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July 4, 2020

LIVE Design

This week, I will be focusing on my journey in the creative realm, my personal testimony on how I landed a gig as an in house designer, where I am currently and what I hope to do in the near future.  This post is part 3 of my 4 part design journey.

I was working at House of Blues as an Executive Secretary to the SVP of Marketing. During lunch, I’d pull out my trusty laptop and work on my creative craft. Learning. Experimenting. Playing. But I was tired and weary of dabbling in design.  I wanted a real full time job. But apparently my stint working for Mint Condition and jacking code and designing ‘cool’ graphics, didn’t account for much. Most places were even looking for educational experience in addition to many many years of work experience.  I had grown extremely weary. And decided I was done. Obviously my desire to be a designer was not my calling, even if it seemed at time to be my gift.

I prayed to God, that if it wasn’t for me to be that He would take away the desire to continue design completely. But that if it was what I was meant to do that He would make it abundantly and undeniably clear. And boy did he.

A co-worker (a designer) that had moved on from House of Blues to a new gig had apparently shared with her supervisor about me as they were hiring … FOR A DESIGNER! I received, quite unexpectedly, a call from a big wig at a company I had never heard of who was asking me a bunch of questions about my experience and what I did at HOB. Mind you none of it was really about design but that was just fine with me. Long story short, he put me in touch with the Digital Marketing Director (I don’t remember her title at the time, so don’t quote me there). I had to to a ‘panel’ interview with her, and two other people – one of which was the co-worker who had dropped my name in the hat!

Based on previous situations, I didn’t think I would get the job. However I was kinda amazed at the timing (i.e. the prayer). Lo and behold – I GOT THE JOB! I was a real true in house designer for AEG Live.  So not only did I get a dope job, but it was in the music industry!!! I was so excited. I am a firm believer that prayer works. I just had never experienced it working quite like that. But I’ll take it!

I worked for AEG Live, mostly creating banners and ecards. My very first project was for the Justin Timberlake tour. I also worked on The Rolling Stones, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson and many more.  But we also created social media images for promotion on facebook, twitter, snapchat, etc.  Simultaneously, I continued as a freelance designer creating marketing materials for branding events, design and launch of websites, pre-event promotion materials; conference materials including branding of flyers, table tops, presenter decks and more.

About 9 years in, well after the novelty of being ‘in house’ had worn off, I longed for something else but wasn’t sure that exactly. I had done a LOT of freelance stuff and felt that if I had to time to get organized better I could really make a go at it. But the thought of not having a full time job (i.e. consistent income) made that somewhat of an impossibility. I was actually growing more and more despondent at the job. My heart wasn’t there anymore. Changes had occurred and it was just different. But I was unable to make a move. I felt stuck.

Once again, the God I believe in, intervened. I got my walking papers!

Tomorrow: Ideas & Excuses | Read: Part 1 | Part 2

 

July 3, 2020

A Mint Opportunity

This week, I will be focusing on my journey in the creative realm, my personal testimony on how I landed a gig as an in house designer, where I am currently and what I hope to do in the near future.  This post is part 2 of my 4 part design journey.

The internet was booming! I happened upon a music board (iMusic) which had pages for various artists. Of course I checked to see if there was one for my favorite group ~ of course there was. This was a magical moment for me. I met some people who liked this band as much as I did. Looking back, we definitely put the ‘fanatic’ in ‘fan’. Of course, me being the extra person I am, and in this instance, by extra I mean ‘creative’, I used what I had learned by piecing together code, to create an actual website… a fan site! I scoured the internet to find all the information I could on the band and finally output a pretty decent site (for the time).

That brings back a lot of memories of some really good times. I befriended a lot of people that I still connect with today! Sniff

Anyway. I’m sure you can tell how much I love the band Mint Condition yea? So imagine how thrilled I was to learn that they had found my lil ‘fan site’ and loved it!  Apparently they had been peeping it and wondering how I obtained so much info on them. Someone from their camp reached out to me and my friend Silvia and invited us to meet the band. Say word?!  We were invited to a video shoot (a dream of mine, because… creative right? In fact, over the next several years, I attended 3 video shoots! But let me not rush.)  Somewhere in my digital files is proof of the wretched event. I call it wretched because 1) it was hotter than the butt crack of hell in that hanger, and 2) I was suuuuuuuuper star struck!!! The photo is of me and my friend Silvia with the lead singer between us.  The term ‘deer in headlights’ comes to mind. I’m glad I can’t find the photo!

Anyway. Eventually, out of appreciation for all that I had accomplished with the fan site, they asked if I’d like it to be the official fan site. Uhm – duh.  Over time, because of my work as the community manager, webmaster, graphic artist, I was asked to maintain the official website. Such an honor. Also very moral boosting.  It was just the nudge I needed!

In addition to working for the band, I also was doing a pretty decent amount of freelancing.  By now I was working at House of Blues as the Exec. Admin. For the SVP of Marketing.  But my heart was set on being an in house designer… you know, a professional.  I was always bugging the designers, but felt that with my experience wasn’t necessarily enough to get my foot in the door. I looked around a bit hoping to find something in the profession I dreamed of being a part of. But these jobs wanted to serious experience and moreso, education. My boast about being self-taught didn’t seem like such a cool thing anymore. I was ready to throw in the towel. Yet I felt like it was my destiny. It just hadn’t manifested yet. I wasn’t sure what God’s intention was here… but I was super frustrated. Maybe this was indeed it for me in the design world.

Tomorrow: LIVE Design | Read Part 1: Always Creative

When you look back over your lifetime, can you identify moments that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but turned out to be pivotal?

July 1, 2020

Always Creative

This week, I will be focusing on my journey in the creative realm, my personal testimony on how I landed a gig as an in house designer, where I am currently and what I hope to do in the near future.  This post is part 1 of my 4 part design journey.

I honestly don’t remember a time where I wasn’t doing something creative. My favorite classes in school were English (reading creative) and drama (acting is creative). I’ve always loved drawing, painting, even singing. In every office job I’ve ever had, I have incorporated my love for creating. Early career was in the fashion industry. Ironically enough, I wanted to be a fashion designer but that dream never took flight. But, I did work retail for many years. I loved merchandising (creating looks).

Eventually though, I ended up working in an office setting. First job was working in the management office of the Fox Hills Mall. My creative endeavors included making flyers and other digitally produced and hand manipulated items like brochures, bookmarks, etc.. At that time, this was known as ‘desktop publishing’. (Yes – I do believe I just dated myself). At some point I dabbled in gift basket creation as well. That makes me chuckle looking back.

Around this time, the internet was getting increasingly popular. Sheesh I sound old. Since my husband was (and is) an IT nerd, we always seemed to have a computer around. I thought myself how to code by looking at the source code of websites I liked then manipulating various aspects. It was fun and came pretty easy. I enhanced my created website with custom designed headers and images. I was very heavily into glamming up my BlackPlanet page and those of my friends.  Those were the days!

I had gotten pretty good actually. I didn’t realize it then, and it feels funny to say so now. But looking back over it all, I can see how this part of my design journey was actually pretty incredible. I was 100% self taught and had found my way without any training whatsoever.

I landed a job at L.A. Care Health Plan. Initially I worked in Human Resources but eventually made my way to Marketing. At that time, I had a boss who allowed me to be a part of the creation of marketing materials, and a teammate, who was a full time designer, that was willing to show me how to use actual design apps. At that time, it was Photoshop galore. I was heavily on the internet and eventually created a fan page for my favorite band ~ Mint Condition.  I was creating digital graphics galore for this pet project. I had forged a ‘bulletin board’ where other fans and I would discuss our undying love for this band… LOL!!!! It was a lot of fun.

Many of these things I did rather instinctively and for fun back then are legitimate paying jobs for folks these days. There are community managers, social media marketers, etc. And I was just having fun.  Until I got my first opportunity of a lifetime!

Tomorrow: A Mint Opportunity

Looking back over your lifetime, what were some early passions that followed you all throughout your life thus far?

May 4, 2020

May 4 – 10: Mommyhood

Happy Monday!

Well… this week ends with Mother’s Day. So. It’s gonna begin with it too! LOL. It doesn’t help that there is a huge box from San Antonio Winery sitting here that I have been forbidden to open until the actual day.  I wonder what’s in it?! *wink*

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Honestly. My three most favorite people in the world are my kids. They are all grown and gone out of the nest living their lives, but I tell you. Mommy’ing don’t stop.  It evolves. It’s a weird stage for sure.  I always wondered what they’d be like when they grew up.  Now I know.  More on that on Tuesday in the blog.

SONG OF THE WEEK

When trying to think of a great song to launch the week, I honestly was having problem. I settled on ‘Mama Used To Say’ by Junior, even though initially I didn’t want it. I wanted something more heartfelt. But when I actually listened to the lyrics I realized it was perfect. Moms give loving wisdom as only a mom can. So many times, even my husband can be heard saying ‘my mom always said…’.

Anyway. More on that later.  For now ~ Have a fantastic week. Stay safe and stay home!

April 3, 2020

Silver Linings

For weeks, especially in the last few days, I’ve been consumed with the pandemic. As a christian, I know that I should choose ‘faith over fear’ and I’m well aware of Who is in control. But as I admitted on a recent post on Facebook – I’m scared!  I’m 51 and I have some preexisting conditions that add me to the vulnerable group. Typically, I’m able to relax my mind and come away from delveing too deeply into the rabitt hole of ‘what if’s’.  But at the core, I’m still afraid. I don’t want to write a dismal post at all, and while digging myself out of rabbit holes mentioned above, I have been able to find some positivity throughout this situation. But I struggle with mentioning them because I don’t want to belittle the enormity of what is going on. Especially with so many people leaving this earth.

Podcast Perspective

This morning, I listened to the Woman Evolve podcast from Sarah Jakes Roberts (shoutout to Rochanda Holman for the recommendation).  I love it!  It’s funny. It’s sassy. It’s Christian leaning. It’s woman empowering.  It’s a lot of fun.  The current episode entitled ‘Silver Lining’ really struck a chord.  She spoke of how when it’s cloudy and the sun hit’s the clouds just the right way you see a beautiful silver lining. The beautiful silver lining does not mean that the clouds are not still around… but it proves the sun is there as well, because it’s reflecting off of the clouds and creating the silver lining.  This made me realize that it is ok to look for, find, and focus on potential positives while still respecting the tragedies occurring.

So… here are a few things I consider to be silver linings during these very trying times.

5 Silver Linings

  1. I have been going to therapy for years. On my latest session I shared with my therapist that everything we had been talking about and working through suddenly do not seem important. Most of which were a big deal because I made them such. And now I choose  to reframe situations, refocus energies and just receive the blessings of my life as it it today.
  2. After moving into our home roughly two years ago, but still having to commute to our jobs in LA everyday, both my husband and I have remarked how we wished we were able to spend more time at, and enjoying our home… weekends just didn’t seem like enough time!  Well. Now we are spending a lot of time at home. I go into my office (where I am alone pretty much) twice a week and my husband (whose work is considered essential) goes into his office bi-weekly.  So… yea. Wish granted!  Not optimally but… that’s what it is.
  3. As I said above, many things just do NOT seem that important anymore. And with lots of free time (including a 3 hour reduction of my 5 hour commute), I’m now free to focus on what is important.  And that is my relationship with God. Now is the time to pursue meditation, and yoga, and read all the millions of books I’ve collected (digitally and physically). Plus a lot of Netflix 😉
  4. Clearly, there are many many jobs that could have been done at a home office. Many companies denied the productivity of this work style but are now forced to do it regardless. Now they will see what many of us have learned in the trenches. Fact is, as a designer, I’ve worked much harder at home and gotten more done there as opposed to working in the office.
  5. Over the last week alone I have reached out and reconnected with people I haven’t talked to in quite some time.  Just felt like having a few words with people who I appreciate but don’t often speak to. I love how it almost always feels like old times, like we never trailed off.

So. During this very hard time in life, what silver linings are you finding?

April 2, 2020

Sign O’ The Times

During this time of sadness and fear, the need to share pertinent information to the masses is extremely important. Everyday, I watch a press conference from the President, the Governor and the Mayor of Los Angeles County to learn the latest surrounding the pandemic. (I will be cutting back on this Coronavirus consumption in the coming days because it’s just too much!).  Aside. I have grown quite fascinated with an activity that occurs during the entirety of each press conference.  It’s actually been an interest for sometime, but I definitely see how important it is at this time.

Up For Interpretation

I remember when, many years ago, at the Nelson Mandela memorial, massive attention was given to the interpreter who had stood next to many presenters (including President Obama), translating what they were saying. People began calling into news outlets stating the man was not factually interpreting anything. In fact, he continued to make the same hand gestures over and over staring stoically into the audience.  Turns out he was a fraud.  Which begs a LOT of questions but that isn’t where we are heading today.

Twista Fingas

Then, one of the fastest tongue’s in the rap arena, Twista, incorporated an ASL Interpreter in his show. So unique! But as it turns out, it wasn’t the first time Galloway Gallego had rapped in sign language. But what was unique about it was the speed with which she had to translate with Twista, all while dancing along to the music.

 

Expressive Language

But most recently, I have fallin’ in love with Rorri Burton! Sis is brown skin, like me; Thick, like me; And so animated, yes… like me LOL. But she is doing so in front of millions, conveying info on the most important topic in this world right now, with all of the expression necessary to convey the seriousness of it all.  She is one of a few who I’ve grown to look forward to and find myself drawn to during the press conferences.  But she is definitely my favorite.

I had begun to wonder if the theatrics during the sign language interpreting were by design. My friend Marlene, who I had forgotten used to do sign language during worship at a previous church, confirmed that it is!  Wikipedia says:

American Sign Language (ASL) is a language that uses signs, facial expressions, and body postures to communicate ideas. ASL is a rich, complex language on par with spoken languages, and employs rules of phonologysyntaxmorphology, etc. using manual/visual modes of communication, where spoken languages rely on the oral/aural modes of communication. ASL is used by deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the North American continent, often as their primary language.[1]

So what I thought was just the interpreters being (sometimes) hilariously extra, is actually them doing their job and doing it well.  My friend Marlene said “… the facial expressions is essential part of the Language. It’s the grammar.”  I totally get that. And I will continue to enjoy the wonderful method of communication. Or, perhaps this will get added to my bucket list…?

 

 Title play comes from ‘Sign O’ The Times’ by the late great Prince!

April 1, 2020

Something To Blog About

Everyday as I drive to and fro work I’m thinking of this and that, which ends with “I should blog about that!”. I’m watching a movie, listening to a podcast, reading a book and something resonates deeply. I think “I should blog about that!”.  I have therapy, a great conversation with a friend or my husband or my boss or a stranger. I think “I should blog about that”. I’m cooking dinner, cleaning the house, drawing, reading, trying something new and I think “I should blog about this!”.  I see other blogs on topics I like and feel I could speak about.  I join challenges. I make schedules, all in preparation of blogging.  I sit at my desk and create a healthy list of ideas. Assign dates, choose quotes and images in some cases.  I’m ready to blog!

I sit in front of my computer… at my desk; in a recliner chair; outside with my iPad. I’m ready to go. And I sit.  And I sit. Staring at a blank screen!  Not always a blank screen. I have about 2 dozen started posts that simply need fleshing out. I am, by all accounts, ready to roll… and yet ~ I feel I still need something to blog about!!!!

That said.

I have joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  And for the next 30 days I am committed to blogging.  That’s the what.  But what, pray tell, is they why?  Why do I want to blog?

For one thing, I really want to write better. I want to think of an idea, flesh it out… dress it up and rock the readers (which may well only be me LOL).  I also want to spend less time wandering social media aimlessly but instead putting out some content that matters to me and hopefully others.

So.  There is the what. There is they why. And this is my first post for the challenge. Here we go…

In case you are unfamiliar with the Bonnie Raitt song my title plays off…

March 25, 2020

Faith over …

I’ve been an introvert all of my life.  Although growing up, I never really knew there was an actual name for it. And the term, when used, always seemed to have a negative connotation.  Fortunately things have changed dramatically. And being an introvert is acceptable and claimed by many.

When Coronavirus began to dictate social distancing and more importantly, staying at home, the latter didn’t seem like the worst thing to me. I came to learn though, that wanting to stay home and being made to stay home feel very different. My husband, although he loves this house, is an extrovert. He thrives on interacting with people. And as bomb as I am, sometimes I’m not enough. So the stay at home mandate is a lil more tortuous for him.

I’ve been trying to ween myself off of too much live TV (especially the dreaded press conferences), and even social media (where one day the first 5 posts were about people dying from COVID-19); dealing with the reality whenever I have to brave going outside (looking for non existent TP; which I need and am not trying to hoard); the empty freeways (which have wonderfully cut my commute from 5 hours to 2; which I love but also hate, because it signifies all of the people who not only can’t go to work but have been laid off)…. It’s just all a lot. A. LOT.

And then it hit me. I feel scared. When my son got a respiratory infection right at the beginning of this devastating virus setting in. When my husband goes to work in a hospital setting every day. When I go out in the public. When I forget to NOT touch my face, or allergies cause me to instinctively touch around my eyes. When my kids are miles upon miles away, and even though they are adults I just want them home! When members of my church, especially the seniors, share that they feel isolated because they can’t do the very things they look forward to weekly – bible study and church. When I’m afraid to visit my MIL because what if I’m carrying the virus?

And to make matters worse, I see many of my brothers and sisters in Christ braving this situation far better than I. I feel like my faith is failing because of all the things I said above.  Because I’m having a hard time thinking and planning for the future because it seems so bleak right now. Because two weeks ago, while the president made it seem like this was just a horrible flu, today it is abundantly clear that this is more devastating. Life is just different right now. But I dare not express that lest I be met with responses like “God is in control”, whichI know… “Faith over Fear”. Various bible versus. Various put downs (at least that what it feels like). I didn’t realize how hard it was all weighing on me.

Then… My friend posted this on Facebook. And I found myself crying hysterically by the third line.

Me: Ok Lord, here’s the thing. I’m scared. I’m trying not to be, but I am.

God: I know. Want to talk about it?

Me: Do we need to? I mean, You already know.

God: Let’s talk about it anyway… We’ve done this before.

Me: I know, I just feel like I should be bigger or stronger or something by now.

God: *waiting patiently, unhurried, undistracted, never annoyed.

Me: Okay. So, I’m afraid I’ll do everything I can to protect my family and it won’t be enough. I’m afraid of someone I love dying. I’m afraid the world won’t go back to what it was before. I’m afraid my life is always going to feel a little bit unsettled.

God: Anything else?

Me: EVERYTHING ELSE.

God: Remember how your son woke up the other night and came running down the hall to your bedroom?

Me: Yes.

God: You were still awake, so when you heard him running, you started calling out to him before he even got to you… remember? Do you remember what you called out to him?

Me: I said, “You’re okay! You’re okay! You’re okay! I’m here.”

God: Why did you call to him? Why didn’t you just wait for him to get to your room?

Me: Because I wanted him to know that I was awake, and I heard him, and he didn’t have to be afraid until he reached the end of the dark hallway.

God: Exactly. I hear you, My child. I hear your thoughts racing like feet down the dark hallway. There’s another side to all of this. I’m there already. I’ve seen the end of it. And I want you to know right here as you walk through it all, you’re okay. I haven’t gone to sleep, and I won’t.

Me: *crying. Can we sit together awhile? Can we just sit here a minute before I go back to facing it all?

God: There’s nothing I’d love more.

(Copied and comforted)

I am reminded, that being a christian doesn’t make me perfect. I am human, and my fear is a human experience. And I’m done with letting people shame me for feeling the way I feel. That post made me cry. Hard. Ugly. Long overdue. But it also made me remember Who I serve. He knows I weak and He is still there for me.

March 23, 2020

March 23 – 29: DaRona

Happy Monday!

Well. Wow. We are quarantining.  In the year of our Lord Twenty Twenty.  We are isolating and working from home and not touching people and wearing masks and hoarding.  But. It can also be a time for us to have some me time, introspection, being with the very few that really matter.  For now, we just gotta do things differently.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Thinking of things that can be accomplished whilst hunkering down. What used to be 100% audiobook time, can now be converted to actual reading. All the shows, movies that were in que to watch someday… the time is now! And with the ability to now watch with others (a la Netflix Party). Those business ideas I’ve put off for weeks (or a decade) can now be pursued. And.  I can blog… consistently…

Of course I can also spend a lot of quality time with hubs. And we can get some things done around the house too.  I’ll stick to the positives and leave this be for now. LOL

SONG OF THE WEEK

Introspection… yes. This weeks song “Find Your Way Back” by Beyonce is what 51 Going On 15 is all about. I’m definitely still midlife struggling.

Have a fantastic week. Stay safe and stay home!

March 3, 2020

Commuter Chronicles: Spotify Playlists

I am a commuter.  I mean, I am a super commuter.  5 hours round trip, 4 times a week.  The only thing that keeps me sane is music, audiobooks, and podcasts.

I typically start with a chapter of a book, but sometimes, especially depending on the reader, that get’s old QUICKLY!  Podcasts are a great alternative as they are often interview format or at least have more than one voice chiming in. There are several platforms to listen to Podcasts on. My favorite is Spotify.  One issue I have with Spotify though, is I have found myself wishing I could change the order in which the podcasts are played.  I often download them randomly, according to the time the creator pushes them out, or as I happen to find them.  I do not, however always want to listen to them in that order.  Since I am driving, I shouldn’t be fiddling around with my phone so… I’m stuck listening to selections in whatever order it’s served up.

Then, I noticed they offer a curated playlist called ‘Your Daily Drive’, which compiles news podcasts and music. Very cool.  Except, I’m not typically wanting to listen to news and current events. I get enough of that elsewhere.  Plus, I didn’t necessarily want to hear the music selections on the list (looks to be from songs I’ve ‘liked’), nor was I excited about the news outlet choices.

But then!  I was downloading some podcasts in preparation for my commute and for some reason hit the “…” in the upper right hand corer.  Mind you I have done so before to download or to share an episode.  But this time, I saw ‘Add to Playlist’.  WHAT?!  I dunno when that came to be because I’m sure I looked for this before… but there it was!  I knew that when songs are in a playlist, I could order them the way I wanted them. I excitedly expected I could do the same with podcasts in a playlist. Even better, I was thrilled to learn that I could also put music selections with the podcasts, thereby creating the perfect commute playlist!!!!! Two actually!

My morning playlist features inspirational and uplifting music (like Mary Mary,  Kirk Franklin, India Arie) coupled with podcasts like Woman Evolve w/Sarah Jakes Roberts, Elevation w/Steven Furtick, On Purpose w/ Jay Shetty … you see what I’m doing here? This is stuff that puts me in a positive frame of mind in preperation for the day.  It’s also an optimal time for business related podcasts like Christy Wright’s Business Boutique.

My evening playlist features music with a lil more bass (laughing). Typically R&B (like H.E.R.), or old school (like RFTW or The Time) and when I need the big guns (when traffic is relentless and/or I am sleepy) I kick in some hip hop (a la Kendrick Lamar).  My podcast tastes differ in the evening as well.  I love the hilarity of Righteous & Ratchet and the realness of The Love Hour and other marriage podcasts like The Naked Marriage.

So as you can imagine, this lil find, being able to put podcasts in playlists with music selections, and even better, in my desired order, is life (read: commute) changing!  If you have any tricks, do share!  I’ll be posting about my favorite podcasts soon, although I put much more in this post than I had originally planned too. La Vie!

March 2, 2020

March 02 – 08

Happy Monday friends!

For whatever reason, and despite the fact that ‘Valentine’sDay’ is behind us, I’m feelin’ in a mood of love today!  Not the goopy love – although I love that stuff *wink*; not love for others – although that is important; not love for things or the like.  But love for the Lord and love for myself.  So. Here’s to a week filled with love!

Quote for the week

Song for the week

February 12, 2020

My Bucket List

I’ve never been a fan of the term ‘bucket list’.  I think, perhaps, it leads me to believe that I’m on the course to death.  I mean. I know I am; We all are. But I just prefer not to think about it.  Interestingly enough, something happened when I turned 50. All of a sudden I felt like time was running out. Like I hadn’t done enough in the years I’d been blessed with. My therapist asked ‘what is it you think you are missing out on doing’.  I couldn’t say. Thus begun my quest to identify and create my bucket list.

Originally, I was trying to think of some other name to call it.  As I said, I don’t want to be thinking about kicking the bucket… not at all.  But eventually I gave up that quest.  It is what it is.  The bottom line is, there are some things I want to experience before leaving this earth.  Before kicking said bucket.

A lot of these things are not even that big of a deal really. But they are things that I have purposely put off doing, waiting for that special day.  When I’ve lost 100 lbs… when my kids are grown… when i have more money… you name it, I’ve found a reason NOT to do it.  After putting things off for so many years, I actually have forgotten what makes me excited.  What is it like to do what I want to do.  In fact, when I’m asked that question (and I have been many times, and have even asked myself), I have not one answer!

I had no idea where to even begin.  After doing a lil research, I came up with 10 categories I’m interested in. They are:

  1. Travel
  2. Adventure
  3. New Things
  4. Family
  5. Community
  6. Financial
  7. Life Goals
  8. Physical
  9. Lucky
  10. Random

From there I was finally able to think of some things I’d like to do. And I am really looking forward to checking some things off of this list.  Better believe I’ll be blogging about them!

If you’d like to see my list, a work in progress ~ come check it out here, or by clicking ‘bucket list’ in the navigation..

Do you have a bucket list?  What kinds of things are on yours?

February 11, 2020

February Book: Mating In Captivity
by Esther Perel

So I’m kinda losing my junk over Esther Perel right now. This woman is so well educated and in tune with humans in relationships. It’s very fascinating to say the least. I’ve been knee deep in her Ted Talks, Podcasts and now I’ve downloaded her (audio) book “Mating In Captivity”.  I’ve only just started the book but if it’s anything like the rest of her work, which I’m sure it is, it’s going to be phenomenal.

What made me want to get this book?

I’m very much into relationships and marriage. Marriage is very complicated – trust me LOL. Esther, in her podcast “Where Should We Begin” (and even “How’s Work“) she promptly identifies what is going on at the root of the marriages and relationships she is counseling on.  She is compelling and highly insightful. On a personal level, listening to her content has made me do a lot of introspection and see some changes that need to be made in my own life.  So again… I expect nothing less from this book!

January 31, 2020

24Ever

Sunday morning I’m tooling around the house after chit chatting with the neighbors across the street. My hubby had returned to doing his yard work. My phone bings and alerts me to a new message.  It’s from my youngest son to all five of us in our family chat.  He asked had we heard any rumor that Kobe Bryant had died. My first thought was that this definitely had to be a mistake. He is, after all, Kobe Bean Bryant. He has everything.  How could he die?

So. I’m embarrassed to say that my first resource was Facebook. Surely ‘facebook’ would put this nonsense to rest right?  Instead I found post after post about Kobe going down in a helicopter crash. It was originally reported by TMZ. And I hate to say it, but TMZ is usually right.  Also, other outlets were quoting TMZ so they too recognized their superior means for obtaining fresh news. (I didn’t know how fresh that news was until later when it was reported that the family hadn’t even been notified!!!! Disgusting).

Things got worse when it was reported that his daughter Gianna was also on the ‘copter with 7 other passengers. Precious Lord.  That morning, when they woke up, not one person knew their life would not make it through the day. Apparently Kobe had gone to worship early and would then join his wife at Gianna’s game. My heart aches. His wife (Vanessa), his daughters, his daughters team, her teammates, spouses… so many people affected by the tragic events.

I was stunned when I first heard of it and for hours later. But my breaking point was when a friend posted (something like) “Gigi died looking into her fathers eyes”. I thought of a frightened 13 year old looking to her dad, her most favorite person in the world. I imagined a dad, who wanted nothing more than to protect his baby girl. And their lives ending in a moment. I lost it and sobbed.  (Mind you, there are absolutely no details on what transpired and brought the helicopter down.)

It’s been a couple of days.  And people are grieving hard.  All over the world people are feeling tremendous sorrow at the loss of this beloved Laker.  Basketball teams are retiring #24. I believe even teams outside of the NBA are. The Lakers cancelled their game against the Clippers (both LA teams are reportedly struggling at the loss). People are sharing their personal Kobe stories. I saw the blimp with ‘RIP Kobe’; I’ve seen city busses with same.  I’ve seen purple and gold lighting on buildings both locally and in other cities across the US via posts on social media and the news.  Everyone is feeling it.

As with any death, I am reminded how precious life it. I think I often take it for granted that I, or my loved ones will be here for more than this moment.  It is at times like this I believe God is reminding me that this is not the case. Tomorrow is not promised. Shoot – the rest of the day isn’t promised! All we have is this very moment.

I created this ’24Ever’ image because Kobe created quite a legacy. Not just because of his stellar athletic skills.  But his work ethic is unlike anyone else’s. His bar is so high.  He has done so much in his 41 years. More than many of us will ever know. I applaud the life he lived and the legacy he leaves. And I’m inspired to do better.  To be better. Many are. And that is a life well-lived.

December 7, 2019

The battle of the bulge.

This was originally posted as a rant on FB. I dunno why I didn’t post this on my blog to begin with?! I received comments from a lot of folks felling the same way.  I’m glad I am not alone.  I got one negative (indirect) response – but i’m not gonna give any more commentary/thought to that.

Anywho… what I had said was:

My battle with the (increasing) bulge makes me tired. I make me tired. Nothing works. WW. Noom. Keto. Etc. Everything works. WW. Noom. Keto. Etc. The problem isn’t the ‘thing’. The problem…? It’s me! It’s my stinkin’ thinkin’. Literally!

Peep my day…

  • Upon waking: I will do better with my eating and movement and water intake today! Yea! Let’s get it!
  • As I continue laying in bed dreading getting out from under the warm covers: what will I eat for breakfast. And lunch. And snacks. 🙄
  • As I brush my teeth: today is definitely a soup day. I have some WW no points soup in the freezer. SCORE!
  • As I pack my lunch: I should use this leftover chicken breast in the soup. Oh. And maybe some rice. Or noodles. 🙄
  • As I head for the door: did I put cheese sticks along with some nuts in my lunch bag? I should take these 1 pt crackers. With. Jalapeño Chicken Salad (which I have zero idea what wretched ingredients are in that, but it tastes delicious so…)
  • As I’m driving: I should go to the gym after work. Glad I have workout junk in the (literal) trunk.
  • As I sit in traffic: I should stop and get a breakfast burrito. I didn’t think abt what to do about breakfast. Plus I will be working out later so… (I almost never get it. But I think about it).
  • As I continue to sit in traffic: this coffee is not that good. I should stop at Starbucks. I could also get a breakfast sandwich. (I almost never do it. But I think about it).
  • As I continue to sit in traffic: I should go to the gym during my lunch hour and get it out of the way. But then I’ll be stinky and sweaty. (As if I’m doing enough to be stinky and sweaty afterward).
  • As I get to work: I will eat this banana and drink this water and behave. Yes! Ima do this!
  • A few hours into work: I should go grab XXX for lunch instead of this soup. It will prob taste funny after being frozen anyway.
  • Lunchtime: I don’t want to drive anymore than I have to (excuse to not go to gym during lunch but also stopped me from getting bad food).
  • A few hours after lunch: I’m too tired to go to the gym after work. But ima push through and go! Yes! Slay sis. (Yes I fall myself sis. Sometimes Queen too.)
  • About two hours before I am off work: I should stop at XX and get something (read: bad food) for my boring drive home. (Note: I ALWAYS have an apple in my lunch bag and do not need to get anything!)
  • About an hour before getting off work (when I usually put on gym clothes to increase my chances of actually going): … I can just go tomorrow. I’m tired. It’s cold. It’s sunny. It’s raining. I’m black.
  • Heading to the door after work: ima go (to the gym). I will just dress there.
  • In the car bumping my workout playlist to get hype: YEA! I got this! I’m going dude! Get movin Queen!!!
  • About an hour into my commute when I am narrowly exiting the city of angels: 🤬
  • As I pass the exit to my gym: I tired. And frustrated (with traffic) and just wanna go home! I will go tomorrow. (TOMORROW NEVER COMES!!!)
  • As I near my house: text from hubby “I’m stopping at the gym”. Show off! 🙄 he makes me sick (not really. He inspires me. Just not enough to actually make it to the gym!)
  • As I enter my house: I should just change and go. Yea. Ima do that.
  • As I look at the top of the stairs from the bottom of the stairs: duuuuude. I am so tired. I will go tomorrow. (TOMORROW NEVER COMES!!!)
  • Chillin at home: picking random stuff out of the fridge and pantry and tossing it in my mouth without a care. Mind you I am not supposed to be eating after 6pm. But this “one thing” won’t hurt. (I say the ones thing’ comment prob 6x). 🙄
  • Bed time. I’m wide awake. And amazingly not tired: YAY! Martin is on for several hours!!! But no. I should go to bed. But first. Let me get in this one game of solitaire since ppl are being slow on Words With Friends. (I end up going to bed super late considering I get up at 4:30am).
  • Next morning: REPEAT!

Im being funny. But this ain’t funny. At all. I have got to get off this ridiculous cycle. I’m only slightly exaggerating the sequence events (borderline not exaggerating at all). And I’m not fixing my mouth to say ‘in 2020’ nothing! Because this needs attention TODAY!!! And there is nothing to do but to do it. I need more water. I need to eat like my life depends on it (cause … IT DOES). And I need to be active! It’s not rocket science.

Anyway. Grr. I’m in a mood. Lol. (I’m always saying I have nothing to blog about and then I write this long crazy screenplay thesis smh). I’m grouchy. But. Ima lick this nonsense!

September 30, 2019

/UN/compromising

I just finished watching episode 18 of season 2 of GrownIsh, wherein several of the young ladies came to realize that they are compromising in their relationships. Word?! Oddly this was super refreshing to me. As a 51 year old woman, I honestly felt as if this was something specific to my generation. Apparently not. This show is focused on millennials…. shoot, maybe even younger than millennials! Anyway ~ I love it.

Looking back, I’m not quite sure where this began for me… the inclination to choose the needs/desires of others over myself, but I am knee deep in it. I’m actually was made aware of it roughly a year ago in therapy. And honestly, it’s still something I’m struggling with and working on. In fact, I was doing pretty ok for a while but amid life changes had begun to regress. Clearly there is a lot of work still to be done. This show (which originally aired months ago) was a reminder of that work.

And then episode 19 began. Kind of a continuation of 18. And I’m a bit floored that women, regardless of age, are quite plagued by this need to cater to their other half, be it boyfriend, husband or girlfriend, often putting our own desires aside and catering to theirs.

Coincidentally, I am listening to the book “The Dance of Intimacy“. I first learned of it while listening to the podcast Therapy for Black Girls w/Dr. Joy. Episode 125 “Maintaining Freedom While In Relationships” is right on topic. (Perhaps this is not of coincidence at all! I hear you Lord.) Dr. Joy’s guest was Dr. Maria Dominguez, LMFT who recommended the book. I listened to the book sample and was sold!

Now off the bat, I was like ‘was this book written in 1966?!’. But this just added to my shocking revelation that this situation is not just one of my age category, nor the one just prior, nor the one right after. In the sample, the author Harriet Lerner mentioned something about how ‘tending to relationships’ is ‘women’s work’. Say word?! She went on to explore it a bit in the sample, but one line stuck out to me: ‘Men must BE somebody, women must FIND somebody’… this is what we are taught. And this seemingly is what we embody when doing for others at the expense of ourselves. Because once we find that somebody, we often hold on to them!

I’m still listening to the book and will probably have more to say about it in blogs to come. But for now I’m gonna just trip on this uncanny connection between generations.

September 16, 2019

Mind, Body & Soul…
my first facial experience.

Several months ago my sweet friend Melanie gifted me a certificate for a facial. I was so excited. Yet, I held onto it for a special occasion (I’m weird like that), and as fate would have it – this special occasion arrived: my 51st birthday!

There were a few lil issues leading up to the appointment but I have chosen to focus on the positives.  The experience was great! The music and scents were so relaxing. The room was dark and the table was comfortable. Her touch was so soft and gentle. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep several times during the process (which she had informed me might happen). One moment though, she was taking care of a pimple … and … OUCH!  But I appreciated it cause hey ~ she was giving me sexy face!

At the end, she asked how my skin felt. I didn’t really know how to describe it (until I sat down to write this blog review). She asked if it felt clean – it did!!! It feels supple. It feels soft. It feels hydrated. It feels sexy! I feel sexy!

So. Beauty Never Expires won a ‘Best of Riverside’ award which is major! And I see why. She did a wonderful job. She’s a beautiful lady and her skin is definitely a testimony of her skin care abilities.

Now. Aside from the wonderful facial experience (body), I also had a lot of time for some introspection while lying on the table. First and foremost: I have got to treat myself to stuff like this more regularly. Secondly, I have got to recreate the ambiance of that office! It was so peaceful! I left there feeling like I got much more than a refreshed face (mind). Also, sis was bout business. There were some lil issues leading up to the appointment that had me, as a client slightly put off. But rather than pitch a hissy fit, I showed grace (spirit). She came in, and got straight down to business and did a wonderful job. I definitely plan to go back.

August 30, 2019

Jon B Concert

Jon. B is the  crush of my young adult years. Suuuuch a cutie, with a beautiful voice and most of all, he loves black women.  *Cool points!* .

Jon has eluded me for quite some time. His concerts never seemed to be in the area and were typically rather out of the way. So when the magical opportunity to see him live and in person presented itself – I was all over it!

Kind of.

I literally only bought my ticket 2 days before the event and then only after I determined God wanted me to go because every time I refreshed the purchase screen, the seat I was eyeing was STILL available. God. So. I finally hit ‘Purchase’ and it’s a done deal!

Now you may have noticed I said ticket (singular) and not tickets (plural). It was not a typo. I went to the concert solo. You see. My husband said he would go, if I wanted him to, which loosely translates into ‘Heck no I don’t wanna go, but I will if it’ll keep you from pouting’.  Little did he know, I didn’t really want him to go.  Not that I didn’t want to be with him, I love hanging with him. But I also know that he can care less about Jon B.  Plus we had a situation regarding the other time I saw Jon B.  (I guess I lied about not seeing him… one day I will have to rehash that story but for now, just go along with me on this being my first actual Jon B. show).  The thing is, although I would be alone, I would be free to focus on the event and not sweat the discomfort and displeasure of my beloved (like last time *sigh*)

So I make it to the venue relatively early, which is magical traveling a distance in Friday night traffic.  Outside of the venue I hear someone call my name. It was my friend Nakita!  She was in attendance with some of her girlfriends.  Would have been cool to hang with them, but I had purchased a seat in a different area. And let me tell you HOW AMAZING MY SEAT WAS!!!!  I was LITERALLY 5 chairs from the stage!!!

August 5, 2019

Neighborly

So we are going on a year in our new home (I guess new and year don’t really go together do they?) and we finally made out way over to our neighbors (who have been inviting us over since we moved in). They were the first to speak to us, literally the day we moved in, and told us how happy they were to have us in the neighborhood. We immediately exchanged numbers, which we text from time to time mostly, and keep an eye on each others property when deemed necessary. LOL

It’s not the first time we’ve had neighbors. It is, however, the first time we’ve been this neighborly. I guess in a way we are really settling in. This ‘visit’ was actually brought on by the fact that Mike, just had knee surgery and we wanted to check on him. It became a good reason to go kick it for a few hours.

Lori and Mike shared with us about the neighborhood (Lori has been here since the being ~ 1989) and community problems, opinions on what is wrong… etc. Lots of laughter and just a great time. They showed us their backyard, which we’ve eyeballed many times from our own, but it was nice to see it up close and personal. They have offered us to take a dip in their pool any time we like, which I’m sure we will take advantage of some day.

It feels really nice to call this place home and to have some great new neighbors.