Current Favorite Things, Vol. 3

The book that I can't keep my nose out of, the songs I can't stop listening to on Spotify and the shows I rushed home to see after work. Every Friday I'll be sharing my Current Favorite Things. Check back each week for the latest installment!

This week is all about embracing creativity! After weeks of struggling, I think I’ve finally hit my creative stride — which involves whipping out blog posts 3x a week, pitching freelance stories and making the most of my day job. And I owe this newfound clarity to a few inspiring people, events, and things. Here’s what I’m loving this week!  



Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m incredibly behind reading this book, but I’m so glad I finally decided to pick it up. As much as I’d hate to admit it fear is a big part of my life and while I’ve managed to ignore it for most of my life, it still keeps me from reaching my full creative potential sometimes. And frankly, that just won’t do anymore. 


Black Lightning — Finally the entire Pierce family is fired up and ready to protect Freeland! If you haven’t been watching this new CW show you’re seriously missing out. An entire family (primarily women) of badass superheroes?! It doesn’t get any better than that and the social commentary is on point. 


"Sorry Not Sorry" by Demi Lovato. Excuse me while I go dance in my mirror with this blasting in the background. 


Speaking of Demi Lovato...I'm fresh off her Tell Me You Love Me Tour and yup, I went solo. Read all about why you should go to a concert solo at least once in your life too here. 


Anytime I see Black women winning I’m celebrating! And the internet is a buzz this week thanks to a phenomenal Vanity Fair cover featuring actress/writer/producer/all around badass Lena Waithe written by the equally talented and inspiring author Jaqueline Woodson. 


“We as artists can do whatever the fuck we want to do. We just have to do it really, really well. You have to write and develop and wait for the world to catch up to your art.” —Lena Waithe 


Some good ole fashioned relaxing time, in addition to a screening for Barely Adults, a new web series debuting March 27! Read all about why it’s a must-see here directly from the creator’s mouth! 

What pop-culture shenanigans grabbed your attention this past week? Let me know in the comments!

Women At Work: What It’s Like To Be a Celebrity Makeup Artist

Women At Work is a career profile series that reveals how successful, talented, and creative Strong Female Leads got to where they are, and to share just what it's like behind the scenes of Hollywood. Check back each week for the latest installment!

Whether it's determining what bold lip pairs best with your skin tone or showing you how to run multiple businesses, Atlanta-based entrepreneur Mimi Johnson is the go-to lady. For more than nine years, Mimi has worked as a professional makeup artist on pretty much every reality show that's filmed out of Atlanta from The Real Housewives to Love and Hip Hop: ATL, in addition to other shows and films. Her celebrity clientele includes Angela Simmons and Issa Rae. But before she was her own boss, Mimi was working a corporate job. Here she shares how she made the switch to working for herself as well as her advice for other beauty mavens interested in taking their craft to the next level. 

  Photo Courtesy of Mimi Johnson

Photo Courtesy of Mimi Johnson

Name: Mimi Johnson
Location: Atlanta, GA
Her Hustle: Celeb makeup artist, Owner of The Glamatory, a full-service makeup boutique, and creator of
Education: Clark Atlanta University, B.A. in Marketing
Social: Instagram


"I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, I just didn't know where or what areas I was going to be. I never imagined that it would be makeup. I've always been artistic, I can paint, I can draw. And the makeup was just a passion that I fell into. I went to college in Atlanta, at CAU and I was a business major. My friends started asking me to do makeup and it just came kind of natural to me.  But it wasn't until years later when I took a leap of faith years and left my corporate I.T. job in 2010. "


"The benefits of being your own boss are being able to follow your passion wholeheartedly. I love doing makeup and I love doing events and stuff like that and working with friends. I'm able to take on different jobs and able to say "No" to different jobs. I'm also able to meet all types of people. On the downside, there's no guaranteed salary at the end of the day, unless you have a long-term project or something like that. You are on your own and you have to make sure that you make ends meet and that's always a challenge as an entrepreneur. Also health care."


"It can be very difficult but my advice is to build a strong support system. Have someone to help with your child and also people you turn to for other things. Who do you know that you can go to for accounting or financial advice? Who do you trust to talk about your ideas with? Who do you trust to tell you the truth? Those are things that are needed, especially for a single mother. Another layer to this, which I've just become more open about is my son is actually autistic. So that's a whole other layer of complexity. But he motivates me to beat the odds and provide for him. I just want to be that example that shows other women that you can still follow your dreams, you just have to have the right support system. It is okay to ask for help. We can't do it all ourselves. Don't be afraid to reach out." 


"Well my mentor from afar is Ashunta Sheriff. She is Taraji P. Henson's make up artist and used to work with Alicia Keys and Diddy, and a slew of other people. I think we have a lot of similarities in our personality and our work style. I also admire her relationship with Taraji. Outside of the make up world, I admire people who have just really made a name for themselves like Karen Civil, or a friend of mine Tahira Joy, the owner of The Cut Life, who went from PR to building a one million plus following off of a concept that she came up with one day."


"Grind Pretty is a new project that I'm starting. It's all about embracing, encouraging and being a resource for women entrepreneurs as well as women in corporate America who are fighting against odds for their position."

brand building 101

"I think it's important to understand that you have to make an investment, whether it's in your time, your talent or your knowledge. Investing in good marketing, investing in good graphics, investing in a good website. Those are things you might have to put your money into to build a successful brand."


"I tend to have darker circles under my eyes so concealer is my number one. I feel like every woman should have a good one. Maybe a brow pencil or gel would be my second. 'Cause if your brows are good, you're concealed, you got a little eyeliner or mascara, you'll look awake and refreshed."


"I am like a human jukebox. I know every song. One of my secret passions is ... I would love to ... if this make up thing doesn't work out then I'm gonna be a DJ. Music's art. Anything artistic makes me happy."


"I would actually love to work with Michelle Obama because once you get someone in your chair then you talk and get wisdom. I would love to do her make up and pick her brain. I think she's phenomenal. Secondly, Rihanna, simply because I love her!"

HER BEST ADVICE for aspiring artists

"With make up, someone can teach you technique,  but afterwards it's really about understanding what your personal strengths are. For example, I'm not the super dramatic make up artist. My thing is enhancing natural beauty and making the person just look like a more glamorized version of themselves. Understanding that personal style helps with your brand. Actually practicing your skill and getting all the education you can is the best thing you can do. And education doesn't stop.

Also, this generation is big on searching for microwave success and wanting things to just happen over night, but it takes a lot more effort and some time to get where you want to be. So, I think that it's super important to foster genuine relationships with people and network. Every big job that I've had has not been because I reached out blindly to so-and-so, they have all been referrals. That says a lot about not only my skill, but my character. Practice, hone your skills, and be a great person. Make those connections. "

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

5 Reasons To Go To A Concert Solo

There's no better feeling than the kind you get from hearing your favorite artists live while being surrounded by hundreds of other people. Well, unless you're experiencing all of that alone. 

It's only been two years since I went to my very first concert, but since then I've slowly been becoming a fan of live performances. And when I heard that one of my favorite singers Kehlani was opening up for Demi Lovato in Brooklyn this winter, it didn't take me long to book a ticket. Now, at first I hesitated because: who the hell was I going to go with? Friends have gone with me to both concerts I've been to before, and I initially wasn't quite sure that I could do something like this alone. 

Then I remembered: I do stuff alone all the time. Go to the movies. Eat at restaurants. Sightsee. See Broadway shows. And I'm just fine. So going to a concert couldn't be any different. Therefore I threw all caution to the wind and proudly made my way to the Barclays Center to see Kehlani, Demi and DJ Khaled solo. And I have to say that the experience was amazing. The concert was EVERYTHING and everyone killed it on stage! I would definitely go see them again, solo and all. And here are five reasons I think everyone should go do the same at least once in their life. 


1. You Don't Have To Coordinate Arrival Times With Anyone

I personally like to be on time (i.e. early) to these sort of events. Not just so I can beat lines, but also because I want to settle into my seat and make sure all of my recording devices (my phone) are ready to go. Going to a concert by yourself allows you arrive (and subsequently leave) on your own timeline. No worrying about meeting up with others, deciding if you want to grab dinner beforehand and all the other politics that comes with traveling with a group. 

2. You Can Fully Indulge In Arena Snacks Guilt-Free

I was craving an overpriced-arena hotdog from the second I arrived at the Barclays Center and without shame I purchased one. I know, I know we shouldn't really care what our friends have to say about our eating habits — it isn't their money after all — but alas we do. We're only human. But by hanging solo you can buy three hotdogs, nachos, and a large coke without the judgmental stare that might come with bringing friends along.

3. Standing, Singing and Staying Seated Can Be Done At Your Will

When you're at a concert do you ever feel pressured to stand and sing or to stay seated based on what others around you are doing? Yeah, I do. But attending this concert by myself allowed me to stand and belt out the lyrics when I saw fit and to remain seated when I wanted to guilt free. 

4. You Don't Have to Worry About Anyone Else Having Fun

Speaking the to sit or not to sit debacle, going solo allows you to focus entirely on your own experience. I'm a very concerned and caring person (one of my biggest downfalls at times), which means I tend to make sure everyone is okay and enjoying themselves at any event they attend with me. Sounds great right? Wrong. Doing this usually takes away from me enjoying myself, as if I'm afraid to have fun if no one else is. Being at this concert by myself allowed me to loudly (and rather badly, but proudly) sing my favorite Kehlani and Demi songs out loud while awkwardly dancing, without constantly checking in with the people around me. 

5. It'll Break You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

This has to be the biggest reason to attend a concert solo. Being alone in such a large space can be intimidating at first. Singing and swaying by yourself might be awkward. How are you ever going to get a picture of yourself by yourself, especially if you hate selfies (like me!)? Honestly, YOU JUST DO IT. If you're a prisoner to the comfort zone this is the perfect experience to break you out of it. You're forced to be in tune with your own emotions. You're forced to interact with the people around you — if you want a photo that is. You have to make your own fun. And allowing yourself to live your best life and to dance like no one's watching is the greatest thing you could ever do. 

Have you ever went to a concert by yourself? Would you try it? Let me hear in the comments!