Halloween 2013

I’ve always loved Halloween.  As a creative personality, I get immense joy from seeing how others put together their costumes and make their garb work for them.  I love the tradition of scary stories, crisp fall weather and fun Halloween parties.

As my father says, “You love it cause you like pretending to be something that you’re not!”

He may have a point, because this year you couldn’t tell me I was not THEE vampire of Brooklyn at a house party I attended.

vampire in brooklyn

One of my good friends, Maya, has recently explored costume makeup and I think she may have found her calling.

blog-my vampire makeup

While she did a fabulous job on my vampire makeup, check out her own look below.

blog-mayas makeup

Wow!  I told her, “You look like a cast member of Law & Order: SVU.”

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It Was One of Those Nights…

This weekend I was telling my cousins the following story about my (then) most recent cab ride.  It was insanely ridiculous and a bit entertaining.  Afterwards Shelby insisted it was blog-worthy material so here it goes…

It was a really good night.

It was a really good night.

Friday night I partied hard in the Lower East Side with my cousins.  The youngest amongst us, Renny, was visiting NYC and celebrating her 22nd birthday so we knew we had to show her a good time.  Consequently I got quite inebriated, so much in fact that at the end of the night it was decided I take a cab home instead of the usual train.  My cousin Kenny (and Renny’s older brother) found a parked cab with his light on (a lit light indicates an available cab) so after giving me a hug goodbye, he and Renny took off down the street.

Immediately the African cabbie started rambling about how he wasn’t available because he was late picking up his wife and it was imperative that he head that way ASAP.  As he was going on his tirade I quickly opened the door and jumped in.  The cabbie was pissed and yelled at me to get out.  After going back and forth, he drove a block before pulling over to the left, turning off the ignition and getting out.  At this point I started getting nervous.

Is he about to open this door and drag me out?  I hope Kenny isn’t too far away…

Instead he headed into a convenience store for a few moments then came back out and continued to argue with me, insisting I exit his cab immediately.  He also let it slip that he wasn’t married and was actually headed to link up with a young tenderoni.  Finally, I agreed to a compromise: I’d get out after he hailed me another cab.  “Alright babe.  Give me a second.  I’m going to take care of you,” he said.  Did he just call me “babe?”  It was only a few moments before I saw a second cab pull up on the right side of ours.   As I exited from the left side of the cab and walked around the back towards the awaiting one, the waiting one abruptly pulled off from it’s parked position, leaving me stranded.

Behind me the African cab driver was rushing to the drivers side of his own cab, ready to hop in and leave me in the middle of the street I’m sure.  I’m not having that.  I beat him to the cab, hopped back in and really refused to get out this time.  The cabbie weighed his options and then completely changed his tone.  What had previously been a rude, loud aggressive cretin had become a sweet, purring apologetic gentleman who offered to let me hold onto his cab keys and not relinquish them until after I was safe and sound in a new cab that he was going to hail for me.

After accepting the keys and tucking them securely away into my coat pocket, I found myself walking in the middle of Delancy St, arm in arm with this cab driver, while whining to him about how hard it is being a Black woman trying to hail a cab and get safely home.  “I know, I know baby.  Don’t you worry.  I’m going to take good care of you,” he repeated over and over again.  He asked for my name and I gave it.

“Okay Ashley, this new cab driver is going to get you home.  Now what’s your number so I can make sure you’re properly taken care of and I can keep in touch with you?”  He asked after a second cab finally pulled over and agreed to take me to Brooklyn.  I laughed to myself as he fumbled with his phone, clumsily hitting the ignore button to the numerous incoming calls (no doubt from the young tenderoni he was extremely late picking up).  After climbing into the waiting cab, I handed him back his car keys and after rambling off a fake number, he proceeded to call me on the spot.  I hurriedly closed the door, rattled off my address to the new cabbie and was off across the Williamsburg Bridge headed back to Brooklyn, leaving that ridiculous African cabbie behind.

Stop Telling Women To Smile

smile 5

“Now you know you are too pretty to not be smiling gorgeous!”

Walking quickly down the street, my thoughts interrupted, I glance towards the male voice.  I see a middle-aged man staring hard, smiling brightly, pleased that I acknowledged him.  I shoot him a terse smile as I continue walking past.

I find myself absorbed in my thoughts again.  “I’ve gotta hurry and make this train.  It’s running once every 10 minutes and I can’t afford to be late because…”

smile 4

“What’s wrong Honey? Why aren’t you smiling?”

Approaching the crosswalk, I see an older gentleman peering out of his driver’s side window.  He’s probably been watching me for a few moments now, waiting to say something witty.  I resist rolling my eyes and instead opt for a smirk accompanied by a slight hand wave.

Approaching the crosswalk I spot the train station a few paces ahead.  My brow furrows as I listen intently-is that the sound of an approaching train?  Am I going to make it?  “Oh God, please let this train be held up because right now…”

smile 2

“Hey ma!  Smile for me!  Your life can’t be THAT bad that you can’t smile.”

Rolling my eyes, I wonder, “Why won’t they leave me alone?”  This time I don’t bother turning around.  Instead I run across the street, down the stairs, swipe my metro card and just barely make my train.

Too many women experience this street harassment every single day.  While yes, a sincere compliment can brighten someone’s day, too many men take advantage of the opportunity and take things too far.  They completely turn her off.  It’s gender-based, demeaning and frustrating.

Smile 1Fortunately, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh feels similarly.   This Brooklyn-based artist has created “Stop Telling Women To Smile,” a project where she creates oil paintings of women, posts them in public spaces, and encourages them to fight back.

While the paintings are currently displayed in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, she has created a Kickstarter campaign to bring her project to other cities including (but not limited to) Atlanta, Kansas City, San Francisco and Baltimore.

I think this is AMAZING!  I believe more men should be held accountable for being obnoxious.  One way to do that is through awareness, which is exactly what Fazlalizadeh’s campaign is doing.  What do you think?  Ladies, are men’s “polite” cat calls getting out of hand? Men, do you think women are taking it too seriously?  Share your thoughts!

smile 6

The Most Unique Business Card I’ve EVER Seen

A couple of weeks ago I found myself loitering the late night streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn with Kenny, my cousin, looking for nothing in particular.  It wasn’t long before we came across Pedigree, an overpriced sneaker gallery (hundreds of dollars for gym shoes?  Seriously?).  Kenny can be a bit of a sneaker geeker and fortunately, Pedigree caters to that demographic.  Not one pair of gym shoes in that store I have ever seen before (like there was not ONE Nike shoe box lol).

That particular evening, Pedigree was was hosting a pop-up for the Detroit-based LeRoy Jenkins who was selling his sweatshirts, belts and tee’s.  Unfortunately Jenkins currently offers nothing for the ladies so right as I was about to leave, a couple gentlemen who were in the shop called me over to rap…you know, my who/what/when/where.  After asking for my business card and learning that I had none (I know, epic fail smh), one of the men whipped out his keys.  Hanging off of his keychain was a small, plastic black rectangular box.  He slid the lid to the side of it and presented me with a small, rectangular business card that was stored in the little box attached to his keys.  I gave him a puzzled look…that was not the business card I was expecting.

He chuckled for a bit before smiling and simply telling me, “I’m about to hook you up.  Don’t worry.”

From there he referred me to MOO.COM and assured me I would find what I was looking for there.  For the rest of the night I made sure I didn’t lose his business card, despite it’s size.  I met a lot of people that night, but he definitely stood out and I was able to remember him simply because of his unique business card.

The very next day I headed to Moo.com and learned that they specialize in MiniCards, small, rectangular business cards that can be customized with your own logo, information and color scheme.  For many of their factory themes, they offered multiple looks that they would print for no additional cost.  Because I didn’t have my logo completed yet I settled for one of their themes.  I quickly ordered 100 cards that features 5 different looks ($25) and a pink carrying case ($5) for my keychain.

These business cards are small, but their unique size makes them impactful!

The cards are printed on thick, durable card stock…it is heavier than a standard business card.  I love that!

My theme features these five different designs on the back of each card. That pink case easily slides open yet will remain closed when shut.

Your information can be printed using any combination of red, white and black…for example, I could have elected to have a red background with black letters.  The cases come in several colors too-you can pick from black, white, pink and orange.  For $30.48 I’m a happy camper!

The ONLY downside I have found regarding this product is the capacity of the cardholder to hold up to 12 cards.  Fortunately, when Moo.com shipped my cards, they packaged them in an extremely durable, recycled pulp board that has a removable lid that is meant to be able to withstand extreme banging/knocking (think: inside a woman’s purse) without bursting open and messing up your cards.  I carry that box in my purse so that just in case I’m at an event and need more than 12 cards, I will be prepared.

Ohio, it might be time for us to branch outside of the thrifty discounts that Vistaprint has gotten us accustomed too.  If I’m actually late, and you all are already hip to this, then I am pissed at all of you for not alerting me to Moo.com sooner!

 

 

Karen’s Body Beautiful!

Karen is absolutely STUNNING in person

Saturday afternoon I was running a few light errands with my older cousin Mia in the popular Clinton Hills area of Brooklyn, NY when she decided to make a quick trip into Karen’s Body Beautiful, a hair store that specializes in hair products that have natural ingredients.  I’ve heard of KBB through blog sites, but I’ve never bought into purchasing a lot of the “natual hair” products because I have failed to see how they’re so much better than more commercial options.  I should also mention that about a year ago I tried out Carol’s Daughter’s Hair Milk and hated it which also helped inspire my decision.

So Mia and I were in KBB because Mia believes in all natural, organic EVERYTHING.  Since she’s 9+ months pregnant right now (she’s due in two weeks) she needed some baby lotion for Solomon, her son.  After visiting the store and discovering that there were none in stock, Karen, the creator of KBB came out and whipped some up for Mia right then and there!

Yes you all, she MADE it RIGHT THERE!  Behind the counter were KitchenAid mixers and Karen created Mia’s shea butter cream, packaged it, then sold it.  I myself was fiddling around with a leave-in conditioner, Hair Nectar, that left my hair feeling light, soft and smooth.  I made the executive decision to purchase it right then and there.

As of today, two days later I am still incredibly pleased with my results.  My hair is incredibly soft, moisturized and has wonderful curl definition.  An added plus is the smell is nothing short of heavenly.  Karen featurs at least 6 different scents-while Mia favors the cranberry scent, I went with White Tea.  Furthermore, it is comforting and reassuring to know that my hard-earned money went towards supporting a Black woman’s company that is aimed at selling hair products to all.

Reflections :)

I ALWAYS make a pitstop at BBQ's! I had the Texas-sized Blue Bull margarita, pulled pork sandwich, baked potato, cold slaw, chilli and cornbread!

              I’m back folks, I’m back.  To say I had a good weekend would be quite the understatement.  NYC treated me amazingly well!  Despite the multiple visits I’ve already made there, this trip still included a few firsts: a night out partying with my cousin Kenny (and Nelly), a Dominican blowout, a trip to Junior’s for their cheesecake and lastly, no new boo! 

            My cousin Kenny and I have come a LONG way from our younger years.  He’s Shelby’s little brother and although he and I are only 5 months apart, we used to have intense beef growing up.  I was that petty, spoiled, annoying tattle-tale and Kenny was that boisterous, energetic boy’s boy.  If you put us together in a room for any amount of time you ALWAYS got disastrous, catastrophic results.  I used to look forward to tattling on him for minor indiscretions so that he’d get spanked.  Yeah, I was (still am) a trip, smh.

            So anyways, Kenny and I have now grown up, graduated from college and now in our young adult years are legitimate homies.  Every major family gathering we always manage to steal a few private moments from the rest of the family to catch each other up on our lives, plans and random things that we may have seen or overheard.  Because he now lives in Brooklyn, despite having to put in work at the office on Sunday, he got himself together and showed me a GREAT time on Saturday night, by way of the Meatpacking District.  My girl Ashley and his girlfriend Nelly (who is now my girl) were there too and the four of us had a great time.  Because of Kenny’s connections, we had access to a nice spot in the club, drinks were flowing, the techno/pop/hip hop was spinning and the crowd was jumping.  Afterwards we entertained a diner that had an in-house DJ in the middle of the restaurant spinning records.  The patrons began a soul-train line when “Empire State of Mind” came on-they literally danced all around the restaurant screaming, “New York!” at the top of their lungs.  It was crazy!  But I also loved every second of it.  I didn’t make it home until 6:30am!

            Another first of this trip was the phenomenon that is the Dominican blowout.  Nelly gets hers done weekly and when she found out I’d never been we made plans to go to the salon Sunday.   As soon as I walked in my jaw dropped.  The salon operated like an assembly line in a factory.  I immediately stood in line to get my hair washed in the back of the salon.  After getting it washed, I stood in another line waiting for a stylist to become available to roll my hair in plastic rollers.  After that I was whisked away to a hooded dryer and left.  Some time later another stylist came by and began checking to see who’s hair was dry-mine was so she escorted me to her station where she proceeded to use a round bristle brush with a blowdryer on high heat to straighten my hair.  After taking a mere 15 minutes this woman had managed to get my hair straighter than a relaxer/flat iron combination have EVER gotten my hair.  Since then, I’ve gotten hot, sweated a tad and even taken a hot shower and my hairline got a bit damp.  My hair is STILL super straight.  I can’t believe it! 

My roots are CRAZY straight 2 days later!

View from the front...I promise I'm not that pale. It's the harsh, office lighting's fault

            Lastly, after hearing so much about Junior’s cheesecake, Ashley and I headed over to Junior’s in downtown Brooklyn to get a taste.  Because I hadn’t eaten all day we ate dinner before dessert.  While the food left a bit to be desired (poor Ashley had to add all kinds of lemon juice and salt to her shrimp scampi to get it seasoned) the cheesecake is absolutely the best I’ve ever had! *Drake voice* It tasted like I was eating an extremely flavorful, sweet and baked piece of cream cheese lol.  Not literally I guess but I definitely could distinguish the taste of cream cheese-I’ve never been able to do that before when it comes to cheesecake (well except for when I make it homemade cuz I do have some lightweight dessert/baking skills :p lol).  Diddy definitely picked the right spot to have Da Band walk to when it came to picking up some cheesecake!

My slice of Junior's strawberry cheesecake

            And my last first on this trip is that I acquired no new NYC boo!  That is literally unbelievable.  I’ve never visited NYC as a single woman and not returned with a few new prospects of dating material.  Despite having a few men approach, there were none I was really feeling so I left empty-handed.  Man, what is this world coming to!?

            Well there you have it folks!  I couldn’t possibly begin to fill you in on everything without writing a novel.  Those were just a few of the highlights (and a lone lowlight) of my most recent trip to the city I love.

I’ve Arrived!

I made it to the east coast and am definitely enjoying myself.  Thus far I’ve been running random errands, planning my outfit/hair for the night and catching up with Ash (I will NOT be wearing that plum dress I published earlier this week…details later).  We’re headed to a party tonight at this cultural center she knows of.  It should definitely be a great time!

I’m getting kind of nervous this visit because this is the first time where I’m seriously considering submitting an application or two and making this move a reality pre-Summer 2011.  I’ve been acting COMPLETELY out of character lately with all of this spontaneity crap-there has been NO rhyme, reason or method to my madness as of late and I am not in the least bit worried about it.  I’ve definitely been going with life’s flow.  We’ll see…we’ll see.  Either way, I’m going to continue to enjoy myself this weekend and explore more of the city.  I’ll get back to you folks on Monday with something good 🙂 xoxo