Monday, August 26, 2013

The Hot Mess Championships: The 2013 MTV VMAs

 
This is the ONLY visual memory I want to have from last night's debacle.


THIS mess. *Sigh* I am so troubled by what I saw last night for so many different reasons and on so many levels. The show was horrible first of all. From a production standpoint it was TERRIBLE. They never got the sound together and the flow was just awkward. And the performances? I have so much to say and not enough time say it so here we go with my play by play in real time.

1.  During the pre-show a pre-pubescent fan on the red carpet won tickets to tonight’s show. Me: “Nooooooooooooooooo!!! Don’t give those tickets to a CHILD!” This is not going to end well.

2. Who is this Becky G? Is she a contest winner that got a makeover from Covergirl? She’s a new artist who is endorsed by Covergirl? Seriously, I don’t know anybody anymore. I am having such a hard time keeping up with these children.


3. Pharrell, my teenage dream, just rode in with a bike gang looking awesome sauce at 40’s old. If someone would forward me Pharrell's and Sade's skin care regimen, I'd thank you kindly.

4. Tweet from @MissJia: Pharrell's face outchea naturally glowing like the Vaseline face your mama gave you when u were attempting to go to school w/the ashy cheeks.



5. WERQ Taylor! Let me tell y’all something: I’m about tired of y’all shading Taylor Swift for unsubstantiated reasons. Not every song she writes, not even the majority I believe, are about breakups. She also writes some really good love songs. If you are going to hate, fine, but hate knowing the facts.  That’s just some wasted Hatorade right there.

6.The show’s beginning with Lady Gaga. We are at Brandon’s house out in the woods somewhere. I wonder if I have some time to go sacrifice a possum real quick and smear its blood over the doorpost of the house and the top of the television. I already feel vexed.



7. You know what? I am completely serious about this. There are times where I can’t look directly at Lady Gaga. I have to look past her. This opening is one of those moments. Did she just come dressed up as a molar? I am so confused right now.

8. Someone please tell me when I can look.

9. Ooooooh! Okay so what is happening is that she is getting dressed on stage? So she came out as a blank page? What? Anyway, she is now doing costume changes (and makeup changes) onstage which is pretty neat.This whole performance still looks like struggle though, I’m sorry. Kudos for dancing with a bum hip though. She’s got heart. I just don’t think I am ever going to get it and that’s fine.



10. EVERY time One Direction comes on I go "Now who is this?"

11. Selena Gomez just won and there was a collective“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT” that just erupted in the room. I like her. She appears to be grown. I don’t understand how some of these child stars grow up and to show that they are grown, they start removing their clothing. Babies run around with no clothes on, not grown women. Grown women own things. With that being said, I’d like for MileyCyrus and Amanda Bynes (and shoot even Christina Aguileira) to please see Raven Symone and Tia and Tamera Mowry as references and then come back to me with a report.

12. I don’t know who is tweeting for People Magazine tonight but they are shading NON STOP. RT @peoplemag: Selena beats Miley. Guess all that twerking was for naught. #VMAs

13. Janelle Monae won for Best Choreography!Justice!



14. And then….it happened. I don’t…I guess I…ummm.  People Magazine just tweeted that this performance is what a Build a Bear Worskshop looks like in hell.  Hmm. I’ll start off with this: This proves that money can't buy happiness & good sense because that Hannah Montana money is LONG, first of all. Secondly, I am completely furious and this is why:I get being racy. I get being salacious. We have all seen that before. But what makes me so angry is to not have enough respect for your art form to at least perform well. Even with all of the raunchiness we’ve seen from Gaga, Madonna,and Nikki Minaj, at least it was executed (fairly) well.  If Miley Cyrus showed up to your high school talent show and performed like that, she’d be booed off of the stage. This is hands down just a crappy joke of a performance. THAT’S what I am more angry about than anything. This isn’t a performance. It’s just an utter waste of time in hopes of being provocative. I don’t even understand why she even came out here in the first place.

15. Okay even MTV is not buying that “I didn’t say Molly, I said Miley” foolery. They just censored her. This is just…



16. You know what Robin Thicke? I don’t even have enough time to go into how I feel about this. His participation in this foolery deserves a separate entry all together but I will say this: Sometimes after a decade long career, the absolute worst thing to happen to some people is to get a number one hit. I get wanting to expand your fan base beyond the urban charts but don’t completely alienate your core audience. Furthermore… yeah I don’t have enough time to go into this. I have lost a lot of respect for Robin Thicke over this mess and will be watching his career with one eye squinting. Cocaine is a hell of a drug and so is the desperation for success. He needs to fire whoever told him that this was a good move.

17.  Wait did, either Robin or Miley actually sing or did I already block that out?

18. This is one of the worst produced shows I have seen in a long time.

19. Is EVERYBODY high? I really want to believe that this whole award show is part of a new DARE campaign.

20.“Remind me to never let my kids into showbiz.Thanks.”- Nick Cannon.

21.I just realized that no one is hosting this year. Is that why this show seems to have no direction? The flow is so odd this year.

22.  Jared Leto from Thirty Seconds to Mars is introducing Kanye West. Listen I still live for some Jordan Catalano. I don’t care how old he gets.

23. Kanye means this. I don't know exactly what"this" is but he means this.



24. Someone said that Kanye West looks like the dancer in the opening of Living Single. I hate The Internets.

25. Kanye’s performance is my favorite so far. He’s all heart. NO THIS DOES NOT MEAN I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING HE SAYS, DOES, OR CALLS HIMSELF. Did I make that clear enough?

26. And now the moment we have ALLLL been waiting for:Justin Timberlake’s performance with the *fingers crossed* “surprise” Nsync  performance!



27.So you are just going to come out slaying from the hallway? Okay Justin. Y’all gonna learn tonight.

28. Speaking of learning, Justin needs to teach a masterclass on how to go from boy band star to being an artist that is taken seriously across the board. You can grow up and not show out. That’ll preach to somebody.

29. Is Justin Timberlake doing all of this in an ascot? Sir I salute you.



30. JOEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I just screamed myself hoarse. Joey Fatone is still married right? I’m just asking. For a friend. That is all.

31. This sound is horrible and won’t let JC begreat. The devil is too busy tonight.

32. Stop. Showing. Taylor. Swift. Please. And I'm afan.

33. I can’t be mad that Justin Timberlake gave Nsync the Destiny’s Child at the Superbowl treatment. You can’t just hop back into Darren Henson’s dance moves after ten years. These things take time y’all.

34. This bromance between Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake is adorable. They are giving me Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy realness right now. I didn’t realize how many hits Justin Timberlake had until they ran them all down. Even though it seems a little early to me, I get why they are giving him this award.

35. Here goes Kevin Hart not hosting again.

36. Totally did not expect to see Jennifer Hudson come out during this Macklemore performance.

37. Kim Kardashian has tweeted that Kanye West had the best performance of the night. Listen I am all about “stand by your man”but she should know better than to tweet that. Someone has already tweeted her that she must be suffering from post partum depression. *Sigh* Ya’ll.

38. Besides that 20 minute commercial promoting Justin Timberlake's upcoming tour, i.e. his performance tonight, this is the worst #VMAS ever.



39.I love when Drake sings. He's so tender. Come on in here Wheelchair Jimmy.

40.Drake’s “I wear every single chain even when I’m in the house” is my favorite lyric of the year, I promise. I crack up every single time. This song is my guilty pleasure of 2013 for sure.



41. Someone said that Rihanna is in the audience making faces like Pearl from 227. I just can’t.

42. For the record, bloggers & others alike,don't be out here speaking out against bullying & then say horrible things about the Smith kids. It’s not right. Let those kids be kids.



43. Bruno Mars is up here talking about having sex like gorillas and even though that is preposterous, he has slayed everyone in the vocal department tonight. Not hard to do but he is slaying nonetheless. Sing sir.

44. Whose COGIC piano player is playing for Bruno Mars right now? These chords!



45. This new Katy Perry song is CUH-UTE! I’m about to put this on my workout mix. She did that! I like what she is doing in this performance with the whole boxer in a ring “Eye of the Tiger” moment.

46. Katy Perry is doing some sort  of jump rope routine during the breakdown. Not that I should compare the two but P!nk would have been singing & jumping rope though. And she would've actually fought somebody. Not that I am trying to compare though.

47. Wait. Is Lady Gaga closing the show? Oh the show started over???? That’s it? This is the WORST produced VMAS of all TIME!

What on earth did I just witness here? *Sigh*The floor is open. What’ y’all got?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 12

How cool would this be though?!

This entry will just have Tia's part because Toya was dead to the world after wisdom teeth surgery. If she participated, there would be only one bullet point: Sleep. 

Day 12: Bullet Your Entire Day

Tia

Y'all are about to see how boring my life is.

- Woke up at 5:42 (Not on purpose)
- Read The Word/Prayed
- Physical therapy for my knees at 7:30
- Working by 8:45
- Bowl of cereal at 10:45
- Back to work
- Made a Target run at 1:00
- Back to work by 2:00
- Ate a salad at 2:30
- Still working at 5:30
- Cleaned house at 6:30
- Bowl of cereal for dinner. (I need to go grocery shopping for real.)
- In bed at 10.

And with the exception of a kicking boxing class thrown in around 5:30 or so, that's pretty much how most of my days go when I'm not on the road. Now you see why I need to figure out what I'm doing with my life and get to doing it.

Anyway, that's my whole day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NSYNC ARE GETTING BACK TOGETHER...maybe - Tia


THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!! I REPEAT!!!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!!

Multiple sources are saying that NSync will reunite this weekend for a performance at the VMAs. Justin is to be presented with the Michael Jackson Vanguard award and unnamed sources (insert side eye here) are saying that JC and the rest of the gang will be joining him on stage Sunday night.

Now, y'all know I believe in this all day and twice on the Sabbath. NSync was the ONE bad that I never got to see live. I've seen The Police, New Edition, NKOTB, Backstreet Boys, (unfortunately) 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men. But I never got to see JC and JT in the flesh.

Granted, I won't actually be at the VMAs so I'm technically still not going to see them in the flesh. But they're back together for one night and that's going to have to be good enough. It's one thing to never get to see one of your favorite groups perform live. But it's another thing when you never get to see your favorite group perform live AND THEN they disband. A little part of your adolescent heart dies when that happens. So, of course, I am 50 shades of excited about this. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let it be true.

I will say I have NOT gotten my hopes up for a reunion tour. JC has killed that dream on numerous occasions in multiple interviews. And Justin's The 20/20 Experience part 2 is set to drop and he's already got fall tour dates scheduled. (I've got tickets.) They have their own things going on and I GUESS I have to respect that. But for one night...just one...I may get to see one of the greatest boy bands of all time grace the stage again. My inner tween just passed out.

Happy Tuesday Y'all.

Monday, August 19, 2013

You Just Never Know - RIP Lee Thompson Young

I (Tia) was on a conference call, not listening as usual. People on these calls tend to rattle on and on and a lot of it isn't pertinent to me. So I was doing what I normally do when I get bored on calls: surfing the internet. I stumbled upon TMZ 2 minutes after they'd posted a story about Lee Thompson Young passing away. I honestly felt like someone punched me in the sternum. I couldn't believe it.

I immediately did a Google search. I just knew it couldn't be true. Because the story was so fresh (I mean they had JUST posted it) there were no other sources talking about it. For a few brief moments I thought it was hoax or a case of mistaken identity or something. Not Detective Frost. NOT JETT JACKSON!!! But then I started to see the tweets. And when CNN picked it up I knew it was true. My heart just sank.

Usually I don't care too much about celebrity deaths. It's not that I'm uncaring. I just don't know these people. I have no emotional investment in them. But for some reason Lee's death hit me hard. Maybe it was because he was so young. Maybe because after all of this time I still had a little crush on Jett Jackson. I don't know...I'm sure it's a bit of everything.

But I think the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that his death seemed so unexpected which makes it all the more senseless. I don't EVER recall seeing anything about Lee in the tabloids or anywhere else. For what I can tell he was a young black brother with a gorgeous smile and his head on straight. You never heard about him doing drugs, abusing women, running the streets. I just assumed he quietly lived his life and spent his Jett Jackson/Rizzoli & Isles money. But I guess you never can tell.

It's hard to know what people are going through. From the outside everything looked perfect. Good looks. A hit show. An amazing life. But something was tormenting him so much that the only solution he saw was the most permanent one you can make. Suicide is so final. So his friends and family are left to wonder what kind of inner demons brought him to this.

I understand wanting the anguish to stop. You just want a solution, ANY solution, to get over the despair, the hurt, that place of feeling utterly lost. But suicide ISN'T a solution. It's an outcome. A very final outcome. And while you may think it will solve your current situation, it will create an almost infinite number of problems for those you leave behind.

I'm sad behind this like I lost a personal friend. I have no idea how his family and friends are coping. I just pray that they will somehow find some comfort in the coming days.

RIP Lee

(Un)Pretty- Toya



Oh Drake. You are far too kind. 

Until recently (and by recently I mean two days ago) I would have never gone out in public without makeup on- not even the gym.  Now I am not going to the gym with a face beat down with MAC Studio Fix and contoured cheek bones. However even in the earliest times of the day, I would not have thought to leave my house without some sort of concealer, powder, mascara, penciled eyebrows and some lipgloss.  Look just because I go to to the gym to get worn out doesn't mean I have to entirely look like it.   If we are going to be completely honest, being naturally pretty is just not in the cards for all women. I didn't happen to get the effortlessly naturally pretty card. I got dealt some pretty good stuff. Being naturally pretty is one card that I did not get dealt.

And that is quite alright.

Let's be clear: I don't mean any of this in a self deprecating way. Not one bit. There are just certain things you come to accept in life. I've accepted that without makeup my dark circles and puffiness under my eyes tell my age.  Now my best friend thinks otherwise but I honestly think I am unrecognizable without a full face of makeup on.

https://cdn.meme.am/instances/500x/60773195.jpg


I accept that if left on a deserted island for a month without any form of facial hair removal, a rescue team may be surprised to find that what looks like a short curly afro'd bearded man is actually a young woman.  It's just real life! And although these are things that I feel I have taken with a grain of salt in my adult years, there is a quote by Erin McKean that I recently came across that changed the game for me as far as what I think about being pretty even with makeup on:

“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.”- From Erin McKean's blog A Dress A Day (please read the rest of what she had to say. It's incredible.) 

You don't owe it to anyone to be pretty.

Game. Changed.

When I read this for the first time, my mind immediately went back to all of the times I was headed out somewhere and would repeatedly and maniacally check my face in the mirror wishing I could get my eyeliner just right; taking selfies with my phone that I would never post because I wanted to make sure that my face looked acceptable in what I like to call the Instagram Second Life World where lighting can be a monster!   I thought to myself  "Who cares if I never quite get my face just right? Who cares if I miss the mark with my lipstick or my eyebrows or anything that has to do with my exterior? Who cares if I come across as pretty enough to other people?" 

- I owe it to this world to be smart.
- I owe it to this world to live up to my potential.
- I owe it to this world to be kind.
- I owe it to this world to love people without prejudice.

I don't owe it to ANYONE to be pretty.

When I read this quote I instantly became more comfortable with myself.  It's not that I've stopped caring about my looks of course. I have just stopped caring about the approval of my looks.  Being seen without makeup or trying to get my face just right just doesn't really matter too much to me anymore. It doesn't matter to the point that soon after this revelations while running errands and recovering from having a wisdom tooth pulled, I went to the mall in the middle of the day without an ounce of makeup on. Not a stitch. All I had on was some coconut oil. I had run out of moisturizer and needed to make my way to Kiehl's to get some more because it was Friday Rodriguez*.

*For those that don't know, Friday Rodriguez is payday. The only thing that I find more exciting than Adam Rodriguez is payday. The only thing more exciting than that would be to actually run into Adam Rodriguez ON payday. Moving on...

This was not a flippant decision.  I washed my face that morning and stared at it for quite some time. It had been a long time since I had really taken a look at my face without makeup.  Usually I just wash, pluck, conceal and go.  But this time I actually took some time to get to know my face.  One thing I noticed is that since I have been juicing my skin is a lot brighter. I noticed more of a golden undertone. It is the healthiest it has been in a long time.  I chose to ignore the scab on my face from a pimple extraction gone terribly wrong, some ingrown chin hairs, some wacky brow hairs gone awry, and the discoloration around my eyes.  For a split second I thought about putting just some concealer and powder on but then I thought to myself that I owe it to my skin to let it breathe. It didn't need to be weighed down with products for the sake of my trying to look "presentable" in public that day. So naked to the world I left the house.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Eye Candy Friday - Tia

You know what's awesome about guys? They come in so many delicious varieties. Seriously, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, and everything in between, guys are great. And while people are free to only date within their race without judgement, don't look at me crazy if you see me drooling over some hot Asian/Black/White/Native American/etc guy. Frankly, I like to appreciate God's entire smorgasbord of man-candy.

That being said, I'd like to thank BuzzFeed for introducing me to a whole new crop of hot Asian actors that I can spend an afternoon, googling, IMDBing and getting all giggly girl over. *high fives BuzzFeed*

But...but....CAN WE TALK ABOUT GODFREY GAO?!??!?!?!

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!

I feel like I shouldn't gaze directly upon him in some of his pictures. It's like his beauty may render me unconscious or something.

I was thinking about going to see The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I've been reading a lot of YA Fiction lately and was on the fence about the movie because I haven't read the book yet. (I like to read the original cannon before I see the theatrical interpretation.) But now that I know that GG is in it, I will most definitely be in the audience. Y'all can have whoever else is in the movie. I only have eyes for Godfrey.  

But for real y'all, like for real, for real, this picture right here made me think some things that I had to repent for:
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whenever I see someone this fine I always sing the chorus from Clipse's "Hot D@mn." And between the picture above and this:

Yeaaaahhhhh....Godfrey got a lot of singing. 

I know some of you are wondering if I feel bad objectifying a guy that I don't even know. Do I have any qualms about reducing someone who is a talented actor, sports enthusiast, and sneaker aficionado (all information I gleaned from his Instagram account. #Follow) to nothing more than eye candy for my own daydreams. Ummm....I don't feel no kinda way about it. If he didn't want me to look at him then he wouldn't be so fine. Yes, I am fully aware of the flaw in my logic and I don't care. I'm not here to be logical, I'm here to ogle. And I'm not ashamed of that. 

Happy Friday Y'all!!!

Side Note: I think I'm going to make that 3rd picture my screen saver. Because really...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Well, which is it? - Tia


How my morning went:

*opens Facebook. Sees ANOTHER friend announcing a new addition to their family. "We'll be welcoming our first baby, (insert name here), in 2014." closes Facebook.*

*opens Instagram. Sees breathtaking video of cloudless day in LA shot by a single, childless friend who is "just living." closes Instagram.*

*screams into the air and goes back to work*

Hi, I'm Tia and I have no idea what I want.

I don't know what happened to me. I can't even begin to put my finger on it. But somehow I have turned into the most indecisive person ever. I used to have it all planned out. But now, I can't call it. Maybe it's because none of my plans have worked. Maybe that's why I change my mind daily about where I want to end up in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. Let me attempt to explain my rambling thoughts in a coherent manner.

Today, I don't want to be married. Today I want to finish work, grab a latte and walk through Camden Lock Market or drive up to Mulholland Drive and watch the sun go down.
Basically, I want to be some place shiny and exciting. I want to take full advantage of being childless, unmarried and essentially live like I don't have a care in the world.

Yesterday, just 24 short hours ago, I was sad that I wasn't a wife, that I didn't have kids, that I was sleeping alone. Yesterday I wanted a home life.


It is infuriating trying to keep up with my whiplash inducing mood changes. One day I want one the thing, the next day is something different. And I think the thing that drives me the most crazy is feeling like I can't do anything to get either situation. I can't make myself get married and have babies. (God knows I've tried.) And while being a homeowner is awesome, it's also anchoring. I can no longer just pack my stuff and move to whatever city suits my fancy. So the question becomes: Why can't I be satisfied in the lane I'm in?

I think part of the problem is that I'm barreling toward 40 and I feel like I have nothing to show for 4 decades on the planet. No husband/kids. Not nearly enough stamps in my passport. No exciting life stories. No decisions that have made an impact or changed the world for the better. Just...a lot of days that look the same. (I'm aware that I sound like a pretentious, ungrateful brat right now. I'm okay with that until the end of this post.)

Part of me is terrified that if I get what I want I'll hate it. There are days when the thought of domestic life, day in and day out of the same thing, soccer games, PTO, bake sales and the like make me want to vomit, grab my passport and run. Then I think about waking up in Rio. The sun on my face. Unlimited possibilities for the day with no one beside me and only myself to answer to...and the thought of how lonely I would be with that life crushes me. What the hell is wrong with me?

I have no idea what to do. And my days are starting to run together because nothing seems to be changing. I feel like I should be doing more life and I don't really know how to change that or where to begin. I want to stay up all night driving around the city to see what happens once the sun goes down. I want to stay home and bake for the kids. I want to catch the train to some place new for the weekend. I want snuggle up with him on a Saturday afternoon and watch Love Actually. I want to take a surf class and then drink margaritas all afternoon. I want us to serve in the nursery at church on Sunday morning. Apparently, I want it all. I guess I just need to figure out how to go get it. Maybe not all of it. But I'm certain I can attain some of it. Whatever IT turns out to be.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find something to do for the weekend because frankly, I've had enough.

Cheers, y'all!!

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 11




Day 11- Put your iPod on shuffle and list the ten songs that pop up. 

Tia

Now this is a topic I can wholeheartedly get behind.

Ciara ft Nicki Minaj - I'm Out
YOOOOOO....this would have been my song of the summer if it weren't for Nicki Minaj. I really like this track. But Nicki is doing the most per usual and she's just a little too vulgar for me. Granted, I have heard her say FAR WORSE but I've just gotten to a point where I don't want to hear anyone calling women b****es. And I certainly don't want to hear about what falls out of Nicki's butt. *sigh* Girl bye.


Jay-Z - 99 Problems
I just saw Jay-Z in concert with Justin Timberlake. I feel like Jay-Z no longer has 99 problems. Maybe like 5 or 6. No more than 10.



John Mayer - Breakaway
*SIIIIIGGGGHHHHHHH* Oh John. This is back when I thought our love affair would never end.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 10




Day 10- Discuss your first love and first kiss. 

Tia

I feel like this is going to make me sound really fast but I don't remember my first kiss. I think it was with a neighborhood boy when I lived in Houston. I was maybe 6. It was one of those innocent things. I'm pretty sure I went back to playing with my Speak&Math afterward. Yeah, I think that was my first kiss. I can't remember. Whatever.

My first love...that depends. Are we talking first childhood love? First high school love? First adult love? My first childhood love I remember vividly. Mostly because he had 6 fingers on one hand. Yep, that happened.

His name was Eric. I met him at church. Our moms were friends so we hung out a good deal. We weren't more than 9 or 10 years old. So the extent of our "relationship" was playing video games and holding hands. And before you ask, I always sat on the side with the 5 fingers hand. Holding hands with the 6 finger side was awkward.

There wasn't a lot of physical contact because 1.) we were 10. 2.) my 13 year old cousin had recently gotten pregnant. While I didn't quite understand all of the logistics of sex, I didn't want to do anything that would make me as uncomfortable as she looked or get me in the amount of trouble she got in when her mom and the rest of the family found out. So all poor little Eric got to do was hold my hand and get beat by me at Pac-Man on my Atari 2600.

My family moved away that summer and I remember being really sad and missing Eric a lot. I was an AWKWARD child. I wasn't particularly cute. I definitely wasn't coordinated. I was smart and shy. But Eric didn't seem to mind that. He asked me to go with him (remember when people used to go together?) in spite of my weirdness. I think there's something sweet and pure about most first loves. And I'm honestly glad I got to experience that.

Toya

Oh boy. I don't even really want to talk about this.

I'll just say this. I am pissed that my first kiss did not happen with my first love. I got GIPPED on my first kiss! It was so random and gross by a ....boy! Just a gross little boy. I was somewhere at somebody's house as a kid, around 11 years old I think. We were all playing games. I wound up in a weird part of the house and this boy kissed me so sloppily and so gross!  I remember being like "No no no! This was not supposed to be IT!"  Total first kiss fail.

And this is why I only count the first kiss with a guy that I truly loved as my first. It came about 8 years later on the doorstep of my house one night. It was actually a lot like a movie!

Two star crossed lovers on a summer night saying good night after an evening of movies and ice cream

Boy walks girl to door.

Girl kisses boy on the cheek.

Boy asks "Question: why is it that when you kiss me you always just kiss me on the cheek?  It's never quite on the lips."

Girl ponders for a moment on how her actual first kiss was the pits and how this perfect evening may actually make up for it because she actually adores this guy and his pillowy lips (no really I actually stopped, looked up at the sky for a moment and thought about this)

Girl gives him the sexy eyes, takes him by the hand and says, "Well come here."

They kiss.

It's awesome.

Guy slips her the tongue. (Really dude?!)

Girl immediately calls it a night and can't get on the other side of the door fast enough.

Girl runs up the steps, collapses on the floor and giggles in complete and utter hysterics.

Boy calls girl 45 minutes later and tells her that he can't stop thinking about it.

*Let me just end the story right there. If I actually tell the very end of this story, this part won't be so sweet*

The End.

It was so sweet and it was completely up to me. Except for the tongue part. Guys can really get so carried away sometimes. I mean, good grief, my dad was inside and he has guns.

But yeah, it was awesome.  Best kiss ever to this day. *Giggling*

Monday, August 12, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 9



Day 9- How you hope your future will be like. 

Tia

Didn't we just answer this question? Okay, I'm officially protesting this question. I just hope the pieces of my life will come together. If you need to know more go back and read my day 2.

Yes, I'm seriously boycotting this question. 


Toya

How is this not different from Day 2?  I'll try to answer this differently then.

For one, I hope my future will include some better R&B music than what's being passed as R&B right now. I am listening to Troop's "Mamacita" on Music Choice's Throwback Jamz channel and it is slaying everything on the radio currently.

I am hoping that my future will be full of aha moments. Like "Aha! That's why I went through all of those setbacks." Or "Aha! That's why I kept running into the same type of guy for a good part of my 30's." Or "Aha! That's why I keep coming back to this type of career."

I hope that my future will make all of "this" that's been going on for the past five years make complete sense.

I'm hoping that my future will be filled with wonderful vacations and lots of hard work for all of the right reasons. I also hope that these things are in the not too distant future.

I had a friend of mine challenge me on where I am currently in life and something dawned on me. There are certain things I said I'd like to do once I got older. Umm...I am in my late 30's. Older is NOW. Without getting too specific, I am now a bit more open to do some things that I didn't think would happen until a little later in life.

In a nutshell, I hope that my future holds the best two thirds of the story.



Thursday, August 8, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 8

"Today I didn't even have to use my AK..."

Day 8- The moment you felt most satisfied in your life. 

Tia

I am growing to loathe some of these topics. 

I remember right after college, I was living alone in my dad's huge condo. I was working at my first real job after college at this hoity-toity preschool. Y'all this joint was high brow. You had to have a four year degree in education or child psychology or something equivalent to work there. The place taught foreign languages to the Pre-K classes. And with the exception of the infant room, every other class from toddlers to Kindergarten had to submit lesson plans. This wasn't day care. This was SCHOOL for tiny humans.

Anyway, I was fresh out of school. My student loan payments hadn't kicked in yet. I wasn't paying any rent. And I only had 1 credit card. We've already talked about how much I love kids, so going to work every day to a classroom full of wide-eyed, mostly happy children combined with the accomplishment of being a college graduate with no real responsibilities...yeah, I was satisfied and content.

Oh sweet, sweet Tia. If you'd only known what lay ahead of you. If only I could have warned you...Actually no. I take that back. Even if time travel was real *coughItIscough* and I could go back in time and give myself a heads up about the realness of life, I wouldn't. I wouldn't crush my own spirit like that. I haven't been that happy and content since. I was young and idealistic. Life hadn't had a chance to sucker punch me in the throat. I wasn't jaded. Oh to go back to those days.

Toya

I can't think of just one specific moment where I was most satisfied with my life. I can think of a few moments though so I will just recap those:

1. Whenever I have coffee and a heart to heart with any of my musician friends and help them reach an understanding about their place in the world. Definitely when I feel the most in my element.
2. When I am traveling alone  in New York City with a backpack and I walk blocks for hours.
3. Riding in the car with my childhood friends in NYC listening to 90's hip hop. Sooooo fun! So right.
4. The moment when I am media coaching or encouraging someone someone and the light bulb goes off in their mind. I love that.
5. There's an old school hip hop night that some guys I know throw in town that I go to and I dance like I have lost my entire mind. Everything is right in the world when Big Daddy Kane is on.

All of these moment feel like when a record needle finally meets the groove and just rides along.

So let's review: I am most happy in big cities, working with artists and listening to music.

*Looks awkwardly around*

I need to make some new life decisions clearly.

So tell us your story. When have you felt the most satisfied with your life?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 7





Day 7- Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits your personality. 

Tia

I'm a Cancer. And I'm so far removed from astrological signs that I had to google Cancers to see what they're about.

EVERYTHING I read said that Cancers are emotional. Well, that part is true. Toya once told me that I am a faucet of tears. It's true. I don't cry as much as I used to but I cry A LOT. For instance, last night I cried when a baby was born and a main character died on CBS' Under The Dome.  I cried today when a really close friend sent me an email describing something their going through. I cried all day on my birthday but that doesn't count. Shut up...IT DOESN'T. I cry at the end of the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time." I mean, I cry EVERY TIME like I've never seen it and don't know what's about to happen. I sometimes go from happy to pensive so quickly I've genuinely thought about seeking professional advice about my moods. When my friends hurt, I want to do everything I can to make it stop, mostly because I don't want them to hurt but also because I know their hurt will affect me. All of that to say I pretty much stay in my feelings. Whatever...it's me.

The Moon is also the ruler of moods, and Cancers have plenty of those. These folks can cry you a river if they're so inclined, and they usually are. They can be overly sensitive, easily hurt and prone to brooding. - Astrology.com

Well there you go.

I also read that Cancers essentially are maternal and domestic. Yeah, I used to tell people I have helped raise more people's children than any one single woman should. Between being a pre-school teacher to working in the nursery at church for like a decade, I have spent more time mothering, hugging, encouraging and essentially loving on other people's kids. And you know what, I loved every minute of it. Even when I had clean explosive toddler diarrhea or I went home with vomit on my shirt, I found being around kids super rewarding.

The element associated with Cancer is water. I guess it's the whole crab thing or something. One search said it had something to do with how emotions roll like waves or whatever. I guess. I will say that I love to swim and sitting by the ocean all day is a viable form of entertainment for me. So there's probably something to the water thing.

So I guess essentially there is something to astrological signs. But then again, maybe there isn't. I mean, you can only be wrong so many times before you get something right. So I don't put a lot of stock in zodiac signs and astrological predictions. I don't foresee reading my horoscope any time soon. My moody life will just have to unfold without help from the stars.


Toya

I've never gotten into astrology because for some reason it has always struck me as kind of darksided. Even while I was trying to do research on my sign I felt a little uneasy.  However, I looked into my sign, Capricorn, and just as I have always known, my sign in no way reflects my personality. For instance, I just read this about Capricorns:

Your Biggest Strength: Your ability to overcome obstacles
Your Potential Weakness: Too much work and not enough play


Yeah I don't know this person.

Capricorns are also prudent, disciplined, have great time management skills, and are pessimistic, and shy. No, no, no, no, and not by a long shot.

I told someone one day that my sign and personality didn't match and they asked me about the month I was conceived (Okay, eew!). That the month or day which I was conceived may have to do with why those didn't match. Then they started talking some other jibber jabber about stars aligning, and the moon being in the seventh house and some other mess that reminded me of this...



Ain't nobody got time for that.

What I do subscribe to are the Spirit Controlled temperaments (I am a textbook Sanguine) and the Myers Briggs Personality Test (ENFP's stand up!) Those are very accurate and are helpful in discovering how to handle your weaknesses and work within your strengths. They are also very helpful in understanding other people's personalities. Tia and I took one a while ago and found we were totally opposite in some things which explained why there were things that she thought were really simple that I couldn't wrap my mind around and vice versa. I highly suggest these. As for astrology, stars are beautiful to gaze upon but I wouldn't base my life choices around them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 6



Day 6- Write 30 interesting facts about yourself. 

Tia
 
1. I have small feet for my height. I'm almost 5'10 and my feet measure a size 8 in length. But because they're a bit wide I usually end up in a 8 1/2. I can wear a little boys' size 7. I found that out last Christmas when I tried on a pair of kids Jordans' and thus began my sneaker habit.



2. I have a birthmark on my left calf in the shape of a crescent moon and as a child that was all of the proof I needed that I was princess and my real parents were a king and queen.

3. I don't believe in "the one" anymore.

4. I can't eat diary and I freaking LOVE cheese.

5. I think people who put their kids in child beauty pageants are bad parents. And I secretly judge anyone who watches Toddlers and Tiaras.

6. The last 6 books I've read have been Young Adult Fiction.

7. I will never be a part "natural hair" movement. It has nothing to do with self-hate and everything to do with laziness. But more power to the girls who do it.

8. I am a fan of gingers.

9. I am not a good dancer and I'm okay with that.

10. When I get home after a long day I usually take off my clothes and just sit in my underwear on my couch for a while.

11. I only have to shave my legs once every couple of weeks. And I only have to shave to the knee.

12. I JUST starting watching Breaking Bad. I'm SO late, I know.

13. I'm secretly jealous of girls who are taller than me.

14. When I make chocolate cookies for other people I always make a couple of cookies for myself without chocolate chips. Basically, I like chocolate chip cookies with out the chocolate chips. And NO I don't mean sugar cookies. Those are a totally different recipe.

15. I have a stuffed Winnie the Pooh that I've had for at least 20 years. Up until very recently I used to sleep with it. (Yes, still. Don't judge me.) But it was starting to have a Velveteen Rabbit feeling to it and I was afraid I was going to catch dysentery or something. So he now resides in the closet.

16. When I'm not on the road, I work from home. Sometimes I don't shower until like 4PM and most days I don't put on pants until after I shower. (I just realized I spend an awful lot of time in my underwear when I'm at home.)

17. If I think about eternity for too long (on and on, with no end to time or space) I start to have a panic attack. The concept is so foreign and unfathomable to me. The thought of something NEVER ending...okay I have to stop typing now.

18. I JUST starting watching 24. So if you're keeping track, I get on board with TV shows late.

19. I'm secretly a little jealous of Toya's curly hair.

20. I have a box of children's books that I've purchased over the years that I wanted to read to my kids. They're in a box in the spare room downstairs. I'll probably never get rid of them even if I don't end up having kids. I'm selfish like that.

21. I subscribe to the 3 second rule.

22. I have toyed with the idea of getting a British themed tattoo for a really long time. But it seems a bit much since I'm not actually British, don't live in London and don't have a British XY partner. But a Union Jack/Mind The Gap/Phone box tattoo has crossed my mind more than once.

23. I'm struggling to find 8 7 more interesting facts about myself.

24. I have never seen the original version of Sparkle. It's been in my Netflix queue for years though.

25. I know very little about any rapper from about 2002 - on. Seriously, what's an ASAP Rocky?

26. Just about every girl I know loves The Notebook. I don't. I've seen it once or twice. It gets a resounding "Meh" from me.

27. Now Love Actually...*sigh* Hands down my favorite movie. I could sit on my couch every Saturday night and watch it. Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a close second.

28. I'm not a violent person. But there are a handful of people that I would love to dole out a proper ass whooping to.

29. Breakfast is my favorite food. Not my favorite meal, my favorite food. There is NEVER a bad time to eat some sort of breakfast related food. And if you don't believe in God, bacon should EASILY convince you of his existence.

30. The other day I was flipping through the channel guide and saw that 17 Again was on. I'm not ashamed to say I did a quick  IMDB search for Zac Efron to see if he was old enough for me to have a crush on him. I try to keep my celebrity crushes age appropriate.


Toya

THIRTY??? Good grief...
  1. I love music. There is nothing that has influenced my life more. My knowledge of all different types of genres even freaks me out, let alone others. I can have a conversation with just about anyone about music. I hear symphonies in thunderstorms. I guarantee you that God is a jazz musician.  
  2. I have never been in a real adult relationship. I've dated before but nothing committal. I had a best guy friend that we just swore it would be us and someday we'd be married so I never really took too many other guys seriously. I decided one day that us together would be a bad idea and now we don't even talk.  He is currently married. I don't regret my decision but daggone! 
  3. My grandmother, who was my HOMIE, died a few years ago. The only thing that keeps me from being torn up about it on a consistent basis is that I tell myself often that I owe it to her to be everything she showed me that a lady is supposed to be. Suck it up and carry the torch.  I have to respect her legacy and move on otherwise I'd be in a corner somewhere sucking my thumb.
  4. I may/may not have had a crush on Tony Danza from Who's the Boss (and Taxi-showing my age there) when I was in about 4th grade. There is something about New York Italians. I have no idea why I am so attracted to them. In other news, Joey Fatone was my favorite Nsync member. It all makes sense now. 
  5. For a brief period, I DJ'd in an all girl hip hop group. I had Technics 1200's and everything. It was sooo fun...until we got signed. "Industry rule number 4080..."
  6. Although I am a very outspoken person now, I used to not stand up for myself at all and was quite the follower. I don't know exactly when this changed but that's not the case at all now. I am very direct. One thing you will never say about me is "I think what Toya meant was..." Oh no. I am very clear.
  7. I still remember where I was the first time I heard Luther Vandross. He was is my favorite singer of all time. 
  8. I have about four pairs of black shoes because I really hate wearing shoes and never know what to get. 
  9. I have freakishly strong legs. 
  10. I peeked at Tia's list even though I said I wouldn't. Just the first few items. I got this from her: whereas her feet are small for her height, mine are terribly large. I am 5'2 and am a STRONG 9 1/2. Where is the justice?
  11. I am a daddy's girl to the fullest. He is that dude! I have learned the true meaning of forgiveness through my relationship with my dad. People really can change and we need to give them the grace to and not throw old stuff in their faces when they do. It's not right. 
  12. I am naturally drawn to introverted people because I like to make them laugh. 
  13. I have naturally curly hair. Like...really curly. 
  14. When I was a little girl I thought it was cool to be a receptionist. Now after many years of experience I can say never, ever, ever, EVER again. Thus why I love Pam Beesly from The Office. I get her and her love for a good comfy cardigan. Aaand a goofy best guy friend like Jim who turns out to be the love of her life. If this boring job leads me to that then to God be the glory. 
  15. I'm from New Jersey and not New "Joizy". I'm from South Jersey right outside of Philadelphia. I am a city girl at heart and would love to live in a big city like New York for at least three months. I'd also like to live in South Africa temporarily.
  16. This is kind of 15a.: I am most comfortable in crowds. I can sit in a crowded bar with some good music by myself and feel just as relaxed as I'd be in my own bed. Sometimes I just need to be around noise. I often can't get started on a writing project alone either. I always need a steady hum of noise around me.
  17. I have a big heart for creative people,specifically musicians. I don't quite know why but I always have.  I wanted to be a road pastor for some time. What a great way to see the world!
  18. Anytime I think that God doesn't have a specific plan for something, I think about Tia's and my friendship. It's that amazing of a story. And we got to meet New Kids on the Block together so there's that. Bonded for life.
  19. I didn't see Thriller until I was about ten years old and I think I was six when it came out. I was such a scaredy cat as a kid. My parents said I'd be terrified and I believed them. To this day, I close my eyes when MJ turns around with those scary cat eyes. Uh uh. 
  20. There are three foods I will never ever turn down: cake, pizza, and a homemade Rice Krispy treats. I don't care what's going on. I'm doing that. 
  21. My favorite color changes often. Right now I'm into black and white patterns. I know that's not a color. Leave me alone. 
  22. I look really young for my age. Most people guess me to be ten years younger. I attribute that to good genes and no kids.
  23. I love naps so much that I could run down my top three naps of my lifetime. Not kidding. Three...EPIC...naps. 
  24. I have to sleep on airplanes because 1) I don't like planes and 2) you can catch a really good nap on a plane (see #23).  I always pick a window seat to lean into.  I also put a blanket over my head because I sleep with my mouth open and The Internets are real.  I have done some terrible snoring on planes. Hint to know if you've been snoring: if you wake up at the end of a plane ride and the person next to you is smirking and can barely look at you. 
  25. I am good at a good number of things. I am not bragging about this because it is actually a problem. It makes it difficult for me to pick which thing is best for me to do. At the end of the day, whatever I do is going to involve music in some way. Although my fantasy job is to be a travel host. 
  26. I used to be incredibly insecure about my body-always feeling a little less than a woman because I didn't get some umm..."accoutrements" that a good number of my friends have. My mom helped me out by saying this: "Toy if you were busting out all over you wouldn't be you because you'd be self conscious about why men talk to you." She's right. I'd hate it if guys always looked at my boobs or my butt as I walked by. But if I could just have one day where I was shaped like Beyonce or Janet Jackson, I would spend that entire day making grand entrances and grand, VERY grand, exits. And that is why, ladies and gentleman, I am barely a C cup with a flat booty, an outgoing personality and the only thing big on me is my smile. So be it. 
  27. The bravest most exhilirating thing I have ever done is perform Beastie Boys "Sabotage" with a friend's rock band. I have never felt more badass and more scared in my entire life. It was a cover song show and I was the only non-artist there. When I tell you I gave my ALL for MCA that night...

Best. night. EVER. I'd do that every night if I could.

28. I am absolutely obsessed with pinup girl, Bettie Page vintage type clothing. Red lipstick, head scarves, polka dots? LOVE. IT. Never seen Mad Men though. Odd. I hear I'd die over the clothes. I also will wear anything that looks like Willona Woods from Good Times would wear it.  I'd dress a lot differently if I had more money and didn't have an office job.
29. I can't stand when I think people are mad at me. I really can't unless it's for something really stupid that I think they need to get over. But when someone is mad at me because they've read me wrong or took something I said wrong, I can actually get a bit choked up because I hate being misunderstood.
30. I may/may not think that God made Gerbera daisies just for me. They are the perfect flower. Roses are nice but Gerberas are perfect.

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 5



Day 5-  A time you thought about ending your own life.

Tia


Okay, who ever came up with these 31 day topics needs to stay out of my damn business.

My life hasn't been a cake walk. (Ummm...what is a cake walk exactly? Where did that phrase come from?) While I know of stories that were far worse than mine, easy isn't how I would describe my life.

The worst part were my teenage years and not in that angst-y teenage way that everyone goes through. My family was homeless. Sleeping in the car, washing your clothes in the gas station bathroom, asking for food at shelters, homeless. Things got better but those hardships during my formative years did a number on me.

I'm an emotional person by nature. So those homeless days made me especially dark. More than once I thought about taking my own life. But the only thing that kept me from doing it was thinking about how it would effect my family, specifically my younger brother. Suicide is selfish and causes more problems for the people who are left behind than it solves for the person who dies. But I truly understand the desperation and the pain. I understand wanting to do anything to get out from under it. I just couldn't bring myself to commit such a final act.

There were a few times in my adult years where my emotions seemed to be skewing way too far into darkness. And again, suicide crossed my mind. I ended up seeking professional counseling because some of my issues became too much to handle on my own. I struggled with a lot of things including the fact that I was supposed to be a happy all of the time, "mind of Christ" Christian. (I hate the way the religious community, specifically the black religious community, sometimes views mental illness but that's another topic for another day.) Finally taking the step to understanding how to process my emotions and swim out of my dark days was one of the best things I've ever done.

 I won't sit here and tell you that I'm now a shiny, happy, pink unicorns and rainbows person. But I will say that I understand the gift of life. I see how even the crappiest days are a gift. And every day when I open my eyes I'm hopeful for what the day may bring. Sometimes it brings nothing but crap and nonsense. Other days things are literally beautiful and I fall asleep smiling. So if I have any advice it's just to take it day to day. Try to find the joy in every day. There's a reason to be here. Make a point to try to find it. And hell, if you don't find it today, find some cake (because cake will cure what ails you) and give it another go tomorrow.

Toya

Well the last thing I want to do on a Monday is talk about suicide but here we go.

I can think about two distinct times that I thought about taking my own life. Once was when I was in my mid-teens and another happened to be a few months before I decided to move to Nashville. When they say that it is often darkest before the dawn, they are absolutely right.  I just felt really hopeless and would come home at night with thoughts of driving at a very dangerous speed directly into a telephone pole. I was so lost. I felt like I had no direction. If I had taken my own life I would have never known that I am strong enough to overcome the very things that troubled me. Now I know. I'm glad that I didn't rob myself of that and so much more.

The thing about my journey in my faith in God is that things have been very unpredictable. I've suffered during times where I have felt that my ideas of how things would go or should go have been taken right from under me. I think that's why I have had to learn to let some expectations go.  You always hear "Trust God" but I am someone that needs to know what to do in the meantime.   And usually when I am left to my own devices in that meantime, I am plagued with guilt about how the waiting game is entirely my fault. That's when hopelessness develops.

Here's what I am learning though: in my times of hopelessness and condemnation, I have learned that there have been some things personally that I have had to deal with before I can even get to where I'd like to be. If I would have gotten these things beforehand, things could have not gone so well and I'd be left in even more guilt. I wonder how many people who have taken their own lives were just *this* close to their breakthrough. We will never know.

I've made it a point in recent days to just be more hopeful regardless of what things look like right now. It's not easy to speak words of victory when it's visibly nowhere in sight but I'd rather die hopeful than in misery. I get wanting to escape the pain when there seems no way out. I get feeling like you are too weak to take anymore.   I also believe that is exactly what the devil wants to see happen. You have to know that when you pray for the help you need to get back up that that help is always on the way.  I think sometimes the people in the most pain, that have gone through the most excruciating circumstances and inner struggle are the ones who satan knows have the most to give to the world. When you look at it that way you have to understand that your life is a fight against a very unfair enemy. My life is a fight. It's a constant battle and I'm worth suiting up for it everyday. So are you.

I love that Pink's "Try" is playing in the background as I am writing this.

I don't know not one person who is not going through right now. Not a one. There's been some comfort for me in knowing that. I think when it comes to suicide, people isolate themselves sometime before so all they are able to see is what they are going through. I get that but humanity is much bigger than that. Everyone hurts. Everyone is hurting. Everyone, at some time, has to fight. It just has to click inside your head that your life is worth fighting for-not just for you but those that love you, those that know you, and those people who you don't even know yet who will be forever impacted because you lived on this earth.

And that is why I am still here.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why I can put Wendy's on the list with Subway - Tia

Actually, that looks like Yaki #4 to me.

So here's the thing, I've been trying to eat healthier and workout more and change my lifestyle all the way around. But about once a week I want a "cheat meal." Something delicious, usually fried, but without being chocked full of calories. Enter Wendy's. Their value meal items reasonably satisfy my cravings without breaking the money and calorie banks.

However, today, the Wendy's on Howell Mill Rd has been added to the list of places that will never see me again. Congratulations Wendy's. You're now on the list with Subway and Taco Bell. You can all keep each other company.

I didn't want to gross you out in case you were eating or something. So here's a link instead of a picture to why Wendy's gets two thumbs down. And here's a video of a giggling baby that you can watch after you click the link to help you forget about how grossed out you are.


Fun fact: I used to work at Wendy's. It's been 20 years and I still remember the training song. "White, red and green." That was the order that you were supposed to dress the burger. Mayo (white), Ketchup (red), Pickle (green), Onion (white), Tomato (red), Lettuce (green). Yeah...you put something to music and I will remember it FOREVER.

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 4



Day 3- Your views on religion.

Tia

To put it simply, I am a Christian. I believe in God and intelligent design. I believe that Jesus Christ wasn't just a character in a work of fiction, but that he was God in flesh who came to Earth, bled, died and lived again to save the world from itself and its sin. I believe that you only get one shot at life on this third rock from the sun and then you step into eternity and stand before God.

I also believe in grace and love. While I will happily share my faith with anyone who wants to hear about it, I would never shove my beliefs in someone's face. I feel like the best way to prove that Christ exists is to walk out his teachings. You will never find me telling a gay person that God hates them. (Spoiler alert: God LOVES them.) I would never belittle someone for their "sin" because my life is messy and my past isn't spotless. My address is 1098 Glass House Lane and all of my furniture is made of rocks. Basically, let he who is without sin, ya know...

People are allowed to believe whatever they choose about whatever deity they choose to serve. I don't get into arguments about the semantics of religion. I've seen it get ugly quickly. But I know too much and have seen too much to not believe in the God of the bible. There have been times where I'm certain God spared my life. Like LITERALLY spared my life. I've seen people healed by the power of prayer. And while it all may sound farcical to some, my faith is what sustains me when times are good but especially when times are dark.

I've been asked many times, "What if you're wrong? What if there is no God?" That's easy. If there is nothing after this life, then my time here will mean nothing and what I did with my time will count for squat. However, if there is an afterlife, and I truly believe that there is, then I want to live the best life that I can. Not as some kind of checks and balances thing, like I have to earn enough tickets to win my way into heaven. But rather, I want to be the best person that I can be so that my time and my life means something. I want those who come into contact with me to know that they are loved and that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. I want my little corner of the world to have been made better because I was in it. Jesus said the greatest thing we could do is love God and the second greatest thing we could do is love people. And that is the "religion" that I try to focus on. I want to love people. I want to make sure that "God is love" isn't just a cute phrase but the motto of my existence.

Toya

I think everyone has the right to practice the religion of their choice and should be respected for doing so.  It bothers me when people are disrespected because of their religion. I don't care what it is.   If people want to be like Rerun on What's Happening and worship a head of lettuce that they call Ralph, leave them be!

Dee is giving the side eye of life AND death here

Shout out to you old heads that remember that episode.

Nowadays, disrespecting Christianity is widely accepted and I think that's so unfair especially since we are constantly hearing how our society should be more tolerant.  I think there are things that you should just agree to disagree on.  Don't flip out, don't call people names. Just respect their right to not believe the same as you and move on.  Now yes, I am a Christian and perhaps that's why I am a little sensitive about this. However I think if I wasn't I'd notice it just the same.

I grew up in a Christian home but I didn't really truly make the decision to practice Christianity on my own until I was about 19.  I went away to college and couldn't seem to manage becoming a responsible adult and maintaining good grades so I came home after the first year.  I remember being in church around the time I made the decision to come home. I was in service and I thought to myself am I going to live this out because it's how I grew up or do I really believe in God for myself. It was then that I really truly think I became a Christian.

Have I sought out other religions? No not really.  Never been curious.  Although I don't understand everything about Christianity and God, I feel that my personal life experiences are enough proof for me to know that God is real and Jesus is awesome.  If I didn't believe that, I would have chucked that whole "forgive and love your enemies" thing out the window a long time ago. Sure I have my questions. I have my discomfort about some things. But at the end of the day, I can never deny the peace that I feel when I spend time with the Lord. I can't deny the prayers that have been answered in the way and time they've been answered.  There have been too many things that I've seen that I just can't deny. That's why I have the faith that I have.

The Twelfth Doctor - Tia

My fellow Whovians, we have our 12th Doctor. And real talk, I am SUPER excited.

It is embarrassing how emotionally invested I am in this show. I raced home this afternoon so that I could watch the Doctor Who special on BBC America. I turned off my phone and everything. I wanted no interruptions when they revealed who would be my next Doctor. (Yes, MY Doctor.) It was like Christmas. I was trying to eat lunch while I watched. That proved to be a bad move because I was chewing so fast out of excitement I almost choked on my food.

When Peter Capaldi walked out I was genuinely happy. I wasn't just excited about the choice because Peter is a fantastic actor, (he is by the way) I was glad that the show decided to go older and make a change from the young pretty boys who've most recently played The Doctor.

Don't get me wrong, I will have a crush on Matt Smith and David Tennant forever. And I think they were both excellent Doctors. But the beauty of the role of the Last Time Lord is that it brings variety. Each of the last 11 Doctors have brought something to the role that no one else could and I fully expect Peter to do the same. While I'm sad to see Matt and his bowties go, I can not wait to see what Doctor 12 brings to the table. November can't get here fast enough.

So, what are your thoughts about the new Doctor? Are you excited? Are you bummed it's not Idris Elba? (There was a rumour going around that he was in the running. Can you imagine? I would have passed out.) Share your thoughts in the comments

Saturday, August 3, 2013

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge - Day 3

Day 3 - Your views on drugs and alcohol


Toya

I hate drugs. I hate drugs of any kind.  I have never done any and I attribute that to the fact that the people who have offered me drugs have often looked like the poster children for why you shouldn't get started in the first place. I especially hate marijuana, I don't care if it is "from the earth".  People abuse it so much that it becomes their entire life! I truly believe that there are sooooo many people addicted to marijuana that have no clue that they are. Oh and a little aside on why I detest it: the fact that it can take an absolute beautiful looking brotha and give him the ashiest black lips. Stop y'all! Just stop!

As far as alcohol is concerned, I love the science behind wine and craft beer. I think it's cool and I have friends that are really into it. I see no problem with it as long as it is handled responsibly. I will say however that this year I feel like I have a better understanding on why people abuse drugs and alcohol. When I was struggling with depression I started to understand the need to feel something... different. Anything different than the pain you are feeling.  This is the first year that I've kept wine in the house (I prefer red) and I have had to be careful not to cross the line. Because I have never been a heavy drinker, crossing the line for me is more than two glasses. I should definitely know better because like a lot of us I have a history of addiction in my family. It's a scary thing.

I don't care what the addiction is be it food, porn, gambling, whatever, I just wish people were more honest with themselves about it.  If you can't go one day without it there is a problem.  Well, clearly I am not talking about food. We need food. You know what I'm saying.  There are people I know who will put themselves in risky situations to smoke marijuana everyday. It makes no sense. I know that there are plenty more drugs that are more harmful but because of my personal interactions with potheads that I know and love, marijuana happens to be the thing that I hate the most.

Tia

I used to date one of the biggest pot dealers on my conservative Christian campus. He was all about the "don't get high on your on supply" rule but he let me smoke as much as I wanted. His roommate Chavez and I used to get high and watch Friday and The Fifth Element. Then we'd make a run to the Quik-E Store and get Ho-hos. And that's literally all we would do. Smoke, snacks, movies. Could we BE more cliché?

The thing about pot is while it's not a physically dangerous to your body as other drugs (as far as I know) it seems to robs you of all ambition. I was unmotivated to get off of the couch when I smoked. The only time that changed was when I wanted a Ho-ho. Other than that it was just me, the couch and the movies. I think the fact that you care so little about everything is the most dangerous thing about marijuana. Well that and the carcinogens in the weed and how it wreaks your lungs.

Because I work in medical research, I do understand the LIMITED medicinal use of marijuana for people with EXTREME chronic pain or who are going through chemo. I can truly see the argument for the drug's justified use. (For people with anxiety disorders or PTSD...yeah, not so much. And I'm not those aren't legitimate conditions. I'm saying those legitimate conditions can be treated WITHOUT pot.) And I'm also in the "legalize it" camp not because I think pot should be everywhere for everyone. But because statistics show that minorities are more likely to be arrested and given harsher sentences that whites for marijuana possession even though the groups use the drug at similar rates. I'm of the mindset that instead of the war on pot, let's try to combat the more serious crime out there.

With regards to other drugs, I feel like you have to be CRAZY to start using drugs. I'm aware that that is not the most compassionate view point. And if someone is on drugs my heart truly goes out to them. But with all of the PSAs out there, with all of the meth heads around, with all of the scary-ass side effects, I just don't understand how anyone could start using drugs. But I'm quite certain that no one thinks, "I'm going to get strung out, ruin my life and possibly stop my heart and die" the first time they do coke. I know there's more to addiction than I could ever understand. But that being the case it just seems easier to NOT start.

Now as far as liquor...hmmm...

Every box that I unpacked that was labeled "Kitchen" had booze in it. Pots and booze. Plates and booze. Tin foil and booze. I had a lot of liquor. Some of it had come from multiple parties I'd thrown. Some of it was stuff I'd purchased. Whatever the case, I had so much that I tipped my movers with money and booze.

Believe it or not, I don't drink a lot. (I'm sure that last paragraph would imply otherwise.) I'm fine with the occasional drink. But my rules for drinking are simple: Don't drink and drive. EVER. Buzzed driving or otherwise. Cabs are easier than death. Don't drink until you're drunk and out of control. That's not a good look. Don't drink until you puke. That's just ridiculous and puking is bad form. And don't drink cheap stuff. It gives you a headache and makes you sick, thus causing you to break the previous rule.

Honestly, I don't have a problem with alcohol. But like any other drug, my problem comes when people abuse it. A glass of wine with dinner is fine. Three bottles of wine with dinner makes you an alcoholic or Fun Bobby.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun Music Friday: Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots


Confession time: I (Tia) hated "Blurred Lines"when it first came out. And the video made me despise the song. I honestly don't know why I had such disdain in my heart for the track. Two different people emailed me the week the song came out to tell me how much they loved it and I completely SHUT. THEM. DOWN!!!! For whatever reason, I was having nothing to do with "Blurred Lines." 

The thing is, I couldn't go anywhere without hearing it. The gym. The radio. The airport. TARGET!!! That song was everywhere. I remember I saw the most random, tie-wearing, stuffy looking white guy driving down Peachtree JAMMING to the song. I mean, he was going in on a level that I had not recently seen. 

I don't know if the repetition wore down my resolve or if I just heard the song enough times to finally realize that it really is pop/R&B gold. Whatever the reason, I love the song now. 

Oh and can we take a minute to talk about how FINE Robin Thicke is? I mean, HOLY CRAP!!!!! Paula Patton gets to look in those eyes EVERY DAY!!!! That lucky heifer. 

Anyway...

There are so many parodies and remakes online. Some of them are hilarious (The Bill Clinton one is great.) Some of them are tragic. (You can search for those on your own.) But aside from the Sesame Street mashup, this version with The Roots and classroom instruments wins as my favorite. And Black Thought's version...no shade to T.I. but can we get a remake with Black Thought instead of T.I.? It's just a suggestion. 

Hopefully, Jimmy and the gang will brighten your pre-weekend day like they have mine. Happy Friday Y'all!!!

#31Write Now Blog Challenge Day 2

Day 2- Where you'd like to be in ten years.

We know this says five-year plan but it's funny

Tia

Ummmm....so yeah. I'm not sure how to answer this. I am by nature a planner. I like to know what's happening, where I'm going, how I'm going to get there, etc. From childhood, I've had my whole life planned out. But as I was telling a friend the other day, NOTHING, and I do mean, NOTHING, in my life has gone the way I've planned. Like seriously, not one plan that I've had for myself has come to fruition.

So these days, to ask me where I'd like to be in 10 years is a loaded question. Frankly, I have no idea. So many of the ideas of where I'd like to be in 10 years were wrapped up in the plans that I previously had for my life that, as I mentioned, haven't or never will happen. For instance, until I was about 21, I was planning on going med school. That's NEVER going to happen now. I'm far too lazy to get into that kind of competitive program. Plus I don't want to be Dr. Norman Shales from Grey's Anatomy. (You have to be a hard core Grey's fan to get that reference.) But if I had gone to med school, ten years from now I'd be looking at an early retirement.

I wanted to get married and have kids in my 20s. If that had happened 10 years from now I would be changing the locks on my house and disconnecting my phone so my newly graduated child(ren) wouldn't be able to come home and would have to fend for his/her/themselves. (I'm kidding. My kid could always come home...and pay rent/utilities.)

But you get the idea. I don't know where I'd like to be in 10 years because in all honesty, I don't know where I am now. (Geez, this sounds depressing. I really don't mean for it to. I'm just trying to be real.) I've had to scrap all of the plans for my life and start over. And you make plans SO THAT you have some sort of idea of where you'll end up. But after years of watching my plans fall through I'm a little afraid to try again. (At this point, I seriously have NO qualms about being completely honest about who I am. I have reached a point in my life where putting on the facade of having it all together is tiresome and time consuming. I am a walking, functional mess. And you will deal...)

However, I've come to the conclusion that living exclusively in the moment is a fallacy. Everything that we do is designed to get us to the next moment. The idea of just letting things happen sounds good, but at this point I think it's unrealistic. So while the thought of making no plans for the rest of my life and "being easy" may seem freeing it's an impossibility and scares the crap out of me. So if you're keeping score, I'm scared to make plans and I'm scared not to make plans. How's that for a conundrum?

I guess if I could get out of my own noggin for a brief moment and just allow myself to dream and hope without limits, in ten years I would love to have more stamps in my passport. I would love to be doing something that I not only love but that's meaningful as an occupation. I would love to have a permanent XY partner with a healthy batch of our combined DNA running around. I would love to know that my parents are taken care of as they will be well into their "golden years." And I would love to understand what it means to be content being right where I am. Honestly, that's about it. It's an almost embarrassingly simple list.

I don't know where I'll end up. Frankly, right now I'm over caring about it. I can't look too far forward. And I definitely can't stay put. So I have to find the happy medium. Though clearly I don't know what that looks like. Maybe I'll know in 10 years.


Toya 


I pretty much stopped planning for my life around the age of 25, 13 years ago when I moved here to Nashville. I figured if life is THAT unpredictable, I may as well just ride with it.  Nothing has happened according to plan. Some of that is really good, some of that is not so good. In the past 13 years I have done a great number of things that I never thought I would do however I am still in debt, still not at my goal weight and still single. I am not disappointed that I am not married but I am REALLY single. Like may as well be on a deserted island sending messages in a bottle single (see Day #1 as to what I mean).

It's just that everything has been so unpredictable. I know one thing Tia gets frustrated with me about is that I won't plan in advance when it comes to vacations. I just have had no idea as to what is really going on with my life that it seems crazy to plan a year in advance for anything.   I will just say this: in ten years, Lord willing, I will be 48. That is pretty much 50 in my book. So by then I just want to be fly. I want to be healthy, I want to still look young for my age and be fly. Let's go on and add that I hope to be financially stable, more active within the artistic community, and well traveled. Hopefully I will be on my way to retiring in Brooklyn by that time. Besides that, I really have no idea where I'd like to be in ten years.