Monday, April 30, 2012

Shadow Days - Tia

I really wanted to love John Mayer's new album Born and Raised. After being underwhelmed by Battle Studies, I was hoping B&R would come out swinging in the same vein as Continuum. Thus far, it gets a resounding, "Meh" from me. I'm going to go back and give it another listen or two in the coming weeks because it wouldn't be the first time that an album had to grow on me. (Confession: I didn't love It Won't Be Soon Before Long at first. It took a couple of listens to grow on me. Now I rock at least a couple of tracks from that album weekly.) It's not that I dislike the change of style, moving from Blues to Folk.  John plays with genres and sounds often. And at the very least Blues and Folk are sister...cousin genres.

I think my...apprehension...with this album is that I'm having a hard time attributing this sound and these lyrics to the John Mayer in my head. Of course, artists are allowed to grow and evolve. But for some reason I have a hard time receiving a John Mayer who isn't Continuum/Heavier Things/tracks 6, 9, 10 and 11 off of Battle Studies.

I will say I love "Shadow Days." I find that I'm growing up more than I sometimes give myself credit for. And a lot of events of late have shown me how imperfect and flawed I am. But I'm learning the discovering one's imperfections does not have to be a self-deprecating, life altering thing. You live, you learn from your mistakes, you grow and you keep moving forward.

Did you know that you could be wrong and swear you're right/ Some people've been known to do it all their lives/But you find yourself alone/Just like you found yourself before/Like I found myself in pieces on the hotel floor/Hard times they help me see

I'm a good man with a good heart/Had a tough time got a rough start/but I finally learned to let it go
Now I'm right and I'm right now/And I'm open knowing some how/That my Shadow Days are over/My Shadow Days are over now

So we'll see how B&R does. John has been through a lot in the past few years. I for one, hope that this album was the catharsis he needed to let go of the junk that seem to be overshadowing the great singer/songwriter that he is.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Roundup

Brandy dropped the hottest last week. I don't understand why people sleep on Brandy. The girl can SANG! Not sing, SANG!! Her harmonies are SICK!! - Soundcloud

Think Like a Man is on par to be number 1 at the box office two weeks in a row. If you haven't seen it, I have to ask, "What are you waiting for??? Michael Ealy is in it!!!" - Gossip Cop

Speaking of Michael Ealy, he has a new show coming out. He could literally read the phone book from  a different city and I would record each and every episode. - USA Network

These babies will ruin your nights from now on. - BuzzFeed

Downton Abbey Spoiler Alert!! - Who in the world is she marrying? - Dailymail UK

Gotye said he thought Glee's version of his song was awful. Then he changed his tune. I wonder if that was after the song went number 1 and the checks started rolling in? - CNN and NME

Speaking of Glee, I think it is just grossly unfair that I have NO SHOT with Matt Bomer (he's in a committed relationship...with a man. Those are two very important strikes against us.) I mean, so he's just going to be fine and talented? So you act AND sing?!?!? Do you dance too, because that would complete the trifecta.

It's been 20 years since the LA Riots in response to the Rodney King verdict. The audio from calls made through out the riots is heart-breaking and chilling and should remind us to love one another and continue to be diligent. - HuffPo

Oh how times have changed. When I was growing up getting pregnant as a teenager was neither cute nor admirable. - Clutch

I feel like this should be disseminated to every high school senior in the US. - Newser

I wonder if John Cusack even owns an iPod. I know I couldn't even look at them if I'd turned down Steve Jobs. - GeekSugar

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun Music Fridays- The Jets "Crush on You"

Sometimes life gets a little too much to bear. In recent days I have had to limit the amount of time I spend on The Internets and The Twitter because of recent disturbing current events and an increase of negativity. And when I feel like I need to go to my happy place quick fast and in a hurry, I turn to who I know brings me instant joy, hot dance moves, and 80's clothing in Day-Glo colors. I turn to The Jets.

I love The Jets! Why don't people recognize that they had so many hits? "Crush on You", "You Got It All", "Private Number", "I Do You", "Curiosity"? Come on! I am so sad that kids today don't have music like this to listen to anymore. This is when music was fun! I need TV One to give them an Unsung episode. The half has not been told about The Jets for sure. Happy Fun Music Friday y'all!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can We Talk? Why I REALLY Want EVERYONE to Go See "Think Like A Man"

If I had to publicly speak on why I really want all of our readers, black, white, in between and neither to go see this movie, it would take everything in me to not fall to me knees and plead "For the love of God, bacon, and all things holy, just go see this movie please!!!!" That's how badly I want this movie to do well and for a number of reasons. Can we talk?

The main reason being goes back to why I wouldn't and still haven't gone to see The Help.  I'm not saying I will never see it. I am just saying that I need about two good movies portraying black people in everyday, modern day situations before I will watch it. You see, I'm not much of a movie goer. The majority of the movies I watch are romantic comedies.  I don't really do dramas and end of the world movies with all sorts of explosions and calamity. I like modern day romance stories. I don't watch movies that look like they are going to make me cry. Life is dramatic enough without my having to go through all sorts of emotional changes over something fictional. I love to laugh and I love love. Unfortunately, the majority of the romantic comedies I have come to love over my lifetime do not have people in them that look like me. I mean as much as some people can't stand Tyler Perry, you'd be hard pressed to count on both hands the number of movies within the past five years where a black woman fell in love with a good man that wasn't one of his movies.

And speaking of black men in entertainment that get the most flack, I have read more headlines on blogs speaking against this movie because of hatred for Steve Harvey than are for it and that is sad to me. The comments seem to be "why do I have to think like a man?" or "who is Steve Harvey to give love advice anyway?" For one thing, it's not that serious. Let's just take him out of the equation.  The book really is no different than He's Just Not Into You anyway and I don't remember hearing people going off about that. Secondly, even if you aren't a Steve Harvey fan let's go support this young black cast!   I am so excited for this ensemble that includes Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy, Megan Good, Kevin Hart and happy that they are in a movie that doesn't look like Soul Plane.

We need more movies that look like this!  One of my favorite movies of all time is Boomerang. Part of the reason why is that the plot was a universal plot. Any race of characters could have been in that movie. It had over 100 million dollars box office sales and I was so proud of what that movie accomplished.You vote with your dollars.  If we want more movies like that we have got to make a conscious effort to support, especially on opening weekend. That's where it really counts. If it's good and it does well then more movies like it can get made. From what I understand, these movies are hard to get financial backing.   Anyone remember how much George Lucas went through to get Red Tails made? Grant it that was a different type of movie but the bottom line was Hollywood didn't think that black people would support it.  I think it took a lot of us getting offended by that alone to make sure that we supported it opening weekend.

Quitter Chapter 8: Quit Your Day Job - Tia

Sometimes Jon Acuff gets on my nerves. Okay not really, that's just what I say when someone points out something in my life that I need to work on. But his oh so scientific quiz at the beginning of Chapter 8 did kind of hurt my feelings. Now granted Jon does admit after 52 questions that the quiz may not be all that scientific (now he tells me) but it definitely gave me some insight on further pursuing my dream. And frankly it was the good swift kick in the pants I needed.

I am neither a Job Lover nor a Serial Quitter (thank you very much flawed quiz results.) I try every day to fall in like with my job but the only things I like about it are the paycheck and the frequent flyer miles/hotel points. But I've been here for two years, was at my last job for 2 years until they let us all go and went under and was at my previous job for 4 years. I don't just quit jobs. It's not what I do.

I prefer to think of myself as falling into the second category: Stirred Up. Something inside of me won't let my dream go. And even though the dream is not fully defined just yet, I have outline if you will. More and more I'm beginning to realize that more things must fall into place so that I can pursue things that will better shape and define the ultimate dream job.

That said, I know that there is planning that needs to go on from my end. For instance, aside from being more consistent in blogging (I know...I know) I need to be somewhere I feel I can thrive. File this under: Have somewhere to land. (Pg 210.)

I don't love Nashville. And if I really think about it I can't remember a time I ever did. It's not the worst place in the world by any stretch. But the love and affinity that a lot of my friends feel for the 615 escapes me. I feel no kinship to this town. My creative juices don't necessarily flow here. Basically, I don't feel like it's my landing spot. I get something akin to those feelings in the Peach State. That's one of the reasons I'm looking for jobs there. But not just any no....I'm looking for something that will help me move closer to being a Quitter. While it probably will not be my dream job initially, I need for it to help, not hinder me from pursuing what I love.

Sometimes the situation doesn't present itself as an opportunity that will line up perfectly with your dreams. Sometimes it will just be a much higher percentage of dream time than you currently have now.  - Pg 211

My only concern with leaving Nashville is that a lot of my friends are here. File that under: Have a support network. (Pg 216)

Although I have family in Atlanta and a few random leftover acquaintances (One of whom recently asked me if I wanted to have mixed brown Jewish babies with him...random) I would essentially be starting from scratch in the friend category. But that idea doesn't seem too scary because of the support I have in Nashville. Starting over someplace new isn't so bad if you have a cheer squad behind you. I know that I have great people here who will love, support and pray for me even if it's from a distance. And honestly, that makes me okay with leaving.

However, change, like it or not, often requires money. File that under: We were stupid rich. (They weren't. He kids.) (Pg 218)

Like I mentioned before, my favorite thing about my job is my paycheck. I live comfortably and am making huge strides in paying off my credit cards. (Paying off one more Monday.) I don't ever want my financial situation to hold me back. So though my job is not even close to ideal, I won't just lackadaisically leave it. (Aside: I totally spelled 'lackadaisically" correct without spell check. WINNING!!)

...we had the patience to pay off our bills. We wanted money to fund our dreams, not limit them, and we worked hard to financially remove things that stood in the way. - Pg 219

So although I'm looking for another job, I'm choosing to stay in the same industry for now because it helps me become more financially secure, which will be one less stumbling block to pursing my dreams.

But the thing that makes me feel the most "okay" about leaving the gloriousness that is Nashville behind is I don't feel like I shouldn't. File that under: God seemed cool with it. (Pg 219)

I don't ever want to feel like I'm forcing God's hand. (Can you even do that?) But I do always want to be in his will. And I think God wants us to be all that we are designed to be. It's okay to be happy. And I honestly believe that there is a happiness that comes with being some place that you not only love but that you thrive. I want to be in a location where I can be great. Be connected. Be inspired. And I think God is cool with that.

Before you quit your day job and pursue your dream job in a full-time capacity, make a list of all the risks that might come up. - Pg 225

I will plan, I will be smart. I will save and be diligent. I understand there will be challenges. 
But even with all that leaving, moving and pursuing entails, for the first time in a long time, I'm not afraid. (Yes, that Eminem song is playing in my head right now.) I'm excited about what's to come. The lows and highs. The slow periods, the long nights with seemingly too much to do. The increased page views. (hint, hint) The pending mortgage payments (It's past time to buy.) I'm looking forward to it all. It's time to grow up, man up and start really and truly Quitting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Randomness of the day - Tia

Not even gonna lie...It makes me happy that this from 2 Broke Girls

is actually happening in real life.

Johnny had me "Help me out with your girl." (You have to watch the show to get the reference.) He is ridiculous. I don't do hipsters. But Nick Zano's Johnny might make me change my mind.

I know celebrity relationships are often short lived. (I've had relationships with boxes of cereal that have lasted longer than some of these celebrity hook-ups.) But I really hope Kat Dennings and Nick Zano stay together for a while. *coughforevercough* And I'm not just saying that because she's one of my girl crushes.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why am I so thirsty all of a sudden...???

Yeaahhh...this will get your Monday going - Tia

I woke up early to go for a brief run and it was raining. *SIGH* So I curled back up in my warm sheets and decided to do some reading before attacking the day. But I found that once I was finished reading and praying and such, I still didn't want to get out of bed. One of the few luxuries of my job is that you can (within reason) start your day whenever. As I am normally not an early riser my work day usually starts at 9. So, since I had some time, I decide to log onto the Book of Faces and see what was up.

Sweet Goodness and Mercy!!! Daniel de Bourg is trying to KILL me first thing on a Monday morning. Someone posted his latest video on my FB timeline and all I can say is MY LAWD!! I guess in his defense, the video has been out for a bit so it's technically not his fault that I'm just now watching it this fine, rainy Monday. But it is his fault for looking like that and singing like that. Well actually it's Usher's fault...THEN it's Daniel's fault.

Not gonna front, y'all. I LOVE this song. Both versions. But honestly, I'm glad to see Usher moving away from that club remix/glow stick required/europop inspired R&B. I don't want to feel like I'm at a rave every time I listen to R&B. I like my genres separate, thank you very much. I'm also glad to see DDB in a black tank. That always brightens my mornings.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stay Focused - Tia

I know I've already lost some of you with the picture.  But as the title says, "Stay Focused."

It was a rather innocuous status update. One of the mundane off the top your head things that makes people either love or hate Facebook because they think it's funny or because they think it's stupid.

I'd been watching the movie Predators. I was drooling of over Adrien as I always do. (HEYYY BRODY!!) And the following random thoughts occurred to me and I decided to share them with FB:
"Questions I have while watching Predators: 1. Why is Adrien Brody not my boyfriend? 2. How is the d-bag inmate still alive? 3. Are we still killing off the black people first in scary movies? That is so antiquated." I receive the random smattering of responses and a few from my guy friends who, for a split second, thought I was talking about the local hockey team. (GO PREDS!!) But one response, meant to be funny, really got me to thinking.

My friend's wife (making her my friend-in-law?) wrote this: "Because Adrien Brody is NOT hot, and your boyfriend is supposed to be a tall blue-eyed Englishman who cooks Cuban food. Stay focused! LOL!" (We had to agree to disagree about Brody.) Now my friend-in-law(who I know through Blaine) would like nothing more than to see me and Blaine married. Not to each other. We've already discussed this. But rather married to other people. She's married to a wonderful man and they have 4 gorgeous children and she knows that a husband and family is something that I want in my life. She also knows my ideal. A tall, gorgeous English man who loves Jesus and cooks. LORD IF YOU WOULD SO BLESS ME!

The thing that got me thinking was the part about staying focused. It is so easy to get distracted from your goal with everything that presents itself in your everyday life. And I'm not just talking about choosing a potential "naked together forever" buddy. I'm talking about all of the goals that we set for our lives. At times it feels that we're set up to be distracted and subsequently fail. You're trying to lose weight and someone brings in two dozen cupcakes from your favorite bakery. You swear you're not going to spend any more money and a friend drags you to a sample sale for a designer who NEVER has sample sales. You've decided to wait on the Lord and not date any more non-Christian guys and then every hot, single Atheist in the tri-state area suddenly finds you attractive.'s easy to lose focus if you're not careful.

We are groomed by society for instant gratification. EVERYTHING seems to be on-Demand. Not just television and movies, but just about anything you want in life can be in you hands within a matter of moments. But let's be honest, faster is not always better. (Gutter minds needn't comment.) There's something to be said about the gratification of fulfillment after waiting. (Again...Gutter minds head to the left.) There's a reason that patience is a virtue.
Vir-tue - A good or admirable quality or property

I think the reason people say patience is a virtue is because having it is HARD. It is FAR easier to stray from the course, take the easy route, pick the lesser choice in order to have what you want and to have it right now. As someone who battles their inner petulant, demanding child often, I know how difficult it is to just keep swimming.

I would like a "naked together forever" buddy. And I could easily choose a subpar one just to have one. My job makes a stress knot in my shoulder form at least once a week and I could easily quit it and hope for something better to come along. Food is delicious and often makes me happy. I could eat what I want, when I want all the live long day.

But forever is a long time with someone who you settled for. And bills do not pay themselves. And having to be cut out of one's house with the jaws of life is not a good look. All of that to say, while it may be far easy to get distracted, quit and settle, it is hands down more rewarding to stay focused, press on, to wait, work and believe for the things that matter and that will count in the long run. So if my options are being single a while longer rather than being with some old okie dokie dude, continuing to work at a job that I don't love (while actively looking for one that doesn't physically stress and pain me) and avoiding sugar and refined carbs in order to be and stay healthy, then so be it. I'd rather stay focused and delay gratification. That way when I do get what I want and need it will be GOOOOD!!!!

Romans 5:4 - perseverance (produces) character; and character, hope.

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus. - Alexander Graham Bell

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some Quitter Inspiration- Toya

If you've started the Quitter challenge, be it when we first started last year or you just hopped on board, we'd love to hear how you're doing. In the meantime, check out my own personal Quitter anthem right now, Daley's "Those Who Wait".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dear Shonda Rhimes - Tia

Dear Shonda Rhimes,

First, I'd like to thank you for all that you've done and continue to do. I have been a Grey's fan since day one. I own all of the seasons on DVD and have the current season DVRed. While I never really committed to Private Practice, I have enjoyed it the times that I've tuned in. And even though you have a wicked way of killing off people and relationships (PLEASE keep Owen and Christina together!!!!!) I love your writing style, production and everything else that goes on in ShondaLand.

I have to confess I was going to try to catch Scandal tomorrow on Hulu. I've had a long week and wasn't really up for watching anything other than Grey's tonight. But I quite literally got sucked in within the first 6 or so minutes and I KNEW I had to not only watch Scandal, but clear out space in my DVR to set a series recording.

My compelling need to watch was not so much fueled by Columbus Short in the opening scene, although that was a tough argument to ignore. (I mean...HE'S FINE and I've had a crush for a while.) Pretty boy eye candy aside, I knew I had to watch because not only was my girl crush Keri Washington the lead but she proved that she is the BADDEST CHICK before the first commercial break. I am a fan of strong female characters (Team Katniss) and even more so when they are women of color. It genuinely makes me proud to see non-hoodrat, non-promiscous strong black female leads. We don't see it enough. Too often the picture that is painted of the average black woman is the skewed portrayal on "reality" television.

So that being said, I just wanted to tell you THANK YOU!! I am already hooked on Scandal and I'm only 34 minutes in. Watching Keri destroy that girl in the park set a clear tone for the show that will keep me coming back. Please keep ShondaLand growing with great programming like this. And if Columbus Short needs a date to any ABC/ShondaLand/Scandal function, please let him know that I'm ALWAYS available.

Kind Regards,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(Last) Weekend Roundup

Hunger Games made like a bazillion dollars. I went and saw it three times. Sure did. Lenny Kravitz was not the sole reason I kept going to see it. But he was one of the main reasons. And if I could adopt Amandla Stenberg I TOTALLY would. cute is she? - EW

Sallie Mae takes money from me every month. I graduated with a sub-par education and regrets, yet several years later (don't ask how many) I'm still paying for it. Le Sigh. So to hear about a possible pending student loan crisis saddens me (I know how they feel) but it doesn't surprise me. - Yahoo! Finance

I'm not sad. And I'm not sorry I'm not sad....ADAM!!!!  - HuffPo

David Beckham wouldn't be caught dead eating at Burger King. Posh wouldn't have it. -

Hold up! Hold up! HOLD UP!!!! - Matt Bomer's character on Glee is named Cooper Anderson...REALLY?!?! Am I the only person who finds this hilarious and thinly veiled? - Hollywood Reporter

FINALLY...I get to see what all of the fuss is about with Instagram. Though, I'm still not having anything to do with Pinterest. - CNN

I love Trader Joe's and Whole Check...I mean Foods. But neither are particularly close to me. But there are 2 Krogers and 2 Wal-Mart grocery stores within a 5 mile radius...So I get it. - MSNBC

Ask me why I went running in the morning and let my trainer torture me in the afternoon...

I don't feel no kind of way about Bieber's new song "Boyfriend." But since I'm not the target demographic, my disinterest is probably moot. - That Grape Juice

I need Kanye to have several seats. I mean, I liked Big Sean's song "My Last." But the greatest rapper of all time?!?! C'mon son. Tupac is somewhere laughing right now. - MTV

And now a word from our sponsors - Tia

Things you should know about my recent absence:

1. I spent 15 days on the road last month. That is unacceptable and I'm currently pursing new employment options. It was all I could do some days to drag myself out of whatever hotel bed I was in and make it to my site. Creativity was not a word I knew. So blogging fell off. Not a good look...I know.

2. The Trayvon Martin case has hit so close to home for me that on the days I was home, I found myself engrossed in thought and prayer and sometimes wrecked with emotion. I'm still trying to process it all and NEED to blog about it. But I'm also trying to process the anger and hurt I'm feeling. So it may still be a minute before I write about it.

All of that to say....thank you for your patience with BGLU. We love our readers and hope you keep coming back.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You Should Know...Allen Stone- Toya

Allen Stone sangs. Not sings...SANGS. I mean doesn't it look like he is sangin' in the pic above? He doesn't play around.  I first got hip to him when a buddy of mine who keeps me up to speed with a lot of new music posted his killer song "Unaware" on my Facebook page:

*Hands raised at 4:03*

One of our most awesome readers, Alexis, hooked us up with tickets and soundcheck passes to go see Allen Stone when he played Nashville a few weeks back. Unfortunately I missed soundcheck but I made it just in time to meet him.  He's such a sweet guy.

Now if you've been reading this blog long enough you know that Tia usually writes our music reviews. Tia couldn't make it because she was out of town so I did my best to ask some Tia type questions. However I got easily distracted by one of his answers (which is why she is way better at this than I am).  After he told me that he was opening up for the Dave Matthews Band this summer, I asked him what he was doing prior to playing our city:

Me: "So where were you before you pulled into Nashville?"
Allen Stone: "Well not too long ago I did Live from Daryl's House and..."
Me: "Wait what????"

Yeah I forgot all of my questions after that. And while I was tempted, no I did not ask him for Daryl Hall's address. Speaking of being tempted, how distracting is his drummer? Good grief!

Again, it was a really good show and we had a blast.  If you ever get a chance to catch Allen Stone live, please do.  And speaking of Daryl Hall, Allen and Sharon Jones (of Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings) will be joining him on a short Live from Daryl's House tour this month.  Not bad for an indie artist, right?  For more on Allen Stone, his music and tour dates, check out

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quitter Chapter 6- There Will Be Hustle

 This book Quitter is no joke. In the bible, specifically in the book of Psalm, David wrote several chapters that ended with a simple "selah" meaning to pause and reflect. Well Chapter 6 of Quitter has sent me into the longest selah my life. I absolutely did not want to continue reading the rest of the book until I got going on what Jon Acuff challenges Quitters to do in Chapter 6. In this chapter he talks about the reality of being committed to the hustle: the hard work and sacrifice needed to accomplish your dreams.  Well that's a book unto itself!  I figured that if I wasn't willing to commit to the hustle, there was no need for me to go on and read the rest of the book. I wound up reading that chapter several times over.  It's that serious.

Basically what it boils down to is if you want {fill in the blank} then you are going to have to {fill in the blank}. Being as though I am a person who enjoys my right to comfortable sacrifice, I was greatly challenged. You see what I wish to embark upon in regards to television is not easy for me. I'm used to trying things and being almost instantly successful at them and then checking them off of my list. The first concert I ever produced was a sell out. The first article I ever submitted to an online magazine got published. My first and last spoken word piece I ever performed got a roaring standing ovation. But television? I get extremely nervous before I get on camera. I mean straight hyperventilation.  Also, I could really suck for a period of time at first...ON FILM. And as Tia and I often say as we shake our heads at someone whose spot gets blown up over an incriminating display of actions that was taped and plastered on Youtube, film is forever.