RHoATL, Season 2 Finale: Wrap it up, B

nnlwh

But that choker's not cute.

We’re back and it’s over! I missed blogging last week’s episode but when I got around to watching it, it wasn’t THAT exciting to write about anyway. On to the finale…

What are Dwight’s qualifications as the director of a fashion show? He’s telling Sheree to trust him but um, what references is he rolling with? Sheree is the WORST when it comes to hiring help. She can’t hire models, party planners, seamstresses, nobody. For someone who had such a dreadful show last time, you’d think she would be on top of this. How the hell does Sheree have one vision (simple, understated) and she hired Dwight who is thinking “it’s better to oversell than undersell”????? More fur! More accessories! Mmkay.

The Hartwells are getting real and I appreciate that. Ed is truly being responsible saying let’s downsize this crib that costs $200,000 a year and move into our other crib that’s 9 acres. Still a great place to live, I’m sure, but a downgrade from where they are now. Lisa needs to get it together. I know she’s got a lot of things going on, but I’m not so sure she’s bringing in the kind of cheese that’s necessary for the upkeep of the home and everything else the family is spending money on. She wants to be wealthy, but um, it’s not like they’re moving to the poor house! Ed was TOTALLY on point when he said his home was in his family, not in the house. And no Lisa, you can’t build a guest house. You cannot build a gym. You cannot have a circular driveway. By the time you renovate the property with all those extras, it’ll cost damn near the same or more than the home you’re leaving! Continue reading

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focusing on healthy relationships

Today is “Taking it to the Streets” day for Strong Start, an organization dedicated to educating young people about healthy relationships and ending teen dating violence. Eleven organizations in Atlanta,, Austin, Boston, Bridgeport, the Bronx, Idaho, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Providence, and Wichita will be helping spread the message about healthy relationships. According to the website, Start Strong is also encouraging people to join the conversation online – “We are asking for your best thinking, your best advice, your best observations to get this country learning about healthy relationships, how to have them, build them, keep them and ensure that violence and abuse are never tolerated.”

It’s great that Start Strong is doing this work and even greater that they’re taking it to the streets today during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help people see that teen dating violence is truly related to domestic violence overall. A lot of the time we focus on the negative when trying to create awareness by telling people what they should NOT be doing or by showing them how jacked up their lives and relationships are. This campaign builds off of what many advocates know already and what President Obama said in his official National Domestic Violence month proclamation on Oct. 1:

During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.

Even amidst all this positivity, I’m kind of saddened. As a soon-to-be 28 year old woman (Nov 1!), I realize that neither I nor many of my peers know how to articulate the characteristics of a healthy relationship. So few of us have seen them or been in them. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that this is a true statement. How can we be mentors and teachers to young people starting out? Start Strong’s target audience is 11-14 year old boys and girls. Good, it’s not too early. Clearly we all needed some help learning how to love ourselves and one another in a supportive, encouraging, uplifting and healthy way.  I’m going to keep an eye on this organization and I hope that you do too. Try following Start Strong on Twitter.

Here are ways that YOU can participate ONLINE on October 22nd.  It’s easy and will only take a few minutes of your time:

  1. Give Start Strong your relationship feedback. They need to know what you know. Click Here to give your feedback!
  2. Post a conversation starter to your Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/yfxr7yl) or Twitter profile. This will have a major impact.

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Filed under Domestic Violence Advocacy, Pay Attention!, relationships, Spotlights

hot pepper, baby pops & the running man

You might know those terms in the title to refer to double-dutch moves, especially if you’re from New York ( and only if you’re real!). I wonder what kinds of tricks they pulled in the ropes in Chicago back in the day? Let’s ask Michelle Obama, shall we?

I find this terribly awesome and so very very Black. Pay no mind to what you see in those double-dutch competitions full of skinny lil boys and red-haired girls in French braids with matching t-shirts who call it ‘skipping rope’. I love D-D and it has always been a very Black, urban, around the way experience for me. I still remember the day I learned how to jump and the songs/chants we used to sing. I’m the chick who carried a rope in the trunk of her car up until last year just in case somebody wanted to get a quick jump in.

So yeah, I’m enjoying this way more than I think I should.

Bonus:

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when choosing a doctor…

I’m not a racist, I let white folks use my bathroom! I do, however, have a preference for people of color in certain situations, specifically Black folks. There are limits, of course. When given a choice on nearly everything, I don’t care who does it if it’s done well. I don’t go to Starbucks and wait for the Black barista to make my latte over anyone else who is equally qualified at foaming milk and stuff. I do like to have Black doctors, though. Maybe because I haven’t been exposed to many over the years. Perhaps it was too much Cliff Huxtable. Could be now that my friends are dentists, ophthalmologists, anesthesiologist and such, I like the idea even more. I don’t know. Moving to a new city, I’m having to re-up on my roster of health care providers. I’ll probably just break down and ask my friends or coworkers who they see and roll with their recommendations (an excellent way to find a provider, actually) but at present I’m asking around to see who knows a Black dentist, primary care physician and a gyn.

Wait… that last one, gynecologist… that’s a special category. While I wouldn’t mind having a Black FEMALE gyn, I cannot have a Black male. I said as much on Twitter a couple of days ago and I wasn’t able to fully articulate why I felt that way when asked. I don’t even know if I can get my feelings about it across right now but I’ll try (and fail). Continue reading

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social networks – it’s contagious

The idea that social networking is contagious is not new or novel. Web-savvy folks already know how the simplest and silliest images, videos or sites can spread like the flu as illustrated by terms such as  “viral video” or “memes.” Most people don’t think of their interactions offline as social networking since the phrase has come to represent a new media/web2.0 phenomenon but that’s exactly what they are, right? Your group of friends, colleagues, associates and family are all part of your social network and may or may not be interrelated at some point. Regardless of where your network is primarily located (online or offline),  your social network can have a profound effect on your own choices and behavior, influencing everything from what music you download purchase to how much you weigh.

The idea that social networks impact our preferences from the simple (music selection, what to wear) to the important (voting, spreading disease) is examined in the book  “Connected,” by Dr. Nicholas Christakis (sociologist and physician) and James Fowler (political scientist). Christakis’ and Fowler’s research found that within three degrees of separation, we have a significant impact on one another’s behavior. “That means that your friends, your friends’ friends, and your friends’ friends’ friends may all affect your eating habits, voting preferences, happiness, and more. At the fourth degree, however, the influence substantially weakens.” Hmm, so taking an example from my own friends (with a little help from Facebook), my pal Travis, his friend Crystal and her friend Sakina (who I have never seen or heard of) can all have an impact on my life? Sakina’s friend Johnathan from Ohio State, however, wouldn’t really make a difference at all Wow.

It’s not so much of a big deal if Sakina’s preference for the new Ginuwine album leads to me somehow listening to some tracks. That’s like the social media equivalent of the contagious yawn. Christakis and Fowler have found that the impact can be greater than that, impacting your physical body.  “If a mutual friend becomes obese, it nearly triples a person’s risk of becoming obese.” Forget the fact that Sakina lives in North Carolina, ” you’re still at risk for gaining weight if a friend 1,000 miles away gets bigger.” Um, you guys know that I have issues with the obese set. Luckily I don’t have to concoct some new Facebook Quiz (How Much Do You Weigh and How Many Miles from Brooklyn Are You?) to parse my friend list. The researchers found that people who 86’d their chubbo friends were even more susceptible to obesity. That’s internet karma coming at you.  “On the one hand, yes, our work showed that if you keep your friend, you are going to be susceptible to their bad behaviors,” says Fowler. “On the other hand, time and again, what our work shows is that every friend makes you healthier and happier.” Aw. Warm fuzzies!

Americans are a funny breed. We value traits like independence and autonomy. We like to be  in control of our own lives for the most part, yet most of what we do and feel is tainted by the actions and feelings of those we socialize with… and their friends, and their friend’s friends. So what is the takeaway from all of this? We are not in this alone and we are all connected with one another. What you and I do matter, not just to you and I, but to people we may not have ever met. It certainly lends a little more weight to the idea that one person can make a difference. Thoughts?

Sources: CNN.com/technology; Connected; BostonGlobe

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Filed under friends, Routine Ramblings

DV Awareness: Remember My Name

As posted to the Domestic Violence Awareness: Making Advocacy Accessible Facebook Cause (to which I am a contributor).

As human beings we are blessed with the ability to express ourselves through language and, by extension, the written word. From the beginning of time, words have been used to capture the mundane details of life, identify objects, show the way to hidden places, record history, and foretell the future. There is also power in words where they allow us to share our innermost thoughts, feelings and ideas. Writing let’s us harness our energy, both positive and negative, and our words will bear witness to our lives. While we all have the ability to write ourselves into diaries, essays, blogs, journals, articles and poems, there comes a time when an individual will so accurately capture the essence of a movement with their words. Over a decade ago in 1995, Kimberly A. Collins wrote Remember My Name, a poem that has been used by Domestic Violence Awareness Month [DVAM] observances to memorialize victims that have lost their lives to domestic violence (take a moment to view the names of homicide victims across the U.S.).
For DVAM 2009, we share this poem with you in the hope that through written words we will never forget the names of those lost to domestic violence and that we should all heal through our shared connections and experience. You can read more about the author after the jump below.

Remember My Name

When you remember my walk upon this earth
Look not into my steps with pity.
When you taste the tears of my journey
Notice how they fill my foot prints
Not my spirit
For that remains with me.

My story must be told
Must remain in conscious memory
So my daughters won’t cry my tears
Or follow my tortured legacy.
Lovin’
is a tricky thing
If it doesn’t come
from a healthy place,
If Lovin’
Doesn’t FIRST practice
on self
it will act like a stray bullet
not caring what it hits

You may say:
Maybe I should’ve loved him a little less
Maybe I should’ve loved me a little more,
Maybe I should’ve not believed he’d never hit me again.
All those maybes will not bring me back – not right his wrong.
My life was not his to take.

As your eyes glance my name
Understand once I breathed
Walked
Loved
just like you.
I wish for all who glance my name
To know love turned fear – kept me there
Loved twisted to fear,
Kept me in a chokehold
Cut off my air
Blurred my vision
I couldn’t see how to break free.

I shoulda, told my family
I shoulda told my friends
I shoulda got that CPO
Before the police let him go
But all those shoulda’s can’t bring me back
when I lied so well
To cover the shame
To hide the signs.

If my death had to show
what love isn’t
If my death had to show
that love shouldn’t hurt
If my death had to make sure
another woman told a friend
instead of holding it in
If my death reminds you
how beautiful
how worthy
you really are
If my death reminds you
to honor all you are
daily
Then remember my name
Shout it
from the center of your soul
Wake me
in my grave
Let ME know
My LIVING was not in vain.

Copyright 1995 Kimberly A. Collins, Washington, D.C., reprinted with permission. Click to read more about the author

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Filed under Domestic Violence Advocacy, Pay Attention!, Spotlights, Swiped

RHoATL, s2e11: heel the world

Heeling the Soul

Too bad this show isn’t live because I’d like to see how they all handled the death of Kandi’s (ex?) fiance Ashely “AJ” Jewell. It would be a refreshing change to see them deal with something real and weighty instead of the fashion shows and dreadful parties. We saw a bit of seriousness when Lisa’s family visited her brother’s grave, but of course this is television and wigs prevail.

Kim is the bestworst person on the show. SUCH a liar! When Kandi stepped to her and asked why Kim didn’t support her and attend her show, Kim tried to say she couldn’t attend because her kid was sick. Um… no. Let’s review: Kim has no job and has no skills or hobbies to speak of yet she has a nanny. I’m pretty sure it’s because she just cannot deal with children AS CHILDREN. Since those lil chunky kids can’t drink yet, Kim pretty much can’t be bothered. So why all of a sudden when one gets sick you want to stay at home? I call shenanigans. You all know that Kandi is sort of annoying to me overall, but I like how when the camera just gets on her, she calls Kim out on her inconsistencies. While shopping for clothes for Kim’s daughters, Kim whipped out her titanium AMEX card and made sure to say it wasn’t a joint account with Big Papa but her own money that funded the card. Kandi, knowing a bit about high limit credit cards, noted that you have to spend a certain amount to even get that card. Ok, where did Kim get $200,000 something dollars on her own? From doing what?! Shenanigans number two! Oh and FYI, I hope Mrs. Big Papa is watching ALL this shit so when it comes time to divorce his ass, she can get into those side accounts he has with his mistresses (plural cuz you know Kim ain’t the only one). Continue reading

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whew!

I see now that it might be a couple of days before I can really get back into blogging. I started a new job on Monday so I’ve been getting acclimated there, as well as getting back into a 9-5 schedule. Do you know that I haven’t had to be at a 9-5/5 days a week job since last summer? Even that was an internship! My law classes didn’t even have that type of schedule. In Tokyo, we admittedly did more partying than studying or spending time in class so that wasn’t too stressful. This past summer, as the steady readers know, I didn’t have to be anywhere really. When doing the consulting/freelance, that was on my time for the most part. So now here I am trying to get back on track which includes getting up early, riding the subway to work, running errands after 5pm, heading home, attempting to make dinner, then studying for my MPA classes. Which reminds me, I haven’t even started this week’s reading AND my group members want everyone to turn in a draft of our project sections this Friday. Suffice to say that I won’t be doing anything for the remainder of the week besides work and school work. Womp.

I did go out to SOBs last night to see Black Sheep and Tanya Morgan rock with Revive da Live, a jammin’ ass hip hop band. It was awesome. TM already bangs but they definitely should try to hook up with the band more often. Hmm, perhaps they should do a reality show like Diddy. Making TMs Band?

Remember my crazy uncle? He had me put him on the phone with Dres from Black Sheep. Embarrassing but I did it anyway because I knew it’d make him happy. He wanted me to get an autograph too, but I have my limits. Besides, I had already gotten a pic with Dres for my Old Rapper Collection. More on that later for those who don’t know. LOL

Holla

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Filed under Music & More, My Life, Routine Ramblings

RHoATL, s2e10: better tardy than never

Real Housewives of Atlanta KandiPeople always talk about Atlanta being notorious for having a large number of gay  men, but has anyone ever counted how many party planners/event coordinators, etc there are in that city? I bet it eclipses the gheys by a million! Of course we have one of the “housewives” throwing a party… KIM! And *shock* she’s not inviting NeNe. It’s a double birthday shindig for Kandi and Kim who both are on the outs with Ms. NeNe at the moment. Let Nene tell it, she doesn’t wanna go anywhere and neither does Lisa (since Kim is involved). As far as I could tell, no one missed anything. For all her talk about having a fabulous party with the best drinks, best food, best music, the party looked like a basement bash I had in high school. Oh well.

I am going to throw my computer listening to Kim try to get these Tardy for the Party verses down, ESPECIALLY after Kandi did a reference for her. This T4TP recording is not an exercise in in vocal acrobatics. It’s a demonstration and advertisement for the equipment that altered Kim’s voice to high hell.I don’t understand and I think it’s counterproductive for Kandi to be supporting this song. If Kandi is trying to come back out with an album and she thinks of herself as a “real” singer, why would she pollute the market and the industry with songs/singers that are simply a product of studio engineering? I think it just waters down people’s expectations. Who needs a “real” singer if we can just pull any old person off of the street and make them sound good with the right team behind them? Continue reading

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you fall the way you lean

Just wanted to share a thought that I garnered from my Public Administration reading and professor centering on ethics. Having gone to law school and minored in philosophy in ugrad, I am familiar with many of the concepts in this chapter. Still, I believe this is applicable to everyone and all aspects of life, especially when put so simply: You Fall The Way You Lean.

Ethics is a tricky area, just ask anyone who has taken the MPRE (test for lawyers on ethics and professional responsibility).  People like to talk about it in this amorphous, philosophical way, and that has its place, but he basic problem is one of physics, not metaphysics.  If I balance my pencil on end, and tilt it slightly to the left, which way will it fall?  To the left.  And if I tilt it to the right, it’ll fall to the right.  That’s basically how your ethical decisions work.

Every day you make little ethical decisions–about how to treat coworkers or employees, about how to drive in traffic, about how hard to work, about what to include in your reports–and these little decisions shape who you are and how you think.  These decisions aggregate and gather so that one day, when you are confronted with an obvious, fully labeled ethical dilemma, the outcome is already determined.  You will fall the way you have been leaning. That’s why the most important thing about ethics is to know yours. Continue reading

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Filed under Grad School, Lessons, School Daze