Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Henna Experience

Two weeks ago I decided to use henna on my hair. And it was an experience to say the least. My hair is dark brown...not black. I did have highlights before but once I cut off all my relaxed hair, I was left with very dark hair. And I missed my once "red" hair that I had as a child. Being that it's the winter, I can't lighten it naturally by hanging out in the sun with conditioner and lemon juice in my hair so the next best thing Henna.


So first I mixed up a batch of Rainbow henna I got from Whole Foods. I mixed Henna and Apple Cider Vinegar and I let it sit over night. It starts off green, it should turn brown. The henna from Whole Foods comes in different colors, from a bright red to black (indigo actually). I chose a burgundy one. I used half the jar of henna and about 1/4 of the vinegar. I had to make a second batch actually because I didn't make enough initially. I added a tablespoon of Neutrogena Daily Moisture to "condition" even tho I am told henna conditions your hair. Also in that picture is Sauve Coconut Conditioner (.99 cents ya'll!!!) that I decided to use to wash out the henna.


So then I applied it to my hair. As you can see...it's all streaked up. That's because of the second batch. However, my curls "dropped" and were somewhat defined. I was shocked because I never can get my hair back in a pony tail like that on an average day. I actually put the henna on dry hair, and it was *somewhat* clean. I had washed it last week.

It sat on for 8 hours. I couldn't take the smell anymore so I washed it out. And let me tell you, washing henna out your hair is some bullshit. My whole bathrub was red-brown and my hair felt gritty. I was so annoyed with the smell that I actually WASHED my hair instead of just rinse and condition. So I used Sauve Coconut Shampoo and I smelled extra good. I had to wash my hair twice. Warning: if you wash your hair after you henna it, it will loose some of that color. So it didn't look like anything to me after I washed and conditioned.

A week later while in the bathroom my hair was doing something. I realize the henna did work but you can only tell in natural light. This is the best picture of it I can get:



Yeah I will henna again. It should get lighter as I attempt to do it more and more. And isn't my afro puff the bomb? My PNC said I should have done a front shot but the lighting was bad. I like it. If you want natural color, then go for henna. It's fun and messy. Sometimes an adult needs to be a kid.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Do Better 2010

2009 is almost over. I can't believe it.
Next month I will be turning 30 years old. I am excited and scared at the same time. I will no longer be a "young" adult. I will just be an adult.

Reflecting back on 2009, I am amazed at how I survived such an emotional roller coaster. It started good, went down, up, down, up, down, and it's ending on a somewhat higher point. I have a great job and I accomplished several goals. I was able to pay down some debt (not as much as I hoped but I was unemployed, what can you do), I visited my friends in NYC, and I got to know me a little more. Last year this time my plan was to buy a house in Jan 2010...and unfortunately that will not happen. But it's okay. I am not pressed.

Right now I am looking forward to 2010. I want to make more advancements not only in  my career but in my personal live both socially and financially. I will not make "resolutions" because those are hard to keep. I am just setting more goals for myself with the promise that I will follow through with all of them. (side note: if you are a Capricorn such as myslef, the next year is very pivotal to our development and growth. it will be as beneficial as we make it and I plan to make it big).

So the goals for 2010 are as follows:
  • Continue paying down debt (let's get a fico of 700 by the end of Dec 2010)
  • Increase my savings 
  • Travel Internationally (Canada, Mexico, and any of the Caribbean count)
  • Go visit my NYC friends TWICE
  • Attend all of my friends weddings (I count about 3 that I need to attend)
  • Get my passport (okay okay...but i took the picture and filled out the application. I just have to go the post office and finish it so this is the easy one...)
  • Work out (I am about to be super sexy come June 2010 real talk...)
I purposely selected "positive" goals. I know I said this before but people tend to accomplish positive goals rather than negative ones.

Also...I finished my grant and the application. All that is left is to complete the recommendation and mail it. Inshallah I will get this money and achieve yet another (unspoken) goal of mine. I am proud of myself.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Procrasination is a mutha...

I am so lazy.
I procrasinate until the very last moment and then I get it done. This is good and bad. It's good because when I am hard pressed for time I write my best stuff. It's bad because I end up staying up late and I often miss deadlines doing this.

Currently I am putting off writing my grant. I feel very bad about this because I am constantly saying "I am about to work on it" or something to that effect; and in essence, I am. The newest grant is I should be working on is a professional development one that is given out by my former grad school. It's not a lot of money but it's enough for me to join two organizations (which will boost my resume) and attend one national meeting (both of which are being hosted in Colorado this year). And it's not even a long grant. Two pages max with a copy of my current resume. But for some reason, I can't find the focus I need to actually WRITE out the 2 pages that are due by Jan 15. I did the budget. Money is easy. The essay portion is a mess. I started it three times and scrapped it. Add on the fact that I need a recommendation. My boss said "yeah gurl, write it and I will review it and sign it." So add another page that needs to be done in two weeks.

I will be beyond pissed at myself if I can't make this happen. As I type this blog I am thinking..."You really could be writing your grant instead" but I can't seem to  start it correctly. I could try to write it backwards, but when I do that I lose consistency and flow.

According to psychologist, procrastination is a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. I believe this. Sometimes it seems as there is so much pressure to complete or finish tasks that I can't focus or deal with it and would rather work on it later. It is also prominent in people who have ADD or ADHD. Now I was diagnosed with ADD as a youth but "grew" out of it (or did I?!?). At times I think I have Adult ADD because I am so easily distracted it's ridiculous.

So instead of writing the grant that can help me spice up my resume and better my professional standing, I choose to blog, twit, play sorority life on facebook, and work on ChaCha (which I've been bullshitting too...I do just enough to get paid each month).

Procrastination is a muthaf*cker.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Life is a Beautiful Struggle"

I randomly look at my blog tracker to see what brings people to  my site. I don't pay too much attention to the places people come from unless they are in other countries...My #1 topic is "hip hop movies" (I am #5 if you google this topic). But today as I was looking I saw that someone googled "What does life is a beautiful struggle mean?" and this struck a cord with me.

I have never truly thought about what that means. I KNOW what it means inherently...that is why I named my blog what I did. But to try to explain to someone else...that's hard. I just know the first time I heard it I was like "Yes!" and held that phrase close to  my heart. It wasn't just that name of Kweli's cd, it was my life. And I will admit, this is my favorite Kweli cd because it came out at a time when I was beyond hopeless and fed up with life. I was at the point where I couldn't see my life lasting longer than the moment I was living in. I wasn't suicidal, I didn't want to die...but I wasn't living and couldn't see myself living anymore. However, I met some great people who helped me a lot (tho they don't know it...they helped me reclaim my sanity by just being).

"Life is a Beautiful Struggle"....life is not easy. I don't know anyone who has ever said life was easy. That they never had any problems. I am sure there are people who have that type of life...but not anyone I know. A struggle is defined as "opposing force or an adversary" and to put it quite frankly. The purpose of life is to live...but the end result will always be death. Death is inevitable, however we love life. Life is great. We love living. We find enjoyment in the things we do from day to day despite the fact that we KNOW one day this will all end.

Personally my life has been hard. Very hard. I could tell stories or tales dating back to me being a baby to recently but I realize that focusing on those hardships will not help me move ahead. Despite the bad times, I wouldn't give up my life for anything (well maybe one thing...but that was another hardship that added to who I am today and why I do what I do). Essentially the phrase is simplistic.

Life is beautiful.
Life is a struggle.
Life is a beautiful struggle.

And this is my favorite song on the cd: Beautiful Struggle ("the trouble you have today you just can't laugh away")

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The End of an Era...

As of Friday, December 4 2009 @ about 5:30 pm, Steff is carless.
No car.
At all.
This shit sucks.

I already knew the car was on it's last leg. Every day I get in it begging it to work until January at least. I was really pushing the limits. In Feb, the mechanic told me I had about 10,000 miles left on the car before the engine was done. Then the rotors were fucking up. Then I found how much all that costs to fix and said hell no. Well...I didn't have a job so it really didn't matter.
Anyway, as I am driving home on Friday it makes this noise that I cannot describe. I hit the hazard button and stopped. I just sat there. Then I said "I can make it home, I am only like 3 miles from the house" and I was literally on the street I live on...just 3 miles down from my house. As I attempt to drive the remaining 3 miles, it's making this UNGODLY noise. I just knew it wasn't going to make it and then I see smoke coming from the passenger back side. I pull over and cut the car off. I then weigh my options...take a hack or walk home. The car is done for. I pack everything I had in the car (including the tags on the car) into my bag and make the decision to walk 3 miles home. I have no clue how the bus works...and didn't have cash. Hacking is only cool during the day time.
The two people I might could call were 30 minutes away...and I have my pride and I am an independent woman. Now I am slightly worried seeing as how there are some rapists on the loose in Baltimore.  I grab my head scarf and wrap it as if I am Muslim. I have learned that guys in Baltimore will NOT bother a woman they think is a Muslim. And I proceed to walk.
And I am walking...my dad decides to be a jerk when he calls and hassles me about Thanksgiving. Now I am so in love with my dad but I literally wanted to cry and as I told him I was on my way home, he hung up on me. This pissed me off but I kept walking, silently thanking God for all those years of track and for the fact I carried my Aveeno bag to work (instead of my oversized Coach or other designer bag).

It takes me about 40 minutes to walk 3 miles. I stop at the local KFC and grab some dinner and my ass is cold, sweaty and tired. There is something about being cold and sweaty. I get home and try my best not to just lay down and cramp up. I walk around the house trying to bring down my heart rate, and I guzzle a jug of water. I realize walking is NOT the safest thing...but I really had no other options. It sucks not having readily available friends who live close enough and drive that I would not feel like I am bothering.

I abandoned the car. I figured since I stripped the tags and left it illegally parked, it will get towed soon enough. And whoever takes it can keep it. Good riddance.

Now I have to learn how to catch the bus until I can get a new car. Hopefully I can find me a nice "certified used" car by the end of the month. I could rent a car but that's a waste of money to me. And I could hack to work everyday but I would rather have a reliable hack that I could use everyday.

*sigh* As SOON as I get money this shit happens. It figures

EDIT: I realize people not from Baltimore may be confused about what a "hack" is. In the most simple terms, an illegal cab. Read about hacks here: http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=6264

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Black Friday Experience

For the first time in over 5 years I decided to do "Black Friday". Now I had everything planned in my mind and I had stacks of coupons in my oversized Dooney and Burke bag ready to go. I actually started shopping this past Tuesday on Amazon and managed to get one book (urban literature; I am so ashamed) and two DVDs ("Maria full of grace" and "I am Legend") for less than $20. This was a great deal. "I am Legend" was only $2 brand new, widescreen edition.

As soon as midnight hit on Friday, I saw some online deals that looked great. I only bought from one place, Philosophy. Paypal makes it incredibly easy to spend more money than you should. I bought body wash and lip gloss for a flat fee (free shipping) for $10.

I got up late to go shopping at the mall (around 8:00 am). I get to the mall and it's like a regular Saturday. It was no types of packed or anything. The busiest store was Chikfila. I thought maybe everyone shopped early since the mall opened at  6 but I overheard one of the cashiers at Express say that they could let some people go home early because it's dead. There was this sexy black dress at Express I wanted. It costs $120 and you could get 30% off. I tried to justify this purchase in my mind but my ass doesn't go anywhere so I didn't buy it. I buy my sister's present from the mall, but that's really it. I wanted to exchange this bra I bought in NYC but Vikki's didn't have the bra and I wasn't going to return it for $3. (I had used a good ass coupon on the bra)

My next stop is Target.  I actually spent a nice chunk at Target. I bought baby stuff for my cousin's baby. Girl baby outfits are beyond cute and I went in. And I got some Nuks for her. I love how cute nuks are. For myself I got a shirt. And a mirror for my house so I can see how I look when I am working out. (HEY!!!!!) and a box of Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread cookies that I have smashed already.

In the midst of all this, I go to the bank and complete my credit card application (I was approved! Let's continue to improve the credit into 2010) and upgrade my checking account to a more premiere one. I felt good about those positive steps I am making to get financially sound again. I am planning on another financial blog soon to give some advice (not professional, just things I learned) before December is over. It will update on everything I have done since I made the Do Better Blog.

Overall...the day was semi-productive. I think I could have stayed home and worked. I actually got back in the house by 1 pm. But I could have just stayed in the bed and shopped online instead of venturing outside.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Movies You Should See: Precious (by Sapphire)


I know I know...you have probably already ready 50-11 reviews on this movie. Well here is another one. Mine is most important. I will try not to spoil the movie for people.

First off this movie is based on the book "Push" by Sapphire. The book is a heavy read and does not back down to harsh realities. A lot of people I know who dislike this book claim that it's "unrealistic" and/or "very negative." The book does not have a traditional happy ending. I will even compare it to "The Color Purple" where Celie suffers many injustices in her life but the book ends with her getting back her children and Celie and Mr being friends. (Yes, they are friends...did you read the book? Reading is SO "fun"damental!) This book just ends; and it leaves many readers dissatisfied because it has been etched in our minds that books should end happily. Well life is not always happy; sometimes it's all you can do to survive.

However, I disagree with those who think the book is too sad. There is a progression that Precious goes through from the beginning of the book to the end. The book does not end how you may want it to end but ends with "hope". And that is hope that Precious will keep striving to provide a better life for herself and her kids.

The movie is incredible. A lot of reviews I read said it was graphic and upsetting. I am assuming that the people who say that did not read the book. There were several scenes they down played in the movie that could have been traumatizing (i.e. the numerous rape scenes, the scene when Precious has "mongo", and the scene between Precious and her mother on the couch). I find the scenes with Precious and her friends at the alternative school and at the hospital after she has Abdul to be uplifting and inspiring. I do wish there had been a scene where they told the back stories of the other girls because they all had their own pain and struggles. I was slightly upset that Blue Rain was not cast properly but I do not believe it takes away from the movie. I do feel that casting her as a dark skin woman with locs would have ADDED more to the movie; but the movie is more complex than just race issues. One line that made me smile was when Precious realized that Blue Rain was a lesbian and she says her mother says gays are bad but Precious says "lesbians not the ones who raped me (parapharsing)". I did hate the fact that she stole a whole bucket of chicken when in the book it was a 2 peice meal. I mean I guess they wanted to really illustrate the whole "obesity" issue. And I loved Monique's extra ass Baltimore accent "Bitch don't nobody want YEW!"

This movie deals with a lot: incest, teen pregnancy, abuse (physical and sexual), color issues, illiteracy, obesity...and more. Precious is the girl down the street who every one picks on. She is the girl who people turn their nose up at because she is so dark and fat. She is the girl who I cried for in the middle of the movie. She is the girl I will continually pray for every night. There are real life Preciouses (is that right? LOL). I know one personally, and I will not go into the details of how I know her, but I do know that she was picked on for being different and keeping to herself when the truth of the situation was deeper than anyone realized. I probably know more but will they ever admit to what happened? Of course not, especially if their own mothers allow them to be raped.

I think this is an important movie for everyone to see. People should not be put off by Tyler Perry and Oprah's names (I don't get the TP hate at all...). Their names were added AFTER the movie received rave reviews at Sundance. And if Monique does NOT get the nomination for Best Supporting Actress, then it's racism because she killed that role. So much so, in the scene where she is talking to the social worker, I cried. And in the book I was like "fuck this bitch" but I CRIED hearing the words on screen. It was heavy.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Things I learned on my random trip to NYC

I went to NYC for a few days this week.
Now I am home and I am somewhat sad about that. I love NY. I don't know why. I guess because I always wanted to live a "fast" life. I debated  making a day by day blog about my experiences but decided that no one wants to read all that so I will just list out all the things I learned in NYC.


*3 or 4 days in NYC is not enough: My plans changed each day. I did not get to see half the people I wanted or go to half the places I wanted. I did see the MOST important people to me in NYC and that was nice. It was like "Girlfriends" mixed with "Sex in the City." Now I realize that if I lived there, I will either be broke or drunk. Or both. If I could find a job making $70K, I will go. Seriously. Maybe only for a year.

*Umbrellas are so necessary: It started raining on Thursday as I walked my happy ass from 34th to 42nd. Everytime I come to NYC, it either rains or snows. I need to keep an umbrella on me at all times.

*Subways!!!!:  Okay this is two fold. One part is I need to buy myself a rolling suitcase. Second is that the subway system is nice. Okay many NY-ers don't understand what it is like to have to NEED a car in order to go places. If I could catch the subway in Baltimore, I wouldn't own a car. For what? The money spent on  buying a car, insurance, and the upkeep is ridiculous and I'd rather use that money paying off debt and travelling. But alas, I learned how to take the subway and I won't even tell you how Katie and Karen didn't tell me that C train runs express and doesn't stop at 23rd so I had to hop off and run around the station like a fool until I heard the A train say next stop 23rd and I ran on that like a crazy woman. But I must look SO NYC because quite a few ppl asked me for directions. And I gave them out.


*Obama has his own condoms: For those "hard times", we all need a "stimulus package" because "hope is not a form of protection" (and sry for the dark picture. I fixed it in Picasso but I can't find it. Oh well).

*Art means different things to different people: My best friend wanted to go to MOMA, I wanted to go to BAM. I sent her a link to BAM. We decided on BAM. We get there and she is upset that there is no "art" and we have to go to MOMA next time. I was confused. Apparently "art" to her is "paintings." She didn't bother looking at the link I sent her for BAM; and she must not have looked at the one for MOMA either because they don't have a lot of paintings. Either way, I am not a painting from Europe watching girl. I prefer my art to be from Africa, South America, Asian, and I like to my "paintings" to be in "picture" form. LOL. I loved the museum. Pictures will go up on my facebook.

That was it in a nutshell. I loved my visit, upset that I couldn't see everyone. I will come back to see you guys! (if you are reading which you should because I am soooo Gucci). I am going to try to go back in a few weeks. I'd like to go back for New Years (I am such a tourist); but maybe my NY/NJ girls will come to DC for New Years and we can party there instead. I did get to see "Precious" and that will be a seperate blog because I have a lot to say about that movie.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Because I MUST rep VA all day

If you tell me this song is wack, I don't fuck with you no more. Clipse is one of the best groups that has dropped in the last decade. Pusha T flow is crazy. Malice keeps it real. Come on now. And they from my state?!? What...(yes I still rep VA. I mean I rep Baltimore but Virginia is home). 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Books You Should Read: Medical Apartheid By Harriet Washington


 This is NOT easy reading. This is NOT light reading.
This is NOT a fiction book to read while you are chilling in the tub.

This is someone's thesis.

Medical Apartheid is a historical journey on the treatment of Black Americans from Slavery (Colonalism) to Modern time. It explores how people of color were often times used, abused, and treated as side shows all in the name of medical science. This book is exceptional.

It took me almost a year to read this book. It's 404 pages (512 including the sources that Washington listed), but is very complex. I read chapter by chapter and took breaks in between. The book inspired me to want to learn more about certain situations that had previously happened to slaves. Washington touches on various topics from sick slaves being sold to hospitals for research to black freedman being used to rob black graves for cadavers for white medical students to the Tuskegee experiment and on. I became very intrigued with the chapters on slave women and fistulas. I will save my readers on the graphic details of what a "fistula" is but to hear the pain endured by women was enough to make me put the book down for weeks. The book also sheds light on experiments being conducted on prisoners in jail, and how many men are forced to be a part of many clinical trials. These trials do not end well. Like I said, this is not easy reading.

One of the most interesting non-publicized "research" experiments touched on in this book is Planned Parenthood. Yes, everyone's favorite cheap spot for birth control and quick abortions began as a low cost clinic for black women. The aim was to allow cheap birth control and abortions for black women to essentially eliminate the black race by preventing births. (I am simplifying the chapters but this is it basically). Washington even breaks down the plan to use black leaders that our community would trust to lure black women to their facilities.

Now Planned Parenthood has gift cards! Nothing says I love you like a gift card to an abortion clinic. 

 But I digress.  This book is a must read for anyone interested in the medical field. I think it sheds light on the reason why there is such a big disparity in health care between caucasians and african americans.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bored and Tired

I feel like I haven't been blogging properly lately. It's hard because after work, I come home and work out and eat. After I eat, I get online to do my part time job for a few hours. It's very hard to blog while I am working, so I forgo it. I have managed to do bullshit blogs about random things but there are a lot of heavy things I want to talk about.

I just lose motivation and maybe I am outgrowing the internet. I log on twitter, and I stay on less than 10 minutes. I might tweet a few folks but then I am like "whatever...this is not popping" and go to Facebook. Facebook keeps my attention long enough for me to play Mafia Wars and then it's back to work.

I have a lot of things on my plate. I am focusing a lot of my attention on paying off this last credit card by the end of December. I have another debt with the state that I will pay off within a year I pray, and then the last few payments on this car so I can get right and buy a new one. On top of that, I am still trying to save for Africa 2010. (Apply for my passport next week! I need to remember to take a picture WITH my glasses this time)

I started thinking about moving again.

I will be in NYC in less than 2 weeks. I am hoping to get up with a lot of people, break bread, and start networking to see what it's like.

So please don't think the bullshit blogs mean I have fallen off. Well...that's what it kinda means.

Just know that I am busy focusing on me and doing big things. I have a lot of goals to meet by the end of the year and I really want to make it happen.

Stay Blessed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sneak Peak: The Princess and the Frog

Here are the first five minutes. It is still 'rough and dirty' but I am already in love. And can I tell you I laughed so hard at the little African American child saying 'Oh no I'd never kiss a frog!' and the little Caucasian girl saying 'I'll do! I'll kiss anything!!!'.

Good Times. Dec 11, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sephora: "Ooh La La La"



So last month I won a $100 gift card to Sephora for some contest they had that involved rating products. I know some of you will say "Steph, you don't wear make up!" and you are right. But I am a product junkie. I love body wash, lotion, lip gloss, all types of hair stuff and my new obsession: Nails (I am trying hard NOT to blog each time I do my nails like the nail girls to! but I have almost perfected this one type of manicure and might have to put it up).'

Anywho...a week after I get the card Sephora's Friends and family started (20% off your purchase: FF2009 exp. 11/02/2009) so I almost lost my mind but I managed to say at around $115. So here is a run down of what I just had to have:

1. Fekkai Glossing Creme: For the flat iron. I can't get my ends very straight and flat. I was told I need a good pressing creme so we will see.

2. Opi Top Coat: Opi polish requires OPI top coat

3. OPI 6 pack: That black box has 6 polishes in it (silver, gold, two reds, a dark pink red and purple). After I do this umbre manicure, I might post up all my polishes which is reaching upwards of 50 but is no where NEAR what other ladies have.

4. Sephora Cuticle Oil: Vitamin E for the cuticles since I do at least 2 polishes a week

5. Philosophy Merry Cherry Christmas: This smells really good, it does NOT taste good. Trust I know for a fact. But it can be used as a bubble bath, body wash and shampoo.

6. Stila mini pack: 3 lip glosses! Stila last a long time for me so even tho these glosses are mini, I got them lasting a few months which is fine. The brownish color is more nude on my lips with a slight glimmer which I really appreciate. I want to make out with myself when I look in the mirror.

7. Bliss Naked Body Butter: this is heaven in a bottle. It's "naked" so that means sans colors and frangrance. It's a heavy body lotion/cream/butter but its moisturizes like nothing else I ever used. I prefer to use this after exfoliating because it locks in that moisture for an extra soft feel but it's on the expensive side. No one in my house can use this lotion period. Unless you putting it in. You MUST have $5 on it. (okay it's not that expensive but this is not an everyday lotion so I will fight people who use this casually)

8. Free Samples: Ojon misting spray, Frizz shampoo and conditioner, Clean perfume, and bvlgari refresing towel. The best part of Sephora is getting 3 free samples each order! The Ojon was my perk for spending $100. I have to admit I am not a big fan of this mist. And really the only thing from Ojon I love right now is the restorative mask but Oyin's whipped butter may take the place of it very soon (Oyin smells really good too but I didn't taste it yet).

I am thinking of one more order before the sale is up. I have been spending entirely too much money since I officially started my new job (boots, clothes, make up, video games) and I am somewhat ashamed. I did pay all my bills first so it's not like I am acting crazy, but still.

I feel very girlie now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Halloween Blog

Last Halloween I talked about the haunted doll in my grandmother's house (located on myspace and I don't feel like looking for it now). This one is about: Sleep Paralysis and my last experience with it.
so if you don't know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

breakdown: basically when your mind wakes up but your body doesn't.



Okay so it was in the summer/fall of 2006. I was in my apartment and it was pretty late. Now I sleep upside down in my bed, my feet at the head and my head at the feet. I do this so I can look down the hall in case someone breaks in. Now this is slightly crazy since I have an alarm and I keep it on "no delay" (which means that it should go off as soon as someone breaks in). Anywho, I'm sleeping.

Approximately 2:30 am in the morning I wake up and realize I am paralyzed. I am slightly annoyed, but this has happened to me since I was a child. I was about to "break" out of it when I realize there is commotion in my living room. My eyes cut to the left and I see a squirrel running around the living room, up the wall and across the ceiling. I think to myself "this isn't right. How did a squirrel get in my house?" and then I see "it".

"It" was like a shadow man. A tall dark figure and he comes out of the hall closet and stands there for a moment. He was in all black and had on a black hat. I was suddenly overwhelmed by fear. This man had come to take my soul. Not my life...just my soul. He goes into the bathroom and I quickly cut my eyes up and being my prayers. Now the only way I can break out of this condition is to pray to God. But as soon as my eyes focus, he is standing over me.

I stare in horror, frozen in sleep. Tears run down my face and in my mind I beg him to let me be. In my mind I am screaming to God to save me, that I did not want to be a bad person. I have never felt so scared in my life. I was upset and I go into the "Lord's Prayer." The figure leans down over me and he is like smoke...just a dark shadow. Right before he falls into me, a light shines and I wake up screaming.

I am soaked with sweat. I am crying and shaking. I turn on the lights, and hesitantly go into the bathroom. I wash my face and change clothes. And I pray.

I have not had an episode since then. Well not a "real" one. I have had dreams that I am sleep and in my dream I wake up in sleep paralysis...but it's a dream right? In one of my dreams, I see the culprit of these episodes and I asked her "Why would you do this to me?" and she just looked at me and left me alone.

And that was the end.

I don't know much about sleep paralysis. I know how it was as a child. This was not the same. While the episodes are scary, I have never felt full of fear. This had me NOT wanting to sleep. And my old "dream-catcher" was no where to be found. This could drive a person insane.

I want to blame this on my fascination with horror movies...especially religious ones that deal with the fight between good and evil. However there are things that can not be explained in this world. And if you believe in God, you should believe that good and evil are fighting on this world for your (ours.mine.) soul.

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why would you want to go to Africa?!?

I think the better question is: "Why wouldn't you want to go to Africa?"

It amazes me that I tell people of my plans to go to Africa in 2010 I hear "Why would you want to go there?" And this is from African-Americans (or black Americans...whatever you like to call yourself). My best friend and I have been discussing how to practice our French and she suggested Paris, to which I agreed. But then I thought...there are french speaking countries in Africa (20 countries that I can name). And I bet you any one of those countries is 100 times better than Paris. But apparently there is something "wrong" with Africa.

I remember when I was in high school in Richmond VA. There was a class on Black History. I was beyond excited to take it...unfortunately the year that I had the class on my schedule, we moved to Maryland. My new school in Columbia looked at me like I was crazy for wanting to take a black history class. See Virginia is special. The history class there is like Virginia history. I hadn't taken US History so the school in MD was like "oh no, we don't have that plus you didn't even take US History. Sorry."

I was blessed to go to an HBCU. At Morgan, the African Diaspora is a required class. In a nut shell, this class explores the "migration" of Africans from Africa to America. A lot of focus is put on the Middle Passage; and I am grateful it was mandatory. But you know what is funny...White Americans can learn of their heritage and the next summer, they are taking trips. They trace their roots and go.

Maybe this is the issue? A majority of black Americans can not trace their roots. Great grandparents is as far as many of us can go. The stories of our ancestors are not written down but past down by word of mouth, and names and dates often get confused. It's significantly harder for a black american to trace their roots to a tribe/country in Africa and therefore, many feel a disconnect to the motherland. I understand.

However...I found this...so if anyone is curious as to why it's Africa (specifically Ghana) 2010 I will point them in the direction of this video:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blessed Sundays...

October has been wonderful and a blessing already.

The last few months have been overwhelming. Being unemployed, and having no money has taken a toll on me physically and mentally. I am the only one who looks out for me in most aspects of my life. I take care of me and here comes this threat to my livelihood. All I knew was that I had 26 weeks to get right. Living off unemployment for the past 5 months has taught me a lot! Mostly that materialistic things are not as important as we sometimes make them. I have struggled before...this time was just different because I literally had nothing else going for me. I was not in school like last time and my family that could help me was in jail. So I had to figure this out on my own with no help from anyone. But I focused, and I prayed.

I knew things would work out...it's all about WHEN will things work out. The longer I was unemployed, the more scared I became. I trust in the Lord, but there were still times when I'd be like "God I can't do this! It's hard!" but I focused.

The first week of October was overwhelming in a good way. I was offered 3 jobs this past week. THREE. One of them was a full time position at the place I currently work part time for. The position is better than anyone I ever had and it pays well and I can stay working in Baltimore City and with this community. I can continue working with pregnant moms (mostly teens) and babies in Baltimore City. I am so excited. I am formally accepting that job tomorrow. The other two were good jobs. But not in what I wanted to do and/or not the pay that was reasonable to me.

The Lord is good all the time.
I prayed on this and worked hard and I got it.
It's all a blessing.

So for all my people in the struggle! lol....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Let me give you some advice...

...how about you don't?

I am not interested in "your" advice on anything in regards to me and/or any situations past, present or future unless it personally involves you.

I don't understand why people feel the need to give you advice that you did not ask for or to try to point out what they think is "the obvious". And I hate it when people try to tell you what you *should* do, when what they *should* do is shut the entire fuck up.

Okay let me back track...the other week I went out with some friends and saw some people. One person kept trying to tell me about MY life and what I should do, to which I said "My life is complicated and I don't expect you to understand, so just KNOW that I know." and I kept it moving. This is my "leave me alone" statement. I am damn near 30. I am fully aware of how my life is and what's going on. I don't need people who have their own fucked up lives to tell me how to fix mine. But this person persisted to a point where I no longer enjoyed their company and was ready to go home.

Then there is the unwanted relationship advice from people who have never had a successful relationship. Every time I see you, you with someone new. Or you having babies with someone you knew for less than 6 months. Or your man is cheating on you. Or some bullshit. Let me tell you...if you are not currently in a successful, committed, married (yes, married), happy relationship then you can't tell me how to find the right one.

Then last week I mention that the recession has messed up my shopping. Then quite a few males chime in with the "you ladies need to find a good man to buy you things."

PAUSE.

That's what a good man does? He buys you things? Really? Because if that is so, I had a "good" man who bought me a house, a car, and anything else I wanted...and that "good" man also cheated with several women. I ain't bitter tho, that's how life is. I learned alot and I moved on.

And from what I hear, one of the people who said this to me who claims to be a "good" man has 5 kids with 5 different women. (hmm...commitment issues maybe?!?!) and from what my girl told me, women would randomly pop up at his house while she was visiting him.

That's a good man?!?! Please God, send me one of those!

Look I do for myself. I handle my shit myself. And outside of me, the only others I can depend on are my family and my best friends (this is only 4 people who TRULY fit in this category). I may not have a lot but this shit is all mine!!

Those two degrees I got: I worked my ass off for a scholarship and I paid for that Masters myself.
The car I got: I bought it.
The apartment: I got that myself after i moved out that nice house!
Anything else: It's all me.

My life is MY life, and I would like to thank everyone for their concern on matters they nothing of...but really: You don't know anything. There are very few privy to my total life situation.

I am working on ME right now...so let me give you some advice: Miss me with YOUR advice if you cherish the little bit of contact that we have.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Girlie Blog: Neutrogena Triple Moisture DD Condtioner


The DD stands for: Daily Deep.

So if you are following my hair chronicles, you already know that the Neutrogena was recommended from Total Beauty. I got a bottle a few weeks ago for about $6 from Kmart. I finally got to try it last week.

The product boosts that it is a "daily conditioner with deep moisture benefits for soft, smooth, totally touchable hair" and it contains olive, meadowfoam seed, and sweet almond.

After washing my hair twice (once with Creme of Nature and then with Tresemme Moisture Rich), I covered my hair with this conditioner and proceeded to go to the grocery store. It was on my hair about an hour. I don't use heat for my deep conditioners because it tangles my hair.

Let me just say...I am in LOVE with this stuff already. It smells good...I can't describe the smell, but it's good. It's not too thin and not too thick. It covers the hair nicely and evenly. The draw back is that I used 1/3 of the bottle on my head. But that's okay, I have a lot of hair all over the place.

Once I rinsed it out, my hair was very soft (but not mushy) and smooth. As my hair dried, the curls were soft and fluffy (my hair is like sticking your hand into a bag of cotton balls). Like my hair was so soft I had to make sure it was MY hair. The curls were nice little circles at the end. Again I have super small curls but this helped with some definition. And my hair felt moisturized, it didn't feel hard or stiff once it dried. If my hair is already this soft and moisturized after one use, think what it will do for weekly uses?

I give this product a 5/5 and I am not even that generous. It's affordable and it works wonders! If you can find a coupon for Neutrogena products, it will be even cheaper. You do NOT have to pay salon prices to have salon quality products.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There are still good people in the world...

don't ever forget this! If you don't know any good people, I would suggest you take a good look at yourself to see what it is you are doing to attract the wrong type of people. Goodness attracts goodness.

I was just reminded of this last week.
I won't get into personal details but there was a call put out there that a young child with cancer was in need. It wasn't a big need to be honest. The young kid is going through chemo and is now allowed to wear hats to school. He wanted hats. I couldn't provide a hat despite the fact that I wanted to. The hats I have are dirty and too big, and to be honest...I wanted this kid to have a cool hat. I hate it when people give away bullshit items. Like if you DON'T want it what makes you think that someone else wants it? I do give away a lot of my things but I give away nice items that are in good condition that are still wearable/usable.

Either way things came together on OKP. One of the nice posters over there just got a shipment of hats in for his store (how perfect is that?!?!) so I asked him "can you donate one hat to a cancer kid?" Now this guy doesn't know me personally (IRL) nor does he know the beneficiary of said hat but he agreed. And he sent the perfect hat!

How awesome is that?!?! (yes I said awesome). The mother was ecstatic and said that the hat was perfect for her son. Her emails and his inboxes bought tears to my eyes. He was so happy to help, she was so happy to receive help.

he did not have to help. but he did. I am forever grateful for that. Next time I am in Chicago, drinks are on me.

I am also grateful to all of the people who donated school supplies!!! My next stop is taking all these books in my house (the children's books I have from when I use to teach) to the Baltimore City library. so new challenge: if you have any books that you don't read, don't want...whatever: Donate them to your local library or school (school libraries need books too!).

Also...if you shop at Giant, don't forget to sign up your school under your club card. Giant donates money and supplies via A+ bonuses and the like. So at least you can grocery shop and help out if you can't donate.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Ecstatic Tour (9/16/2009)

Wednesday was the second to last stop of Mos Def's Ecstatic Tour. I am so happy they came to Baltimore because I missed the DC show a few months ago, and I was quite sad about that. For this show, my concert partner Sam and I got back in action and went out to Sonar (with her husband Jovan). (EDIT: the sound was only horrible where I was standing but I am not editing this whole post...the videos at the end sound good)

The show was at Sonar and doors opened at 7:30. I got there at 9 only to be told that Mos Def is not performing until 12. I assumed that Kweli would go on first, and that would be at 11. *sigh* It was definitely going to be a long night.

Anywho, the first performer was a dude named Hassan. I am sure I am spelling it wrong because I can't find him on google. Honestly I don't know who he is, and I came in after he started. Let me say, he was spitting some good shit but the sound in Sonar has gotten HORRIBLE. I couldn't hear half of what he was saying.

Next up was DCQ of Medina Green. This was promoted as being a "Medina Green" Act but it was just him. He was decent. I don't know the names of any of the songs he did, but he did kill what I could hear. Sorry I can't do better.

Next was Jay Electronica. I won't lie: I was hating on the player all day about him. Last time I saw him at Rock the bells, he was not great. He was decent, but not great. Dude straight up killed the show this time. I was shocked. I was like ORLY?!?! He went in. Again too bad the sound was all types of fucked up.

Next was Talib Kweli. Excellent as always. He stays going in. Most of the songs he played where from the last album, but he did do "Hostile Gospel" (my fav) and he ended with "Get By".

Then finally...Mos Def. He came out and played the drums. I would dare to say that he performed the whole Ecstatic Album. I still don't understand how people like that album but hate The New Danger. He did do "Close to the edge" off that album. U R The One from True Magic. Kweli comes back out and he does "Definition" and some other joint (horrible horrible sound...I went deaf by this time). He then does a "tribute" to Michael Jackson and sings "Billy Jean" (video at the bottom). He does a small rant on how Kanye is his brother and that he doesn't deserve to be crucified. Etc, Etc...he ends with "Umi Says."

All for $40.

4.5 out of 5. Best show I have went to in a while (shit...the only show I went to in a while...).
I didnt take a lot of pics because for some reason tall ass dudes love to stand in the front so I can't see. If you follow me on twitter, I think I tweeted a few. Facebook has some too.

Mos Def performances





Monday, September 14, 2009

Carol's Daughter and Disney!




How cute is this? Disney commissioned Carol's Daughter creator, Lisa Price, to make the hair care products for Disney's new movie, The Princess and the Frog. I find this beyond cute! I know when I go into Target, I always see other "princess" products. And it's nice to see that Disney realizes that black girls have different hair and they need their own products! The collection consists of a detangler, shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath!

The products are set to be released in October and will be available in Disney stores and Carol's Daughter's online store. I think Princess Tiana is absolutely beautiful! And I saw an extended preview earlier and fell in love (sorry no link...they swear us to secrecy!). I think this is a great idea and all of the products are $10 and below! I don't have a daughter but if I did, I buy this off GP. I want Disney to know that black products and a black princess sells! I hope to see many Princess Tianas this Halloween!

author note: I am not turning this into a hair blog! This is like a hair, beauty, life, and hip hop blog in one. Actually some random things are coming up soon...and I hope that you enjoy them as they come!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grey is my favorite color

Random fashion pieces that I fell in love with while on Polyvore searching "grey" pieces. Grey became my favorite color a few months ago. I am in love with the fact that it's neutral and goes with lights, darks, and white. I am not a polyvore expert, so my creations are not all excellent. You know what upsets me...that "love" ring. It's almost $300. Damn. Either way I love Polyvore. You should check it out.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

America's Next Top Model Cycle 13

I am so excited. I havent' heard ANYTHING about this season except it's the "short" season, meaning all of the girls are under 5'7. Now I initially read on Long Hair Care Forum that they only picked girls who are around 5'5-5'7. This apparently is not true. Sundai, one of the 4 or 5 black girls (that last one I am iffy about what her race) is 5'3. I don't know about the rest, I haven't been able to actually watch all of the casting videos on CWTV (NOTICE: this is the only show left on CW with black people outside of the one black guy on 90210. That's fine CW).

Either way the new season starts on Wednesday, September 9, 2009. Two hour special. I am not yet tired of ANTM but I am hoping it redeems itself this season like Real World just did with its' Cancun season.

The infamous group shot:


From left to right: Sundai, Nicole, Laura, Erin, Lulu, Jennifer, Brittany, Courtney, Bianca, Rae, Kara, Ashley, Rachel, Lisa

(picture and photo courtesy of http://blog.zap2it.com)

of course, read/watch more about the girls at: CWTV.com (no link from me! LOL)

Monday, August 31, 2009

The most romantic moment in my life...

I was enthralled in fantasy this past week. I have a tendency to want to romanticize my life. I am waiting on that epic love story to happen...I am being a typical woman. No I am not waiting to be saved, but I am waiting for that moment when nothing else matters. It's hard because I want a man who has it all, because I want it all and will give my all. However, my fantasies are full of romance and love and sensual moments shared between me and *whoever* I am fancying at the moment. Once I no longer can see you in my fantasies, I no longer want you. Is that horrible?

Anyway this past week I have been recounting the most "romantic" moment in my life. My friends and I were discussing romance, and these ladies have stories about romantic getaways, rose petals on the bed, the naked under the trench coat, feeding strawberries...you know, the usual. I have to admit I am slightly jealous. When I think of my romantic life, I can think of ONE instance that held me captive, only to be let down. And it wasn't with a boyfriend. The irony.

When I was 18/19, I had a crush on this guy. He was fine, captivating, and a great friend. He made me laugh and when I needed him, he was always down to help me. However, he was my ex-boyfriend's friend. Now see I had no problem giving it to this guy, my ex was a loser and got a freshman (in high school) pregnant and was seeing his current wife while he was dating me. So this man moved on, and I wanted to move on to "C". I did all the typical things girls do to get a man's attention: put on make up, wear sexy cute clothes, flirted so hard it was borderline slutacious.

So fast forward, C was fixing my brakes on my car. I was at his house, we were in inside for some reason. No one else was there, and I figure this man will give it up now. He tells me he thinks he saw my ex drive by. We looked out the window. We were so close that all we needed to be was naked. I turned to him and looked up, he looked down. And for that moment, I was filled with all the emotions that love stories are made of. It was raining, my chest was heaving, I wanted this man more than life itself. He stared at me and his eyes were filled with desire. He says to me "let's test the brakes and walks away." My feelings were all types of hurt. But when I think of romance and love, I think of that moment...but it ends very differently. Not with sex, but with the most passionate kiss. I did end up getting that kiss later but that was it.

He later proclaimed he wanted me but couldn't because I dated his friend.
Life is funny.

I want romance.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Product Blog: Burt Bees Natural Acne Products


Recently I was given the opportunity via BzzAgent to try out Burt Bees Natural Acne Products. It's a 4 step treatment that consists of a cleanser, scrub, moisturizing lotion, and spot treatment. I received the gel cleanser and the spot treatment. The products contain willow bark, the ingredient that salicylic acid is derived from.

Okay first off, the gel cleanser is 99.5% natural. And it reminds me of lemon joy but thinner. To get a good lather you have to basically lather it in your hands, then put it on your face. And I find that I use more of it than I wish. But that is how Burt bees products are. They do not contain sulfates which is the ingredient that causes that great lather a lot of people love. However, I will admit that my face feels super clean when I am done and it's not drying at all. After using acne treatments my face usually feels very tight, not true with this. The gel cleanser only has 1 % salicylic acid, so for people with mild acne or sensitive skin, this is perfect! I really like this cleanser and the citric smell wakes me up in the morning.

The spot treatment I only used twice and both times, I woke up to a clear face. It's a liquid, so I had to be careful not to spill it. The treatment is 100% natural and has a .75% concentration of salicylic acid. Just a little dab on your break out and its' gone.

So overall I'd rate this product a 4 out of 5. I love the fact that it doesn't dry out my skin and I like having a clear face. I haven't had any break outs since I started using it. The only draw back is the liquidness of the cleanser. I wish it was a bit thicker. If you want to join BzzAgent, please click on the banner below! You will see my profile and you can sign up.


BzzAgent Badge

Friday, August 21, 2009

Girlie Blog: Mixed Chicks on 4a/b hair

Okay so a month ago I posted about the Total Beauty quiz and the products Total Beauty recommended I try for my hair. They said Mixed Chicks deep conditioner. I decide to purchase the mixed chicks sample pack. The trio pack has a sample of shampoo, deep conditioner, and leave in. It's 99 cents. However, shipping is about $8. So I got 3 sample packs, and spent $10.


I have to be honest, when I first went to the site I was rolled my eyes. There was no one with hair like ME on the site. And it is called "Mixed Chicks" so that kind of made me think "This is not for me." But I went ahead and purchased the sample packs (I hate paying shipping but the order came quickly and via UPS so really I can't be mad).

First the shampoo: I got to be honest, I wasn't feeling it. The shampoo would NOT lather for me and I am all about the lather. And some of you may say "oh lather is bad, etc, etc" but this shampoo does have a sulfate so the fact I had to go crazy to make my hair bubbly was not great. I have super thick hair, and it was soaked in water. The second wash was better, but they usually are. However, I found the shampoo did nothing for my hair. I could have washed with anything else in my closest, or on my floor, or in the plastic thing...I have shampoo all over.

Deep Conditioner: This is actually pretty good. I put it on for a few minutes while I finished my shower. My hair felt soft and moisturized as I rinsed. My kinks weren't as dry and my hair was very easy to manage. So far so good however I want to try this again...I can't honestly judge a DC on one try. I know cheaper ones that work better, esp for MY type of hair. And this is a big issue. With thicker, kinkier hair, I feel I need MORE than the average person. This is a decent deep conditioner. It worked a lot better on my friend's 3b hair who I used these products on too (and the shampoo still sucked so it wasn't me...)

Leave In: I definitely need to try this again but as of today, I like it. 4a/b hair is little to no curl pattern. My hair ranges from curls the size of coffee stirrers to no curls. This product did a great job at defining the different curls. I don't like how it feels on my hands. My hair dries a little hard, then goes back to being soft. This is just odd to me. However, I LOVE the curl definition. I want to try this again when I am wearing my afro to see how that works for me. But this is a great product. I like it alot.

So what can I say? The leave in right now is my favorite. And that wasn't even what I was looking into. I would suggest anyone who wants to use the products and has type 4a/b hair like myself to get the sample pack first. $10 might seem funky for 3 packs but they are very generous with the samples. I could use the shampoo and conditioner for two different washes. The leave in last much longer depending on how often you use it. I don't hate the products, I think the are for people with hair different from mine. Once I get a new camera (I am halfway to getting my new Kodak Easyshare 10MP camera from amazon...please get familiar with the make money blog) I can take pictures and I will include one of my hair after I use the leave in so people can see how that works.

Next Review: Neutrogena Daily Deep Moisturizer. Probably next month.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beanpie: The Bootleg Hustler


I love to show love...even if it's to Canadians (*smile*).


I recently was put onto this dope "story" of Beanpie, the Bootleg Hustler. Beanpie: The Bootleg hustler is an ongoing series. It follows Randolph Ethelwood aka Beanpie in his quest to become "The Ultimate Hustler". Equipped with a knack for shams, a group of not so supportive friends, and a terrible English accent he tries to make it. Aside from the main story, there are many other stories that explain all of the characters. A Lost Shams Mixtape, a day with his little brother Tailgate, and an Ice Juicy blog to help you understand the other characters.

Beanpie is an eStory written and released weekly for eXcapethematriX.com and Facebook. However his journey has just begun. The authors are currently compiling the material required for the release of a comic style book, and they hope to get the funding to create a short film that will debut at the opening of the Film Festival in Toronto.

Check out the story here: http://beanpiepromotions.com

Follow the author, Shaun Bolden here on twitter: http://twitter.com/ReadBeanpie

Love is love.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Do Better Movement: Challenge Yourself

I want to start off this week right. Last week was very complicated.

I was reminded of the "Do Better Movement", a movement started by someone, some years ago...I honestly don't remember where it came from. Essentially the movement is about doing YOU and making the most of your life. You strive to better yourself in all areas of your life and become the best person you can be. I am always on this mission, even those days when I am down and out. I try to limit my complaints because I do know I am blessed. And that's what this blog is about: BLESSINGS.

Count your blessings everyday. Make a joyful noise until the Lord (Psalms 100). I think a lot of times we get caught up in our of lives and our own problems that we forget to give thanks to the most high (whoever He/She/They may be to you). Our lives may not be how we planned, but they are our own and we strive every day to make our lives the best they can be. I know that quality of life is all relative. I can not compare my life or struggles to the next person, because all emotions are valid. If you feel your life is horrible, it probably is...but not because of the reasons YOU think. I feel that if you alive, if you are posting on the internet, if you live have a roof over your head, if you have food in your refrigerator...you are blessed. Even if you don't believe you are.

Okay so let me get off my platform...onto the "Challenge". It's simple.

Do something for someone else.

That's it. On twitter last week, I asked people to give to their local schools. The new school year starts in a few weeks, there are a lot of kids who do not have school supplies. $5 goes a long way at the Dollar Store (I got 4 packs of paper, two packs of pencils, one pack of pens, and some crayons) and I actually gave to a local shelter. Donate old clothes and shoes to local shelters or the Salvation Army. All my product junkies, if you have extras (and I KNOW you ladies do), take them to a women's shelter that can use them. We all want to feel beautiful. It's really the little things in life that can do so much.

If you have children, involve them too. This is about helping your community. Get them to pick out items, and go with you to deliver them. I don't do anything for praise. I try to take stuff and drop it off in the room and be out. Last time I gave out school supplies, some of the kids cried and I couldn't take it. $5 people.

It's not hard.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 10: Songs that turn chicks into hoes on the flo'

This is a fun blog...no offense. But do you notice that when certain songs come on in "urban" clubs, chicks get wild?!?!?! I won't even front, my ass gets on the floor too. So I made a Top 10 List of Songs that turn chicks into hoes on the flo'. In my own order....

10. "Every Girl Drake, Lil Wayne, and the other dude: This is a relatively new song but for some reason as soon as 'I like a long hair thick red bone' drops, the hoe comes out. And then it's like 'I'mma get in and on that pussy, if she let me hit I'mma OWN that pussy' and girls is like "YES LIL WAYNE. This pussy is YOURS!!!"

9. "Best of Me(remix)" Mya feat Jay Z: This song is about cheating. But yet, this is everyone's song in the club.

8. "Nasty Girl" Vanity 6: "I am looking for a man who will do it anywhere, even on the limousine floor....or the club floor. Hoes.

7. "Lap Dance" NERD: "Baby you want me? Well you can get this lap dance here for free" I think I actually gave someone (my man at the time) a lap dance to this song in the middle of Love the Club.

6. "My Neck, My Back" Khia: I first heard this in Miami and every chick stopped what they was doing and starting singing the hook "lick it now, lick it good..." You know the rest.

5. "Big Momma Thang" Lil Kim: So I would put this higher. But after Lil Kim's part, chicks seem to fall off. But everyone KNOWS the first few lines.

4. "Oochie Wallie" Nas and his bodyguards: Yeah, thugs make it hot? Whoever random dude was he killed that joint. I mean, if that's what you like and all.

3. "Lollipop" Lil Wayne: Even white chicks become hoes on this song. I seen chicks pull out suckers when this comes on. Really...in the club? My best friend who is far from hood gets beyond hoe-ish when she hears this song drop.

2. "Get Low" Ying Yang and Lil Jon: LET BRUCE BRUCE HIT IT!

and for #1...THE BEST SONG EVER TO START HOE DANCING TO....

"Put it in my mouth" Akinyele

Make some extra money using the internet...

This is NOT a get rich quick blog. This is a "get money for lunch, gas, and a few extras" Blog. The amount of money I make varies on based on ME, nothing else. I can choose to do more or do less each month. Below is a link on the past few months. There are two columns, cash and gift cards. If the gift cards are Mastercard or Visa card, they are included in the "Cash" section. I won't lie, I have been slacking so hard this summer. I usually do twice what you see in the spreadsheet.

Monthly Totals

Here are my top 5 ways to make extra cash:

*sidenote: before starting, I'd suggest you make a separate email account. this way you can log on and just go through everything easier and you don't have to worry about spam*

1. Secret Shopping: Secret shopping is fun because you get to go to your favorite stores and restaurants and get free items or dinner just for reviewing their service. There are A LOT of secret shopping companies around, and you should NOT pay to join a secret shopper database. My favorite "beginner" site is Shopper's Critique. This site allows you to sign up for the jobs you would like to do. When you first join, you can only sign up for one job at a time. But once you are established, you can sign up for as many as you want.

2. Surfing and Shopping on the Internet:
This is the easiest yet slowest way to earn money. Actually at Christmas, if you do all your shopping on line, it works out well. The main sites I use are Swagbucks and MyPoints. With Swagbucks, you collect "points" to redeem for prizes by using their search engine or finding swag codes and entering them online. Mypoints sends out random emails and surveys that give you points. If you shop online, you can go to mypoints, click on the merchant and earn points for spending money. Swagbucks takes a long time. I haven't redeemed for anything yet. Mypoints is as good as you make it. I have redeemed for over 5 Subway gift cards this year. I am saving my points right now to get a $50 gift card. I should be there in a month.

3. Surveys: Surveys are the most lucrative way to get extra money. If you find the right site for your demographics, you can get a lot of money, gift cards, and free products to test. When I say "a lot" I mean $100 a month if you are good. But if you are at home, posting on OKP or twitter anyway, it's nothing to open up another window and start doing surveys. I get a fair amount of products to test out, which can vary from food products to cleaning supplies to clothing items. Below I have listed my favorite sites (with links where applicable). There are some sites that require special invites or referrals. If you follow me on twitter, during open enrollments, I twit about them and send invites to those who want them.

a. Lightspeed Panel: Closed to new people. Will alert when they re-open
b. Pinecone: You have to find a banner, however, I get email referrals sometimes. I will alert to those.
c. Esearch: http://www.esearch.com/ (pays paypal)
d. MySurvey: https://www.mysurvey.com (if you want me to refer you then let me know and I will, or you can join on your own...no pressure)
e. E-Rewards: http://www.e-rewards.com/home.do (gift cards and discounts on items)
f. Surveyspot: http://www.surveyspot.com/
g. Greenfield Online: www.greenfieldonline.com/ (pays paypal or check I think)

4. ChaCha: Note: you can only join ChaCha when employment is open. This is considered a self employment job. You have to pay taxes on the money you make with them. Basically people send text messages to ChaCha and you answer the questions. I have been doing this over a year. Now, I did NOT include my ChaCha money on the spreadsheet because this is "income" and not "free money". On average, I make $400 a month on ChaCha. This is enough to pay for small bills depending on your situation. Again, if you follow me on twitter, I ALWAYS alert people to when they can join. I have had quite a few people sign up and give up. This is easy work but it's boring. However, if you are at home, chilling...I say open this up in firefox and do it while you b.s.-ing on twitter. There is another site like this, KGB, but I don't work for them. I do believe they are hiring tho...but I am not promoting them.

5. Slick Deals: I LOVE this site!! It's has everything. I am directing you to the forums where you will find Hot Deals ($500 cameras for $100), Free Stuff (samples most of the time plus links to other online surveys that pay. and free magazines), Coupons, Contests and Sweeps, etc. There is a wealth of information on this site and I love it! Every day I go through the freebie section and see if I qualify for any surveys or free items (I am doing a blog for $200 this week). Then I do my contests. I win a lot of stuff, you guys already know. But there is so much on this site, I can't even begin to express how beneficial it is. Join that site, and you will be not be disappointed.


EDIT: I am adding a 6th option.

6. MyLikes: (link is clickable) I just recently started using MyLikes and I like it a lot! LOL. Pun intended. Mylikes is for people who use twitter and facebook basically. You should have at least 300 followers and you have more followers then people you follow. This one is basic, you just tweet ads. You can change up the wording of the ad to make it more appealing and you get paid per click. Simple! They pay you every Friday via paypal. I already have gotten my first payment. I am definitely a fan.

Short and sweet.
This is basically what I do on a daily basis. Like I said before you will not get rich but you will make some extra money, get some free food, or save money on that HDTV that you want for your living room (carolina ware...I know you want one for football season)! My mom always said "half a loaf of bread is better than no loaf" and so I say to you "an extra $50 is better than $0 dollars". If you have any questions or concerns, you know how to find me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ebb and Flow...

wax and wane.

My body is filled with a mix of emotions. I feel like I am a Gemini. There are times when I am *high* and floating on cloud nine. And late at night, it hits me and I began to worry and fret. How will I make it? Last night I realized it has been 3 months...unemployment is only good for 6 months. This morning I regrouped and reminded myself that I have money tucked away. I can always move back home (not ideal but I will never be homeless again...) and I hustle.

It is now August. More than half the year is over and I have not progressed too much. Every step forward includes a step back so I am stagnant. I am progressing and regressing at the same time. I contemplated disappearing and going to some foreign lands for a few years and then coming back when "the coast is clear" but I know running from problems does not solve them. They will not disappear. But at least I will not be stressed.

I haven't done anything this year that I wanted to do.
I haven't gone anywhere.
I haven't seen anyone.
I haven't achieved any goal.

But I am not sad...just indifferent. Indifferent to me is better than being sad, but also just as bad. Indifferent means I am not caring anymore. And do not want to not care (does that make sense?!?) The part time brings some joy. It supplements unemployment and it pays well. However, judging by my latest stack of bills, I need about 10 jobs if I want to get out of debt by age 30 (which was the goal of 2009). However, I did get my legal situations and license taken care of and I am $3000 poorer due to my "indifference" about a criminal record and suspended license. This was a crucial setback.

However I persevere. Everyday I wake up, I give thanks to the MOST HIGH that I am alive, that I have a place to live, and good food to eat. I thank Him for my family and friends. And I know things will work out however they are meant to be.

Do not think this is me being "sad" again. This is just a reflection. A reflection on the past 4 months on me losing focus. I am NOT refocused however. I just realized that I am fucking up royally.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The "Hair" Blog

As many of you know, I am natural. Natural hair is awesome but it's work. I am learning what works for my hair and what ruins it. Right now I am trying to figure out how to define my curls. I have small curls, like the size of coffee stirrers that you get from Starbucks. And it's not working out. Today I decided to clarify my hair via baking soda. I like to mix two teaspoons of baking soda with half a cup of tresemme moisture rich and half a cup of water. This usually last about 2 or 3 washes, so I store it in a plastic container. This is the first time I did this in a long time. My hair is now smelling like a relaxer. My hair feels super clean and believe me, if you ever wash with baking soda, you will be shocked at how dirty hair gets. I am so mad. I even put cantu shea butter on it to make it smell better and for moisture. I smell like a perm with cocoa butter. It's sad. But anyway for those who didn't see it, the afro (please note: this is a camera phone pic because my camera is not compatible with Vista. that's so not awesome):

It's not too bad. But as you see, it's a cottony bush. My hair is very soft and that's what I love most about it. and it's long. My hair stretched is to my collar bone. I am trying to grow it to reach my bra when it's stretched.
Anyway in my quest to get awesome natural hair, I took this quiz on total beauty: What's the best Shampoo/Conditioner for your hair?



My results:


1. Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo: $24, sulfate free, so maybe I will try it
2. Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner: $20 I believe, but I have heard bad things about the deep conditioner. I hear the leave in is great. However it works best on "mixed" hair I hear. I am no one's mixed. Or rather, I don't have "mixed" hair.
3. Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner: $6, it's bought

So okay I will buy all three of these items in the next week and try it out. I am hesitant to spend $50 on hair products, especially looking in my closest. I have over 10 sets of shampoo and conditioner and other various hair products. The floor in my bathroom is covered in hair products from ORS to Carol's Daughter to Ojon. But it seems my problem is moisture. So I will try it and see if this helps. A month or so from now I will review them all on here to see how well it works out for me. Take the quiz (it's clickable) and see what you get. My best friend got a interesting variety. I think the quiz can't tell the difference between "relaxed" and "colored/dyed" hair. But let me know.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In The Ghetto...

Who will rep my people?

I grew up poor.

My notebooks were filled with my wishes and desires. As soon as I learned how to write, I wrote. A diary, a journal, a poem, a novel, a play. My mom was a "single" mother in the sense that my step father was addicted to drugs when he came back from being overseas. There were days I would come home and there would be nothing in the house. He would never steal my stuff, or my sister's stuff. He had some morals. He was a good man, the drugs just took his mind.

My father is a good man. His problem was alcohol. His problem is still alcohol. but he loved me and he tried.

But we were *poor*. My mother opted to spend the majority of her paycheck so that we had a decent house to live in. But that's all we had was that house. So I'd write stories and poems, filled with my wishes and desires. I would describe in great detail the beautiful clothes, the dope hair styles, the car I would have if I were rich. My best friend read my stories once and said I was a good writer. Then she says "You always describe dope ass outfits in your stories, why don't you dress like that?"

At 13 how do you explain to your best friend that those three pair of jeans "you always wearing" are the ONLY jeans you have. That those one pair of Nikes that your grandma bought are the only shoes. That you read SO MUCH because books were the only thing you could afford. A book was $4 and a video game was $50. I was on free lunch my whole time in school. I'd come home to an empty refrigerator, no lights, no water at times...and we'd go to my grandma's house to eat and bathe. My grandmother told me last year "I don't know how you survived that life Stephanie, I would have died." And I want to cry, because all I could do was survive.

That's why I can't leave. I don't live in the best place in Baltimore. I hear gunshots at night, I hear people screaming, children cursing, mice and ants. I always say the Lord found favor in me, I lucked up and got a full scholarship to college. That was the ONLY way I was going to college. I remember getting accepted to Howard and crying because I couldn't afford the tuition and they offered me a partial scholarship but I still couldn't afford it. When I graduated from high school, I had been working since I was 13 years old and had less than $200 in the bank. We used the money to bury a loved one who died.

And sometimes at night, I sit in my house and cry. No one knows my struggle and it's overwhelming at times. Especially when I am at work and hear how people think about the "ghetto" or "minorities". We are not animals. We are people. Broken people.

But I love nothing more than to see the little girls across the street "keep smiling and shining". This is where I belong I feel at times. No matter how hard it is.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hypnotized: The Poem (remix version)

This is a poem I wrote last year sometime. A few people loved it, some thought it was gay and sappy. As I reread it (as I do with everything I write), I found myself dislike all the pop references I made in it. I felt like I tried to hard to make it like spoken word. I don't do spoken word, I write. I don't want my poems to read like I should be on a stage at a coffee shop snapping my fingers. That's not me. It doesn't feel classic, so I re-did it. I have about 5 other poems that I really like in the stash box. At my grandmother's house, I have a whole book full. My novel is half done. I am not sure on how to end it, that is still my hold up. But I smile as I read the chapters, so it must be decent. The novel is very urban, and I tried to limit my use of the "n" word but I always fall back into my southside Richmond ways. In any case...free form style.

Hypnotized (the remix)

He hypnotized me.
he intrigues me
he makes me feel good!
Eyes are the windows to the soul and his pierce through to mine
I can't imagine never meeting him, never knowing who he is
I tried to avoid him, but something always reconnects us
It's not about love, it's not about sex
There is a connection
At least that's what he said
He said he knew me from another life when we met
"We must have been married, we must have had kids
We were in love then"
Why can't we be in love now?
I laughed but I felt it too
Is it possible we were together in another life?
I don't feen for his body,
I want his mind
I want him to bless me with all he knows
I want us to build and grow together and do what we were put on this Earth to do
"We are here for a reason" he says
I say he is a King, his presence is beyond overwhelming
He said that I am star, that when I am around I shine so bright, that's all he sees
And it's not about sex, but I give him MY sex
My lips touch his and my eyes beg for him.
Our hearts beat in sync as we reach the height of passion only known by few others
I don't cry out, but I pull him in.
And I hold him tight, I will never let this man go.
Because he intrigues me
He hypnotized me.

*sidenote: This shit is copywritten under my pen name so I dare a mofo to steal this shit.*

Monday, July 6, 2009

Underground Hip Hop: General Steele

General Steele is one half of one of the greatest, or should I say REALEST, underground hip hop groups, Smif N Wessun. I don't even have to tell you how I feel about Smif N Wessun. If you read my "Love of My Life" blog then you know I have been a fan since I was 14 years old. Ever since I saw "Wreckonize".

In any event, the General is doing his own thing and has a new cd called "Welcome to Bucktown." The cd dropped May 5, and I think it embodies the grittiness of underground hip hop mixed with Steele's classic flow and hard hitting beats that make you want to blast this in your whip on a hot summer day. That's the best I can explain it.

anyway, music video "WELCOME"



Links:
General Steele on Twitter
Bucktown USA

Oh yeah, you can live chat with General Steele and Buckshot (almost) every Friday from 12-2 (or whenever they decide to log on...) It's always interesting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What is the point of boyfriends/girlfriends?

Sidenote: This is an extension of my post *over there* but I know a majority of my readers don't visit that site, so I will bring it over here and add a little to it.

I have been thinking about this for a long time. I honestly don't see the point of people "committed" if they aren't getting married in the future. I don't see why a person (male or female) should say "hey you are the only one until the perfect one comes around..." It's crazy. If I am dating a guy and I don't think he's the one, or vice versa, then I don't care if I am the only one or not. I'd rather do me, and let him do him and we can do us when we are together. Let's enjoy our time together, and as long as we respect each other, it's all good.

I think monogamy is a wonderful thing...however, there are people who decide to be committed to some loser for the sake of raw sex or comfort. Many people hate to be alone and feel safe being in a committed relationship. I am not knocking that. It's just not for me.

If I meet you and I am feeling you, and you feeling me, then we can do this. Some may call this "casual" dating. And most people would say "why would you want to sleep around?"

okay hold up...dating and sex are two different things. I love going out with different people. I like having options. I like dating. When it comes to sex, I am picky. I don't have sex with every guy I am dating. Sex is a sacred and wonderful event. I am all about free love, I think men and women should sleep with who they want as long as they are safe about it.

In my lifetime of dating (I guess the past, 16 years?) I have had only 4 boyfriends. All of whom I thought I would marry one day. Each man I was with for at least 2 years, and for whatever reason it didn't work out. If I dated a man and asked if he would have want to get married and he said no, then he would never become my boyfriend. Now there was a guy in college I met and he laid everything out there, and said what he did and didn't want. And we ended up "dating" for 6 years. We never had a problem or an issue. No arguments, no fights...no problems. When we were together, it was wonderful. When we were apart, I went on with my life and he did his. There was no stress. That's how things should be.

Dating for years is not my cup of tea unless it's leading to a ring on my finger. If that is not your intent, I am fine with that. Just be honest. We can have fun, but I don't need to be your "girlfriend", I am perfectly content just being your "friend".

or maybe I am waiting on some ole' Keri Hilson "Knocks You Down" type action?