Lani on Life

10 Books by Black Authors

  • 10 books by black authors

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Black History Month is the month we celebrate the achievements of Black and African American people from the past, present, and future. I want to celebrate Black Authors in support of #BlogBlHistory. If you’ve been following my blogging journey thus far, you know that I am in support and encourage minority children to have books that represent themselves and showcase their culture.

In a collaboration with Kathryn T. Hall, we are working together to Blog Black History, #BlogBlHistory . Check this list of both established and up and coming Black Authors. If something catches your eye please add it to your “books to read” list and share it with a friend. 10 books by Black Authors.

10 books by black authors
  1. A New Me by LaToya Desamour

LaToya was a colleague of mine. She is both an educator an an author ( a woman after my own heart).

2. Lottie Paris Lives Here by Angela Johnson

3. Kace Learns to Fly by Laymon Hicks Jr.

This Black Author exudes greatness and the go-getter spirit. He was the President of Student Body during my tenure at FSU.

4. June Peters, You Will Change the World One Day by Alika Turner

June Peters, You Will Change The World One Day by [Turner, Alika]

5. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

6. Dirty Love by Kenya Wright

7. Plight of the Savage by Reggie Cuyler Jr.

This is Black Author is a college classmate of mine and wrote this novel (his first) while we attended University. It was so interesting to see the process from beginning to end as he launched his first novel.

8. The Proposal by Jasmine Guilory

9. I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

10. How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

Some of these books I personally own and have read. Others are either on my wish list or to be read lists. I love a good book (I actually even enjoy okay books), but I especially appreciate excellent books by Black Authors.

What Black Author are you supporting during this Black History Month.

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Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her

Valentine's Day Gifts for Her
Valentine's Day Gifts for Her
Valentine's Day gifts for her
Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her | Lani on Life

With just a few days left until Valentine’s Day, we can’t forget about the special women in our lives. We need to find some quick and purposeful Valentine’s Day gifts for her. Yeah, chocolate and flowers are on sale, but please don’t get your special someone chocolate and flowers if she’s not into that. Personally, I like Valentine’s day gifts with a little more thought and effort behind them. Running to your local Walgreens 20 minutes before you walk in the house is not cool. But have no fear, I’m here to help you choose some stellar and affordable Valentine’s Day gifts for all the special ladies in your life.

Face Masks

Most ladies have some form of a facial or skin care routine. And to be honest, most of those items are expensive! Do a little research to find out what your loved one typically uses or is interested in trying. There are literally thousands of options out there. Although this could be a little overwhelming, I’m sure she will love the extra thought and effort that went into finding masks that fit her skin type and personality for Valentine’s Day.

Edible Arrangements

Valentine's day gifts for her- edible arrangements
Edible arrangement

I am not the chocolate in a heart box type of girl, although I do love good chocolate. When you blend fruit and chocolate together, you have a combination sent straight from heaven! The only true effort you need to put in is getting your order placed in enough time to have it delivered or picked up, as they are especially busy around Valentine’s Day. This is a great Valentine’s day gift option for ladies who like healthier options during the all-out candy fest we know as Valentine’s Day. Plus the fruit arrangement comes in a cute vase that can be reused or repurposed.


Every chick is different when it comes to their accessory game, but we all like something. Whether that is earrings, necklaces or sunnies (and diamonds of course). A low costs option is to shop with your local paparazzi accessories consultant to choose several pieces. Each piece is only $5, is nickel and lead-free and looks fab. Imagine that big smile when we walk in the room and see our vanity covered with accessories. Yes! And the smile you’ll have when you think about how much money you saved. I love to mix and match my accessories with my outfits and paprazzi gives me the ability to do that without spending hundred of dollars on one piece.


I love ipsy! This is truly the gift that keeps on giving (as long as you pay). I already have my monthly subscription and I’m loving it. If you choose this option for a Valentine’s Day gift for her, she will get a new glam bag every month. Each month you get a cute little makeup bag filled with sample sizes of several different products. This subscription program does require the recipient to fill out a profile so they can try and tailor the items to their liking. Being that this is supposed to be a gift, you can take the survey yourself based on what you know about her. She can always take the survey herself later which will change the items sent.

So there you have it, a quick and affordable list to help you show your loves some love on Valentine’s Day. Remember this “holiday” is just an extension of the love and affection we should show to one another on a daily basis, so don’t stress. Check out this post if you also need some ideas on Valentine’s day gifts for him.

What’s on your radar this season ?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

One Month Blogging Update

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  • Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 7.24.02 PM
  • One Month Blogging update
  • one month blog update

So after a month of blogging, it is time that I reflect on my goals. I started my blog with an idea, concrete plans, and realiztic goals. I must say that after the initial research of what it takes to run a successful blog and the habits of successful bloggers I was overwhelmed by the amount of advice but confident I could consistenlty tackle those tasks.

Along with my blog, I also launched my social media profiles, so there has been a lot going on on this side of the net. I am learning how to balance all the mediums and get them to work in my favor.

Without further ado, here is my one-month blogging update.

One Month Blogging update

Blog posts: 8

Page Views: 227

Not my finest accomplishment, but I am a new new blogger. Like, learning how to blog and how to get it out there and seen by people type of new girl. I am proud that I broke over 100 page views because I was not sure if that was going to happen!

Instagram followers: 136 Follow me —> Lani On Life

Facebook Page Likes: 97 Go like me —-> Lani On Life Facebook Page


Twitter has been an awesome stronghold for my blogging journey. In just this month I have made some great connections with other bloggers and can see myself building my online support tribe. I am truly excited to see what Twitter is like in the next month. I went from starting a new account to 80+ followers, and 17.8K impressions.

One month blog update - twitter analytics
One Month Blogging Update: Twitter Analytics


Pinterest came through in the clutch as I decided later in the month to begin creating pins for my post. I have seen amazing growth with Pinterest in just the 2 weeks I have begun using it and I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the surface just yet.

one month blog update: Pinterest analytics
One Month Blogging Update: Pinterest Analytics

Hot Post:

My best posts were Why Black Kids Need Books with Black Characters and Making Homework With Your Kids Easier. Both shared over 20 times.

Blog Subscribers/ Email List: 76

This is the best accomplishment of my one month blogging update. There is no way I could have fathom reaching 76 subscribers so quickly. E-mail lists are hard to build up and I am so blessed mine is on its way to greatness already!

As a new blogger I thought this was pretty cool to see some evidence that people are reading, sharing, and enjoying the blog. I hope that month two is even more successful than the this first. I have set my sight high for month two and I plan to crush it!

one month blog update

Thank you to everyone who has supported the blog thus far, it truly means the world to me. I am excited to see this journey unfold and I am humbled that you are here with me.

What are your blog goals for next month?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

*This post contains affiliate links*

Love is in the air, and Valentine’s day is around the corner. So, we are all in need of some Valentine’s Day gifts. If you’re as shocked as I was at how quickly things in your local Walmart changed from Christmas to Valentine’s decor, raise your hand. Go out and get his Valentine’s Day gift while you still have time. Here are some Valentine’s Day gifts sure to keep all the important men in your life happy.

Valentine’s Day Gift for Him

Hangry Kit

This is a wonderful novelty gift and is very close to my heart. My husband is known to get hangry every now and again. The Hangry Kit can be stored at home, in the car, or at the office…wherever hunger strikes. This snack pack is a great Valentine’s Day gift if you’re into the more simple and practical things.

Personalized Pick

If your beaux is the musical type, this Valentine’s Day gift will work perfectly. As he is strumming away at guitar, he can remember your love because you’d totally pick him every time. So mushy and so cute. That’s the point of Valentine’s Day right!

Grooming Kit

As manscaping is becoming the new norm, there are gifts out there to support that energy. Whether your guy is in to growing and grooming his beard before no shave November, or ensuring he has the right waves in his hair, this gift is for you. With so many tools included in this kit, this can work for many different types of men. My favorite feature is the beard shampoo and the metal tin it comes in. Those two items really turn up the fancy factor.

Docking Station

For the tech, or non-tech guy. This docking station is a shoe in. I like this docking station better than some of the others on the market due to its sleek wooden look. Additionally, there are cute little notches to hang other gadgets of your choice.


If all else fails, go with the tried and true, lingerie. Yes, ladies, it will look great on you and that is all that your husband cares about. He won’t complain that you bought yourself more clothes because after all the lingerie is for him too. If lingerie isn’t your thing, but you want more innovative ways to dress up for Valentine’s Day, check out Urban Cosplayers for some cool ideas.

The thing I really enjoy about all of these Valentine’s Day gifts is that they can be used for any holiday, reason, or season. They are not “themed” and therefore do not have an expiration date. If you do not celebrate 2.14, no worries, save these gift ideas for the next Birthday, Anniversary, or “just because” situation. Whatever gifts you decide to buy for your loved ones, just ensure they are from the heart.

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Why Black Kids Need Books With Black Characters

As a kid, I loved opening up a good book and getting lost in the tangled web of the characters. I definitely was a well-read black girl. My mother did a good job of making a point to ensure I had books with characters from all walks of life. Fortunately for me, I was a black child reading books with black¬†characters. One of my favorite childhood books was “Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman. ¬†I loved how Grace was faced with a challenge and chose that others’ doubts were none of her business. She would do what she had set her mind to, regardless of naysayers. That speaks to so many of our lives, doesn’t it?

As a mama of three little black children, it is important that I help them paint the same positive narratives that I had dancing in my head as a child. ¬†In today’s society, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative imagines and the loud “whisper” of what you are and are not supposed to be.

Black children need books with Black characters because…

  1. It helps them develop a positive self-image
  2. It makes them more aware of the difficulties they will face in a child-friendly way
  3. It helps them to learn about the awesome Black people who have impacted this world
  4. It gives them hope
  5. It helps them build self-confidence

Here are some of the books with black characters that are currently in heavy rotation with my crew:



My children are in love with these books. Allowing them to see and hear from characters that look like them has increased their reading engagement, opened up some candid conversations, and makes doing homework easier.

No matter your family’s background, you have to help your children to understand the diversity of our world through reading and experience. Wethers its books, television, or urban cosplay, we have to find ways to expose our children to things that represent their¬†culture. I love to read and hope my children develop and keep the same love of reading I have carried throughout my life.

What are the “must reads” on your mama reading list and your kids’ reading list?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Making Homework With Your Kids Easier


“As soon as we get in the house, sit down and start your homework,” is a sentence I’ve said countless times to my trio. As each child moves up the educational ladder, the homework assignments become more difficult and more tedious. Just like any other household, completing homework doesn’t come without its woes. One child is doing their best to get a “snack” instead of homework, another is trying really hard and can’t get it, and the third insist on doing their homework before they get home and turning it in before you can check the quality. Because after all, the homework represents your effort as a parent. Right? Wrong!¬†As a mama (and a teacher), I know that teachers’ intent is not to frustrate you or your precious saplings. Simply, there are not enough hours in the school day and we want to use homework to reinforce ideas learned in class, ¬†review topics already learned, or to preview ideas we will learn in the future. ¬†Honestly, teacher’s aren’t so caught up in the idea of homework that we’ll fail your child for not completing their homework (we probably will give you a call to see what’s going on though).

As my mama friends were expressing their angst with their littles and homework, I offered up a few tips to make homework with your kids easier.

Making homework easier

Making homework easier


Build Stamina

Stamina is the ability to do a task for an extended amount of time without getting distracted. Just like with anything in life, we have to help our kids increase their ability to do something¬†for an extended period of time. Honestly, as an adult, who can sit for three hours and focus on a task? Both hands raised, not this girl. So, start slow. If you have a really reluctant child, building stamina will be their best friend. Start with 5 focused minutes, then take a brain break. Slowly increase their time on task, until they are up to an amount of time that will allow a good chunk of homework to be done. 25-30 minutes is adequate before they will need to and want to take a small break or be complete with the nights’ assignments. Sure, as children get older the stamina can increase. But please, don’t try to make your¬†six-year-old¬†sit down for an hour and do their homework. You both are going to end up exhausted, frustrated, and in need of some alone time.¬†


Rewards can range from stickers to free time, to an episode of their favorite show. In our family, we use a sticker chart for each kiddo.  For example, we use summer bridge workbooks during any break from school. For every 2 pages they complete, a sticker is added to the sticker chart. Once the chart is full (20 stickers), we take a trip to get a sweet treat of their choice.  Rewards can also be used in conjunction with building stamina in order to make doing homework with your kids easier. 

Set stamina milestones. When your child increases from 5 to 10 minutes focused and on task, reward them with a sticker.  If your child is into shopkins, bayblades, or slime, use that as a reward! My littles are fairly young and the rewards are very simple at this point. As they get older, I will adjust their rewards. 

You can use some of these as rewards to make homework easier…¬†


Take a Break

If you’re anything like me, you just want to get it done so you can move on to the next task on your list. Unfortunately, this can lead to excess frustrations when it comes to completing homework with your kids. To save the sanity of the entire family, take a break! Once you sense a hint of frustration from either parents or the kids, everyone should step back and take a break. Keep the breaks short enough to not lose momentum, but long enough to allow everyone time to regain their umph.¬† What do you do during the breaks? Anything you want that is not related to homework. Walk to the mailbox, take a 5-minute dance break, say a prayer, lay on the floor, or color. Whatever you do, don’t do homework during the break, and don’t allow the breaks to become too frequent or so long that you put the work off.¬†

Don’t Yell

Confession time, this was me! Don’t judge me, I am still a work in progress.¬† What I’ve learned from yelling at my precious kids during homework time…it doesn’t help! So mama, daddy, sister, grandma, save your yells for outside on the playground. Yelling confirms that you are upset and in turn, you get more upset. It lets your kids know that you are upset and they either shut down completely or become a crying heap on the floor.¬† What do¬† I do now? I count and breath. If I feel myself reaching the point of yelling, I stop and breathe and ask myself if it is time to take a break.¬†

If it is not the time for a break, I quickly recover and reexplain the tasks and I ask my children what part they are having trouble with.¬† This is a mistake I have made, and will probably continue to make every now and again, but I don’t want to teach my children that they should be yelled at for lack of understanding. I was chosen to be their mom to teach them and help them learn about the things they don’t understand. Allow them the courtesy of learning from a person who is not visibility irritated (you are free to be irritated inside all you wish). If you remember nothing else, remember that not yelling will make doing homework with your kids much easier.¬†

Set a Timer to build independence 

As you build stamina and your children grow in their understanding, it is time to implement more independence. The more independent your child can be, the easier it will be to do their homework. This is something we have implemented with even our youngest child.

When you are beginning the assignment, set a timer. For the first 5-7 minutes, don’t allow your children to ask any questions about the assignment. This encourages them to read the directions and reread the direction if they are not quite sure. When children are in the classroom, they are often completing tasks independently. They cannot rely on the teacher or the parent as a crutch, so they have to practice building their independence. A timer is a great visual reminder that they are not alone “forever”, but it also reminds them they have to try their best to figure it out during this time.¬†

An egg timer is pretty easy to use and kids can even set it themselves. You can also use this same timer to help build homework stamina.


Don’t do all the homework

Yes, I am a teacher. Yes, I said do not do all the homework.¬† Honestly, if the homework packet is stressing you and your child out, just do what you can. Homework is not worth a child losing their love of learning. Homework is a tool meant to help, not hinder. If not completing a couple pages in their packet will make doing homework with your kids easier, do that! Again, you can build up your child’s stamina to complete the entire weeks’ assignment. But, as a teacher, I’d rather a child get a good night’s rest and be ready to rock the next day than complete 282 pages (slight exaggeration) of homework and be exhausted. And as a parent, I am free to choose what is best for my child.¬†

This is what has worked in my household and we are on the road to stress-free homework time,  (if there is such a thing). What are you doing to make homework time easier for the whole family?

Keep doing (the best) you boo! 

xoxo Lani