You changed your scent.
Now you smell like cloves.
Unfamiliar scents for someone who’s become unfamiliar to me.
You used to smell like beeswax.
Tea tree oil.
You used to smell like safety, like comfort, like what I imagined the scent of a piece of my heart to be.
I wonder if my sense of smell changed
when I fell in love with somebody new.
Because now safety and comfort smell like
earth and smoke.
Now I imagine a piece of my heart would smell like sea salt.
And I wonder if my scent has changed to you.
I got my first tattoo when I was 18-years old on a trip to Seattle with my Mom to visit family. It says “Life” on my right wrist and lowkey covers up a scar from where I stabbed myself in the wrist when I was 14 in a super awkward suicide attempt. It’s a reminder that “life” goes on.
My second tattoo was the word “Live” on my left wrist and is the only tattoo that I’veever had any type of regret about. I got it at a hole-in-the-wall tattoo shop by CCSF while waiting for my ex-boyfriend to get out a club meeting. I wanted the word to face me because I wanted the word “live” to be a reminder to..well…live and the word “life” to face outward since life is what I’ve already done. The artist insisted that it would look stupid since it wouldn’t be symmetrical and would mess with the flow (idk) so he just tatt’d it the way he wanted to. The linework was super patchy when I first got it but I got it touched up by the artist who’s done essentially the rest of my work. I would have gotten it touched up by the original artist but he just had bad energy. It also now serves as a reminder to always be adamant about what I want and to be patient when it comes to finding tattoo artists.
My third tattoo was the forget-me-nots on my right wrist. This was the first tattoo I got from Jen @ Picture Machine Tattoo. She was super sweet and the majority of my tattoos are by her. Reason for the tattoo: Forget-me-nots are my favorite flower and I never want to forget the life I’ve lived.
Fourth, I believe, was the quote “Every book it’s reader” on my right shoulder. It’s done in Gutenburg Gothic script and is one of the Five Laws of Library Science. Obviously, I love books and libraries. The reason why I chose Gutenburg Gothic as the font is because Gutenberg is credited with the creation of the printing press which helped increase literacy in the medieval world. The library quote is because I strongly believe that there is no such thing as a book that nobody should read.
Fifth was the violetsand they serve as a reminder to always live my life with humility, wisdom, and grace. Violets are also the birth flower for February (my birth month).
Sixth was ribcage. I got the Ovid’s quote “Fortune and love favor the brave” in red ink after I had broken up with my ex. I aim to be brave in chasing my dreams and in putting myself on the line in terms of love and relationships. The reason why I got it in red is because to me red symbolizes strength, rebirth, and purity and I needed that at that junction in my life.
Seventh was a blue rose for my doggie Star. I didn’t want a giant color piece so I asked Jen if she could just create a halo effect for the rose and we tried to match the blue to Star’s eyes based on an old photo. Also, when you’re brown – you get worried about color payoff when it comes to tattoos. This was like my trial color run on a part of my body that gets a lot more sun and is a lot darker than the inside of my wrists.
Shortly after I got two more roses added. The red one for my Dad (who’s still alive but we should still give flowers to those living) and the purple for my grandma who passed away when I was 8 but was such a hugely influential part of my life.
Gretal was the next piece and she was a two-session process; one for the outline and one for shading. My grandma had this beautiful dragon drawing and I’ve always loved it and I always wanted to get a dragon to commemorate her and one day it just clicked that I should get that dragon tattooed. So that’s exactly what I did.
I think I ended up getting the banner around the words after Gretal got shaded, but I’m honestly not sure at all. I can’t pinpoint when I got it for the life of me.
For my 24th birthday and Valentines Day/ Friday the 13th I got my little Grim Reaper. Jen was having a flash sale and I saw Franklin (what I’ve named him) on her Instagram and I snagged that little sucker. He’s adorable and I absolutely love his little scythe with the forget-me-nots.
Next up, my pinky hearts. I got them done at Cold Steel Tattoo on Haight St (usually I’ve only gone there for piercings) after deciding that I was officially done with my relationship with my ex-fiance. Finger tattoos are pretty hit-n-miss so the wonky healing is just a result of hand oils and etc (NOT MY PINKY RING). The reason for the two hearts is to pinky promise to always love myself first and foremost.
After the pinky hearts came my tea-pot genie lamp. Once again, it’s another tattoo done by Jen and she essentially was having a flash tattoo sale and I saw it on her Instagram and instantly just thought – “omgoodness, that is perfect!” The reasoning is that I’d much rather make wishes on daisy petals than have three wishes from a jinn.
Now, time for all my recent tattoos – these have all been done within the last year.
I got my bison when I went to L.A. last year. Random tattoo shop, random spur of the moment desire, and it worked out perfectly. I love bison, I grew up by the bison pen in Golden Gate Park, and I think they are the sweetest creatures alive.
Following the bison, I got a dagger on the inside of my left forearm, which is also the first tattoo that I got this year. I got it from Oliver at Temperance Tattoos in the Tenderloin. I’ve had a long-standing promise with myself that when I know that I’m truly ready to commit to being self-harm free I would get a dagger or knife to commemorate that promise to myself and to constantly remind me of that promise. I got it on my left arm because I’m left-handed.
After that I got my poppies done by Jen at Picture Machine. Poppies because I’m a California girl and they are the state flower.
My most recent tattoo is one that I got in Flagstaff, Arizona. I really, really, really wanted to get a tattoo in Arizona because I crossed something huge of my bucket list which was to go to the Grand Canyon. Michael, at Birch Avenue Tattoo hooked me with this awesome dagger coming through a cactus flower and I absolutely love it. It’s still a wee bit in the healing phase just because my skin doesn’t react too well with color but I absolutely love it and think it’s beautiful.
AND, that’s it for my tattoos!
If you have any further questions, just let me know!
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion was a legit cover grab for me. I mean, look at it! It just looks so creepy, but in that “ooooo this is gonna be good” way.
It’s a super short book, 112 pages, and follows a woman named Danielle who’s looking into the sudden suicide of her best friend. Her search takes her to a Utopian squatter town in Iowa named Freedom where a spirit in the form a red-eyed three antlered deer has been summoned to serve as a judge and executioner in the town. However, the deer is beginning to turn on its summoners and it’s up to Danielle and her new friends to figure out how to save the town and themselves.
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion was an insanely captivating mixture of fantasy and horror with an amazing element of commentary on police states and anarchism. I enjoyed Killjoy’s writing and found the majority of it to be well-paced and engaging. There were a few parts that I wish had been explored a bit more – such as how the summoning of the deer worked and how “magic” was discovered, but I’m hoping that since this is part of a series the magic system (or systems) will be explored in the next novella.
I would recommend this to people who want to read fantasy with a diverse cast of characters (PoC, queer, and trans), are interested in horror novels, and who are looking for a quick read that covers a lot ground in a realistic way.
If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought about it! And if you haven’t, what are some of your favorite fantasy/horror novellas, books, or writers?
Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!
Find “The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion” at a library near you | Purchase from Book Depository (I receive a 5% commission if you do!)
Children of Blood and Bone has been all over my life. Patrons have been constantly checking it out, I’ve been constantly processing it for holds, and it’s been all over my YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter feeds since it’s release. At first, I wasn’t going to read it because I have hipster tendencies and tend to avoid reading things that end up being repeatedly shoved in my face and because I usually don’t enjoy YA fantasy novels.
Buuuuuut, I do occasionally feel like I have to read things by black authors, especially black women authors who are writing fantasy. You know, support the people and all that ish. Aaaaaand, the synopsis didn’t sound too bad, aaaaaaand, I’ve heard decently good things about it.
So, did I love it?
I liked it. I could definitely see a younger me being absolutely in love with this. If this book had came out when I was in elementary or middle school I would have been all over it, but alas, it fell into too many of the YA tropes for me.
The main character, Zélie, is your typical “Chosen One”. She fucks up, gets in trouble, is insanely beautiful along with being a talented fighter, oh, and has a tragic backstory. Zélie, and her older brother, along with a runaway princess named Amari, embark on a quest to bring back magic via some magical artifacts and a celestial event and then aim to bring down the ruthless king (who happens to Amari’s father). To add more to the mix, the ruthless king has tasked Amari’s older brother, Inan to halt their quest, kill Zélie, and destroy the artifacts. Inan has to make some decisions, figure out who he is and who he wants to be, etc. – it’s almost like everyone in this novel was going through two forms of puberty and it was driving me crazy.
However, Adeyemi is a fantastic writer. Which is probably the main reason as to why I managed to finish the book. The story is told through Zélie, Amari, and Inan’s POV and each one is so drastically different that it works out excellently and makes for a very smooth blend. The world-building was on point, the plot was on point, and just the general subtle changes in the characters was on point. Everything was on point, but as stated previously, it just didn’t appeal to me as an adult reader.
I would definitely recommend this book to fantasy lovers, black kids who thought Harry Potter was semi-wack, and people who just want to read fantasy from the African/African-American perspective.
Have you read Children of Blood and Bone yet? Or are you like me and avoiding it for as long as possible due to all the hype surrounding it? What did you think of it if you did read it? And who are some of your favorite PoC fantasy writers?
Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!
Find “Children of Blood and Bone” at a library near you |Purchase from Book Depository (I receive a 5% commission if you do!)
As semi-promised in my A Foggy Land’s End Wander post I eventually made it over the Sutro District on an overcast, foggy, and windy Monday afternoon. It was lovely. Of course, it’s an absolutely beautiful place when its blue skies and fluffy clouds, but I’m a true San Franciscian and love the grey. It speaks to my soul.
I wandered around Sutro Park for a while and then headed over to the Baths before heading back home.
Hope you enjoy the photos!
I also found out that Sutro, despite being hailed as quite the philanthropist, had his bathhouse segregated. As much as people always want to think and say that San Francisco has always been an open and free city that has always stood for equal rights and social equality, there’s always been this undercurrent of greed, money, power, and extreme social stratification here. It’s nothing new to today as much as San Franciscans always try to pretend that it is.
And yes, I am purposely posting this on the 4th, the same day that John Harris was denied entry into Sutro Baths and the same day that we’re supposed to be celebrating freedom and independence in the United States. There’s a whole bunch I could say about how much I despise the 4th of July, how I wish we didn’t celebrate this holiday, and how I wish that this country got its start in another way but alas, that’s a post for an entirely different day. Let me hop off my soapbox and go about my day.
Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Hope you all have a wonderful day, and read a wonderful book!
Guess who’s finally decided to pick up a superhero graphic novel series after who knows how many years (and I’m not counting Ta-Nehisi Coates run of Black Panther)?
Obviously me. Duh. I don’t even know why that was a question.
Now, what made me decide that this was the moment to attempt to get back into the whole superhero graphic novel genre? A series called Batwing that features an African Batman, that’s what.
I was at work doing a very speedy room clean, since the library was closing in 4 minutes and I had 3 minutes to make it to my bus, and I was instantly captured by the cover of Batwing Vol. 2: In the Shadow of the Ancients. I quickly read the synopsis on the back and thought it sounded very intriguing. I’m all for black superheros, and I’m even more for African superheros – especially when their main story takes place in Africa. I had absolutely no time whatsoever to search for the first volume, take a picture, or check it out so I threw up a quick prayer to the universe that I would remember the title and bolted to my bus stop (I ended up running about a solid city block after the bus). Needless to say, I totally forgot all about it the second I stepped on the bus.
Yet! I totally did end up remembering it as I was attempting to clean my house the next day. I couldn’t remember the title but, thankfully, Hoopla had my back. I ended up searching for “Africa Batman” and it was the first (and pretty much only) series to pop up. I promptly downloaded all four of the available titles and started on Volume 1: The Lost Kingdom.
Now. My main reason for not reading superhero based graphic novels/comics is simple. I very rarely enjoy them. I loved Christopher Priest’s run of Black Panther and Garth Ennis’ Punisher along with a few other sporadic favorites but there’s just something eh about the superhero/villain trope to me when it comes to GNs (and books!). The dialogue, to me, tends to feel incredibly predictable and stale. Also, all the reboots, backstories, and authors damn near make it impossible for me to figure out where to start. So, the amount of trust that I’m putting in this run just because it features an African Batman is pretty high.
I’m planning on doing a “series” review once I finish them. At the time of me writing this I’m currently on Volume 4: Welcome to the Family and well…I have some mixed feelings. I’ve been recording my thoughts after finishing each volume for my YouTube channel so hopefully I’ll be able to recall my feelings toward individual volumes for a coherent blog post. You might be asking, “Why I don’t just write them as I go along” and to answer your potential question – “I’m simply not that motivated or productive and I’m easily distracted.”
But! I do intend on seeing this series through! I even uploaded the video version of this blog post on my channel!
Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,
Land’s End is on my favorite “I just need some outdoor time” morning walks. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful coastal and oceans views, flowers, and just general peacefulness. It was a little bit foggy/overcast today when I went for my walk, but I love that whole vibe so it wasn’t a bad thing. Usually, I walk down to Mile Rock Beach and then turn around but today I decided to just walk the entire trail which ends at Sutro Baths/Ocean Beach.
Enjoy the photos!
For thee longest, I’ve been trying to guess why that rock was painted white. I had my theories that it had something to do with boats and shipping but I wasn’t sure, and then I was convinced that some prankster had just thrown white paint on it and through some weird urban legend it became known as Painted Rock, but now I know. Anywho, back to the pictures.
And that pretty much sums up my Land’s End to Sutro Baths walk! I’m planning on visiting Sutro Baths pretty soon because I saw there was some new graffiti painted on the ruins so keep an eye out for that post if you’re interested in San Francisco graffiti!
Round trip it was 3.29 miles and it took me about an hour and twenty minutes. Of course, I’m forever stopping to take pictures or videos of stuff so that probably adds to my walking time too.
Hope you have a lovely day, read a wonderful book and see a beautiful sight,
I’ve been dealing with mild depression for a few weeks and one of the ways that I manage to keep it at bay is by getting out into nature as often as possible. Monday was the day I decided to finally make the drive up to Bolinas to seek out the Alamere Falls.
I’m not going to lie, I was super nervous about embarking on this hike solo. Usually, I go on these types of trips with my boyfriend, but he’s currently in South Africa for a decent chunk of the month and I’ll be starting my second job at the end of the month so I won’t have time for my usual adventures.
The Palomarin Trail is about an hour away from San Francisco via the Shoreline Hwy and is located in a pretty isolated part of Bolinas. In fact, the entire last mile to the trailhead is on a dirt road – that’s how far out the way it is. The hike itself can range from 8-14miles roundtrip depending on which trail you take to the Falls, oh! and there’s absolutely no cell phone service.
The trail was absolutely beautiful and just the right combination of coastal and inland hiking. The only part that was ~meh~ was the very beginning which featured eucalyptus trees…I’m really not a fan of eucalyptus trees. Thankfully that chunk only lasted for a quarter mile before the trail opened up to beautiful skies, coastal views, foresty vibes, flowers, and greenery.
Now, this was the point of my hike where I had to double back because I had realized I had passed the “trail” that actually goes to Alamere Falls. Aaaaaaand lemme tell you, the trail was literally just marked by a really sketch rock arrow on the ground which is why I passed it up the first time. Any logical city kid will tell you that an arrow on the ground is most likely going to lead to your stuff getting jacked sooooooo, I feel like I was justified in my wariness. However, it was so worth it! Along with the terrifying scramble down two cliffs to the beach (I DO NOT ADVISE THIS AT ALL. IN FACT, I HIGHLY WARN AGAINST IT).
It was stunning and I honestly can’t believe I made the hike by myself, nor can I believe I asked a random person to take a photo. My total distance was 11.51 miles and it took me 4hrs and 36minutes.
As a word to the wise, I would strongly suggest NOT climbing the cliff and instead taking the extra 2 miles and go down to Wildcat Beach. People get horribly injured climbing the cliffs and I was pretty lucky to have only scraped my knee after a horrible misstep on my return climb. Seriously, my life damn near flashed before my eyes.
I track my hikes through the FitBit app (totes not sponsored) and this is what my Alamere Hike looked like. You can totally see where I realized that I all sorts of went the wrong way…several times. Hiking alone can be scary y’all. Take plenty of water, stay on the trail, and make sure you let someone know where you’re at!
First off, I loved the entire series. I never thought that I would seriously sit down and read a romance book and not scoff at every other word, much less an entire series. The Old West trilogy by Beverly Jenkins has caused me to completely look at romance novels in an entirely new light. The development of the stories, characters, and the general flow of the series was absolutely lovely.
The Old West Trilogy follows a family of motivated and headstrong black women in the late 19th century and showcases their struggles with being both black and women, along with their ~struggles~ with the men who they find As each book follows a different member of the Carmichael family in a different area of America the issues being showcased slightly change.
One of my absolute favorite things about the series were the covers. I thought it was so amazing to see black people happily in love (or lust) on the covers of a genre that is so dominated by white bodies and faces. It was amazing.
In the first novel in the series, Forbidden, Eddy Carmichael, dreams of opening her own kitchen/restaurant in California but ends up stranded in Nevada where she meets businessman and real estate, mogul. Rhine Fontaine. Rhine has been passing as a white man in order to make his fortune but his attraction to Eddy causes him to reconsider passing. The book addresses topics such as white-passing, marital, business, and real estate laws, and what types of communities African-Americans formed after the Emancipation.
The second novel, Breathless, follows Portia Carmichael, one of Eddy’s nieces as she fights to prove that she’s just as intelligent as any man, doesn’t need a man and that she’s completely capable of managing her uncle’s hotel. Temptation comes in the form of a man named Kent Randolph who’s a black rancher and occasionally reffered to as a “cat-house king”. The novel explores themes of racism toward Native America’s, further struggles of being black in the West (both on the side of men and woman), and woman’s suffrage rights. It wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I found it interesting enough to move me on to the third and final book.
The last novel, Tempest, follows Regan Carmichael, (sister to Portia and Eddy’s other niece), as she follows her dream of becoming a mail-order bride. She travels to the Wyoming Territory to become the wife of the widower, Dr. Colton Lee, who is looking for a strong female figure to take care of his daughter. Regan however, might be a tad bit too strong of a female figure and Colton has his doubts. However, those are soon overridden and Colton starts to feel his heart melting for Regan. The novel explores themes of propriety, gender roles, and life in the territories. It even briefly touches on the treatment of Chinese-Americans and immigrants. This book definitely had the most “sexy time” out of the trilogy and was my favorite in the series (not for the sexy time, but just because Regan is such a dope ass female character!)
So, there you have it! Those are my thoughts on The Old West trilogy as a whole by Beverly Jenkins and on the individual novels. Let me know if you have read these, and also, let me know what some of your favorite romance novels are! Especially let me know if they’re written by a PoC!!
Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,
I rarely do monthly wrap-ups. But, something about having a new(ish) blog space makes me want to fill it with stuff SO, y’all are getting a May reading wrap-up.
Also, May has been a pretty good month for me in terms of reading. Mainly because I turned in my last final of the Spring semester and finally had the time to read all the stuff that I had been meaning to read.
In total I managed to knock out;
9 books (whaaaaaaaaaaat????!)
& 6 graphic novels.
So let’s briefly (hopefully) run through my thoughts on the books
The beginning of the month I finished up Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton. I loved Jurassic Park, saw the dinosaur on the cover of this one and thought it would be similar. It wasn’t and I was gravely disappointed, and that’s what I get for judging a book by it’s cover. Essentially it was about competitive fossil hunting between two paleontologists and one young man caught in the crossfire. It had it’s moments, but overall, it’s not something I’m going to remember for long.
After that, I managed to knock out Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African-American’s who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires by Shomari Wills. This book was fucking ah-ma-zing. I’ve been trying to read more about African-Americans by African-Americans and this was exactly what I needed. It follows the lives of 6 African-Americans and how they gained, and in some occasions lost, their fortunes and history books “tend to” forget about them. I loved it and might actually buy it and add it to my own personal library sometime soon.
Breathless by Beverly Jenkins was my third book of the month and I enjoyed it. I felt like I needed something a tad bit more lighthearted after Black Fortunes and this hit the spot perfectly. It’s the second book in Beverly Jenkins’ Old West trilogy and eventually, I’ll get around to reviewing the series as a whole.
Breathless was quickly followed by The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I picked it up because it was SFPL’s “Two Cities One Book” selection and because it’s a book about books. I talked about this one of my YouTube channel and you can find that video here.
I’d had my eye on Confessions of a Young Nero by Margaret George since it came out, aaaaaand I even purchased it when it first came out but I didn’t get around to reading it until this month. Usually I absolutely love Margaret George’s writing style…but something about this one was just a wee bit too sluggish. I loved sections of it, but there was a lot that I wish wasn’t there. I do fully intend on buying the second book in the two-part series though.
Sourdough by Robin Sloan was next up on the grand list. This one I demolished in less than 24hrs. I absolutely loved Sloan’s first book Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and had been wanting to read this one since it first came out. I absolutely loved Sloan’s writing style for this and I loved that there was romance without it being about romance or relationships or whatever. It was beautiful in a very simple way. It also made me want to learn how to bake bread, but that’s probably never going to happen.
After reading Sourdough, I decided to embark on a mini graphic-novel binge. I ended up reading the first 6 volumes of Birthright by Joshua Williamson. At first I was incredibly wary of it because the first few panels didn’t really feel like what I wanted to read but once I got over that I was hooked. My favorite part about the series is that it highlights what it could potentially be like for a family whose child has gone missing and returned under a fantasy/otherworldly pretense. It’s weird…but in a very good way. I think I might start collecting these.
Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian was a bit of a random grab. Usually I tend to stay away from mysteries, especially mysteries that are part of an epically long series. The whole “who done it” aspect tends to bore me quickly but thankfully, this book had just enough plot twists that I managed to skip it. The writing was funny and quirky and I found myself constantly cheering for the main character, Odelia. I even lol’d a few times. However, I don’t see myself continuing on with the series anytime soon – like I mentioned previously, I’m very wary of mystery series.
However, reading the first book a series did in some weird way motivate me to finish the Old West trilogy so I finished Tempest by Beverly Jenkins. I absolutely loved Tempest. It had waaaaaay more sex scenes than the previous two, but that’s not why I loved it. I loved it because the main character Regan, definitely reminded me of me. Her ability to go from tomboy to lady in a heartbeat is what got me. Still, I fully plan on doing a series review of the Old West trilogy soon!
I ended the month with A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman. It was a freakishly heartwarming story about a grumpy old man, loss, and friendship. I laughed and I cried. It was a bit like The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry where it had one of those slightly unsuspecting endings but it was still insanely nice. I’ve been on a bit of a “grumpy man person” kick lately.
And that’s the entirety of my reading for the month of May. It was a freakishly good reading month. I think my favorite book of the month was definitely Sourdough – just because it had so many feel goodnchunks and because I’m horribly in love with books that are set in San Francisco.
What were some of your favorite reads from last month & what do you plan on reading in June?
Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!
If you’re an actual frequenter of this space, you might have noticed that I’ve deleted EVERYTHING. Yup, everything is gone (well, not “gone gone”, but not publically accessible anymore).
I want this space to represent me. I want to be able to point this site as a place where someone can go if they want to get a glimpse into the inner workings of my mind, or if they want to know what I’ve been up to. I want to share my thoughts on books, nature, race, sexuality, life, growing in San Francisco, my grad student struggles, my victories, my failures etc.
I want to share everything, within reason of course.
Every once in a while I’ll get to talking about my life with someone, and they’ll tell me something along the lines of “you should write a book” or “you should write a series of essays” and I’ve always laughed and said “naaaah” but in the back of my mind that’s always stuck with me. I think the reason why I’ve never attempted is because;
However, a blog is completely free. Well…not free to me. I have to pay yearly for this space. Which I guess is ok? I mean, hey, I like having the option to have my own URL without the wordpress.com part attached to it and choosing from fancy templates I struggle with using. I get to pretend that I’m ~fancy~.
So, this space. It’s currently empty, but will eventually feature my random short stories/misc. writings, book reviews, lame iPhone photos from my occasional hikes, and just random thoughts about my days.
Let’s see how long this bout of semi-consistant blogging lasts.