Friday, July 29, 2011

Fun Music Friday- "Keep On Walkin'"- CeCe Peniston



1. How cute was CeCe Peniston?
2. I know Zumba is all the rage now but can I get a class that strictly teaches choreography from 90's dance videos?
3. Recognize any familiar faces in this video?

Have a great weekend yall!-Toya

And Now Today's Message from Minister John Mayer- Toya

This picture in itself is doing the work of an evangelist because it is ministering tears of laughter right now.

What I love about lyrics and written words like the Bible is that you can read or hear something over and over again and get something different from time to time. Today has been A DAY. Actually these past 3 years have been A DAY.  And on most days I need a soundtrack and most days that is some sort of John Mayer record.  Today I couldn’t seem to get off  the song “Wheel” and this lyric:

“You can’t build a house of leaves and live like it’s an evergreen .” -From the Book of Heavier Things Track 10: Verse 2

Two things about Evergreens: 1) God created them. 2) He created them to last year round. 

What I take this to mean (and mind you this is just my interpretation maybe because of where I am in life) is you can’t take a bunch of dead stuff that is past its season and try to make it look like something that was built to last year round. A lot of times we do this with friends, failed efforts, relationships. Some things and some people weren’t meant to last past a season.
  
“It’s just a season thing. It’s just this thing that seasons do.”

Church, touch your neighbor and say "seasons".

Sorry I got a little carried away and thought I was actually in church for a second. But for real, how do we look like trying to pile a bunch of leaves and saying to God "I know you got the tree game on lock and You make everything perfect in its time but doesn't this look like an evergreen? Can't I just use this?  Doesn't this look just like Your tree?" My point is it takes a lot of futile effort for us to try to create and make things happen in our time that can't compare with what God will bring about in its perfect time effortlessly. And what He makes last.  You just have to wait your turn.  


"I believe that my life's gonna see
The love I give return to me"

I almost got my check book out. Do they have John Mayer tithe envelopes on his site?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BGLU is FINALLY on Facebook!

Ok yall, we are currently in the process of getting ready to relaunch BGLU's website very soon and we are so excited.  A number of you have been reading this blog for a really long time and we appreciate every time you give us feedback. So much so that now we finally have a Facebook page where we will be able to update you and interact with you more often.  We'd love for you to join it, say hey, tell us where you're from, etc. In the words of my goddaughter, that would look like awesome.

Click the pic below and we'll see you on Facebook

Black Girls Like Us

Promote Your Page Too

Black Girls Like Us Is on Spotify!- Toya

I'm working. I swear I am.  However, being as though I am a former DJ and Spotify allows you to make playlists, my mind will not stop racing because now BGLU is on Spotify!!!! So today I started making these playlists:

1. We Miss Amy Winehouse- features Frank, Back to Black, live cuts, and some house mixes that I am salty I never knew existed.
2. Past BGLU You Should Know Artists- You remember when we hipped you to Adele waaaaaaaay back in the day? On this playlist you will see some other artists that we put you on to before everyone else got hip.
3. For the Love of Boy Bands- You already know: New Kids on the Block, New Edition, Hi-Five, *Nsync and some others.

If you are on Spotify, please click on the badge below.

Follow me on Spotify

We'd love to be friends with you and exchange playlist with you as well.  If you aren't yet on Spotify and you'd like an invitation (we so wish we had them to give to you guys), go to www.spotify.com and enter your email address. 

Have any playlists ideas? Let us know!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gone Too Soon: Amy Winehouse



Just last Wednesday I put on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album because it had been too long since I played it.  I was in a mood to listen to some female singers that day (even pulled out Karyn White too strangely enough).  I remember loving this album because well, it was an ALBUM. It was a perfectly rounded seamless body of work.  The emotion was raw and real and the girl SANG.  There’s a spot in “Me and Mr. Jones” that I always rewind over and over and over again because I just love her delivery on it.  I remember keeping “Tears Dry on Their Own” on repeat for afternoons on end while trying to get through my own heartbreak.  Because I’m in much happier times and didn’t want to relive those emotions, I opted to skip that track when it came on.  Still, it lyrically expressed my emotions during that time in ways I could never express:

Roxanne Shante: “Amy’s Album got me thru 1 of the worst times of my life I told her that & her reply was I wish it would get me thru mine =(”

I often defend entertainers when people go on the judgmental war path of “How could someone have that much money, that much fame, and that much potential and throw it all away?” Those things don’t heal character flaws. They only exacerbate root issues. If someone is a substance abuser to cope with everyday life pressures, how much more dependent on drugs do you think they are going to be with the added pressure of being famous and trying to stay famous?  There’s no preparation for that kind of success unfortunately; no training class, no artist bootcamp.  If you’re not careful of the company you keep before you are famous, you surely are not going to do it when people are coming out of the woodworks trying to claim themselves as your friend- the same goes for if you make bad choices in men before you become famous.  Also keep in mind that record labels aren’t really concerned about you growing as a person.  Why some of the best records come from struggle and pain.  Just sayin’.  I hate to say it but much like I would take Mary J’s My Life record over her recent work, I’d take Back to Black over Frank any day of the week.  As Shante said, these records help us get through our worst times. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t have the same effect on the artist that pours their sorrow into it.

Oh Amy.

And for those saying “Well we knew this was coming” Did you really? Are you really that omniscient? If so, do you have a word of knowledge on how Keith Richards is still here because I’d just love to hear it. What about Courtney Love? Still here.  Whitney Houston? Still here.  Natalie Cole who put the Grammy Association on BLAST for giving Amy Winehouse a Grammy in the first place for “Rehab” because as a former addict, she felt it gave the wrong message? Still here.  There are numerous stories of drug addicts who were knocking on death’s door but managed to come back.  I really hate that Amy Winehouse couldn’t.

I’ve been reading some articles from the UK press and this thing she had going on with her ex-husband Blake Fielders-Civil is the hottest mess.  Fielders, who admittedly introduced Winehouse to drugs, is currently behind bars on a robbery charge and they claim he is on suicide watch.  His mother, his baby’s mama, and allegedly a transsexual that claims to have dated him after they split up (wait, what?) have all said that they were soulmates who remained in contact with each other daily while he’s been in jail.  They’ve been divorced for about two years and just couldn’t seem to shake one another.  Amy Winehouse is not the first entertainer to jeopardize her life and career because of heartbreak and being involved with the wrong man (would I be messy if I mentioned that while writing this that I found out that "someone" just gave birth to her six child? Okay, I won't then.). As I think about the choices some of my friends (and myself in the past) have made that make me shudder in regards to the same thing, I believe I’ve become more compassionate.  The reason being at the end of the day we all have this in common:

1) Everyone wants to be happy.
2) No one wants to be lonely.

Some of the worse decisions known to man have been made based on those two desires which are no respecter of person, famous or not.

I really, really hate that this has happened.

I very selfishly hate that we didn’t get at least three more albums from her because that voice is irreplaceable.

I really hope that she is the last member of what has been named The 27 Club.

May God bless and keep her family and friends. Even Blake because like I said everyone wants to be happy and no one wants to be lonely.

If you haven’t read Russell Brand’s tribute to Amy Winehouse and his view on addiction, I strongly suggest you do regardless of how you feel about Amy Winehouse (or Russell Brand for that matter).  I am willing to bet that everyone knows an addict so if you do, I highly recommend it.- Toya
 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fun Music Friday- "When My Homies Call"- Tupac

Happy Birthday Tia!!!!




Today's Fun Friday dedication goes out to my best friend, the homiest of homies and co-author of this blog, Tia.  My hormones are on 10 so I won't go into how much she means to me.  I've shared the best and hardest years of my life with her so far and I wouldn't have it any other way. God knew that she is who I would need to get by.

Umm...I think something just flew into my eye.*blinks back tears* Happy birthday Tia!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

THIS.

From http://shop.holstee.com/

If I could sum up the reasons I have done everything from going back to natural hair, starting the Quitter challenge and writing more this year to wearing bright red lipstick and trying to get into television, it would be every statement in this picture.- Toya

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My New Favorite Thing: Spotify - Tia


I swore I wasn't signing up for anything else after Google+. I can barely keep up with the social media tools I'm already using. Facebook, two Twitter accounts (@TiaBGLU), Blogger. Google+. I still have a Myspace. It's too much. So after getting invited to Google+, I decided that I was more than connected and wouldn't sign up for anything else.

Okay this time for real...after Spotify I'm not singing up for anything else.

Spotify is everything that I love. I'm a music junkie. My dream job is to write for Rolling Stone. So (almost) limitless songs choices is on the cusp of being more than I can handle. I read about Spotify a few months back in Time/NewsWeek/Whatever that magazine was that someone left in the seat pocket on the plane. The premise is simple enough. Think of a song. Type it in. Listen to it. Yeah. That's pretty much it. After reading the article, I was genuinely excited about music again.



So far I haven't run into too many songs that I can't find. There have been the obscure searches that have returned no results. And apparently there are some albums that Spotify does not have licensing clearance for so they can't be played. But overall, if you can think up the song, you can play it on Spotify.

The last few days have been a smorgasbord of the most random songs that I can think of. I think of a song which makes me think of another song which...well you get the picture. You can also build playlists that can be saved and shared via your various social network accounts like Twitter and Facebook. I'm sure everyone I know is sick of me posting songs to my Facebook page. But I get giddy and feel like everyone wants to hear about Amos Lee's new album. (Which is a must listen.)

Toya asked me how Spotify compares to Rhapsody. I really don't know. I haven't used Rhapsody for some time and don't know much about it save for the fact that if memory serves the songs you purchase from there can no longer be played once you stop paying for your subscription. So you're basically renting the songs...Is that right? Someone correct me if I have erroneous information.

Anyway, until now I've been an iTunes girl. And as far as I've been able to tell you can't purchase songs from Spotify. So while it has already become my primary mode for listening to music, iTunes will still get my money for songs in the long run.

There are time limits for the free accounts but so far I haven't been able to figure out what they are. There are paid options that allow limitless, ad-free streaming. As quickly as I'm becoming addicted to this, I fear that I will have to switch to a subscription soon.

At the moment the only way to get a Spotify account is through an invite directly from them or getting a paid subscription. Earlier in the week there were a couple of sites that were offering Spotify codes, but as of this posting they're no longer being offered. Though I'm sure the ever intrepid reader can find a hack or code somewhere.

I'm not sure of the timeline for receiving an invite once you've submitted your email address. But since Spotify has been trending for days now, I'm sure it won't be too much longer. So if you're one of the many who is waiting, hang in there. I promise it will be worth the wait.

So THIS Happened: Rupert Murdoch's Wife is Ride or Die


  
I keep hearing about this whole Rupert Murdoch ordeal with him getting hit with a shaving cream pie but what they NEED to publicize is how his wife got up and over somebody to put the smack down on the guy that hit him with the pie! She is my hero!  Did you hear that smack? I aint mad at her.  I don't know too much about this whole situation and for all I know dude could be 100% guilty.  What I do know is regardless, stay down for your man.  I applaud her efforts.- Toya

So THIS Happened- Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon "The History of Rap, Part 2"

Confession: I woke up in a foul mood this morning and two things have already made me feel better: the announcement that the Tribe Called Quest documentary is coming to Nashville and that Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon performed a part 2 to their History of Rap skit.  With *Nsync trending on Twitter yesterday you would've thought (or hoped) that some sort of reunion had happened. Not gonna lie to ya: unless *Nsync is as in shape as NKOTB right now, I'd take this over a reunion any day.



Things I'd like to point out about this video:
1. Jimmy Fallon is precious and almost got talked to after his part in NWA's "Express Yourself".  I was kinda feeling him.
2. Justin Timberlake doing the Ed Lover during "Let Me Clear My Throat" has covered a multitude of sins in my book.  Yall know he irks me sometimes but I'm almost willing to let bygones be bygones even if it's just for today.
3. One closeup shot of Black Thought would've blessed me. 
4. Shoutout to the dude in the audience with the neck brace gettin' it in at the end. Don't stop the rock.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So THIS Happened: Beyonce Flash Mob in Target Choreographed by Todrick Hall





Dance children!!! 

Confession: It is my absolute dream and borderline obsession to witness a flash mob.  There was actually a Fame flash mob at the Nashville Farmers Market on one of the few weekends I decided not to go and I was heartbroken.  An outbreak of well choreographed dancing happening all around me in public without a moments notice? My soul says yes.  I mean, I had a Fame lunchbox as a kid and desperately wanted to be Janet Jackson's replacement if she decided not to return to Fame as Chloe one season.  It's that serious.

I would have gone HAM SANDWICH if I would've seen this. Ever see those people that get their name called on Price is Right? Yeah, like that. The thing is there have been flash mobs in Nashville that I have found out about ahead of time and refused to go. I don't want to know about it ahead of time.  I just want it to happen like an Ally McBeal episode.  *Sigh* One day, one day.  Until then I will watch this repeatedly wishing I was there in that Target eating a soft pretzel. Don't tell me I'm the only one that will just go to Target for a soft pretzel. I'm just sayin'. - Toya

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quitter Challenge Chapter 2- Toya



This chapter could not have been timed more perfectly as it mentions two things that happened to me on Friday: office going away parties and personality tests. On the same day we were throwing a going away party for a fellow employee who has quit his job to head to NYC for grad school, my office was in PI (Predictive Index) training.  Have you ever applied for a job and had to take a multiple choice test that asked questions like “I am the type of person that can sit for hours at a time” or “I am a self starter”?  You know, those questions that feel like you’re being set up? Well we had a training class on how your answers are processed and it was quite interesting.  It was so involved that I can’t really get into it but I can say this: as he went into the 4 different types of people (A-D’s) and I discovered I was a High B, I almost threw myself onto the floor face down to cry violently. Something had become very apparent:

I am the wrong personality type for my job.

I am a receptionist, excuse me, Director of First Impressions, thank you very much. Yes  I am friendly, outgoing and love to work with people (According to the Myers-Briggs test I’m also a serious ENFP like Jon Acuff) but that doesn’t mean that this job is for me. I rarely get to actually interact with people.  Sometimes we have a steady stream of visitors, sometimes we don’t.  I can’t help but think that maybe knowing how to answer those questions in order to get the type of job I have is what went into my getting the job.  Then again, I thought I actually would welcome a job where I could indeed bear to sit for hours at a time. If I remember correctly, my thought process was that I was so busy being involved in various things outside of work that perhaps a job that wouldn’t require a lot of thought would be a much welcomed break. Maybe it would do me some good.

I think I’ve taken receptionist jobs all of my life because perhaps I am addicted to the side hustle. Perhaps I have also subconsciously bought into the lie that it’s too risky to do what you love for a living. I always said I wanted to but I don’t think I ever really had a plan to get there. Yeah I just discovered this while I am typing right now and I wish you could see the look of angst upon this self discovery.  I’ve heard that a goal without a plan is a dream.  I think I just stopped at dreaming because there is no risk in dreaming. I masked not being a risk taker by being busy all of the time, spinning in circles and not really going anywhere.  I’ve never had an actual plan.  Oh wow.  I think I need a minute. 

15 minutes later…

Whew! Okay so in Chapter 2 Jon Acuff talks about how we often ask the question “What do I want to do with my life” when actually the better question to ask and perhaps the easier one to answer is “What have I done in my life that I loved doing?”  Brilliant! It’s so much easier to work from that perspective! He takes you through a series of five questions which really help to bring some clarity. He also talks about “Hinge moments” which Tia and I will be doing a video blog about very soon. In short, hinge moments are those moments in life that give you an inclination of what you were purposed to do or in some cases not do.  I’ve had a number of hinge moments in my life that made me feel like I was doing something that I would even do for free. Like Jon, I’ve tried and quit numerous things (for instance I was the only person I knew who didn’t move to Nashville to get a record deal and actually wound up with one) but one thing has always been for sure: there has been an underlying thread that ran through every endeavor. I come alive when I know I am inspiring someone.  I live for the light bulb moments.  I love encouraging people. When I get excited about something new, I can’t hold it in.  I want everyone to know and get excited too.   

For example, one of my many jobs was being a counter manager of a cosmetics line (some of you remember my stories about that).  What I loved most about my job had nothing to do with cosmetics really.  What I loved was helping women discover their natural beauty and making it shine even more; to show them ways that they could just be a little more comfortable with who they were.   I remember having customers almost break down over blush and when we talked it out we both knew that the potential break down didn’t have a thing to do with blush.   Through skin care I wanted to help women take care of what they had, correct what they could, accept what they couldn’t and love themselves over all. And if we were able to get REALLY deep at the counter, I wanted to help them realize that they were uniquely and perfectly designed for a purpose.  If I could sum up what I would like to be said about my life, it would be that that is what I was able to do for others. 

So why on earth am I sitting here at a desk answering phones?

Because sometimes the best motivation is frustration. 

I am starting to think that writing this post may have just added another hinge moment to my list.

Quitter Challenge: Chapter 2 - Tia



We are the generation of "I'm, but." Chapter Two of "Quitter" begins with explaining the propensity that we have to describe ourselves as what we do versus what we'd like to do. For instance, "I'm a teacher, but want to be an artist." I immediately struggled with the concept because for the longest time I had no idea what my "but" was. Or at least I didn't think that I did.

I never had a back-up plan. From the time I was about 10 years old until late college I was going to be a doctor. Back-up plans were for people who couldn't commit to things. And as I was driven and focused, I did not have one. I took years of math and science in high school. I tortured myself with Botany, Chemistry and Physics in the same semester at college. I worked very hard. So during my junior year, when I literally walked out of my Physics final crying because I suddenly knew this was not the right path for me, I was a mess. I was lost and directionless. I had no fall back. I'd never seen myself as particularly good at anything other than math and science...and for a time writing (ding ding ding) It took me years...and I do mean YEARS to recover any semblance of dreams or goals I had outside of medicine. I was not an "I'm, but" because I felt I had no "I'm."

We think finding out what we want to do is going to be a revelation. - Pg 33
I tried everything. I read every "What Color is Your Parachute?" book there was out there. I was determined to figure out what I was good at as I'd never really thought about it before. At least that was my mindset. But looking back, I realized that there had been inklings and even grand moments when I'd known what I'd love and what I'd love to do.

Jon explains that for most of it's not that we don't have some kind of idea about what we would love to be doing. It's that somehow along the way we've forgotten what it is that we loved. The distractions of life, the fear of failure and numerous other things estrange us from our first love. When life gets full we put our dreams on hold. When things get rough, we push our goals to the side. Then the thing that was once so beloved to us becomes dusty, unseen and forgotten. It's so unfair.

The act of recovering your dream can be immensely overwhelming. But Jon raises a good point
You don't ask the bottomless, "What do I want to do with my life?" but instead, "What have I done in my life that I loved doing?" - Pg 40
I literally wrote "Thank God" on this page. While I've known this for some time now, it was nice to see in the print of a legitimate publication (not like Vogue or something) that not only was it okay to be overwhelmed by the prospect of figuring out what to do with my life but that finding the "dream" could be made a little easier than I thought it would be. I began to think about the things I did in the past. My life wasn't just studying weird science terms and learning the Pythagorean theorem. There were things that I did in the interim. There were moments when I knew I could be excellent at something other than cutting people open. "Quitter" calls them "hinge moments."

A hinge moment occurs when you're planning to do something standard and normal...And then something hinges you in a different direction. - Pg 44 (Apologies to Mr. Acuff for chopping down that paragraph so much. But I figured you wouldn't want me to plagiarize your entire book on the blog.)

Three hinge moments immediately came to mind as I read those words.
1. My 2nd grade teacher was a saint. After a horrible 1st grade experience with a teacher who was subsequently forced into early retirement, Ms. Clowe was just the kind of teacher I needed. Caring, kind, supportive. She renewed my passion for school and learning.

One afternoon she pulled me aside to encourage me to keep telling the stories (of the entertaining variety) and to keep doing well in English and Reading. She saw potential in me and took the time single me out to encourage the gifts in me that she already saw developing. Decades later that moment and that women still remain with me.

2. I sat with my feet dangling above the floor as I dug into the silver dollar pancakes that my dad made every Saturday. Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" video was playing on MTV (back when the "M" stood for music and not miscellaneous as it does today.) I was singing along as I normally did because my brain was a sponge for anything music related. My dad leaned across the kitchen island and asked, "Do you know what band he used to be in?" Before stuffing another bite of pancake in my mouth, I answered, "The Eagles." I remember the look of pride on my dad's face. I didn't know why my musical knowledge pleased him so. But I remember liking the idea that my love of music was something to be valued.

3. Death is not something that most of us deal with well. So when a friend was killed in a freak biking accident in 10th grade, I did the only thing I knew how to do: I wrote. I wrote about how much I would miss him. I wrote about how much potential he had. I wrote about how unfair it seemed that God chose to take him so soon. I wrote until I couldn't write any more. It was the only thing that made me feel better. My mother, ever supportive of my studies, but seemingly uninterested in my extracurricular activities, found my writings. I walked in on her reading my words, hand over her mouth, apparently quite moved by something I'd merely seen as cathartic. She looked me in my eyes when she finished reading and said, "Tia, you write beautifully."

While these "hinge moments" were fairly obvious, they're not always like that. There are several questions in the book that helped me identify other less apparent hinge moments for myself and for this blog. And while answering the questions may bring up a variety of pleasant hinge moments, Jon does offer a word of caution. Hinge moments should not be confused with happy moments. Although the hinge moments I listed were happy and I can now see how they reinforced the thing that I would love to do all day every day (in case you're new here, I want to write, particularly about music.) they're not always like that. Some of the questions that we have to ask ourselves when defining hinge moments may bring up times that weren't necessarily shiny, happy, unicorn filled moments. But sometimes those broken, painful parts of a hinge moment can help change our focus from what we thought we wanted to do to what we're ultimately supposed to do.

My Physics final breakdown was a hinge moment. The minute I laid that test on the desk I KNEW I couldn't commit the next 8 years of my life to school, lack of sleep and textbooks with more pages than an Los Angeles phone book. I was broken and shed tears for the time I'd spent chasing a dream that was not to be. But it had to happen that way. And thankfully it happened before I was several hundred thousand dollars in debt. (Hallelujah!) Good, bad, happy, painful, ultimately the hinge moments will swing you closer to pursuing what you love. (Pg 53)

Rediscovering the loves and passions of the past and the moments of reinforcement are key to becoming a "Quitter." But as Jon was nice enough to point out, "Anyone can dream; it's the doing that is such a hassle." - Pg 53.  Yeah...chapter 3 was AWESOME for my ego, my apathy, my incessant need for control/perfection. But more on that next week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Roundup - Tia


I did not see this coming. Of ALL of the the Hollywood couples I figured they (and Demi and Ashton) would be the ones to make it. - People

The last Harry Potter movie made a bazillion dollars over the weekend. As I saw it twice in three days, this information does not surprise me. - L.A. Times

Supposedly, there is a tablet coming out that will rival the iPad. Oh NOW they tell me. - Wall Street Journal

Daniel de Bourg is releasing a second mixtape on September 1st. Excessive swooning to begin in exactly 46 days. - DDB Facebook

At this point if you aren't making your own arraignments for your retirement and expecting the government to bail you out then you need help - Yahoo Finance

I swore I wasn't signing up for anything else after Google+. Then Spotify happened. I swear I'm not signing up for anything else after Spotify. - GeekSugar

Congratulations to the US Women's Soccer team. They played BRILLIANTLY. After the year Japan has had they probably needed the win a little more than we did. But there is NO shame in the performance that the USA! USA! gave. Well done ladies!! - ESPN

Further Confessions of a Single Girl - Tia


I have a confession to make: Today was a bit hard on my singleness. I struggle to even type that sentence. Mostly because my pride doesn't want to admit that I'm lonely. It seems so weak to admit that. It also makes me feel ungrateful. I have a good life. I have a job that pays my bills. I have friends who love me. I have supportive parents. I'm able bodied. (Something that I think we often take for granted until we're afflicted with something.) Frankly, God has more than blessed me. And I am very thankful.

To step back and look at my life is to see someone who is in a good place. So I guess that's the reason why admitting loneliness bothers me so. Something in me feels like I shouldn't take pause over wanting a significant other in my life. But that is my desire. And as much as I've tried to beat it into submission, it still manages to rear up and seemingly at the most inopportune times.

Take today for example. My schedule was supposed to go something like this: bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, additional birthday gathering. The overwhelming task of shopping for my BABY brother's pregnant girlfriend caused me to miss the bridal shower. And I must admit, I'm not all that sorry about that. I just wasn't in the mood for it to begin with. But the baby shower did not prove to be a bastion of safety for my loneliness either.

I arrived to find literally dozens of people at the shower. (Apparently my brother's girlfriend comes from a big family.) And, this is no exaggeration, with the exception of a handful of children and a couple of girls who looked to be about 19, I was the only person there who was unmarried and/or childless. Everyone and I do mean EVERYONE there was married and/or had baby/toddler/child in tow. For a brief shining moment, I thought one of the brothers of the girlfriend was single AND childless. But my balloon was dutifully punctured by a family member who stated that the brother was also expecting his first child.

Now PLEASE hear me: I am NOT even remotely ready to have a child. Five years ago, I would have told you something completely counter to that. But I don't know if it's the passage of time or maturity (two things that aren't necessarily the same) but the longer I go without children the more ill prepared I feel for them. I spent the better part of the morning shopping for baby stuff. It was overwhelming. It was tiring. It was EXPENSIVE. After today I am the proud captain of Team EmptyUtero. But something about the current lack of opportunity for children gnaws on the corners of my mind and plays evil tricks with my fears.

Fast forward several hours later and I find myself the 3rd wheel at a table of couples. A friend was in town for his birthday and I met up with he and his girlfriend. It was several minutes in that I realized that another one of our mutual friends was booed up with the new girl I didn't recognize. Also, in tow was the sister of one of the guys and her fiance. How did I get here?

While I didn't plan to, I suddenly became the odd girl out. And when the conversation briefly turned to if I was dating anyone, I inadvertently may have come across as the bitter single girl. I NEVER EVER want to be that girl. But the fatigue of the day was setting in as was the realization that I was the only one sans "Boo."

I welcomed the end of the evening and as I watched the couples disperse my thoughts turned to my recent dating life. I have been without crush, without dates and without boyfriend for a very, very long time. I don't know many single, straight men. (Is gay the new black in Nashville?) Most of the men in my age group are married with children. I wouldn't know where to begin to look for a date. And frankly, I don't feel that I should have to.

The only plausible explanation I can come up with is timing. I have to believe that it's simply not my time to be with someone. At least that is what I hold on to. Because otherwise, this extended singleness seems inexplicable.

But it's not so much the timing issue that bothers me. It's dealing the feelings in the interim. I don't know how to squash the feelings of being alone. I'm uncertain how to reconcile my feelings with my faith that there is a guy out there for me. I hate feeling alone when I know that there are so many people who genuinely love me that are just a phone call/car ride away. How is it that I feel that I miss someone I don't yet know?

My life is better than good. And I am fully aware that a boyfriend/husband will not fix everything. But that doesn't keep me from wanting one. So I guess the issue at hand is what to do with these feelings that cause me to randomly blog about singlehood at 1:30 in the morning. What's a girl to do? Normally I have a nice bow to tie up the post with. But at the moment, I'm really uncertain about what to do next. I will continue to work on being the best Tia that I can be. I will continue to my journey of faith in Christ. I will continue to foster every single thing that is cathartic and creative. And I guess I will continue to wait....and hope.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. - Hebrews 11:1

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun Music Friday- "Let the Beat Hit 'Em" Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam





Please be aware that if you are ever in any club with me and this song comes on, I will stop mid-conversation and bust out into a house dancing, disco spinning frenzy. Just let me be. 

Happy Friday!-Toya

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I. Am. Obsessed.: We Heart It.com- Toya




I absolutely LOVE photography. I am constantly inspired by photographs of funky people, vintage clothes, candid shots of entertainers, and other artistic randomness. I go gah gah over street style shots and can spend hours looking them up online trying to find things to inspire my own style.  So when I stumbled across the blog Le Coil, I was in funky street style photo heaven. It was from there that I discovered my latest obsession weheartit.com.

We Heart It is this rad (I've been saying rad a lot lately. Is it back? Like I care. Regardless, I'm bringing it back along with "the bees knees") website where you can "heart" online photos. I am often inspired by photography and was considering starting a Tumblr website of my own. With this site I can just collect photos as I see them on various websites! You add the Heart site to your Bookmark bar and when you see something you "heart" you click on the bar and then click on the photo. It then goes directly to your page.  You can also view a live stream of photos being added by other users and heart those as well.  A-mazing! As happy as I am that I found it, this has not helped me in stepping up to Jon Acuff's challenge in Quitter to be as focused on my 9-5 as I am pursuing my dream job.  It is a struggle trying to keep myself from spending hours on this website during the day but I've managed. 

To check out my page of photos I heart and am inspired by, go to www.weheartit.com/sushiandstrawberries.


 You can set up an account and follow myself and others.  If you decided to also become shamefully unproductive for hours on join this site, let me know and I'll be sure to follow you too. I'd love to see what you all heart as well.

This is Tia. I completely and utterly blame Toya for this. I hardly have enough time to introduce another obsession. Yet, here I sit. *sigh* I'm going back to work now. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I want to go to there: London - Tia


I would live in London...if it weren't for the weather. It is literally the one thing that keeps me from renouncing my citizenship, becoming an expat (yes, those are basically the same things) and moving to the country that was smart enough to avoid the Euro. (The £ continues to kick the butts of the other world currencies. Good call, UK...good call) I don't do well with consistent overcast days. Winter in the states is hard enough. So I couldn't imagine living under a constant cover of gray. But I don't exaggerate when I say it's the only thing that keeps me in the states.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is that makes me so enamored with the city. Of course the accents are a huge seller. While a life-long British man may neither notice nor appreciate the melody of his voice, I certainly do. 

Or maybe it's the different cultures. Adele sang, "I like it in the city when two worlds collide." While I know singing "two" was merely poetic license, the underlying idea was not lost on me. There are so many different kinds of, well, everything in London. From Trafalgar Square to Camden Lock, I know I spent more time people watching in London than I have anywhere else. 

And I love to wander. People who know me find it interesting that I'm not a planner when it comes to traveling. Maybe it's because I spend so much time trying to map out all of the details of my everyday. But the minute I hit foreign soil I could not care less about where the day takes me. Some of my best experiences have been when I've gotten lost from just letting my feet take me where they may. From the hot train station attendant at King's Cross to the school children playing in the garden in Notting Hill, (I had to be talked out of trying to take one of the kids. But he was just so cute in his little hat and knickers.) some of my favorite moments occurred when I didn't have a plan. 

I've been thinking of going back to London for the New Year. British Airways has fairly reasonable ticket prices for that time of year. And while the threat of really CRAP weather does make me hesitate a bit, the thought of being able to ring in the New Year with a  glass of champagne, surrounded by my favorite accents, in one of my favorite places on earth almost has me willing to throw caution to the bitter winter wind. Hmmm...we'll see. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quitter Challenge: Chapter 1 - Tia



First I'd like to extend a friendly challenge to Jon Acuff. I feel like I might be able to beat him getting through security at the Nashville, Columbus and Cleveland airports. (This challenge will make sense shortly.) 

I expected "Quitter" to begin differently. I was not expecting the first chapter to be entitled, "Don't Quit Your Day Job." (Insert whiney voice here) But why NOOOOOOTTTTT?????? Most days I loathe my day job. And because I have been doing it for so long I often feel that I have wasted valuable time doing something that not only am I just "okay" at doing but that I don't care about doing anyway. So to hear that I have to stick it out a bit longer was not what I expected. But even if Jon had started the book by saying, "Get up, walk to your boss' office, snatch the stapler and scream 'I Quit' on the way out" I couldn't have done it anyway. I have too many Dons. (More on that shortly) I seek practicality. I'm ever in search of a plan. I've never been flighty. I've always been responsible. As such, I probably wouldn't have read past page one if I'd been instructed to 86 my day job. 

But refreshingly, there is a plan. There is a distinct path to becoming a Quitter. (The oxymoronic-ness (I know that's not a word) is not lost on me.) And part of that plan is staying where you are. Even if staying means putting up with something you couldn't care less about. 

Jon tells the story of an awful, demanding boss he had named Donnie. Jon dreamed of leaving Donnie and all that he represented at this particular job behind. But the reality of it was, to leave one Don was to inherit another. And while the new Don may not be in the form of a person, it will surely come...usually in the form of your electric bill, credit card bill, grocery bill. You get the picture. While I may dream of quietly sending back all of my work equipment with a note that says, "Deuces", truth is I have too many Dons in my life to walk away from this job. So while writing may be my passion, until my passion can support me and I can kick some of these Dons to the curb, I must remain at my day job. 

Even though I wouldn't have heeded his advice, I desperately wanted Jon to begin his book with something like, "Pick a date. This is when you'll leave your day job." As I said before, I'm a planner. And I needed chapter one of "Quitter" to be my plan of ESCAPE. Imagine spending 70% of every month alone, maneuvering through airports, sleeping in hotels, reading about the ailing health of complete strangers and getting fat on $85/day per diems. Okay that's my life. So you can see why I want to leave. I long for the companionship of other writers. I dream about sitting in a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (of which there are exactly ZERO in Nashville *sigh*), with JazzFm playing softly in my headphones as I write about the new (insert artist here) album. But just because I want to leave my day job doesn't mean I should. And just leaving your day job will not ensure the fruition of your dream job. 

"Quitting a job doesn't jump start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed." - pg 24

While I may not love my job, I love my paycheck. I love being able to see the amounts for my various credit cards go down. I like getting my quarterly 401(k) statements. I enjoy having more than 3 numbers in front of the decimal point of my savings account. These securities that my day job currently afford me may not have been possible if I'd turned my back on responsibilities to wildly and blindly chase my dreams. Dreams take planning. Dreams take focus. So when Jon wrote: 

Want to learn how to be dedicated and focused on your dream? Practice being dedicated and focused at work - pg 24

my feelings were a little hurt but I began to see the merit in my day job. I realized that I needed to learn to be better than "okay" at my 9-5 job. I began to understand that for the moment my day job is the future financial backer of my dream job. And as such, I need to be a better steward of the job that I have in order to learn how to be a great steward of the job that I want. 

I've never bought into the lie that you have to be miserable on your job. I knew at 14 that corporate America wasn't my future. I was going to be a doctor because I loved people and science, scars and blood. (Judge me not.) But I let fear and poor financial planning tether me to a job that pays well and destroys my soul. (Jon, if you're reading this, I know I need to stop demonizing my job. I'm working on it.) However, as I delve further into "Quitter", I'm beginning to understand that chasing a dream can be planned. I don't have to be a mutually exclusive planner or dreamer. I can be both. (The dominate Type A portion of my personality just sighed with relief.) 

While my Monday - Friday may not be anything that I would have seen myself doing 10 years ago, I am now thoroughly convinced that it is right where I need to be. My current 9-5 is an integral part of my dreams. And while I see very few connections (chapter 4) between the day-to-day and the dream, I do have a new found appreciation for it. I know that some day soon I'll get to be a Quitter. 

About the airport challenge: Page 3 of the book finds Jon proclaiming that he's better than the reader at two things: quitting jobs and getting through airport security. While I have no doubt that Mr. Acuff is a better quitter than I am, I'm hesitant to believe that he can beat me through security. So few people can. But since pride comes before destruction (I didn't write that...it's biblical) and I could EASILY become prideful about my airport skills, and have in the past, I'm not going to push the matter too much. But if I see him at BNA (yes, I speak in 3 letter airport code) it's SO on. In a godly, Christian way of course. 
Quitter Challenge Monday: My Thoughts on Chapter 1- Toya



How about I start being a quitter right now and quit this book Quitter because I was REALLY hyped about leaving my job (as if I could right now)?  As a "look there goes a shiny thing, WAIT, there goes an even SHINIER thing" type person, I was looking forward to an exit strategy being mapped out in the first chapter. No such deal.  Quite the opposite actually.

"Despite the fact that quitting your job is the new American dream, it's usually the worst thing you can do right now. "


*Tiffany Green Face*
Jon Acuff makes a great point though (the stars, underlining and amens that mark up the first chapter in my book can attest that he makes several great points) of pointing out that we live in a different time and have a different mindset of generations past.  Our parents stayed at the same jobs for years.  You got a career and you stuck with it.  You got your gold watch and moved down south, retired, got old and moved into Shady Pines.  Having a dream is great but at some point you had to "grow up" and do something practical.  Growing up doesn't mean that you stop dreaming but I think a lot of us do forget about being practical about how we go about pursuing that dream.  Jon mentions that when you keep your day job while in pursuit of your dream job, you have the security of taking or leaving some opportunities that may not be beneficial for you.  If you don't keep your day job, you can get desperate and settle for some opportunities because you fear that they may be few and far between.  I've definitely been there.

If you're married and want to be a quitter or are married to one, then you definitely need to get this book as it explains about how to deal with your spouse giving you a side eye when they walk in the house and see you chillin' instead of pouring over a laptop looking for a job.  Although I'm not married, I remember how irresponsible I felt when I was laid off and would go do something enjoyable.  How could I be enjoying myself when I could be looking for work?  I can imagine that if I had a spouse that they could think the same thing.  Having a Quitter in a marriage can't be easy if a) two people aren't on the same page about it and/or b) The person that quit didn't take into account that "dreams take planning, purpose and progress" to succeed BEFORE you quit your day job.  I pray my husband is a Quitter BEFORE we get married because Lord help!

But the punch in the gut quote came right here: 

Want to learn how to be dedicated and focused on your dream?  Practice being dedicated and focused at work.

OUCH MY EYE!  Really? Is he just gonna write that paragraph with no cushion? No, "I say this in love" or even a passive aggressive "I'm just sayin' "?  I will say that moving forward I have been in a much better mood at work and I am really , REALLY trying to not, as he puts it, make my job an enemy of what I really want to do.  The job that I prayed 8 months for after being laid off is not a hater.  Although I may not see it, it is indeed a stepping stone to my next step of going from my day job to my dream job.  Either I can take the figurative seven days to get out of Egypt and move into the promised land or I can do it the hard way and take 40 years.  I'm now doing my best to follow the steps in this book and max out at 10 days at best. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekly Roundup - Tia


Wait...How am I just finding out that "The Famous Jett Jackson" is on "Rizzoli and Isles"? By the way, how old is he? Is it okay to have a crush on him now? - EW.com

SO VERY HAPPY that Adele is back. Glad my ticket isn't going to waste after all.


There's a new Torchwood series on Starz. This means something to some of you and nothing to the rest of you. - Starz

While Chord Overstreet's character on "Glee" generally gets a "Meh" from me, I was a bit perturbed when I read that he wasn't coming back next season. Not so much for him but for Amber Riley's character Mercedes. I mean EVERYONE else has had a significant other EXCEPT her. Can a sistah catch a break? Maybe - Sugarscape

Dear The South, They have dubbed us "The Diabetes Belt." We must do better - Times Free Press

Myspace...??? Myspace?..Nope. Doesn't ring a bell. - MTV

Victoria Beckham had a baby. Did she come out in Louboutins? - Access Hollywood

Beyonce made a video for "Best Thing I Never Had." That's great and all and I really do like it. But, um, when is the video for "Countdown" coming out? - YouTube

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My New Favorite Song - Tia

This video has come on VH1Soul twice since I started the last post about my nerd crushes. And after the second viewing I came to two conclusions: 

1. Algebra Blessett is one of the most GORGEOUS women you will ever see. And I DEFY anyone to say differently. 

2. I will be playing this at my wedding. 

Nerd Crushes - Tia


I read graphic novels. I want to go to ComicCon. I only believe in 3 of the 6 Star Wars (the ones with Harrison Ford), 2 Matrixes...Matrii??? (The second one skates by because of Neo's coat) and 1 Pirates of the Caribbean (the first one.) I STILL play Tetris with reckless abandon. (Thank you Facebook for giving me an unnecessary addiction.) And I whole-heartedly believe that Han shot first. (Google it.) I am now and will forever be a nerd. And you know what, I'm so fine with that.

So even though I, like most other heterosexual females, find pretty boy, eye-candy appealing, it should come as no surprise that I often prefer an average looking nerdy guy.

I have dated across the spectrum. I'm dated model looking guys. And I've dated nerdy guys whose friends didn't believe we were dating. I am equal opportunity across race, hotness and nerd-ness.

That being said, my current "celebrity" crushes are Moss and Roy from The IT Crowd.


I know...I know...If it helps, neither Richard Ayoade or Chris O'Dowd are as geeky in their real lives as they are on the show...or maybe they are...I'm in either way.


I L-O-V-E LOVE them. Geeky UK IT guys. How am I NOT supposed to love them? I stumbled upon the The IT Crowd on Netflix a while back. I proceeded to watch every episode repeatedly to the point when I know most of the dialogue for every episode. RIght around the time I think that I've grown tired of them, I'll find myself randomly giggling about something from the show and then decide to have a mini-marathon.

I will say that the show is British humour (the extra "U" makes it fancy) at its finest. And as such, I don't think it necessarily translates well in some instances. For instance, my favorite episode is not even remotely PC. And I don't know that a lot of America would find it as funny as I do. Nonetheless, I laugh HARD every single time I watch this episode. Roy and Moss are my long-standing geeky crushes. And should I ever run into either of them, I can't promise I won't have a complete fan girl moment. I'm not ashamed.



Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Roundup - Tia

Since we don't do a lot of posting over the weekends I figured I'd post a couple of things I bumped into on the interwebs recently to feel the void. Here are some things you may have missed over the last few days. 

Wait...H&M is going to carry Versace?!?!?! I guess I know where I'll be on November 17 because I NEED that black dress on the left. - via HuffPo

You know we are cheerleaders for foolishness here at BGLU. So Billboard's list of top 10 Worst National Anthems made me giggle with delight.  - via Billboard

Alex Clare's "Treading Water" has just enough of a dubstep feel to it to make me feel cool. (There's a bit of language in the song. But his vocals are the truth.) - via Youtube

While part of me wishes that I could go to an NKOTBSB after party, some of these pictures make me REALLY glad that I have never been. - via TMZ

I think "planking" is the dumbest thing that I've most recently seen. So you laid down in an inappropriate place...so what? Get up and read a book!!! - via Clutch 

I was seriously considering using my Amex points to get an iPad 2 for my birthday. But thanks to Steve Jobs knack for creating things with built in obsolescence, I may wait and get the new hotness in October. - via GeekSugar

Friday, July 1, 2011

This is What Happens When You're Finished Your Work,  Waiting to Get Sent Home Early for a 3 Day Weekend & Start Watching Reality TV Online-



Yall know I love me some Steve Harvey but tell me the guy from Beverly Hills Fabulous on VH1 doesn't look like him with a lace front weave? Seriously, if my boss doesn't "give us free" soon and let me go home, there will be more tomfoolery like this posted today. Pray for me.- Toya