Friday, January 31, 2014

This Reader's Review: Part XIX: "The Happiness Project"

I hadn't read a new book in about a week. I was searching for something new to jump in to. I was in desperate need to find something new to read. This was the perfect book for me. The book is "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. Happiness is something I've struggled with for the last year. In short, I couldn't find my way back to happy. I started this year off with one simple thought: be happy. To me, that meant thinking happy thoughts to change my outlook, even when I didn't feel happy. So, in a way, I was already exploring my own happiness project when I discovered this gem via my friend Joseph's Tumblr page. I had so many "a-ha" moments while reading. I love when a book makes me rethink things. There are things I have been doing all wrong. I learned so much from this book. I think everyone would learn a lot from Rubin's book. 

"Love is a funny thing." -- Gretchen Rubin
"Nietzsche wrote, "All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking," 

Do I believe it possible to make myself happy? Yes. I can honestly say that this book made me re-evaluate the way I approach the idea of happiness. By the time I reached the end of chapter one, I knew that this was a book I needed to read. It's funny the way things just fall into your lap right at the precise moment. The more I read Rubin's account of her journey to happiness, the more I saw myself in her words. Like Rubin, I too feel that I can be happier, that I'm supposed to be happier. I was already on the right word with my thinking positive motivation. By the time, I got to the end of this book, I felt happier. I felt like I had found another purpose for this year in my life. I wrote the areas in my life that needed to be happier and thoughts on how to achieve them. is happiness for me may not be for anyone else. But, I am the only person who can define what my idea of happiness truly is. I'm excited about it. This was a great read. I 100% recommend it to any and everyone. Get into Grtchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" and her one sentence journal.  

"To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right." -- Gretchen Rubin
"It's a secret of Adulthood: Do good, feel good." -- Gretchen Rubin 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Choose Me

I started the year with a distinct promise to myself. This year would be about becoming a better version of myself. I knew that this would take a bunch of little steps to fulfill the bigger promise. Things like my gratitude jar, which I love. I write down one good thing at the end of the night. It makes me smile when writing it. Also, I decided to be happy or at least act happy. I've spent entirely too much time last year being unhappy because of the actions of other people. Every day I wake up with that thought "Be Happy." It is absolutely true what Gretchen Rubin writes in "The Happiness Project," Look for happiness under your own roof” & “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”  

Things that would normally bother me, don't anymore. I have truly given myself over to this new way of thinking and being. I can no longer carry unhappiness around with me like an accessory. Bad things happen. More often than not, to good people. But, for as long as I am on this Earth, I have the chance to change my circumstances. I messed up before. I put the keys to my happiness in the hands of another. That was the wrong move. Because it gave that person the power to break me and they did. I became a woman I didn't know last year. I was angry and hurt and upset and sullen. I do not have time for that woman anymore. She no longer exists. 

Thinking happy thoughts has truly changed my outlook. I'm not saying that I won't stumble because I will. I had a day this week where I could not muster a happy thought. So, I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling. I gave myself the day and then I was over it. I am fully aware of everything in my life. I know the good and bad. I do not sugarcoat anything. I think that there has to be more in store for me, for my life. I'm more determined than every to find out what it is. My happy thought for today is a simple one: "the weather is warming up, I'm out of the house and life is good. I am thankful for today." For me, these are the thoughts that get me through my day. What more can I ask for? Happiness, is indeed, a choice. I choose to be happy everyday. So should you. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Faking It Til You Make: The Music Version

For the last month and a half, I've been playing this one song daily. It's a motivational tool for me. One of those "fake it til you make it" moments. It also happens to be one of my favorite Boyz II Men songs. It's "Doin Just Fine" from their "Evolution" cd. I've always thought this was the ultimate "I'm finely over the person who broke my heart songs." While I'm not there yet, this song gives me hope. I find it ironic that this is the first song on the cd and it is followed by "Never" which is another song that has been getting a lot of play in my world. The lyrics for both are things I feel I need to hear daily so that I don't completely check out on certain aspects of life. Especially on today of all days. Today is a bad day. But, music makes it slightly better. If you've never heard them, do yourself a favor and get into them (and their lyrics) below. If you've ever been brokenhearted, these songs will resonate with you on a deeper level. Let's listen.

"I'm doin' just fine 
Getting along very well 
Without you in my life 
I don't need you in my life 
I'm doin' just fine 
Time made me stronger 
You're no longer on my mind 

You were my earth 
My number one priority 
I gave me love to only you 
Anything you'd ask of me 
I would do 
But somewhere down the road 
You felt a change in the weather 
And told me that you had to journey on 
A kiss in the wind and your love was gone..."

"Never, never let a broken heart
Take a chance for love away
Don't ever let it make you fall apart
Never, never ever let the pain
Take your need for love away
Never, no never

And I know it seems hard
Open up, let down your guard
But you owe it to your heart
Try again
Oh, comes a time
When we must change
With the past
Has thrown away
Don't take the blame
Don't be ashamed
Throw your fears away..."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brown Skin, You Know I Love My Brown Skin

I've never had an issue with the color of my skin. I've never wanted to be lighter like my Dad or darker like my Mom. I loved my brown skin because it was the perfect mix of my parents. I was the median between the two. I had parents who instilled in me a love for my skin and Black people in general. My childhood was filled with positive affirmations about the brown skin I was in. I had a room full of Black Barbie dolls and Black Cabbage Patch dolls. Even before I really knew what it meant, I loved being Black. I liked being a little Brown girl with long Black hair. I was a carefree child. I thank my parents for that. This brown skin I'm in fits me perfectly. I was meant to be this shade. I love it. 

So much has changed since I was that carefree little Black girl. I'm no longer a naive child. I've loved and lost. Friends have come and gone. I've lost some of my favorite people to random acts of violence. Babies have been born. I've grown up. But, the one thing that hasn't changed is this: I still love my brown skin. I still love my Black people. That won't ever change. With so many attacks on Blackness daily via the media, it is easy to only see the negative in people who look like me. But, I refuse to. We are not a monolith. My nine nieces and nephews and 3 Godchildren are all varying shades of brown skin. I compliment them all because children need to be cherished. They all need to know that all shades of Blackness are beautiful. We are a gorgeous group of people. I want them to embrace that the same way I have. My Black is beautiful. Always. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Creating Your Natural Hair Routine

So, you've decided to return to your natural state. Now what? I know from experience that creating a natural hair routine can be daunting in the beginning. There are so many things to decide. You've made the biggest one already. You will be a natural woman. There is a lot of information and it can get overwhelming. I am here to help you create a new hair routine as a natural hair woman. Don't be frightened. This is a journey you don't want to miss. 

First, you need to decide if you will transition or big chop (BC). I transitioned for many reasons. Mainly because I was scared of cutting all my hair off. I only had short hair once in my life. Either way, it's a huge decision. If you BC, you have to adjust to a shorter 'do. If you transition, you will have to learn how to manage your hair once it becomes natural at the roots and relaxed at the ends. 

Second, research natural hair like you're going to write a 25 page term paper. Learn everything you can about your hair. Read everything you can on natural hair. Google is your friend. I relied heavily on articles dedicated to natural hair and websites like CurlyNikki. Also, I am convinced that YouTube was invented for this purpose only: to help Black girls return to their natural state via watching tutorials. I live for Naptural85 and SimplYounique. Their tutorials helped me so much. There are literally thousands of natural hair vloggers. Type in natural hair on the YouTube search engine and a new world opens up for you. But, be careful, one video can lead to hours spent in front of the computer. Trust me, I know. 

Third,  find what works for you. If you are transitioning, this time is easier because for a while you will still be dealing with your relaxed hair. In your research, you will read all about the oils to use and what products work well. It is all important. You are not obligated to become a product junkie or a kitchen chemist. Also, realize that there is a lot of trial and error when it comes to trying out new products. What works for some may not work for you. I suggest staying on the cheaper end of things in the beginning. It makes no sense to dole out major money on something that may not work. I still use Suave Humectant conditioner for my pre-poo. The largest bottle retails at $2.79. It's affordable and it works well for me. I have found that you cannot go wrong with shea butter, water, and grapeseed oil. Find what works for you. 

Fourth, doing your own natural hair can take some time. For this reason alone, I do my hair on the weekends. This is to insure that my hair will be fully dry for work on Monday morning. My hair is very thick so this always takes some time. I live for braid outs and bantu knot outs. So, it usually takes me at least two hours to do my hair. I try not to use heat on my hair so it could take a full 8 hours for it to dry completely. 

Finally, have fun and enjoy the journey. Your hair is an extension of you. It grows from your head just the way God intended. This journey should be fun. You should embrace it while in it. There has been nothing better than this journey for me.  Your hair will do exactly what God meant for it to do. A natural hair routine takes a little while to perfect. You will find what works best for your hair. So whether you are a wash and go girl or a twist out sista, all of it takes practice and a little time to perfect. Your natural journey is your own. Personalize it. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Movie Review: Let's Talk Movies

For the last month or so, I have been enjoying the movies again. In part because of a site called GoFoBo, which basically sends me free passes to advance screenings. I've seen a lot of really good movies via this site. You guys should check it out. So, let me tell you about these four movies that I really enjoyed. First up, is the Kevin Hart/Michael Ealy remake of "About Last Night." It doesn't premiere until Valentine's Day. I t also stars Regina Hall (who I love) and Joy Bryant. Of course, it is hilarious. I mean, Kevin and Regina make this a no brainer. The two of them are ridiculously and effortlessly funny. The storyline is cute and interesting. I liked the take on relationships from both genders. It is always refreshing to hear a man's point of view. I really enjoyed this movie. I cannot wait to see it again. 

I finally made my way to the theater late last month to see the new Mandela movie. I've been excited about seeing Idris Elba's new film "Mandela A Long Walk To Freedom" since this summer. I knew some things about Nelson Mandela before watching it. I learned a lot more from it. Idris was phenomenal in this role. I forgot that he was the man I've lusted after since season one of "The Wire" and got lost in the character he was portraying. Naomie Harris was incredible as Winnie Mandela as well. I loved everything about this movie. I was upset that neither lead actor was nominated for an Oscar. I think that is a grave injustice for the work they did. Great story that needed to be told. Also, not for nothing, I watched the other Mandela movie "Winnie" that starred Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson in the title roles. Compared to Elba and Harris, Howard and Hudson failed miserably. Their movie just wasn't as good. It wasn't as well acted, filmed well or anything. "Mandela A Long Walk TO Freedom" is an amazing body of work that I recommend to everyone. 

"12 Years a Slave" was the movie I had to mentally prepare myself to watch. I am not one to subject myself to certain things. I don't like to watch slavery movies because it wasn't that long ago that people who looked like me and who were related to me were slaves. It messes with me on a level that I cannot fully explain. But, I powered on. "12 Years A S;ave" is the amazing story of Solomon Northup, a freed man who was tricked and sold into slavery. This movie is so deep and good. Chiwetel Ejiofor portrays Solomon. He is extraordinary in this film. The scene stealer is the newbie Lupita N'yogo. She is everything. Her face evokes so much emotion every single time she graces the screen. This movie, while hard to watch, was necessary. It is an in-depth look into a practice that I knew nothing of. I cannot wait to get it on dvd. Must see movie!

And, last but definitely not least, is the Ice Cube/Kevin Hart cop comedy "Ride Along." I just saw it yesterday and I laughed the entire movie. It also stars Laurence Fishburne, Tika Sumpter, John Leguizamo, and Gary Owens. This movie follows the classic buddy cop formula: good cop, silly cop, comedy ensues. Hart is slowly becoming one of my favorite comedic actors. Dude is insanely funny. Ice Cube can play just about any role and do it well. This movie was better than I thought it would be. I already read that a second part has been greenlit by the studios. There is a lot of comedy and hijinks in this film. And, also a lot of action as well. Another winner in my book. Good movies always make me happy. You guys should check all of them out if you haven't already. Get into them.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ladies Love Lyrics: Beyonce's "No Angel"

For the last 5 weeks, I have been listening to nothing but Beyonce's latest album. Everyday, I have a new favorite track. Today it happens to be "No Angel." There is something about this song that just screams that it needs to be played at loud ignorant levels and often which I do. The beat is dope as are the lyrics. It just reminds me of summertime in Houston. I love everything about it. Go ahead and get into it. 

"Baby put your arms around me
Tell me I'm the problem
Know I'm not the girl you thought you knew and that you wanted
Underneath the pretty face is something complicated
I come with a side of trouble
But I know that's why you're staying

Either, baby.
Cause you're.
Either, baby.
Cause you're.
Either, baby.
Cause you're.
Either, baby.

No I'm not an angel either, but at least I'm trying
I know I drive you crazy, but would you rather that I be a machine
Who doesn't notice when you late or when you're lying
I love you even more than who I thought you were before..."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Natural Doesn't Mean Militant

Why is it that a Black woman wearing her hair in its natural state is a shock or a political statement? Who decided this? The natural hair of any Black woman is not a fad or a movement or a political stance. It is just simply her hair. Our hair is glorious. The only statement we are making is that we love our hair in its natural state. My statement today about my hair may be drastically different tomorrow. That is the great thing about our natural hair: it has great versatility. There is nothing militant about it. 

I am NOT my hair. Neither is any other Black woman who wears their hair in its natural state. Other women of different nationalities don't have to deal with this. Their hair is culturally and widely accepted as the norm. So, that automatically makes the hair of Black women "unacceptable" and "not normal."  I am not solely defined by it. It is mine to do what I please with. If I want to wear it bone straight or kinky or curly or coily or in an afro, I will. My hair does not need to be the topic of discussion, especially outside my community. It is hair, simple and plain. I am not making a statement. I made a choice to stop relaxing my hair for myself. I didn't discuss it with anyone before hand. I just made a choice and stuck with it. It's 

No, my hair does not mean I'm militant. Nor does it make me political. I'm not making a statement. My hair doesn't make me a feminist or a Black Panther or a revolutionary. My beliefs would make me those things. It's just my hair. It is not wrong or unnatural. It is the hair that grows naturally from my scalp. This is the hair that God gave me. I no longer believe that I have to succumb to the acceptance of the way the world believes that my hair should look, feel, or be. That is a very Westernized idea of what is normal Black hair. I am normal by my standards. Also, so is my glorious natural hair! It's my hair, maybe it's the rest of the world that needs to relax. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I saw this and it resonated with me. We cannot go back. It isn't feasible. Forward is the only move. It's hard to accept but it is what it is. Sometimes we just need to "see" or "hear" this from someone other than ourselves. We can't make people change or be who we want them to be. Letting go when you want to hold on is tough. But, the reality is that you wouldn't have to fight for people to stay. Those who want to stay will. Those who want to go, will go. The one thing I've learned in my 34 years is that God brings people in your life and takes them out when needed. Reason, season, or lifetime. It really is that simple. I am learning this day by day. I won't/can't beg you to stay because I shouldn't have to. That is all. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

These Are Just My Thoughts

"I've been thinking, I've been thinking..." - Beyonce'

I've started and stopped no less than 6 blog posts in the last week. I would start with an idea but get stuck. They are all issues that are important to me. So, this is just a peek inside my mind. Too many thoughts.

  • Sleep is glorious. I mean, truly restful sleep. I have had the intense pleasure of indulging in it so much this year. I am overly appreciative for it. I needed it. More than I could ever explain in mere words. 
  • I am severely annoyed and I am trying my best not to be. But, it is hard. Because all I really want to do is react. *counts to 10* I have to let people be exactly who they are. And, when they show me their ass, I have to learn to walk away instead of doing something else. It's simple but hard. Also, just because I have love for a person DOES NOT mean that I will just take whatever they give. Nope. Nah. Not. Sorry, I'm not that chick. I live and breathe reciprocity. Give me what I give you. Simple, right? It really is. 

  • I have tickets to go to a premiere of Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy's new movie "About Last Night" which comes out next month. It's tonight and I'm excited to see it. I know it will be funny because Kevin and Regina Hall are both in it and they are hilarious. Will be doing a review of it later this week too. 

  • I finished reading the entire Harry Potter series this week. It only took me 3 weeks to do it. I think that is incredible. Especially since I only read at night and on the weekends. Now, I am searching for something new to read. I need suggestions, por favor? 
  • This year has been worlds better than 2013 already. I do not know what I did to deserve such favor but I am appreciative of it. I know I needed it so I am not complaining. I'm just happy to feel more like myself again. I am growing and I know it. Thank God. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Get Into It: "Dream It Alive"

Dream It Alive is a site dedicated to helping you plan your virtual vision board. Vision boards are a slight obsession of mine this year. I am all about them. I need to visualize what I want, need, and desire in my life. I spent too much time on things that did me no good last year. That will not work going forward. Positive thinking is the only path from here on out. I spent some time on DIA yesterday creating a few boards. The one below is my public one. I have a few private ones as well.  There are 10 category of "dreams" that you can add to your board. You can use templates or add your own personalized pictures. DIA also has questions that you can answer about each dream. I love that I can add depth to each picture with my own words. I really think this is the way to go for those who don't have the time or patience for traditional vision boards. I've printed all of mine out and hung them up so I can see them every day. It's a part of the visualizing my future. Very dope site that you should all get into. You won't regret it. Trust me. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Who Lied To You?

"Who told you that lie? Who lied to you?" - Demetria Lucas, "Blood, Sweat, and Heels"

Why is it so easy to believe the bad things people tell us about ourselves? Why do we focus on the negative? Life is entirely too short to sit and wonder about all the evil in the world. I can say "I don't care what others think of me" until I'm blue in the face  but the reality is that it's not true. There are a handful of people's opinion that I do care about. I don't ever want them to see me a certain way. Their words carry weight. And, if those words just happen to be negative, they can cut me deep. But, I've learned that my opinion of myself is what matters to me. You can have an opinion of me, good or bad, but it really doesn't rate. I know who I am. I know what I like and love. I know even more what I won't take anymore. 

It is so easy to get caught up in what the world thinks or feels. But, the only opinion belongs to the person staring you back in the mirror. I may not be right all the time. But, as long as I can face myself then I am just fine. It took me a long time to totally love all parts of me. I will not, cannot let anyone else take that from me. If a person is in my life, they have to add to the love I already possess. If not, they have to go. Introspection is an interesting habit. I am my own hardest critic but I am also my own greatest cheerleader. It is so easy to get caught up in the hype of what others think and say about you. It is just as easy to silence that noise. If you are not adding positives in my life then you cannot stay. That goes for any and every one. There are no exclusions. This year, I will not accept the pickle juice from anyone. Which basically means I will not just willingly accept whatever is sat in front of me. Nah, homie, not me, not anymore. This means some won't make the cut. I'm ok with that because it's best for my peace of mind. I believe in me and that matters the most.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Memories From The Mind of Kenda

Random Kenda Fact:

I LOVE MUSIC!! The first two vinyls I owned were New Edition’s “Candy Girl” and Teena Marie’s “Starchild.” Now, decades later, they are still among my favorite projects. 

I remember the day my Dad gave me these two. He picked me up from school and said he had a surprise for me. I didn’t know what it was but I was excited. He was a DJ who instilled this insane love of music in me. When we got home, he told me to go find it in my room. I ran through the house and got to my door which was shut. I flung the door open and screamed. There, on my desk, was a little brown and pink Barbie portable record player and the two albums. You could not tell 4 year old Kenda she wasn’t a DJ also. I was in heaven. 
He showed me how to place the needle ever so gently on the vinyl so I wouldn’t scratch it and how to get to the exact song I wanted to hear. I was in heaven. I must have played “Candy Girl” 50 times before my Mom got home from work that night. I played both records out. Through the years, there would be others that joined the collection. But, these two were the beginning.
It was the moment music was solidified as an integral part of my being. I didn’t know it then but I can see it now. I was extremely proud of my collection. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina :( took them all away. I am just now thinking about restarting my vinyl collection. I need it in my life. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

First of the Year Randoms

  • You ever hear an old song, one you've heard thousands of times before. But, on this particular day at that exact moment, something in that song hits you deep? That has happened to me twice this week with songs I've loved for years. I gained a new perspective and some clarity over an old issue. It was dope in a very weird way. 
  • I began this year on a positive note. Started my gratitude jar. Positive thoughts and a positive outlook are the themes for 2014. Anyone or anything that does not fall within those lines have to go. They are not wanted or needed. The most important person is me this year. May sound selfish but I need to be this way. 
  • Surprise good conversations are good for the soul. And, are needed by this soul. Today was a very dope day. I enjoyed myself immensely. 
  • My Saints won their wild card game against Eagles!!! We are moving forward. Seattle is up next and I cannot wait!! We Won!!! 

  • Started my list of vinyl must haves. This is going to be a very extensive list. I started with the classics. Oh, and owning every Jay Z project on vinyl is a must. This is going to be fun. Also, have to find a local record store so I can go digging in the crates. I'm excited to replace my collection.
  • Since I made up my mind about a few things, I've felt lighter. Like a great burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I prayed for it, cried for it, wrote through it and I deserve it. I know that. I feel this. I truly believe it. Thank you, God. 
  • I've been reading the Harry Potter books from the beginning. I never read the first 4 and I felt I had to read them. I am currently on Year 5 (The Order of the Phoenix) and am falling more in love with the series (books/movies) as a whole. I do not care who knows I am a Potterhead. Absolutely love it. There is so much more information in the books. J.K. Rowling is an awesome vivid writer. 
  • There is a commercial I love right now. It's a Sprint commercial with James Earl Jones reading the texts. It is hilarious to me. I love them as much as I love the AT&T kid ones. I say "Totes mcgotes" daily. Lol.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Ladies Love Lyrics: "The Mouth"

Bridget Kelly is a voice I've loved for a few years now. Her EPs stay in rotation. I knew this new one "Cut To....Bridget Kelly" would as well. This track "The Mouth" is one of the standouts to me. Everything about it resonates with me. Everything good or bad starts with the mouth. All the things we say and do when we should or shouldn't involve our mouths. Go ahead and get into BK!

"I will enter into a drowning sea,
And I will enter into a thundering sky, 
And I know what will become of me, yeah
I accept the punishment and won’t ask why!

Because I knew I shouldn’t have gone there,
Know I shouldn’t have said that,
Know I shouldn’t have did that 
Knew I would regret that
Now I can’t undo that one, that one! 

That one last kiss 
That set it off like a wildfire burning inside
I know it all begins, oh
With the mouth, with the mouth!
Never thought it would come to this
But like a moth to a flame, I will follow desire 
And it all begins
Oh, with the mouth, with the mouth!"

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

It's 2014!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! There are traditions that I normally do not partake in that I've decided I must today. My first meal of the day (@ 12:01 a.m.) was a piece of baked fish. My lunch was a plate of my Mom's cabbage, black eyed peas and cornbread. Which is amazing cause I hate black eyed peas and I'm not that fond of cabbage. But, the cabbage was great as was the cornbread. The black eyed peas still taste like I remember and I didn't eat all of them. I am all about positivity today and this year. I am expecting the universe to conspire to give me all that I want. I said last night that my resolution in 2014 is more. I want more laughter, happiness, money, prosperity, good experiences, etc. I feel like last year was a year that broke me down to my foundation. Which means that 2014 is a rebuilding year. I will be a better, doper version of myself. A happier, wiser, smarter, funnier Kenda. That is my wish for my 2014. I plan on only doing the things that make me smile and make me money. 

I was already excited about this brand new year. That excitement just rose exponentially after reading my Yahoo 2014 horoscope. Now, I do not live and die by my horoscope. I don't even read it daily anymore. But, the link was reblogged onto my Tumblr dash so I took a look. I was blown away within two sentences. I do not know any other Sag who has dealt with a more isolated year than myself. Reading it gave me chills and made me hopeful. It spoke on my desire for travel and wanting more. It just shows me that I have so much work to do on and for myself this year. I cannot wait. I thought about giving up my blog this year but I know that won't make me happy. Writing makes me happy. This is my happy place, right here on this page. I hope everyone has a fantastic year. We all deserve it the chance to be better, be more this year. Happy 2014, people!!!