but we had a subscription to every Black magazine you could think of growing up. And the only books my dad read were work-related; to help him pass the CPA exam. So I don’t know where my love for reading started.
I have fond memories of my parents taking me to the local library and being in awe of all the stories available inside one building.
Before we got engaged, I took my husband on a hometown visit (Bachelorette 🌹 style), and this was one of our stops. This building right here is where it all began.
Anywhoo, keeping with the theme of Twitter. I will kick this section off with this…
This is hard, but I have to say The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sistah Souljah. Something about Winter’s barely legal character drew me into that book like it was my bible. Fictional or not, Winter was a real person to me.
Here are some of my favorite reads from over the years. A few I have mentioned at previous lunches, and others I have not.
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel — I read this book before watching the movie, and I had no clue that Richard Parker was a damn tiger. The way the author captures your attention with only two characters for most of the book is insane.
Afterburn, by Zane — Not your typical Zane book, but it still has those steamy sex scenes that she is known for. This story of a 30-something single Black woman trying to find love is all too familiar. A love story that will have you hooked on every single page.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby — The first-ever essay book I read. This book gave me the inspo to consider my own essay books in the future. Samantha is a snarky writer. Her words and stories make you talk back to the book like you and her are sitting down to have coffee and ki-ki’ing about last night’s adventures.
IT, by Stephen King — This 1,184-page classic horror novel was nothing short of amazing. Neither movie, original or remake, do it justice. One day I was reading this book in a dim restaurant, waiting for my food, yes I am that type of person, and the waiter came over to check on me, and my behind jumped. When I closed the book, he said, “makes sense now why I scared you.”
A Deep Dark Secret, By Kimberly Lawson Roby — Now I will warn you, this book is triggering, but it is a story that touches on such a sensitive topic with grace. I was intensely reading this book in the airport one day, flipping the pages with emotion, and the lady next to me was like, “what are you reading.” I responded with, “give me a few minutes.” I was on the last pages of the book, and I just handed it to her and said, “here, please read this and pass it on.”
The Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle, by Rob Kenner — I still feel a certain type of way on how this man left this earth, and I don’t know if I will ever get over it. And after reading this book and diving deeper into Nip’s story, it made it even harder. Kenner beautifully illustrates Nip’s entire life, from his childhood down to his last breath. After reading this, his first major album, Victory Lap, sounds a whole lot different to me. It was always great, but it has moved into the greatest category. #TheMarathonContinues
The Real Pepsi Challenge: How One Pioneering Company Broke Color Barriers in 1940s American Business, by Stephanie Capparell — The title of this book floated around one of my classes at Georgetown, and I decided to give it a read. I had NO CLUE how much Pepsi did for the Black community in the South back then. When Coke said “No Negros”, Pepsi was hiring them as executives.
Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, by Amy Kaufman — The title says it all, but what I learned about what happens behind the scenes of this major franchise is mindblowing. The lengths these folks go through just for their 15seconds.
#currently, I am reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. With less than 100 pages left, this is a MUST READ! And read it before HBOmax turns it into a limited series.
What are some of your favorite reads?
We’ve been having lunch together since summer 2020, and I’ve shared a few great recipes with you. I have listed all the volumes here that have tasty must-try recipes or food recommendations for easy access and new readers!
Vol 5, Costco Luxury Cooking — Try this lemon butter garlic drizzle during your next seafood feast!
Vol 6, Cioppino aka Seafood Stew — this seafood boil is mouthwatering! A great alternative to a traditional holiday meal.
Vol 8, Grilled Romaine Lettuce — your romaine doesn’t have to be boring; spice and grill it up for a delicate, healthy side.
Vol 11, Mint Dressing Drizzle — gotta love a drizzle. This one goes perfect over lamb.
Vol 15, Cornbread Fed — this Black-female owned cornbread brand makes me stomp my feet around the house and smack my lips every time I make it.
Vol 17, Honey Wheat Bread — First-ever Black-owned sliced bread company. I’ve ordered a few loaves throughout the year to support ✊🏾
Vol 24, Brunch Bowl — Looking to switch up your weekend breakfast at home? Look no further than my signature brunch bowl—a staple meal at The W.
Bonus, Cali Eats — From San Diego to San Jose, here is a list of 19 spots you’ve got to try out.
Have you tried out any of my recommendations? If so, what do you think?
We are to the final part of our party! What is a party without music?!
What albums or songs would be included if a movie was made about you?
I love music, particularly music from a certain decade. You should probably already know by now if you’ve been lunching with me for a while.
I want to end our party with some of my all-time favorite albums. In no particular order.
My Life, Mary J. Blige — This was the soundtrack to my 20s, kid you not. Back in January, I wrote a Twitter thread about each song on this album for Mary’s 50th Bday, a fellow Capricorn.
Where I Wanna Be, Donell Jones — His 2nd studio album will forever be his timeless classic.
It Was Written, Nas — Illmatic was great; this album was superb!
The Best of Teena Marie — All of my girl’s best songs in one spot. Portuguese Love is my favorite song by Teena.
The Best of Sade — Sade’s Love Deluxe was a GREAT album dropped in ‘92. But two years later, in ‘94, her compilations album became the best of its kind.
Ready to Die, The Notorious B.I.G. — His first album is a classic. While Life After Death is also a favorite of mine, it’s this one right here for me.
Rapture, Anita Baker — Baabbeeeyyy. Her smokey voice gets me every time. I will have a party for one every time this album plays.
Friday Night Lights, J Cole — This is my favorite mixtape. I must have played the hell out of this on DatPiff when it first dropped. I wish I could stream it on Tidal or Apple Music.
Cabin Fever, Wiz Khalifa — Can’t tell you what Wiz did before or after this, but this one right is a fav and still gets rotations.
Baduizm, Erykah Badu — No skips, on repeat, all day. This album makes you want to light incense and rub down with coconut oil.
Deeper Than Rap, Rick Ross — I remember riding around the A blasting this song in my Ford Escort ZX2 with subwoofers in the trunk. You couldn’t tell me nothing during this time.
One in A Million, Aaliyah — Of course, Babygirl’s classic is one of my all-time faves.
Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, Maxwell — The ’90s can not be recalled without the sounds of Maxwell.
House of Balloons, The Weeknd — Before he turned pop’ish, this guy made amazing damn music. Another classic I would play on DatPiff over and over again.
I could keep going, but the party has got to end at some point. I will leave you with this last Twitter question.
Reply or comment your response!
Well my friend, I hope you had fun at my birthday lunch. Next time we gather, it will be 2022! I hope these final days of 2021 bring you nothing but joy, love, and peace. See you next year!