Austin Brown

give: end of the year free music goodies

You know what the best gifts are this season? The ones that come after the 25th! From a music lover’s point of view, it is always awesome to listen to a great mixtape. Most of the time, I almost think it’s unfair because the music is too good to be free but I won’t complain too much. ;) Three talented artists recently released their free mixtapes and I wanted to share with you the goodies I found from Austin Brown, JoJo and Luke James so I hope you guys listen and love!

Austin Brown – Highway 85


Backpack Kids own, Austin Brown released a nice Christmas present with his first official full length LP, Highway 85. This mixtape, which features production and songwriting from Austin and his BPK crew Tommy Parker, Kelly Parker, and Scott Bruzenak, is a tasty smorgasbord of various sounds ranging from 60s pop to 90s hip hop that come together so seamlessly that you dive right into the layers with no problems at all.


JoJo – Agápē


JoJo is not simply a singer but a sanger. She shows off her vocal chops perfectly in her mixtape, Agápē whether she is proclaiming her love for Andre 3000, talking about going to the canyon or remaking a Joni Mitchell classic. Interwoven with funny personal interludes, the mixtape details her struggles and triumphs in the music industry and beyond in an honest and refreshing way, starting with the raw track, Back2thebeginningagain.


Luke James – Whispers In The Dark
With a Mo Better Blues backdrop, Luke James creates a grown and sexy vibe with his new mixtape, Whispers In the Dark. Produced mainly by New Age Rock Stars’ Danja, the New Orleans singer and songwriter delivers incredibly on this LP which fuses soul, R&B and jazz into one delectable treat.



be active: read a poetry book

Remember poetry? That wonderful genre of literature where words could be fragmented to convey an emotion, a time period, a place, a person or an anything? Words that were silent but loudly spoken in the minds who read it? Words that became the foundation of lyrical play in music? Did you forget the good feeling of those poetic words? Pick up a book of that lost art form and get lost in its beauty. If you need some help figuring out where to start, then allow me to help you navigate through the terrain of written words with my current three poetic picks.

1) 21 pages of 7 poems seem to be a numerologist’s dream but perhaps this coincidence means Kymberly Keeton was meant to write this lovely poetry book titled SOUL Alive! Poetry & Prose. Written in a staccato fashion with starts and stops between poetry and proses, the author somehow dives into a variety of topics seamlessly from romantic love to her Southern roots to race relations. Don’t let the size fool you, this small book packs a mean punch of poetry. It is also a great piece to go back into the poetic world with relative ease. Book will be coming out very soon. I will update once it’s released. // A Favorite: Thinking About My Southern Harlem

2) 7 seems to continue to be the lucky number so far because Yashi Brown, poetess, author, public speaker, mental health advocate, singer-songwriter and my second poetry pick, published 77 poems in her book, Black Daisy In A White Limousine. Her eloquent voice is almost heard through the pages, allowing the words placement to be the conductor of its pace. Going from fast lyrical flows to slow steady beats, the rhythm of her spoken word is uttered without ever saying a word. This book is wonderful for those of you who enjoy Def Poetry Jam and open mic nights or those of you who need something to read that can relate to your highs and lows and in betweens when it comes to your emotional scenes. Maybe her words can also inspire yours to come out and play. // A Favorite: Where Our Minds Can Go

3) Numerical coincidences end here but poetry spreads across cultural and time lines with From Totems To Hip Hop. Edited by Ishmael Reed, this anthology explores poetry in the Americas from the 1900’s to the 200o’s, showcasing an eclectic group of poets’ work. Ranging from T.S. Elliot to Tupac Shakur, this collection provides a refreshing variety of styles and topics that can get anyone interested in poetry again. // A Favorite: Woman by Ina Coolbrith

If these three options are just not enough for you and your literary eyes, then check out more poetry books HERE.


be inspired: the creator

The Creator
by Yashi Brown

I feel this deep longing for you
As if you’re not there
This space stretching from nowhere to nowhere
So wide and deep
In all directions and dimensions your circle of longing is spreading
Shaping and reshaping
Soft and so weak
Pliant and succumbing
I love you with this wrenching need
Don’t you feel it???
Can’t you see?
Of what I have no idea
The force of failure?
The force of greed?
The force of nature couldn’t compete
As if I have something to prove
Or disprove
But I am good!
I swear…I really am.
Pain go away, quit compounding and rebounding – let me get on with it
I guess this is a time for gratefulness, thankfulness
Bow down to the earthfulness
Everything is as it should be
Apparently so
I am okay
And will let go



give: sites that bring insight and light

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Oh a wonderful web we weave when inspiration becomes the focus for a blogger. Since I’ve started this website, I have come across so many inspirational quotes, music, messages, videos and websites. Oftentimes, I try to share this inspiration with you as soon as I get it but there have been some golden nuggets I’ve kept to myself. So with that said, I wanted to stop being selfish with my golden nuggets a.k.a. wonderful websites and actually share them with you. One golden nugget is a collage of pictures, videos and quotes that provoke thought, truth and guidance. Another nugget is an extremely simplistic look at ways to change for the better and the last golden nugget is a collection of quotes with coinciding images that simply makes you smile.

WE ARE ALL MASTERS is the titled statement of Donte Jackson’s blog which features an array of sights, sounds and ideas that challenge our thoughts, beliefs and ideologies. The tumblr site has been an expansion of his messages that he sent and continues to send through his twitter account where followers have been enjoying his wisdom for years. I, too, was and still am one of those people, so much so that I even wrote about it a little over a year ago. To check out the site and all its wisdom, go HERE.

Leo Babauta’s lovely creation, Zen Habits has been a source of inspiration from day one. Throughout its metamorphosis over the years, the fundamental point of its content has always remained the same–to share the many simple ways we can all change our negative habits for the positive. The website now reflects that message through its minimalistic layout and focuses strictly on the content for their over 240,000 readers. I have referred to this site a few times on the project HERE and HERE. To read more from Leo and others on Zen Habits, go HERE.

Well the site’s title pretty much speaks for itself, Please Smile Beautiful uplifts and encourages its readers with quirky and cute images that include art, photography and typography with quotes and messages that are meant to make you simply smile and light up with joy. This website has been a new addition to my group of go-to sites. I’ve included a few of their images on this site and on my facebook account as well. To smile for awhile, go here, beautiful. ;)

If you recommend any sites that bring insight and light, please feel free to tell me all about it in the comments section below. I am always open and welcoming to people who are trying to share the truth and love in creative ways and who knows? You may be featured on this site in the near future!


be inspired: wisdom in 140 characters or less

On Twitter, there is only a certain amount of characters–140 to be exact–that you can use to express one thought or many thoughts. Donte Jackson, the nephew of well-known entertainer and humanitarian, Michael Jackson, chooses his words wisely on his Twitter account @Donte_Jackson. Jackson, who is only eighteen years old, provides endless enlightening messages like “seek fulfillment, not entertainment,” “be the master of this matrix…if unplugging fully from it is to difficult a task for u in this current moment :) this divine moment” and “past all the false ego, i know who you REALLY are. an infinite being of love, simply created to love and be loved.” He proves that age is really just a number when it comes to wisdom. Check out more of his wise words HERE.