It's my birthday, y'all, and I couldn't think of a better time to get back to blogging. Yes, I took quite the hiatus from my at-home food & cocktail recipes, and most importantly, telling the very necessary stories for Gastronoir, but the break was all for good reason as so many amazing opportunities have crossed my desk. Let's catch up to speed:
First off, after nearly a year of building my portfolio, I've "graduated" from pro-bono wordmsith to an official freelance writer. A few of my latest cover Sri Lankan food in Staten Island, drinking on the street and donning plush bathrobes in Williamsburg. There is a lot more storytelling ahead, so be on the lookout for updates and new reads.
On a different note, I've removed the stubborn hat from my head and have taken my mom's advice (yes, mother knows best,) to get in front of the camera more, and not just for selfies. I've had the honor of participating in two beautiful, and very necessary, campaigns that spoke to the celebration black, female bodies and staying hopeful in the current political climate, respectively. Being able to use my image for the greater messages these shoots both embody has definitely been highlights of my year.
To put it simply, I've been inspired. Inspired by new relationships, new destinations I've visited, new narratives I've consumed and the creatives with whom I've made magic; hell, I've inspired myself. In this new year, I'm remaining intentional about continuing that momentum of inspiration. Whether its through the pages of the new book, eating something I can't pronounce, traveling off the grid or simply talking to other ladies and gents to gain new perspectives, I'm committed.
Next week, I'm off to New Orleans to attend Tales of the Cocktail where I'll be gathering intel for an upcoming piece, doing a bit of work for a client, and most importantly eating and drinking all the things. Be on the lookout for a recap shortly after, here on the blog, and of course, live bits and pieces on social media.
Speaking of social, the artist formerly known as @shanikayvette is now, @shanikahillocks because in the words of Jay-Z, "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man." But seriously, me and my almost-entire-government name is my brand and I've been going above and beyond a collage of curated images, to create things that are truly and authentically me.
While food, drink, travel and lifestyle will be my blog "beats," I'd love to hear more about what you're interested in having my cover. Drop me a line and let me know!
That's all for now, folks. I'm off to toast to 27.
Images courtesy of the super talented Brenna Weeks