The Hate U Give Book Review

Image result for the hate u give bookThe Hate U Give Book Review:

The Hate U Give was published earlier this year (February 2017) by Angie Thomas. It is a fiction book about a teenage, African American girl (Starr) who is somewhat forced into becoming an activist after witnessing her friend get killed by a White police officer after leaving a party. The story follows Starr’s reactions and experiences after her friend’s death – but Starr didn’t want her friend to just become a hashtag, she wanted and eventually made her friend’s life matter.

This book also tackles something that some Black Americans do every single day – code-switching. For those of you don’t know what it is, code-switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation. But in the Black community, I believe it’s a lot deeper than language, it includes mannerisms, tone, behaviors and more. (See this very interesting Ted Talk about The Costs of Code Switching – here. )  So with that being said, this was the first book I’ve ever read that accurately portrays this “code-switching” as a Black teenager. Starr has to balance how she behaves (and ultimately how she wants to be perceived) at her predominately White prep school with her “poor, Black”  neighborhood and upbringing. In the book, she struggles with keeping her two worlds separate. I remember literally living in this world (and still living in it if I’m being honest) so it was super relate-able for me.

This book is labeled as a Young Adult book, but really you should ignore that label – this is literally a book for ALL ages (well, maybe not too young because the book conquers some heavy themes that an 8 year old might not be able to handle). I believe that this book was very well written with a lot of character development. I really enjoy the style the book was written, entirely first person and revealing Starr’s inner thoughts. I also really enjoyed how the author moved time in the story – often times, I find with young adult books that the entire story took place in basically a few days which to me is too short of time to cram everything in. One of the main things that really gripped me about this book was its literally about what’s going on in America today, not a few days or years ago, literally today, right now. This book echos the messages of the Black Lives Matter movement and honestly gives a voice to so many people that experience the effects of police brutality in a way that was utterly unforgettable.

This book hit me in ways that I was not expecting. It made me confront my own feelings about my dear friend’s death (If you really wanna know about that – click this link here.). Many times Starr is riddled with the guilt of not being able to save her friend, I literally felt it. I don’t know if I was really feeling these things because the author did amazing job writing it or because I still have some unresolved hurt and issues surrounding my friend’s death.  Either way, this is a book you are going to feel deep in your heart. I would honestly just grab some popcorn, warm blankets, tissues (just in case) and maybe some wine if you’re of age and spend a day reading this book. It changed me… and hopefully it will change you too. I recommend this book to literally everyone! and I give it a 5/5 Stars! 🙂

What books are you currently reading – share below in the comments (I’m always looking for new books to read!!)

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

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Grown Up Life Goals

So now that I am about to embark on the next chapter of my life. Honestly, goal setting has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I saw on Facebook once that ” Goals are just dreams with deadlines.” How can you ever accomplish anything without knowing what it is that you want to accomplish?

Goal setting is pretty straight forward. You should use the cheesy acronym S.M.A.R.T to help set and achieve your goals.

S is for Specific.

M is for Measurable.

A is for Action-Oriented.

R is for Realistic.

T is Time-Based.

Some of my personal goals include: building my self-confidence higher by working out more and eating healthier (cut out all these random carbs), start dating again (9 months from now), face some more fears (especially my fear of bugs), move out and become more independent.

While my professional goals are get into a good graduate school with a strong emphasis in research, publish my first peer-reviewed article into an academic journal, perfect my elevator speech, recreate my personal statement and cover letters, and re-brand myself.

Even more important than just having these goals in your head, is writing them down. I don’t know about you, but whenever I write anything down it becomes more real to me. I would suggest you write your goals down. Maybe in a notebook where you can journal on your progress, or maybe on sticky notes that you place on your bathroom mirror, or even just down on a piece of paper that you carry around in your wallet. I think you should look at your list of goals at least once a day. The more you see them, the more you will work for them, the more progress you will make on them, and then before you know it you will be accomplishing so much.

I believe that setting personal (as well as professional) goals are extremely important.

What are some of your goals for the rest of the year?? Share below in the comments.

Be Blessed, and Love always,

– Tanesha 🙂

 

Tuesday Morning Thoughts: The Glo’ Up

Let me tell you what is the hardest thing in the entire world – growing up. Not just physically, but mentally as well. I don’t know why it is so hard, possibly because we get so comfortable with the way we are, that once we try to change it up our minds and bodies are like WOAH THERE, GIRLFRIEND.

The older I get I realize that the maturation/growing up/the glo’ up process is hard. It is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. Think about a caterpillar. At first, the little bug is just living his life then suddenly, his world is turned upside down. It has to suddenly wrap itself up in a small cocoon, which I imagine is very uncomfortable. So he is in this cramped space and then is growing – his body doing things it’s never done before, etc. He’s stuck and cramped and spending a lot of time thinking about what is happening and self-reflecting. And all he can do is literally go through that process. But the end result is a BEAUTIFUL butterfly.

You have to go thru some things first. But the end result is always so incredibly worth it. I know I’m maturing every day and I’m proud of myself. And you should be too if you are in this period of growth.

Keep Growing and Stay Blessed.

– Tanesha.

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Today is my parent’s 25th anniversary of marriage!

My parents are like real life relationship goals for me. They’re married, have kids, have great careers and traveling the world – what more can you ask for !? Growing up in this house full of love, I’ve learned a few things about life, love, and marriage. I’ve decided to share the top 3 love lessons (that I have learned) with you all.

  1. Love is a decision. After the feeling is long and gone, and you have to DECIDE to love one another. It’s not always pretty and cute and fun, sometimes it is hard and rough-looking. Every day for the rest of your life you have to decide to love your significant other, choose who you will love wisely.
  2. Love (and marriage) is friendship amplified.You have to be friends. When my parents first met, they didn’t like each other (you have to get them to tell you the story), but now they are the best of friends. Friends fuss and fight, but at the end of the day, they are still there for each other when they are going through hard times. Also with true friendships (and marriage) you can depend on one another.
  3.  Love is patient. Your spouse or significant other is not going to be perfect (and neither are you for that matter). People make mistakes and unintentionally hurt each other, You have to be patient enough to realize “hey, my significant other is still growing up and maturing, so mistakes and unintentional hurts may happen.” I see so many folks out here that want a spouse that’s already established making 100K a year, flying them out to XYZ, etc.  But those same people aren’t willing to build with a person, so that they can get those things together.

Here’s a cute video tribute of my parents. 🙂 They’re super adorable!

I hope one day to have as happy of a marriage as they have.

Peace and Blessings to them.

– Tanesha

How To Recover From A Bad Day

Let me tell y’all. I had the shittiest of days today at work/internship. My overall boss yelled at us for about thirty minutes about how crappy our first rough draft of the proposal was, the entire system is a hot mess, the building was super cold and I cried in front of my work Bae. Plus all the things that are going on in my personal life with my ex-boyfriend, academic career, and everything. Needless to say, today was not my day. But I got home and I was determined not to let this bad day linger any longer. Here are some tips I use to get rid of a “Bad Day Funk.”

  • Take a super long shower (at least 30 minutes)
  • Do a facial
  • Go get a manicure/pedicure
  • Take a Nap
  • Meditate
  • Get on Tumblr
  • Call your mom
  • Watch Cartoons (or whatever your favorite show is…) (I particularly am in favor of starting a Netflix binge)
  • Facetime a friend
  • Use a coloring book
  • Listen to loud music
  • Get a smoothie
  • Pig out on junk food
  • Make a new Spotify playlist.
  • Vent to your best friend
  • Order Take Out Food
  • Stay in Bed

These are just a few suggestions that I do! What are some things you do to recover from a bad day? Share below in the comments!

Love Always,

– Tanesha (with help from Dillion)

Monday Thoughts: Face Your Fears

Happy Monday Everyone! My internship wanted us to have some “lasting memories” and team building activities before the program ends. So they paid for us to go to this Adventure Park in Virginia Beach. So basically, it’s like a ropes obstacle course up in the trees. So I have a slight extreme fear of heights. I had already decided earlier in the week that I was not going to get up in the trees – they can’t make me do anything, right?

So fast forward to getting there, I spent 30 minutes debating if I was actually going to go up in the course. Mind you, this is probably the safest way to go climbing they have steel ropes that can hold up to 500 pounds. I finally go out there on the ropes and I felt so connected with God. Possibly because I was scared out of my mind, but I feel like my faith increased by like 50 million. It was just me and God, and my friend in front of me screaming for me to “keep going.” Afterwards, I felt so good. I accomplished something on my bucket list, as well as faced my fear. I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to with a little prayer and faith.


I encourage all of you to do something that scares you. I believe that doing something that scares you, builds your confidence up. Even if it is something slight like making a phone call, doing mental math, public speaking, or even talking to your crush.

Go Forth and conquer your fears, as well as build your confidence.

Love Always,

– Tanesha.

Monday Thoughts: Give Back.

Over the weekend, my mother and I volunteered with the Hashtag Lunchbag Initiative and it was so rewarding. According to their  website, Hashtag LunchBag is

“#HashtagLunchbag is a humanity service movement dedicated to empowering and inspiring humanity to reap the benefits of giving through the use of social media. We create and use bagged lunches, complete with love messages, as a vessel to spread this love and share our experiences to inspire others.”


So after we had decorated, and packed all the lunches, we went to a local neighborhood. We gave them to some families and a lot of children. It really got me thinking about how fortunate I really. Most of us have food, a home, and probably internet or a cellphone – things that we think are just standard for living. However some people don’t have that.


I just want to encourage everyone this week to donate some time, or money to a cause. Honestly, you should feel a little obligated because of how blessed you are. Maybe give an hour or two at the food bank or try to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club, or make some lunches and drive around and give them to homeless folks. Just do something to give back to people less fortunate, because we are all the human race.

Just give a little, because you have a lot.

Stay blessed,

– Tanesha Renae

Monday Morning Thoughts: You Deserve A Break, too.

I am a firm believe that our minds and bodies will tell you everything you need to know about yourself. Whenever I am getting extremely stressed out, nothing makes sense. I struggle to do even the simplest of tasks. I even start to panic about things that are not that serious. Normally, these are the signs for me that I need to take a break from everything and recollect myself. There are signs that your body gives you too – maybe reacting to things negatively, becoming pessimistic, or even becoming sickly.

You are so strong, but you deserve (and need) a break sometimes. Take time this week to unplug yourself from the world. Focus on clearing your mind and taking a break. Go to a coffee shop and read your favorite book for a few hours with your phone off. Go to the beach and listen to the water. Spend your entire day in bed if you want to. But take that break, you deserve it.

Stay Encouraged,

-Tanesha

Monday Morning Thoughts: Unlearn The Bad Stuff.

Unlearn the feeling that you have to always be in competition with whoever/whatever to feel validated or worthy. You are more than capable of everything that you want to do. You don’t have to be in competition to be worthy. You have to stop focusing on this imaginary competition, or else you will drive yourself crazy. You can’t focus on what someone else is doing, and still, be great at what you are doing. You also should unlearn the thought that someone’s poor capability to love you is in no way a reflection of yourself. You are a beautiful person and deserving of the love that you so freely give away. First, give some love to yourself, and then wait for someone who knows how to love you properly.

Stay Encouraged.

– T.Renae

The Price of Being Independent

This generation of women holds strong to their independents. It’s an amazing feeling to be a strong, independent women. We have our own which is a beautiful thing. We are lawyers, doctors, politicians and possible presidents of the United States of America. We are reaching higher heights than ever before but this sometimes can come at a price. There is always something that suffers, and most times it is our relationships! Sometimes that power or independence creates tension in relationships. Women we forget we have to let the man,  be the man.

When women are breadwinners that can sometimes create barriers in the relationship. As strong women, we have to still show that we are dependent on our men. I know for some that will be a hard pill to swallow but we have to make our men feel needed. Especially if that’s the man we want to build a future with. We confuse caring for our men or showing that we can submit to our men as weakness, but that’s not necessarily true. If the man you’re with has your best interest at heart, loves God and you, it’s okay to show him your softer side.Women are not supposed to run the show, the man is the head. Let’s say it together – WE HAVE TO FOLLOW OUR MEN! Ok, now take a deep breath. It’s okay, I promise you because it’s going to pay off!

Let’s recap! Allow the man to be the man! Allow your man to take the lead! It’s okay to submit to your man when he has a relationship with God, loves you and has your best interest at heart.

Share below about what you think about letting the man be the man!

Love Always,

– A. Rochell