this month, i am covering a book i have read cover to cover on more than one occasion and it is a book i am sure to read again.




when i was gifted “salt.” by nayyirah waheed from marilena, my college roommate turned sister turned soulmate, i knew i was in for a treat.  marilena tends to gift me exactly what i need at the exact time i need it – whether it is introducing me to the dip brow by anastasia beverly hills during a weekend at coachella a few years back, treating me to a 24 hour getaway in napa amidst the chaos of my final year of grad school or gifting me this book full of poems that hit so close to home, i felt like i wrote some of them (especially with the author being a woman of color who does not use capital letters) – she always knocks it out of the park.



*this is marilena and i back in january of this year in sf – we happened to overlap long enough to have a brunch date while both of us were in town for other engagements.  we also happen to be in sync on the reg and color coordinate coincidentally.


before i share a few of my favorite poems from this book, just know it is one you need and should purchase immediately.  you can get a copy here.


something to note is that while some of these will just always be favorites of mine, there are others that rotate in and out depending on where i am in my life.  i think once you get the book, you will definitely see what i mean.



“your skin is infamous for making me late to work.  — you know i ain’t got time for that laugh and those eyes.  you ain’t right.”

this one was my absolute favorite the first time i read it and is still one of them.  it reminded me of those beginning stages of falling in love when all you want to do is soak up the other person’s goodness and in doing so, time no longer exists.



“the most gorgeous thing on a human is vulnerability.  — want.”

this is another one that stood out during my first read and in each read thereafter, has struck me in a different way.  in 2019, i have been more vulnerable than i ever thought was possible for me.  it is risky but beautiful.



“when you are struggling in your writing (art). it usually means you are hearing one thing.  but writing (creating) another.  — honest / risk”

in rereading the book, this is one that caught my attention.  last week, i had returned home from a cruise to ensanada.  at any given time, i have dozens of topics to blog about that i keep on a google doc – i keep this doc active because i never want to be low on content and want to be able to jot down notes no matter where i am.  because of this, it is pretty rare for me to experience writer’s block.  yet here i was – sitting at my macbook with little to nothing to write about.  there was no topic for me to expand on.  then it hit me – what i was supposed to be writing was a love letter that was long overdue to the recipient.  and then it began – hours and hours of typing.  i haven’t had writer’s block since i hit ‘send’ on that letter.



“if you are softer than before they came.  you have been loved.”

i have previously been in relationships where the love i needed was not being given.  this definitely contributed to hardening my shell.  part of what let me know the letter i sent last week needed to leave my mind, my heart and my macbook was because there has never been another person to bring out this ultra soft and gentle side of me.  that is love (or at least a part of it i had not fully experienced).


if you have read “salt.”, what poem(s) is your favorite?  if you have not read “salt.”, what did you think of the poems i shared above?



k. tap



britt’s bachelorette in the big easy

if you are following along via instagram, you know i was in new orleans aka the big easy this past weekend.  the occasion was a special one – my very first girlfriend from undergrad, brittany, was celebrating both her bachelorette party and 30th birthday.  not only does she have family ties to new orleans but what a fun city to celebrate two amazing events in?!  her little sister, bridgett, the maid of honor, planned the best trip ever for a type a human like me.  there were typed booklets that included full fledged itineraries and kits with useful things for the weekend and life thereafter.


let’s first start with the airbnb – it was absolutely gorgeous.  there was tons of natural light, beautiful exposed brick and lots of open space – perfect for hosting a large group of women.  with it being in the arts/warehouse district, we were within a ten minute ride to wherever we wanted to go.


as soon as i walked into the airbnb, in addition to being obsessed with the huge navy tufted sofas on either side of the living room, i saw these cute, personalized gifts for each of us.  at first glance, i thought that the canvas item with our names on them were tote bags but to my surprise, they were aprons!!




little did i know, we would be using them to make beignets with chef syrena johnson, a chopped champion who is a new orleans native!  she prepared an amazing dinner that included gumbo, jambalaya, an outstanding salad with fresh berries and goat cheese and of course, beignets with homemade caramel, a berry compote and fresh whipped cream.  our starters included a roasted beet and goat cheese bruschetta and catfish fritters.  the flavor profiles were UNREAL. she was an absolute pleasure to have around and ridiculously humble.  it felt like we were catching up with an old friend who knew how to cook better than all of us.



*pictured here with brittany (the bride) and garnette

**pardon my hair – i had been in a dad cap all day and so it was a little more unruly than usual


*chef syrena and the bride, doing their thang


we stayed in after dinner and played a variety of games and had some in home entertainment.  what i can say about this group is that there was never a dull moment.  i think we will be 80 years old and still have inside jokes about this weekend.


saturday, we went to brunch at cavan.  this place was a dream.  i want a chandelier and a bar like this in whatever home i own longterm.  the service was great and our waiter was so personable.  she answered all of our questions about the menu and was more than willing to make modifications as requested.  the things i would recommend for sharing are the biscuits and gravy, the pancake (it is both sweet and spicy) and the rosé sangria (which has bourbon in it).  for my entree, i had the salmon cake benedict and it was to die for.   there is not a bad cocktail on this menu – we tried several from the bloody mary to the delta pearl – all were flavorful and smooth.



*there was tons of cute outdoor seating but it was far too humid for that


*this is that chandelier/bar combo i was saying i need for my future home


*elisa and i (you might recognize this beauty from my post about spain)


*the salmon cake benedict


after brunch, all eight of us had tarot card readings at the dark lady.  while i know this is not everyone’s cup of tea, the eight of us had a wonderful experience and i think each person took something of value from our session.



we went home to rest up/change for dinner and headed out to the commander’s palace.  while for the most part, dinner was good, there were a few mishaps but they were properly addressed by management.  when making a reservation, ask to sit in brandt’s section – he was honestly one of the best waiters i have ever had in any restaurant.  i would highly recommend the pecan crusted fish as an entree and the creme brûlée as a dessert.



*britt and her boos


post dinner, we headed home to play another game before heading out for drinks and dancing on both bourbon street and frenchmen street.  while enjoyable, i honestly do not know how anyone braves the outdoors during summer in nola.  this frozen little treat definitely helped.




while many of the girls had to leave early sunday morning to catch flights, a few of us were able to enjoy a phenomenal brunch at shaya before heading to the airport.  the best advice i could give is to go with other foodies so you can order pretty much everything.  this may have been the best meal we had in a restaurant setting throughout the entire trip.




i would definitely go back to the big easy but in the fall or winter when the humidity is a bit less intense.


if you’ve been to nola, what was your favorite part?



k. tap





thought of the week: who you surround yourself with directly impacts your energy

over the last week, i have been totally surrounded by great people with even greater energy.  last wednesday, i was able to connect with two old friends, one of which is always helping me come up with new ways to elevate my blog.  over the weekend, i went to nola for a bachelorette party.  if i am being completely honest, i had some anxiety going into the weekend because i have been to some bachelorette parties that are rocky at best.  an added layer of anxiety came from not knowing all of the attendees beforehand.  this anxiety was literally for nothing.  the weekend was absolutely seamless and not just because we were turnt for the bulk of the weekend – there were plenty of incredibly deep conversations, even between those of us who did not know one another beforehand.  today was the second day i had to cancel plans due to food poisoning – rather than completely drop our plans for dinner, my dear friend jessica asked what she could bring me from the market so we could catch up on my couch.  not only were the sourdough baguette and watermelon exactly what my dehydrated self needed, but the beautiful bouquet she brought over brightened my day (and my dining room).


even as an introvert, all of these interactions left me feeling reinvigorated.  and here’s the thing each person/interaction had in common: i did not have to be “on” for any of these people/things.  it made me think about if i am as introverted as i think (and as the multiple assessments say i am) or if i am only slightly introverted but am just sick of being surrounded by people where i have to be “on”…


i stumbled across this quote on twitter from maryamhasnaa and it made the last week make a lot more sense.




“energy management tip: surround yourself with people who you don’t have to perform for.”


how much energy do i dish out monthly, weekly or daily on people who i have to perform for?  how much energy would i have left to allocate to other things if i was managing my energy better?


with us starting a new month this upcoming monday, i am going to be keeping a closer eye on how i am managing my energy which will include looking more closely at who i surround myself with.


how do you manage your energy?



k. tap

national stripes day

about a week ago, mandy moore (who i have been obsessed with since grade school when the song “candy” came out –> the obsession continued with both the movie and soundtrack for “a walk to remember” when i was in junior high –> and it is going strong since she is knocking it out of the park on the hit show “this is us”) posted this adorable photo of her in a bright, striped dress and said she was a little early for national stripes day.  i had no idea national stripes day was even a thing which is odd since i love most prints, stripes included.  apparently, it is on june 21st so here we are.


in honor of flashback friday, i figured i would include toddler me rocking a striped outfit.



here are some things that haven’t changed: green is still one of my favorite colors, i still love when my hair is braided and often wear high ponies/buns whether it is braided or not, i am all about throwing on a denim shirt or jacket to break up the rest of my fit.


while i have a striped scarf that i often wear in the fall or winter and multiple striped dresses and rompers i have worn to events over the years, i wanted something striped to travel to new orleans in (i am here for a bachelorette party this weekend).  when i did a quick weather check and saw it was going to be 92 degrees with intense levels of humidity, i knew i needed something light and breathable.  when i was in target doing a little shopping for my apartment earlier this week, i stumbled across this super soft and light striped dress by ava + viv in the plus sized section.  for only $24.99, i had to get it!



i paired it with a dad cap, a lightweight cardigan and my high top converse.  even though it is hot in nola, i don’t ever get on a plane without at least a lightweight sweater – you can never be sure of the temperatures you’ll encounter.


for my plus sized girls, here are some other cute striped dress options for summer:





and don’t worry, i have some awesome striped dress options in standard sizing as well:





how do you like to rock your stripes?



k. tap


living for my lilly lashes

when it comes to beauty, i keep it pretty simple during the work week unless i have parent meetings or special presentations and i tend to save my glam for the weekends or when i am vacationing.  whenever i have lashes on, i tend to get a ton of dms asking where i got them done or where they can be purchased.  while i have never had eyelash extensions (i don’t think i could handle the upkeep), i often wear strips when i am out on the town.  the only strips i wear are lilly lashes by lilly ghalichi.  i have been absolutely hooked since last november.


while i had heard of lilly lashes because i am a bravoholic and have watched every episode of shahs of sunset (how i was introduced to lilly ghalichi in the first place), i had never planned on purchasing a pair.  i used to just buy lashes from wherever and wear them once before discarding them.  then, my twin, anj, turned me onto the ardell wispies – they are beautiful and full strips without being too heavy.  they can be found at cvs, target or your local beauty supply and a pack of five sets is usually between $12 and $15. i remember liking that i could wear each pair at least twice and just loving the look.  that was until last november.  when anj was getting married, she made me a little gift bag and it included a set of lilly lashes to wear the day of the wedding.  the minute i saw them up close, i was in love.


there are TONS of lashes to choose from – all named after major cities across the world.  the pair i received (and have been wearing ever since) is called mykonos.  coincidentally, mykonos is one of my favorite places on earth.


i will admit – putting them on the first time was a bit of a struggle because the band that the lashes are attached to is on the thicker side and a little less flexible than what i was used to working with.  i now realize that this is a blessing for multiple reasons – they last much longer, are easier to clean for reuse and make my eyes look like they are naturally lined and i love the look of a sultry eye.


initially, i was wondering if they were going to be worth the $30 anj paid for them.  the answer is ABSOLUTELY.  i have worn the same pair of lashes from november about 30 times.  THIRTY TIMES.


i bought a second pair for my godsister’s wedding that was in may just so the makeup artist could have a fresh set to apply and after wearing the new pair once, i went back to wearing the old pair.


if you follow me on the gram, you know i was in mexico this past weekend on a cruise with my family celebrating my godmother’s birthday and father’s day with papa.  we had a more formal dinner on the ship one night and so i got a little dressed up.  naturally, i had to pull out my lilly lashes.




these are the same lashes that i have had since november 12th of 2018!  and honestly, i think i love them more and more after each use because they become even easier to apply and just curve to the shape of my eyes effortlessly.


we all have a beauty product that makes us feel like we are taking our look to the next level – for me, it is definitely my mykonos lilly lashes.  what product is it for you?


do you wear lilly lashes?  if so, what is your favorite pair?



k. tap