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Ahhh, the holiday season… Time for connecting or reconnecting with friends and loved ones. Picking up where you left off, reminiscing on old memories, and creating new ones, -if only I could find their phone numbers…
Ok, I’ll admit it. When it comes to keeping in touch with people, I’m not that great. It’s not that I don’t want to stay in touch, I do, honestly. It’s just that somehow, I just lose touch. I’m a texter, I love texting and social media. To me, it’s one of the greatest things to ever happen to the phone. I rarely ever actually talk to anybody on the phone. Maybe it’s my introverted personality, but being on the phone any longer than five minutes with someone is absolute torture. And it’s always been that way. I’ve watched my mom hold telephone conversations for over an hour in pure amazement. I don’t know how she does it. If I’m not shooting you a text within 5 seconds of receiving your phone number or vice versa, chances are that I’ll lose it. On the other hand, if I do have your number or social media handle, you can expect messages on birthdays and all of the holidays! I’ve also got a thing for greeting cards. I absolutely love shopping for the perfect card. So I guess I’m not at a complete loss when it comes to keeping in touch, but there’s definitely room for improvement, and I’m up for the challenge.

-Until next time, xoxo

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Giving Tuesday

If you’re like me, than gift giving time makes you a bit anxious. I mean there’s secret Santa parties, white elephant parties, and gift exchange office parties. Finding a gift that’s within the agreed upon budget, that’s thoughtful, but not too personal can be tough. And of course nobody wants to go up to their recipient and say, “Hey, I pulled your name. What do you want?” (trust me. I’ve been on the receiving end of that conversation. Super awks.)

So I checked the mail the other day and pulled out a Z Gallerie catalog. I began flipping through it and came across the “gifts” section. Z Gallerie has tons of gifts for both him and her. Starting at just 9.99, I’m sure anyone can find the perfect gift.

If you’re more crafty, there’s tons of gift ideas on Pinterest. You could make customized gifts for everyone on your list.

Last but definitely not least, if you’re feeling charitable, there’s plenty of causes to donate to on GoFundMe.com

Hopefully, these ideas made your gift giving season a little less stressful. Happy giving!

Cyntoia Brown

“… When I would do good, evil is present with me.” -Romans 7:21 kjv

I first became aware of Cyntoia Brown’s story a few years ago, while watching a series of documentaries on YouTube. I was shocked by the entire story. I was mostly shocked at the sentence that she received.
Cyntoia Brown was a sixteen year old girl who’d experienced a life full of hardship since conception. She was born to a teenaged mother who drank during her pregnancy, and used drugs after her birth. Cyntoia’s birth mother also suffered from mental illness, which had been genetically passed down for at least three generations. At eight months old, Cyntoia’s mother gave her up for adoption. Cyntoia lived with relatives and family friends for the first three years of her life; even being kidnapped at one time by relative. Needless to say, Cyntoia developed some abandonment issues as well as trust issues. Cyntoia was raised by Ellenette Brown, a family friend. And while things seemed picture-perfect on the outside, that was not the case. Cyntoia claimed that she was being physically abused by her adoptive father.
At the age of sixteen, Cyntoia ran away from home. She was exploited and trafficked for sex by a pimp named “Kut throat” for three weeks, before he told her that she needed to go make some money. Cyntoia went to a part of the city, known for prostitution, where she met a forty-three year old man. This man offered her (a girl- twenty-seven years younger than him) $150 dollars for sex. Cyntoia, young, desperate, and afraid agreed. She got in his car and went to his house. He told her about all of the guns he owned, and how well of a shooter he was. As Cyntoia recalls, the man became aggressive during the transaction. When he reached over to grab something, Cyntoia, feared for safety and grabbed a near-by gun and shot and killed the man. Afraid to go back to Kut throat empty-handed she stole, the man’s wallet.
These are the events that led to a sixteen year old girl being tried as an adult and convicted of 1st degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery.
My heart completely broke while watching this documentary. Imagine my shock while scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I noticed Rihanna sharing a post about Cyntoia. I’m so happy that once again, someone is giving a voice to Cyntoia. She didn’t let a failed system take away her life, though it took away her freedom. She studied and received her degree while in prison. She is still fighting for her freedom and now few celebs have joined her. It is my hope that Cyntoia will be freed from prison, not at age 69, but in the near future. It is also my hope that the justice system in America will never again criminalize a victim. It is absolutely incredible to me how many times the system failed this girl: at birth, throughout her childhood, then in her adolescence.

To learn more about Cyntoia Brown’s story go here.

About Last Night

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The sky belongs to the stars -Buddy Holly

I’m not an athletic person. I’ve never played on a sports team for softball, soccer, water polo or even Marco Polo for that matter. Yoga, Pilates, and ballet are more my thing; however, I’ve always admired the spirit of the team. Teams are great, you’ve got a whole group of people, all doing different things to achieve one common goal. Once that goal is achieved, everybody wins together.

Last night, I had a chance to be a part of a team. Not a sports team, but a team of another sort…

I attended the 69th annual Primetime Emmys as seat-filler. As a seat-filler, your goal is fairly simple: make sure the camera doesn’t catch any empty seats. It’s basically a game of musical chairs all night.

While us, seat-fillers were working as a team to fulfill one goal, we watched as so many other teams of directors, writers, actresses and actors, etc. achieved their own goals. Even if one person won, the entire team won. Not one person got on the stage to say, “I’d like to thank myself, because I’m the only one that made this possible.” It was a group effort. There’s no such thing as a one-person show at the Emmys.

Speaking of teams achieving their goals, three teams in particular had an exceptional night. The cast and staff of Veep, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Big Little Lies all took home multiple awards. Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale each took home a total of eight awards, while Veep won a whopping seventeen awards! It was a great night for women in television. Having the opportunity to attend the Emmys has by far been the highlight of my year. Seeing so many people’s hard work pay off is both inspiring and incredible. I literally got to see history unfold before my very eyes as Donald Glover aka “Childish Gambino” became the first African-American to win an Emmy for directing a comedy. Lena Waithe also made history as the first African-American to win for comedy writing.

So congratulations to all of the winners and best wishes on everyone’s future endeavors. Thanks to FIJI water for keeping everyone hydrated and L’Oreal for keeping all the ladies beautiful with complimentary lipstick and mascara in the bathrooms! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I look forward to returning next year.

Team work really does make the dream work.

 

Role model

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So this morning while checking my email, I noticed there was a sale going on over at Spiritual Gangster. And the wonderful thing about shopping online is that when there’s a sale going on, you’re only one click away! So I headed over to check it out. I came across this swimsuit that I thought was absolutely gorgeous, but what really caught my eye was the model wearing it. She’s a beautiful girl, of course. But what was intriguing to me was the fact that she had stretch marks. Yes, she’s a model with stretch marks, and she’s still absolutely beautiful. I was so surprised to see her, because, you know it’s not everyday you see a model that looks like an actual person, not some dreamed up version of what someone decided all women should look like. I’m so glad that Spiritual Gangster didn’t Photoshop or edit her to look unnatural. It was a good move on their end. I hope to see more untouched photos of models in the future. Our so-called flaws are what make us unique and individuals. No one should have to strive for an unrealistic goal of perfection. We’re all uniquely beautiful.

P.S. I totally bought that swimsuit!

Xoxo, enjoy your day and don’t forget to be beautiful!

Desperate Housewife

Potiphar drinks the last of his orange juice, grabs another slice of toast and sprints out of the kitchen as if his iPhone had been timing him. “Goodbye honey,” he says as he kisses his wife on the cheek. “I wish I could stay and finish breakfast, but I’ve got an early meeting. Joseph should be here any minute. Tell him I left the blueprints on my desk.” Potiphar’s wife smiles and waves through the window as her husband disappears inside the black BMW and backs out of the driveway. Mrs. Potiphar heads upstairs to the loft. Reclining on a divan, she pulls up her favorite web store on her tablet and begins a round of online shopping. Suddenly there’s a knock at the door, then another one. Mrs. Potiphar debates whether or not she should get the door, then she hears a voice. “Hello?” “Hello?” Mrs. Potiphar walks over to the banister to see a handsome, well-built young man standing in the foyer. “Good morning, Joseph,” she says. Joseph looks up to the banister, “Oh, hey Mrs. P. Umm, I knocked. I didn’t get any answer so I used my key. I hope it’s alright.” Mrs. Potiphar smiles, “Of course, don’t be ridiculous. You’re always welcome here.” Joseph nods his head in appreciation, “I was just dropping by for some blueprints Mr. P. left for me.” “Oh, yes, those,” Mrs. Potiphar says. “They’re up here on his desk,” she says, walking back to her divan. Noticing that Joseph has made no effort to move, she calls over her shoulder, “You can come get them. I don’t bite.” Joseph makes his way to the loft and locates the blueprints on Potiphar’s desk. “Thanks, Mrs. P. I’ll be in the yard if you need me.” Mrs. Potiphar walks over to Joseph, “Actually, I do need something,” she says. “Yeah?” Joseph asks. Mrs. Potiphar grabs Joseph by his shirt, “Come to bed with me!”   …And scene
No, this isn’t some long lost script of the tales of Wisteria Lane. This is Genesis 39 (well, minus all of the modern day amenities). Basically, Joseph worked for Potiphar, an Egyptian official. Potiphar trusted Joseph enough to put him in charge of his household and everything he owned. Gen.39:7 says, “And after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said ‘Come to bed with me!'”(NIV) As we continue to read in verse 10, we see that this wasn’t one isolated incident. “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her (Gen.39:10 NIV).
At this point, Potiphar’s wife has made a few things clear, 1) She has no boundaries, 2) She doesn’t understand what ‘NO’ means, and 3) She has no regard for her husband. But the story doesn’t end there, we’re about to see just how desperate Potiphar’s wife really is.
In the very next verse, Joseph shows up to work and none of the other servants are inside, that’s when Potiphar’s wife grabs him by his cloak and again, tells him to “Come to bed” with her. Joseph runs away from her, leaving his cloak in her hands. Having been rejected by Joseph for the last time, she decides to make him pay. She calls her servants in, and tells them that Joseph tried to rape her, and when Potiphar hears this, he throws Joseph in jail.
Potiphar’s wife is the epitome of a desperate housewife or desperate woman altogether. Not only was she desperate, but also shameless and resentful. Her selfishness and lies caused an innocent man to go to prison.
We can learn a few things from Potiphar’s wife. Number 1, being that no means no. All jokes aside, if you’ve ever you lied to cover yourself; your actions are parallel to that of Potiphar’s wife’s actions. We need to own up to our mistakes instead of deflecting them on to someone else. Also, everyone deals with rejection at one time or another. In high school, I didn’t get asked to the prom by the guy I liked, and I’ve gotten passed up for positions at work that I really wanted. It happens. Revenge isn’t the answer. It should never be the answer. What are some ways that you deal with rejection?