Friday, August 31, 2012

#30in30: What I've Learned

Yesterday marked the end of the #30in30 challenge. I was so caught up in the hurricane hoopla that I forgot to speak on that. In all honesty, writing every day was no problem for me. I've been doing that for a year now. What I did challenge myself on was my content. That was a huge challenge to expand the scope of my blog. I thought long and hard about every blog. Some days I was excited about what I'd written. Other days inspiration was no where to be found. I pushed myself to open up more on certain things. It was not an easy task but I did it. I wrote about everything. Things that excited me, angered me, and scared me to death. I was determined to complete this challenge. It was important to my life as a writer. This is the thing that I feel I was called to do. This is the place where I will perfect it.

There are days where I fell back into my old habits of writing about music and politics. The difference is that I wrote about different genres of music and different aspects of politics. I stuck to my goal. The #30in30 challenge made me realize a few things about my writing style. I needed this challenge more than I knew. Writing during this last month has been the best thing for me. It got me to focus on my end goal. The blogs I am more than proud of are the ones about the left behind series, the Republican rape, and my getting to know you blogs. I feel like #30in30 was a huge success for me and my blog. I hope that my readers enjoyed this challenge as well I will continue to blog daily here. My new goal is to develop my short story fully. I'm invested in those characters. Camille and Jakob have a story to tell I am more than thankful for Aliya S. King and Erik G. Parker for this challenge. #30in30 is done. Fin.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

#30in30: On The Anniversary...

On the 7th anniversary of the horror that was Hurricane Katrina, I am living without electricity. Yeah, this is my exact life right now. I went to sleep about 2am on Wednesday, August 29th. Hurricane Isaac was wailing on my city. Drenching it in torrential rain and fierce winds. The wind felt like it was knocking at my door and windows. Isaac loudly announced his presence for hours before I fell asleep. It was cold and I was under my comforter nice and snug. And, then it happened. The 80 mph winds took out the power. I awoke to a less than cold space. 

I was not pleased. As you know, I'm a born and raised New Orleans girl. I've been through many hurricanes. Katrina being the worst thing I've ever lived through. Many will wonder why people stayed. Why we didn't leave. So, let me explain this to all of you. Isaac until Tuesday morning was just a Tropical Storm. No one hear bats their eyes at a Tropical Storm. No one. I remember the evacuation for Katrina. It took us almost 20 hours to get to Galveston, Texas. Which is usually a 5 hour trip. The traffic was horrendous. People were literally parked on the interstate & sitting on their cars. It was something I never want to experience again. Katrina was predicted as a Category 5. There was no way I was staying for that. 

But, a Category 1 hurricane doesn't scare me. As a child, I've slept through them. They're big storms. Lots of rain, lots of wind, but nothing to panic over. Louisiana natives know this. We don't usually flee for this. I stayed because Isaac wasn't a serious threat. Not to me. Yes, it's hot as hades since the electricity is out. Yes, the continuous rain is draining. Yes, these strong winds are annoying. But, I'm not in any danger. I'm safe. I know people will truly not get that. I just wasn't moved to leave for this one. I could have been wrong. I'm glad I wasn't. I prayed about it and gave it to God. There was no reason for me to worry or fret after that. Katrina when it was in the Gulf, it scared me. It terrified me. I knew on the Saturday before it hit, that it was going to be bad. I could never have guessed it would leave the destruction it did. I followed my gut with Katrina and I did the same with Isaac. 

I know people will never understand this if they aren't from here. I get that. We stay for the same reason that Californians stay even though they know there will be earthquakes, mud slides, and forest fires. We stay because this is home. This is what we know. It's who we are. As homesick as I was after being away from home after Katrina, I know that this is not the life I want for my future kids. I love New Orleans with all my heart. It's the city that raised me, loved me, and nurtured me. I know once I leave here, I won't be moving back here. My kids will know my city because I will always visit. I have to. My family is here. I'm thankful for Isaac not being a Katrina repeat. Everything else I can deal with. My prayers go out to all those who got hit harder than I did. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

#30in30: This Reader's Review: Part XI: "The Left Behind Series" (Part II My Spiritual Take)

The Left Behind series stirred up so many emotions in me. I blogged about the books here. Religion has always interested me. It's the one thing I do not believe I will ever get tired of learning about. I've found out so many answers on my quest for Biblical knowledge. The only thing I've truly taken from this series is questioning my faith. From the beginning of Book 1, I've been intrigued by the Rapture. The people who were left behind were a mixed group. There were characters who went to church all the time, who seemed to be devout Christians. The fact that they were left behind told their true stories. Their faith wasn't strong enough, their resolve not deep enough. They weren't really living a Christ filled life. They weren't truly believers. This bothered me. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior. I have confessed with my mouth. I have been baptized. I've spent years in the church. My relationship with God is strong. I believe that he is the Alpha & the Omega, that he created everything that we know. I have no doubt about Jesus or Lucifer. I know what I believe to be the truth and my faith is solid. This series makes me question if that is enough. If my belief is enough.

The series takes the reader on an incredible journey. From disbelieve and confusion to triumph and redemption. There is never a dull moment. Each line, each paragraph builds this world for the reader. It's colorful and dark and good and evil all rolled into a 13 book series. Everything the reader thinks they know about the Bible, this series challenges, confirms and takes to task. It's just that great. To read about the rise of the Anti-Christ was appalling and insane. I cannot believe that some characters in this book still did not believe in God even after living through the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Great Appearing. To still doubt that God is the Alpha & Omega is crazy to me. But, I do realize that as long as there is good there will be Evil. 

The authors did an incredible job of creating a storyline that pulls you in. The foundation of this series comes directly from the Bible. The authors did not stray from God's word. They created the situations surrounding the Bible. Every aspect of this series is filled with so much colorful imagery that this story came alive in my head. I saw every word just the way the authors intended. I was so deeply engrossed by this series that I would dream of it. These characters became real to me. There are many times in the series that characters doubt their faith or their walk. I identify with that aspect. I have been there before and I am sure that I will be again. The characters struggled with real life doubts and moments of being unsure. This is the walk that I believe that all believers take.

If you are someone who, like me, is reading the Bible for the first time by yourself, this series is for you. It is a lengthy but quick read. Yes, it's 13 books long but the story is so captivating that reader would lose sight of that quickly. This series had me pulling out my Bible a lot. There are things that I knew before reading this series. There is even more that I did not know until reading this series. I am grateful for the authors for that. It has inspired me to read my Bible more. I think I will start with a nightly reading. The story progresses at the right rate. It's full of Bible scriptures. I was always pulling out my Bible to read more. It's interesting on a spiritual level. If you are searching for answers about what will happen when God comes back for his people, you will find them in this series. I would recommend this to all. It's a must read. It's why I'm sharing it with you. I am that invested in the series. I devoured every page of it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#30in30: The Art of Storytelling: "Unexpected Meeting"

(This is a free-writing experiment. I haven't written a short story in a while. I am going to start this and see where these characters take me. Fingers crossed and prayers sent up for this one. Thanks, in advance, for reading. Hope you enjoy. Comment and let me know! -K)

Camille observed the patrons in the coffeehouse. This was her hobby. She was a people watcher. Had been since she was a little girl. She loved to make up stories about the people around her. Even before she knew it, she was a writer. This hobby had turned into a financially beneficial life for her. Today, she had a block. So, she came to observe and get inspired as she drank her Chai tea. She had a feeling that inspiration would walk through the door at any moment. All she had to do was wait for it. She was doing a free write exercise on the word jolly when he walked in.

Camille raised her head and they caught eyes. His very the color of chocolate and deep as the sea. Hers the color of warm honey and they held a mystery inside. Camille thought he was gorgeous, tall and the exact shade of brown that she was drawn to. He was staring right back at her. He caught on to the fact that neither of them averted their glances. He liked what he saw as well. He was instantly intrigued by the brown lady with the great eyes. She looked comfortable in skinny jeans and tank top and sandals. "Hello Handsome," she thought. Camille smiled at him and went back to her writing. He was still watching her. She could tell. But, she couldn't look up again. She was sure that her face would reveal that she as attracted to him. So, the shy woman decided to play it coyly.

Jakob walked up to her table. "Excuse me," he said. Camille slowly raised her head, smiled and replied "Yes?" He said "I don't mean to interrupt your work. But I couldn't leave here without telling the beautiful woman hello." His smile was radiant. It lit up his whole face and made his eyes dance. Camille liked his face. She blushed at his compliment. "Thank you. I'm Camille Ducre," she says while sticking out her hand. Their hands met as he introduces himself as Jakob Nicholas.

"Can I sit?" he inquired. Camille did not want the conversation to end so she said "Sure." He sat. And, for what seemed like mere minutes, they talked about everything from sports to politics. In actuality, 3 hours had passed. Their drinks were refreshed frequently. They shared a huge blueberry muffin. "I cannot believe how interesting Camille is," Jakob thought. "So, what else do you like, my basketball watching, politics following, spoken word performing artist?" Jake asked with a smile. Camille replied while laughing, "Well, that's about it. I like a little bit of everything. I love to read and I'm adventurous. But, enough about me, tell me more about you, Mr. Nicholas?" "You already know I am a huge sports fan. I love the water. Any time I can spend in it makes me happy. My biggest hobby is that I restore old cars. That makes me happy," he said.

The sun was setting outside. This made both Jakob and Camille realize how late it had become. Neither truly wanted to leave. They were enjoying each other's company. Jakob reached for Camille's hand. He looked her dead in the eye and said, "I have had the best afternoon with you. I'd like to continue this. How about dinner some time?" Camille smiled while saying yes. She asked him for his phone and put her number in. She rose to leave. He did as well. They walked out of PJ's Coffeehouse together. He walked her to her car, opened the door for her and kissed her on her cheek. Jakob said, "I'm going to call to make sure you make it home, Camille." "Oh, I know," she replied. Camille gets into her car smiling inside and out. Jakob watches her as she drives away. Both feeling like the other is definitely someone special.

Monday, August 27, 2012

#30in30: This Reader's Review: Part X: "Left Behind" Series (Part I)

A good book makes you feel good once you're finished reading. A great back makes the reader want more. I have just finished 13 great books. I've been deeply submerged in a book series. So much so that I didn't want it to end. It's a 13 book series entitled "Left Behind." The series is biblical & is based on what happens after the Rapture. As a woman who is intrigued with the Bible, this series was perfect for me. I needed to read this. I have to say thank you to HIM because he suggested I read this. We talk a lot about spirituality and religion. So he knew that this would be right up my alley. I'm grateful for that, for HIM. There is so much that takes place within these 13 books. I just want to share an overview of the books here.

These characters are so well thought out. I love the depth that each character possesses. I love all the good characters like Rayford, Chloe, Buck, Tsion, David and Mack. They represent the good in mankind. I see pieces of me in all of them. They weren't truly sold on Christianity and religion before the Rapture. But, every last one of them became believers in their own time. I loved how much each of them grew within their faith. How they never waivered on their love of the Lord. It's inspiring on so many levels. I've never had issues with my faith. My issues with religion have always centered on the pastors giving the sermon. My hunger for the word of God has never be completely quenched. My walk with God has been in my own hands for the last few years. This series has helped me realize a clearer view of where I need to be. 

The authors also did an incredible job of making me like and despise certain characters. Nicolae Carpathia is the epitome of a character you love to hate. He's sweet as pie, charismatic, well spoken and sinister to boot. He is the epitome of a wolf in sheep's clothing. From the beginning, I was wary of him. He was too smooth, too perfect. He reminded me of Adolf Hitler. He too was charismatic and people allowed him to kill at will for years. I loved watching his evolution. He slowly became everything the Bible had predicted that he would be. It was amazing to see his story unfold. I hated him, everything he was, everything he stood for. I despised him. I do not think I've ever felt so deeply about a character in a book. That shows how awesomely he was written. That takes talent. The authors truly possess that.

This series was made into movies. I will definitely check them out in the near future. If they are even half as good as the books, they will be awesome. I needed to sit with this information. It affected me that much. This series made me happy and excited. I was so into this series. I did not want it to end. I flew through the first ten books easily. Then, I started to slow down with my reading. I wanted the final books to last. I wasn't ready to be done with these characters. I was happy with the outcome. I would recommend this series to anyone I know. You guys should get into it. It's worth it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Questions & Answers You Might Not Hear Everyday

A. If you could get away with one murder in your lifetime without any legal, social, or emotional repercussions, would you kill someone? No, I'm not that heartless. I couldn't take a life just because.

B. What is your first thought when you receive a message on Tumblr, are you excited for the idea of someone from potentially the other side of the world wanting to talk to you or fearful that someone will criticize you? Excited...because I know that 95% of the time, it's my Love.

C. Have you ever looked down on someone because you thought your religious views were superior? No. That would've be counterproductive to what my God wants.

D. Would you rather know everything the universe has to offer but in exchange lose all emotions or remain the way you are now? Remain the way I am now. I'm one with my emotions. I need them.

E. If you could live and be healthy without sleeping or eating/drinking, which would you cut out of your life? Sleeping. It's overrated.

F. If you could take on the exact body and form of anyone else on Earth, who would it be? There is this dancer but I can't remember her name. Her shape is ridic though.

G. Would you rather burn or freeze to death? Freeze.

H. If it meant it would solve all world hunger, war, disease and bigotry, would you spend the rest of eternity in Hell? Nope. I'm not that selfless yet. I know it would be for the greater good. But, we're talking about my life here.

I. Was the first crush in your life something you had or something someone had on you? He had one me. Kindergarten. His name was Eric & I did not return the affection. He teased me recent less. Called me Kenda Calendar ugh.

J. Could you live without having sex ever (again) in exchange for eternal youth? Hell. No. Why would I?

K. Have you ever watched a full length pornographic movie? Yep. Multiple ones.

L. The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The Beatles.

M. If you could have the ability to manipulate matter or energy, which would you choose? Matter.

N. What was the worst nightmare you ever had? It was awful. It involved a violent, bloody murder scene.

O. Would you rather spend one year with your one true love just to never see them again or the rest of your life with second best? One year with my true love. Settling for second best is never an option.

P. All the sequels/remakes/adaptations/rip-offs in movies nowadays, good or bad? More bad than good. I'm over it. Would rather originality.

Q. Would you rather be dirt poor and emotionally fulfilled in life or be rich beyond imagination and emotionally dissatisfied for life? Poor & fulfilled. I'd at least be happy.

R. Do you have any (secret) feelings of bigotry to any group of people? I don't think bigger try is the right word.

S. Would you rather be the only person in the world that can read minds or have everyone else in the world be able to read minds except for your own? Only girl in the world with that ability.

T. If everyone in the world would automatically only know one language, which language would you choose? French because it's such a beautiful language.

U. If you were old enough and not in a situation where it would be inappropriate, would you sleep with one of your (past) school teachers/professors? Yes. Mr. Hernandez.

V. A world without religion, good, bad, neutral? Bad. Terrible. Awful.

W. The men's rights movement, legitimate cause or laughable, and why? Laughable and ridiculous. The one group of people who have never been disenfranchised or under represented has been men, especially White men. There is no real movement.

X. You can eliminate one of your five senses to substantially strengthen the others, which one and would you do it? I wouldn't do it. But if I had to chose, I'm going with the sense of smell.

Y. Do looks mean anything to you? Don't lie, could you fall in love with someone you thought was ugly? Looks mean something to everyone. Those who say otherwise are lying through their teeth. I couldn't fall in love with someone I wasn't attracted to.

Z. Can you understand the mindset and logic used by the opposite spiritual opinion? An atheist understanding the belief in a higher power and vice versa. I cannot. I'm perplexed by it. If you do not believe in God, what is this higher being you speak of? That's crazy to me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

#30in30: Do You Realize?

...that they are genetically modifying our food??Genetically modified food. Those three words frightened me. The picture above is of a normal sized salmon and a genetically modified one. The difference is ridiculous. I am scared about this practice. They say that this practice will help feed the ever growing world's population. I cannot say that I truly believe that. I'm worried about anything that deals with genetics being changed. That could lead to deformed animals. Those deformities could also be passed on to humans. I do not want to try my luck at anything like that. Who would? It's crazy to me that this practice is legal. That no one is outraged about it. I do not believe that the world is going to run out of food. I just cannot wrap my mind around that idea. I do not believe that we should be altering our food sources.

The long term affects of altering and modifying food has not been confirmed. I am weary of this. What exactly is the USDA feeding us? I have no clue what they are putting into the food. It makes me not want to eat much. After watching a few documentaries, I am completely over most fast food places. I cannot eat McDonald's anymore. I'm not even sure if any of the food they serve is real food. That genetically modified salmon above is gross. I'm staring at it and it's making me ill. They are pumping all kinds of things to alter our food. I do not like what I've been reading about this. I actually had to stop reading about it. Did you guys know about this? How is this legal? Pay attention to the stickers on fruit and labels on meat. The USDA has to label food accordingly. Look into this. I am still in shock. And, not hungry at all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

#30in30: How Time Changes Things

As a little girl, I could not imagine a day when my friends wouldn't be my friends anymore. There was nothing I could fathom back then that would lead to us not being friends today. Maybe I was idealistic and unreasonable. I just knew that those 6 girls would always be my close friends. For many years, I never had to worry about that. Then we became young adults. We graduated from college and life got in the way. I can still pick up the phone and reach out to any one of them. But, we just aren't the close knit group we once were. That's just the way things have played out.
The thing that I've realized is that life has a way of pulling people apart. Literally, almost all of my female friends are married or moms. I am neither. There are things that I cannot relate to on some level with them. Out of state moves have also played a small part in this friendship migration. A change of religion on the part of a friend has caused a divide as well. We are still essentially the same little girls. We still love the same things about each other. It doesn't mean that I don't miss certain aspects of these women. They were my entire world. It wasn't a sudden change in friendship. It happened gradually. One day, I realized how much space was between all of us. I guess that life has a way of giving you what you need in a friend at that time.

I'm always open to meeting new people. Getting to know new people is tiring though. It's also very ironic that my two closest friends also happen to be my first cousins. As my Mom called them, my first friends. I am beyond thankful for Ty & Reese for always being there. As well as my sisters. Friendships are all unique and important in their own way. We, as humans, need them, thrive on them. I am thankful for all the ones I've had in my life. I think I've learned something from each and every friend I've ever encountered. I can only hope that I left the same kind of impression on them as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

#30in30: This Reader's Review: Part IX "The Alchemist"

For years, I've been meaning to read Paulo Coehlo's "The Alchemist." It's one of those books that people always mention and I always see around. I never took the time out to read it before. I joined an online book club recently. "The Alchemist" was our first choice. I thought this was great because I've been so intrigued by it. I couldn't wait to dive into it. I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. The book is fantastic. And that's putting it lightly. I loved the journey the author took us on.

There are so many lessons within those pages. The one line that is repeated often throughout the book is "When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." I love the wording and spirit of that line. To me, it means that of you want something bad enough and you work towards it, the universe will work with you. This is what occurred for the main character of "The Alchemist." I highlighted so many passages through this book. It was a quick & easy read. But, there was so much valuable information within the pages.

I learned lessons when the boy thrived and when he failed. I loved the way that hope was never lost. Coehlo did a great job of sliding lessons into every page of his book. I was mesmerized with where the words took me. The main character's perseverance is admirable. He never lost sight of his goals. That is the biggest life lesson in "The Alchemist." If you haven't read this book, I suggest you check it out. It is one of the best books I've ever read.

*My Favorite Quotes

"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."

"At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie."

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream."

"What happens once will never happen again. But what happens twice will surely happen a third time."

"When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."

"There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe.... The soul of the world is nourished by people's happiness ings are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise," said the seer. "If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur."

"It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#30in30: What You Don't Know About Me

Blogging allows me the freedom to tell my story in my own words. Since starting the #30in30 challenge, I've read a lot of blogs. One thing I've noticed is a bunch of bloggers have done this getting to know you blogs. It consists of 5 random facts about the blogger. I thought this was an ideal blog topic. I had to dig deep to think of five unique things about me to share. Especially things that I have not shared here before. Here's what I came up with. Enjoy.

1)I am very prissy. Extremely. My Mom has often wondered where I came from because she is nothing like me. I've always been very girly. I own one pair of sneakers. I prefer not to wear them But, I'm also a Hip-Hop loving, sports watching, politics discussing, woman. I am anomaly. I am a walking, talking conundrum. And, to top it off, I am very weird. I say all of that to say that I'm comfortable in my own skin. I love all the idiosyncrasies of me. I think every aspect of these things make me the woman I am.

2) I'm not a fan of candy. I love chocolate. When & if I do eat candy, I always seek out the orange ones. Starburst, Skittles, jelly beans, M&M's, always the orange ones. I do not know why I do this at all. It's just what I do.

3) In general, I hate for folks to touch my feet. I love spa pedicures but I'm always tense when the lady is touching my feet. My nephew Kole loves to rub my feet. It literally makes me cringe. His hands are tiny. I mean, he's only 3. But, it feels so funny. I don't like my feet massaged. Or even just touched. It's one of my quirks.

4) I despise fake hair. I don't dig weaves, wigs, or tracks. It just isn't my thing. I like my hair. I play in my hair too much. Love to feel my scalp. I don't care what others do. I just know that I'm comfortable with my own hair.

5) I have a severe aversion to the color green. I don't buy clothing in any shade of green. Nor cookware, flatware, appliances, shoes, or accessories. I really don't like it. It's my least favorite color ever. I don't know when this started. I just know there is no shade of green that I would ever wear. But, I love sage green on a baby. Weird, right?

Now, I feel like you know me better. These are very random but important aspects of me. I loved reading about the random five things of other bloggers. I have no problem sharing myself here. It's my little place of complete freedom. Now, tell me five random things about yourself, readers. I am more than interested. Let's talk!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#30in30: Ok, I Did It!

One year ago today, I wrote this. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of a year long goal. I have blogged consecutively for one year straight. That is huge for me. I gave myself a goal and I stuck to it. Let me just say that this was not easy at all. There were some nights where I had no clue of what to write about or if I would even be able to do it. I persevered and that is what matters the most. I never could have imagined that when I started this blog with this one post that I would still be here writing my heart out. It's been a little over 2 years since I began blogging. It's been a great experience. I love writing and blogging has helped me to sharpen my skills. This is more of a personal celebration for me. I am thankful for this space.

Writing has always come easy to me. It's been my thing for as long as I can remember. My Mom says I would make up stories about my dolls and my imaginary friend. I've been blessed with the gift of imagination and writing. Writing brings me a sense of calm that I can't really explain. Some people are good with numbers, others with electronics, but I've always had a way with words. I'm thankful for my blog. It's my writing outlet. It's my place to get all these thoughts out into the world wide cyber universe. It's been one long year. I've written when I was happy, excited, mad, hurt, sad and confused. I've written through it all. That's perseverance. This is my reward. Ok, let me get back to blogging and my next writing goal. I plan to finish the year strong. Blogging daily. I have my fingers crossed that I can accomplish this. Thanks to all of you for reading.

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write” —Anais Nin

Monday, August 20, 2012

#30in30: Republicans & the Ridiculous Idea of Rape

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

This is a real statement from a Republican nominee in Missouri. Every time I think that the Republicans cannot come up with anything more ridiculous, they surprise me and do just that. This man opposes the Plan B because he says it is abortion. I guess he doesn't really know what the Plan B pill actually does. It prevents pregnancy. If a woman is pregnant already, the Plan B pill does not get rid of that pregnancy. So, we can all see that Akin is misinformed and happy to be so. The second ridiculous thing he said was that rape victims don't ever get pregnant. He claims that a woman's body shuts down when raped and resists pregnancy. What?? Are you for real? I wonder how outraged rape victims are at this statement. 

Women get raped every day. Some of them end up pregnant. I am more than sure that these victims don't want to be carrying the child of their rapist. And, to imply that is beyond sick. To me, it seems as though the Republicans war on women is in high gear. Akin tried to backtrack on his statements. He hasn't said exactly what he misspoke about though. He should pull out of the race. He should clearly learn more before he speaks. Our President said "The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians — a majority whom are men — making health care decisions on behalf of women.” I think that sums it up nicely. Republicans take note.

#30in30: Ladies Love Lyrics: Anthony David featuring Algebra & Phonti "4evermore"

I am a fan of Algebra and Anthony David. They are both two severely underrated soul singers. I love the tone of both of their voices. Imagine my surprise to come across this track via Tumblr. This song is a feel good track. A love song with a nice beat. It makes me want to dance. It would work well at a wedding reception. Get into this track.

Forever's a mighty long time
But I really wanna spend it with you
I shine when you shine
And there's really no substitute 4evermore

Take a picture,
I want you to remember
When I professed my love
Press the button,
I hope it's still recording
Every word I'm saying to you

I'm telling you right now
from this day on I've already
weighed up the pros and cons
Melanie, you're just the woman I want, I want, I want

Making my plans just to be with you
Just you and me babe,
till the days are blue
And I ain't ashamed love, to say I do, I do

(Chorus 2xs)

Pick a tree to carve our names
Let the world know it's not a game
Last longer than a wedding ring
Generations tattooed with the love we bring

From the seeds we sow
To the time it takes to grow
Long enough to show you
I won't let go of you

Cause without you
I'm incomplete
Like this love song without this beat
I'm saying that you are the man I need I need, I need

I'm making my plans just to be with you
Just you and me babe,
till the days are blue
And I ain't ashamed love, to say I do, I do..."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

#30in30: Movie Review "Sparkle" Shines

"Sparkle" shines in all the ways it should. I cried while watching this movie. Sparkle" was released on Friday. It was Whitney swan song. Our last look into the talent that she possessed. The remake stands completely alone. It takes turns that the original did not. In that way, the writers made this story their own as did the actors. That is what makes it such a good film. The actors do a great job of giving life to the words. I wasn't really looking forward to seeing the movie after Whitney's death. I thought it may have been too soon. But, I changed my mind & went to see if she shined on screen. She did. That made me happy as a fan.

The storyline was engaging. I was interested in where the characters were going. Seeing Whitney on screen was bittersweet. She was so good in her role. I'm sad that she didn't live to see this. My favorite character was Sister, played by Carmen Ejogo. She was amazing to me. I've never seen her work before. But, I will definitely keep my eye out for her future work. Other stand out performances were those of Mike Epps as Satin, Tika Sumpter as Delores and Omari Hardwick as Levi. Jordin Sparks makes her debut in this film. She plays the title role. She is subdued and shy for most of the movie. I liked her as Sparkle. I don't know if this role truly shows her acting ability.

I will not go into details about the movie. I'll just say that I enjoyed it. All of it. The soundtrack to this film is great. I left the theater with one particular song stuck in my head. I was enthralled with every song in the film. That's probably just the avid music lover in me. The music is rightfully paired with the girl group era of the 60's. Even the new tracks sound as if they were straight out if the 60's. If you haven't seen the original, you won't be lost. This film stands alone. The names of the characters are the same. But, there is so many differences between the two. I'm so glad I went to see it. You should check it out as well. I could watch this film again & again. It was that enjoyable to me. Great actors & great writing will always equal a great movie. Whitney would be extremely proud of her work on "Sparkle." I know I am.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

#30in30: Stay In My Corner

"Stay in my corner. I won't let us down. I need you around. Hold me close. Never let me go. Stay in my corner." - Keith Washington

The lyrics of that old Keith Washington song resonate with me. That's all many of us want: someone to stay in my corner. How many of us have at least someone who is in our corner? On a bad day, that's all a person needs. One person who always holds us down. If you're lucky, you might have a few of them. That would mean that you are blessed abundantly. It's something no one should ever take for granted.

It can be very hard to let someone, any one in on your dreams, goals and fears. It seemsHaving someone on your side and in your corner can be amazing. It's like your own little cheering section. Having just one person there for you can make the world of difference. I am beyond thankful for my group. They are all unique in their own way..
But, they all encourage me without judging me. They just have my back. That's an incredible feeling. My people have continued to stand in my corner, year in and year old. They stayed faithful to my cause. Thank God for placing such angels on Earth and more importantly, in my corner.

Friday, August 17, 2012

#30in30: Places I Must Visit: New York City

I decided to go domestically with this pick. I'm always choosing other continents for these posts. One place on my list has to be New York City. I've wanted to explore this city for years. I've never had a reason to go. Nor did I ever have anyone to go with. I do not believe that NYC is the type of city one visits alone. I do not think I could live there. I am not interested in taking the subway at all. I just want to walk the streets of the city. Would love to just get lost in the city for a few days. Soak in everything that NYC has to offer me. 

Of course, I want to do all of the tourist things. I want to see the sights. The Statute of Liberty, Times Square, the Empire State Building are among the sights I have to see. I especially want to see what Brooklyn 's like. I want to eat at the most authentic New York spots. Oh, I definitely want to have dollar pizza and Shake Shack. I want to experience the NYC nightlife. SOB's, 40/40, Greenhouse (if it ever reopens) have been mentioned to me. I want to walk through Central Park during the day. I want to walk through Harlem. I want to see Wall Street and see a play on Broadway.

Mainly, I just want take in the hustle that is NYC. I'm sure that it is so different than my city. New York is the Big Apple where everything is fast. While New Orleans is the Big Easy, where everything is laid back and easy. No matter, I need to see it for myself. It's the place in the U.S. I've wanted to visit for as long as I could remember. As a college student, I was planning a trip that my Mom promptedly nixed. She was not having it. Now,that I'm older, I feel like this trip is long overdue. So, soon NYC needs to see me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

#30in30: You Know How Much I Love These

1: When you have a container of Neapolitan ice cream, what flavor do you leave for last? Chocolate, always.
2: Would you rather be caught in a thunderstorm without an umbrella or a snowstorm without boots? Snowstorm. Hate to be caught in the rain unprepared.
3: Let's say you have access to a time machine, but it can only go either backward or forward. One or the other. Which do you choose and where do you go? Backwards...if only to have one last conversation with my Dad.
4: If you could choose to have any superpower ever, what would you pick? I would want to read minds. That would be dope.
5: Tomorrow morning, you wake up in the body of a celebrity, like in a '90s body-swap movie. Who is it? How do they react to your life? What do you do when you're "them"? Would you choose to switch back? Beyonce'. My reaction would be utter ridiculousness. I would want to perform in from of millions. I would switch back after a week or so.
6: Any allergies? Penicillin and shrimps unfortunately.
7: What would you be more embarrassed to buy: sex toys or adult diapers? Adult diapers. Ewww...
8: Did you get enough sleep last night?Surprisingly yes, I did.
9: You're the sole witness to a Mafia murder. Witness protection has to set you up with a whole new life in a totally new country. You have to leave everything behind, but you can pick where you move to. Where do you go? Ok, being in Witsec would suck big, hairy monkey balls for many reasons. But, if I was forced to choose either New York (if I had to stay stateside) or Mykonos, Greece (if I could leave the US).
10: If you could star in a biopic about any famous person ever, who would it be?Oprah. Her life story will play well on the big screen.
11: What's the biggest animal you've ever killed? Bugs count. A spider I guess.
12: Would you rather have millions of dollars but always feel nauseous when you go outside, or be dirt poor forever but never get sick again in your life? I would take the money. Because I could build an awesome estate that I'd never have to leave.
13: A wizard offers you immortality in exchange for your two front teeth. Do you take it? Nope. We are not meant to be immortal.
14: Could you win the Hunger Games? I would fight tooth and nail to win. When surviving is your only choice, nothing else matters.
15: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid? How about as a teen/adult?As a kid, I was Rainbow Brite. As a teen, I was Chilli of TLC.
16: Do you bite your nails? Yes. Horrible habit to break too.
17: What was the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? "Annie."
18: Do you prefer music with male or female vocalists? I do not have a preference actually. I prefer that they be vocally talented though.
19: You and the love of your life are having a baby, and you get to choose the name! There's only one catch: your partner INSISTS that it be the name of a place, real or fictional. What do you name your baby? Girl: Kashi; Boy: Kingston.
20: If you could reboot or remake any movie, what would it be and who would you cast? I'm not necessarily a fan of remakes. But, I guess I would pick "School Daze." I would cast Tristan Wilds & Kyla Pratt as leads, Idris Elba as the dean of the school.
21: If you could automatically know how to speak any language or play any instrument, which would you choose? Language Italian; Instrument, the piano.
22: For you, would getting amnesia be a good thing? Negative. That would be so horrible.
23: If you curse loudly and then realize that there are children nearby, what is your reaction? I cringe & apologize.
24: Of what animal are you most afraid? Snakes.
25: Pizza or oral sex? Oral sex followed by pizza.Ha!
26: Without looking them up, can you explain the rules of football? How about Quidditch? What do you think that says about you? I'm sure I can since I am a football fan & an avid Harry Potter fan as well. I think it shows how awesome a woman like me is & that I'm highly versed in a variety of topics.
27: You're in the car, switching channels on the radio when you hear a song that makes you go "OH SHIT, THAT'S MY JAM!" What song is it? Jay-Z "I Just Wanna Love You"
28: Have you ever paid to see a Step Up movie? If not, how much would someone have to pay YOU to see a Step Up movie? Nope. Past the first one, someone would have to pay me at least $50 to watch it.
29: If you were being executed tonight, what would you choose for your last meal? Steak, grilled shrimp, loaded potatoes, Strawberry martini, and for dessert vanilla bean cheesecake with chocolate sauce & fresh strawberries.
30: Have you ever bought an item of clothing because it reminded you of something a fictional character would wear? Yes.
31: If you were invisible for a day, what would you do? Spy on people I know & freak them out by moving things.
32: Have you ever been punched in the face? Nope.
33: How do you take your ramen noodles? I don't because I don't eat that.
34: Do you ever rehearse or plan conversations before you actually have them? When I'm emotional about an issue, I do.
35: How much black do you wear on a regular basis (not counting funerals)? A moderate amount.
36: Do you have any tattoos? Do you want any? Yep & I want more.
37: If someone offered you a free pet snake, would you take it? It's not dangerous or really big or anything. They're just moving to a place that doesn't allow pets. Hell. No.
38: Do you know how to pronounce the word "pinochle"? Sure do.
39: Can you think of anything more boring than birdwatching? Golf and baseball.
40: Are you better with numbers or words? Words. Definitely.
41: At the movies, do you stay for the credits? In general, no. But if I need to know the name of an actor or song, I do.
42: Is morality universal or relative? I believe it is more relative because the whole world does not value the same morals.
43: Let's say you're getting married to someone you absolutely adore. The only catch is that you met them through a Craigslist hookup ad that was supposed to be just for one night of casual sex. Would you tell your friends how you and your fiance met? Not at all. Because our story is ours. I don't have to share that with anyone. All they need to know is that I'm in love & getting married.
44: What's the worst name you've ever been called? A bitch.
45: Would you eat human flesh if it had been harvested and prepared humanely? (Say, from someone brain-dead who had marked him or herself down as an organ donor - same difference, right?) Negative.
46: At what age did you stop believing in Santa? Alternately, if you never believed in Santa, did you ever ruin Santa for anyone else? I do not remember my exact age. But, I know I was young and I caught my Mom wrapping gifts. So, the jig was up. I have never ruined it for anyone.
47: Do you get along better with old people or little kids? Both. But since I have to choose, I'll say little kids.
48: If you had to choose, would you rather become a nun/monk or a drug dealer? A nun. Which would suck majorly. For reasons.
49: What's your best bodily feature, objectively speaking? Since both are equally amazing, I'll say it's a tie between my brain and my breasts.
50: Who is your favorite late night talk show host? I don't have one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#30in30: Political Notes: Romney Picks Ryan

Romney picked Ryan as his running mate this past weekend. So, now that battle has been set. With the picking of Ryan, Romney solidifies the fact that he is only about the rich population of the U.S. Ryan, like Romney, wants to tax the middle class while giving all the tax breaks to the rich. He also wants to do away with Medicare as we know it. Ryan is just as bad as Romney. The bottom line is if we don't re-elect President Obama, Romney/Ryan will be running this country. Americans can't afford what they are selling. I cannot say a whole lot more about it. But, I will list some things about Ryan below. This is serious business. This election will come down to the very last vote. We should all be watching what's going on. Politics are serious business. It affects all of us. Vote or Romney will be President. I can't let that happen. We cannot allow that to occur.

12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan by Scott Hoffman

1. Raises taxes on the middle class, cuts them for millionaires.
2. Dramatically increases Medicare costs for seniors, increases eligibility age.
3. Leaves Social Security to the whims of Wall Street.
4. Budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years.
5. Eliminates Pell Grants for more than 1 million students.
6. Embraces extreme individualism (selfishness is “virtue.”)
7. Keeps $40 billion in subsidies for Big Oil.
8. Ryan’s Family stands to benefit from oil subsidies
9. Claimed Romneycare has led to “rationing and benefit cuts.”
10. Believes that Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.”
11. Accused generals of lying about their support for Obama’s military budget.
12. Co-sponsored a personhood amendment.

"All signs point to Paul Ryan being Romney's VP pick. So the man who doesn't care about the poor and likes "firing people" will pick the guy that would end Social Security as we know it. hmmm way to alienate everybody. The poor, the elderly, etc..."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#30in30: Rant: Reality TV Just Got Real

I could have titled this post "When Keep It Real Goes Wrong." It would be totally appropriate. Over the weekend, Chad Ochocinco Johnson was arrested for domestic violence against his wife of 39 days Evelyn Johnson. As a result, Chad was cut from the Miami Dolphins and VH1 has dropped their new reality show. I am not here to write about what did or did not happen between the two. My biggest issue is the way VH1 has responded to the news. A channel that promotes any and all violence on all of their reality shows. What made this particular incident so bad that they had to pull a show? I wonder who made the call. Reality tv has become a huge business. It's come a long way since the first season of MTV's "The Real World." And, sadly, most of the changes in reality tv hasn't been too good.

Granted, I totally get the seriousness of the Evelyn and Chad drama. But, VH1 is the same company that allows "Basketball Wives" to air? Evelyn is the same woman we've seen season after season promote violence on this show. Just last season, she threw 2 wine bottles at her co-star. Also, we saw her run across a table to attempt to attack someone. The woman is a hot head with a violent temper. But, VH1 and Viacom felt no need to pull this show. They promoted it. Praised it to a fault. This company stood idly behind Evelyn and her violent acts for ratings. Why is this violence ok? I do not know what happened between the Johnsons. What I do know is what VH1 has shown us. I stopped watching BBW a while back because the drama wasn't entertaining anymore. It stopped being entertaining when I realized that these were grown women acting like immature school girls on my tv. 

I cannot be ok with VH1 standing behind Evelyn when she was violent for ratings but dropping her show now. Why wasn't she dismissed from BBW? It was all good and fun when she was attacking other women. We've watched her go from throwing drinks in another woman's face (which by the way, I've never seen this happen in real life) to throwing bottles at another woman. Evelyn is more bark than bite. A woman with a big mouth and propensity to throw everything but hands. I blame VH1, Viacom, Shaunie O'Neal and even myself to a extent. I watched this trashy reality tv show before. I helped with ratings. I did that. But, when you know better, you should do better. I tuned out. While I am glad that there seems to finally be consequences for her actions, I am disappointed that it took something this severe for people to see. VH1 should be ashamed of themselves. They have promoted violence on all of their reality shows. It's glorified all in the commercials because that's what pulls people in. I would hope that this makes VH1 take a deeper look at their shows. Changes need to be made. The people on reality tv shows need to be held accountable for their actions. That is the reality I am talking about.

Monday, August 13, 2012

#30in30: It's My Hair: Product Review

It's that time again. It's my hair and I need to talk about it some more. As of this week, I have been transitioning for 45 weeks. I've invested my time in YouTube videos, natural hair care forums and advice from other natural women I know. For the most part, I've had really good look with products working for me & my hair. I haven't had a lot of trial and error. Which is pretty great because I haven't wasted a lot of money. I did not big chop because I was not comfortable with my hair being really short or nonexistent. I entered a contest on a whim via Tumblr & Facebook. I was behind surprised when I actually won. The prize was a Carol's Daughter 1-2-3 Transitioning Kit. I was very interesting to try the products out. A few days after receiving my prize from Sassy Nation, I put them to work. The picture below is where my hair started.

First off, I loved this kit! Absolutely loved the effect it had on my hair. I am not a fan of the smell. I'm not sure what the exact scent is. But, it's not one I'm fond of. The low poo cleanser is great. You don't need to use a lot to feel it working. All three products have this tingling aspect to them that I love. I wet my hair before applying. I worked it into my scalp and from the roots to the tip. While washing my hair, I could feel a major difference. My hair wasn't tangled. It was easier to detangle while using this product, which is a major plus. The second step was my favorite. It's the spray that goes directly onto your scalp. It was tingling the whole 15 minutes it was on my scalp. After rinsing it out, I applied the repair breakage cream. I sat under a hooded dryer for 15 minutes. The heat plus the tingling was an experience. The picture below is halfway through. I used parts 1 & 2 so far.

After I was finally done, I was very satisfied with this product. My hair was soft and manageable. It took me less time to do my hair. I didn't have to spend time detangling. I used my hands instead of a wide toothed comb. I am completely sold on this kit. Even though I am getting towards the end of my transition, I am glad I found this product. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about transitioning as well. My natural hair goal was to transition for a year. October 2, 2012 will be my one year anniversary. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to it. Carol's Daughter has given me a product that should make the next few weeks a breeze.
The last picture is what my hair looks like now. It's so soft and I love the way it feels. I suggest all you transitioning naturalistas get into these products.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

#30in30: I Remember That Song

"Cash Money Records. Taking over for the 99 and the 2000." - Juvenile

Those words above are the beginning of everything good in my memory from that time. I was a Cash Money fanatic. The only other artist who was getting any play in my room was Jay-Z. But, Cash Money was different to me. They were the home town boys I would see all the time. And, they were making great music that I was digging. As I sat down to brainstorm on a topic for the twelfth day of this 30in30 challenge, I played an oldie but goodie. The Cash Money play list was just the inspiration that I needed. Back when Lil Wayne had more skin visible than tattoos. Back when Ms. Cita didn't allow Wayne to curse. Or back when Turk or B.G. weren't doing time behind those walls. Back when Manny Fresh was the in house beat maker. Back when the Hot Boys were the ish. This is the Cash Money I miss. Not for nothing, I have no issue with Drake, some Nicki tracks. But, I really want that old Cash Money feel back.

I remember going to a Cash Money concert for $5 at this club Grant Street in Lafayette, Louisiana. My girls & I got our tickets early in the afternoon. We were early to the concert that night as well. Grant St. wasn't a big club nor was it fancy. I am sure that we all had on tank tops and shorts and Reebok Classics (or Souljas as we New Orleanians called them). We weren't dressed up at all. We held up our weekly spot, on the left side of the stage by the speakers. We sat on the speakers vibing to the dj until the concert started. My girls & I were drinking our usual, whiskey sours. The Cash Money crew came on stage with little to no fan fare. You have to remember that this was just before the Universal deal. These guys were very humble back then. B.G. literally sat next to me rapping his verses & talking to us. The concert was great. They did all of our favorite tracks, old and new. We shook hands and exchanged hugs with Juvie, B.G., Turk, Wayne, & Manny. They were happy as hell just performing their music. This was the early days before they were seeing big money. To this day, it is still one of the most memorable concerts I've ever attended.

I miss that era of Cash Money music. The early days it was like they only belonged to us. So, I played the first Hot Boys cd in its entirety last night. It is filled with so many memories. Every song brings me back to college. Back to room 207 in Bancroft Hall my freshmen year. I still feel the exact same way when I hear a song from that era. The music was quintessential New Orleans, Everything about it felt like home. The beats always reminds me of the block parties in P-town. The lyrics are a direct result of growing up here. Somewhere on the journey, Cash Money lost that sound, that feeling. I know that things have to change. I get it. It doesn't mean that I can't miss it and yearn for it back. That's the thing about music. It can evoke the tiniest memory from one simple note. This is what my Saturday night turned into. A walk down memory lane with the Hot Boys and Big Tymers supplying the soundtrack. So, I grabbed a glass of Pinot Grigio while rapping along to every word. Cash Money Records old tracks still hold true today. Enjoy the music.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

#30in30: Take This Pregnancy Test Or Else

I can distinctly remember 4 girls who were pregnant while I was in high school. I was shocked by only one of them. She was like me, a good girl in honors classes who never got in trouble. The other 3 girls I was not surprised by at all since they all had "reputations." I graduated from high school 15 years ago. (Wow, I'm getting old) Teen pregnancy has been an issue for decades. Politicians and teachers alike have lobbied for abstinence programs. The reality is that kids are having sex. They are not abstaining. Imagine my surprise to read about a Louisiana charter school that for the last 6 years has had a pregnancy policy. This policy states that any girl that a teacher or administrative suspects of being pregnant is forced to take a pregnancy test. If the student refuses to take the test or has a positive test, she is expelled from school. If she keeps her baby, she can not return to school. But, if she terminates the pregnancy, she is allowed to return. This policy makes no mention of the father. How is this fair? And, more so, what does this solve?

I am astonished that this policy has been allowed to exist for so long. Who in their right mind thought that this was a good idea? In high school, I know that I would have been very offended by a teacher asking me to take a pregnancy test. It's an invasion of privacy and it is humiliating at best. If I was a parent, I would be raising hell over this policy. It is unethical on so many levels. I wonder what this solves for the admins. Will it stop teens from having sex or will it stop girls from getting pregnant? Throwing the girls out of school clearly does not solve any problem. The girls not being in school just leaves a huge purple elephant in the room. I know when I was in high school when a person was in trouble and not in school, we had more to talk about. That's the way high schoolers operate. It's all we know in that space. 

The part that really gets me is the fact that the father of the baby has no repercussions. He is absolved of all wrong doing. Why is it ok for the father to remain at his school when the mother has to leave? And, this school is also pushing the appeal of an abortion on a teen mom. "If the pregnancy is terminated, the student can return." I get it, the school admins are pro-life. That is their choice. They do not have the right to push their agendas on possibly scared pregnant teens. None of this seems politically, morally, or ethically correct to me. Why did it take 6 years for people and parents to be outraged about this? My Mom would have caused major hell if this happened to me. My Mom has always been my biggest supporter. She's always had my back on every subject. I wonder where the mothers of these girls are and why aren't they doing something about it.

After the outrage reached national levels, the New Delhi Charter School came under much needed scrutiny. I've read that the policy has been banned as a result of a petition. The sad thing is the policy may be out but the hearts of the people involved have not changed. I am positive that pregnant teens will still not be accepted at this school. They will continue to be mistreated. They will never be seen in the same light as the non-pregnant students. Teen pregnancy isn't an ideal thing. But, it doesn't have to be a death sentence. I think the real tragedy is the fact that we aren't educating our teens about safe sex. The students who abstain do it because they want to. No information I received in high school about abstaining helped me make a choice. I did not have sex in high school for one HUGE reason. One of my older best friends got pregnant @ 15. That was all I needed to see. That did more for me than anything anyone told me. Her situation became my reality. I knew I didn't want a baby when I was a baby. This situation is insane. We cannot hide the problems of the world away. So, we shouldn't shun or hide teen pregnancy. It's a problem that we need to fix. But, the New Delhi Charter School's policy is not the way. We need a better resolution.

Friday, August 10, 2012

#30in30: Get Into It: Elle Varner "Perfectly Imperfect"

For the last few years, R&B has been on a downward spiral. The infusion of Hip-Hop into R&B has become common place. I do not dislike that aspect. Some times, it can be really good. However, this euro-dance pop infusion is not my cup of tea. I dislike everything about it. I have been yearning for the days of early 90's R&B to come back. There are a few artists who are on the right track. In comes Elle Varner. A new voice that I cannot get enough of. Her debut "Perfectly Imperfect" was released this week. It was everything that I wanted it to be. Sans the J. Cole feature, the cd is pure R&B. 

Elle's strong point is her storytelling ability. All of her songs have that aspects to them. It's something that a lot of artists cannot/do not do. Storytelling in a song is nothing new but it is a lost art. My new favorite song has to be "Sound Proof Room." I love everything about this song. My favorite line has to be from the chorus. "Baby, you should know if I ever get you alone, me & you, me & you, boy we're gonna need a sound proof room. Oh boy we're gonna make a lot of noise." Everything about this song does it for me. I can listen to the cd from beginning to end. It's 11 songs and they are almost perfect. There is one song that I'm not too fond of. But, I still love it. Her first two singles "Only Want To Give It To You" and "Refill" have been on constant rotation since they were released. Tracks like "Stop The Clock," "I Don't Care," "Leaf," and "Not Tonight" are all single worthy. It will be interesting to see what direction her record label goes in.

The cd is full of youthful sounds. It's a really feel good collection. I think this was the perfect follow up to her mixtape "Conversational Lush." I loved her mixtape and feel the same way about her debut. Elle did an awesome job of staying true to the vocal lane she has created. I would love to catch Elle in concert. I have a feeling that she will be quite awesome. If you are looking for a new voice to listen to, go ahead and give Elle Varner a chance. Get into her "Perfectly Imperfect" and "Conversational Lush." Both are well worth a listen. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

#30in30: Random Can Be Good

° I am sad because I am on the last book in the Left Behind series. I cannot wait to write my review for you guys. It's been a really long time since I've been so enthralled with a book (or set of books).

° I am beyond over this extreme heat and random rain. But, then again, this is New Orleans. I know that this is what happens here this time of year.

° I am thanking God for growth, maturation, and restraint. I def called on all of that a few weekends ago. Thank you God for bringing me there.

° This #30in30 challenge has been stressful but great. Writing everyday has been a battle that I've been fighting and wining since the beginning of the year. That is not the hard part. I've challenged myself to write differently. I am sharing more and trying to write about different topics. I am thankful for the opportunity to sharpen my tool though.

° It's been 45 weeks since my last relaxer. That is a lifetime to a woman who couldn't remember a time when I didn't have a relaxer. It may not mean anything to anyone else but its everything to a woman like me. Yay ME!! This was not something I thought I could do and stick with. I'm so glad that I have. It's been a journey and I'm almost to the end of my transition. October 2nd will be my one year anniversary.

° It's football season again! I've missed it so much. Let's see what my boys can do this season.

° I have been playing around with the idea of writing short stories. I haven't done it in a while. I am going to post it here once I do it.

° I also haven't written a poem in forever. That's really a travesty. I've been so blog focused that I've forgotten about the avenue that brought me here. Poetry is the heart of me. I need to do better.

° I realize that I can no longer sustain relationships in my life that aren't equal. I cannot do all the giving or the doing while receiving nothing in return. I'm too old not to know better. Going forward, this is the mantra.

° One of my favorite things to do is listen to HIM sleep. It's silly but it's very calming to me. He does that for me.

° So, I've always had vivid dreams. But waking up sore and/or bruised from them has never been the move. How is it possible for me to hurt myself in a dream & wake up injured in real life? I'm perplexed. *as I stare at this random thigh bruise*

° I find myself sitting with the tv off more often. I've either grown tired of the awful programming selection or my attention has shifted to more productive things. Either way, I'm good :-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

#30in30: Diving Inside My Psyche

In many aspects, I can be completely fearless. I joined the Speech & Debate team in middle school on a whim. Got up and performed oratory, poetry, and prose with no problem. I was an anchor on my middle school's morning tv program. I am not opposed to public speaking. As a matter of fact, I love it. I love to command people's attention when I have to say. I do not need to be the center of attention or the life of the party. That's never been me. But, I also know I can play that role need be. So, why is it that little things freak the hell out of me?

I sing all the time. Mostly when I'm alone. But, ask me to sing in front of you and I freeze. I don't think that it has anything to do with being judged. I'm wise enough to know that on some level I'm being judged every day by any one. I can't sing. I'm no Patti, Beyoncé or Anita. I sound ok. But I also know it isn't my forté. It literally freaks me out to be put on the spot to sing for someone. I know its silly. It's just how I feel. I don't know of something happened to me as a kid that prevents me from being fearless at this.

There was a time when I did everything in my power to hide my breasts. It took a lot of effort on my part. The twins, as I affectionately refer to them, have been huge for a while. People have made them the topic of conversation. It embarrassed me for years. It took me a while to be comfortable with them. Also, I had to realize that I can't hide them. It's ridiculous on so many levels. I was self conscious about them. I blushed when my friends would speak about the twins as if I wasn't standing right there. I had to embrace that I had something God given that women will pay good money for. I had it naturally. The embarrassment died down. My maturity kicked in & I embraced myself. There has not been one moment since then where I've felt self conscious about them.

Even now, I have moments where the doubts of the younger version of me peeks in. I try not to fall back in to old habits. Being fearless is less about doing and more about existing. That is something I'm always working on. I'm not striving for perfection though. I just want to be the best version of me that I can be. I owe that to myself and to those who love me. I don't like when things/people rattle me. I like to be on top of things in all aspects of my life. That's my ultimate goal. I am always analyzing myself so that I can weed out the bad and work harder on the good of me. What can I say? I am a constant work in progress. Stay with me as I work!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

#30in30: Friends With Restrictions

Today's topic is inspired by a post on Facebook. The question posed was this: "You are planning your wedding. Your best friend's hair/size/etc. doesn't fit with your ideas for your event. Do you not allow them to participate or do you adjust your vision a bit?" This topic struck a distinct nerve with me. I've been personally affected by this situation. It didn't take me long to recall my feelings on it. I've been in a few weddings and have seen the way they affect those involved. I was completely caught off guard in the situation. Let me tell you what happened to me.

For years, she and I bonded over many things. She would often say "when I get married, you know you're in my bridal party." It was an understanding between the two of us. So, when she became engaged, I just knew I was in the wedding. Imagine my surprise when that turned out not to be the case. Her reason was ridiculous for rescinding the offer. She also didn't even tell me face to face. She left me a message. There comes a moment when you realize who your friends are. The moment my "friend" left that messed up voicemail I knew. It made me realize that we weren't the good friends I thought we were. I was so hurt by her words. From that moment, our friendship was forever broken. We weren't the same two girls anymore.

Weddings seem to bring out an ugly side of people. Looking back on the situation, I realized that the friendship had restrictions. And, they seemed to remove around the size of my chest. That was the reason I was unceremoniously kicked out of the wedding party. It hurt. I held on to that hurt for a while. It made me self conscious about something I could not change or control. It made me sad. This is only my second time telling this story. It doesn't hurt anymore. I learned a lesson. I know what I will and won't do to my family & friends when my day comes. That day will be all about love & family, the family I was born into, the one I am marrying into & the one I handpicked. That's what I want.

Monday, August 06, 2012

#30in30: Defining My Literary Voice

"Do you have a 5, 10 year plan?" he quietly asked. That question used to cripple me. Only because I never knew exactly what the right answer was supposed to be. It's like the "describe yourself in 5 words" question. Such a hard question to fully answer. This time, I had an answer. Because the older I get, the more focused I am becoming. My ultimate goal is to write a novel. That's the easy part, proclaiming my future. The hard part deciding what to write, what particular story to tell. In college, I started working on a novel. I was heavily influenced by the literature that I was taking in. I was all about the urban lit genre. I gobbled it up. I read just about every highly praised street lit book. The story lines were new and exciting to me. Mainly because they were all so foreign to my life. 

I grew up in the hood but I was never a street chick. I was enthralled with that lifestyle in the pages of those books. My first attempt at writing my novel was unauthentic to me. It wasn't my voice or my story to tell. So I destroyed it. I sent all of those words to a fiery death. I didn't want anyone to read them. They were awful. Now, I am more focused on telling a story that speaks of my heart. I know that I want to create great characters who have depth that just happen to be Black. My plot and story have to be awesome. I am leaning more towards a romantic comedy edge. That is what piques my interest. I want people to get so lost in my world that the race of my characters means nothing. I just want to write a beautiful moving piece of work. It's easier said than done. 

Anyone who proclaims to be a writer knows how hard it is to share your art with the world. My words are like my babies. It's hard to give the world your heart because everyone isn't going to love what you do. I have tough skin but my heart is fairly fragile. It's the one thing hindering me. I have decided to just do it. Just go for it. I have to know if I have the literary chops to make it. I feel it deep in my heart that I do. I know once I have my work published, I am opening ng myself up to the criticism of the world. People will have their strong opinions about it. Some will love it, others will hate it. I have to accept that fact. I know I won't be able to satisfy all of the readers with my work. I have to accept that fact. 

Finding and perfecting my literary voice has been a tedious task. I do not want to tell a story that has already been told. I cannot be a carbon copy of the writers I love. It's one of the main reason I love my blog. I get to write my story in my voice here. Writing is a skill that needs to be sharpened. It can only be accomplished by writing in mass quantity with mass quality. I pour my heart out here. I'm hoping that I can translate that passion into my novel. I am putting it out into the universe that I will write that special piece of literary gold. I'm focused on doing the work to achieve that. My mind, heart and literary voice are all in sync. Remember my name and this particular post. I know what my future holds.