Friday, February 28, 2014

The March Challenge

Weight. It's a topic most people hate to discuss. Losing it or gaining it, weight is a big deal. And, it's time for me to face the facts. I need to lose weight. I'm not talking about some drastic amount like 100lbs. But, I need to make a huge change. In the last year, I've gained weight. I know exactly why I gained the weight, I was depressed and stressed. I am a stress eater. I let the last year of my life just happen to me. I simply existed for almost all of 2013. Those days are over. I haven't been a very thin girl since I was a teen. There have been moments in my life that I wasn't happy about my weight. But, as I got older, I accepted my body for what it was. That is no longer the case. Since the beginning of this year, I have been on my happiness journey. I've been working on my thoughts and my faith. Now, I need to work on my physicality. This work starts on March 1st. I am ready, scared but ready. I need to do this for me because I deserve to have the best life available to me. 

So, I have a plan for March. I will be implementing it tomorrow. Since I am still opposed to the gym, I will start slowly at home. I will do the above ab and squat challenge. I have already eliminated soda from my life. I will also be cutting back on breads, pasta and rice. I want to work more salads into my diet. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit already but I think adding more can't hurt. I need to drink more water than I currently do. It is a proven fact that you need to drink half your weight in ounces of water daily. I also want to cut back on (and eventually totally avoid) pork. This will be a challenge because of bacon. But, I am focused. I just want to feel as good outside as I do inside. And, that means losing weight and getting healthy. I am not getting any younger. I have two other really good reasons for starting this journey but they are super personal. But, I have to achieve this to accomplish them. So, this blog is more for me than anyone else. It's to make myself accountable in some way to stick to this. Tomorrow is the day. Wish me luck, people!

((P.S. - I am super proud of myself for setting a personal blogging goal of blogging every day in February and completing it!! Yay me!!))

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Get Into It: Influenster Vox Box

Influenster is back at it with the newest VoxBox. This time, I received the Colgate Optic White system for free to try and review. I always love to try new products so being an Influenster is a win-win for a lady like myself. I received the Colgate Optic White & Whitening pen VoxBox earlier this week. It promises whiter teeth in two days. The instructions say to use the toothpaste, toothbrush and whitening pen twice a day. I've been using the products for 3 days and I do see a difference. I love the products. I was also sent 5 $3.00 off coupons for the Colgate Optic White toothbrush and whitening pen. I happily shared those with my family and friends. I think all of you should check these products. Also, check out Influenster if you are like me and love new and free products. Get into it. 

ETA: It's been a week since I started using the Colgate Optic White products. I see a difference in my teeth. They are whiter and brighter. What I love most about these products is that I feel myself smiling more because of this. I am very happy with these products. Colgate Optic White delivered on their promise of whiter teeth in just two days. I would recommend not eating or drinking for a few minutes after using the pen. I let it sit undisturbed for a while. This is a product I will be buying in the future. It is also a product I would recommend to others. You guys should get into it too. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ladies Love Lyrics: A Little Neo-Soul Today

I'm in a neo-soul mood today. So I had to share some of my faves by The Foreign Exchange, Dwele and Eric Roberson. Both of these aren't new songs but they are timeless to me. If you don't know these artists, you need to get into them. Great music is good for your soul. Remember that. I am a fan of all of these artists. They all make music that my soul craves. These songs are just the tip of the iceberg for the catalogs of each. Let's get into this music and these lyrics. Enjoy this vibe I'm setting, people!

"Laying here girl
wondering if I am on your mind.
Cause when you're gone
it seems the clock is never kind.
I wait in the morning
yearning to kiss your lovely face
only to find it is the pillow my lips embrace.
Now what can I do
when happiness I find, I find in you
As if it rains on my parade 
every minute of each hour of each day 
that you;re not around
my heart just wears a frown..."

"If only for one moment
Accept me as your king
In return I'll turn to love you
My hand, your neck, no screams.
Tap me once if its too much pressure
Tap twice if you need to breath
Don't play tough if you're not ready
Before you faint on me
Obey, stay in place
Oh, as I grab your waist
Don't get mad if I bury your face
I might snatch your hair if it's real
Ride the wave,take all day
But first obey!"

"Listen, so hard to read between the lines.
Just know you are mine,
I am yours, nothing more.
Looking for the way to
ask you to stay here with me.
One more night, one more day.
So, I lay here beside you.

Nothing better to do
What could be sweeter than you?
With nothing better to do,
I'm asking what could be sweeter than you?"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's My Hair: Experimentation

I LOVE my hair. I really love it. This is something that being on this natural hair journey has given m e: hair confidence. I love the versatility of my own God-given hair. I am in love with it. Even on the days that my twist outs aren't completely dry and the style I tried doesn't quite turn out the way I felt it should, I still love it. I have been very experimental with my hair this year. More bantu knot outs, wash and go's and pinup's. My hair amazes me daily. I am learning that my hair demands a lot of moisture because it is so thick. I use the LOC (liquid, oil & cream) method when I do my hair, emphasizes on the oil part. I have stopped cowashing or prepooing my hair every week. Now, I do it every two weeks or so since I am fully natural now. It takes so long to air dry. I try to avoid using heat on my hair at all costs. This means I will usually wash my hair on a Friday or Saturday night so that it has the weekend to dry completely. This is the only method that works for me. 

I've learned that less is more with hair products. Also, things I can make in my own kitchen are always a great thing. I think I am going to avoid straighten my hair all year if I can. I have no real need for it. I do need to get my ends trimmed soon though. I haven't set foot in a salon in over 3 years. That is huge for someone who lived and died by them. I don't miss it. Have I mastered all there is to know about natural hair? Not hardly. Am I a pro at all natural hair styles? No way. What I am doing is having fun with my own hair. Good or bad, right or wrong, I am learning what works for me and my natural hair. It's an interesting journey to be on. I love it though. It's my hair and I am conquering it. Just wanted to check in with my fellow naturalistas. Hope everyone is loving their hair as much as I am. Enjoy your God-given hair, ladies!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

This Reader's Review: Part XXII: Steve Stoute's "The Tanning of America"

When it comes to reading, there isn't much  I won't read. Reading is something I do often and early. I love music almost as much as I love reading. So, whenever I come across books about the music business and the like, I have to read them. Such was the case when I found Steve Stoute's book "The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hip Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy" on the library shelf. It's a book that had been on my to read list for a year or so. I just never got around to it because there were so many books on the list. I am so glad I picked it up and read it this month. It was so insightful about so many things. A lot of the topics are things I never gave a lot of thought to. This book shows how Hip-Hop literally changed the world. Stoute takes you on a historical journey that intertwines the world of Hip-Hop from it's infancy to the world of mass media marketing. It is beyond interesting to see how the world of Hip-Hop, which is full of Black people, changed the way the world markets their products. I was amazed more often than not while reading this book.

I love the conversations that are included. Stoute talks to a lot of big name Hip-Hop players such as Jay Z, Eminem, Fab Five Freddy, and Will Smith. One important tanning moment is one I will always remember. It is the infamous LL Cool J Gap commercial in which he is sporting a FUBU hat  and drops a "for us by us" endorsement. It is crazy that no one who worked for Gap knew who or what  "FUBU" was. The corporation did not realize that their huge star just name dropped his own company twice in a national commercial. It was quite genius on LL's part. That is a great example of tanning in America. Superstars who looked like me were the ones guiding the culture. When Jay rapped about growing up and not wearing a Throwback jersey and putting on a crisp button up, the world responded in kind. It is that kind of marketing power which is the reason for tanning in America. While I enjoyed everything about this book, there is one chapter that is my favorite. One of the last chapters entitled "1520 Sedgwick Avenue - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." It focuses on the tanning effect of Hip Hop on politics. It takes you from the inception of Hip Hop to the election of the first Black President. In this chapter, Stoute discusses the stolen first election of George W. Bush, the horror that was the governmental mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina and the things that led up to the election of two term President Barack H. Obama. 

Also, make sure you check out the 4 part, 4 night special on VH1 on "The Tanning of America." It begins tonight @ 8. After finishing this book, I am super hyped to watch this documentary. I want to see some of the interviews that eventually became the basis of the book. I knew Steve Stoute's name because of Jay Z. I did not know much about him to be honest. I just knew he was a mover & shaker behind the scenes in Hip Hop, a name that carried weight and was respected. This book shows me why. He is incredible smart and knows his stuff. "The Tanning of America" is a great look at how a genre of music and a lifestyle has changed the way America looks and feels. It is quiet amazing. This book was an incredibly insightful look into what made the changes. It is simply a great read. Get into Steve Stoute's "The Tanning of America" today!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I really should be but I am burnt out. But, this Idris Elba meme just might have given me all the motivation that I needed. Well, that and I am almost finished reading the dopest book and I cannot wait to review it here for you guys. Sometimes I sit and the words just won't come. You cannot force them. So, I don't. I get up and do something else, usually listen to music to stimulate my mind. I am forever thankful when the words flow like a river. Because then, I get to be my most authentic self. Words are just my thing. I love to write and create something new in my own words and my voice. Maybe the words will flow in the right way for my review later this week. I am praying that they do. Hope you guys have a happy Sunday. <3 i="">

Saturday, February 22, 2014

When Will It Be Enough?

It has taken me almost a full week to get my thoughts together on the verdict of Jordan Davis killer's trial. To put it mildly, I am thoroughly pissed. How in the world could a jury convict him of ALMOST killing three Black boys and not convict him of ACTUALLY killing Davis?!? How is that even possible? If he is guilty of attempted murder of the three then he has to be guilty of killing the child he actually did. There is no other way around it. I am glad that he will spend the rest of his life in jail because that's where a murderer belongs. I am also glad that he will be retired for Davis' murder in May. Davis' parents, Lucia McBath and Ron Davis, deserve justice for their murder son. Being Black, listening to "loud" rap nor wearing a hoodie are not just causes for anyone to be shot and killed. 

I am sick of Black parents losing their kids because some grown man decided he was threatened. Beyond over seeing mothers like Lucy and Sybrina on national tv crying over their boys and fathers like Tracy and Ron heartbroken over the men their sons will never become. I am tired of grown men killing kids then claiming to be the victim. Because clearly the victim is the person at the end of the barrel who lost their lives, see Trayvon and Jordan. This is an epidemic perpetuated by the ridiculous "Stand Your Ground" Law. It doesn't take a lawyer or a judge to see that the law is seriously flawed. There is something sincerely wrong when the deaths of young Black men at the hands of older, bigger white men is accepted and excused. When will it be enough? How many tears must we cry? Something needs to change. I am happy that Davis' killer is going to jail, would be happier if Martin's killer was there as well. We need a change. We need a resolution. I will never forget their names or their stories. We cannot let their deaths be in vain. 

Renisha McBride was just looking for help after a car accident. Trayvon Martin was just trying to get back home to watch the end of the All Star Game. Jordan Davis was just listening to music outside of a gas station. Johnathan Ferrell was just thankful for surviving a car accident. Oscar Grant was just going home after celebrating New Year's Eve with his friends. Aiyanna Stanley-Jones was just sleeping on the sofa. Amadou Diallo was just reaching for his wallet. Sean Bell was just on his way home to get ready for his wedding. Enough is enough. I am sick of watching the news and seeing people that look like me, my family, and my friends dead. It breaks my heart. I cannot stand it. Something has to change. Someone has to do something. When will it be enough, America?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Around These E-Streets (XI)

  • "Black Girls Are Magic" is a saying that is so true. Because we are. When I saw this shirt, I had to have it. Also, had to pass the link on to other fab Black girls. Get into it!!
  • Ebony Magazine Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux writes on her Tumblr my exact feelings about the trial of Jordan Davis' killer. She nails it. Read it here
  • I am loving everything about Hollywood's latest "It" girl: Lupita Nyong'o. She is gorgeous and a great actress. She is also a red carpet killer. She hasn't had one misstep this awards season. Also, this article made me smile for so many reasons.  
  • Certain Black men let their pettiness show this past weekend. A "Sorry I'm Not Idris Elba" poem surfaced and it was dripping with hate. It was just awful. Idris responded via Twitter with slight and subtle shade that made me like him more. 
  • Jada Pinkett-Smith is coming back to tv in a huge way. She has just signed on to play a villian, Fish Mooney, in the Fox Batman drama "Gotham." That makes it must see tv for me. I love her. Have ever since she was Lena James on "A Different World."
  • The Tyler Perry machine is at it again. This time, Nia Long tackles the lead role in his upcoming movie, "The Single Moms Club." It premieres March 14th. Perry is also working on a talk show for the OWN Network, which would be interesting. It premieres next Tuesday after his highly successful show "The Have and HaveNots."
  • Do you want to test your IQ? You can do so here. I am not sure how accurate it is but I was very pleased with my results :-)
  • One of my favorite (ex) Saints players, #42 Darren Sharper, is being accused of drugging and raping multiple women. I truly don't put anything past anyone. But, I was shocked by these allegations. There are 8 different cases being pursued in 5 different states. It makes me sick to my stomach. The only thing lower than a rapist is a child molester in my eyes. 
  • My heart goes out to Jordan Davis' parents. They were robbed twice. Once when their son was killed and again when the jury failed to convict his killer. This interview made me cry. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Art of Letting Go

When I read the above on Tumblr, I knew it was a message just for me. I needed to read it. Needed to receive it. Bottom line, I needed to forgive all. Forgiveness is hard. It's hard to let go of the pain a person has caused you, hard to let go of your feelings after the hurt. But, holding on to it, doesn't make you better. I've been writing a lot about forgiveness. Who needs it, who deserves it and why it is such a hard thing to do for me. I not like being angry or sad. I don't care to hold on to the anger any longer. Simply put, I forgive you, each of you, who has ever done me wrong. I have to forgive people but not for their sake, for my own. Forgiveness is a gift I am giving to myself. I have been happier in this short year than I was all of 2013. I decided that happiness was the path I wanted to travel. I wake up with a purpose and try my hardest to not let others shake me. Since I am on the pursuit of happiness, forgiveness is a given. Forgiveness is not about the offender. It's always about the offended. Forgiveness is the gift you can give yourself. This is a valuable lesson to receive and learn. Holding on to that hurt and pain only harms you. I am stubborn. Sometimes I don't want to forgive some one who has hurt me. 

I am learning to forgive myself first. I have to forgive myself for the hurt I may have caused others as l as myself. I have to forgive me for loving too hard and protecting those who did not deserve my protection. I've forgiven a few people I never thought I would. No, I've never said the words to them. I just confessed it with my mouth and believed it with my heart. I simply let go. Why hold on to dead weight? I needed to forgive them for my own health and sanity. I needed the closure. I've held onto some of them way too long. In doing that, I unwittingly gave my offender control. I let him/her live rent free in my head. And, that isn't good for me or any of us. Every beginning deserves an end. I forgave my offenders and forgot them as well. It was a great gift to me for me. I like how much lighter my shoulders feel. Love the way my heart isn't heavy any longer. I even forgave myself for allowing someone to harm me, break my heart and/or hurt my feelings. That was the most important issue. Is there some one in your life you need to forgive? Stop holding on to it and them. Not now, but right now. Do it for you!  "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." - Matt 6:14

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ladies Love Lyrics: Case "No Regrets"

Sometimes you hear a song and it stops you in your tracks. This happened yesterday. Case has always been a fave of mine. His early cd's were golden to me. This track "No Regrets" features Charlie Wilson and has always made me happy. This is about a losing a love but really wanted it back. Case has a voice that makes me feel every word he sings. Get into the video above and the lyrics below. I know you guys will love it like I do. 

"Loving you was incredible
It came so natural to me
Cause you were always available
For every one of my wants and needs
We always talked about settling down
Raising a family 
But sometimes in life our plans ain't meant to be, ooh yeah

Baby I've tried
But couldn't say
What I really did want from you
Baby and now
My life, my life hasn't been the same
No, no, no babe
Can we give it a chance
Can we start all over again
Before we throw it all away, I just need to know

Here I go around again
Just won't let it die
Being wrong or being right
I just have to try
Love leads me right back to you
It never tells me why
I ain't gonna go through life
With no regrets

Now we can start by makin' apologies
But saying sorry ain't gonna make it right
All the spiteful things you done said to me
Cause I heard you a million times
But now I've learned how to express
What's really on my mind
So I'm telling you
I need you in my life..."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Loving Black Love

I truly believe in Black love. It's something that I think need to be protected and projected onto the world. I haven't been that big on love these days. But, that has more to do with my personal issues than the overall idea. This weekend, my love for love was restored in a HUGE way. My little cousin got married Saturday. Her wedding was a great display of true love. Everything about it was wonderful. The setting was the gorgeous Benachi House in New Orleans. It was first time being there and I am in love with it. The ceremony and reception were outside. I literally cried from the moment the happy couple started saying their vows. They have been together a while. I've always known how much they love each other. But, something about the act of getting married made it that much more real. They were glowing and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The groom even wrote a poem as his vows to his bride. They were amazing. I had the best time with them and the rest of our family. Love is great but there is something so incredible about Black love to me. 

What I have learned is that it's not about wanting him back because the reality is we can't ever go back. We are no longer those two people. There has been too much space and time and hurt between us to return. I do not know what the future holds but I know I cannot be bitter about a love lost. The reality is maybe what I thought was a forever love wasn't. Forever does not have an expiration date on it. Love is a beautiful thing. I want to be able to look back on the love I had with a smile. Because the love was amazing. I was changed by it. I loved who I was because of him and love. No one can take that away from me. My issue is with how it ended and the fact that I still do not have a comprehensive reasoning as to why it ended. I guess it will be one of those things I won't ever fully understand. I have given it to God because I cannot figure it out. What I do know is that my thoughts on love and marriage were restored this weekend by my cousin and her husband. I thought I would be sad and a bit envious at the wedding. I was dead wrong. I was so happy and tearful during the ceremony. True love really does conquer all. That is the thought I left with. I was full on love. I'm even open to the possibility of love again. However, I am still not ready to date just yet. I'm too busy loving me all over again. When the day comes, I'll know it. But, until then, I will continue to live vicariously through all of the Black love around me. Black love is e-very-thing!! Congrats again to my cousins!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Trying to Cope Without Pope

Where oh where has my "Scandal" gone? It's been far too long since I've gotten my Gladiator fix. The show has been on winter break for 2 whole months. That is insane especially since the show still won't be back for another two weeks. Why does ABC and Shonda Rhimes continue to do this to us? Why Lawd?!? It feels like...

...since we last left Liv and Fitz and Harrison and Huck and the gang. I need to know what's going to happen with Momma Pope and Daddy Senator Byron Douglas and VP Sally the murderer and Baby Huck. There is just so many questions that need answering. The season is also being shortened by FOUR episodes presumably because of Kerry Washington's real life pregnancy. I am sad because of that. Hopefully, next season, it will be a full season without a huge break. That would be awesome since it has never had one before. Gladiators, it is almost time for the final 8 episodes of the season. Let's get ready for February 27th and the return of OPA!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Justice For Jordan...Not Exactly.

Michael Dunn, killer of Jordan Davis, was found guilty on 4 of the 5 charges. What he wasn't convicted of was murdering Jordan Davis. That charge was ruled a mistrial. This means that Dunn can be (and most likely will be) retried on the murder charge. He will be sentenced next month. I am happy that he was found guilty on the other four charges. I am, however, not satisfied. Jordan Davis should not be dead. Davis should be celebrating his 19th birthday tomorrow. The picture above is of Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, embracing Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis. This must end. It has to. It is like open season on young Black boys. My heart is still heavy for Davis' parents, Lucy and Ron. This is a series case of a miscarriage of justice. Being Black is not a reason to be dead, playing rap music loud isn't a reason either, and neither is wearing a hoodie and carrying tea and Skittles. I am so afraid for all the little brown boys and girls in my family and in the world. This is a horrible way to live. We need to feel and be free. We deserve and demand justice for Jordan and Trayvon and Johnathan and Renisha and every other unknown murdered Black person. Justice for Jordan!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Get Into It: JoJo

JoJo is a singer I have liked since her first single. She appeared on the scene as a cute teeny bopper soul singer. She released two studio albums and a few mixtapes. I really fell for her voice when she did this cover of SWV's "Weak" on her debut cd "JoJo" in 2004. As a Valentine's Day gift to her fans, she tweeted the #LOVEJO EP  yesterday. JoJo has been through hell trying to get off her former label Blackground Records. She was locked into a horrible contract. When she wanted out, they refused and also wouldn't put out any new music. So, she went the mixtape/free music route. Her voice has always been amazing to me. She is only 23 and her voice keeps getting better. She finally got her release and is now signed to Atlantic Records. She is currently working on her third studio album. I know it will be dope. This is just something to hold her fans over until it's ready. Get into JoJo and her cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up In The Rapture." 

Friday, February 14, 2014

So, About Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!! If you are in love, it could be the best day ever. If you aren't, it could be the worst. I decided that just because the entire world is covered in red hearts, flowers and chocolate, it doesn't diminish me. I am single. I think that's the first time I have written that. It feels odd but it is true. I am not really celebrating the day but I am also not knocking those that are. I did look back on my last few Valentine's. A few were really good, last year not so much. You can check them out here : 20132012, & 2011. Hope you guys are enjoying this lovely Friday. Love is a beautiful thing. If you have it in your life, embrace it. Happy Valentine's Day :-)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This Reader's Review: Part XXI: "Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns"

"The Devil Wears Prada" is one of my favorite books and movies. Miranda Priestley is a horrible character that I could not hate. I loved her. The book was a favorite that I reread constantly. When the movie came out, I couldn't get to a theater quick enough. Ms. Meryl Streep embodied Miranda Priestley. I was always a fan of hers but this role made me a stan. Streep was e-very-thing in this film. I loved Andy and Emily was well. The book and movie are all time favorites in my world. I own both. I also will watch the movie every single time I catch it on tv. It's that good to me. So, hen I heard that there would be a sequel, I was ecstatic. "Return Wears Prada: The Devil Returns" was the titled and I couldn't wait to get into it. 

"Revenge Wears Prada" picks up a decade after "The Devil Wears Prada" ends. Andy and Emily are shockingly best friends and business partners. Their unlikely friendship is the basis of this book. They are the owners of a posh wedding magazine that is in the vein of "Runway." It's the magazine that is run by Miranda Priestley in TDWP" that Andy and Emily first met. Their lives are totally different now. There are husbands and babies and lives totally devoid of the horror that was Miranda. Things are going great until Miranda slyly walks back into their lives. Andy is adamantly against her while Emily is all for letting her back in. The journey that takes place is wild. The book is a great read. I love catching up with old characters that I love.  I loved it. I do think it would make an awesome movie. If you were a fan of the first book, then this is a book you need to read. "Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns" was amazing.