Pump It Up: My 15 Power Workout Songs Playlist

Need some motivation to get you through your daily workouts or runs? Pump yourself up with a few of my favorite butt-shaking, head nodding, make you wanna run to the club workout songs. Music can make any workout feel quicker and much more fun.

So, warm up, work out, and cool down to 15 of my favorite workout tunes.

Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J

Work by Ciara featuring Missy Elliot

Where Have You Been by Rihanna

Mc Hammer by Rick Ross featuring Gucci Mane

Breathless by Roy Cape All Stars and Blaxx

Work by Iggy Azalea

 Damn Baby by Janet Jackson

Rumble by Skinny Fabulous

Baby Hello by Wande Coal

WTF by Missy Elliot featuring Pharrell Williams

Bundelele by Awilo Longomba

 Done D Party by Fay-Ann Lyons

 Anaconda by Nicki Minaj

Dancing On My Own by Robyn

When Love Takes Over by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland

Makeup Application: Covergirl Supersizer Fibers Mascara

I don't normally do this. But I thought it would be fun to film a short makeup application video. I got a tube of Covergirl Supersizer Fibers Mascara for free from

Influenster

to review. And, honestly I love this mascara. I wear it every day because it really makes my eyes pop.

Highly recommend you check out this mascara and my application of it.

#29DaysOfBlackness: Outfit of the Day 9.0

I feel in love with this tee the first time I saw it on SoulSeed Tees website. It features a beautiful image of a black women with colorful, rainbow-colored hair and my favorite quote from Ntozake Shange's choreopoem

"For the Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf"

---"I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely."

Shirt: For Colored Girls t-shirt by

SoulSeed Apparel 

#29DaysOfBlackness: Outfit of the Day 6.0/7.0

It was a snowy weekend in the Boston area but that didn't stop me from celebrating #29DaysofBlackness. Stayed in and still celebrated the beauty and amazingness of black culture. 

Shirt: "She's beautiful! She's dynamite!" Barbie t-shirt by

Hot Topic

Shirt: "Holler If You Hear Me" t-shirt from the 

(now closed) 

Broadway musical of same name

(inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur)

Beyonce Gets in FORMATION and Tells the World She #StayWoke

Unless you were living under rock or you passed out upon hearing about this surprise drop, you have encountered (and I do mean encountered because it was an event) Beyonce's new song and video, "Formation," which dropped Saturday, February 6th, a day ahead of her scheduled Super Bowl 50 performance.  

I have to first say that I hate Beyonce for doing these kind of surprise music/video drops. It is killer to my nerves. Makes me feel like I always gotta be ready for an immediate purchase (and the way my bank account works, Navient, Perkins Loan, and ACS gotta get their coins first before I can do anything).  

With that said, I loved this video. It was SO BLACK! Unapologetically black! And, you know I am all for it. The images were so powerful: 

  • A young black boy dancing in front of a line of police officers in riot gear, next to a wall with the words "stop shooting us" graffitied on it.

  • Beyonce on top of a sinking New Orleans police car in the middle of flood waters.

  • Beyonce decked in all black and flanked by black men in all black, looking like a junk joint jazz band.

I could honestly watch this video over and over again (on mute). Yes, I said mute. The song...well...I am not sold on it. On first listen, it did nothing for me. I like some of the lyrics such as "I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros" and "I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils."It does not get any more pro-black than that, especially for the straight, blonde haired, chick-o-stick pop star former manager Matthew Knowles groomed (his daughter/cash cow) Beyonce to be. But the rest of the lyrics just sounded like a bunch of lines strung together. The New Orleans "bounce" beat really adds a thick layer of triple chocolate cake-type blackness to song. Makes it sound gritty. The song almost sounds like it is growling at you, "stop and listen to me." I just wish the all of the lyrics were as strong as the beat and the video. But, unfortunately it is not. 

"Formation" is definitely the most "woke" song and visuals Beyonce has ever produced; and I am so happy that she decided to step up and out. 

Keeping it coming, Bey! #StayWoke #VeryBlack #UnapologeticallyBlack

Unboxing: Influenster Cheers To You Voxbox

I love getting new things, especially when I get those those things for free. One of the best things of living in a digital world is how easy it makes it to get receive free products from companies in exchange for reviewing and sharing their newest products on your social media accounts.

1. Influenster 

Influenster is the go-to destination for trendsetters who want to be rewarded for their influence. Qualified members gain access to the latest products, share their expert opinions and spread the word on their favorite discoveries.

Why I Love Them:

I have gotten a variety of great products from Influenster, including Beanitos chips, Rimmel London mascara, Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix, Jergens moisturizer, Skinnygirl snack bars, barkThins, Blue Diamond cashews, and most recently YSL lipsticks and c. Booth bath products. Many of the products that I have received I had never used before and ended up liking them so much I added them to my monthly shopping list. 

Join me, Toya T's referral link: 

www.influenster.com/r/328764

Toya T's Soul JukeBox: "Something in My Heart" (remake) by V Bozeman

If you are fan of Empire, then V Bozeman's beautiful voice and face should be familiar to you. If you don't know her, it is okay because I am here to make the introduction.

Here is her version of the 90's R&B classic "Something in My Heart," originally sung by Michel'le.

#BlackGirlMagic Anthem: "Masterpiece" By Jazmine Sullivan

If you have not listened to Jazmine Sullivan's latest album "Reality Show," you need to run to your nearest music store (online or physical) and get it. She has crafted a beautiful album, with ballads, slow jams, uptempo dance joints, and self-love anthems. 

Today, I couldn't get her beautifully written and sung record, "Masterpiece." This is one of my favorite songs on the album. A "black girl magic" anthem. Jazmine sings about loving and accepting yourself---flaws and all---for the masterpiece that you are. 

Read the song lyrics and then check out a video of Jazmine performing an acoustic version of the song. 

Masterpiece by Jazmine Sullivan 

My eyes ain't used to these rays

I'm feeling exposed, but I can't hide no more

I can't hide

As the sun shines on all of my glory

My flaws don't look so bad at all

What was I so afraid of?

Every part of me is a vision of a portrait

Of Mona, of Mona Lisa

Every part of me is beautiful

And I finally see I'm a work of art

A masterpiece

Who is this I've tried so long find?

Filling my heads with lies that I'm not good enough

Then I heard something in my ear

Tell me I'm perfect, now that I know the truth

Time to show and prove

Every part of me is a vision of a portrait

Of Mona, of Mona Lisa

Every part of me is beautiful

And I finally see I'm a work of art

A masterpiece

And now I see the pretty colors on my canvas

I'm a work of art, a Mona Lisa

I'll share my picture with the world

Not afraid to let it show anymore

I can light the night, shine so bright

(Let my colors paint the sky)

I can light the night, shine so bright

(There is beauty in my eyes)

I can light the night, shine so bright

(And I can see it now, I believe it now, I can feel it now)

I can light the night, shine so bright

(Want the world to see, I'm a work of art. I'm a masterpiece)

I can light the night, shine so bright

(I am beautiful)

Every part of me is a vision of a portrait

Of Mona, of Mona Lisa

Every part of me is beautiful

And I finally see I'm a work of art

A masterpiece

What I Am Reading: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

It's a new new year, time to add a new book to my reading list. New Year.  If you have been following my "What I am Reading" series here on Figure Out Your Life blog, then you know that during the fall I began a movie-to-book themed reading series---that is, reading books that were the source material for movies that I have seen. I ended 2015 with the page-turning, and amazingly well adapted-to-a-movie, book "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. Check out my other book reviews

here

.

In the spirit of starting off the new year right, I have decided to change up things and read an inspirational book. My first book of the year is "Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person" by creator of tv shows "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and "How to Get Away with Murder,"and queen mother of #TGIT (Thank God It's Thursday) on ABC, Shonda Rhimes. 

I am at the very end of this book and I love it. It is funny, insightful, and inspiring. Shonda brings us in her world and holds nothing back, as she recounts her one year journey of saying "yes" to everything that made her scared, nervous, and uncomfortable. During that year, she lost 127lbs, made the commencement speech at her alma mater Dartmouth College, got closer to her family and friends, shed some toxic friends, covered magazines, to name a few of the things she did once she stopped saying "no." My favorite chapters are "Say Yes to No" and "Say Yes to Who I Am." I have already bookmarked those chapters and I am sure I will going back to them over the course of this year when I need a boost. Highly recommend this book!!! Get it today---the ebook, paperback, hardcover, or the audiobook. 

Book Summary: 

In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life—and how it can change yours too.

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today:

Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder

. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could

avoid

public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the

before

, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms:

You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life

before

her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican

and

gay). And it chronicles her life

after

her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on

Jimmy Kimmel Live

, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too. 

**book summary taken from: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Year-of-Yes/Shonda-Rhimes/9781476777092

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks