I try not to go off on tangents about animal rights, fitness, going green and eating healthier. It's not my thing to start telling you horror stories and try to guilt folks into a different lifestyle. I find the most successful way to get people to want to live a healthier life is to do me. So far folks have just observed me doing my thing and curiosity caught them. But this is the one time I'm dropping some serious hints about vegetarianism. I've been one since 2004 and Pinterest has given me ideas. For someone who despises cooking, that site has made me want to prepare meals more often. If you're curious about being a vegetarian, you're welcome to check out "So you think you can be a vegetarian?" and/or download this article I wrote for the Chicago Defender newspaper in 2010. I enjoyed the interview with Roniece Weaver and Fabiola Gaines of Soul Food Pyramid.
Plenty of head nods of approval in the past couple of weeks so I'm posting five for last week, this week and next week, too. Let's get into these 15.
1. Dolmas: I don't know why it is I'm so fascinated by Pinterest for recipes because I still don't particularly enjoy cooking and I have several cookbooks collecting dust. But something about that site makes me experimental. I made a bunch of stuff for Mother's Day weekend and really enjoyed them. First up was this stuffed cabbage recipe.
2. Vegan sushi rolls: Seaweed is okay. I'm not falling on the floor over it, but I've learned to tolerate it. But I'm more amped that I can make these sushi rolls now because I would pay $8 at Loving Hut or approximately that same amount at Chi Tung since I didn't know how to create them. Now I do. I just have to get a roller so I don't have to do it by hand.
3. Vegan chocolate mousse: I'm used to eating avocado with salt and vinegar chips and in guacamole. I had no idea that they could be used to make chocolate mousse. I love the vegan chocolate pie at Loving Hut, but when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I had to try it out. I tweaked the ingredients for what I had at home, but I loved it.
It's that time again. So what am I giving the head nod of approval?
1. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries: I can't stand cooking. I've bought cookbooks and lost interest before I left the bookstore. Cooking shows make me sleepy. And I'm uninspired to cook even when I go to great restaurants. But for some bizarre reason I always want to cook something new when browsing Pinterest. I've made more new meals from perusing that site this year than I did in my entire 20s (I'm 31). Some recipes are losers and others are winners. My most recent is this strawberry recipe, and these things are delicious. Check out my version below. (Click the photo for the recipe.)
1. "Queen": I don't know how I managed to watch all of "Roots" but then missed out on this miniseries entirely. There were so many big stars in it (i.e., Halle Berry,
Raven Symone, Jasmine Guy, Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert, etc.). It took me
awhile to watch this miniseries because you have to be still long enough to
follow the plot. There were countless cringeworthy moments, but in true Alex
Haley form, he stayed true to his family roots and history. I have always
admired the amount of depth he went into to portray his ancestors. I wish more
movies (not necessarily about slavery) were out that showcased so many
African-American stars at their best all at once.
2. Sample day at Whole Foods Market: I'd been to Soul Vegetarian East restaurant and I'd had Soul Vegan at different vegan events, but I never really paid attention to the fact that the products are sold at Whole Foods Market. I went into one location today to grab a few items, and it was sample day. Not only was I impressed by Soul Vegan products, but I had a nice time checking out some other new foods, too.
What's up? By now my regular readers realize I completely fell off of doing the "LOL" series where I find five things that make me laugh every week. That's kind of a killjoy because anytime I laugh, I have to remember what amused me. But I still like doing these blogs every week and reminded myself of it when reading the March issue of Ebony magazine. Their "Spring Clean Your Health" recommended "Begin a gratitude journal. Keep track of what brings you the most joy." That's pretty much what I've been doing with the 2011 series "Five Things I'm Obsessed With" renamed "Five Things I'm Digging" and then the 2012 series "What are you smiling about?" But there's some stuff that doesn't make me laugh out loud. They just make me want to give somebody a round of applause or a head nod of approval so I'm switching up the flow to incorporate all three -- things that make me laugh, things I recommend reading and things that I proudly co-sign. You know from the right-hand disclaimer that there are still topics I pretty much can't touch publicly (oh do they get a write-up in my print journals!), but these are recommendations (ahem, "head nod of approval") that I think are safe ground.
I missed three LOL weekly series so there will be 15 for this week. Let's nod!
1. Drake "Started from the Bottom": I couldn't care less what anybody else says about him. He's one of the few rappers of today that I can tolerate. I think he's attractive, but I like his charisma, attitude and skill far more. (It just doesn't hurt that I like seeing him, too.) I cracked up with his friend making a reference to Alicia Keys' video "You Don't Know My Name" with the "I look way different when I'm not in my work clothes." That cashier skit was entertaining, but I love the entire video and song. But my ultimate favorite line is: "I'm a worry about me, give a f**k about you." HEAD NOD OF APPROVAL!
2. HP Envy M6 Notebook PC: I'm feeling like a cast member on "Bourne Identity" with the finger pad log-in option (it's going to make me lazy about remembering passwords though), but I am totally in love with my new notebook. I finally had to let my last one go after seven years of replacements, repairs and being loyal to Gateway, but after the letter "o" fell off in my hands, that was enough. I couldn't see putting anymore money into that notebook so I'm on to a new one. And Windows 8 is impressing me, too. I've only had this new computer for two days but I can't see how I could not like anything about it. HEAD NOD OF APPROVAL, Hewlett Packard.
3. LA Times columnist Gerrick D. Kennedy's column "Chris Brown and Rihanna: Let's Move On": I am beyond tired of hearing slick comments about Chris Brown. He made a terrible mistake at the age of 19, but what he did was no different than what other young men (or women) do when growing up in a household with exposure to abuse. People are acting like what he did was absolutely alien to the planet. Was he wrong? Dead wrong. But I was over it a couple months later. And if Rihanna is over it, I think the rest of look like absolute idiots holding a grudge for her and acting like fortune tellers. Nobody can tell whether he'll repeat his actions but him. I keep hearing females say he didn't apologize to him. What makes you so important that he should? He doesn't know you. Never met you. He owes you nothing. He volunteered with the Jenesse's Center. That's a huge step in the right direction. I actually asked a columnist where were her stories on Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. She claimed she wrote columns about them but I never got a link nor do I see even an ounce of anger directed at the latter two celebrities the way I do Breezy. Let it go. HEAD NOD OF APPROVAL to Kennedy for his second article I agree with on the Rihanna and Chris Brown situation. Let them live. It's hypocritical to bully someone who you think is a bully and solves nothing. If anything you both leave pissed off. He's mad people won't let a four-year-old topic go. You're mad that he managed to win awards, sell records and get Rihanna back. And guess what? If you spent even half that amount of energy on your own life, you'd be a much happier person. If her family is still angry, I 100% understand but don't agree with them meddling either (unless there's a second incident of abuse). They have a right to be defensive of her. But the rest of us are here to be fans of the music.
I completed a post about this for 2011 so I'll keep it going for this year, too. I started on Saturday night, Dec. 14, and finished at 3:51 a.m. on December 30.
ACTORS (ALSO HANDSOME MEN ~ "EYE CANDY" SOUNDS SEXIST)
1. Idris Elba
2. Ian Somerhalder
3. Michael Ealy
4. Denzel Washington
5. Ryan Gosling
6. Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def, equally excellent rapper and actor)
7. Hugh Laurie
8. Omar Epps
9. Rick Gonzalez
10. Richard Gere (I love those squinty eyes)
11. Brad Pitt (without the beard and the bizarre Chanel No. 5 commercial)
12. Robert Downey Jr. (I love everything he's in)
13. Don Cheadle
14. Lance Gross
15. Terrence Howard
16. Robert Pattinson
17. Columbus Short
18. Laurence Fishburne (Handsome guy in "Higher Learning" and "School Daze")
19. Mekhi Phifer
20. Taye Diggs
21. Michael B. Jordan (the actor, not the athlete)
1. Phylicia Rashad
2. Nia Long (I was so happy when she tweeted to me about my lucky day)
3. Sanaa Lathan
4. Erika Alexander
5. Meagan Good
6. Gabrielle Union
7. Taraji Henson
8. Dana Owens (aka Queen Latifah)
9. Regina King
10. Jasmine Guy
11. Zoe Saldana
1. "Thursday Night Book Club" (based on original work "A Friend in Need" by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge [Literary Arts Society])
1. Karen Siplin
2. Langston Hughes
1. Blistex Lip Medex (the only chapstick I use)
2. Bonne Bell lipLITES clear gloss
3. Cover Girl Professional natural lash mascara
4. Fashion Fair "Dark Brown" lip liner
5. Iman "Brass" lipstick
6. Posner Luxe Lids Eyeshadow Chocolate Collection 45001
BOOKS (OUTSIDE OF MINE)
1. "Wolves: Capturing the Natural Spirit of these Incredible Animals" by Shaun Ellis and Monty Sloan
2. "Hot Cripple" by Hogan Gorman
3. "I Got This" by Jennifer Hudson
4. "I Suck at Girls" by Justin Halpern
5. "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now" by Toure
6. "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey" by Walter Mosley
1. Loving Hut restaurant
2. The New 400 Theater
1. Kevin Hart
2. Chris Rock
3. Bernie Mac (R.I.P.)
4. Jamie Foxx
5. Whitney Cummings
6. Betty White ("Off Their Rockers" was gold because of her; talk show interviews are always funny, too)
1. Jennifer Lopez purple dress (on homepage slideshow)
2. Daisy Fuentes green and blue dress (on homepage slideshow)
3. Camel 4" boots
4. Black sweater dress (My mother's old dress that I'm rocking the hell out of at the age she used to wear it)
1. Runaway Potato at Loving Hut
2. Spicy BBQ at Loving Hut
3. Lemon Tofu at Loving Hut
4. California Rolls at Chi Tung
5. Thai Fried Rice with tofu at Chi Tung
6. Crab Rangoon at Chi Tung
7. Filet o' Fish at McDonald's (Yes, I realize this makes me a pescatarian)
8. Market Pantry russet boiled potatos
9. Archer Farms salt and vinegar chips
10. Archer Farms blue corn with flaxseed chips
11. Macaroni & Cheese (Mom's at Thanksgiving)
12. Dressing (Mom's at Thanksgiving)
13. Collard Greens (vegan version)
14. Sweet potato baked potatoes
15. Sweet potatoes (Mom's at Thanksgiving)
16. Market Pantry baked potatoes with margarine and imitation bacon bits
17. The reaction at work to my vegetarian chili (Cooking isn't my favorite thing to do but I totally enjoy it when people like what I make)
18. Pittman & Davis lemon squares
19. Vegetarian lasagna (I only eat lasagna at Christmas; it's a tradition)
20. Chocolate mint tea with soy milk and green or brown tea from Argo Tea
21. Garbanzo/chick pea salad from Argo Tea
22. Fresh croissants from Argo Tea
23. Quaker Snack Mix (Baked Cheddar Flavor)
24. Vegetarian platter from Boston Market (mashed potatoes, cornbread, vegetable stuffing, green beans sweet potato casserole)
25. Vegetarian bacon strips (MorningStar Farms)
26. Vegetarian Chik Patties Original (MorningStar Farms)
27. Vegetarian Original Sausage Patties (MorningStar Farms)
28. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae (Weight Watchers Smart Ones)
1. Fergie's Outspoken
2. Victoria's Secret Heavenly
3. Glade's Clean Linen candle
4. Glade's Cool Serenity candle
5. Glade's Cashmere Woods candle
6. Glade's Moonlit Walk candle
1. Hot 'N Gold Ionic Soft Jumbo Bonnet Dryer
2. Vitale relaxer
3. Vitale olive oil hair mayonnaise
4. Shea Moisture's Deep Treatment Masque
5. Sofn'free Milk, Protein & Olive Oil Strengthening Creme
1. Weight Watchers program (I lost 31 lbs. I love the Points Plus program. I'm not a member anymore, but once I mastered the nutrition and fitness guidelines I was set!)
2. Flirty Girl Fitness complimentary week of fitness classes
3. The exercise routine on "The Family Hustle" with T.I. in the health club
4. The exercise routine with Yolanda on "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"
5. The exercise routine with Shaun T on "Steve Harvey" (Eventually I'll buy "Insanity.")
6. "Diet and Exercise Diary" Hinkler journal from Barnes & Noble clearance rack
7. Shaun T's "Hip-Hop Abs" tapes (I still enjoy exercising with all of them)
8. "The Trainer's Edge: Killer Abs and Back" with Michael Olajide
9. GAIAM "Fit Body Yoga" featuring Gwen Lawrence ("Core Definition" is still the hardest one to do)
10. Weight Watchers Point Plus calculator
11. SuperTracker Food Tracker from USDA (I use it almost daily)
1. President Barack Obama
2. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
3. Harriet Tubman
4. Malcolm X
5. Frederick Douglass
6. Rosa Parks
7. Nat Turner
1. My new brown couch
2. Glade electric warmer plug-ins
3. Mavea water filter
LIQUOR (OTHER DRINKS)
1. Chocolate martini at Olive Garden
2. Godiva chocolate martini at Chi Tung
3. Whiskey sour (My favorite go-to drink since college)
4. Captain Morgan's red wine
5. Arnold Palmer Half & Half iced tea
6. Lipton ice tea
7. Bigelow green tea
8. McDonald's iced coffee (medium, no liquid sugar)
MEMORIES (HAPPY ONES ONLY)
1. My mom and I going to the NBC studio to see "Steve Harvey Show" live
2. Flirty Girl Fitness spa manicure and waxing for my birthday
3. Drinking Captain Morgan's red wine with my grandfather in his backyard (the dogs next door hate me but they behaved as long as he was around)
4. Giving up my Loving Hut boycott and going two times over my birthday vacation (still can't believe I talked my meat-loving co-worker Darcel and cousin Hareder into going)
5. Olive Garden trips with Mom (always messed up my fitness journal record but any dinner date with my mother is a good time)
6. Manicure nights at Aunt Marguerite's apartment (R.I.P. September was hard)
7. Working late night shifts after moving to the fourth floor and a management change (I love the night shift and would never work a day shift in my life if I could help it. I was very cool with the management change and like my new floor better, too.)
8. Visiting the Black Ensemble Theatre for the first time to see "The Marvin Gaye Story: Don't Talk About My Father Because God Is My Friend" for my mother's birthday
9. Showing up to work to see a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my co-worker Jenniffer after my great great aunt passed; I was not expecting that at all.
10. Going to my brother's Halloween birthday party; I had a great time, saw a bunch of his in-laws that I hadn't seen in years and enjoyed terrorizing one of my cousins, too.
11. Cutting up all of my store and regular credit cards (The Frontline episode about how much credit card companies scam you really woke me up. I have been far more disciplined with my spending and am actually paying off cards instead of increasing balances.)
12. Being so loyal to walking Faith anytime I visit my parents' house that I went out with two-inch heels on while it was storming, grabbed my umbrella and a thick coat, and still walked that dog (who stopped at every single tree and pole) on Thanksgiving night
13. Getting the birthday card in the mail from my brother with us as kids that said, "I got your back" on the inside. I thought that was pretty cool and I wasn't expecting a card at all because he's not usually a card sender. He sent two. (In my defense, I swear it looked like a stuff monkey!)
14. My boss reenacting what it's like to walk a family member's dogs (She's funny regardless but she's even funnier when she tells a story.)
15. Reading "Keeping the Promise"; I miss Mr. Ellison. I've worked with a lot of PR reps but he was the most efficient, polite and fascinating to talk to about his own writing history. R.I.P. I'd read everything he ever wrote.
16. Making the November page in my mother's 2013 photo calendar. I made one side super silly photos of us and the other pretty photos, but the silly photos are the best ones (IMO). My favorites: Her puckering her lips out and me hiding in a box.
17. Surprise visit from my brother-from-another-mother Shuntal at Christmas. I haven't seen him in person in at least eight or nine years. It was very good to see him although he came for other circumstances.
18. Hanging out with my cousin Yolanda on Christmas Eve. I never see her on Christmas, only Thanksgiving, and I really had a good time catching up with her.
19. Catching up with my old girl scout leader Lela (won't include last name) is always fun. I was a girl scout from the age of 9-14 but I have made a point of staying in contact with her. She's hilarious and always a pleasure to be around.
20. My grandfather accusing me of biting my dog on a calendar photo. I told him Faith nuzzled up to my face. His response? "Well, somebody's got to initiate the kiss."
21. Surprising Aunt Marguerite with a visit from my grandfather for her second 100th birthday party (Doesn't a centenarian deserve two parties? I think so!) Click here to see the video of some friends and family singing to her.
22. Setting up my cousin Hareder's website for a pageant (I learned a lot more about her and enjoyed reading her responses to FAQs. It was educational and far more enjoyable to create than I expected.)
23. The look of shock when I saw the guy who came to pick up my old couch from a Craigslist posting. Man, he was cute. I never told him that, but I was equally impressed seeing him in a suit the second time around when he came to get the throw pillows that I didn't need.
24. The look of appreciation from the mother and daughter who picked up the Taylor Lautner umbrella and blanket I gave away on Craigslist.
25. Seeing Al Green live at Ravinia (I'd never been to that concert before; it was cool even on the lawn)
26. Christmas card from Georgia B. every year (I'll always enjoy hearing from the family, and it makes me think of grandmother every time)
27. Getting a call from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois as the first Go Red Fan of the Week winner for the "It's Heart Awareness Month" competition; It was for my photo with Faith (with me wearing a red sweater) and I won a gift card.
1. "Think Like a Man"
3. "Breaking Dawn (Part 2)"
4. "The Notebook"
5. "Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story"
6. "Crazy, Stupid, Love"
7. "Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned"
8. "Justin Timberlake: Futuresex/Loveshow"
9. "Friends With Benefits"
10. "Higher Learning" (my favorite movie for two decades)
11. "Love Jones" (timeless movie)
12. "Something New" (Made me a Sanaa Lathan fan for the first time)
13. "Iron Man"
14. "Iron Man 2"
17. "Flight" (Ecstatic to see John Goodman in a recent film)
MUSIC (singles and artists)
1. Afroflow "Call Us By Name"
2. Afroflow "Ethiopia (Everything Will Be All Right)"
3. Afroflow "It Makes You Feel Good"
4. Afroflow "My Element"
5. Afroflow "Warrior's Rhythm"
6. Akon "I Wanna Love You"
7. Akon "Mama Africa"
8. Akon feat. T-Pain "I Can't Wait"
9. Akon "Rain"
10. Al Green and Queen Latifah "Simply Beautiful"
11. Andre 3000's verse on T.I.'s "Sorry"
12. Beyonce "4" album
13. Bob Marley "Waiting in Vain"
14. Bob Marley "One Love"
15. Bob Marley "Three Little Birds"
16. Bob Marley "Redemption Song"
17. Bob Marley "Satisfy My Soul"
18. Bob Marley "Turn the Lights Down Low"
19. Bob Marley "Jammin'"
20. Brad Paisley "Alcohol"
21. Brad Paisley "Ticks"
22. Brad Paisley "Waitin' On a Woman"
23. Brad Paisley "Oh Yeah, You're Gone"
24. Brad Paisley "The Pants"
25. Brad Paisley "I'm Still a Guy"
26. Brandy "Two Eleven" album
27. Brandy "Afrodisiac" album
28. Brandy and Monica "It All Belongs to Me"
29. Bruno Mars "The Lazy Song"
30. Chris Brown "Fortune" album
31. Chris Brown "Marvin's Room" on "Boy in Detention"
32. Damian Marley "Move"
33. Damian Marley "Mr. Marley"
34. David Banner "Malcolm X (A Song to Me)"
35. David Banner "Swag Remix" from "Sex, Drugs & Video Games"
36. David Essex "Rock On"
37. Drake "Comeback Season"
38. Drake "Take Care" (the single)
39. Elle Varner's "Perfectly Imperfect" album
40. Finatticz "Don't Drop That Thun Thun"
41. Fugees "Killing Me Softly"
42. Frank Ocean "Thinking About You"
43. Game feat. Meek Mills "Scared Now" (Sometimes it's hard to shake a ratchet song.)
44. Herbie Hancock "Chameleon"
45. Herbie Hancock "St. Louis Blues"
46. Herbie Hancock "Watermelon Man"
47. Ice Cube's verse on "You Gotta Lotta That"
48. Ice Cube "Hood Mentality"
49. J. Cole "Can't Get Enough"
50. J. Cole and Drake "In the Morning"
51. Jay-Z "Dig a Hole"
52. John Legend "Green Light"
53. John Legend feat. Pusha T on "Tonight"
54. Jerrod Niemann "What Do You Want"
55. Justin Bieber feature on "Ladies Love Me" from Chris Brown's "Boy in Detention"
56. Luther Vandross "I'm Only Human"
57. Maino "That Could Be Us"
58. Marcus Canty "Won't Make a Fool Out of You"
59. Marvin Gaye -- anything by him
60. Mary J. Blige "Someone to Love Me"
61. Mary J. Blige "Just Fine"
62. Michael Jackson "Butterflies"
63. Michael Jackson "Stranger in Moscow"
64. Miguel "Adorn"
65. Nas "Life Is Good" (album)
66. RaVaughn "Same ol BS"
67. Rihanna "Unapologetic"
68. Sade "Love Is Stronger than Pride"
69. T-Pain "Five o' Clock"
70. T.I. feat. Cee lo "Hello"
71. T.I. "Wonderful Life"
72. T.I. "Hallelujah"
73. Timbaland feat. Drake "Say Something"
74. The Game "Scared Now" (Every blue moon I grow attached to a ratchet song.)
75. Usher "Looking 4 Myself" (album)
76. Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos) -- anything by him
77. Young Jeezy "I Do"
1. "Adam Lanza, and others who committed mass shootings, were white males"
2. President Obama speaking up about gun control
3. Clarence Page's Page from the Tribune
4. "The Rachel Maddow Show"
5. "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell
6. Anderson Cooper and his "Ridiculist"
7. BET's "Don't Sleep" with T.J. Holmes
1. "Harlem Sweeties" by Langston Hughes
1. Election night 2012 in the Tribune's newsroom
2. Pres. Obama crying while thanking his campaign team in Chicago
3. Chicago Tribune's Election Center updates on Election night
4. Chicago Tribune's Local Election updates on Election night
5. Bill Clinton's "brass" speech during Obama's campaign (I was too young to realize how fascinating and intelligent a speaker he was when he was president; I get it now)
1. "Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance." -Samuel Johnson
2. "Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is not." -Henry Van Dyke
3. "A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." -Author Unknown
4. "Your eyes tell more than your mouth can maneuver." -Shamontiel (I made it up in college)
5. "Home is where the beach is." -Author Unknown
6. "Keep smiling. It makes everyone wonder what you have been up to." (Sign I took from my grandmother's home when she passed away)
1. Power 105's The Breakfast Club (interviews ONLY, DJ Envy is the only cool one)
2. Big Boy's Neighborhood
3. Herb Kent on V103
4. Boolu Master mixes
1. Up & Up cocoa butter lotion (deep conditioning)
2. Caress' Endless Kiss (Creamy Vanilla & Sandalwood) soap
3. Caress' Evenly Gorgeous soap
4. Caress' Sheer Twilight soap
5. Nadinola's cocoa butter cream
6. Tropic Sun Aloe Vera Gel
7. Suave Cocoa Butter with Shea lotion
1. Shopkick app (The Smartphone coupons really do work; just scan at checkout)
2. T-Mobile® myTouch® Q - Black
3. Instagram phone app
1. "The Vampire Diaries" (only after Damon allegedly sired Elena and every scene with Klaus and Rebekah)
3. "Love You Mean It"
4. "Joan & Melissa" (I cry laughing at the medical marijuana episode when they jumped in fully clothed.)
5. Luther on "Key & Peele"
6. Tyler Perry's "For Better or Worse"
8. "Sleeper Cell"
9. "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" (The other season extras are entertaining)
10. "Common Law"
13. "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (favorite episode is Jimmy [Drake] on the roof with Hazel when he gave her the necklace)
14. "Friends" (The turkey "I love you" episode with Monica)
15. "Ally McBeal"
16. "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
18. "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell" (I was ecstatic to see Yasiin Bey on the episode about Superstorm Sandy)
19. Jamie Foxx on "Ellen" with the horse/black woman impersonation and talking about black women holding back while dancing
20. "The Steve Harvey Show" (The microphone boy is my favorite episode!)
21. Gloria for calling out Bambi on a wolf ticket on "Basketball Wives LA" and for staying on her work hustle and out of the cattiness that is that show (I can't tolerate the Miami version at all even though Jennifer is cool)
22. "House" (I laugh every time House dances with that beatbox and his cane)
23. "Roseanne" (I tear up every time Darlene does that poem for her class)
24. "The Golden Girls" (Fav episode: Dorothy and the Secret Service agent with the jewelry thiefs)
25. "The Cosby Show" (I own all eight seasons)
26. "A Different World" (When will they release the other seasons?)
1. Men who wear their pants at a regular size (no extra sagging baggy jeans and absolutely no sagging skinny jeans)
2. Men who keep their haircut neat (Even if you're rocking dreadlocks, keep them neat)
3. Men who keep their facial hair neat (Still a big fan of short goatees)
4. Tall men (I wish I could shake this one because it's so superficial, but I've always been a magnet for tall guys. I don't know what's up with 5'11" to 6"5 men but that's who I end up dating at least 95% of the time.)
5. Men with smooth, full lips (I still laugh out loud remembering the time my godmother Sheila yelled out, "I can't take it! Give him some chapstick!" at the screen when Wood Harris was on "Not Easily Broken.")
6. Men who like to smell nice (body oil, cologne, whatever, just a nice fragrance)
7. Smooth skin (I don't have a complexion preference. I've dated guys who were Bizzy Bone's complexion and then went straight to Morris Chestnut's complexion, but a smooth shave is sexy.)
8. Men who enjoy smiling and have nice teeth (ex. Morris Chestnut, Idris Elba, Taye Diggs)
1. Men with full-time steady employment (I have no interest in grown-up dependents. I have been supporting me for a decade, but can you support yourself?)
2. Men who care about their health (If you think HIV/AIDS isn't real, have never been tested and randomly have unsafe sex, please keep your suicidal body away from me. When a guy doesn't care about his own health, there's 100% chance he couldn't care less about yours, ladies.)
3. Men who know there's a time and place (and a level) for PDA (If you're grabbing a woman's butt in public, stick to chickenheads.)
4. Men with positive role models in their lives (You can tell a lot about a man by how his father treats his mother [or stepmother] and how often his father was in his life. And just because a woman gave birth to you doesn't make her a great human being. Watch how he treats his mother and how she treats other men. You'll learn how he feels women should treat men from that, too.)
5. Men with their names on their leases (I'm too grown to deal with somebody's roommate and I haven't dated a guy who lives with his Mom since I was 20.)
6. Men who like to be active/eat healthy (I've never dated a vegetarian [although I am one] but because I'm so adamant about regular exercise and eating healthy, it's cool to meet guys with equal mindsets. Guys I've dated have always been either athletic or into health.)
7. Men who own their own cars (Men with no cars think everyone is their taxicab, love to tell you where to go and never pay for parking. I tried being open-minded about this with two guys who had suspended licenses. It got old very quickly. It still boggles my mind at the guys I meet with no cars who are offended by public transportation. Buy a CTA pass and stop freeloading on everybody else's gas.)
8. Men who understand and follow the motto that the words "woman" or "lady" are not synonymous with "bitch" or "ho." They're two different groups of people. Listen to Jay-Z's song "Bitches versus Women." I agree with it.
9. Men who spend wisely (If you want to splurge, that's your business but please do something else with your money besides budget for strippers, weed, jewelry and video games. Savings accounts, 401(k) and CDs help you create a future.)
10. Men who like to read for fun (Newspapers [besides the sports section], books, magazines [something other than just entertainment articles])
11. Men who respect individuality (I applaud the Drakes of the world who will look at an industry and still be themselves instead of the carbon copy of what they think other people want them to be. Just be you. Somebody will appreciate it sooner or later.)
12. Men who realize a date means going to a place where neither of us are looking at our own furniture, our own food or our own porch. You're a grown up. Leave the couch.
13. Men with manners ("Please," "thank you," "excuse me" and "after you" never hurt anyone.)
14. Men who believe in monogamy (I've never caught any guy I was dating cheating, but I've heard too many horror stories. If you plan on having sex with multiple women, save her the waste of time and energy. Date; don't be in a relationship. And don't even bother to ask me to date you if you have a girlfriend or wife. It'll never happen.)
15. Men who do not use the word "nigger" or "nigga" like it's a compliment. (It will never be and both men and women sound absolutely disrespectful every time they say it. The meaning has not changed. Expand your vocabulary. And I say this from the perspective of someone who used to argue about how it was okay to use it. NMU changed that.)
16. Men who can fix things, especially mechanics or appliance repair people (I swear blue collar jobs like this are so underrated. I totally respect white collar jobs, but men who can fix things are great people.)
17. Men who are laid-back (I'm not the most nonchalant person in the world so I tend to shy away from other people who are glued to drama. The best relationships I've been in were with guys who preferred peace over looking for beef, and we parted on good terms and occasionally stayed in touch over the years.)
18. Men who know who the hip-hop pioneers are and actually respect them
19. Men who can beatbox (Maybe it's because I'm a fan of old school but my eyes bug out every time I hear a guy start beatboxing.)
20. Men who like to dance (Whether you're a natural like Chris Brown, groove like 2 Chainz or just two-stepping like Jay-Z, as long as you can keep the rhythm, we're good to go. I like to see a guy let down his guard and just snap on the dance floor though.)
21. Men who aren't the jealous type (Protective does not mean paranoid, and "platonic friendship" actually does happen. Don't let negativity overpower you.)
22. Men who have a sense of humor (If you are funny, you will always be a step above any other guy I'm looking at. And if you make faces just to make me laugh, I will adore you even more.)
3. Ada's Student Etsy store (also on my Mom's website)
6. iHeart Comedy Radio
8. AOL Listening Party
9. AOL Online Radio
10. Project Playlist
13. Chicago Tribune's Health page (Yes, I update it therefore I am 100% biased)
14. Chicago Tribune's Travel page (Yes, I update it therefore I am 100% biased)
15. McDonald's Full Menu Food Tracker (Easier to eat healthy and know what you eat)
16. The Good Men Project
YOUTUBE (OTHER) VIDEOS
1. Drake's interview with Katie Couric
2. DMX sings "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
3. President Obama sheds a tear after being reelected
4. Brandy's "Put It Down" video with Chris Brown
5. Obama's Kiss Cam video
6. "The Unexpected" sorority step routine on "Awkward Black Girl" (start at 2:28)
7. "Think Like a Man" cast talks about battle with the sexes
8. "Think Like a Man" cast with Regina Hall acting a fool
9. Tijuana Jackson interviews "Think Like a Man" cast
10. Jamie Foxx on Saturday Night Live as a Ding Dong
I read a few reviews on Netflix about this film and it was labeled "life changing." If I hadn't already seen films like "Food, Inc." and wasn't already a vegetarian, then this film might've been jaw dropping for me but most of the stuff in this film I knew already. That doesn't mean it was any less of an enjoyable film. I would recommend it to anyone who ridicules a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, in addition to those who just enjoy healthy eating. Some of the interviews within this film struck a nerve. I've personally dealt with a couple of doctors who wanted me to take medicine because I was a vegetarian (B12, multivitamins, Vitamin D) but only one doctor of the three told me about other ways to get more Vitamin D without sending me to the pharmacy. I like that this film didn't give all doctors a bad reputation. I'd recommend my current doctor nonstop but I've had others who couldn't wait to prescribe a pill. The woman who talked about her doctor's response to her diabetes after she dropped all that weight and reversed diabetes is a prime example.
I was also pleased that this film talked about low-carb diets. It's true that Asian foods are heavy on carbs but don't pack on the same weight that American foods do (mainly fast food and packaged food). When the film got to the part about why it is that some overeat (the three stomach example), I thought that was the strongest part of the whole film. I did wonder about why the heavy amount of sodium in so many Asian foods wasn't covered, but I still wonder why that's not more of a focus on weight-loss programs like Weight Watchers.
Some women are uncomfortable about telling their age, but I'll shout it to Maui and back. Being a year older means I'm another year wiser, stronger and able to enjoy it. I learned some things in my 20s that make me a better person in my very early 30s, and my birthday (Veteran's Day, 11/11) weekend mixed with my 10-day vacation is turning out to be even better than I expected.
I usually add five things per week, but I'll just keep adding to this blog (for this week) to make it 20 (for the rest of November -- the end of this week, my vacation week, Thanksgiving week and the week after) so check back later if you're interested in the rest.
1. Birthday calls, cards, songs and messages on my 31st birthday: Some women are into diamonds and shoes. I'm much more into cards and quality time. Diamonds and shoes don't even come close to how much more appreciated I feel when I'm listening to someone sing (completely off key) "Happy Birthday" on my voicemail or I get a print card in the mail (Facebook messages and tweets are cool, but I hoard all of my letters and birthday/graduation/holiday cards). So thanks to all of the folks who remembered my birthday and called (bonus if you sang), FB messaged me, texted me, set up "birthday dates" on my birthday and for the rest of this week, and ultra thank you's to anyone who gave me a birthday card (and gifts).
2. Pink nail manicure: I never paint my fingernails. I buff them, file them and make sure they're clean, but I can't stand chipped polish so I just never paint them. I can't stand fake nails so that's out of the question. Funny because I am persistent about my toenails always being polished and neat, and that's even when I'm not wearing open-toed shoes. But I decided to go ahead and get my nails polished when I got a manicure this weekend at Flirty Girl Fitness. My nail technician Veronica (with a "k" when she feels like it) was really pleasant and I enjoyed talking to her about freelancing and writing before I got to the Trib. I wish her the best in her writing, too. She hooked my nails up so pretty that I keep staring at them. I didn't even want to wash dishes this weekend for fear I'd mess them up, but they're still cute.
Been a minute. Plenty to grumble about but the point of this blog is to remind myself about things I've smiled about. I missed last week so here's 10 instead of five.
1. Ma Po Tofu at Lao Sze Chuan: The spices on the food still kill my stomach, but I love it. I haven't been to Chinatown in a couple of years (although I've eaten a lot of Asian food at other locations) so it was cool celebrating someone's birthday there yesterday afternoon. The food and service were great for both of us.
2. Jennifer Lopez purple dress: Retail therapy is something else, and I got a beautiful dress from Kohl's for a great sale price today. I know retail therapy can hurt your wallet, but new clothes do something for women who get into style. I can't wait to wear this dress any place I can think of. I like it almost as much as my Daisy Fuentes blue and green dress. Almost.
3. Kohl's Cash: Yeah, NY & CO has City Cash, but it takes so long to use it that I usually forget about it. For every $50, you get $10 from Kohl's and you don't have to buy something else to use it. You spend it like you would a regular gift card or cash. I got two today from my retail therapy session and finally got a new watch after I'd torn mine all up at Great America (scratches from falling during Fright Night), dying battery and fading silver. I loved the watch, but it was time to get something new.
4. Silver and blue watch: I love my new watch. It goes with my blue jeans and since I wear so much gray, it looks nice with that, too. I don't want my whole list to be materialistic, but I'm feeling the shopping trip I just went on.
This week was rough. A couple other issues happened, but the third and most important issue was seeing my great great aunt in a nursing home on Saturday. Whenever you see a loved one in a nursing home who you know despises nursing homes and doesn't look as phenomenal as she usually does, that can tear your heart apart. It temporarily makes me rethink about my stubborn attitude when it comes to having zero interest in motherhood. You kinda want someone to be around to take care of you, but then I rethink that and think of all of the relatives who came around to see this family member who aren't her children. You don't have to have kids to have someone take care of you when you're older. Then again, a couple of things I smiled about this week wouldn't have happened had my parents not had me so...um, yeah, no plans for children but it's making my arms fold a little looser on the topic.
And through it all, I still found things to smile about.
1. Hanging out in Grandad's backyard: For over 60 years, my grandfather was a smoker. I didn't know much about second-hand smoke, but I did know that every time he went outside to smoke on the back porch, I'd run under his heels and balance myself on the porch rail so I could be right next to him. He hasn't smoked in a couple of decades now. This time around I spent the weekend at his house just to clear my mind. Some people get massages. Some get manicures and pedicures. Some have girls' nights out. Me? I go to Grandad's. It is the best place to clear my mind. On Friday, we hung around, ate watermelon, laughed at episodes of "Roseanne," went to our favorite Asian food restaurant for dinner. I spent the night and, on Saturday afternoon (after visiting my great great aunt with my mother), my grandfather and I got two lawn chairs and sat in his backyard drinking Mogen David Classic American Wine Concord and talked about politics, relationships, family and how weeds are tearing up his backyard. I even left with a big bag full of collard greens, tomatoes and banana peppers from his garden. He's better than the grocery store!
2. Angela Davis autobiography recognition: A guy walked by me last week while I was reading Angela Davis' autobiography. He stopped to ask how far I'd gotten into the book and gushed about how much he enjoyed it. Now normally this wouldn't be something that would've caught my attention so much, but the guy was white. Yes, that may sound close-minded, but I just wasn't ready for all of the compliments and the look of admiration he had for her. It made me want to dig through this book that much quicker because from what I've read, she's had quite a few problems with dealing with people being racist to her so I wondered if other cultures would relate the same. I know far too many people who are too close-minded to read "The Autobiograpy of Malcolm X" to find out where Malcolm X was coming from so I expected the attitude to be the same way about Angela Davis. It is not. I couldn't be happier to hear that. I haven't finished the book yet, but it's due this week so I better hurry up.