Thursday, June 30, 2011

Toya's Natural Hair Journey: My (Almost) Sixth Month Milestone

Toya's Natural Hair Journey: My (Almost) Sixth Month Milestone

Well, the quest for the perfect hair styling product combo continues. I tried to combine Kinky Curly with some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and my hair was like “We said NO!” I can’t get my hair back to the texture it was before I started using it but I really think (hope) that has to do with the hot weather and not the products. I will say however that even though I am struggling to find the right products, I have arrived at one natural hair journey milestone. My TWA (teeny weeny afro) that I started close to six months ago has now grown into a full grown…

Photo: PartyStudio.Me
*Da-da-da-daaaaaaa!!!* AFRO PUFF! Yes yes yes , I FINALLY have the much coveted afro puff. By the way, the above is a pic with my girl Ta-Tanisha Thomas taken at the Crave Nashville party.  Crave is a fantastic organization that connects and  fosters community amongst  women business owners. Ta-Tanisha's blog, The Queen’s Castle is an entertainment blog with all news, no gossip. It’s wonderful. Be sure to check out her blog and Like it on Facebook.

Back to my hair. Man, you can’t get me out of an afro puff right now. I slap some Eco Styler Argan Gel and some extra virgin olive oil in this joker and go about my BUSINESS! I love putting flowers in it too.

That’s my buddy Brandon and me brunchin’ for the Lord (seriously, you have no idea how much food was on that table.  We get down.) one Saturday morning. I still have a ways to go until I am back to my big curly afro but one milestone is better than none.

You just don't know what you got til it's gone, do you? *Sigh*

Tomorrow is Friday Rodriguez (payday Friday) and I will be buying new products. Anyone have any suggestions for my 4A hair?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beyonce: 4 - Tia

Beyonce: 4 - Tia 

    I have to be honest. I have had to listen to Beyonce's new album 4 a few times. (Of course that was in between listening to all things Daniel de Bourg but that's neither here nor there.) I was not a fan of her last album and admittedly had some preconceived ideas about this one. When "Run The World (Girls)" hit the radio a few weeks back, I didn't have a lot of hope for this album. The song sounded messy and, for lack of a better word, extra. Toya referred to it as a cacophony. And apparently we weren't the only people underwhelmed by the song. After barely cracking the top 30 on the Billboard top 100 chart the song began to nose dive just three weeks after it's debut. Numbers like that usually don't bode well for an album.

    But, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't love it at first. And frankly, I don't LOVE it now. But I do like it. And it's definitely worth checking out even if you're aren't Beyonce's biggest fan. 

    There are, of course, the standard "I'm in love, I'm not in love, Why aren't we in love" songs. But there are some stand out tracks that move from beyond the initial listen into "repeat, repeat, repeat." 

    There's a heavy throwback theme across a few of the songs. "Party" featuring Andre 3000 will immediately transport you back to the late 80s/early 90s. From the tempo, to the cadence, to the very essence of the song, "Party" makes you think of door knocker earrings, mushroom haircuts and slow dancing in your friend's living room house party. It is a must hear hands down. 

    "Love On Top" could quite literally have been a Whitney Houston song from a previous decade. I fully expect to see Bey come out in this wig from the "Somebody to Love Me" video. 

    Oh wait...she already did...moving on. 

    The four, yes FOUR, key changes at the end of the song remind you that Beyonce is not just Jay-Z's pretty wife. Love her or hate her, the girl can sing. 

    My guilty pleasure song is "Best Thing I Never Had". The smugness of the song plays well to my ego. I'm sure everyone has that person that makes them THANK GOD it didn't work out. I personally have a few. "Best" will be the song you play over and over every time you find yourself wishing that maybe it could have kind of sort of worked out. No ma'am. No sir. Be happy you "dodged a bullet" and keep it moving. 

    But the song that I BESEECH you not to miss is "Countdown". The frenetic energy of the song dragged me in almost immediately. While the tempo is faster than "Girls", "Countdown" seems cleaner. I have not yet been able to process how this song can make you want to join a step team during one verse and do the Dougie in the next. But that's exactly how I feel every time I listen to it. Maybe it's the perfectly interspersed repetition of the horns and the snares that keep the song from spinning out of control. Just when you think the song may whip you into TOO dangerous of a frenzy, the HBCU drum corp beat (accompanied by the horn section, of course) brings you back in from your delusions of joining someone's step team...Or is that just me?  The "Uhh Ahh" Boyz II Men sample was a nice touch. I was so caught up with googling "Nashville Step Teams" that I didn't initially catch it. But once I heard it I wondered how I could have missed it at all. The only conclusion I came to for missing the sample the first go round was that I was caught up because Beyonce wrote a Ride-or-Die, treat yo man right, BYE HATERS! song. And it is a BANGER!!! I am PRAYING that she does a video for "Countdown." If she does do a video for it, It's going to have to be THE MOST. And since numbers 2 and 3 of the countdown could give one the impression that she and Jay are thinking about trying to have a baby, I would expect nothing less than THE MOST from Queen B...Possibly in a baby shell that they make actors wear to appear pregnant....or....stun the world....actually BE pregnant in her video. But this is all speculation from a girl who has had one too many Ambien this evening. (me)

    This girl doesn't know how to go small. She's from Texas. I lived there for a lot of my childhood. So as her fellow Texan, I understand her need to go big. In Texas you go big or go home. With this album Bey has clearly stepped up her game and won't be going home no time soon. Gone are the vague references to alter egos who sing slightly forgettable songs. (Name two songs off of the Sasha Fierce album...without googling ("Single Ladies" and "If I Were A Boy" don't count)...I'll wait.) But the arrival of 4 welcomes in a more mature Beyonce. Sure, she may write a complete throwback song to a bygone era that will make you wax nostalgic for you pink high tops and bubble dress for the party (only me again?) But the minute, nay, the second you realize those shoes don't fit and that dress has been gone, Bey bounces you right back into the now with a couple of hot bangers, a couple (okay maybe 1 and 1/2) songs about empowering yourself and a few sappy love songs that may just reach that cold place in your heart. 

    I'm looking forward to the performances that will come from this. Beyonce is the consummate performer of our generation. All you had to do is watch some of her recent appearances and regardless of how you feel about the album or even about her you have to admit that SHE. IS. BACK. And if her recent performances are of any indication of what we can expect, then get ready because she is going to be do THE MOST. And while I usually try to avoid it, if it's Beyonce who will be bringing it, I will take THE MOST.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Further evidence that quitting is sometimes a good thing - Tia

    Per usual I'm on the road. A lot of what I did today was like what I do most days. Reconcile. Count Pills. Read medical charts. Two things made today different. 

    1. Daniel de Bourg - I spent all day listening to his music. I must have played his version of "Sure Thing" 30 times. It's not just that he's fine. It's that he's fine and his voice sounds like...ummm....His voice is sick. For the life of me I can't understand why he didn't win X-Factor UK. 

    I split most of my 8 hour day listening and re-listening to his stuff on Youtube. While I did take an hour or so to listen to Beyonce's new album, (jury is still out. review is coming once there's a verdict.) the bulk of the day belonged to Daniel and his make-me-think-bad-things-thus-making-me-perpetually-have-to-repent voice.

    The other thing that was different: 

    2. Hope - Maybe it's the Quitter Challenge. Maybe it's just the thought that I can do something that I really love for a living and not be chained to a desk/plane/hotel room for the rest of my life. I don't know exactly what it is, but I have hope. I have hope that I can do what I love, whatever that looks like.

    But until dream job becomes my day to day, I'm stuck in hotels in random cities, playing with my phone, rambling on about my odd dinner choices, my love of British musicians and my need to get my eyebrows waxed. 

    P.S. I know you can't see the bathroom. But trust me, it's huge. Real talk, you can do two cartwheels from the sink to the door. 

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    You, Sir, Are a Problem: Reasons #596 & #597 Why We Need to Move to the UK- Toya

    I will be the first one to admit that I am not a lover of all things British as Tia is but oooooh do I appreciate a fine British man. The fact that I don't have a passport yet may not be so much out of procrastination as it is me trying to protect my situation. With that being said, I need to get on it soon. BGLU is long overdue for an international trip. If there are more like these two gentleman across the pond, I need to make that happen.

    I know I said on The Twitter that I was NOT doing a rundown on the tragedy that was last night's BET Awards but I do have to mention one of the few shining moments.  Jill Scott, who is always FIERCE gave a great performance of "Rolling Hills" off of her new album The Light of the Sun. Her performance featured none other than the only man who could rightly legally change his name to God's Gift to Women, Idris Elba.

    Yes Lawd!!! I didn't quite catch his accent during this performance but let's face it. He doesn't really need to say much anyway. Especially when he's in a suit.

    Thanks to one of our readers, Alison, we have found yet another new British obsession, Daniel De Bourg.

    What on earth are they feeding these children over in the UK?!  Tia is somewhere rocking back and forth in a corner because she ALWAYS falls for these types (you know she loves them Brits).  I, on the other hand, can't get enough of his Drake covers and want him to remake every single one.  I've always wanted to hear those songs WITHOUT the autotune on 11.

    For more on Daniel De Bourg, check him out at  his Bandcamp Page where you can download his award winning mixtape.

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Quitters - BGLU

    It's time to quit. Here's our first video for the Quitter Challenge.
    (I'm not sure why the colors are so washed out. *sigh* iMovie strikes again.)

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Who's Ready to Be a Quitter?- The BGLU Quitter Challenge

    It's on.
    Vlog coming soon. 

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Recap: NKOTBSB Hits Nashville- Toya

    I'm just gonna go ahead and say this: The NKOTBSB show last night was the most fun show I have ever been to in my entire life.  I didn't expect that at ALL.  I knew it was going to be fun because Tia and I were there together but never in a million years did I think that these two groups could do a show together and I wouldn't be yawning waiting for the Backstreet Boys to finish their set .  As one who works in concert production, I have to say that both acts did an excellent job of keeping the show well balanced, seamless, and exciting the entire time.  And now that I have given a somewhat professional opinion, let me get to what I know we all want to talk about:

    Those boys are FINE!!!!!!  I mean every last one of them.  A friend of mine, who is friends with Jordin Sparks who opened for them, said she was only going to stay for her set and leave.  She's not a fan of either NKOTB or BSB.  I told her "Let me tell you why you need to stay: because you like men. Trust me, you will enjoy yourself."  She wasn't able to attend and I hate that she missed it.   Here are some random thoughts as well as some highlights from my play by play on Twitter:
    • The "You Make Me Glad My Gaydar Has No Batteries" Award goes to: Jonathan Knight.  I now have a crush on Jonathan Knight with an expiration date of June 30th because if I have a crush on one more gay man, I am seeking therapy.  It's become a pattern, I'm afraid.  Here in Nashville there is a frog's hair thin line between metrosexual and homosexual. I have said this before and I will stick by it: Jon Knight is the FINEST member of NKOTB, NKOTBSB, AME, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, whatever! Pictures don't do him a lick of justice.  It's appalling how good looking he is. But that's not why I am a new fan. During the show they came out and walked through the crowd and I suddenly turned 14. As he walked past us, I stuck my hand out, quickly got embarrassed and stepped back.  He walked passed me, then took a few steps back, looked for me and then smiled and extended hand.  Yeah, it's a wrap. It's Jon Knight all day and tomorrow but not past the end of the month. 
    • The Best Come Up of the Century Award: This night was full of surprises for Tia and me and one major surprise was the "Comeuppance" of Nick Carter.  Nick Carter came out and Tia and I kept slapping each other on the arm like "What the heck happened to Nick Carter? Who is this?!?!" I'm still in shock.  For the first time in the history of the world, Nick Carter asked "Am I sexual?" during "Backstreet's Back" and in unison we gave an emphatic yes.  What's really happening in the world?
    • The Best Act of the Night Award goes to: It's a tie really.  Now we know that this tour is not about competition but depending on what band you are a fan of, you are going to want the band you love most to kill during this tour.  I will say this: While NKOTB are the better performers (their rhythm gives them the edge by far), BSB just has better hits.  They may not all be my favorite songs but I will admit that the majority of them are better songs. They are winning with "I Want It That Way" alone so let's not even talk about how their ballads edge out NKOTB's ballads. NKOTB's uptempos are more enjoyable however and even if they weren't there is one thing NKOTB has of which BSB has no equivalent:

     Jordan Knight.  I must have yelled "SANG JORDAN" about five times like I was in a Pentecostal church during "I'll Be Loving You Forever". He's still got it. But even without a Jordan Knight BSB held their own and that's why it's a tie.
    • The "You Didn't Have to Embarrass Him Like That" Award goes to: Donnie Wahlberg. When he tore his shirt off shortly after Nick Carter came out first and tried to bare his little young chest, there was no competition. Donnie Wahlberg is 40+ and killin' 'em right now.  Unless those were spray on abs, it is safe to say that Donnie and every last one of the New Kids have BSB beat in the fitness department.  I don't know what kind of routine Danny "I eat, sleep, and breathe the gym" Wood has them on but their ab game is TIGHT.
    • The "I Was Doing Alright Until You Did This" Award goes to: Brian Littrell who is HILARIOUS to watch in concert. Because I respect the covenant that is marriage, I try to choose my words respectfully when it comes to Brian.  I was real cool until he came out dressed like this...
    There is something about a dude in a nice fitting wife beater, baggy jeans and a fitted cap that blesses me.  He was giving me what I now like to call "Teenage Dream" when he stepped out like this.  You know the giggles you used to get when you were a teenager, watching them on TRL?  Clutch the pearls and "don't ever look back, don't ever look back"!
    • Favorite Song of the Night Award: "If You Stay" by The Backstreet Boys.  This was on the Booty Call soundtrack and I didn't expect them to perform this.  I have been doing The Dougie all day at my desk with this song on repeat since this morning. 
    • Awkward Moment of the night:  Donnie came to the front of the stage not far from where we were.  Tia and I pulled in real tight next to each other to umm...get a better look (for shame, for shame).  Upon which, Donnie looked at us and kept smiling really hard.  He then walked over to Joey, pointed us out who then looked over at us smiled said something back and looked back over.  We have no idea what that was about.  Could that have been "Hey aren't those the girls who were clowing me on that website that one time?"  All I know is that every time he came over and stood in front of Tia I prayed "Jesus be a fence around her lady parts". He already tweeted that he wants to get a house in Nashville.  If he moves here I am getting a Lo Jack system installed in Tia's cell phone.  You already know.

    The "You Sleep In an Oxygen Tank, Don't You"Award goes to: Howie Dorough. Seriously he looks about 26. It's scary.  

    Don't miss this tour if you are an NKOTB/BSB fan, even if you like one much more than another.  You will not be disappointed.  As one who really was fine if she never saw another NKOTB show ever again, I'd go see this tour as many times as I could if I was able to.  It's not one to miss. And speaking of missing something, shockingly enough this show is so good that we forgot that Kevin Richardson was ever in BSB.  That says a lot for us.

    Have you been to the NKOTBSB tour yet?  If so, chime in and let us know what you think about it.
    NKOTBSB - Tia

    Oh. Em. Gee. Words can not describe how good this show was. Okay they can but I'm too tired to choose the words that are needed. So before I crash like a toddler for the night here are a few things you should know.

    1. Donnie Wahlberg is now and forever my baby daddy in my mind.

    2. But Nick Carter is coming up quick trying to take his spot.

    3. Jon Knight IS FINE!!!! I mean, time has been MORE than good to him.

    4. BSB did "If You Stay" and it blessed Toya and I more than anything.

    Anyway, there's so much more to come but I am EXHAUSTED. Toya and I decided to go out dancing after the show. Yeah, I'm sore, tired and happy.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    "La la la la la la Tonight!"- The NKOTBSB Tour Hits Nashville
    Confession: I absolutely HATE "Tonight" by NKOTB (the song I just referenced). Not only that, if it was guaranteed that I wouldn't hear "Hangin' Tough", "Cover Girl", or "Summertime", I'd be absolutely ecstatic.  Now I may be able to make it through the night without hearing "Cover Girl" but being as though "Hangin' Tough" is the NKOTB anthem and today marks the first day of Summer, it's inevitable that I will hear all three. 

    Thinking about the songs that I don't want to hear tonight got me thinking about the NKOTB songs that I DO want to hear.  As I got to thinking, there is a slim chance that I will hear any of my favorites tonight.  Take this one for instance:

    Jordan is killing me softly with that Jon B haircut.   Here's another one I most likely won't hear tonight:

    I would lose my entire mind if they sang this tonight.  Being as though I was grounded during the Magical Summer Tour, my chances of ever hearing this live are slim to none.  Last on the list of songs I am sure I won' t hear tonight (or ever):

    Please note that I after hearing this I am now making it my personal agenda to bring the words "def" and "fresh" back into society. That's gotta happen.  Regardless of what they sing or don't sing, a nostalgiaholic like myself is bound to have fun tonight regardless.  For live commentary from tonight's show, be sure to follow me on Twitter at @ToyaBGLU.  I would say follow Tia at @TiaBGLU but she will be too busy trying to use ESP to get Donnie's attention from the stage.

    So we want to know: What are some of your favorite New Kids songs?

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    So This is Happening Tomorrow Night...

    Although we were some of the first ones to clown them when they announced they were coming back out, it's official: NKOTB is back and better than ever. Now as for the Backstreets Boys? Well, let me see what they do tomorrow night because after seeing them perform New Year's Eve, NKOTB outshines them by a long shot.  Now I'd be a bold faced liar if I said that I will not go IN on "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" but NKOTB has one time to go into "My Favorite Girl" and it's a wrap. No contest.

    The NKOTBSB tour hits the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville tomorrow night with opener Jordin Sparks.  I can't guarantee that anything will go down like it did the last time we saw them in 2008 ...

    but I'm sure we will have a great time.  Could Donnie be more obvious? I mean, really. And could Danny be any more disinterested? I've only had a crush on him since 1988. I can't get NO shine?

    For a play by play of tomorrow night's show, follow Tia and I on our respective separate Twitter accounts, @TiaBGLU and ToyaBGLU. If you're going to be at the show tomorrow night, be sure to holla at us!- Toya

    *This just in: I just found out that Backstreet Boys don't perform "The Call" during their show. I'm boycottin'.  Who wants my ticket?

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Quitters Never Win- Toya

    Yes Lord Jesus let it be! Loose us from the bondage that is the 9-5 hustle! Umm…I mean, we are so grateful for our jobs and the income that they bring but Lord if you would be so kind…

    This is Toya and I want to give you guys some insight as to what’s been going on with Tia and me. Tia has shared with you her frustration of wanting to be really passionate about something and discovering her purpose. I have shared my frustration of wanting to at times shave my head, move to India and go sit in meditation for a really, really, REALLY long time. In the meantime,we have been working hard lately behind the scenes to make BGLU all that we believe it can and is supposed to be. We think you all will enjoy the improvements that are around the corner.  Bottom line: where we are as individuals just isn’t cutting it because we know there’s more. I often think that discontentment is a blessing. Sometimes you don’t move on something until you just can’t take it anymore.

    We are really proud of BGLU and it’s only because of the feedback we get from our readers. We love receiving your emails and comments. Please keep them coming. I think when this blog first started we wanted to encourage women to just be happy being themselves. Now eight years later and with hundreds of readers, some who aren’t black or girls, we want to encourage everyone to be their best selves. We want to encourage this because this is something that we are striving to do ourselves.

    With all that being said, we want to engage you on this journey with us as we strive to go from our day jobs to our dream jobs: running this blog together full time as well as fulfilling our dreams in other areas separately. I am taking a huge leap of faith and going into television. Tia is interested in music supervision and writing more. Starting this week, Tia and I are going to start reading Jon Acuff’s latest book “Quitter” and chronicle our journey as we strive to be in a whole different place next year. We are excited/scared to death/exasperated all at the same time. One of my favorite quotes is “Do it afraid”. As I said in a past post, Lord willing (I say that a lot now since Maurice died), I have three years until I am 40. I want those to be three big years that count.

    If you are not quite where you want to be in life and want to make that transition from your day job to your dream job then we want you to join us. Who’s ready to be a quitter?

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaah Mavericks!!!!

    I'm a big fan of the underdog so I was ecstatic when the Dallas Mavericks won their first ever National Championship last night against the Miami Heat.  Not to mention, I have been a fan of Jason Kidd ever since he played for the NJ Nets.  This was such a fun series to watch and they are well deserving of their victory.  And while I'm not one to hate on Miami Heat or Lebron James for that matter...

    Bahahahahha!!!! Wait...those are some good lookin' brothas right there. Ok one more...

    HAAAAAA!!! Oh the joy!!!!
    These Dreams: The Conclusion- Toya

    Unable to shake my feelings about Aidan from my dream the night before, I decided to rent Sex and the City 2 from the Redbox, go get some ice cream and cry it out if need be. After taking entirely too long in the past to get over some things, I decided to put an expiration date on whatever “this” was. “I’m not dealing with this past tonight.” I thought as I was walking around the grocery store.

    Yeah, that didn’t happen.

    What happened was I had some ice cream and went into some sort of sugar coma, fell asleep with all of my clothes on and never even got to the part where Carrie met Aidan. I woke up the next day and headed out to a coffee shop to get my thoughts together. As I drove there I prayed “I need some clarity on this thing God because this is not ok.” I got to the coffee shop and started to write what I was feeling.  This is what I came up with:

    The dream I had has nothing at all to do with Aidan.

    And thank God because I was really having a hard time trying to explain to myself how I was having some familiar feelings for someone I haven’t been around for almost a decade who is now married. What I needed to remember was that often in dreams, things are symbolic. You can have a dream about someone and the dream may not necessarily be about that person.

    In the dream I had, Aidan represents security, acceptance, and unconditional love; a big hand to hold, strong arms to get lost in and that magical kiss on the forehead that says “I get you, I got you, and you’re ok.” This dream makes a lot of sense because I am on the verge of embarking on some things that I have never done before; things that are going to require a lot out of me and I feel like it is JUST me right now. It’s a feeling of isolation that I’m having right now that’s kind of difficult to explain. I guess deep down inside I was wanting for some sort of security that I just hadn't realized.  When I think back to my dream, I don’t think he was just watching me waiting for me to get off of the phone and stop being busy. He was watching me like a hawk to make sure I was alright. He was there and I felt safe.  In real life, that’s the kind of guy I remember him being. Always there at the right time. Unfortunately, I would only let myself feel that safe with him about 70% of the time. I could never completely let go because like Carrie was with Big, I was waiting for the man I loved to love me back.

    What is it about some women who feel like they aren’t winning unless they get the guy who is severely emotionally unavailable to accept them? I guess it’s the same thing that causes a woman to not be happy in a relationship unless there is some kind of constant turmoil. Some of us just don’t believe that we are worthy of love in the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t feel like we deserve it or that the normalcy in healthy relationships isn’t exciting enough. I think it has something to do with the feeling like we are that much better of a woman if we can win over the guy who is a challenge. If I could do it all over again there would be no contest. None whatsoever. I’m not saying that Aidan and I would have made it (he has four kids and I don’t desire to have any) but I at least would have had enough pride to not waste my time on the guy I kept rejecting him for.

    I’m glad that this dream uncovered how I really feel deep down inside because it has served as a warning to me: don’t get to feeling so isolated that while you might not be able to have the guy you wish you had, you settle for the “Mr. Right Now” guy; the guy that you can get right now who is not good for you but you are with him just to fill that void in your life. I’ve seen too many career driven women get impatient and feel like they deserve a man but won’t wait for the man that they actually deserve. This scares me. I don’t ever want to get to a place where I am successful but lonely and willing to just let any good looking guy who talks a good game get in my space. I also don’t want to get so independent and successful that I am leery of the good guy who just wants to love me for who I am. Remembering Aidan was a good reminder of what real love looks like. I’m not accepting any less than that and will try my best not to run from it when it comes my way.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    These Dreams- Toya
    I love Heart.  Ann and Nancy Wilson are some bad chicks.

    A good thing at the wrong time will ALWAYS be the wrong thing.

    Last night I met up with some girlfriends at the Hookah bar to watch the NBA Finals game (Go Mavs!) Somewhere between biting my nails when the Mavs 7 point lead turned into them falling 3 points behind in the 4th quarter (they later went onto win thank God), we managed to get into a discussion about Sex and the City. I’m sure we aren’t the only girls to sit around and discuss which one of the SATC characters the others were or thought we were: a Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte or Samantha. Plenty women are a bit of both. While one of them is a Carrie with a bit of Miranda and the other a Samantha with a bit of Charlotte, there is no denying that I am straight up a Carrie. I even have my own versions of Aidan, Big, and Stanford. I don’t doubt that last night’s SATC conversation is why I had my second dream last night about my own Aidan.

    I really, really, really hate that I had this dream and this is why: I am fine being single right now. I often say that I am grateful to be single at 36 because I have had plenty of time to learn from others mistakes. It’s only June and I have witnessed 6 divorces this year alone. But the worst thing about having dreams of Aidan (I will use this name to protect the innocent, now married father of 4) is remembering how it felt to be with him. Those arms belong to someone else. And maybe had I not left those arms for my own Big I would have …hold up:

    Did Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want” just come on in my office??? Does my life ALWAYS need a soundtrack? Come on Jesus!!! This is NOT fair…

    He's everything you want
    He's everything you need
    He's everything inside of you
    That you wish you could be
    He says all the right things
    At exactly the right time
    But he means nothing to you
    And you don't know why


    I mean, that’s the gist really. My Aidan is the only guy that has absolutely loved and adored me and was not a train wreck; the only guy without glaring red flags that a relationship with him would end up in misery. He was cute, he loved Jesus, he was a gentleman, he was funny and well liked by everyone. The only thing he wasn’t was a challenge and because I was young, dumb, and stuck on stupid, I broke his heart and left him for my Big; a guy that could never be truthfully honest about how he felt about me until I threatened to move away. Does this sound familiar?  Unlike Carrie, I moved away and never looked back.  Best decision of my life.

    The dream I had about Aidan last night was very similar to a dream I had not too long ago where I was dating someone that I was too busy for. In the past, I used to use the excuse of being too busy because I was scared of relationships. In the dream last night, I was constantly on my phone while Aidan was fixing things for me, installing things, and looking annoyed as he waited for me to get off of my phone so I could talk to him. In my dream he was married but didn’t have a ring on. I have no idea what that was about. What I do know is that I woke up, looked at my clock which said 5:30 am and rolled right back over. Normally if I have a dream I try to journal about it and pray to get some clarity but I had no desire to talk about Aidan at all. I’m not about to sit up here and drag up memories about another woman’s husband. “I need to get these feelings off of me” I thought, sitting up and then falling to the other side of the bed to get back under the covers. “This is not fair and it’s not right.” I then prayed for him, his family and his marriage. Perhaps that’s why I had the dream, I thought. I hadn’t thought about him in quite some time so maybe he needed prayer. I haven’t talked to him in ages and really didn’t know what was going on with him so what did I do? I went to my phone and did what everyone from the FBI to my internet spy of a father does to find dirt on someone: I looked him up on Facebook.

    “Oh my God I know he is the best dad ever!” I thought as I saw him with his children. He was always so goofy. I know he is an incredible father. And his wife is as precious as I remember. As I looked through the pictures I remembered my mom saying that she saw him and his wife out at dinner. He asked if I was married yet and was surprised to hear that I wasn’t. “S&*#! “ I swore as I got out of bed to wash my deep conditioner out of my hair. “I need to do something about that. Wait…” And then it dawned on me: why was I so upset that he would ask that and I am still not married? This isn’t a race! My being married by now is not a statement saying “Well we weren’t meant to be but at least we each found someone.” It also wasn’t proof that I made a mistake because truth be told, it wasn’t until my late 20’s did I realize that I never wanted kids and he now has four. I am fine! Why am I trippin’?

    Because dreams suck that’s why. They can dig up emotions against your will. In no way did I want to wake up remembering how it felt to be in the arms of someone who is now another woman’s husband ESPECIALLY when it has been a long time since on the other side of dream land that I have been in the arms of too much anyone else. Uh uh. Maybe these dreams have been warnings that if I don’t manage my time better and stop using the excuse of being too busy as I have in the past that I may pass up another really good guy. This is not a lesson that I want to learn again. I am pretty sure I got it the first time.

    No, I didn’t add Aidan on Facebook. I don’t really intend to. Not now anyway. I’m still trying to figure this whole dream out and why it has upset me so much. There is one thing I am sure of though and that is I am on the right track.   It is obvious that the life I have now is the one I am supposed to have.  Losing a great guy because I was chasing after the wrong guy was a lesson that I needed to learn. Although he is a great guy  he wasn't supposed to end up being MY guy. A good thing at the wrong time will always wind up to be the wrong thing.   I don’t mind waiting because I have learned this year like never before that there can be peace in patience. I guess hearing Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want” right now isn’t so awful after all:

    But you'll just sit tight
    And watch it unwind
    It's only what you're asking for
    And you'll be just fine
    With all of your time
    It's only what you're waiting for

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Almost Doesn't Count: Toya's Natural Hair Journey Continues

    Like just about everyone woman who is serious about her hair, I seem to always be on the quest for the right combination of products to get my hair how I like it.  I am queen of the hair cocktail: I have something for curl definition, something to make my hair slippery, something for hold, something for moisture... It was just getting to be too much.   After watching numerous Youtube reviews and reading reviews on   (which has been invaluable to my transition) I decided that on my next Friday Rodriguez (that’s what I call payday. The only thing I love more than Adam Rodriguez is a Friday payday) I was going to give Kinky Curly’s highly recommended Knot Today and Curling Custard a shot.  I really, really, REALLY wanted Kinky Curly products to work on my hair. I know they’re relatively expensive but the thought of only using two products on my hair just sounded so right to me! 

    Okay is it just me or do I look like Ola Ray from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video?

    Forgive my greasiness in this photo.  I just came home from a night out. This pic was taken on day 1 of my using Kinky Curly. I loved my hair that night! That curl was serious! Now I don’t mind a little crunch when it comes to my hair because curl definition is what is most important to me. I love my ringlets.  I used the Kinky Curly Knot Today first and then went back through with the Curling Custard and then let it air dry.  I could definitely tell a difference in my hair.  It didn’t feel as weighed down as usual. Because I had great shine and there was a little oil at the touch, I thought that all I was going to revive my curls was a spritz of leave in conditioner and olive oil the next day. Yeeeaaaah, that did NOT happen.  I went to bed looking like Rebbie Jackson and woke up looking like Jermaine Jackson.

    Seriously, it looked like that on the sides and everything.  I really wanted this to work.  My hair was so dry and matted.  I spritzed my leave in on my hair and just couldn’t get the curls I loved the night before.  Another thing, and I was warned about this on numerous sites, Kinky Curly does not play well with others. What I mean is let’s say you have a favorite moisturizer and are thinking “Well I will just fix this with this over here.” Uh uh.  My hair turned white and was not having it when I tried my trusty Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie with it.  It’s either Kinky Curly with some olive oil at the most or nothing at all.
    *Sigh* I almost had it. The perfect product combination.

    I went back to Natural Curly to research how to get good 2nd day hair and saw that Kinky Curly’s Spiral Spritz was a good refresher. Now let me just tally this up for yall:

    Kinky Curly Curling Custard at $17 + Kinky Curly Knot Today- at $12 + Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz at $12= $41. This was not how I was trying to spend my Friday Rodriguez.

    *In thick Puerto Rican accent* Have you seen my Toya & her beautiful curls?  Where have they gone? So sad. So sad.
    I washed and rewashed and after a week my $12 bottle of Knot Today was completely gone and my Curling Custard which does not play nice with anything else I have is pretty depleted and just sitting on my dresser. After washing my hair to use some other new products, I noticed that my hair is a lot drier and is not the same as it was before I used Kinky Curly. It’s not that these are bad products. These products just aren’t for my hair is all. My hair needs a whole lot more moisture. My hair doesn’t need gel like substances. My hair needs some thick creams. My hair darn near needs Crisco.

    I had some Design Essentials Curl Defining Gel left that I used today after I co-washed with Twisted Sista Urban Therapy De-Frizz Conditioner. Now if you aren’t familiar with Design Essentials Defining Creme Gel, you may be thinking “Didn’t this fool just say her hair needs Crisco?” Their gel is a dense cream that looks, feels and smells like cake batter. I almost caught a case one day when a brotha ran up on me and started sniffing my hair like crazy. I separated my hair and used that with a little bit of Eco Styler Argan Gel which is under $3. Everywhere I read, women are saying that Eco Styler with Olive Oil is the truth but don’t sleep. The Argan Gel one is more moisturizing in my opinion. It reminds me of Queen Helene’s Cholesterol Conditioning Gel which is really good but hard to find. I fear that it has been discontinued.

    I am going to give this new concoction a few days before I write about if it holds during the week or not. Have there been any products that you have used on your hair that you had high hopes for but wound up being disappointed?
    Heaven- Toya

    Sunday morning I arrived at church late only to be reminded that the first Sunday of the month is always the longest Sunday. We do baby dedications, baptisms, AND communion. Needless to say, I was relieved that even though I missed a good amount of service, it wasn’t as much as I originally thought. Never one to be extremely moved by baby dedications (or babies for that matter), I did something that some may consider to be sacrilege: I checked Twitter during church service. I will never, ever, do that again.

    While scrolling Twitter I saw a tweet from a friend that said that Maurice, a mutual friend of ours, had been missing since Friday. The tweet had a link to a picture of him. I said Maurice’s name in my head about five times as if there was no way he was talking about the one I knew. When the link opened up and his familiar smiling face was revealed, my body froze immediately.

    “Why is Maurice missing?!” I yelled as soon as Lici picked up when I called her. “I don’t know but I’m freaking out.” Lici sounded completely worn out. Maurice was a buddy of mine but he was a brother, a pastor, a mentor, and somewhat of a comedic nemesis to her. They were both notorious for their banter of fighting back and forth seeing who could zing the other the best. The last she had heard, he was last heard from on Friday. He was supposed to be at the airport to perform in a show on Sunday morning but never showed. This was completely against normal behavior. His car was later discovered but there was no trace of him. I really didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t sure if I should’ve been thinking anything at all. It was my first day to co-host a new radio podcast and I knew that if I didn’t just pray and try my best to let it go, I wasn’t going to make it.

    The next few hours were a daze as I ran errands. I called the host and producer of the show and let him know that if I was to receive any unpleasant news prior to recording, I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to record. I assured him that once I arrived at the studio that I was going to turn my phone completely off so that I could stay focused. He kindly let me know that no matter what happened I had everyone’s support. Then in true Toya fashion, I went and got myself a consolation cupcake and went for a drive. I remembered that just last week I was in the shower praying that every last one of my friends would do what they were created to do. In the bible it says "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed".  My prayer was no longer for a long life but a purposeful one. I prayed for everyone's safety and direction.  I prayed to no longer be worried that things like this would happen to the ones I love. “God if the worst has happened, I know that by sheer definition that you are good. But let me say this: if someone did something to him, how am I supposed to feel protected? I’m supposed to believe that we are safe; that grace and mercy follow us. Who would do something awful to Maurice?  I’m not quite sure how we are going to be if this is what it sounds like. You owe me no explanation but things will be different.”

    I went and recorded the show which went rather well but refused to check my phone. I got home and started reading in my bed when suddenly I felt a peace. A peace that said that I could handle what the truth turned out to be: Maurice was no longer with us. I checked Twitter to find that he had suffered a heart attack and was found deceased. I was more relieved at that moment than I had been the entire day knowing only that he was missing.

    Maurice was a very kind man with an incredible sense of humor. He had a calming spirit about him that when you were around him and even after you left his presence, you just felt at peace. A gospel singer, he loved God with all his heart and worked as a backup singer for Wynona Judd for some time. He was known and loved by so many. Maurice was also a pastor at one point and had ministered to countless people. Knowing this, and this may sound really odd, my relief began to turn to happiness once I knew the truth. Maurice was, actually Maurice IS, just fine.

    “I’m sorry about your friend, sweetie” my mom said when she called a few minutes after I texted her the outcome. “Oh he’s fine. He’s just not here is all. But at least he’s ok.” I said nonchalantly. I truly felt that. Clearly he’s not in danger. He’s more than fine. Everything he was concerned about the last time we talked is null and void now. He’s free. To me he was good and safe. Yeah, my stages of grief are a little odd to say the least. I watched his story on the news and thought to myself “Maurice, you are on the freaking news! Are you serious? YOU!”

    Yet today, three days later, the sadness has started to set in. I can’t believe I will never see him on earth again. He was always around and now he’s not and never will be. It hurts and it’s hard. I accept it but it’s just hard to understand. And just when I start to get sad, I see his face and start to smile. I think about how happy he must have been when he got to heaven and while it's hard on the rest of us, it makes me happy for him. I know it’s something he anticipated and thought about because he wrote this song about it. This is him singing "Heaven".

    If I could send a card to him in heaven it would say this: You lucky duck. LOL! Now trust I am not trying to join you soon but I am a little envious that where you are you have no more worries and no more fear. I hate that this is so final but it’s good to know that where you are, you are not laughing to keep from crying. You’re not smiling on the outside while you are struggling on the inside. You are truly free. I love you Maurice and I’m glad that we got to share our lives together.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Happy Birthday Prince!

    Confession: Prince is the only man, THE ONLY MAN, that could say some stuff to me that I would sooner spray somebody in the face with mase in broad daylight over.  That scream at 4:31 is the reason why it is not safe to watch Prince videos at work.  For a split second I feared that I was going to lose my mind and take my top off. I need this job!  Anyway, here are my top 10 favorite Prince songs of all time (revised from last year):

    1. When 2 R In Love- Lord please let me future husband be a Prince fan because this song right here is necessary.
    2. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker- There is a part in this song, about the second verse, that I rewind at least 6 times whenever I listen to it. This song is all around clever.
    3. Crazy U- I think this song is less than 3 minutes long. It's very sweet.
    4. Housequake- I was having a not so hot day a few days ago and Michael Baisden played it out the blue. No warning, nothing. I have no idea what I was upset about. I don't even want to know how I looked to the people driving around me cause I went absolutely nuts.
    5. Adore- Obviously.
    6. Pop Life- I remember almost running up and smacking a DJ upside the head for playing this one night. This song is always on time.
    7. Lady Cab Driver- Ok I know the end is a bit umm...questionable. But the rest of it is funky!
    8. Girls and Boys- Under the Cherry Moon may be one of the worst movies ever made (Wrecka Stow) but it yielded some of my favorite songs. This is one of them.
    9. Anotherloverholeinyahead- Another song off of Under the Cherry Moon that I love.
    10. Slow Love- Refer to #1

    Honorable mention: Untitled (How Does It Feel) -D'Angelo and Until the End of Time by Justin Timberlake. The best songs Prince never wrote.

    Those are my ten! What are yours?- Toya

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    How can I NOT watch "Takers" - Tia

    I was flipping through the stations and Takers was on. How was I NOT supposed to watch it with these guys in it?

    Seriously....How? It's 2 hours of eye candy. Besides these three, little man-man T.I. (who is so small but so cute to me), Breezy and Hayden "I can't really act or portray any emotion other than angst but I'm pretty so they let me slide" Christensen.  OH and Johnathon Schaech (PLEASE watch "How to Make an American Quilt " if you're not yet feeling Johnathon.)

    This movie is riddled with bullets and beauty. I need to go ahead and buy it, so that I may drool over the non-stop pretty whenever I feel like it.
    Timer - Tia

    I have been single for a really long time. There are moments when my singlehood astounds me. I'm a nice girl. Fairly attractive. I don't spit when I talk. I've got a good job. (I don't really like my job but I have one and it pays well.) And I'm endearingly geeky. So by the world's standards I should probably be booed up by now. But relationships aren't something you can make happen. And when you do they usually don't end really well.

    One of my friends recently confided in me that he knew the moment he should have broken up with his now ex-wife. (At the time she was just his girlfriend.)  But he stayed with her for a myriad of wrong reasons. One of which was not wanting to be lonely. And I have seen countless relationships that you know aren't going to work because the people just aren't compatible enough. (FYI, if the person you're with doesn't believe in you, your dreams for yourself or your God, it's not going to work.)

    I recently watched a movie called "TiMER" on Netflix.
    In what appears to be present day, a timer has been invented that will tell you the exact day you'll meet your soulmate. (Yes, you will have to suspend disbelief to watch this movie.) Unfortunately for the main character, Oona, her soulmate has not had a timer implanted so hers simply blinks. Looking down the barrel of 30 (I could only laugh at this...really...JUST 30???) she begins to wonder if she will ever meet her One.

    I won't ruin it for you as I truly believe that this is movie worth watching. It's not a perfect movie and there things outside of the timers that I found a little implausible but overall I was really enjoyed it and the movie's premise called into question the way I view the timing of relationships and what I'm doing in the interim.

    I fully expected to be married with kids by now. I also expected to be a doctor by now but that's neither here nor there. I realize that had I married the guy that I was dating when I left college I would probably be in jail right now for murder.  So it's a good thing that didn't pan out. But as the days tick by and I watch my friends from college have baby number 4 (In case you're wondering 2 will be sufficient for me. Once you have more than 2 you're outnumbered and you're constantly running a zone defense in parenting.) and as I watch other friends try out the newest boyfriend/girlfriend I can't help but wonder if there's something wrong with me. How is it that my friends can run through new significant others and I don't even get asked out on dates?

    Now mind you, I've experienced and seen my fair share of heart ache and crazy. So if being alone means that I can avoid "Crying Game" shower sessions and blocked calls/emails and restraining orders then I'll be okay over here by myself for now. But I'd be all kinds of lying if I said I would be okay with being single for the rest of my life. There are things that I've dreamed of doing with my husband that I can't let go of. (And no, dirty minds, they're not all sex things.) The thing is, after watching "TiMER" I realized that there were parts of my life that I'd put on hold because I didn't want to do them alone.

    For instance, I want to do some personal traveling. I travel on an almost weekly basis for my job. So I know what traveling alone feels like. And I know I don't care for it. But I have wanted to go back to Italy, Puerto Rico (MY GOD...I love Puerto Ricans), Australia for years. I've never been to Spain, Japan, or Canada and I want to go. But because I don't have anyone to go to those places with my passport sits expired on my dresser.

    If I'm being honest, I've been using the excuse of not having someone to do things with a lot more than I should. So I have to learn to balance the waiting with action. While I can no more make a relationship happen in my life than I can cause the sun to stop shining, I can expand my circle of friends and hopefully in the process find people with similar interests who will want to go to things like Comic Con and places like Italy.

    And if any of you dear readers, want to email me info about the best restaurants, churches or shopping spots in your city or country *coughEnglandcough* feel free to hit up the comments section or the BGLU inbox. I'm always up for a good (non-crazy, non-clingy) penpal.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    A Few Of My Favorite Things - Tia
    It's a slow night for me. It's stupid hot here. And since I spent the earlier part of the day outside I figured I would stay in and write about stuff I like. Since Oprah is off of the air, my favorite things will have to suffice. 

    OPI Shatter
    I'm really hard on my hands. I'm not sure how or why. But if I get a manicure it's usually chipped the next day. So I'm not really a big nail polish person. At least I wasn't until I discovered Shatter. Now I do my nails on a pretty frequent basis. 

    Shatter is so fun. I have done my nails about 6 different colors in the past 4 weeks. That's a lot for me as I am pretty low maintenance. (Honestly, I shop at Target and skip make-up in the summer. I'm no one's fashionista.) I think because I have four different colors of Shatter I feel compelled to do my nails more often. I will say that the black has the best shatter effect. The red is pretty good also. I was underwhelmed by the white but it wasn't too bad. The silver hardly cracked at all but it'll do. 

    There are some other brands that have a "shatter" effect but I haven't tried them yet. If anyone has tried them let me know how well they work. 

    Here's a link to a demo in case you want to see it before you buy it. 

    The Killing
    I have to admit that I was brainwashed into washing "The Killing". AMC played the commercials incessantly. If I remember correctly, they started playing them during "The Walking Dead" months before. So I found myself watching it the night of the premier. Thankfully it is REALLY good. Every week I find myself tuning to get just the smallest nugget of information about who killed Rosie Larsen. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention one of my favorite things about the show: Joel Kinnaman. 

    My Lord and My God. This man takes me through it EVERY, SINGLE WEEK! He's that dirty kind of hot. The kind of hot that would make out with you but hold onto to his beer the whole time. His character is vegetarian who eats maple bacon doughnuts and a former addict. He's a bit complicated to say the least. And just when you think he's a total jerk he shows you a side of him that makes him more endearing. I love him in a special way. 

    A friend of mine sent me the video below of Joel speaking about education in his native Swedish. Yeah...we can add Sweden to the list of the places I want to visit. 

    PSYCH - Season 5
    Psych is hands down one of my favorite shows of all time. I DVR it religiously and won't erase it until the season I have on DVR comes out on DVD. My DVR can be 99% full and Psych stays. 

    Season 5 just came out on Tuesday. I have not done much this evening but watch old episodes. I mean, how can I NOT love a show that had Boyz II Men sing their theme song? Plus Dule Hill and James Roday are so cute. 

    The Hunger Games
    Once again, I'm late on the current must read. I did the same thing with "Twilight." I had never heard of the The Hunger Games Trilogy until a couple of weeks ago when I saw something about it on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. But I had a couple of people tell me I HAD to read them. So I picked up the first book yesterday. I started reading it and was up until 2 this morning. I can not put it down. If you have any sort of inner geek and like stories with strong female characters, you'll love "The Hunger Games."

    What are you watching/reading/painting/doing? Hit us up in the comments section and weigh in. 

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Voulez Vous Francais Si Vouz Plais Parfait and YES LORD!!!: Bradley Cooper Interviews in France to Promote "Very Bad Trip 2"- Toya

    I don't know a lick of French. They could've just spent that whole segment talking about ham and cheese croissants. What I do know however is that Bradley Cooper is a bad,bad man and for this we bless God.