2.020 Wrapped: Joy

This is Vol 2.0 of the year collection of all the little things that brought me joy and kept me sane (Vol 1 here). I hope they bring you joy too. Take only what you want and need. This year has been a lot. Please enjoy.


I’ve always preferred joy, as a concept. Happiness is the weather, musicians at a concert; joy is the sky, it’s what lingers in the room when the music has stopped, what stays with you on your way home. As a year end wrap, this is an amalgamation of #ArtistSpotlight, #QuestForBeauty #NerdsHaveMoreFun, and #WomenIveNeverMetWhoMoveMe/ #WCW. Take notes, share notes, I’m interested in what brings you joy.


1. OMGYes: Ladies, this one’s for you. Pleasure is mandatory and it requires knowledge of self. There’s an entrance fee but it funds ongoing research, it’s once off and its more than worth it. I recommend exploring it by yourself, sharing it with your girlfriends for their empowerment and then, if you need help with language and/or expressing your desires, explore it with your significant other You’re welcome!

2. The Lovebook App: if you’re a long time reader you’ll know that I say #BringBackTheLoveBookApp a lot. I’m unable to can. It’s my favourite invention. I used my student credit card to buy that thing and 2 years later watched it disappear from app store. Much like when I got it, the giddiness and excitement (my friends mistakenly thought I had a new man), I was heartbroken when it left. It’s because it’s this whimsy collection of quotes, poems, short stories, literal ancient letters about love (the whole spectrum, platonic to heartbreak). It’s got song lyrics and movie quotes and every now and then a British thespian reads them to you (see Tom Hiddleston, pre-Swift and Helena Bonham Carter)! It’s wonderful and, unfortunately, suddenly disappeared off of Android and is now only available on iTunes. I’m so sorry fellow Android users. Truly. Hence: #BringBackTheLoveBookApp.

3. The Pattern: Knowledge of self. I think a combination of astrology and possibly numerology? It’s whoo whoo but eerily accurate. Embrace that there are many maps that describe the same terrain and not all of them will be in languages you’re familiar with.

4. Pinterest: this one is no secret. It’s the least social media but iif you’re an artist if any kind (visual, physical, secret, shadow) this is a blank canvas. A scrapbook minus the glue and magazine cutups. Planning a vacation and want tips/ideas? Pinterest. Secretly want to be a dancer? Like pretty things or recipes? Want a board dedicated to Zoe Kravitz’ face? Pinterest. Have a very specific interest? You guessed it. It takes a while for some people to get into it and I’m concerned about the a Facebook meddling but I recommend scheduling an evening because its a black hole once you get going (the best kind though).

5. Centr Fit: Chris Hemsworth did a thing. A fantastic collaboration. It’s expensive but annually and it’s excellent. It’s recipes, workouts (wide ranging from functional movement and boxing to yoga and cardio), meditation and food for thought. There’s a daily schedule and also very specific programs. The meal. Plans include all food preferences and clearly put together by a chef and nutritionist. There’s even a weekly shopping list of you so desire to you use it. You can tell it’s his personal team and that he not only believes in and follows it himself, he believes in holistic health and this app is about 3 popular apps in one. Do the right thing.Runner Up: Masterclass.


1. Whitney Nyokong @WhitneyNY: this badass beautiful visual goddess has a very special eye and you’re going to thank me for getting you in on the ground floor.
2. Neo Modise @mizzmodise. She’s carefree and treats instragram as equal parts visual scrapbook, confessional. Chaotic good energy. She doesnt play by the rules and it’s like having cocktails with a close girlfriend (which, in my case, is probably true).
3. Nkosazana Ramahali @nkosazana_rk. Some are born cool. She’s effortlessly cool just minding her business documenting her life. You just have to see it and you’ll understand.
4. Chiko Kamba. @cukamba and @kamba_art. I’ve bee asked about her digital drawings on my statuses so I’m putting you on. Her regular page showcases her style and visual gift and then her art page backs it up. You’re welcome.


1. The Tracee Ellis Ross episode of Oprah’s super soul conversations. I love when they describe their weddings. “gentle gentle Tracee”. Unforgettable. Validating. I wept.
2. Insecure s3e5. I don’t really care who you are or which era you’re from Issa Rae is my fighter. My only submission is Season 3 episode 5: Fresh Like. Its exactly as the name suggests. I genuinely believe this could be the only episode of Insecure you watch, you’d be HAPPY. It’s extra magical of you’ve been through it with Issa but from a purely content standpoint, I think it can stand alone.
(yes, season 4 episode *8 is phenomenal but this one will always be my favorite and best doesnt have to equal fav).
3. Euphoria s1 finale: I took forever and an age to watch Euphoria and once I started it took me 6 months to finish. I knew I was watching something beautiful (excellent television on every level), I understood the hype but it wasn’t my particular cup of tea. Unfortunately, for the ending to have any meaning you have to have gone on the full journey with these (literally) colourful characters and you are richly rewarded. The night I watched Rue’s death march it was 23h55 and I sat awake for 3hours listening to the soundtrack on repeat in awe of the artistry of it all. I couldn’t believe how moved I was. How much it must’ve taken everyone in the room to pull off that feat.4. Bojack Horseman: The View From Halfway Down.
As a series, Bojack Horseman makes a strong case for the many artistic benefits of moderate success (see also: Community). When you’re playing the Hollywood game, you’re walking the fine line. If you’re ‘only’ a moderate success, you never have to confront the artistic dilemma, as Dave Chappelle famously describes: at the intersection where creative freedom and corporate interests meet. You can be soulless and wildly financially successful (see: the house of a Mouse aka ECorp aka Owner of every major entertainment IP aka home of the soulless remake) or you can be destined to be an indie darling that may or may not live and die in obscurity, beloved by your tiny audience. The truth is: success keeps the lights on and broadens reach. I wouldn’t wish Star Wars fame on my closest friends. What I’m saying is the medium place allows for wild and risky creative choices, boldness and honesty that can’t be mined simultaneously with the general appeal required to mine buckets of money and this show did it! Not only that, they did it well. This episode cannot be watched in isolation as it is the culmination of so many seasons-long threads and storylines woven together so beautifully I could cry. But as an individual episode, it is monumanyal achievement. The exploration of death and everything that has been literally and fuguratively haunting this complex character is a breathtaking feat of television writing. Do yourself a favour and watch this silly serious wonderful dark and honest show.

5. Adrienne Bailon has a YouTube channel called All Things Adrienne. It ranges from heartwarming to silly. The episode entitled: Surprising my sister with her dream birthday, which has one of the most heartwarming endings and I watch it when I’m a sad. If you only decide to watch one episode (which is totally fine) this is the one.

6. Tiny Desk Concerts:
Start with your favourite arists and work backwards through people you’ve always wandered about, heard about and next thing you know you’ve discovered brand new gems. I met Amine,Tank and the Bangas, No Name, Anderson Paak, Tom Misch, Dermot Kennedy, Tash Sultana and Ibeyi on Tiny Desk. I was reintroduced to Anthony Hamilton, Big Daddy Kane, T Pain and Mac Miller at that desk. Let yourself discover artists in their natural habitat sharing the music that they love without the pressure and energy demand that is a huge venue and crowd.

7. {The And} is a subsection of the YouTube Channel: The Skin Deep will have you shook. You are often reminded that real life couples  and relationships don’t exist according to movie standards and that it’s perfectly normal. The premise is that they seat two humans with a profound connection (for better or worse) across from each other and they proceed to ask and answer intimate, thoughtful and at times provocative (at other times downright beautiful) questions. If you ever need to make the case for how much more beautiful and filling real life love is vs. what we’re fed on celluloid, you need to watch two humans look at each other  as you marvel and wonder how they found each other (or why they’d be together). Especially when it doesn’t initially appear right at surface level. The skin deep peels back those layers and you get to see what happens when two souls collide on this freight train called life. I smile like an idiot the whole time. It’s extra fascinating because sometimes you get glimpses into the passage of time. My particualar gateway drug was Ben & Sidra, Kiesha & Andrew and even a lovely couple who later got divorced.

8. If Beale Street Could Talk: is just so beautiful. If you want to weep I recommend it and I don’t mean that just because the story is sad (which it is depending on how you look at it). It’s gorgeous to look at and listen to. The love story will have your heart in your throat, the music finds its way into your marrow and the next thing you know your heart has been inexorably pulled out of your chest by the inevitability of the conclusion. It also features my forever fav Regina King. I always say I’d be honoured to be the Regina King of what I do.

9. The Best Man Holiday: in the age of representation that we’re blessed to live through, we forget what an unbelievable feat it was to have an ensemble all star cast of heavy hitters. And the fact that they got back together again and had a new real and worthwhile story to tell and hit it out of the park AGAIN?! Please, fight me. I watch this movie every year (not that you’re asking but my top 5 comfort movies are Love & Basketball, The Holiday, Beyond The Lights, Best Man Holiday and Legally Blonde)

10. The Last Dance: Yeah. The inner baller that lives inside me that never got flourish and the nerd in me that loves to know how the sausage is made collided in this documentary that was a direct answer to a very personal and completely random prayer I’d put out there earlier this year. It’s everything. A gateway drug. Now I’m back to thinking that in another life I would’ve been Monaca Wright-McCall. Do yourself this favour.

TOP 5 STYLE HUMANS1. Nelly is the @museinuniform. I’ve been obsessed with her for years. She’s elevated and luxurious. Her hairstyles, accessories, style, makeup, locations and presentation. It’s difficult to explain but there’s noone quite like her. She now has her own fashion label @hermance and it’s everything you dreamed it would be.

2. Blair Eadie (@blaireadie): Whimsical magical luxury. Her dresses make me happy.

3. Chloe Alysse (@chloealysse) dares to repeat outfits, hasa personal style extremely similar to mine and likes to make simple things beautiful (she also  has a relatable obsession with pretty brown shoes).

4. Karla Deras (@karla_deras): this woman has beeeen cool. Sexy and alternative Karla taught me that style can be distinct and simple with personal touches back when she was blogging under KarlasCloset. Now she’s the lead designer, founder and CEO of @TheLineByK, she somehow translated her simple clean alternative-outside the-lines sexy style. She’s dabbled in YouTube but Instagram is her main home.
5. Juliana Pimenetel @juppimentel. A late addition that slipped in at the last minute. I can’t read French but it doesn’t matter because 😍. I discovered last week as I was finalising this list.

Honourable: each of the personal muses

TOP 5 Personal favourite blog posts from COLLABORATIVE EAVESDROPPING:
1. Dreams & Contradictions: I routinely bare my soul here. This was different.
2. The Bara Snapshots are invaluable. 10 years from now, I’ll have those fresh memories archived and I’m so grateful.
3. Science & Faith. I’ll never forget how this blog made me take a break. It also constitutes the first true collaboration on record because I reached out, at my eyes end, fire help and team came through. The input was varied, heartbreaking and hopeful. And people reached out to me on every platform. It was insane. Thank you.

4. Traditions & Expectations and Culturally Speaking are two sides of the same coin. An unofficial double feature. I love them equally.
5. S[c]een. Part dream/part gratitude journal. I put my dreams down on paper for safekeeping.

Honourable mentions: my [Un]Learning and Nerd Shall Inherit the Earth trilogies are of deep personal significance to me.

Thank you dear readers, this has been as much a gift for myself (by way of therapeutic reflection) as it has been for you (the original intended recipient).

Please share your lists of Pandemic Joy Collaborators. We all need to remember (and, hopefully, share) what held us together this one-of-a-kind year. See you again in 2021!

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