The 411|Dedication Day At Smithsonian’s African American History Museum

Your Black card was certified VIP status all weekend if you didn’t know! Once again my Blackness has me beaming with pride and regality. And by once again, I do mean for the second time in my adult life (first time was POTUS’ inauguration). Moments like these are so few and far between for us. Insert afro pat and two snaps because, honey, I was there. From the massive bronze crown of a building to the Middle Passage exhibit, nestled on the ground floor of the museum, our story is being told to all who are listening and even those who’d rather tune us out. I am Black, I am African American, my people were slaves and we are the blocks that built this nation. Our inclusion on the grand American stage, the national mall, is long overdue!

The day kicked off with an inspiring speech from the POTUS himself. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 48 hours, I shared the video of his speech below. My POTUS spoke about patriotism and activism in our country, a conundrum for many African Americans whose history traces back to a time where our people were three fifths of a man only to assist the south’s political representation in the house. How are we to be patriots when our men, women and children are still shot down in the streets? I admire how eloquently POTUS delivers all of his speeches but this one in particular spoke to a feeling I’ve had for as long as I’ve known I was a great, great grandchild of a slave. See what I mean below.

The museum was designed in chronological order from the bottom up. Museum guides will urge you to explore in that order and I’d agree. 

It begins with an emotional journey through the middle passage on the bottom floor. I happen to be a history/slave narrative enthusiast. I’ve always had an unyielding thirst for knowledge of my people’s experiences. The slave narratives sufficed for a while but seeing items recovered from slave shipwrecks and seeing the detailed brutality and greed of the transatlantic slave trade will rock you. You’ll start your emotional journey there and each exhibit will move you further down the timeline of the African American experience. 

Bring kleenex.

We could never fully understand the horrors of their journey or the depth of their loss but the exhibit does a heck of a job at telling the story of how we came here. It was a brutal and heinous crime against humanity. That much is felt and asserted through this exhibit.

The reason you look like your Nigerian  and Ghanaian sista friends? It’s because your ancestors were more than likely from ancient Akan or Benin.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve asked yourself the daily question “Where EXACTLY in Africa are my roots?”  While we’ll never know the exact location, a general  answer would be western coastal African nations. A simple google search will supply you with this information but the museum shares certain customs that were carried across the ocean and continued in different slave states. For example, black folks from the Carolinas generally came from ancient Akan and Benin, modern day Nigeria and Ghana  and their traditions were continued in those regions of America. You’ll learn about the fusion of African customs into western societies in both North and South America. Sweet! 

Be prepared for your “gangsta” to be tested.

My absolute favorite part of my visit was exploring the civil rights exhibit which is modeled in the form of a “sit-in”. One the menu? Six forms of activism that were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement. Take the Freedom Rides for example. Those brave young men and women who risked their lives to venture into dangerous territory to bring about equality. This exhibit walks you deeper and deeper into the cost of each movement. How much would you have wagered? To what extent were you willing to go? What was your freedom worth? What sacrifices were you willing to make? It’s so easy to say what we would’ve done but you might sing a different tune once you’ve experienced this exhibit. Were you a peaceful protester alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or would you meet fire with fire in the ranks of the Black Panther Movement?

THIS OR THAT?

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If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself torn between movements? You’ll consider your family or maybe even your future. What if you die in the fight? What type of life will you grandchildren have if you don’t put an end to the bullshit today? What type of life will you have if you don’t fight for your rights? What use will your education be if the color of your skin can stop you from advancing your career and providing for your family? How far are you willing to go for your people? How badly do you want to vote? To live as a 2nd class citizen or to die fighting for quality…those were the questions.

Your voice will be heard here.

I just revel in the opportunity to speak on the many issues affecting black and brown folks in this country and abroad. Whoever had the awesome idea of placing video booths all over the museum–you da man! These were a huge hit with me. I recorded my raw feelings inside of the civil rights exhibit. Peep the video below. I never intended to post it because I was fumbling quite a bit but it’s myself and a friend answering in the most raw form to prompts within the booth…

Ooh, I got cut off but you see where I was going with it, right? My activism stems from the fact that my younger cousin was killed by police. My activism is also in honor of the many men and women who are wrongfully convicted or handed harsher prison sentences than whites who’ve committed the same crime. My activism is rooted in improving the education of our children and increasing the access to healthy foods in Black communities. I could go on for hours so I plan on adding more to my reflection during my next visit. If vlogging is not your thing…

You can contemplate in the Contemplative Court.

This photo does it absolutely no justice but this fountain puts me in a Star Trek realm where teleportation is possible and Scottie just beamed me back to the Amistad. I’m there, I’m witnessing everything first-hand, I’m thinking, I’m reflecting. I’m envisioning my ancestors…scared, lonely and fearful of what’s to come. I’m watching centuries of tears and oppression. Man, it gets deep in there. Allow yourself to feel what you’ve just experienced.

You won’t get through the entire museum in one visit.

A one day visit will scrape the surface but you won’t get it all. You’ll need to double back once the fanfare has cooled off and you’re free to move about at your leisure. I know, you want to go during opening week. It’s a big deal and you want to be a part of all the excitement BUT trust me when I say, wait a few months. Let the crowds thin a little if you’re traveling from afar and want to savor the experience.

That’s all folks! Oh, I wanted to leave you with these two really cool keepsakes I got just by riding the train and showing up to the museum. My “Dedication Day” pin and my “Celebrating A Cultural Legacy” metro card donned with the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership.

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Yawl, this weekend felt so good to be Black! Love, Peace & Afro Grease!

Feature|Founder Of N’Joy Eats & Prep Transformed Her Life Through Diet & Exercise

One super dope aspect of my wellness journey is that I’ve crossed paths with some pretty amazing women of every shade, age and faith. From the elderly women who faithfully attend their Silver Sneakers class at my gym every morning to the fit IG beauties that share their stories with the world. One of my favorite IG inspirations is Indiana based Chef Shay of N’Joy Eats & Prep. Her transformation is bomb and she inspires others to lead a healthy lifestyle through her exercise, meal prep and nutrition expertise.

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Chef Shay of N’Joy Eats & Prep

Ok, so it was so hard for me to choose the best photos because everything looks so good. These are just a few examples of Shay’s meal prep. Nutrition is so extremely important for us all but ESPECIALLY for those of us whose goal it is to lose weight. You know how the saying goes: You cannot outwork a bad diet. Like…it will never happen. You have to swap out the bad foods with better ones. You have to lower your caloric intake. If you need more proof than what I am telling you, please keep scrolling to Shay’s story below…

“When I saw the picture I not only saw the weight loss but I saw the pain and unhappiness I had been carrying for years. I had finally tapped into my JOY and I was never looking back.” – Chef Shay

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“Hi you can call me Chef Shay .I am 26 years old straight from Jersey. I’m very excited about working with Junk Fit! I am a certified nutritional advisor and chef. I began my healthy journey after dealing with some challenges in my life that rocked at my self image and happiness. I am now down 6 dress sizes, able to hold my head high, and live life the way I want to. Once I set a plan for myself and took an active role in my life; my goals began to manifest. Cooking healthy meals is fun and rewarding because I never see it as a diet. I love teaching clients and their families how to incorporate healthy eating to their lifestyles. I believe Junk Fit encompasses all that I practice and teach in my daily life. It is a platform to uplift our community by providing them with the tools and skills that will upgrade their wellness. Staying in shape is an added bonus to the lifestyle. I’ve also just recently obtained my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mental wellness definitely plays a significant role in how we treat our bodies. Exercising and eating clean can definitely benefit our cognitive perception of ourselves. I am so honored to be a part of an organization such as JUNK FIT that makes all that we teach engaging and fun!

Challenges: The first challenge was identifying why I wanted to lose weight. At first it was because I didn’t find myself pretty enough. I hated taking pictures, I hated trying on clothes, I hated my stomach etc. I thought I would be prettier and more confident if I just lost 10 lbs. I had to fall in love with myself first. I had to build on my confidence and not look for validation from other’s. I had to explore why I had chosen food as a comfort to begin with. I had chosen bad food as a comfort, because there were voids in my life .Grief and an unhealthy long term relationship were the little demons I had to address. Once I began addressing and fixing those issues, I naturally began improving. I wasn’t weighing myself anymore. All I wanted to do was be active because I love the thrill of competing and challenging my body. People gave me compliments as the weight fell off and it surprised me until I took a picture of myself. When I saw the picture I not only saw the weight loss but I saw the pain and unhappiness I had been carrying for years. I had finally tapped into my JOY and I was never looking back.

Advice: Stop investing in spanx, pills and control tops and get yourself in the gym and in the kitchen. Stop making excuses about your weight, no one cares .Being in shape is not about vanity or attention. It is about upgrading and sustaining your life, so that you can enjoy life and the experiences. No Fad Diets just start letting go of foods that do more harm than good. Much Success!”

You can keep up with Chef Shay’s inspirational journey on Facebook, Instagram and via njoyeatsandprep.com.

xo,

Jazz

My Booty Might Wobble But It Won’t Fall Down

Chile. Last week felt so good. First of all, I got my butt back into the gym full swing. Like, every single weekday (plus a quickie on Saturday) AND I doubled back on two nights to train a new client and participate in my adult volleyball league as a “free agent”. I had to include that detail cause it makes me feel sort of like a highly sought after mega athlete. Lol.

Do yall see me? I mean do yall see me though?

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I am not a football fan but it is football season so what the heck, right. Long story short, my restart is no longer a restart. I’m in this bihhh! All in. The crazy thing is I’ve always been “in“, but I wasn’t “all in” this summer. Number one, I was feeling myself. You know how you get when your body is coming together and you begin to rest on your laurels. Yeah. That’s what happened in addition to the fact that summer ’16 was the pits for me. But I’m back like I never left. Who’s with me? I’m so excited about my restart that I just can’t keep it to myself. Below, you’ll find the details of my everyday leg routine. You should also follow me on the gram where I post all my workout snippets.

By now you know there’s 2 things I don’t play about–my legs and booty.

I keep it tight or at least I try my darndest to (hence, this post’s title)! The conditioning and cardio portion of my leg workout is not for the faint at heart but it’s nothing you can’t complete or work towards. Complete with high intensity for the best burn. Keep Scrolling:

Stair runs x 3 (two flights)

20 step ups / leg (dumbells optional)

20 Box jumps (Mine are about 3 feet off the ground but go with what you're comfortable with)

40 Frog Leaps

90 sec rest
*Repeat 5 times

Why am I so leg focused? Well, because we all have our problem areas, right? My legs are where my fat likes to hide. I like to seek it out and turn it into nice firm muscle. Simple.

But let’s discuss your booty, right quick.

Are you giving it the attention it deserves? Are you giving your workouts the attention they deserve? Are you giving yourself the attention you deserve? I mean, part of why I love working out is because it makes me feel good about myself. How are you feeling about your health and wellness? Are you keeping your junk fit? If not, what’s stopping you, girl? If tidying up your wellness corner is high on your list of priorities, why haven’t you committed yet? Like, really committed. Not gym membership commitment, but gym attendance commitment. You could have a litany of reasons but it really all boils down to the fact that you haven’t prioritized it. But if you think about it, you’re useless to anyone and anything else if you haven’t first taken care of your number one player…you.

Now let’s talk about how you can rearrange some things so that you are prioritizing yourself.

  1. Let it be known that this day henceforth, you are a servant of the queendom of (insert your fictional goddess name here). Mine used to be Princess Jasmine but I’ve transitioned to “Queen Jasmine Of JUNKFIT, Mother Of Peaks & Valleys”. Lol. You ARE a queen and your kingdom is your temple. If you don’t prioritize yourself, nobody else will. Show people how serious you are about becoming healthy! Don’t let people schedule you for anything else during your workout time. Tell your hubby that he’s got to hold down the fort while you hit the gym for an hour. Trust me, once people know it’s non-negotiable, they’ll respect your hustle and it’ll become easier to commit to.
  2. Place your workouts on your calendar. If you don’t take your workouts serious enough as it is, maybe it’ll help if you write them in with reminders and maybe even a description of what you’ll be doing in the gym or even a link to a workout via my blog ;-).
  3. Don’t let yourself out of it! This is SOOOO crucial. You have the angel on one shoulder and you have the devil on the other. To work out, or not to workout…that’s the big question. Allow the angel to guide and help you reach your goals. Don’t get into the habit of talking yourself out of things that you desire in your heart. You are worth the commitment, you can reach your goals, you can lose weight, you can gain muscle, you CAN and WILL look and feel amazing if you make the right choices.
  4. Eliminate unnecessary stress. You’ve got plenty on your plate, right? So do I. The trick is that I’ve slowly but surely learned to remove myself from situations that stress me the hell out. Like, seriously. I do it without even knowing it these days. The instant I’m stressing over something stupid or something that doesn’t contribute to the grand scheme of things, I bump that sucker right out of my life. Walking papers. Gone. This way, my mind space opens up and I’m more focused at work, getting things done at phantom speed. I actually begin to do even the simplest of things more quickly and seamlessly. Take blogging, for example…things move so much more quickly and my creative juices flow when I’m not stressed. Less stress means I approach my workouts in a totally different way.
  5. Don’t feel defeated. Look, I’ve fallen off at least 3 times in my fitness journey. For one reason or another, I just could not find the time or energy to do it. But that DOES NOT mean it is okay to completely stop or give up. So you were down to 150 and you went up to 170 once you started your new job?! Lose the weight again! That’s the beauty of life. Try again!

Anyway, gals and guys, I just wanted to share with you all how lit I’m feeling after my latest restart. Feel free to slide in my comments or even my inbox (lol) if you have comments, questions or anything.

Xo,

Jazz

 

 

 

Sigh. Another Day, Another Black Child Killed By Police

The year of 30 ushered in a certain heightened awareness of 1. My biological clock and 2. The possibility of birthing a Black man when I do decide to have children . Now, that’s not to say my finances, career and love life weren’t at the forefront of my thinking because they’ve always been. The year of 30 though…it made me think long and hard about my future children and what was in store for them.  Most women, White, Black or in between,  daydream about what their children will look and sound like. What their quirks will be or what type of personality they’ll have. Some think of how they’ll educate them (me) and how to make them well-rounded and empathetic (also me). On the contrary, most, if not all, black women wonder about the safety of their children, especially young boys, in addition to all the other motherly thoughts. This is something that, in America, I find is unique to only Black and Hispanic women. That’s true for those of us who are mothers and those of us who aren’t yet. It used to be that our brothers, uncles and fathers were our main subjects of concern. Now, that circle has expanded to include women, boys and even girls as young as 12. My thoughts didn’t stop there though.

I wondered, “What can I do to counter this?”. What would be the proper course of action for lil old me? What was within my scope of power and abilities? So. Just last week my students and I organized a first responders assembly to show our appreciation and gratitude for those whose duty it is to serve and protect our community. We hosted police officers, firefighters, and soldiers.  Although the assembly was rooted in remembrance of 9/11 and those who fell on that day, it was also about cultivating safe and friendly interactions between my students and their community police.

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East Baltimore Police, Firefighters and a US Army Sergeant all devoted their time to do the WORK in our community. Bigup!

It was my idea, they loved it, I loved that they loved it, and it was all gravy. That was until one of my students pulled me aside and asked why we haven’t acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement.  My response was simple–“We will”. We most certainly will create a safe space for them to voice their outrage at what more and more feels like the slaughter of our people. Yep. We will. But I had to temper my emotions and if I’m being honest, I know it’s best for them to do the same.

Suffering a fatal gunshot wound at the hands of a police officer is a reality for Black children. It always has been–even when you’ve done nothing wrong. Even when you’re a child, playing alone in a park in broad daylight. Even if it feels like we’re villainized from birth and are herded into stereotypical categories that don’t even speak to our actual personalities or upbringing, we are the ones that must be decisive in our response to these matters. The burden falls on us to dictate how these interactions will go–it’s a matter of life or death. This is not to say that we can’t be mad. Hell, it’s not to say that we can’t be furious. It’s not to say that we won’t power through other avenues to receive justice and equality (salute to Black Lives Matter and other movers, shakers and policy makers who fight for justice daily). But we have to be smarter than ever when it comes to our children–our future. This is why it is so important that we do our part in reverse community policing.

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We gotta do our part to introduce police to our children on our terms. They should know and be familiar with our children. They should know that 13 year old Tyre was at a STEM school, that he was a boy’s boy, into bb guns, and sports. That he had hobbies that are consistent with the hobbies of millions of boys of ALL races. That Tyre and others that look, sound and act like him are human. They should know that he had his whole life ahead of him. While many of our blue brothers are in fact, doing the work, there are many of them who are not–so we have to. We have to bridge this disconnect.

I could go on and on about this. These are just a mashup of my immediate thoughts on this.I welcome thoughts and comments below. Solutions too. Sigh.

 

Get In The Game|Millennial Entrepreneurship

Once you’ve found that coveted euphoria that good credit bestows upon you, it’s time to set your sights on that dream of business ownership you’ve been having for a while. You know it’s true. If you Google ‘millennial entrepreneurship’, you’ll find countless articles and stats supporting the fact that we are thee most business-minded generation, EVER. We are popping up left and right with innovative ideas and monetizing them to the max. Whether we’re influencers on social media, app developers, bloggers, personal trainers, salon owners, boutique owners or network marketers, many of us have begun to nibble at our piece of the American pie-and for most of us, it’s the beginning of something beautiful.

Here’s why. We’re all-consumed with pursuing our passions, no matter the cost or sacrifice. I personally think that freedom to pursue your passion is a HUGE part of well-being and so do most millennials.  We’re also the first generation with access to technological platforms that make marketing as simple as 1-2-3. We live in a time where simply being your regular, likeable self, can translate into dollars…lots of them. Our beloved smartphones have made it nearly impossible to disconnect from one another so we’re super collaborative and we always jump at the opportunity to “link up”. It’s amazing, exciting, awesome and it makes me all googly-eyed when I think about how dope we are as a generation. The only barriers we face are the illusion of simplicity and the business savvy it takes to sustain our businesses ideas. A small business can easily turn into an expensive hobby if you have no real clue what you’re doing. Yeah, its super cute to say “I’m an entrepreneur” but it’s another thing to actually get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

That brings me to why I decided to write this post. I wanted to share with you all the Small Business Workshop series hosted by Operation Hope’s Baltimore team. Of course, I’m signed up and ready to get it in and I want you guys to have access to this resource. They’re hosting a FREE 12 week Entrepreneurship Training from June 9th to August 25th. They’ll be covering feasibility, market research and development, advertising, capital, financial statements, business plans, suppliers, distribution and credit. I’m so excited I could just pass out! EEEEK! I mean, I’ve researched, and programs like this could easily run you $2,500-$3,000 and this is all FREE! They’ve partnered with several banks and financial institutions to bring us the hard facts that are “need-to-know” for business owners. They also offer free home ownership and credit repair programs. Did I mention that they’re FREE?! Oh.

Sign up with Robin at robin.haynes@operationhope.org or call her at (443) 488-0126

Don’t say I didn’t put you on!

-Jazz

 

Life Lessons: Because I Know Second Chances Are Rare, I Am Not Afriad

Big risks have their rewards. I’m not talking about running a stop sign to make it to the movies on time. No. That is dumb and dangerous. I’m talking about investments, career changes, love, etc. You know, life things. I want to take a moment to acknowledge my own risks and to encourage those who might be on the edge of jumping. You can never know where a road will lead to, unless you take steps to explore it, right? In my case, there were a series of abrupt pushes that led me to my big leap. Risk
On recognizing the need for a drastic change in direction: It was the 3rd installment of lay-offs in the 3 ½ years I had been at HOT 97. I thought it was just a customary process…until it was my turn. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just come from a doctor’s appointment and was smitten to have missed the first half of the work day. I strolled in leisurely with my box braids plopped in a bun atop my head. I was wearing a silk, hot pink blouse from J. Crew and my new Jessica Simpson wedges. I was feeling easy, breezy, beautiful and LAZY. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything and I do think I made that quite clear to my constituents in the preceding months. I was like one of those stubborn mules that had been overworked and at a certain point just refused to budge. Anyway, when I walked in the office, my boss skipped his normal salutations and directed me to HR. I knew what was up. “Could it be?” I thought to myself. “Am I getting laid off?” It was quick and painless. I think I dropped a few tears for the memories but that was it. I was sooooooo over the work I was doing there. The truth is I had known I wanted something different for myself for quite some time, but I failed to go for mine. I lingered for a bit, said my goodbyes and proceeded to the exit. For the sake of this article, I’ll say it was the cliff. For that is where I expanded my wings and began to fly.

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On recognizing and seizing the opportunity: The first person I spoke to was my mother. “Mommy, they laid me off.” Her reaction is something that will stick with me forever. “Congratulations!” she cried. “I’m so happy for you!” she said. You know how babies sometimes cry and you can do a weird and silly face to shock them and it will stop their tears in their tracks? That was precisely my reaction. I had complained a million times about feeling unfulfilled to her and here I was crying over what I failed to see as a blessing. This was my chance to start over. Who knew when I would be presented with the time and freedom to pursue whatever I wanted again? Who knew when I would finally act on my desires? My mother’s wisdom was probably the first beacon of light that broke through my internal darkness. I wiped my tears away and for the life of me that day, I could NOT stop smiling.

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On persevering through obstacles: Starting over was HARD. My degree was totally unrelated to what I wanted to pursue. My experience was only personal and I had a finite amount of time to bust a move before problems started to pile up. The gradient wasn’t consistently upward. If you know me, you might have gotten a distress call from me during this time. There were dips and twirls that sent me plummeting but I never hit the bottom. That’s the thing about risks. You have to see it through.

I began studying for my PT certification. That was the quickest way to get into the health arena. After getting certified, I set out to snag an entry level job where I could work in both the fitness and non-profit realms while building my training repertoire. To my surprise, there was an abundance of opportunities in that field and I actually landed a specialist position at a highly respected non-profit. From there, I sowed. I sowed and sowed and sowed until it just became automatic. Like a stylist or model loves to wear clothes, so do I love the gym and imparting my wellness knowledge on everybody and anybody. I sent out positive energy. I did things pro bono. I offered my help. I went above. I went beyond. I set out for things that many would say were out of my league. I applied for jobs that required a masters degree, I interviewed and put my best foot forward and opportunities began appearing. People began to hit me with the “I see you, Jazz.” People recommended me for things. It’s the law of the universe. What’s yours is yours. But you have to go out and get it. You have to take a risk or you will definitely take regret instead. This is only the very beginning but my risk is paying off tenfold. I feel so much better about my work. I actually go into every session and shift with a smile. I am happy to be doing the work, helping people and being of service to people in need.
My regrets? I have one. My only regret was the wait. Why did I wait so long? It wasn’t that I was a lazy person, I simply hadn’t internalized the possibilities that were there. People always told me “Stop being so hard on yourself.” I have always been my own worst critic and I had to stop that sh*t! That was like poison! You have to trust and believe in yourself. You have to believe in your goals. You have to go for yours!

What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Are you planning on stepping out on faith? When? How? Why?

Drop your stories below. I wanna hear!

xo,

Jazz

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No Pressure, No Diamonds|My Journey to Thirty!

I’ve been preparing myself to turn thirty since about twenty-five. The irony is that I didn’t realize just how young I was at that age. When you’re in your mid twenties, you think you’re in your prime. Even though so many things could be going awry, you’ve been conditioned to feel like your twenties are the best years of your life. My experience was quite the contrary.
When I say things fell apart in my twenties, I mean EVERYTHING. My college relationship fizzled out, my friends began to evolve and we grew apart, I hadn’t yet found my passion, I was navigating the toughest city on the planet which, despite all the support I had, felt lonely. I was struggling with self-esteem, confidence and depression. For these reasons and probably more that I didn’t have time to dwell upon, I call my last decade ‘the tumultuous twenties’. But you know what they say…no pressure, no diamonds.

The various pressures *we* face in our lives can cause us to become more valuable and special — especially if we use our personal difficulties, problems and experiences as teaching tools to make ourselves better and stronger and more capable. Usually, those of us who have had to cope with problems and pressures finally emerge successfully, and in the process, we unlock positive strengths and personal attributes such as fortitude, resilience and other powerful character traits as a result of being tested under difficult circumstances. There are unimaginable depths which are released or develop in people who have had to face and cope with diversities and pressures. Otherwise, we might remain shallow and superficial and have no clue of what we’re really capable of becoming and being.

I found that quote on a Yahoo Answers page and I just had to share it because it sums up my sentiments exactly. After mindful reflection I can confidently identify my thirties as my ‘diamond decade’. With everything that happened during my twenties, though it might not seem like much to someone else, I’ve been molded by those experiences. I know for a fact that I am rare and had it not been for those lessons, I would not have evolved to who I am today. 🙂
On a lighter note, my birthday turn-up was the best I’ve had in years. My Rochester and Maryland friends met up for a day at the Roots Picnic in Philly. The performances were great. My favorite was Erykah Badu and obviously, The Roots. They brought out Freeway and The Lox so you know I was in all my hood-rat glory for a solid 30 minutes. Lol. There are, however, some gripes I have about the planning. Firstly, it wasn’t a picnic because we had to trash our food and beverage at the entrance. Secondly, the food lines were a grueling 2.5 hours long. We spent a large chunk of our time acquiring nourishment in the 90 degree heat. Because of this, we missed a few artists that we really wanted to see. The next day, we met up at mi casa and enjoyed cake, drinks, food and music. I had a wonderful time with my amazing friends. I couldn’t have put together a better bunch. Check out some pics below.