Sunday, November 9, 2014

I wasn't ready - Tia

My beautiful, strong, courageous mother passed away two weeks ago. She was diagnosed with cancer at the end of August and two months later she was gone. My brother and I were not prepared in the least. We all thought we'd have more time.

Death is a cruel and complicated thing. We all know that we're going to die. But we are never fully prepared for it. We had no idea that my mother would go so quickly. And once she went home to be with the Lord, the grieving process was swift and crippling. There are no words that can comfort you. There is nothing that you can do to stop the pain. You must simply accept it, give in to it, and do the very best that you can to navigate it. It is the absolute worst.

My mother and I had a tumultuous relationship at times. I know that she loved me dearly and I her. But I don't know that she ever fully understood her stoic, nerdy, overanalyzing, strangely emotional child. And I certainly didn't fully understand some of the decisions she made and the things that she did. I'm more like my father in a lot of ways and I think that's why she and I often bumped heads. But she was also the person who understood my tears. She knew that I could be a person who resided squarely in my feelings for long periods of time and she was often very adept at navigating those feelings.

My mom taught me to cook (when I would stay put long enough to pay attention.) I get my love of baking from her. I get my looks and my curves from her. She taught me how to take care of my skin. She loved me when I was rotten, when I was selfish, when I wasn't at my best. For all of her faults, for all of the times I was FURIOUS with her, for every moment I just didn't understand how her mind worked, I ALWAYS ALWAYS KNEW that she loved me.

The last birthday card she sent me had a note in it that said, "You are the best thing that ever happened to me." It was a Disney princess card. She told me that my middle name means princess and she always called me her "beautiful princess."

So as I struggle through the gut wrenching sadness that comes with losing a loved one and try to process the crisis of faith I'm having with not understanding why my mother got cancer and why our prayers for healing from God were not answered, I find comfort in knowing that I was unconditionally loved by a beautiful, statuesque, God fearing mother. I am glad that she is no longer suffering. I miss her dearly, but that's to be expected.

Just before my mom passed, Toya's dad told me, "Your parents are the first people you ever love." So if you are the praying type, please pray for my brother and me. We lost our first love.

Monday, October 27, 2014

And Now for Something That Doesn't Suck: Taylor Swift's 1989

Oh wait. That's not the album cover.  That's me playing around on Taylor's website

Here it is...

It's been a long time since I've been really excited about an album.  I totally needed this.  When I heard that Taylor Swift was writing a new album that was to be reminiscent of my favorite era, I can't front.   I was intrigued.  Her lyrics sung over some music that reminds me of Judd Nelson in flannel, feathered hair and a trenchcoat ? Oh I'm here for it (side note: Why did the internet try to kill him the other day? I can't stand people sometimes).  Anything that reminds me of a John Hughes movie is pretty much gonna get a yes from me and this record gets all of the yesses.

Here are five of my favorites (besides "Shake It Off" AKA "Mickey 2014" which I vote to be our new National Anthem) off of the deluxe version of the album found only at Target:

1. "Welcome to New York"- "Welcome to New York" reminds me of how I probably would have felt about NYC had I been a young adult in 1989.  It's bitter sweet because since I have moved back to the east coast and have visited NYC, I have been so sad of how much it's changed! God, what have they done to The Village?! *Sigh*  Still, this song reminds me of the big dreams I used to have of living there when I was a kid in, well, 1989.

2."Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style""Style" !!!

3. "Out of the Woods"- I was afraid I'd be tired of this song because the chorus is so repetitious but daggonit if I haven't caught myself singing it at work, church, Wawa... I can't help it. It's so so good!

4. "This Love"- Is it just me or is this record giving us Amy Grant's House of Love vibes? I'm just saying! If you think about the time that record came out along with the fact that a lot of people weren't happy about the fact she moved from CCM to Pop, the parallels are pretty interesting.  This is giving me House of Love for sure. I love this record.

And now for the song that I feel personally emotionally victimized by...

5. "You R In Love"

This song.
My stomach.
Knots. KNOTS I SAY!!!!

I don't care how you feel about Taylor Swift. If you feel ANY way about love, get thee to this song! The only gripe I have with this album is that this song is not included on the iTunes version.  That is a sin and a shame.  It's easily the best song of the project and the entire record is pretty solid. I had to make myself not listen to it anymore. Every last one of the feels. Every last one!

What do you all think about the album and what are your faves?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Random Musings By Toya

I know it's been a long time since either of us have written anything. Here are some random musings and cryptic things that I just have to get out of my system.

1. I'm insanely bored. I spoke to a mentor of mine recently who told me that it is a dangerous thing for me to be bored. She's right. My mind defaults to certain anxieties and I become an obsessive daydreamer. If I am going to survive, I have to constantly be inspired and nurture my creativity- go into the city, look at art, meet driven people, etc. Like I have to manage this like it's my job; like it's Type 2 diabetes.  It's that crucial. I am so used to working on at least three things at a time so this downtime is just not the business. I have to allow myself to be creative again. I also need to express myself more which means I should be writing more. It's just...this year has really had me in my feelings for real. There's a lot in my head that I'm not sure if I'm ready to let out onto this blog yet or anywhere else. 

Being an extrovert can be hell sometimes. Reason being, there are times where I want to be alone and I absolutely shouldn't be. For instance I am right now penning this post from my what used to be my favorite diner in Philly before I moved to Nashville.  I know I need to save money but I just have to be around people and noise right now to even think. To breathe!  Silence can be really loud sometimes. I don't even think I would be writing this if I was at home. I'd be asleep. 

2. Speaking of this diner, I am eating out of a bowl of fries too large for anyone to eat by themselves. Eh well. *Adds salt*


After 8 months, I am finally ready to be all here. To get to know where I live and to thrive. I no longer have one half of me in Nashville and the other half here. I miss Nashville but I was feeling really claustrophobic. I feel good about being here even though I haven't really made any friends yet.  That'll soon as I start following up with people and stop spending my weekends talking to my friends back in Nashville all night. There will never be anyone as awesome as them. 

3. Pray for Tia please.  

4. I just noticed that this diner has new (to me) T-shirts that say "Everything old is new again." You ain't never lied. 

5. I was dealing very heavily with regret about some things but something has occurred to me that has lessened the blow of 20/20 vision: the things you regret not doing a lot of times you just weren't mentally ready to handle at the time anyway. Be it a career opportunity or a person that you later realize means more to you than you ever really wanted to admit to yourself. You weren't wrong; you just weren't ready. I would say more but too many people know about this blog so moving on...

6. Taylor Swift's 1989 is about to come out and murder the game. Be mad. I'm here for it. 

7.  I better not eat all of these fries. 

8. The fact that we have created an environment where Bobby Shmurda's  "Hot N----" can be a hit is a shame to our ancestors, ourselves, our children and future generations. What in the hell happened to common sense? 

9. How's this for a bad pickup line: a MARRIED man said to me "What's your name, beautiful?" I was working so I had to answer him although he was holding my hand SO grossly . "My name is Toya." He said, "My name is...Speechless." Okay pal. What is wrong with people?

10. I've been spending some time with my 10 year old cousin which I am almost positive is giving my mother hope that I may eventually want a child. I'll be honest: I'm open to adoption after a good four years of marriage.  Cause isn't true religion "taking care of the widows and orphans"? See I don't hate religion. I just hate what we've made it to be. 

11. This cute guy just sat next to me and my date. And by my date I mean this big bowl of fries. Check please. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fun Music Friday: Ain't It Fun - Tia

I've always been a casual Paramore fan. I liked their music well enough but didn't own any of their cds. I knew their radio hits and a few other songs because Toya was a big fan and we used to be roomies. But at best, I respected what they did, but probably wouldn't go to a show. That all changed when I heard "Ain't It Fun."

I was SO behind when it came to this song. Apparently, it came out last year but I only heard it for the first time a couple of months ago. And it was so different from the Paramore songs that I was familiar with I didn't even recognize who it was. So color me surprised when I Soundhounded it and saw that it was Paramore. See here's the thing, I knew that the lead singer, Hayley Williams, could sing. But I didn't know she could sing like THAT. Real talk (do people still say "real talk"?) the first time I heard the song it was during the last chorus and I honestly thought it was a person of color. Hayley was SLAYING the vocals and with the obviously black BGVs and supporting choir, I just knew that someone brown was singing lead. I actually Soundhounded it twice because I thought my phone made a mistake the first time. Hayley DID THAT!!!

The radio/video version has a bit of the last chorus edited out which is kind of a shame because she really goes in during the last 1:20 of the song. But let me tell you, there are a few live versions floating around out there and that little girl is SANGING! I'm so for it.

This song made me go listen to the whole Paramore album on Spotify. And I can now say I am officially a fan. That album is amazing. Easily one of their best lyrically and vocally. And if they come through Atlanta, I will definitely be at that show.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Man Crush Monday: Sasha Roiz - Tia

As you know, I've been sick for the last week. As such, I've been doing a lot of binge watching on Netflix and Amazon. I'm not really sure how I decided to start watching Grimm. But I'm also unclear on why I wasn't watching it to begin with. The show is right up my alley. I mean, honestly, hot guys chasing monsters and fairy tale creature…? YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU!!!

Now, I understand the show is about Nick being a Grimm and all that that entails. And don't get me wrong, David Giuntoli has that whole smoldering, tortured hot guy thing down. But I live, you hear me, I LIVE for Capt. Renard. That man is my primary reason for watching the show. Okay, that's not fair or entirely true. It's actually a really fun and imaginative show. But Sasha Roiz is the eye-candy I look forward to seeing the most. Side note: I feel sorta bad objectifying him (and all of my other MCMs) like this. I mean, this man is educated, speaks multiple languages and is probably an all around decent guy. He's not just a piece of meat…hahahaha….sorry….I can't even finish this. He's hot. Moving on…

Okay, let's start with the height. As a tall girl myself, I love the fact that Sasha is 6'4" (via IMDB). I come from a family of tall men (my dad and younger brothers are 6'3", 6'5" and 6'8" respectively.) So I like a tall man. I also like a man who dresses well and I feel like every time I see Sasha (may I call you Sasha?) be it on the show or at some event, the man is dressed impeccably well. I'm sure he has to have his suits tailored or if he's like the boy bestie, he has to have the suits made specifically for his frame. Either way, the man looks DAMN good in a suit.

Then there's the language thing. On the show, I've heard him speak French and Russian. I feel as if there was a 3rd language thrown in there somewhere but can't immediately recall. Whatever the case, this man could be reading his grocery list in Russian and it would still sound sexy.

I've been unable to locate a wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, other for Sasha. (Hey, I live in Atlanta. Lots of boys have boyfriends.) So for now he will be my boyfriend in my head. And even though I haven't yet finished season 3, I know how it ended. (The internet is great for helping you find pictures of your MCM AND for providing spoilers.) As such, I'd like to borrow a phrase from The Walking Dead: If Renard's really dead, we riot.

Oh yeah…he's also on Instagram.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Live your life (aaa-aaa-aaa) - Tia

My birthday was last Tuesday. And let me tell you, IT SUCKED!!!

I spent the weekend prior with the boy bestie in Florida. We turned up! We went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I got to go to Diagon Alley. I saw a fire breathing dragon. The next day we went to the beach. Then we came back and had drinks. And steak. AND DRINKS!!! TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!?! The answer to that question is: The Next Day. Turn down for the next day!! I am officially in my late 30s.  I can't party like a rockstar any more. My body does not like it!!! The day before I left Florida I could feel myself getting sick. By the time I got home Sunday night, I knew I was going to be sick. By Monday, I was sick. By Tuesday, my actual birthday, I thought I might be dying.

To say that I was sick would be a gross understatement. I had a fever. There was so much snot. Every time I coughed, I thought one of my lungs was going to detach. And then I started puking. Nothing says, "Happy Birthday to me!!" like having to clean up your own vomit on your born day.

I'm a baby when I'm sick. But being sick on my birthday, with no one to take care of me, almost did me in. I started crying...once I stopped vomiting. I couldn't believe that not only did I feel bad physically, but I had no one to come and just take care of me. I was also crying because I realized that I'd been waiting on my life to start and I'd wasted so much time. I was waiting for someone to do life with and while I waited most of my 30s passed me by. I wanted to meet someone, get married, travel and then have a kid. And I figured I would have done that by now. So as I scrubbed vomit off of the hardwood floor (I learned it settles in the cracks of the floor if you don't clean it fast enough) it all just kind of hit me that I'd been waiting for the perfect scenarios to live the life I wanted. And while I waited, NOTHING happened. It was a lot y'all.

I've been sick for the last week and I've had a lot of time to think. I have to come to terms with a lot of things. First and foremost, I may never get married. I hope that I do. But finding a husband (or being found by one or however you word the scenario) is not promised. And I just don't have the time to wait around for a permanent travel buddy that I can also have sex with. If I want to go and I want to do, I have to just go and do.

Second, I have to be the most awesome version of myself FOR MYSELF. It's past time for me to pursue the things that I'm interested in. I'm not going to be the best version of myself for someone else. I'm going to do that for me.

Third, it's okay to want things. It's okay to hope for things. But you can't grieve for what you don't have. You have to be thankful for where you are. But you don't have to STAY there. You can live the life of your dreams, but you have to live.

I had to go to Target to pick up numerous prescriptions on Friday and decided to pick up a birthday card for a friend of mine. I found the card above and I'm not ashamed that I bought it for myself. It's on my fridge so that I'll see it every day. (A girl's gotta eat, right?) I have to continue to remind myself that I can have some version of the life that I want. I'm telling you, washing puke out of your hair on the day you should be eating cake will make you have a life epiphany.

I start Italian classes next Saturday. I'm headed to NYC with my dad at the end of September. I'm leaning towards going to London for New Years. I'm heading down to Children's Hospital next week to find out about volunteering. I'm trying to figure out how to go to Physician's Assistant school. (Seriously America, why are there SO FEW part time PA programs?!?!?!) And I've started making payments for my trip to Italy and Greece for my next birthday. I'm tired of being miserable about the life I don't have. I'm choosing to take the next 30 days to NOT complain about ANYTHING. (I'm hoping that being more positive will actual change my life because it will make me change my choices.  I'll let you know how that goes.) And I'm choosing every day beyond today to live the life I dream. I want to love my life. I want to be an active participant in my own adventure. I want stories. I want fun. I want to have A GOOD LIFE! And so I shall.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Depression is a Mother******!!!! - Tia

Not even going to sugar coat it: I've been gone because I've been battling depression.

During my last post, I talked about how I'd been struggling with depression and was planning on getting help to get healthy. Well, I hit the proverbial breaking point not very long after that. I had a breakdown. There's no other way to put it. It was beyond dark. I was in a place where I understood why people committed suicide. It was painful. It was scary. It was soul-breaking. I understood how people get to a point where all they want is for the pain to stop. I had to reach out or I wasn't going to make it.

I sat on the floor and bawled my eyes out. For days I wept. I prayed. I stopped eating. I wasn't sleeping well. Just typing this brings tears to my eyes. I was in a place that NO ONE should ever have to be in. Fortunately, there came a point when the tears began to ebb. I sat in bed, logged onto my healthcare provider's website and began looking for a mental health professional. I needed a professional. I needed a lifeline. I went to the first provider who had an appointment available THAT DAY. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a nightmare. She actually made me feel worse. I was quite literally almost moved to physical violence toward her because she was THAT AWFUL. Never have I felt so belittled and disregarded. And this from someone whose job it is to walk people through the darkest times of their lives!!!

It's hard enough dealing with depression. But trying to find a mental health professional to walk you through it is a challenge in and of itself. A lot of people don't want to admit that they need help. But once you do, you have to be dedicated to finding the right person to help see you through the storm. (Side note: Counseling with make you start speaking in clichés and metaphors. You learn to deal with that.)

Even after Dr. "I suck at my job as psychiatrist" made me feel stabby, I knew I had to keep looking for someone to help. This wasn't something I could pray away, that would go away on its own. I needed intervention. Fortunately, the next counselor I saw was the lifeline I needed. She was compassionate, reassuring and realistic. It is cathartic and heart wrenching and difficult to unpack all of your inner demons. So if you're going to do it, you most definitely needed to make sure you're doing it with the right person.

Things have gotten better. But I still have off days. I'm still trying to figure out what my triggers are on the bad days. And though I was initially very much against it, I'm also taking medication to help find and stay in the balance. I worry that I'll have to be on it forever. But as one of my friends, who by the way, is one of the most wise, kind, Christian sisters I've ever had the fortune of knowing and who has also struggled with depression said, "Who gives a f*ck if you have to be on medication forever?" (Yeah man, sometimes depression makes even the most godly people drop f-bombs.) At this point I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get healthy and stay healthy.

My birthday is next week. I'm not doing anything special outside of gorging myself on chicken nachos at El Myr. My only wish this year is that I have more good days than bad. I pray that I will continue to make progress and NEVER go back to the place where the darkness almost won. And I also hope that my story will help someone else. If you're in a dark place or, heaven forbid, thinking of self harming, PLEASE PLEASE know that you're not alone. You are loved and you are wanted. And someone is there to help, you just have to reach out.

The other day as I sat watching the episode of Rizzoli and Isles where they memorialized Lee Thompson Young, I realized how devastating and far-reaching suicide really is. Although, Angie Harmon's character was speaking about the fictitious Detective Frost, it was painfully obvious that she was really talking about Lee. And as I sat on my couch, hugged my knees and cried over a life that didn't have to end so soon, I whispered to myself over and over again, "You will NEVER do that."

Life is neither easy nor fair. But it is worth living. Even when it gets dark and painful and kick you in the teeth unbearable, there's always one more day. And if that next day is an iota better than the last then it's worth it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou Has Died and I Need to Lie Down- Toya

I mean, Sesame Street? She was major. 

When my grandmother passed away, one of the things that helped me to get to some sort of resolve was this: Among so many things, she showed me how to live with grace and how to be a lady. She showed me how to love people and how to truly have compassion. What then was I going to do with all that she showed me now that her work here is done? She lived so well in front of so many so I really had no excuse to not live my life as if I had never been in her unforgettable presence. Although I have never been in Maya Angelou's presence, this is much how I feel about her. This is why I need to lie down a while. I am already worn out just thinking about the weight of the responsibility that should come next.

I can't think of too many other phrases that have hit me harder than when she said "I am the dream and the hope of the slave." In light of those words, I look at myself and I look at our world and I think man, we have got so much work to do. We have so much work to UNdo.  We can't live like we have not witnessed such greatness in our time.  We can't allow others to do so either, not if we can help it at all.  I just want us all to wake up and STAY awake; past the tributes, past the RIP Facebook statuses.  The way we see each other, the way we see ourselves...we just have to do the work to be better. More so than ever, we have to want to see others do better as well.  We don't champion recovery well as a society at all.  Maya Angelou learned some tough lessons by going through some things that a lot of us would not have come back from.  She took that wisdom from those lessons and she passed it along to help others be great. She didn't keep it to herself. The reach of the rippling effect of her wisdom is immeasurable.  However, I fear that because she is no longer with us, if we aren't careful those ripples can become still. 

If you have ever been moved by her words, soaked up her wisdom or were blessed enough to be in her presence, consider these blessings as a charge.  The first words that came out of my mouth when I heard that she died were "Man. We've gotta hold it down for her."  We've just witnessed too much to not want to pick up the torch. I really want my life to honor those like my grandmother and Dr. Angelou.  I just...I  need to lie down first. I already miss her voice.  I wasn't ready for this one today. 

Too many young black men and women don’t know that they’ve already been paid for, don’t know some of the great men and women who have lived in this world and paid for them already.  It’s important for young black men and women. I think it’s imperative for young white men and women. You see, only equals make friends. Any other relationship is out-of-order.” - Dr. Maya Angelou

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Hot Mess Championships: The 2014 Billboard Awards

Congratulations J Lo!
Another round of the Hot Mess Championships took place last night as the world watched the annual Billboard Music Awards. It wasn't awful, per se, but what I am noticing is that these shows can really only be about as good as the mainstream music of today that it is awarding. With that being said, things ain't what they used to be folks. Here's my rundown in real time, for the most part anyway. 

  1. So the show opens with Pitbull, the King of Zumba Music, trying to have a "Cup of Life" moment with all of these flags and dancers and such.  I won't front. This really looks like it's fun in person. Good opening!  
  2. Wait, Shania Twain still shows up to things? Okay Shania!  When I tell you that Shania and Celine Dion have no cares as my friend Melissa would say? Up there living in castles with moats full of money. Good grief. Moats!
  3. Lana Del Rey is rock? I really hate the way Billboard sets their categories up. How in the world?
  4. Is that Winnie Cooper?!  Wait a minute y'all! I need answers! Why is Winnie Cooper presenting an award?!
  5. Ryan Tedder of One Republic is the truth. I need to get into this One Republic album I see.  Oooh can One Republic,Imagine Dragons, and Young the Giant tour together?! I'd pay for that even if it wasn't a Groupon offer. 
  6. Will someone please tell me why Winnie Cooper was on though?! 
  7. So there's an Iggy Azalea AND an Azealia Banks? I just... I need a chart, a graph, a Pop Music for Dummies book, something. 
  8. Now who is this? That's not Ariana Grande is it? And who are these children? Were they on Degrassi too? 
  9. There's Ariana! Come on Baby Mariah!
  10. Ariana Grande gives me 90's realness and I am here for it. If she can just stay right here in her career, I'll be happy. 
  11. That Solange joke was so unnecessary, awkward and ill placed. I'm not saying that no one can come for her or The Carters but it was just flat. 
  12. I don't dislike Florida Georgia Line at all but do we really need this pyro though? Wait. Are they rapping? Like, is this Hick Hop? Is this a genre that missed me? I blame that Nelly and Tim McGraw song for this. I also blame it for global warming because it really was THAT bad. 
  13. We didn't just see Shakira in the beginning? If not then who was that woman with... I am so not current. 
  14. We're just gonna sit here and act like Shakira and Beyonce' don't look like third cousins twice removed?  Okay. I'll go pop some popcorn now. 
  15. If Ludacris doesn't introduce 5 Seconds of Summer with "Scheme scheme, plot plot. They coming for One Direction's spot", he, or the script writers rather, doesn't want to win tonight. The jokes are right there. They're right there!
  16. Just on the strength of "Pusher Love Girl" I want Justin Timberlake to collect all of his awards. That song alone rights all of the wrongs of the second half of that record. 
  17. That One Kardashian Sister (I don't know her name) started to introduce 5 Seconds of Summer as One Direction, didn't she? She is a Kardashian right? Clearly I don't know these new celebrities. Again I'm STILL excited about seeing Winnie Cooper.
  18. So this is 5 Seconds of Summer!  Look, I love pop punk summer songs. Sorry not sorry. I grew up near the shore. *Shrug*
  19. Lorde won! Yes Lord and yes Lorde!!!!! When is Lorde's MAC collection out? She keeps a maroon lip and I am all about that. She will get my money. 
  20. So about this Katy Perry performance of "Birthday". It's really....colorful.  I suddenly want Skittles. Anybody else suddenly want Skittles? And is Jerimih gonna jump on this "Birthday" remix or nah?. 
  21. Imagine Dragons go hard EVERY time! Yes children! They don' need pyro. They ARE the pyro.
  22. Is Imagine Dragons Mormon or Christian or anything like that? I'm just saying. I listen to their songs and sometimes I feel like I am about to enter a  "Here I Am to Worship" moment. 
  23. Luke Bryan is a cutie patootie. He just always seems so happy and grateful. 
  24. ----------------------------- And now for the other half of the show that reminded me about almost everything I hate about the music industry right now------------------------
  25. *10 seconds before the Michael Jackson hologram performance* It's not even on yet and I already hate it. *10 seconds into the Michael Jackson hologram performance* Nope! *Turns off the television and sits in silent anger* This man killed himself trying to entertain us and y'all dare to milk him dry even in death? I will not. 
  26. I am still sitting here in silence. It's gonna be a minute. 
  27. *Fifteen minutes later* Thank God Brandon just reminded me that Robin Thicke is fixin’ to go all Keith Sweat on us trying to get his wife Paula Patton back because my TV was still off.  I wasn't sure if I was going to turn it back on either. 
  28. Melissa:  "Country songs have great lyrics. What does urban radio get? 'These hoes ain't loyal'" *Face palm*
  29. Wait. Hold on. Is anyone black performing? That’s still alive????!??? Oh Jason Derulo and John Legend? These are our black, I mean, "urban music" representatives tonight? No slight against John Legend of course. No, I didn't forget anyone. *blink* *blink* Moving on. 
  30. I am here for Lorde, her spastic movements, her Terrence Trent D'Arby hat, all of it. Go girl. This new generation wants to clown Lorde for not being a Barbie doll but if you grew up with Robert Smith from The Cure, you ain't shook. 
  31. Robin Thicke finally won an award & after so many years together with Paula Patton, she isn’t there to experience this with him. This business, man.
  32. Hey I like "Cruise"!*Shrugs*
  33. Jason Derulo is on doing these wack songs and I want to be mad but I have to remember something: I have always stood by my theory that the state of R&B started declining the moment Billboard decided to combine the R&B and Hip Hop charts. It has affected radio and the quantity of new R&B music that actually gets heard. I could be up all night explaining this theory but I have to be at work not only tomorrow but just about every day this week. It would take me all week to explain and debate this probably so I will quit now. 
  34. Am I the only person not shocked over this Miley Cyrus and Flaming Lips duet of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"? If you know a little bit about The Flaming Lips, this is normal. Also, Miley Cyrus performed "Wrecking Ball" at the AMAs with a clip art photo of a cat against a backdrop of a screensaver from Windows 98 in the background. I expected this just the way this is. 
  35. Kelly Rowland. In this dress. Yikes upon yikes. I'll be over here eating ice sandwiches on crackers. Thanks. 
  36. About Robin Thicke's performance of "Get Her Back": Well I am glad that this wasn't a sad song with him at the piano giving us more Marvin Gaye/El DeBarge falsetto realness drenched in pleading and tears. Honestly I am one of Robin Thicke's worst critics but I am also one of his biggest fans. I have been for a very long time and seeing him like this hurts my heart. If he and Paula Patton don't work this out...Lord help.  Fix it Jesus! Fix it Iyanla!!!! 
  37. They are now giving Jennifer Lopez the Icon award and she really does deserve it.  I always forget about Maid in Manhattan and Wedding Planner! She deserves this! I don't know this new song she is doing.  I really wanted "If You Had My Love" to happen but no one asked me so.... 
  38. My mom while Jennifer Lopez is performing: "Eh well." *Goes back to playing Candy Crush* Mama Mae is not here for any of these shenanigans on tonight. She has seen James Brown. She is not impressed. 
  39. Jennifer Lopez just performed HARD and yet her makeup is still flawless.  How is this possible?! I can't walk through the Wal-Mart parking lot with 80% humidity without my makeup sliding off!  Where is the justice?
  40. From being a Fly Girl on In Living Color to Janet's backup dancer and beyond. Go girl. Speaking of In Living Color, I didn't hear her thank a Wayans brother, Rosie Perez, or anyone from the In Living Color era. Eh well.  We don't ever really know the status of famous people's personal relationships.  Keep that in mind while y'all are out here calling Solange crazy for going all "I've been waiting to hand you this behind whoopin' since 3rd period Algebra" on Jay Z.

Well between that Michael Jackson hologram foolery and Robin Thicke, I am glad that the next Hot Mess Championships aren't for a little while.  This show had me in my feelings so bad.  Floors open. What say y'all?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday: That Time Ricky Danced On My So Called LIfe - Tia

I recently saw a commercial for the United States Postal Service and Wilson Cruz was in it. I was immediately transported to the dance scene from My So Called Life.

If you are in your 30s - early 40s then you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. My So Called Life is right up there with Felicity as one of the most iconic shows of my generation. And I hope that whoever was behind the decision to cancel MSCL after one season was fired and is now working at McDonald's.

I was never much of a dancer. But whenever I hear Haddaway's "What Is Love" I can't help but break out some of the steps from this scene. (It's usually the arms. You can't get arms wrong.)

Happy Thursday Everyone!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Can We Talk?: MJ's Dropping New Music and I'm Not Ready- Toya

Y'all. I'm not ready.

Let me just go on record and say that my love for Michael Jackson has always run deep. Truth be told, there but by the grace of God and my extreme hatred of LA traffic, I would have been one of Mike's jump offs (make out wise ONLY) that  I've read about on a few occasions.  Don't act like you don't have some celebrity exceptions too now. With that being said, this whole new music thing is too soon. I don't know if it will never not be too soon either.

I JUUUUUUUST got to the point where I can listen to "Little" Michael Jackson. You know "Got To Be There" Michael Jackson?  "Looking Through the Windows" Michael Jackson?  But this new stuff is sending me on a fast train to my feelings and I can't deal. I mean I haven't made it through one song yet. For instance, Soulbounce has the Timbaland reworked song "Chicago" here that I just tried to listen to and I made it only about 10 seconds in.  I just miss him so much.

And then of course there is the duet with Justin Timberlake "Love Never Felt So Good" that hit last week.

I just...I can't.  His vocals come in and my heart just breaks all over again. I'm like that Michael Myers character on SNL back in the day that used to say stuff like "I'm verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic." I am SO verklempt!  Here, I'll give you all a topic: Out of all of the Jackson siblings, why did Rebbie Jackson's one-hit wonder "Centipede" outbeast every last one of their singles?

Seriously y'all. It may be ages before I listen to this new record. Are you still a little tender when it comes to MJ or are you excited and ready for the new music dropping this Tuesday?  What have you thought about the new music you've heard off of the record so far?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I've Learned So Far- Toya

Today makes three months that I've been back at home with my parents after living in Nashville for almost 14 years. It's been a good three months I must say. I've learned some things about myself. Liked to hear it? Here it go...

  1. I found a journal entry from the day I decided to move back home. It said "I am completely overwhelmed with having to decide what to do with my life." I still feel this way but I don't have to feel this way. It occurred to me this morning while I was praying that God has been trying to get me to focus on being instead of doing. Being still.  Being diligent. Being healthy. Being at peace.  If I can concentrate on being, I think what I am supposed to do will show up when it needs to show up. Unfortunately, I discovered that I look to activity to validate me. Everyone is always talking about the hustle or grinding, ya know? I love to be busy. Right now I'm not supposed to be grinding or hustling and it so hard.  I think that is one of the reasons why I had to leave Nashville. I always had people saying to me "I know you're working on something." The expectation just became too much for me. I don't blame anyone for that though. That is pressure that I put on myself. 
  2. I have a few types when it comes to men but one that I have had for as long as I can remember is the guy who has a long history of being a complete mess. Ooooooh I LIVE for a man that is a mess!  And wouldn't you know it, I have a little crush on one right now. He is so cute to me but he is a big spaghetti ball of crazy with a side of a hot mess.  Adorable nonetheless though. What's different this time around is that I'm not trippin'. I am not trying to not like him. I let myself like him. I don't worry about him getting too close like I have in the past which usually just makes things worse. I just realize that this is a type that I am attracted to and I can't help that. What I can help is how close I get. What I can help is not making unwise decisions or exceptions for him out of desperation like us women tend to do sometimes. If you know you have an unhealthy type, keep it real but keep it moving. 
  3. I am thinking about going back to school for communications and journalism. Ideally this would be in New York City. I figure if I am going to be in school during my 40's (I'll be 40 at the end of this year) then let it be some place that I really want to be. There is no way I want to be in school in New Jersey. However, Philly wouldn't be so bad. Is it crazy that once I decided to give this some thought that the very next thing I did was look online to see if they still make Trapper Keepers? I mean, those things were so handy!
  4. I have only had a few minor anxiety episodes since I have been back. One happened on the way to work. I felt like everything I was concerned about from where I am in life to concern about my family just avalanched on top of me. I was walking amongst a crowd of people and had to stop and hold onto a railing to get myself together. Tia and I recently talked about how hard it is initially when you are forced to face the reality that you are suffering from mental and emotional health issues. I deal with it better now because I acknowledge that this is a real thing. That skin crawling feeling and the panic I experience is real and it's nothing to be ashamed of. So what did I do? I stopped and said "You know what this is. Breathe." And then I concentrated on my breathing exercises.  Along with breathing exercises, I have also taken to eating more fruits and vegetables, less sugar, and taking an obscene amount of B vitamins. I can look at my pictures from when I first left Nashville and some recent pics and can already tell that I appear healthier. I also talk to myself. A lot. Hey don't act like I'm alone here.  This is usually restricted to my home and my car but I'm not gonna lie.  Sometimes I'll be on the train thinking "Wait. Did I just say that in my outloud voice?" *Looks around awkwardly* Eh well. It's the city. Everyone's used to crazy anyway. 
  5. Being a parent does not stop once your kid turns 18.  This is probably a big reason why I don't want to have children. I'd be trying to train them to get out and never come back once they learned to walk. My parents are absolute saints. They really are. They have been more than supportive. Being back here with them has brought to my attention that if they really needed me, I am not in the position to help them.  I never thought about that when I was away in Nashville.  Now getting myself to that point is a main priority. That is the main reason why I want to go back to school.They have worked so hard. I want to do all that I can for them. 
  6. I have a sign on my wall that I made that says "Deal with it!" I haven't always dealt with things well. What I mean is, I can mull something over and over in my mind but not necessarily deal with it. For instance, I was worried that I may have made a mistake not taking up an opportunity back in Nashville. I let that thing swim inside my head for about 20 minutes before I said "Okay, now why am I concerned about this?" And I walked myself through it. "Why are you upset about this? What do you think could have happened?  Would that have been the best thing though?" When I do that and come to a conclusion, the conclusion is either I can't fix it now and maybe I shouldn't even want to. I tend to romanticize life in Nashville at times forgetting how miserable I was my last year of being there. I can't overlook that. I can't be looking at Instagram and see my friends hanging out like "See? Why did I leave? I could be hanging out right now." Uh no I couldn't either. I was BROK.  Not BROKE. BROK. I couldn't even afford the E. 
  7.  Being up here has made me truly realize who my true friends are. I miss my friends in Nashville so much.  I am so appreciative to have had a good number of people express their adoration for me since I left, however ,what I've learned in this transition is to never mistake adoration for love. Adoration doesn't require action. Love does.  I know that now and I am so grateful.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Confessions - Tia

I want to finish the 30 days of Blog but I'm in a funk.

I often read The Bloggess' blog and she struggles with some emotional things and is very candid about it. I can't tell you how many times I've read something that she's written when she's been depressed and painfully honest and it's made me feel better. I say all of that because I genuinely think that I'm in a similar boat. And for some reason, even though I'm feeling like crap today, I feel the need to spill my guts about it. So here's some real time confessions regarding what I'm feeling right now.

- I'm counting the minutes until the sun goes down so that I can go to bed. It feels wrong to go to bed while the sun is still up. But I really don't want to deal with this day anymore.

- A guy that I haven't spoken to in YEARS popped up on social media last week and made me realize that I still feel some kind of way about him and about what happened between us. (He was my prototype: everything I thought I wanted in a guy.) But I'm too scared to try to reach out because I'm afraid he'll be honest and tell me why he stopped being in my life and I think the rejection all over again will be a little too much for me.

- I'm not sure when it happened but I'm genuinely afraid that I've made too many wrong choices and will never get married or have kids.

- I'm unclear on how I'm an introvert but my love language is quality time. Shouldn't I be okay with being alone?

- I hate the fact that I have no one I can call and say, "You want to hop on a plane to (insert destination here) next weekend?" I'm not balling or anything but I have some disposable income and almost 5 weeks of vacation at work. I'm pretty sure I only earn about 3 weeks a year (I'm not totally sure because I've never run out.) But if that number is correct, that means that I took very little time off last year and carried over a lot of vacation days. And traveling alone is pretty lame, so I don't go anywhere because I have no one to go with.

- I think that I legitimately have some level of clinical depression. But I'm hesitant to get help because I don't know where to begin and I don't trust easily. So the idea of PAYING to spill my guts to a complete stranger scares me. (Doing it for free on the internet is easy.) I'm also still trying to shake the "stigma" of mental health issues especially from the aspect of the church and the black community. Neither have ever been very welcoming or understanding when it comes to depression and the like.

- I know it's ridiculous that I'm afraid of what others will think about how my mind works. Especially since I sought professional help in my 20s. I think part of me just feels like a failure for not being able to be consistently "okay" mentally. And I don't want anyone to know that I'm not doing "okay" right now.

- I realize that a lot of what I just said revolves around fear. I don't like that.

- I'm calling a counselor tomorrow to get something scheduled. I know I can't continue like this. I gotta get some help.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

30 Days of Blog: Day 15 - Tia

Where will you be in 5 years?

I have no idea. I didn't expect to be where I am. And if you'd asked me 5 years ago where I thought I'd be, where I am now would not have been my answer. So I'm not even going to try and speculate. And I'm going to politely skip this topic.

Have a nice day!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Man Crush Mondays: Karl Yune - Tia

I genuinely don't understand racism. Disliking someone because of the color of their skin is ridiculous on SO MANY LEVELS. Plus, it means you miss out on the hotness that other races have to offer. Beauty is not relegated to a specific race. And thank the Lord for that. Because REALLY KARL YUNE….REALLY?!?!?!?!

Last week I was watching Over The Top Rock Em, Sock Em Robots Real Steel and Karl Yune came on the screen and I stopped paying attention to everyone else. My LAWD his bone structure!!! Did God carve this man out of stone and marble?

I need Hollywood to do better and put Karl in more movies. And don't just make him the Asian sidekick. He is leading man material. Am I just saying that because he's hot. Yes!! No!! It would just be nice if Hollywood would diversify and have more actors of color in movies and television shows. Entertainment should reflect the true diversity of real life.

Anyway…here are some gratuitous pictures of Karl because I can and he's fun to look at.

Oh, did I mention that Karl has an equally hot brother? Yeah, Rick Yune is fine too. I guess it just runs in the family.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Funny

I'm grown and I still love Elmo. I'm not ashamed.

Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

30 Days of Blog - Days 3 and 12 - Tia

I mean, this isn't a bad quote at all. 
Day 3 - Favourite Quote
In recent years I've found that more people than I realized have a favorite quote or life verse from the Bible that they live by. I find that admirable. I've just never been one of those people who feels that any one set of words is applicable for all time. There are specific truths that I feel are immutable. But I think that certain things apply at certain times and other things at other times.

However, at the moment there are two quotes that I'm very much digging. I saw the first one as an email signature from one of my co-workers:

We are twice armed if we fight with faith. - Plato

To my knowledge Plato professed no particular faith in a higher deity. So I'm assuming this quote was in regard to fighting the struggles of life. But I can't be sure. I may have to take a Philosophy class this summer.

For me though, this quote from Plato is very timely. Recent months have caused me to have to fight for what I believe in, what I know to be true, what I hope will be. A family health scare, a job situation, a personal relationship. I've had to fight just to get through a lot of things and I've clung deeply to the faith that things will work out one way or the other. I've had to believe, in faith, that God has control of things and they will reconcile, maybe not in the way that I want, but things will resolve. So these particular words from Plato have been rather timely in recent days.

Grownups, comedians or not, realize that excellence requires not just early, but constant, unrelenting work and sacrifice and that reaching a peak does not mean you will stay there. - Aisha Tyler

Y'all know I straight up, unabashedly STAN for Aisha Tyler. The other day my brother told me that I'm just a shorter, lighter, less famous version of her. Aside from the fact that he felt the need to bring skin tone into it (so unnecessary, he knows I have dreams of chocolatier skin) it was the best compliment I'd most recently received. People want to be like Beyonce (her life seems overly tiring and lacks a privacy that a geeky introvert like me needs) or Kim K (no comment because I have nothing nice to say). When it comes to celebrities whose lives I would gladly take over, Aisha is at the top of the list.

That chick is a hustler. She's on Whose Line and The Talk. She has a podcast. She's the voice of Lana on Archer. She still does stand up. She writes books. (I'm currently reading Self Inflicted Wounds and you should be too. It's hilarious.)

 She tames unicorns* She's captain of the world's only all black water polo team.*
*These statements are still under review and verification is pending.

With that many irons in the fire you know that she is hustling every day. She's up early. She stays late. She does what it takes to get things done. And her drive is one of the many reason I admire her. It's the kind of hustle I need if I'm ever going to break out of my 9-5 and do something I love. Granted, what I thought I loved and wanted to do has changed but that's okay. The one thing that I love and refuse to let die is this blog. Will it make me famous? Who knows? (Honestly, I don't really want to be famous. Infamous…now that's another story.) But I want to be consistent. I want this blog to flourish. I want something I write to mean something to not only me but to the people who read it. That means I have to keep at it. It means I have to write even when I don't want to. It means that a mundane post about what's in my fridge may be all I write about one day but at least I wrote about something and I was consistent. If I want BGLU to be all that it can be then:

Day 12 - Favourite Childhood Book
Finally an easy topic!! My favorite childhood book is A Pocket For Corduroy. I have fond memories of my mother reading it to me when I was little. And I loved that the little girl in the book looked a bit like me.

As a child growing up in the early 80s, I didn't realize the significance of having a book where the lead character was of color. Race was never a big deal in my house. My parents were kind people who loved everyone regardless of color. But as an adult, I now understand how important it is for children to have relatable characters in literature and media. If you don't believe me, take a look at this and let your heart break.

I have a copy of Corduroy and A Pocket For Corduroy, along with a lot of other books that I loved as a child, in a box in my spare bedroom. I've bought them throughout the years with the hope that I can one day read them to a child of my own. I refuse to get rid of them and if things get desperate enough, I may "borrow" an unattended child from the grocery store and read to them. I kid…I kid…for the most part.

Happy Saturday BGLUers!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Music Friday: Electric Youth - Tia

I woke up with this song in my head and took it as a sign that it needed to be the Fun Music Friday song of the day. 

Like most girls my age in the late 80s/early 90s, I adored Debbie Gibson. There were Debbie versus Tiffany factions, but I didn't really subscribe to that. I didn't feel like you had to like one or the other. You could be a fan of both of them. They were giving me adolescent soundtrack realness and I appreciated them for that.

But I won't front. Style-wise I leaned more toward Debbie. I had the hat, the cut-off shorts, the black patent-leather tie-up shoes with the ribbon laces. Don't act like you don't remember those.

And like every girl at my school, I had the Electric Youth perfume. 
It was so pink!!
All I remember about that stuff is that it smelled sickeningly sweet. It was the "gotta have it" item for every pre-teen girl. God bless the teachers of my middle school. They were suffocated daily with the smell of Electric Youth, Darkkor Noir and pubescent hormones. And yet they still came to work every day. Treasures in Heaven…I have to believe that for them. 

I still remember every word of "Electric Youth." And though I was never the greatest dancer, I oddly still remember some of the choreography. This is what classic music does. It sticks with you forever. We won't remember the "Nae Nae" in 20 years (or 20 months for that matter.) But call me in a couple of decades and I will gladly sing you all of the words of "Electric Youth." 

30 Days of Blog: Day 11 - Favourite Foods - Tia

Day 11 - Favourite Foods

As you can see, I'm still playing catch up with the 30 days of blogging. Trying to blog every day, while traveling for work and doing the rest of my life stuff is proving challenging. But I'm going to do it. I'm going to finish because I don't like starting things and not finishing them. I guilt trip myself something awful when that happens. 

But it's the freakin' weekend, so no more excuse. Time to get it in and get it done. Moving on… 

Y'all, I LOVE food! I really do. It is delicious. It is wonderful. And I'm not just talking about regular food. I'm talking about well made, hand crafted, melt in your mouth, not processed, made with fresh ingredients, somebody put their foot in this (like the old folks used to say) GOOD FOOD. 

I remember the first time I had hand-made gnocchi in a home-made alfredo sauce. Child, I LIVED.

The problem is I'm also fond of not good for you, artery clogging, colon blowing, "why did I eat" that food. I'm learning that I need to avoid this kind of food most of the time and opt for "real" food. But I will never fully abandon an In-N-Out burger animal style with a side of fries. That's just not going to happen.

That being said, in no particular order (except for the bacon…Bacon is ALWAYS number 1) here's a list of the stuff that I will always have a hard time turning down because they're my favorites.

1. Bacon

In my entire 30+ years, I have only ever met TWO people who said they didn't like bacon. And I am convinced that those people were either aliens or demons, because no human in their right mind DOESN'T like bacon. It's meat candy. It makes EVERYTHING better. When have you EVER had bacon or something with bacon and thought, "I could have done without this bacon." NEVER!! You know why? Because BACON IS EVERYTHING.

A couple of years ago, I became privy to what real, cut by a butcher bacon tastes like. Great day in the morning (as my grand daddy used to say), it was like someone had opened up the cosmos or something. I didn't know bacon could get better. But it can. The stuff they sell in the stores is bacon-lite compared to butcher bacon. If you have a Fresh Market near you, go immediately and get some Nueske's bacon. Or if you love bacon like I do, you can order some here. (You can thank me later.) Yes, we live in a world that allows you to order bacon.

2. Cupcakes
A miniature cake…with frosting. I'm not supposed to like this because why…???

3. Pizza
As I mentioned in my day 2 post last Tuesday, I'm horribly lactose intolerant. I have been since I was a baby. I read somewhere that something like 75% of the population has some form of lactose intolerance and it disproportionately affects Native Americans (some estimates put 80-100% of Native Americans in the L.I. category) and African Americans. My grandmother was half Native American and I'm black, so, yeah, there was a good chance I was gonna be screwed on the dairy thing.

I once had a friend tell me that I'm just more evolved that other people because humans aren't supposed to a.) drink milk after infancy and b.) consume the milk of another animal. Apparently, we're the only species that does that. I gently encouraged him to have several seats with all that noise because cereal is everything.

I don't eat pizza often, but I refuse, REFUSE, to give it up completely. It's everything you need in one convenient object. Meat, cheese, vegetable, grains. It's the entire food pyramid in a handy carrying case. Thank you inventors of pizza. THANK YOU.

4. Cereal
You name it, I probably like it. Rice Krispies, Cascadian Farms Granola (my current favorite), Special K, Frosted Flakes…all of it. With few exceptions, cereal is my go-to. Thank God for lactose free milk.

5. Breakfast/Brunch
I understand that breakfast and brunch are not exactly foods but meals. But I don't care. I will eat breakfast/brunch any time, any place. I'm unconcerned with the time of day or the location. If there is a meal that contains all of the elements of breakfast/brunch, you don't even have to ask. Yes, I want in. Yes, I'll have some. Yes, pass me the bacon.

6. Hummus
Why didn't anyone tell me that ground chickpeas were so delicious? I'm a bit angry that it took me so long to get into hummus. But into I am. I pretty much eat it every week. And Trader Joe's Jalapeño Cilantro hummus is worth the 30 minutes it takes me to get to a TJ's to get some.

7. Mexican Food
Mexican food is a close second behind breakfast/brunch. When I was little, my family lived in Texas and the woman who watched me after school until my mother got home was Mexican. She used to make homemade tortillas and a bunch of other stuff that pretty much ensured that I would be addicted to Mexican food for my entire life. Thank you Mrs. Conchola for your far reaching and long-lasting influence.

8. Somosas
A couple of months ago I had vegetable or chicken somosas 4 days in a row. I'm not even remotely sorry about that. If somosas are available, I will be eating them.

9. Burgers
For health reasons, I don't eat a lot of red meat. But that doesn't mean I don't love it.

I'm not a fan of cheap fast food burgers. (I do not put In-n-Out burger in that category.) It has honestly been years since I've had a McDonald's burger. In my opinion, those just aren't real burgers. When I say I like burgers, I'm talking locally grown, grass fed, hormone free, made to order, cooked to perfection burgers. There are THREE restaurants in a 5 mile radius of my house that make some of the best burgers I've ever had. I try to only hit ONE of them up every 3 months. I feel a burger every quarter is fair. But when I'm there, look out. I want it all. Bring me the big, juicy patty with bacon (of course) and sweet potato fries.

Oh and one time this happened.

Yes, that's a burger with doughnuts for buns. Again, sorry I'm not sorry. It was delicious and decadent and worth it.

10. Bacon
Bacon started the list and bacon ends the list. It's just how I feel about the delicious, God sent food and I make no apologies for it.

Happy Friday Y'all!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stop Trying to Make Me Care! 6 Things I Need for the Media to Stop Talking to Me About- Toya

As much as I hate to admit it, I am a big fan of The Internets (no typo).  My social media activity has only increased since I moved back home.  I appreciate the fact that it helps me stay up in everybody's business keep up with the many people I care about. However, being online a little more than usual has me constantly inundated with things I'd totally be okay never hearing about ever again by the media. Here are the following things I need for the media to stop trying to make me care about once and for all:

1. The Kardashians:  Why? Just....why are we still talking about any of them?  And listen, I don't have a problem with them at all!  How could I be mad at a family that took a lemon of a sex tape (not that I saw it or anything) and turned it into lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon fresh Pine Sol, and a thousand acres of lemon trees for everyone in the entire family? I'm not mad at them. I'm mad at the media's obsession with them. Why are we still talking about them? We're not talking about Ray J. I don't get it.

2. Justin Bieber's...anything: Leave this child alone. I swear the media is just bored.  I really don't understand why the media is so obsessed with his demise. It's ridiculous. I do miss #MusicMondays from him though. Say what you want.

3. Real Housewives/Basketball Wives/Love and Hip Hop of Anywhere: Loooooook! It's one thing that people are fans of these shows. God knows I have had my guilty pleasures even though these shows aren't any of them. It's another thing when the media gets involved and tries to make it seem like this mess is for real.  Like, media outlets I actually respect talk about RHOA like it's real life. I don't see them talking about what happened on WWE the night before? What that's not the same thing? Oh okay.

4. Beyonce': Listen. Y'all have GOT to stop talking to me about Beyonce'. That goes for her husband, her baby, her daddy, her daddy's baby, etc.  She can't break a nail without it being all over my timeline.  Again, I have nothing but love for the sista but it's kind of like what Ghandi allegedly said about Christians. "I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians." I like a good bit of Beyonce's songs but her crazy ready to cut somebody fans?  Since a lot of them act like she died on the cross for their sins and rose on the third day to drop an album at midnight, I don't think that's an unfair comparison.

5. What any public figure believes about homosexuality: Y'all. Everyone is not down with everything. I really don't understand why the media needs to publicize people's personal views on the subject.  I also don't understand why people feel they need to have approval from a public figure on their view on homosexuality be it for or against. Someone isn't wit' it? Cool. It is what it is. Someone is all for it? Live your life. A celebrity wants to come out? I mean...I guess. A celebrity is gay but doesn't feel the need to come out or make a statement? Stop trying to out them! Let people be!

6. Sarah Palin's opinion on anything: Everything I have previously listed I am completely indifferent about. But Sarah Palin? Y'all have GOT to stop talking to me about what Sarah Palin has to say about ANYTHING. She infuriates me.  Why are they still asking her opinions about anything in life?! Sarah...Sarah...honey...listen. You don't get to quit your job and then tell other people how to do theirs. No ma'am. Stop asking her opinion on stuff. It doesn't matter anymore.

Other people's opinions who are also null and void: The opinions of Joan Rivers and anyone else who has any opinion on who is too fat to be successful and popular.

Well these are my gripes. What about yours?  What or who do you wish the media would stop trying to make you care about?

Woman Crush Wednesday: Solange - Tia

Did I buy a copy of Essence because Solange is on the cover? Yes, I sure did. Why? Because I love Solange. Don't get me wrong. Beyonce is a bad broad. But if I had to pick a Knowles sister to be friends with, it would be Solange.

I mean, what's not to love?

She's stylish.

She seems to be a great mom. She quit Instagram because people were trolling her son. Seriously, who trolls a kid?
And she makes amazing music.

Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams is one of the best albums to come out in the last decade. It's funky and eclectic. My inner music nerd STANS for this album.

Normally, I don't care that much about celebrities on a personal level. But honestly, if given the opportunity to be friends with Solange in real life, I would do it without hesitation or question. She is a BGLU personified. And I'm glad she's getting the recognition she deserves.

Happy #WCW!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Try- Toya

"Try" by P!nk just shuffled onto my playlist. Alecia will minister if you let her. 

So I guess I'll start writing again too.

In a post earlier this week, Tia talked about how it is essential to her well being if she writes consistently. The same may be true for me. It's easy to keep things inside now that I am away from everyone because I moved back home to get my life together. However in doing so, I feel like I am keeping a lot of things locked up like my creativity and well, the desire to express my opinions on things because I just happen to like the sound of my own voice apparently.  Unfortunately,  I have found by not expressing myself, I mull things over and over and over and over again in my brain be it in the shower, in my car.... on the train hoping that what I have said in my mind I did not say outside of my mind. You know what I mean. What others call crazy talk, those that often talk to ourselves just call it working it out.

My mom has set up a little office in the house that I am now making my own so I can work. She'll discover this when she  comes home to see that I have moved her clutter into a box and have already hung up some motivational quotes on her walls with Scotch tape. Here's the first one I posted today that I heard during a TED talk called "How to Make Stress Your Friend":

"Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort."- Kelly McGonigal

It is hard to start dreaming again and doing things you once enjoyed when you believe that you have screwed up your life beyond all recognition and restoration. This hit me when I took a long walk into Center City Philadelphia last week. I walked past the subway and just kept going for some reason.  I have said that I have no desire to live in Philly but then I came across some cute brownstone apartments. I was then reminded of how I have always wanted to live in the city in one of those. I was also reminded how there is no way outside of winning the lottery right now that I could afford one and then I almost burst into tears. It was then that I discovered that I had completely let go of the dreams that I used to have because I thought that all of my mistakes had made my life a complete failure. Unbeknownst to me, my "hiatus" from pursuing anything fulfilling at the moment was just me giving up.

At 39?  Really? You're just going to retire at 39 huh? 

As I walked around I realized that I had placed a death sentence upon myself. I struggled to remember what my dreams were and why because I had completely swept them under the rug and out of sight. I got my butt  kicked so badly last year that my goal for this year was to simply stay above water and not be a mess. That was all. Don't try to thrive. Just try to survive. Anything else is going to send you to the crazy house. The fear of moving forward had crippled me so badly that for two straight weeks I couldn't even update my resume.  That's why that quote by Kelly McGonigal hit me like a ton of bricks. I have now come to grips with the fact that if you want to do anything in life other than just exist, you can't walk around trying to avoid discomfort. I can't hide from the uncertainties of life. I can't walk around being afraid of anxiety attacks.  I can't keep myself from moving forward because I am scared to fail and scared to go back to a dark place. Because after you go through all of your reasons to not move forward like your failures, your third, fourth, and fifth chances, and all of your regrets, fears and disappointments, what do you do when you still manage to wake up the next day?

You give yourself a clean slate. Sometimes every single day.

You scream "No" when fear and doubt start to creep into the room.

You put your pride and shame away and ask for help; even when everything in you wants to make it seem like you have everything under control.

You forgive yourself for every single mistake no matter how careless or far reaching.

You learn to trust yourself all over again.

And then you try.

30 Days of Blog: Days 2 and 7 - Tia

Day 2 - 20 Facts About You
Believe it or not, even though I'm a blogger, I sometime find it hard to come up with a bunch of facts about myself. So I'm not being self-deprecating, but some of these may be a little boring.

1. I just got my 4th tattoo. And MY GOD did it hurt. Of all of the tattoos I've ever gotten, this one was hands down the most painful. There's a picture on our Instagram that you obviously follow us on, right…Right…RIGHT?!?!?!
2. I judge people who watch any of The Real Housewives shows but I will shamelessly watch 16 and Pregnant.
3. The only reason I don't live in London is because I'm afraid the constant gray weather would bum me out too much. (A friend of mine pointed out that if I did live in London and the weather was getting me down, I would just be a short train ride away from warm sunnier weather.)
4. I have pretty small feet for my height. I'm almost 5'10" and my feet measure a size 8.
5. I love gingers.
6. I'm lactose intolerant and ALL of my favorite foods have diary in them…except bacon.
7. I will always watch Love Actually if it's on even though I have it on DVD and digital.
8. I love really bad movies. The crappier the better. Sharknado is a masterpiece.
9. I used to be obsessed with the Titanic. Not the overly long movie but the actual ship. I watched documentaries. I have books about the sinking. I did unnecessary research on the sinking. I nerded it up for a boat that sank over 100 years ago.
10. I love bacon. No, seriously, LOVE IT. Would eat it everyday if I didn't care about my cholesterol.
11. I don't understand the fascination with Scarlett Johansson. No shade, I just don't get her.
12. I used to want 5 kids. Now I'm far too selfish for that many children.
13. I'm not a great dancer. I'm okay with that.
14. I will eat kettle corn until I'm on the verge of throwing up and then will stop eating just long enough for the feeling to pass and then keep eating it. It's a sickness. I just don't know when to stop.
15. I hate winter but I love Christmas.
16. I still have a tape deck.
17. I have a box full of children's books that I've purchased over the years to read to my kids.
18. I LOVE LOVE LOVE music.
19. I don't feel like a lot of people really get me.
20. Whenever I have to write a list like this I always struggle to come up with enough points and it makes me feel like my life isn't very interesting.

Day 7- Your 5 Favourite Songs
(I left the British spelling because I'm an anglophile like that.)
Listing my 5 favorite songs is an exercise in futility. I have one favorite song that never changes and that's "Children Say" by Level 42. That is my all time favorite song. But aside from that, the songs that I label favorite is an ever-rotating list.

That being sad, here are my other 4 favorite songs for the moment in no particular.