Maybe not Michigan

Have you ever visited a city that looked dusty, dilapidated and destitute? The place looked so uninviting it made you want to pack your bags and go back home immediately. Well I have and this city is none other than Detroit, Michigan. Detroit looked abandoned like people forgot it existed and left it there to disintegrate. I know what you’re thinking who goes to Michigan, on purpose, in the winter if they don’t have to? Well I did, so don’t judge me. And when I was preparing for my trip I searched for things to do and there was only one place I wanted to visit.
As you may know when I go away there are three things I like to do. 1. Eat good. 2. Sightsee and 3. get some R&R. So of course my trip started off at a brunch spot called Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles which I found on Yelp. This restaurant had good reviews and the items on the menu made my mouth water. When we arrived there was a twenty-minute wait so we did a little people watching. There were a variety of patrons waiting to be seated with very colorful personalities and fashion sense.

When we were seated, I had an idea about what I wanted to order and when I saw someone seated near me order the same thing, I knew it was divine intervention. But first, I requested a tasty beverage which consisted of a mix of three types of Kool-Aid. Yes I said it, Kool-Aid. For those of you that don’t know I LOVED Kool-Aid as a kid. My brother made the best Kool-Aid because he would pour almost a whole bag of sugar in the pitcher for one pack, lol.

My beverage was Mmm good so I just knew my food was going to be even better. We’ll it wasn’t. It was just ok even though as you can see below it looked like it was going to be finger lickin’ good. The chicken was average, the waffle was a little cold and the macaroni and cheese was greasy and lacked flavor. But oh well, you win some you lose some.

Next stop was the Motown Museum. I thoroughly enjoyed Motown the Musical when I saw it on Broadway a few years ago so I was excited to visit this historical exhibit which chronicles a record label started by Berry Gordy and produced legends like The Temptations, the Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye. But when we arrived we learned the tours were sold out for the day and we would be unable to view the exhibits. Talk about being upset. I was so upset, I pouted and walked away with only this picture which I almost didn’t take.

Since there was nothing else I wanted to do in Detroit we went back to Lansing where my friend lived and stopped at an outlet mall on the way. I just knew I would be able to cheer myself up with a little retail therapy. Boy, was I wrong. There was only one store I ended up going to and it was a bookstore where I found nothing to purchase. So we went back to Lansing to relax and we watched the entire first season of Stranger Things on Netflix. Now that’s a good show!
On Sunday, I relaxed some more and caught up on some episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Orange is the New Black season 4 and began watching Black Sails. Overall, it was a very boring uneventful trip but I guess I shouldn’t complain because it could have been worse. At least I got to watch good TV.  Until next time….

New Edition Story

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the New Edition biopic which aired on BET for three nights this past week and I wouldn’t even consider myself a FAN! I have two close friends and a cousin who shall remain nameless who are TRUE FANS! I even allowed one friend to convince me to attend a New Edition concert in Washington DC a few years ago. And let’s just say it was money well spent because I sweated my hair out dancing and singing the few words of the songs I knew. New Edition are superb entertainers and they make performing look effortless, well some of them.

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Courtesy of thesource.com

As I watched over the last few nights, I was amazed at their story and resilience. I would have never known about their poor business decisions and money mismanagement if their story wasn’t told. I was utterly shocked when I learned they were still living in the projects of Roxbury, Massachusetts after having a number one song and being on tour. And when they came back home and their manager bought back a check for $1.87 to split amongst the five of them my heart sank.

There were a few other moments in the story which made my heart hurt like finding out Ricky Bell (BAE) was a coke head! Who knew??? I thought Bobby was the only one who used drugs. I know what you’re thinking didn’t they all smoke “sticky icky”? It appeared so but I’m not judging them for smoking “mary jane” because who hasn’t? But I digress…

Another moment that made me gasp was when Bobby Brown jumped out of the top of the limousine to fight Mike Bivins like he was going to beat the life out of him. I was scared for Mike. I thought to myself the repercussions from spitting in that man’s face is going to hurt more than getting your foot ran over, Mike. But that was just one of the many fights allegedly.

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Two days ago, l watched the Bell Biv Devoe interview on the Breakfast Club (which can be found here) and they reported the group members always argued and fought like they weren’t good friends.  It was also reported they would have pillow fights which started out as playful and turned into real fights. I thought to myself you would have never known any of this because they didn’t bring any of that energy to the stage with them when they performed.

And the NE cast was phenomenal! Both the young and adult casts of each member were spot on, except the adult actor who portrayed Ricky Bell. And I would have never survived rehearsals for the choreography of the routines like the cast did. Maybe when I was 15 but not today!

 

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Courtesy of blacksportsonline.com

Now, I would be remised if I didn’t mention those horrible wigs some of the cast wore. What was the budget for hair because they didn’t have to buy all the discount wigs for Johnny Gill and Brooke Payne (New Edition’s first manager and choreographer). And I personally could have done without LaLa and Wood Harris, but I’m no Robbi Reed (Casting Director).

I know this blog post may be a spoiler alert if you haven’t watched it yet but oh well and shame on you! You should lock yourself in the house over the weekend for at least six hours to get your life together in front of the TV because I’m sure BET will air at least four times by Monday. You’ll thank me later ! And after you watch it, let me know what your favorite NE song is in the comments below. Until next time…..

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Courtesy of cdn.singersroom.com

Emotional Rollercoaster

Have you all watched This is Us? I know I’m a little late to the party but I’m stubborn and wasn’t sold on it when one of my good girlfriends initially told me about it. However, after seeing so many FB friends rant and rave about it, I decided to give it a shot. I just finished binge watching all 10 episodes and I must say I loved every episode because it’s really down to earth and emotionally charged with real life situations.

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I don’t know about you but sometimes I find a message in the tv shows that I watch which are applicable to my reality. It’s like the messages speak to me and a light switch goes off, but don’t call me crazy.

And FYI, I don’t like interruptions when watching TV.  There are times when I don’t move, ignore phone calls and avoid using the bathroom. I know it sounds bad but men do the same thing during football season every Sunday, Monday and Thursday night, but I digress.

This is Us constantly reminds me that families are not perfect. Hell, my family is far from perfect.  I could tell everyone who reads this blog about each of our imperfections (because none of them read this blog), but I won’t because I was taught not to air our dirty laundry.   But This is Us unravels all of the characters dirty little secrets in a serious but comical way which allows viewers to be able to relate to them.

My favorite character is Randall’s wife, Beth because her personality is like  a”girl next door” and she’s also her husband’s voice of reason. So when she ate those “edibles” with her father in law who’s dying from stomach cancer in the basement to avoid waking up her children, I hollered. Also, when she interrogated her father in law about his whereabouts (because she thought he was back to using drugs) and realized she was being a “bitch”, that sealed the deal for me.

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Randall and Beth

But don’t take my word for it. Check out episodes 1-10 before the new episodes begin on January 10, 2017 on NBC. You won’t be sorry! Until next time….

 

 

 

 

Surviving the Holidays

I hope you’ve done all of your holiday shopping so far like I have. If you’re anything like me and you have zero patience at the mall during this season, then you better make it a new years gift, lol. The holidays are usually joyous and a festive time to celebrate. However, for people who’ve lost loved ones during the year or around the holidays over the years’ this maybe a difficult time for them.

I know that we as a society get caught up in holiday parties/events and shopping for ourselves/others during this time. But I implore you to reach out to someone you haven’t heard from and do a little extra to make sure they’re ok during this season. Whether you invite them to spend time with you and your family or physically go to their house to check on them, be earnest to bring a little holiday joy to someone different in your life.

I know when I lost my grandmother a few years ago at the beginning of December, I didn’t look forward to Christmas or New Year’s that year. However, being around loved ones made it a little more bearable. I’ll never forget a group of my Sorority sisters came over a few days after my grandmother passed with some food and wine.  We ate, drank and made Dr. Pepper floats (you had to go to Baylor to appreciate the significance of this) while laughing  and reminiscing on better days. I will never forget how special I felt because they took time out to stop by and lift my spirit.

Also, feel free to encourage someone grieving through the holidays to reminisce on the memories while making new traditions. Whether they do something totally different from their normal holiday routine or go somewhere they wouldn’t normally visit. Encourage them to do what they need to do to take care of themselves!

If you are reading this and YOU are struggling with surviving the holidays be honest about it. Call someone you can openly talk to about what you’re going through. Also, don’t feel obligated to attend every event you’ve been invited to. But if you do, have an exit plan.

I met someone at a holiday party this year who lost her mom a few weeks prior and she had to excuse herself several times from conversations because she became emotional. I applauded her for attending an event she probably didn’t necessarily want to attend but I also encouraged her to know when it was time to call it quits and go home. She thanked me for my advice and before I left we took a picture together and exchanged numbers. I gave her a raffle ticket I received entering the party (because I left early) and a week later she called me and told me she won a gift basket!

My hope is that we are infectious in our intention to spread holiday cheer and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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California Dreamin’

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I know I’m a few days early but I am still glowing from a great trip to California. This was the first time I visited Cali and it definitely did not disappoint. I traveled to Oakland, San Francisco and made a guest appearance to Napa Valley and Sonoma. I had the opportunity to spend time with some great friends and made some memories that I will forever cherish. From learning how to use snapchat, to using the most interactive exhibits at the Oakland museum, to the history lesson taught during our visit to Alcatraz island.

And, how could I forget to tell you all about the coldest, most “urban” tour I’ve ever been on.  On our tour the tour guide/ bus driver pointed out her favorite store, Ross and every low income housing area in San Francisco as if they were the must see places of the tour. As we sat on the top of the bus to see the historic suites of San Fran while freezing our asses off, I said to myself, “Self, if you get sick will this have been worth it?” So I proceeded to head to the bottom of the bus where it was warmer.

Last but not least, my trip to Napa and Sonoma was the best naturally beautiful and scenic place I’ve ever been. We visited three wineries and I over indulged in 17 wine tastings. I felt so good on the way back to San Francisco that I fell asleep and snored so loud that I woke myself up, ha. Overall, California was good to me!!!!!

Please check out the pictures below which chronicle my trip and I hope it motivates you to plan a trip to Cali real soon. Until next time……

Posing like Huey Newton, Co-Founder of the Black Panther party

Black Panther Exhibit at the Oakland Museum

“All Power to the People”

Parts of the Black Panther exhibit

Powerful piece of the Black Panther Exhibit at the Oakland Museum

Programs started by the Black panthers

The end of the Blank Panther exhibit at the Oakland Museum

Taking in the artwork from the Black panther newspaper

Roseblum Cellars

Setor and Brandy at Roseblum Cellars

San Francisco skyline (parts of it)

Alcatraz island
Headed to Alcatraz island

Entrance sign at Alcatraz island
Famous Inmates at Alcatraz

Riding back to the city after our tour of Alcatraz

Views from the Golden Gate Bridge

All fog every where

Enjoying the Nobb Hill at Ghirardelli

Belly’s full after our pre dinner snack


Ghirardelli Square

Ladies at Cuvaison
Cuvaison in Carneros, Napa Valley
Cline Cellars

Me at Cline Cellars

Me at the Big Chair at Cornerstone Sonoma

Setor at Cornerstone Sonoma
Brandy at the Big Chair

All of Us

Monikka smelling the Lemons
Christi at Sunset

Painted Ladies

Views near the Golden Gate Bridge

Save the TaTa’s

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I truly appreciate the advancements made in the research of breast cancer over the years. For most of you that don’t know, I have an aunt who passed away almost 14 years ago from breast cancer. I think about her more than I tell anyone because she was my favorite aunt.  She was feisty, unapologetically outspoken and carefree. Growing up, she knew I was a sneaky teenager who nine times out of ten was up to no good. But it was cool because I always respected her even when she was fussing and cussing me out.

My aunt taught me a lot through her actions. And even though we rarely saw eye to eye when I was growing up I miss her more than anyone will ever know. She was always encouraging me, especially when I decided to go to college in Waco, Texas. When she died, my heart was heavy and literally hurt for months. But I know her spirit lives on in me because people tell me all the time, I remind them of her.

And so, when I went to the doctor a few months ago and was asked to take an ultrasound and mammogram at the age of 35, I thought for a split second that history was repeating itself.  In case you don’t know, I don’t scare easily so I wasn’t nervous. I was concerned and felt I needed to know as soon as possible the status of my health immediately. When I thought about having to do a mammogram and the pain associated with it, pain paled in comparison to waiting to find out I had a diagnosis which could have been discovered sooner.  So I anxiously took the mammogram first of both breasts and after receiving results the same day, I was informed I only had to do an ultrasound on my left breast.  The ultrasound result however, took a few days for me to receive.

During my waiting, my faith was unwavering and I knew that the results would be negative. So when I didn’t hear from the doctor and had to request my results, I knew that was a good sign. And surely enough, the results were negative.  I did found out I have fibrocystic breasts which are when your breasts have tissue that are lumpy in texture. With this diagnosis, I have to limit my caffeine intake, reduce my fat intake and examine my breasts in case I discover any new lumps. While I don’t do these things as regularly as I should I do know that this experience was a wake up call and it sparked a flame in me to tell my story so someone can learn from it.

I still feel sad when I hear about someone newly diagnosed. I wish there was a cure or research that could specifically determine the causes of breast cancer. Unfortunately, we haven’t reached that time yet. I will continue to hold on to the belief that one day there will be a cure. Also, I think about the women who stood up at my church when we celebrated breast cancer survivors three weeks ago and I know the God I serve is a healing God.

I want to urge women and men to self examine their breasts/chests once a month. Also, I hope that you can assist with donating to breast cancer research.  If your unable to donate monetarily,  educate others on the importance of mammograms and breast health or volunteer with an organization who works with breast cancer survivors. Be sure that I will be donating to breast cancer research because I know every donation helps and makes a difference. Until next time….

What’s new on the tube?

I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me but I was so busy thoroughly enjoying my summer. And now that it’s Fall aka it’s cuffing season aka Netflix and chill season, I’ve got some new TV shows for you to check out.

1. Queen Sugar on OWN
Queen Sugar is masterfully created by Ava DuVernay who also directed and co-wrote Selma. This drama airs on Wednesdays and while it’s about 7 episodes in, you can catch the previous episodes on the OWN app. It’s such a compelling and creative show about family and a farm that it will have you crying like I was after the first episode. My two favorite characters are siblings played by Rutina Wesley and (my new favorite dark chocolate eye candy) Kofi Siriboe who have the same parents. They have a third sibling played by Dawn Lyen Gardner who has a different mother than her siblings.

Without giving too much away, there was a tragic incident at the beginning of the season which pushes the siblings to come together regarding an investment which they know little about while trying to overcome obstacles in their own personal lives. This show is so riveting and feels so real that in every episode I see a little piece of someone I know or encountered in the past. I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss this must see TV!

2.  Atlanta on FX
Atlanta is created and written by Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino who is not only a dope artist, but he’s also one of the lead actors and the Executive Producer of the show. This comedy airs on Wednesdays and if you want to laugh out loud at how the cast portrays “Millenials” navigating through life’s challenges, then look no further. And that’s not even what the show is really about!

The premise is about a rapper named Paper Boi and his cousin who is also his manager (a college drop out) as they try to maneuver and manifest a celebrity in the Atlanta music scene. Initially, I didn’t think much of this show but I kept watching and now I’m hooked. The show is so good that it’s been renewed for a second season. So I’ll be watching and you should too!

3. Insecure on HBO

Created by Issa Rae also known for her talents as the creator of the Youtube web series Awkward Black girl. This comedy airs on Sundays and since it just started last Sunday you have plenty of time to catch up. It’s about a 29 year old African American female living with insecurities all while attempting to live her life by her standards. It’s fresh and hilariously funny.

I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the first episode because of the similarities I saw within myself (when I was that age) and my friends being played out in some of the characters. I’m looking forward to the funny plots and to see the growth of the characters and their relationships. Each episode is only a half an hour but you get just enough comedy to last you until the next one. When you check out this show, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Secrets and Lies

This show airs Sundays on ABC. While it’s not a new show and this is it’s second season, it has a new story line with different actors from the first season. Except, a detective played by Juliette Lewis who is trying to solve a homicide amidst uncovering secrets and lies in the lives of the other characters.

This drama has me trying to figure out who committed the crime even though all signs lead to the husband played by blue eyed bandit, Michael Ealy. It’s something about his mysterious character that has me thinking he’s the killer but that would be to easy so I’ll just keep watching and you should too!

5. Pitch

Pitch chronicles the obstacles which come along with being the first African American female to play in Major League Baseball. Ginny Baker played by Kylie Bunbury has to prove to her teammates, her fans and her father that she is better than everyone else in the boys club of baseball. The lead female, Ginny Baker has flashbacks which help her through challenging situations in each episode.

This drama brings inspiration and laughs with co-cast members like Mark-Paul Gosselaar aka Zack from Saved by the Bell and Mo McRae aka J Poppa from Empire. Give this show a chance Thursday nights on Fox if you are not watching TGIT on ABC.

Hope you get a chance to check out one of the shows in the near future and feel free to comment and share your thoughts below. Until next time…..