Saturday, April 30, 2011



Amazon Deal--Sade The Ultimate Collection

  My aunt called me this afternoon to ask about Sade's 2 Disc CD. She found a GREAT deal on When she first asked if it was $9.99 for real, I thought she was talking about the collective MP3 file. Then, I went on the page myself as I talked to her on the phone. This was no joke, no MP3. As a matter of fact, the MP3 files cost MORE! (obviously, because there's 29 songs, haha.) I was shocked. How was Amazon doing this for an album that wasn't even out yet? I'd forgotten they do all kinds of great deals like that for Pre-Orders. This is exactly how I got my hands on Advent Children (remember the hype of that DVD?) weeks before it came out. This is why you really have to pay attention to're always slipping some kind of deal in, somewhere. If you go anywhere else to get this CD, you might be paying 25 to 30 dollars (with shipping and handling) for something you could have simply been paying 12 bucks (that's basically how much I paid for it with shipping, handling, and the online tax.) for. Below are some screen shots of the page itself, the offer, and how the offer is able to be made to the customer. (Both pictures have been re-sized. Click to see the fuller size.)

   This is a great deal, but time is really short. So if you love Sade, a good bargain, and are on THIS CD WHILE IT'S HOT! This deal may end before you know it. Right now, it's still $9.99.

Friday, April 29, 2011

More Lovely Flowers

  We've been having heavy rains here for the past few days. They've finally stopped with a lovely outcome, MORE FLOWERS! I'm seeing Tulips, wild White Daisies, and I think there's a Purple Violet in the bunch. I love this time of year.

A lovely Red Tulip.
Amazing White Daisies.

Yellow and one Orange-Red Tulips.

A ravishing Purple Violet.

More Red Tulips.
Red and Orange Tulips.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Flowers

  It's that time of the year again, and I'm grabbing my camera to document every new flower I see. There aren't too many lovely buds outside as it's still rather cold here in Chicago. We're still in the 30s and 40s up here, with rare cameos of 50s, 60s, and maybe 70s or 80s. Right now it is raining and it's very gloomy outside. It's really not bike weather or trail walking weather. I'm currently indoors job-hunting, sneezing, and trying to keep a clean house. This weather is extremely dreary on my sinuses and my stomach. In any case, here are some lovely Daffodil flowers from our garden.

Spring is trying to blossom!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Intolerance and McDonald's

  There have been so many cases of people getting attacked in McDonald's in this country. I personally do not get that. Why are people starting fights in the middle of a fast food place? I can't even recall a time when it's men fighting, either. It's always a woman fighting another one or some woman yelling at an employee about her precious food. Is life really that serious where people have to express themselves like that? I haven't been to a McDonald's in quite some time. I'm pretty sure I won't be going back now and I wouldn't if I were a first-time customer, either. Well, another case has happened. Two young girls attacked a woman in a McDonald's in Baltimore for reasons that were first unknown. There was someone there to make sure if was filmed, too. And McDonald's? Ha. They were so sure to make their corny statement:

"We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling. McDonald's strives to be a safe, welcoming environment for everyone who visits. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of customers and employees in our restaurants. We are working with the franchisee and the local authorities to investigate this matter."

 but their image has been tarnished for me. I can't see myself eating at a place that condones this kind of violence, period. The video is below. Take notice of these things:

  1. Nobody really helps this woman, save for an older woman all the way at the end.
  2. She goes into a seizure. The person recording tells the assaulting girls to LEAVE before the cops come.
  3. The camera man is laughing. He's an employee, by the way.
  4. There are several employees around, in fact.

  Excuse my foul language, But what kind of animalistic SHIT is that? A woman is on the floor, covering her face and cowering for her LIFE. Two GIRLS, aged 14 and 18 I believe, are beating up on her and all the able-bodied men in the room are coasting around them doing nothing. There is a camera man laughing and recording to put on his little Facebook and Myspace. What did he have to say about this? Oh, here is where it gets interesting. The woman we see here is transgendered. He says the following (Image found here):

  Okay, okay. This is where I personally get angry. The reason WHY this woman was beaten up makes me angry. The fact that this moron was FILMING on his job with the intent of posting to social sites makes me angry. What was he trying to do? What was he trying to prove? What is so great about posting videos of women fighting and harming one another? Is that really sexy? I guess so. Sexy enough not to help. Or, was this for humiliation? I hated to assume it, but there it is. This woman was not considered a woman by the ignorant employee or these two ignorant women. Yes, it's "one of those situations". These girls beat on this woman because she was in the "wrong bathroom". Maybe she was born a man, but she's TRANSGENDERED now. So therefore, she IS a woman. I realize there are people who disagree with this. Oh, that's pretty obvious with commentaries from Vernon Hackett and company. But, was it so necessary to lose one's marbles to prove that point? Keep in mind, these are children. BOTH of these girls are children to me. At age 18, some people--especially girls--think they know every little thing. Who does she have backing her up? Some 14 year-old baby. They were so mad over this woman's bathroom choice, they felt the "right thing to do" was to beat up on her to the point of a seizure. I don't know about you, but this is the future and it's frightening. These are the children of the world thinking it's okay to assault people because they're different from us. And if we dont't agree, the problem can be solved with ignorance, humiliation, and violence. So shame on this poor woman, right? Ah ha. And I guess these teens are the victims.

  A woman can be one by the standards of biology or by the standards of identification and medical changes. I am saddened (but not very shocked), that people in this day and age refuse to accept that. Of course it's their choice. Plenty of people will scream about that. Well I'M screaming from the opposite side. I'm screaming for the people who are getting assaulted and tormented by ignorant people who don't have enough brains in their heads to either use their words, or leave well enough alone. And on the level of my being a Black woman, this is EMBARRASSING! Let me just say that twice. IT IS EMBARRASSING! This is the kind of crap people think of when they want to stereotype us. We are loud, we are violent, we are ignorant, uncouth, and don't give a damn about where and how we fight. We're always somewhere getting videotaped acting a damn fool. Men don't even respect us enough to HELP STOP FIGHTS. They're too busy trying to get a viral video with our hair and blood going everywhere.

They're too busy helping criminals get away with assaulting human beings.

  Tolerance died the night this woman was kicked and punched on. Dignity left the bodies of each female involved. Humiliation took over the soul of Vernon Hackett and fed on his ignorance. Ignorance impregnated the minds of every person watching, save for the ONE woman (who happened to be in all white) who eventually had to do what three men couldn't figure out to do themselves. This is the world we live in, apparently. So much for freedom. I don't know what this young man was thinking, but being known for recording this video (he actually wanted to get the credit for it, obviously) is NOT going to look good on his record, not his potential for getting a better job. Who's going to hire someone who'd actually take time from work to record another human being's humiliation? I surely would not.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Knowing Herself

Strength rises from the struggle.
Knowledge evolves over time.
Sometimes the heart is unable to follow
though the mind has matured and grown.
Severing connections requires more than the action.
To acquire, ease cannot be reached.

I fought myself to teach tough love.
I stopped myself from always being soft.
Though guilt may have plagued me,
though sorrow may have chased me,
I know I had it right all along.

Friday, April 15, 2011


  I was taking a nice afternoon nap yesterday when my father bounded down the stairs and tossed me the phone. My aunt was on the other end, giving me the exclusive dish on a wonderful film making its debut in Nashville, TN. Its creator happens to be a friend of my cousin's. Not that I can recall meeting this man when he lived in Paris, TN, but he's got an AMAZING documentary to share with the world. It makes me regret not being able to land a ticket to the film festival next week to sneak a peek. Ladies and gentlemen....feast your eyes on the masterpiece that is "Broke*"

What's It All About?
  A hot-topic documentary by independent Hip-Hop/Americana artist Will Gray exploring the depths of the struggle of artists thriving in today's industry world, as well as his own journey as an artist recording his debut album. The trailer alone has me on the edge of my seat. The first line from Seth Godin is ear-catching and extremely poignant. "There will never be another Beatles..." is the kind of thing that makes you sit and think about the worth of today's music, and how many artists who ARE worth something often get overshadowed by artists who just come and go with an industrialized, generic brand attached to their music. And it goes on with "In ten years, this Industry will break", and that's EXACTLY how I feel! I know that I'm technically "old" now and certain kinds of music aren't for me, but I feel like the end is near when your mother can pay three thousand dollars to make a video where your voice is saturated in auto-tune, and you make millions on iTunes, although it's pure garbage. We have people eating this up, PR agents pushing it and selling artists' souls for the love of money. Will Gray has an amazing brainchild with Broke*. Watch the trailer, watch it again, and absorb the message. You'll find something new every time. What I consider to be the most important part of this trailer is the theme of "shifting". That term just rolls off the tongue. Shift. I think it would be great for an artist to switch the industry game up and make it on their own terms, with their own teams, and their own foundation of fans behind them. That's a beautiful thing! I know of quite a few artists who have done just that. They've come from Youtube, from message boards, and even backyard shows to end up become very famous and in contact with well-paying projects. Social sharing and word-of-mouth can be a very powerful thing.

Examples to Sample...
  Take the group Pomplamoose, for example. Some people might say "who?" I was one of them, until my facebook friend Billy posted a video of the lead singer Natalie Dawn singing a version of "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk". I was in love with her smooth, creamy voice with just one song. She was hip, she was indie, she was herself. There wasn't a thick layer of pretense all over her. She and her partner, Jack Conte were pretty much making their music with some mics, actual instruments, recording tools, a computer, and heart. I was no longer saying "who?". I was subscribing to their Youtube account, trying to watch all of their videos, googling my butt off trying to find extra pages of their material, and trying to download and save every single free song they had to my iPod. I was washing my hair and grooving to Natalie's rendition to "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire by the end of the week. I was an instant fan and wanted all I could soak up of their presence. When they did "Single Ladies", that was IT! The duo took the Internet world by storm. This was all about two years ago, by the way. By this time, they were already warm and ready to be on fire. They already had the status of thousands of hits and an endless host of comments on Natalie's physical and vocal beauty. People loved their indie spirit. All of a sudden, they're doing jewelry commercials. Hell, all of a sudden and a year later, They're doing car commercials for the Christmas season! Even Wikipedia has given them their own page. Although the Wik is a great way to get the basics (and remember kids, anyone can change the information if it's not a locked page...), not every artist out there has this so-called "honor of the Internet". In this world of tomorrow, today, that kind of notoriety means something. It usually means you've gone beyond the million count of viewers and listeners. Instant success is very very possible in this day and age. It can be meaningful (as in an Indie artist getting the views necessary to create fanbase), or it could be for all the wrong reasons (as in getting passed around certain sites, having parodies made, etc. Basically the negative side of the previously mentioned positive.) In ten years, the industry just might fall indeed. With the power of social sites, Youtube, and word of mouth, good old-fashioned elbow grease will be the thing that gets artists that piece of notoriety. They won't have to compromise their style or their person via a stylist or a PR person. They'll be able to be heard and seen and evolve naturally and more than likely be able to do what they love and live well from it in the process. I tell you what, I'd love to be able to do that with my writing.

A Sista and Her Soapbox (The Intermission)
  The artist will become their own industry. The team of people who honestly love them will become their support. They'll be able to become that "overnight success" by hard work. Suddenly those tracks they've put on iTunes will be worth millions. Fans will clamor and max out their cards to see them. And at the end of the day....THE INDUSTRY WILL NOT BE THERE TO CHANGE THEM. I had to put that in all caps for a reason. So many artists I love like Brooke Valentine and Jazzmine Sullivan have disappeared from the limelight not because they are no longer relevant, but they simply refuse to buckle to some of the "requirements" of the industry. They refuse to obey these rules and have become so frustrated that they part ways or seek other outlets to grow their material. I'm sure it hurts like Hell to come up one minute, and then have to fight battle after battle only to come crashing down after all that hard work. And why? All because people want you to be something you are not.

Intermission Over--Last Call...
  Let me get off my soapbox and get back to this amazing movie. According to the website, there's a reason why that little asterisk is there. A strong reason indeed, considering such a rich topic under discussion. It's a "symbol of hope" meant to "break through barriers of life" to obtain that status of a champion and step over those rules we've been told to follow. Ah yes, a "badge of courage". Doggone it, lucky Nashville folk. I'm all the way up here in Chicago, getting so BUZZED off this tip. It makes me regret choosing to live here, lol. I had a chance to reside in TN and I should have taken it! OY! I'm getting schooled on a man I should have known all along, but feel like I get to know him on another level. The entire world needs to get to know this man. Outside of the movie, Will is also a a muisician. We're talking sick beats, polished rhythm, and AMAZING energy. This isn't genre-specific where only one or two people will like it. This music drips with just as much diversity as the film Mr. Gray has created.

  Broke* has starpower. And I'm not even talking about the ntimate interviews with a host of well-known people. There's a message and a movement. I cannot begin to do this documentary justice because I'm completely overwhelmed at all the wonderfulness before me. I've been on the site for well over 5 hours and counting, scrubbing and scouring and reading and grooving and wondering where the heck I put my credit card. I'm glad my aunt called me and I'm jealous of my cousin, because he gets to be there to meet up with Will! LUCKY LUCKY! In the meantime, I suggest you favorite this page and keep checking back. I sense a lot of fast changes as Will Gray blasts off (further/farther) into the cosmos as a musical superstar. Stay connected with Will & Broke*. There's Twitter and Facebook if you want to "like" the movie and be updated.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cuties California Mandarin Oranges

  When I think of oranges as a snack, Mandarin oranges are usually way off the list. These are the things one sticks in a Hawaiian salad or a fruity drink. These are the things I personally abhor for three reasons:
  1. Seeds. All up and through the tiny fruit. It means they're close together and you're spending well over ten minutes removing seeds. Where's the time to enjoy the fruit?
  2. Taste. Tangy, itchy tongue-making fruit. The ones in the can don't taste like this.
  3. Size. Once again--made for salads and drinks. I need a man's orange, dang it! One as big as a baseball or a softball. Don't give me that girly stuff!
Cuties Oranges! Cute, and orange.
  So imagine my surprise the other late night when I saw these things chillin' out in our fridge. We're not a family of tiny orange-loving people. There has to be a reason why these little invaders are in our fridge. Then it dawns on me--"oh Lord, these people have seen that cutesy commercial with the oranges for children." I thought it was pretty silly at first. A child-sized, seedless orange? Oh sure, because regular-sized oranges are pretty darned hard to peel. (I joke about this in the video above.) As the curious, sarcastic thing I am, I go on and try one of 'em. The commercial for it drives me crazy. Just how special are these clementine-looking oranges? How easy is the peel? Are children going to like these things? And why, WHY are they invading my fridge? The investigation begins.

So cute--Reminds me of Dora, though!

I browsed the Cuties Website. I was introduced to Li'l Zipper, the tiny orange with all sorts of likes and dislikes. I laughed, failing to realize just how strong the marketing is for this product. I began to look over the media page and the recipes page. What we have here is one fierce little orange that steps over the lines of being "just a cooking fruit". There's true innovation packed inside these tiny clementines! I joked hard in that video, but the Li'l Cuties are actually worth the shopping trip. The buzz is rightfully placed over this fruit. First and foremost, they ARE very easy to peel. Tiny size aside, it took me a few seconds to rip through one. With children in mind, this is a perfect snack for tiny hands and even tinier nails. With the supervision of an adult, even a three year-old would be able to handle this fruit. Nutritionally speaking, I see myself dropping sweets for a bite of these babies.

  Taste-wise, my first Cutie orange came out tangy. By the second or third piece (notice how I say in the video that I might as well eat it all...wink wink...) it began to taste incredibly sweet--better than a regular orange! By then, I realized whom exactly these were for--our own little resident sweetie pie Niah. She's just the right age (three) for a Cutie orange. Considering the fact that she's always asking for the regular-sized oranges, I see why we're so stocked up on these treats. So, although I may have joked about Li'l Zipper by calling him "Little Zip A Roo", Cuties are in fact a sweet, smooth winner in this household. It's not about making it "too easy" for kids, it's about making a fruit just for them that will allow them to get their citrus and not get all messy in the process. Think of them as training oranges and non-messy snacks for the backpack and the lunch sack.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Try, Try Again

I took the risk in adding items to my CafePress store in the hopes that people would notice and purchase. I pressed and pressed and made post after post. Perhaps I did not do this well enough. It was all trial and error, and the battle is NOT over because the Japanese are STILL in need of our help. While CafePress and their donation tag drive has ended, my work is not over. I am going to take ANOTHER risk.  You see, I can't allow this issue to go by. I can't get this out of my head. Whenever I turn on the news or check out my Twitter headline, there is a new statistic or a new concern with radiation in the affected areas of Japan. There are so many people who have died, who are still lost, and who are displaced from their residencies. I've said it a million times and I will say it again--just because the problems aren't as relevant in the news as they were a month ago does NOT mean all the problems have been solved. Help is still needed and everyone has a chance to do their part.

  I set up my store's items for that very reason. I put cheap items, affordable items, and one expensive item in the store so anyone who was browsing had a variety of things to choose from. No, my art was not glamorous or fancy by any means, but it had heart. The idea was to create an item design that came from the heart. I thought it was simple enough to appeal to most people. Some might say it's "too" simple. Quite honestly, I am very proud of this design. With that being said, the designs aren't going anywhere. I will still be selling them, and will still be donating ten percent of the sales to the Japanese Red Cross, or any charity a buyer requests. This is not over yet! So please, PLEASE, if you know someone who hasn't donated, if YOU yourself haven't donated; take a look at my CafePress store. It takes a few seconds to browse, a few seconds to link, a few seconds to tell someone about what you've seen.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Video Blog-Donate To Japan! Time is Running out! The CafePress Release about the "japanrelief2011" image tag. Items in my shop with the image for charity. -- Blog about the same design, with a larger Logo on new products.

Please visit my shop or pass this along to someone who may be interested in a purchase. Every little bit is a help. After Apr. 11, the tag will no longer work so PLEASE HURRY!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Flashback Video--S Club 7

   While I find some more topics to think of, I have to post a video of a song that ruled my early teens. If you're at least in your early to mid-20s, or in your late teens, you'll remember a group called S Club 7. They had a show on ABC Family that was FAB. They were also an amazing singing group with hits such as "Natural", "2 in a Million", and "Never Had a Dream Come True"--the song below. I played this song to DEATH because it was just so sad and so beautiful. At the time, I had a crush on an old friend, and the song reminded me so much of him. I can look back and laugh at it now, but I was so serious about it at age 14. ;-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Product Review--Extra Strawberry Shortcake Gum

I do enjoy a good stick of sugarless gum. I'll chomp all day on a few pieces of Trident's yummy citrus gum, smack away with Stride's Forever Fruit, and go back to my childhood with Bubbilcious Grape. I've encountered some major fails in my day from Trident's Strawberry (think of spraying cheap strawberry air freshener in your mouth with a hint of Sweet 'n Low on it.) to the lackluster Juicy Fruit gum of today. (I'm convinced they've done something to change the formula drastically.). However, the mother of all bad gum has come to roost in my own home. I present to you, Extra Dessert Delights: Strawberry Shortcake. I know, I know, most sugarless gum will taste like crap if you're not that into it. Coming from someone who IS into it, please allow me to describe the tragedy that is this gum. It does not live up to its claim of tasting "just like dessert". In fact, it tastes more like a generic strawberry snack cake drenched in some kind of watery syrup. I've had my share of strawberry shortcakes and this was nothing close to the very thought of one generic or otherwise.

  It all started with a sample in a salad my father brought home from Portillo's. I'm thinking to myself "ooh, freeibie!" I knew there was a 50/50 chance this gum would taste like crap. I decided to give it a try anyway, thinking just maybe Extra Gum might have the upper hand. They were trying to appeal to the calorie and sugar-conscious masses with their special little treat. Six chews and a tongue roll later, I was disappointed. This wasn't a "dessert delight", it's the kind of gum your grandmother keeps down in her purse for "hard times". Suddenly, there's a reason why the gum was stuck in the bag. It wasn't to spread the word and start a buzz--THIS GUM STINKS! It's not selling, and now they're schlepping it out to everyone to try and catch a sale. I was shocked because Wrigley Gum is usually a bit hit with me. I think this is the first time I can honestly say I'd rather risk cheating on my diet than having such a gross substitute in my mouth.

  So how exactly would I describe the taste of this gum? The sugarless factor had nothing to do with it. Most sugarless gum will leave an after-taste. It's tolerable. What bothered me so much was the hype over this gum tasting like a beloved dessert. The berry flavor was very flat and almost too light for my tastebuds to savor. There wasn't even a hint of the "cake" taste associated with strawberry shortcake. No creamy flavor, either. It was just flat strawberry taste all around. This is why I hate the advertisements and the slogans with this gum. I'm thinking there's going to be innovative flavor when there was nothing at all. If I wanted that cheap, generic strawberry taste, I would have just grabbed some no-name gum off the corner store shelf.

Late Night with Her Thoughts

Quiet observations in two hours tell all.
When I fix what keeps gettin' broken,
is there a point to it at all?
Wipe away the tears that no longer exist
for the problems that never end.

Don't promise to change if you're evolving to alienate.
This false hope is heavy on my back.
If I can drop a few weights,
I'll gain myself back.
Positive changes for a new and better track.

Let me ask a question.
Are you too busy to answer?
Don't say that I'm not bothering you
when your comments feel that way.
If I disappeared
would it truly, really matter?
I'll never take my life,
I'm moving out your way.
Would that be okay?

You're just to strong when you want me to stay.
You're just too much when you push me away.
I know you're used to being all by yourself.
I guess it's something new when there's someone else.
I'm tired of clawing for a minute of your time.
I'm tired of empty phone calls on my weary dimes.
I'm tired of the attitude armed with oblivious stares.
I need some emotion and you're barely there!

So this is my cue to take my leave.
Your issues and yourself mean more to you than me.
I'll exit so quietly,
you won't know I'm gone.
I'm losing myself by hanging on.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Donation T-Shirts/Items for Japanese Relief Effort Part 2

   I updated my shop with some new items with the same design as the others, only this time the logo is large enough to fit. I now have shirts (regular, plus size women's, fitted, women's), mousepads, an 8-pack of postcards, a thermos, and a ceramic traveling mug. These items are fairly priced, and the postcards only cost six dollars. You can use them to write letters to loved ones and maybe say something like "I ordered these post cards and made a donation in your honor". Or, you can just send them anyway as a lovely note, period. All the items make lovely gifts. As for the rest of the items, the 10% deal also stands. I applied the "japanrelief2011" to this picture as well. Please take the time to visit my shop and consider making a purchase. The Japanese people still need our help. Every dollar, every dime, and every single penny sent to the Red Cross is indeed a great help. In the end, you will also have an item of your own to cherish and keep. It's a wonderful gift. If you really want to look ahead, they can also be great stocking stuffers. All gifts aside, these donations would be coming from the heart. Please, April 11th will be here before you know it. After then, the donation tag will no longer be valid.


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