Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come On Irene

Greetings, my people. I haven't posted in a MINUTE. Forgive me. I started a new job, did some traveling, and moved to a new location!

If you're like me and not sure what to do during this 24 hr hurricane, then maybe this list of to-do's will help you out.

1. Try/Pretend to Make Babies.

Self explanatory...

2. Get on the phone!

Catch up with an old friend or two. I mean seriously, NO ONE is busy! Everyone is cloistered in their house without shit to do... so chat the night away.

3. Clean Yo' House.
This way you can get it ready for any post-Irene parties you'd like to host.

4. Spa-at-Home Day
I LOVE rain because I love water. To me, it symbolizes renewal and purity. So all of this rain really makes me want to give myself a wonderful, deep cleasning facial using my favorite Bentonite clay. I might even throw in a pedi in there!

5. Learn How to Meditate
The sound of pounding rain can provide the perfect soundtrack to an afternoon spent in meditation. I wish I could meditate better, so when I find a quiet moment I try it out. It's something that takes a lot of practice, so dont be discouraged if it doesn't feel 'right' on the first try.

What have I been doing today?
OH, you know, the usual. Made some Kraft Mac N cheese (throw a lil cayenne pepper + yumm), made some oatmeal + raisin + almond cookies* and found a bottle of red wine. YUM. OH and did I mention that 'Good Times' is on right now. Phst, grrrl I'm set!

How did you spend your Irene induced lock down?

*I found the recipe from Smitten Kitchen's site. I basically cut the ingredients in half b/c I'm just baking for myself. Oh, and I added almonds. CAUTION: If you use white instead of brown sugar then your cookies will not get brown on the top. Keep this in mind when they are baking so that you don't wait for them to brown and end up burning your cookies!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: RIP Nick Ashford

I'm sure you've all heard the news by now, and if you haven't you must be living under a rock or just reading the wrong stuff. Good thing you're reading our blog, ne?

Nick Ashford, one half of the amazing married songwriting duo of Ashford & Simpson, has passed away at the age of 70 due to complications with throat cancer. He leaves behind his wife Valerie Simpson and two children, not to mention a bevy of hits that have shaped the way many of us have grown up.
Nick Ashford had arrived in New York in the early 1960s, homeless, sleeping on a park bench, but determined to make it in the entertainment industry. He met Valerie Simpson in the choir at White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem [1]. The couple would go on to marry, but before then a songwriting partnership flourished, the pair penning hits such as Ain't No Mountain High Enough and Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, I'm Every Woman for Chaka Khan, and their own 1984 hit Solid (As a Rock). "They had magic," said Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire, "and that's what creates those wonderful hits, that magic."
I can still recall the times my father would blast Ain't No Mountain High Enough and remind me that there is nothing that would stop him from coming to help me wherever I am and whenever I need him. (Love you Daddy.)

Ashford & Simpson's songs and Motown hits have definitely helped shaped my love for soul and old school classics. My Temptations and Jackson 5 Pandora stations are definitely key and whenever Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell come on these stations I am belting out the lyrics right with them. It still breaks my heart thinking about how Marvin went downhill (in some aspects, while creating some awesome songs in) after her death.

But there was definitely magic between the two of them. Magic that created a union of music and love that would last for years. And even their own music was solid (pun intended).

Their music showcased their feelings for each other and really embodied soul. If I can find that joy with my husband I think I could be happy together forever, real talk.

I can only add to the RIPs that have been sent out to such a music pioneer. We have all been touched by his music if we have ever listened to Biggie, Beanie Sigel, Rob Base, or even Jessica Simpson. As that generation continues to get older, it saddens me to think of all the talent that will be lost. But I am grateful that their music legacy survives and continues on well after them.

Rest in Peace Nick Ashford and thank you for blessing us with such music gems.

[1] Big up to all the Baptists out there. 

When an Earthquake Hits the East Coast

Today there was an earthquake that hit Virginia, and after the big stink us east coasters made, you would have thought it was the start of World War 3. Talk about a slow news day.

I did feel the tremors of an aftershock around 2 while I was at work, though I admit that I thought it was an earthquake at the time, and did join in the office commotion. 10 minutes after the tremors our college's alarm system finally sounded, sending us outside, and 45 minutes later we got emergency text messages. Talk about a school prepared....That was sarcasm btw.

I did bask in all the facebook and twitter updates, having a particularly enjoyable one from a friend in DC who asked us Philly friends "when all the looting would start". I chuckled at that one. And I will honestly say that I didn't even think of the seriousness that could have been the situation, though I did hear regular updates from my coworkers who reported on different buildings that had had windows on their top floor shatter or other such things in Philly. I still don't know the extent of of damage in the Virginia area. I can only hope and pray for the best. Real talk, I can only thank God that my DC/Virginia family are doing okay.

That being said, this earthquake brought out the humorous side in many us or maybe it was just me finding humour in things. One particular fav moment of the earthquake was this post, that my sis lemonswithsalt sent me, which quickly became viral.  Of course it took me hours later to realize that this post was from 2010, but it was no less enjoyable and humorous. There was also this video I happened upon thanks to Huffington Post, of Torrey Smith from the Baltimore Ravens who was doing a promo in Maryland when the earthquake hit:

Maybe it's just me and because I've been sippin' but this is hilarious and it's got me tearing up from laughter everytime I watch it. Homeboy dipped out, literally.

I also admit that when my other coworker started informing me where there where other earthquakes going on, I started to think it was the end of the world, but this too I thought was humorous. I guess if I gotta go, I'm going to go out laughing.

And of course I have to go out with this:

So readers, what was your experience with the east coast earthquake? Did you even feel it? 


There are have been some days when my faith in Jesus was sorely tested. Going 7 months without any job prospects after college while trying to deal with my lack of independence while living at home, was an especially rough patch, but I always told myself to keep going on and that 2011 would be my year. In my darkest hours I even got on my knees and poured my heart out to God for guidance, strength, comfort, and motivation. And He has done exactly what I needed over and over again.

I know that I'm not the best Christian. I rarely read the Bible, don't go to church as often as I should- and when I do sometimes I'm stingy with tithes, do many things that are foolish, overindulge, am stingy and self-absorbed, often have a lousy attitude, and don't speak to God or listen to Him nowhere near as much as I'm supposed to. And I have the habit of going to Him when times are rough but not giving Him His due when I'm doing well.

Yet through it all, God has continued to bless me, comfort me, and provide for me. He has always come through. And this past weekend it took some extremely trying events happening which forced me to sit down and confront the fact that I had been living too fast and not making time for God. I realized that God had really blessed me this year, giving me two jobs, helping me get into graduate school, blessing my family many times over, and giving me many other untold blessings. And I have definitely taken them for granted.

I'm glad I am able to slow it all down and put things into perspective. I've been making a lot of moves in the right direction but also been messing around quite a bit. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life to the fullest, but I realized that I might have been enjoying some of the wrong things. I can only thank God that he put me in a difficult situation that allowed me to fall back and get myself right. In the words of TI and Kanye, sometimes you have to drive slow.

So today and everyday after that, I'm going to continue to thank God for really sitting me down and helping me remember what I need to do to improve myself and really make things happen for me.

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