Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Funny of the day - Tia

I can't wait for this kid to become famous. He's seriously funny. I'll be following him for sure.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Confessions of a first time homeowner - Tia

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!! That actually happened!!!

Aside from the fact that I've spent the last 3 weeks on the road full time (No, seriously, 3 weeks in a row I left on Sunday and got home on Thursday or Friday.) the main reason, I haven't had time to blog is because I was too busy becoming a homeowner. YAY!!!

It has been one of the most exciting and somewhat overwhelming things in my life. I'm so happy that I did it. And although it is by far the biggest thing I've ever purchased in my entire life, I'm not too stressed about it. Yeah, there are things that are bothersome. HOAs are a bit ridiculous even though there's a pool and a dog park. (I don't have a dog!) And there seems to be a small but bothersome leak that although covered by the aforementioned HOAs still needs to be fixed pronto. And those loud kids need to find somewhere else to play...But all in all, I'm super excited about this new phase in my life.

If you're thinking about buying a house, I would say do it. And here are a couple of helpful hints that may make the whole thing a bit more bearable.

- Make sure you have a good realtor.
My realtor was AWESOMESAUCE!!!! I looked at this house with my previous realtor and not only was he NOT helpful, but he told me that the offer that I wanted to put in wouldn't be accepted. Fast forward a few months to the same house with a different realtor and the same offer that I originally wanted to put in was accepted. Why..Because my realtor actually cared about me and was willing to go to bat for me. So make sure that whoever you're working with knows your requests and is willing to listen and help you every step of the way.

- Know your lending options.
I went the FHA route. It meant a lower down payment but higher mortgage insurance. Make sure that when it comes to financing you read the small print. Don't finance more house than you can comfortably afford. And don't finance more than you're comfortable with.

On paper, I look fantastic. I was approved for way more money than I needed. But even though the bank crunched the numbers and told me what I could afford, I knew what my long term financial goals were and so I chose less house and lower payments. Set your financial goals BEFORE you start house hunting. Because you will get your feelings hurt by all of the bright, shiny, fun houses the realtor will show you. I guarantee you will fall in love with a house the bank says you can afford but you know in your heart you can't. I'm not saying you won't love what you buy. (I LOVE my place.) But don't fall in love with house that's so pricey that all you can afford to furnish it with is blow up furniture.

- Buyer's remorse is inevitable.
I swore I was going to stop moving around and put down some roots. Nothing says roots like a mortgage. And yet, last night, I found myself wondering if I'd made the right choice. I began to wonder if I should have just kept renting so that I could move to/back to London/LA/Arizona/Rio. A bit of sadness washed over me when I realized that I can't move anywhere any time soon. And I found myself overwhelmed by the thought of mortgage payments, home upkeep, HOA fees and the like.

I had to calm myself down and talk myself off of the ledge. After settling my nerves, I realized that this house is the first step to attaining something that resembles normalcy. It's bad enough that I travel so much for work. But now, for the first time, I have a home base that's contingent on no one but ME!! I have a place to call my own. Somewhere I can walk freely in my underwear without a care in the world. A place I can call home. That is remarkable to me. So every time I find myself wondering if I made the right choice, I'll look around at all of the things that I've placed, I'll turn the stereo up, and I may even strip down my skivvies and I will do a dance of happiness and thankfulness because this place is mine. This place is home.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

You Done Good Girl! Issa Rae Gives Her First College Keynote Speech at Vanderbilt University

Don't even ask me what's going on with my face right here. I have no idea. 
Toya here.  It's been a while since I've posted some stuff and I will explain why in a bit.  There has been so so so much going on. However in the midst of so much happening, I gladly rearranged my life on March 21st to hear the high priestess of awkwardness herself, Issa Rae, speak at Vanderbilt University here in Nashville.

It was packed! 
Issa Rae just so happened to be speaking in Nashville during the busiest and craziest week of my 2013 thus far.  The event she was speaking at happened to be the day before my India.Arie tribute benefit show that I was producing.  I am an absolute mad woman on the week of a show. Luckily for me I took off both jobs that day (yes a sista is working two jobs right now. It's real out here) so I was able to catch her give her very first college keynote speech.

Go Issa!
When Issa opened her mouth to speak, I heard a lot of giggles and I think I know why because I was giggling too.  I am pretty sure I was not the only one thinking "Oh my gosh it's J! What awkward thing is she going to do next?" as if we somehow had been sucked into Youtube and were a part of the latest ABG episode.  But in no time at all we were brought back to the reality that it was indeed Issa Rae in front of us, the woman that so many of us have championed for giving a voice to us awkward black girls.  So many of us are just so proud of her and it showed when the room erupted with applause when the introduction mentioned her latest collaboration with Shonda Rhimes.

After showing three episodes of ABG for the two people in the room who had never seen it before (I'm kidding. Not sure if there were only two), Issa Rae shared with us how she began her journey of creating ABG and how important it is for you to tell your own story in your own voice. She made some really great points and I would totally share them with you if I could find my notes from that evening. Pray for me y'all. I'm scatterbrained right now. Oh but what I do remember is that during the Q&A when I mentioned that I was one half of a blog called Black Girls Like Us, she said "Oh yeah! I know you guys! I didn't know you lived in Nashville! Cool!"  Seriously, how awesome is that?!  My question for Issa was how did she handle negative comments and the intrusiveness that comes with being in the public eye, particularly from The Internets. Her answer was simply to just keep creating and don't let it get to you.  Issa has dealt with her share of criticism concerning everything from ABG to a pair of glasses she wore in a picture that was posted on Instagram.  Still she keeps her head and continues to create and push forward.  I love that.  I enjoyed meeting her afterwards too.  She was funny, real, humble and very gracious.

Me to Tia: Issa said "Tell Tia I said hi!"
Tia: OMG we're famous...sorta. Okay not really. 

The last season of ABG definitely saw its share of criticism. While I'll admit that much like The Office, the earlier episodes seem to be my faves,  we need to support this sista as much as possible.  She's a trailblazer and I love that she is now able to provide opportunities for other content creators as well.  We need to encourage her and anyone that is stepping up and getting behind the camera to provide more positive diverse content versus getting behind a laptop and complaining all day long.  For that Issa Rae gets my prayers and support.  I can't wait to see what her bright future holds for her.

"At the end of the day it's up to us to create the content we want to see."- Issa Rae

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Doc 11 - Tia

I have a lot going on and hopefully will have some good news to share on Friday.

But until then, you should know that I have watching Doctor Who as often as possible. (Which isn't as often as I'd like. I'm only on Season 5 episode 1). I just finished Season 4 this afternoon and I'm not ashamed to say I cried like a baby. Between Wilfred and the Doctor and Martha...yep, I cried like these people were real.

When the episode was over I was convinced that there was no way anyone could fill David Tennent's shoes. Before I even started Season 5 I was looking at Matt Smith like, "This guy...???"

Then this happened:

I yelled, "HELL YEAH!!!" at the tv when Matt Smith proved that not only is he more than capable of being the Doctor but that he is a BAMF!!! I'm officially excited to get into the 11th Doctor. And you know how I feel about gingers, so I'm already loving Amy Pond.

GAHHHH!!! I love this show. I think it's safe to say that I'm a Whovian. My geeky love for this show is unabashed. And whenever I make it to ComicCon and meet whoever is playing the Doctor at that point, I will weep Tardis shaped tears of joy.