Thursday, December 19, 2013

To Bey or not to Bey

I need to get a few things off my chest in regards to this new Beyonce album. I’ll start by saying that I absolutely love it. So, you'll have to take my word when I say that these opinions are not coming from a biased place.  I pride myself on being an honest critic. By no means am I always right, but I often times critique my favorite artists harder than those that I am not so fond of, and still…I am in love with Beyonce’s surprise, self-titled album. I find nuances and elements in it that enlighten and surprise each time I listen.

With that said, it is really disheartening to read these articles and blog posts, most of which are written by women, bashing the album and calling it anti-feminism, “bottom bitch feminism” and misogynistic. One of the main arguments (and only argument where I can even begin to slightly see validity) is that “Drunk In Love” is a misogynistic song that strips her of the strength she has shown in previous releases like “Irreplacable” and “Single Ladies”.  NONONO! You're not getting it, ladies!

I woke up this morning to a Huffington Post blog post shared on my Facebook feed asking how Beyonce has gone from Tina Turner to Anna Mae. Are you kidding? And on top of that, one of the main sources of back-ups for such a claim is a lyric that Beyonce herself did not even say or write:

Jay Z:
“Baby know I don't play, now eat the cake, Anna Mae
Said, "Eat the cake, Anna Mae!"

If any of you have seen the film “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, then you recognized this reference immediately. And you also know what an abusive, disgusting human being Ike Turner was to my girl Tina.  So Jay Z says this on "Drunk In Love" and now Beyonce is a "drunk, profane woman"?! Drunk AND profane, though? Beyonce lets her HUSBAND pen his own lyric and spit it on her song and she is now promoting abuse? NONONO! Number 1, Rap is like 90% metaphor. I am not going to graphically explain sexual acts on my blog, but if Jay Z is talking about beating anything on Beyonce, I promise you it is not necessarily something that she would not enjoy…catch my drift? ALSO, let’s talk about how she allowed him on her song, just another way she has indirectly shared her sexuality, as a woman, with the world. Something we, as a culture, are clearly not ready for.

Question: If said lyric was on a Jay Z album, with absolutely no connection to Beyonce, would it be getting such backlash? I venture to guess that it would not, but I’ll leave that open for debate.

Here’s where I REALLY get pissed. Beyonce decided to get drunk and express how sexually attracted she is to her husband, and now she is Anna Mae and not Tina Turner. GET REAL! She’s weak because she is in a relationship where she feels comfortable enough to release all inhibition and let her guard down? Is that what we are saying? Keep in mind, this is the same woman who was Crazy in Love in 2003, but we weren't as sensitive back then, I guess. Let’s also keep in mind that she’s been singing about the same man since then. Now, how many of us can say that? 

Woo! Gotta take a pause. I'm getting all up in my feelings here.

Now, let’s listen to the rest of the album and watch the liberating videos. Where are the articles about “Pretty Hurts”? ….??? Oh, Ok. But don't worry, a Daily Mail reporter did comment on her trim waist in the video, so there's always that...

tisk, tisk people!

I’ll say, a few months ago when she initially released “Bow Down” I was a little perplexed. Disappointed even.  But I’ve done my research (and you should too because she has addressed it),  and after hearing what she did with it on “***Flawless”, I’m okay with it. But again, that’s my opinion. Think what you will.

Beyonce’s album may not be full of the club hits that we are used to hearing from her. There may not be an anthem where we get to exercise our directional knowledge and point and sway to the left, to the left. What there is though, is a woman expressing her desires, her fears, her loves, her wants, her dreams. She shows us her “fatty” because she wants to. 

Where were all of these articles when Jay Z was big pimpin’ and spending Gs?

I’m so over my fellow women not wanting to be stereotyped and wanting to be treated as equals to men (who are allowed to show and speak on their sexual desires), but when one of us steps up to plate, steps out on a ledge, takes a leap, breaks a wall, does her thing…we hate. HATERS.

Don't Hate.

That is all.


Monday, December 16, 2013

S.O.S.

Tis' the season...and no I don't mean Christmas. I mean the season when the gym becomes the most unappealing destination on this planet. I abhor the mere idea if getting off work and going anywhere other than to my apartment. I just want to put on a sweatshirt, enjoy my gas forced heat and watch shameless amounts of Netflix with a glass of wine in hand. 


Now,  those close to me know that I am a pretty health conscious person. I indulge, believe me. Sometimes, I am even a little over indulgent...if that's even possible. Somethings are just meant to be devoured. Yeah, I said it. Sue me! 

No, but in all seriousness, I am  passionate about food tasting delectable, yet being good for you. I am a pinning fool, and you'll notice that about 95% of my recipes are the lighter versions of crowd favorites. This girl likes to EAT. But my thighs just won't allow me to do so without paying for it, so I compromise with myself..."FINE, SELF! I'll use the greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. HAPPY?!"

All of this healthy eating aside, this girl has a serious aversion to portion control. That coupled with my recent diagnosis of gymphobia is not a recipe for anything I've found on my "Yummies" board. 

WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO?! 

..................

That was not a rhetorical question. I am seeking some guidance here! I was a running fool this summer. I would run, on average, about 20 miles a week. For some, that may not be much, but for me that. was. EPIC. Now, I'm lucky if I run 8 miles. I JUST DON'T WANNAAAAAA! Instead, you can find me standing in front of my mirror insulting myself. Ugh!

So, what do you do to stay motivated during these winter months filled with cookies, candies and all of the other things that I love? Share your wisdom, oh workout gods!




P.S. In an effort to spice up my lazy winter months with some exciting goodies to motivate fitness, I've made a recent order from iherb.com. A nifty little health site I discovered through the fit bloggers I follow on Insta. Honestly, if you are into supplements, protein bars, shakes, beauty, skin care...you name it! Check this site out...and get $5-$10 off your first order with this code: WHF223. Seriously works! I used my friends code for my first order, and only spent $33 for mutliple items!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Event Planning 101: How to NOT Lose Your Mind!

Many of you may or may not know, from my previous post, that I was recently (as in the event just happened this past Sunday) a part of an event planning team for a small theatre company here in Chi-Town. Event planning has been an interest of mine that I have placed on the back burner for a while now, with performing taking precedence. Since theatre hasn't exactly been my friend lately, I thought that this was as good a time as any to get my feet wet a bit. And who better to stretch my event planning muscles with than a theatre company! Talk about marrying your passions, right?!  Having worked as a Booking Agent in the past, I was able to learn a bit about certain components required to pull an event off...but the idea of taking it from the brainstorming stage and watching it through until we were live at the event was uncharted territory, but a challenge I had always wanted to conquer. 

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

And a challenge it was. Aside from an amazing venue space and a hard working team, we really had to cultivate this baby from the ground up! Working with a minimal budget, a hard working team of volunteers (many of whom work full-time jobs to pay the bills - myself included), and limited meeting time...we used and abused email correspondence and text messages....but we pulled it off! That was the pay off. The week after Thanksgiving, B.K.A the week of the event, was a little touch and go for a while...didn't know if I was going to make it out alive, but I did. And while in the midst, I really thought I was hating every minute of it, in retrospect, I would do it all again...but with a few slight changes to ensure my sanity. 

We all plan an event at some point or another, so here's a list to make sure we stay sane while doing it:

10 Ways to Make My Your Our Life Easier

1. Start early - I don't care if you are planning a Birthday Dinner or the President's Inauguration Dinner, if you can start planting seeds well in advance, you'll be better off for it. (hint: one month is not well in advance).

2. Give yourself benchmarks and measure your performance -  it is really easy to make a timeline of when you would like to get things done, but if you don't hold yourself to those timelines, what good is it? You will be thanking yourself when it's four hours before the event and you aren't running around printing materials.

3. Say Thank You - the art of appreciation is sometimes lost in stressful situations, and I know I am an offender. It is more than likely that everyone on your team is working just as hard as you are, and doing their very best. If someone does something to aid in any way, a simple "thank you" goes a very long way, and will ensure that they will continue to be a resource.

4. Find ways to stretch your budget - re-use! We actually did really well with this. If you can re-purpose decor, supplies, ANYTHING, to fit the theme of the current event. USE IT. There is no shame in recycling. 

5. Work together! Understand that everyone has different techniques and ways of getting things done, and compromising may end up making your job easier. And PLEASE don't be afraid to ask for help or simply say 'I don't know'...pretending you have all the answers will get you nowhere.

6. If fundraising is a part of your event, it is important that you start reaching out to your donors EARLY. I mean early, early -  as in this should be one of the first benchmarks on your timeline. Some organizations take 6-8 weeks or more to process donation requests. Don't ruin your chances with something so simple as being a few weeks too late.

7. When it becomes evident that something will not work, move on. This can be hard, because as creative planners we always want the coolest most amazing aspects for our events. But if something just isn't working, trust that you are just THAT good, and that a better idea will come along.

8. Congratulate yourself along the way! If you are anything like me, you never stop to look at how far you've come and how much you've accomplished. I organized a 3-package raffle with price points and volunteers for an event attended by 100+ people, in addition to balancing other miscellaneous responsibilities...something I have NEVER done before. I never once congratulated myself during the process, and was stressed to the heavens. NOT GOOD!

9. Be Flexible - this can be vague or specific. But it is important to understand that most times, as an event planner, you won't  be planning your own events...meaning that while your vision is valued and the reason why you were brought on, the client's vision is most important. Don't be too head strong that you are not malleable enough to fit the needs of the occasion.  While malleable is a term usually used for materials such as metal, sometimes as an event planner you kind of have to be as tough as nails. So I think it fits!

10. BREATHE! You will be okay. The event WILL happen. And if it doesn't, at least you're pretty, right? ;)

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All of the things above were learned from my own experiences, and by no means are a reflection of anyone else's work. If and when I plan another event, this list will be my nearest and dearest friend.

I am proud of my own efforts, and the efforts of everyone on the event planning team. This  was the first annual holiday fundraiser for this company, and for what we were working with, it was fantastic. Could we have raised more money? Probably! But, we learned a lot, and I am confident that next years' will be out of the park, fantastic!

Sneak Peak! A few snaps from the event!
I am pretty pumped I have this list now! Hope it was a somewhat enjoyable read for you :).

Happy Tuesday!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Busiest Bee in the Bunch!

Hi guys! Long time no talk. 

I am sorry for the long gap between posts. I still love everyone, I promise. I am just having one the THEE BUSIEST weeks I have had in longer than I can  even remember. For example, yesterday's schedule:

6:00 am: alarm goes off; must shower, get dressed, eat cereal and be out the door by 6:50 am! YIKES

7:50 am: Get to work and check emails and get settled.

8:00 am - 12:00 pm: Work, Emails, Work, Personal Emails, Correspond with Event Committee (volunteering as an event coordinator, we'll get back to this) back to work!

12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Walk to Target, buy more things for event (which is this Sunday..AAH!), race to Mariano's salad bar to pick up lunch and head back to work.

1:00 pm-5:00 pm: Work, Emails, Event Planning, Personal Email, Work

5:00 pm-6:00 pm: Commute home, drop off bags

6:15 pm- 8:00 pm: Volunteer at Edgewater Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer (ate appetizers for dinner)

8:15 pm: FINALLY home for the night. Answer event related Emails. Brainstorm more ideas for event. SCANDAL. More Emails.

10:45 pm: Bed...(mind racing until about 11ish...I think, I HOPE. Could have been 12!)

I AM SO TIRED. I've been working from the time I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep! I am by no means asking for a dance party or a pat on the back. Only merely reflecting on the fact that I am running myself to the ground, and I may even, dare I say it, be in over my head...eeeeek!

Have you guys heard that networking rule: Never say no to an opportunity to network and gain experience.... Well I've been trying to do that lately, but this week almost every commitment has come to a head and I'm not sure if I'm coming or going. Now, I work well under pressure and often times enjoy the adrenaline rush, but this is CHAOS...and as to not be SUCH A COMPLAINER, I've only shown a glimpse! Woooooof.

So yeah, I wanted you all to know that I'm still a passionate little blogger. And I will be back with great material in no time, but I just need some time to get through this weekend and gain my sanity back.

In the meantime, if you have any advice on how to capitalize on all opportunities without running oneself ragged, please share!! Hm...sounds like a blog post in the making ;)

We'll chat soon.

Cheers <3

Monday, December 2, 2013

It feels like home to me

Another Thanksgiving come and gone, and I am reminded of just how thankful I am to have a place that I can call home. No matter the alarming eccentricities of my family, I always feel so grateful to be surrounded by their love and humor. The last four days were the greatest escape from the trials of the last few months, and I felt a calmness that was familiar yet foreign...like and old friend that you haven't seen since childhood. While you've grown up and changed a bit, there is a peacefulness when you come back together. That's what home does for me. Baltimore has changed and I have changed, but when we are together, it always feels like home to me. Baltimore brings out the best in me. It reminds me how to love and be grateful and laugh and enjoy every moment. That's just what I did this weekend. I relished in every moment and I can't wait to be reunited with my old friend, Baltimore, in a few weeks for more holiday debauchery!

Here are some highlights from my weekend:

Thursday was full of food, food and more food. My mom is pretty much famous for her annual Thanksgiving feast, and she has yet to disappoint. It was no different this year. And let me tell you, as I briefly alluded to in my last post, I had every single intention of dedicating an entire blog post to her set up, preparation and follow through of this joyous occasion, but my hungry behind just could not even control the impulse to fill my plate the moment the food hit the table. So I literally got TWO photos (only one being of her actual display). I should probably go into journalism, right?

Anywayyyyyyy.....

I'm clearly a handwriting artist...

As you can see, someone was a little too anxious to slice the turkey...but I just love the simple display. I promise we had side dishes.



The rest of the feast was OUTSTANDING. Filled with carbs, cheese and butter and I would have thrown a hissy fit if it were any other way.

Friday was a mellow day, not much photo documentation and absolutely NO Black Friday shopping. I enjoyed time with my dad's crew and my Granny. She is one of my most favorite people to chat with. It amazes me that the heart doesn't age, and she is proof of that every day. I love hearing about her successes and heartbreaks, because I always find that of all of my family members, I really relate to my 83 year old grandmother. Who would have guessed, right? We killed time watching "Say Yes to the Dress", and voicing our loud, abrupt opinions. I was in bed by 10 pm and it was marvelous.

Saturday was another standout day - First, I felt so proud to support Small Business Saturday. Sounds hokey, but the charm that small businesses bring to any community is what makes said community what it is. What made it even better was that I got to support a small business that one of my very best friends manages. Babe. A Boutique. If you are in Baltimore, GO! I honestly wish this little place was my walk in closet. On top of that awesomeness, I was able to enjoy shopping with an old friend who I'd been looking forward to catching up with in person for a while. We shopped and stopped (shop, stop and roll - that is the first thing that popped into my head. sorry. random) into local cafes for some hot dogs and coffee, because that's HOW. WE.  DO.

I hope you all shopped small this weekend! H&M who?! (no, but I really love H&M)

The yummiest soy americano in the land - The Daily Grind in Fells Point



After burning through every cent of my birthday earnings, I raced home to get ready for a night out on the town with my boo thang (and later some friendsies). We  had a night at Woodberry Kitchen in Hampden on the books for months. He had never been and I'm obsessed, so my birthday seemed like the perfect time to go. If you haven't been, it's seriously time to man up and make that reservation. The food is so delicious, and the atmosphere is to die for. I'm gonna throw out a 'You're Welcome' in advance. 



Needless to say, Woodberry did not disappoint.







We were both really passionate about eating. Have you ever seen bigger smiles?











The food was out of this world. We started with their Sour Cream and Onion Dip and Oysters on the Half Shell. Neither dishes disappointed. The dip was simple and familiar, with what I can only imagine to be home made chips taking the dish to the next level. The Oysters were fresh and the variety of sauces spanned far beyond your average cocktail sauce. For entrees, the man enjoyed the most decadent serving of Chicken and Biscuit, and I had the Smoked Rockfish Salad. YUM! All of this aside, what impressed me most was the personal touch on my dessert. I felt so special!

eeeeeep :)
I didn't think this magical night could get any better, but after treating me to a delicious dinner, my loving boyfriend also made sure to wrangle my closest friends to one place to celebrate my birthday for the night. It was one of my more special birthdays, as I am well aware of how hectic holiday weekends at home can be. The amount of people that were able to make it out was really, really nice. We ended the night at Holy Frijoles in Hampden, and it was a blast!

Just a few of my favorite moments captured
I am so grateful for this amazing weekend home. Sunday was filled with family and relaxation...and that empty pit feeling I always get when it's time to leave my home. I am not sure that anywhere will ever live up to the bond that Baltimore and I have, and maybe that's just how it's supposed to be.

I hope you all had a wonderful family filled holiday. I'm a great listener, comment and tell me about it! 

Cheers <3 Tis most definitely the season!