Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Halloween!

Happy Halloween folks!! And, happy "Scandal" Thursday to me. The weather is supposed to get awful tonight. So, my plans include watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" followed by "Grey's Anatomy" and of course "Scandal." Dinner will be wine, baked salmon and glazed carrots. Kettle corn popcorn will be dessert. I have seem some awesome costumes this year.  People are seriously creative. I don't think I could ever pull off anything as elaborate as the ones I've seen. The pic below explains my thoughts about Halloween this year. Happy trick or treating tonight, folks!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This Reader's Revew: Part XVIII: EJD's "The Education of Nia Simone Bijou"

Nia Simone Bijou. A character I have thought was amazing since her appearances in Eric Jerome Dickey's "Pleasure" and this year's "Decadence." I loved both books and Nia was always the character that I was drawn to the most. But, in both books er past was alluded to. The readers were never truly given any insight into why Ms. Bijou was exactly the way she is portrayed. Maybe EJD got that question enough so that he decided to do something about it. This is where the e-book special "The Education of Nia Simone Bijou" comes in. It fills in all the blanks I had about Nia. I loved reading about the situations that made her become the woman in "Decadence."

"The Education of Nia Simone Bijou" is the tale of Nia's college days. It centers on her love and sexual relationship with Chris, her friendships with MM, Rigoberto and Siobahn. All the relationships are intertwined and play a huge part on who Nia becomes. I loved having that insight. A lot of it brought me back to my college days. Clearly, Nia was meant to be the star and she was. I felt every emotion she did in this piece. Nia is an exceptional character because she is able to evoke so much from her audience. I would not be mad if EJD decided to bring her back for another novel. She is that dope of a character. TEoNSB is a must read if you loved "Decadence." As a reader, you need to know more about Nia's back story. Get into it. Great read. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oh, Just Blame Jay Z...

Other the last few days, the Trayon Christian vs Barney's story has been all over the web and tv. It's a ridiculous story. And, Barney's is dead wrong. They basically profiled the kid for shopping while Black. I have so many issues with it. You can catch all the info in the NY Daily News. That is one issue within itself. It leads me to this new ridiculous point. Somehow, folks have decided to make my favorite rapper/entertainer/businessman a scape goat. I am, of course, speaking of one Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay Z. How? Why? The back story is Jay has a holiday deal with Barney's to benefit his foundation to award scholarships. People want Jay to back out of the deal because of this new story. I do not think he should. And, I'll tell you why. This is not the first case of shopping while Black nor will it be the last. What will Jay walking away accomplish? Also, there has been a call for a boycott. What? o_O I'm sorry but this is stupid as well. IF you weren't ever a Barney's customer, then you've been boycotting it all your life. You cannot boycott an establishment that you never frequented to begin with. That's just silly. This past Saturday Jay released a statement on his Life & Times website that I totally agree with. Read below:
This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation. I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported. I need to make that fact crystal clear. The Shawn Carter Foundation is the beneficiary and the foundation is receiving 25% of all sales from the collaboration, 10% of all sales generated in the store on November 20th and, an additional donation from Barneys. This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning. My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit. 
I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately? The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts. Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education. I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn’t harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration. 
I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles? I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change. 
– Shawn “JAY Z” Carter
Change is needed in so many areas in the U.S. Let's not act like we are living in a post-racial America because our President is Black. We are not. We are living in the America that racists who were mad because a Black man had the audacity to run for President (and win twice!), where a party of racists (GOP) who literally threw a tantrum (aka shut the government down) because they didn't like the law that President declared. This is not post-racial. This is blatantly racist. No one can make me believe otherwise. I know what I see. Barney's is not the first store to practice such ridiculous acts. I've had it happen to me in Dillard's. And, guess what I did? I wrote to the head of the company and I stopped shopping at all Dillard's. That was my personal win because I used to spend a lot in that store. Haven't in years. Blaming Jay is not the answer. Place the blame where it belongs - on Barney's. Write in to the powers that be, boycott them if you were a customer. Be the change you want to see in the world. That's my personal take on this issue. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rant: Trayvon is Not A Joke, Blackface is Not Acceptable

The idiots above are William Feline, Caitlin Cimeno and Greg Cimeno. They are portraying Trayvon MArtin and George Zimmerman. For Halloween and for fun I guess. WHY?!?! Who are you deplorable human beings? I cannot even put into words how pissed I am about this. 

NEWSFLASH: THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR!! EVER!! Blackface is never culturally or morally appropriate. I do not know why people, especially white people, do not get this. It is offensive on so many levels. I'm offended that anyone thinks that a 17 year old murdered child is funny and ripe to be mocked via a Halloween costume. Who raised you no couth, no morals having folks?!? Where do you even come from? This is sick and disgusting. It is WRONG. There is no other way to spin it or see it. If you find this funny or cute, then something is wrong with you as well. This is what's wrong with the world right now. Folks are clearly insane. 

Actress Julianne Hough (above) did not get the memo that this is unacceptable. Why doesn't anyone get that you can portray Black characters like Crazy Eyes of "Orange Is The New Black" without donning Blackface? I cannot even imagine how disheartened Sybrina and Tracy, Trayvon's parents must feel. Isn't it bad enough that their son was murdered, that their dead son was put on trial for his own death basically and that his murderer got away with the crime? When is enough finally going to be enough? White people, get it together. This is not a situation to be mocked or ridiculed. If you are one of the sick ones who decided that Blackface was the way to go for Halloween or any other occasion, DON'T. Reconsider. Find the nearest stadium and have every seat in it. Also, pray because clearly you need Jesus. I just cannot with these people. Ugh.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Question: How Old...

This question was posed on Twitter. And, it caught me dead in my tracks. I was thinking back and I almost screamed. If I would have gotten pregnant the first time I had sex, I would be the mother of a 15 year old child. FIFTEEN!!! What?!? How is that possible? Where did the time go? 15??

A teenager. I would be the Mom of a high school student. That is utterly insane. In-damn-sane. I cannot even wrap my mind around that thought. As a 17 year college freshmen, a baby would have been the last thing on my mind. My college experience would have been cut short or severely different. I would have been a wreck. Now, I do know with the help of my Mom, I would have gotten the mothering thing done. But, I was not mature enough to be any one's mom then. It's strange how a few years can change one's perception. The mere thought of a baby then freaked me the hell out. And now, 15 years later, my thoughts are totally different. I think the question and my answer just really throw me for a loop. I still can't get over the fact that it was 15 years ago. Wow. So, I pose the question to you guys, if you had a child the very first time you had sex, how old would that child be? Let's talk!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie Review: "Captain Phillips"

When it comes to movies, one can never go wrong with Tom Hanks. I have never seen a Tom Hanks movie that I didn't enjoy. He is the most amazing actor. He tackles each role and always kills it. He is the quintessential actor of our time. I am a member of Gofobo, which is a website/program that sends me free pass to advance movie screenings for free!! If you are not a member, you should definitely get into them. I mean, what's better than free right? So, when I received an email from Gofobo, I was excited to see that it was for Hanks' new movie "Captain Phillips." This movie is based on a real account of Somali pirates hijacking a ship. I do not know what I was expecting but this film blew me away. Hanks was exceptional as was Barkhad Abdi who played Muse, the head Somalian pirate. 

Before watching the movies, I researched the issue a little. So, I had a basic concept of what it was going to be about. The movie was really good.  I loved the interaction between Hanks and the Somalian pirates. I was enthralled with the film. The acting and the way it was shot was incredible. I particularly amazed with the scenes in the lifeboat. There was some top tier acting going on here. IT was a great movie. I truly enjoyed it. I actually saw it twice. Both times for free :) IF you are a Tom Hanks fan, you will love this movie as well. If you are interested in the story, you will enjoy it. I know that I did. Get into it: "Captain Phillips."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ladies Love Lyrics: Arian Grande's "Almost Is Never Enough"

I thought that Ariana Grande was just a little pop girl. I did not believe that her music was for me. Then, I heard "Almost Is Never Enough" and I was proven wrong. I haven't listened to her whole cd but this song is amazing to me. I love everything about it.  It has a very early Mariah feel to it. The name truly speaks to me. Because "Almost Is Never Enough." I've played it every day since I heard it last week. I even purchased the single. Yes, I love it that much. 

"I'd like to say we gave it a try
I'd like to blame it all on life
Maybe we just weren't right, 

but that's a lie, that's a lieAnd we can deny it as much as we want
But in time our feelings will show

Cause sooner or later
We'll wonder why we gave up
The truth is everyone knows

Almost, almost is never enough
So close to being in love
If I would have known that you wanted me
The way I wanted you
Then maybe we wouldn't be two worlds apart
But right here in each other's arms

And we almost, 
we almost knew what love was
But almost is never enough

If I could change the world overnight
There'd be no such thing as goodbye
You'd be standing right where you were
And we'd get the chance we deserve..."

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's My Hair: Product Review and New Style

It's that time again: hair talk. I am sure that anyone reading this blog can tell how excited I still am about my natural hair journey. It's been quite interesting. The other day I won some natural hair products via Natty Coco. I could not wait to use the hair and Scalp oil, Leave in herbal mist, and whipped shea butter. I used all three after cowashing my hair. I used them with my braid out. My results, as seen above, were amazing!!! Loved my hair after using the Natty Coco products. The whipped butter has to be my favorite amongst the three. I t smells so good and feels even better. I can already tell that these products will be added to my hair regimen asaptually. Great products from a great company. You guys should get into it. 


Then, I decided to try something totally out of the blue for me. Since I began researching natural hair styles and techniques, I've avoided one thing: wash and go's. I just assumed that wash and go's were for the 3a-c ladies. I just didn't think it was meant for us 4a-c ladies. So, while cowashing my hair, I decided to step out on faith. I already had leave in conditioner in my hair. So, I added a little Curls Unleashed Mousse and Curling Jelly to my hair. That was it. I was done. I liked the definition of my curls and the overall look of my hair. I left to run errands. My hair was great the entire time I was out. BUT (there has to be a but right) I wasn't as happy with it once my hair completely dried. I was left with more of an afro than I would have liked. So, in theory, this was a dope idea. In actuality, not so much. I ended up bantu knotting my hair the next day. It was a great experiment and experience though. Anyway, I will continue to try new things with my hair. I mean, why not? It's fun and my hair is so important to me. I love being natural :) Until next time, keep it kinky, naturalistas!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This Reader's Review: Part XVII: Terrence Jenkins' "The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom"

Terrence Jenkins is a name you may not know. But, he has a face and voice that you've known for years. He started his career as one of the hosts of BET's "106 & Park." He was a VJ for 7 years before moving on to anchoring E! News. He is also an actor. I loved him in "Think Like A Man" and can't wait to see him in more movies. I like Terrence. He is funny and charismatic as a tv host and actor. There is so much more to the man than what we see on tv. He is adding another title to his name, author. His first book "The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom" was just recently released. I was interested in seeing what it was about. It blew me away to be honest. It was a great read. I found it on Amazon for my Kindle for only $2.99. I finished it in a day and a half. 

Terrence and his mom Lisa have a really unique relationship. It reminds me a lot of my relationship with my Mom. Lisa was an amazing role model for Terrence. She made him the most important person in her life.  She sacrificed everything for him. I loved reading about their life and journey. The book just flowed so well. It was an interesting look into who Terrence the man is and how his mother (and later stepfather) shaped his entire world. He never gave up pursuing his dreams even when it looked grim. He is an amazing man. I am so impressed with him and his story. I have and will continue to recommend this book to any and everyone. Terrence's "The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom" is a must read. Go ahead and get into it. You will not be disappointed. Let's read folks!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

I have been on a winning streak lately. I have won a few things in the last year. I am not complaining. Well, if only I could hit the Powerball, then all would be well :p I wanted to acknowledge how awesome my winnings were. I think that you have to show and tell people how much I appreciate it. Good customer service is the key to any great business. Even though I was a winner, I was treated with the utmost respect from all the parties involved. That means a lot to me. Ok, let's dish!

I followed the historical EBONY magazine on Twitter because I grew up reading the magazine. It was a staple in my house. I love it. I love their Twitter feed because of the weekly Ebony chat. It's always interesting questions about issues that affect my life and my people. Every Wednesday, there is also a giveaway called "That Thing" where a dope prize is given away to the first person to tweet the correct response. I won a pair of Nick Cannon and Monster products Ntune headphones. I was stoked!!! Because I have been contemplating getting some Beats by Dre. But, nothing beats free. The Ntune headphones are pretty dope. I love how much clearer my music sounds with them. I received a pair of the orange ones. I practically use them every single day. That's how much I love them. They retail for $129.95. I love that they do not have to be charged. they do not require batteries. They are cute and stylish as well as very functional. Thank you to Ebony for a great prize!!

And, there was the Instagram/Twitter contest I won. Global Couture teamed up with Natty Coco for a very dope giveaway which was the second thing I won. It was a natural hair care giveaway. Natty Coco was offering 3 different products: a herbal leave in mist, hair/scalp oil and whipped shea butter. All are products I was interested in using. I was pleasantly surprised when I received my package. I was sent the three products plus a handwritten note and a natural hair tee from Natty CoCo's tee line. It was unexpected. It is also a very cute tee. I wore it the other day and got so many compliments on it. I referred a few folks to her online store. Also, Global Couture has a store with dope tees. The Natty Coco hair products were amazing. I am loving my braid out after using them. I will be doing a review soon. Great products, great customer service from both ladies. Thank you guys!! I am digging my winning streak. I feel very lucky to win these great products. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

What's Playing In My Headphones

Music can be many things for many people. It has and will always hold a special place in my heart and in my life. During my September hiatus, some really great music was released. These projects and singles have been on constant rotation. I am so thankful for music especially lately. It has been my solace and my reprieve. I needed it more than I could ever fully explain. So, I had to share all of this great music with all of you. Let's get into it. 

If you are not up on The Foreign Exchange, I really do not know what you are doing with your life. "Love in Flying Colors," the group's fifth effort was recently released. The dual first singles are "Home" and "Pity." Both very dope songs and totally different. My favorite songs are "When I Feel Love" & "Listen To The Rain." Phonte and Nicolay are just dope. There is no other word to describe this duo. I love all of their work and they can do know wrong in my eyes. This is just sit back, relax and feel good music. It's the music that puts me to sleep every night. Get into it and them. 

I can honestly say that I am very dismissive to the whole Odd Future movement. As a whole, they are just to weird for me. But, inside this move lies two pieces of greatness. They are Frank Ocean and The Internet. I'm new to The Internet. But, their new single "Dontcha" grabbed my attention immediately. Then, I heard You Don't Even Know" and I was sold. I had to hear their new cd "Feel Good." I was thoroughly impressed with it. This is a really good group who has put out a interesting project. I really like it. I've been telling people about it because I have a feeling they will blow up. Give them a try. 

Of all the music that was released last month, I was most excited for Drake's "Nothing Was The Same." I liked his freestyles ("Jodeci Freestyle" & "5am in Toronto") more than his singles. I did like "Started From The Bottom" but didn't care for "Wu-Tang Forever" or "Hold On, We're Going Home" at first or third listen. So, I was apprehensive about the whole project. I am glad that Drake gave us a great project. On first listen, I was sold. My favorite songs change daily but, right now it's a tie between ""Come Thru," "Worst Behavior," and "From Time." I play it daily. I enjoy it. Drake is alright with me. I think I need to see him in concert. Dope listen, dope material. I have no complaints about Mr. Graham's third outing. Buy it. 

When I first heard of TGT, I didn't give them much of a second thought. I liked Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank individually. I didn't see the need for them to form a supergroup a la LSG. But, then Eleven8 of BallerAlert keep bragging about their cd. So, I decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did. TGT's "Three Kings" is a solid R&B effort. It reminds me of 90's R&B and that is a great thing. I love it. I have been playing it constantly since that the first day. My favorite song changes daily. Today, is a "Running Back," "OMG," and "FYH" kind of day. TGT was a good look and a great move for these R&B guys. I think I need to see them in concert as well.

Justin Timberlake blew me away when he dropped the first part of "The 20/20 Experience." I wasn't prepared for two JT albums in one year. But, he gifted us with it anyway.   "The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2" is the darker half of the set. The songs are a lighter heavier. I love it. I can say that I'm partial to the first half more. But, the second half has some great standout tracks. My absolute favorite tracks are "Drink You Away" and "You Got It On." I do believe that JT could have pulled the best songs off the 2nd part and just made part one longer (like 15/17 tracks instead of 10). Great music either way. Great listen, especially if you play the two as one. JT does not disappoint. Ever.

I heard of Lorde via Twitter. I kept hearing great things about "Royals" so I decided to check it out. It became a instant fave. Who knew Lorde was only 16? This girl can sing. Truly. I love a good voice and great lyrics. Lorde has them both. Her debut cd "Pure Heroine" was recently released. I am loving it. Standout tracks are "Team," "400 Lux," and "Still Sane." I play them constantly. I believe that Lorde may be a contender. She may have staying power. Her debut is dope. You should truly check her out. 

One of my favorite young actors is throwing his hat into the singing/rapping world. Most know him as Tristan Wilds aka Michael Lee from "The Wire" and Dixon from "90210." Now, he is Mack Wilds. He released a very dope single "Own It" that caught my attention on first listen. His debut project "New York A Love Story" is full of great gems. I love all of it. It is very 90's hip hop sample heavy. He described it as having a "90's summer New York feel" and I totally agree. I listen to it all the time. It's part of my daily playlist. My faves are "Don't Turn Me Down" and "My Crib." Please do yourself a favor and get into Mack. 

John Legend can do absolutely no wrong in my eyes. He has never put out a project that I didn't enjoy. His voice is dope on so many levels. It's even more amazing in concert. "Love In The Future" is everything I thought it would be and more. I predict that his third single "All Of Me" will be a wedding song for years to come. It is a wonderful love song. It's actually one of my favorite songs of the moment. It is just beautiful. He also has an interlude with Stacy Barthe, who I love. They remade Anita Baker's "Angel." I wish it was longer because it is a great cover. Great music from a great musician. 

Raheem DeVaughn's "A Place Called Loveland" is another banger. He is quietly a fave of mine. This project is no differnt. Stellar vocals, amazing lyrics and great music are all things I expect from Raheem. I am in love with "Ridiculous," "Pink Crush Velvet," and "Wrong Forever." Those three songs are the standouts to me. Raheem is just a really dope entertainer. His work just keeps getting better. And, I am all the way here for it. All of it. 

Finally, we have Tamar Braxton's "Love and War." This cd is so much better than I thought it would be. Tamar did that. I vibe out to it so much. I am not a fan of her reality show antics but her voice is undeniable. Tamar can sang. Period. I want to see her on tour this fall with John Legend. I love "Pieces," "She Did That," and "Prettiest Girl." I just really enjoy this project. Music makes everything ok in my world. These are just a few of the songs that helped me navigate through the month of September. If you haven't given any of these artists a listen, you should get into them ASAPtually. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Influenster MegaVoxBox

There are certainly perks to being an Influenster member. I've been a member for about a year and a half. In that time, I've received a few VoxBox's. These are the packages members receive to try out new products. It's always like Christmas when the boxes arrive. I never know what's inside of them. I am always pleasantly surprised when I open it. I will never get tired of receiving free stuff. This time it was even better. I won a MegaVoxBox for my participation in a retail challenge this summer!! I was too excited to get that email. I waited patiently for 2 weeks for it to arrive. It was worth the wait. Inside the box were 12 items and I couldn't wait to use each of them. Influenster has been very good to me. And, could be for you as well. 

  • SinfulShine nail polish in "Under 18" which is a very gorgeous coral. I am a nail polish fanatic so I can never have too many. 
  • Also, loved the NYC eyeshadow palette and lipstick. I'm also really into eyeshadow so this was a lovely surprise. I buy NYC cosmetics all the time. I really liked both of these products. 
  • Shea Moisture baby eczema bar soap. I used it on my face. I love the way it smells and the way it made my face feel. Great product. 
  • The fruit smoothie face masque was everything. The smell and feel were exquisite. I will definitely purchase this idea in the future. 
  • I haven't used the Head and Shoulders shampoo and conditioner yet. But, I did test the smell and feel. Both were very good. 

(Disclaimer: "I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.")

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Do You Still Believe In Love?

Short answer: No. 

The long answer is complex. I do not believe in love for myself anymore. I tried. I failed. I'm done. I'm very in touch with my feelings. I don't personally think I could handle being in love again. Being in love is great when you're in it with someone who loves you back. Staying in love is dope. Learning how to cope after the person you're in love with decides not to love you anymore is akin to purgatory. I'm not built for that. The possibility of it ending frightens me too much. I can't deal. 

Love shouldn't bring out fear. But, in my mind, the two are closely related. I can't willingly be open to an emotion that keeps hurting me. And, maybe I wasn't meant for this particular life. Maybe I'm not that girl. As I'm writing this, the tears are flowing. I swear I've never been the weepy one. But, this year & the actuality of losing love has turned me into her. Love doesn't hurt. I know this. But, the person you love can. And, that's the part I won't ever be ok with. I don't want to take a chance anymore. I don't want to talk to you on the phone or text with you. I don't need to get to know you. I won't be having sex with you. Just no. Do. Not. Want. I'm decidedly single for these reasons.

I am keenly aware of the fact that I am broken. Also, that my brokenness is speaking here. People say once your heart has been broken that time will heal you. That, quite frankly, is a load of crap. Once any person has been broken, they are forever broken. They may heal and move on. But, that broken part of them is still there. They learn how to live with the ache. Nothing broken is every put back together the same way. It's not possible. My own views of being in love are warped. I see it through broken lenses. It's tainted and skewed and wrong. But, it's mine, nonetheless. I stand behind my word and my feelings, no matter how offcentered they may be.

I cannot dream of being in love again because I can't get over the love I'm in now. It's been months and I'm still in love with the man who hurt me the most, the man who broke me. So, here I am, a brokenhearted fool who cannot stomach the idea of love. I'm very anti-love, anti-feelings these days. It took me forever to admit how much I really wanted certain things. I really wish I would not have done so. I'm old enough to know some things. And, maybe what I've learned thus far is that love isn't for me. I never dreamed I'd be almost 34 and alone. I just figured that I'd be a wife and a mom by now. Maybe none of that is part of my destiny. Maybe it was never my dream to begin with. Silly me. So, anony, there is your long answer to a short question.