New Beginnings

There’s something about New Years Eve that always makes me emotional. I take a look at all that has happened in one year and I am absolutely speechless. The amount of growth that one individual can go through is astonishing. There have been so many positives in my life; they make the negatives seem so minuscule. 

Although the difference between one year and another is only a second, the change represents something much greater. For those who made it to see the next year, the celebration is not only a tradition but also a personal, spiritual and emotional restoration. 

I see the new year as a chance to start over, to look at what I have done in the past and how I can create a better outcome for myself in the future. For a moment, I almost struggle with the thought that I am being pushed out of such a great year and I can do nothing about it. Then, I come to grips and reassure myself that the next year will be even better. 

I believe this annual celebration of change is essential and motivates us to be our best selves. So, instead of the cliche saying “new year, new me” I say “New year, even better me.”



Ashley Renee


If My Life Was A Mixtape

Below are the tracks that would explain who I am.  

1. Real by Kendrick Lamar

2. Edge of Desire by John Mayer

3. Day by Quadron

4. Wandering Limbs by Kimbra

5. Like Nobody Else by India Shawn

6. Elusive by Lianne La Havas

7.  No More Room by Emily King

8. A Rebellion by Ab-Soul

9. Strength, Courage and Wisdom by India Arie

10. I’m alive by India Shawn

How Music Makes Me Feel

Daily Prompt: Describe what it feels like to hear a beautiful piece of music or see a stunning piece of art. 

If you’ve ever listened to the beginning of Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” or John Mayer’s “Edge of Desire” or if you’ve heard the soft melody of Emily King’s “Georgia” or Lianne La Havas’ “Lost & Found,” then I’m assuming you know what true love is.

Every so often, I’ll stumble upon a musical creation that not only makes me listen but also makes me feel. Music allows me to live in the moment. The cadence tells my emotions how to feel and I am immersed in that feeling. My stresses are lessened and I feel like I can finally breathe.

Music keeps me alive. Music is what lets me know that God exists. Music is everything.

Celeb Gossip: My Issue With Kanye West

BBC Radio

BBC Radio

Recently, Kanye West did an interview with BBC’s Zane Lowe. The 4 part interview featured West talking about what he’s gone through with designers not accepting his work, hip hop as the new rock & roll, his “God-ness,” Wreck-It Ralph and much…much more.

Interpretive freedom allows viewers to listen to this interview and decipher it any which way they want. That theory allows people to say he’s crazy or he’s brilliant. Yes, in theory this could all make sense but in reality it is a mess of incomplete thoughts that are longing to be rearranged into a meaningful existence.

I want so bad to be able to take what West says as insightful and really join in on his revolution. The issue is that no one but West knows what exactly that revolution is about. We might understand pieces of his argument but no one can say that when he speaks, they have a clear view of the pictures he is painting.

Personal life aside, West is a confused individual. He uses samples from other composers’ work and adds his own twist to them to make music that is sonically pleasing to the ear and then calls himself a genius. I love his music. I think he is a great producer and artist but genius…god? No. And who’s to say that there’s anything wrong with that viewpoint.

It’s beautiful to see a black man love himself and put his work on a pedestal. I am all for it but to lash out when anyone has a differing opinion about what should be placed on that pedestal instead is downright tacky. I believe West is so consumed in his own being that he forgets that not everyone is him.

No one is looking for West to be perfect. There will always be naysayers but such is life. West should focus on doing what makes him happy. If pushing his message forward is what will make him happy then he should do it in complete thoughts. I am open to what he has to say, I just can’t fully receive that message if I am always waiting for clarification.


Ashley Renee

Beauty Secret: Cetaphil & Water

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

When I was in the tenth grade, I got acne. It wasn’t just any type of acne. It was bad! It was limited to my forehead which was a good thing because I could cover it with bangs and maybe a side-swoop. Although I could hide it, I couldn’t hide from it. I missed my blemish-free skin and even when the bumps would go away for a while, I was still left with dark marks.

In an attempt to rid my face of the enemy, I tried Proactiv. It worked at first and I found myself getting less and less zits but eventually it came back…with a vengeance. I then tried Clean & Clear Morning Burst.  I had been using it since I graduated from high school and it wasn’t my favorite but it kept some bumps away. The major downside was how dry it made my face feel and oddly enough my face would still be oily in the mornings.

It wasn’t until my niece was born in 2012 that I decided to start using Cetaphil. My niece has sensitive skin and an acute form of excema so she was prescribed Cetaphil.  I noticed that it wasn’t strictly for babies so I decided to try it out on my own skin. Thank God I did.

I’ve continued to use Cetaphil since that day. My skin is close to flawless! I only get a zit or two if I am pms-ing or if I avoid water for more than about five days which brings me to my next point.


Although I would prefer to drink something sweet and tasty, I force myself to drink water often. I know that without water, my skin will go back to how it was and that’s just something that cannot happen. My face is never oily, I get less blackheads and the light face moisturizer is just enough to moisturize my face but not go overboard and add too much oil.  

I am happy to have found the perfect recipe to having clear and healthy skin. Try it out for your self. It will not disappoint!


Ashley Renee