My Favorite Things

20 Books To Help Get Your Mind Right In 2017


Blessed 2017, y'all.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a proud bibliophile. Next to sipping wine and tea, listening to trap music and collecting journals, I love nothing more than getting cozy on the couch and flipping my fingers through a good book. My affinity for reading was instilled in me at a very young age, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more appreciative of the art of storytelling.

Now that 2017 is here, it’s time for us to put down the iPhones (or Androids) and stick our noses in a book. Particularly for those who are looking to improve their writing skills, reading daily can increase comprehension, deepen your awareness for tone and pitch and even expand your vocabulary.

Remember, if you can make time to binge watch episodes of Power or Game of Thrones, you can totally make time to read 30-45 minutes a day. I want nothing more than for you to be greater than great in 2017. The books listed below are a combination of personal favorites that I’ve already read, as well as ones that I hope to personally conquer this year. And fun fact: if you head over to your local library and sign up for a library card, you can borrow all of the physical and digital books your heart desires - for the free.

So let’s dive into these books, shall we? Enjoy! 

If you’re looking to make your next move your best move…


Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You: A JournalI share pages from this journal almost every day on my Instagram Story because the prompts and quotes within it are not only meaningful, but encourage me to think bigger and put those ideas into motion. Get 'chu one asapington. 

Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creativity (Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei) 

Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It (By Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz) 

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One (By Jenny Blake) 


If you need a reminder to check yourself before you wreck yourself…

Letting Go: The Pathway Of Surrender. (By Dr. David Hawkins) I received this as a gift at a time when I really needed it most. What looks like a book that could get all deep and psychological on you actually describes practical methods for letting go that simply begin with the way we think. Highly recommended. 

You’re A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Living an Awesome Life (By Jen Sincero) 

Ego Is The Enemy (By Ryan Holiday) 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck (By Mark Manson) 

If you need a hearty dose of Black Girl Magic…


The Meaning of Michelle(Edited by Veronica Chambers) As if we needed yet another stark reminder of the beauty, class and grace that is about to leave the White House in 15 days, some of our favorites (think: Ava Durvernay, Roxanne Gay) have come together in a collection of short essays to pay homage to the greatest First Lady of all time. It drops on January 10th, and please believe that I will be getting me a copy. 

I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. (By Luvvie Ajayi) 

Around The Way Girl: A Memoir. (By Taraji P. Henson) 

Year of Yes: How To Dance It Out, Stand In The Sun and Be Your Own Person (By Shonda Rhimes) 

If you need some inspiration to get that business idea off the ground...


Succeeding Against The Odds: The Autobiography of a Great Businessman (By John H. Johnson) As a lover of all things media, I'm a bit surprised that I'm just now learning of the dynamic story of Ebony Magazine founder John H. Johnson. When I tell you this man is the GOAT - he definitely made is possible for many of us in Black media to flourish and thrive today. Do yourself a favor: get you a copy and prepare to have your mind blown. (And shout-out to my girl MK for sharing her copy with me!) 

The Path Redefined: Getting To The Top on Your Own Terms (By Lauren Maillian Bias) 

The Entrepreneur’s Playbook: More than 100 Proven Strategies, Tips, and Techniques to Build a Radically Successful Business (By Leonard Green & Paul B. Brown) 

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (By Phil Knight) 

If you want something light, fun and fictional…


God Help The Child(By Toni Morrison) A pretty easy read that actually takes place in the present day, Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison unpacks black beauty, love and how the seeds planted during childhood ultimately impact thoughts and actions as an adult. I probably will read this one again - you know, for the culture. 

No One is Coming To Save Us (By Stephanie Powell Watts)

Euphoria (By Lily King) 

What books do you have on your reading list for 2017? Send me a tweet and let's get this virtual book club on and poppin', k? 

Happy reading! 


Wine Around Town: Grand Cata, Latino Wine Company

Happy National Wine Day, everyone! As you all know, I love wine. Living in the Nation's Capitol over the last five years, I have found a plethora of very cute wine bars and stores that have tickled my fancy, and left me even more curious to satisfy my infatuation with fermented grapes.

With the summer just around the corner, I’ve made it my mission to visit the many amazing wine bars and stores that The District has to offer. I've titled this new excursion "Wine Around Town," and will be sharing a new spot once a month.

Now, on to the wine!


Earlier last week during a (rare) sunny day, I decided to take a stroll from my office in Thomas Circle to a new wine store that just opened in the Shaw neighborhood. Looking at the website, the wine shop appeared to be very spacious and inviting, with the walls lined with a variety of wines from Latin America. And because I have a love for wine that is specifically from this region AND they were already having a daily tasting from 5-7 p.m., I knew that Grand Cata was exactly what I was looking for.

catar - Spanish verb for "to taste"

Upon entering the store, I was greeted by its owners Pedro Rodriguez and Julio Robledo. I expressed my excitement for tweeting them earlier, and they of course were super pleased to see my stop by so soon.


The two wine enthusiasts, both Puerto Rican and Chilean respectively, shared with me the inspiration behind the inception of Grand Cata, and their excitement for the grand opening (which took place on May 18th.) As Julio pour me the #DailyCata, Pedro prepared to take me on a tour of the store.

I was completely taken away by the beautiful rustic yet modern feel of Grand Cata. As Pedro walked me around the store, he shared how the wines were categorized by region (old and new world, too) along the two main walls of the store. They also had a very impressive collection of tequilas sherrys, and beers that were arranged wonderfully behind the register. Pedro also mentioned that Grand Cata would soon be starting a wine club where subscribers would receive 2 bottles per month a a few other cool perks. You can learn more about that here.


And because I never leave a wine store empty handed, I walked out with a bottle of the #DailyCata, which was a 2014 Southern Italian Primitivo by Mottura Le Giuse. I haven't cracked it open yet, but it was quite a steal for $11! Overall, I love the vibe of Grand Cata, and how hospitable both Pedro and Julio were during my visit. I look forward to stopping by next time I'm roaming around in Shaw.

For more information on Grand Cata, be sure to visit their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter!



As soon as I walked it, I felt as though I had