Hello there! In 2011, I did a weekly blog called "Five things I'm digging" (originally "Five things I'm obsessed with" after copying off of Andy Cohen on Bravo). In 2012, I did a weekly blog called "What are you smiling about?" because I wanted to keep it just as positive. Plus, I love the sign on my dining room wall that says, "Keep Smiling. It Makes Everyone Wonder What You Have Been Up To" that I kept after my grandmother's passing. Whether it's just me or the daily visitors (thanks for visiting, by the way, sometimes I wonder why my visits are so high on certain days), the blog is therapeutic and forces me to take note of things I've enjoyed during the week instead of ranting about things that irritate me. Not sure what I'll do in 2013, but it's got to be some way to force me to remember the most positive moments.
Anyway, here's my last one for 2012 (and I missed last week so I'm doing ten). Count 'em down!
1. Surprise Christmas visit: Although he came to Chicago for a more serious reason than the holidays, I was very happy to see my brother-from-another-mother Shuntal over the holidays. It was fun catching up and debating with him (as usual). I'd chatted with him through the years but hadn't physically seen him since I was in college (approximately nine years ago). It was cool to see him and my brother still friends after all these years.
2. Hanging out with my cousin Yolanda on Christmas Eve: I usually see her at Thanksgiving, never Christmas, so it was different and fun to see her this time around. She's entertaining, to say the least, and I enjoyed our late night Chinese food run.
3. My brother keeping the Christmas tradition going: Christmas is technically midnight on the dot, and since we were kids, we always opened gifts at midnight. I fell off and didn't watch the time. My brother wasn't playing around and called me out on it. Even as fully grown folks, we love gifts. So buy us some. *laughing*
1. Dreams fulfilled:
Around October I started brainstorming on things I wanted to accomplish (and I blogged about it), and the more I think about it, the more I come up blank. I've done everything
I wanted to do. Part of the reason I was able to do so much is because my attention is so incredibly short. As soon as I learn to do something, I very rarely want to do it anymore. I wanted to publish a book. I wrote two. Done. Sold both. No interest in writing another. I wanted to design nails. Did it. I wanted to design T-shirts. Did it. Ceramics. Did it. Go to college. Did it. Grad school. Did it and was bored halfway through so I left
. Live in another state. Did it twice for four years. Learn to play the saxophone. Did it. Learn to play the piano. Did it. (I suck at the piano now and have no clue whether I still remember how to play the alto sax now but I was decent as a kid.) Visit Hawaii
. Done. Hang out in Canada. This wasn't even a goal of mine (it was my mother's graduation gift) but my gawd I loved it there. I've literally had 21 different jobs and none of them were like the last job. Most were seasonal jobs or college jobs or part-time/temp work, but there is no industry I haven't worked in that I wanted to. While some go their whole lives without hitting up their bucket list, I did all of mine. I smile because of it, but I'm also a bit restless wondering why I can't think of anything else I really want to do. I never wanted children. I'm indifferent about marriage. So from a family perspective, I'm content with the life I live and the freedom I've always had. So my smile for this is more of a half-smile because I want to find more things to dig around doing. The other side of my mouth smiles remembering how much fun I had doing all of this stuff though so I'm still grinning about it, especially that Hawaiian vacation
. 2. Lincoln:
I kept trying to convince people to see this movie with me but heard excuses about it being 2 1/2 hours long, the weather outside, blah blah blah. Finally I went to see it on my own today and it was pretty good. Mind you it really is raining hard outside and it's kinda cold and it was freezing in the theater and I bought a lemonade which made me colder, but I was determined to see this film. History was not my favorite subject and I memorized social studies topics long enough to pass a test so a lot of the characters I either never knew or just don't remember, but Daniel Day-Lewis
did a great job playing our second president. Click here
for the review.
1. Kevin Hart's ex-wife's BBWLA spoof: Call me a terrible person but I laughed hard as ever watching this spoof that Kevin Hart's ex-wife Torrei did. I really should stop watching "Basketball Wives LA" but it's just so horrifying and funny at the same time. (The Miami version makes me mad for real so I toned it down on that show. I can't handle Tami or Evelyn at all.) And as much as I like Malaysia, this spoof of the show was dead on. The only thing they left out was Brooke constantly talking about that damn King cover.
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.
1. Joan & Melissa:
I laughed so hard my side hurt watching this show, specifically the episode when Joan got a prescription for medical marijuana after hanging out with her daughter's boyfriend's parents. She and her friend Lynne ended up in a parking lot getting absolutely baked out of their mind. If that wasn't funny enough, the part when she got into a hot tub fully dressed and did the motorboat probably made my neighbors think I was a hyena. I'm laughing now just thinking about it again.2. Celebrating Halloween at Steve Harvey's NBC talk show studio: I kept on signing up for tickets to this show, but I thought it was going to be a lost cause like trying to get on Oprah Winfrey's show (I never did try the latter). This was great! I was glad my mother was able to come with me although I know how bananas it is at the end of the month where she works. We had a great time. Our hands hurt from clapping, but there was a lot of dancing, cameras in the audiences' faces, Ruben did a great job of keeping the audience active and although the show topics were okay (Ellen DeGeneres interview, Steve Harvey's colonoscopy and these hilarious night pillows with breasts on them), the commercial breaks were the best part of the show. When the cameras were off, that's when I really started laughing because Steve Harvey kept talking to the crowd. And he looks super fresh and super clean. I've seen him before at the Bud Billiken parade and interviewed Steve Harvey a few years ago for the Defender but his swag is on a million during the talk show.
1. My mother's Etsy account:
It took me years to convince her to finally start selling some of the hundreds of ceramics she has. She finally let go of some Halloween decor
, but when I'm able to show off her full body of work (plenty of African-American ceramic items not found in art locations or stores) that'll be the day. For now, I was happy to get notification that she made her first purchase within less than a week! There's nothing I like more about making money than being able to help close family members make money, too. 2. Ally McBeal's episode with Barry White: I love that show, but the episode with the dance routine that John did when Barry White showed up had me in tears. I love Ling, but when she starts dancing with John, I could rewind those scenes all day and not get tired of them.
I miss this show (and Barry White, too).
I'm operating off of three hours worth of sleep and nonstop running this weekend, but I did want to post this one so I don't forget for the end of the week. Here we go.
1. Presidential debate on Tuesday (10/16): Man, that was a great debate. Many issues were discussed and there was far more energy than the first debate.
2. President Obama's speech at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner: Former Governor Romney was pretty funny in parts although he looked too serious, but what cracks me up about Pres. Obama is he'll laugh at his own (or someone else's) jokes. His whole speech was funny. I watched it twice.
3. My cousin Yonnie's dance: For whatever reason, she was in full form and decided to do some crazy fist bump dance that incorporated a mix of kicks and Two Chainz style posing while we were downtown on Saturday. It was the goofiest dance I've ever seen, but what killed me about it was I could imagine some folks at a club copying off of her like that dance is for real. If it ever catches on, I'm never going to a club again!
I've had a lot to smile about this week, but the top of the list has to be: 1. Fitting into my old jeans: You could see my smile from Rogers Park to Brainerd Park when I decided to test out a pair of jeans on Friday that I haven't been able to wear in over a year. Not only could I comfortably fit into those jeans, but I can now wear the other two pairs of jeans that I'd hidden in the back of my closet. These were my three favorite pairs of jeans that I just couldn't handle donating to charity when I started gaining weight around the fall of last year. I was a stick figure as a kid and then went to a medium size around high school and stayed there. Got to college and became "thick," then lost a whole lot of weight (as in a size 12 to a size 6-8) during a weight training course after transferring to my second (and the only one I claim) alma mater. That yo-yo effect made me a little cocky when I gained weight again, thinking it'd just drop off. Nope! This time around I joined Weight Watchers after reading Jennifer Hudson's book because I'd shot up to 195 lbs. in January. Hell no! No way was I going to stay that size. And let me tell you, Weight Watchers works. I dropped so much weight within the first few weeks that I got an e-mail from WW saying I was losing weight too fast. I've been a vegetarian for eight years so it's definitely not hard to eat healthy and I've always been an exercise enthusiast, but Weight Watchers showed me that portion control is key. I was strutting my ass off this weekend wearing two of the three pairs of jeans that I missed out on in most of 2011 and 2012. 2. "The Family Hustle" and "Insanity" workout routines: This week I decided to exercise along with T.I. and his family during their Obama challenge and then Steve Harvey had Shaun T on from the "Insanity" workouts. I woke up sore all over, but it was fun to do all of those exercises. I'm a longtime supporter of Shaun T's "Hip Hop Abs" workouts and own the entire first set so it's good to see him on anybody's show. It gave me new ideas for working out at home because going to the gym can get old quickly. I prefer working out at home if the weather doesn't allow me to go for a nice long walk or jog.
T.I. is a brave man to do that pregnancy-style sit-up routine he did in the gym. I was laughing at him right along with Tiny and her friends, but like he said, "I don't care what you say it looks like. That's what you s'posed to do." Now I can do sit-ups all day, but that touch-the-ground one is major! And yes, I had to laugh at Shekinah getting a colon cleansing. Never in my life would I do that. After Kourtney Kardashian leaked on a bed, that was it for me. I was thoroughly grossed out by the entire process.
This week has had plenty of LOL moments and although RCN is blowing me right now with no Internet, I am happy that I can at least type this blog on my handy new Smartphone
. I love this thing. All right, let's roll! 1. Flower surprise:
I got an e-mail on my way to work asking me how close I was. I said I was a couple of blocks from the parking lot and was told by a co-worker that I had a surprise on my desk. Now I’m thinking maybe it’s a book or a note or something, but I got there and saw a beautiful bouquet of peach, pink and white flowers. The reason for the flowers was an unfortunate reason (family death
, some guy drama) but I was so surprised and thought this was really thoughtful. I took a photo with my flowers as soon as I got them and they’re sitting prominently on my dining room table now. I like them so much I’m keeping the vase and trying to find fake versions of these flowers to keep them there permanently. I don't know if she'd want me to say her name on here, but women can always understand when other women are frustrated. I tend to hang out with more guys than girls but there are always those ladies who slip between the cracks and are great friends! What a sweet and thoughtful thing to do!
It could be coincidental but I've noticed a lot of attention paid to dreams coming true and life goals lately. While watching Ne-Yo's "Behind the Music" on Sunday, he said, "Every dream that I've had has been realized. How many people can say that? Not very many."
Then I bought an Android phone and my horoscope for Wednesday was: "What do you want to be when you grow up, Scorpio? Whether you're eighteen or eighty-eight, this question may apply to you today. You've been thinking about your life and whether you are fulfilling your purpose here on Earth. If you haven't found your path yet, you may be wondering what direction to take. If you've made some major life choices and you're established, you may be thinking about changing your direction. Either way, the stars say this is an excellent time to embark on a journey of discovery to figure it all out."
To top that off, I was reading Gordon Livingston, M.D.'s "And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now," and there were lines about the future: "It turns out that few of us are living the lives we imagined for ourselves when we were young."
Now I'm seeing this stuff on my phone and in my book and on television, and I kept coming to the same conclusion: "I've accomplished every single goal I wanted as a kid." I used to get so agonizingly bored and the only way I found to regularly entertain myself was to read or to write. My goals as a kid all had something to do with reading or writing. That's it. I have never had any desire for children, was indifferent about marriage and never really thought much about where I'd live outside of wanting to visit New York. But overall I've accomplished all of the goals Little Shamontiel set out to do. So with that said, those are my five things I'm smiling about.
These are five goals I had as a kid that I can check off the list: