LXXV: My Black Is... Creative?

It is thanks to so many African Americans that we get to enjoy MANY of the things that we enjoy today. And let me tell you, no one celebrates Us like we celebrate Us. So this post is me just shining light and celebrating my people who continue to trail-blaze, kill the game, and completely snatch all of the wigs off of consumers.


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Let’s start with Bay Area’s own, Ryan Coogler - Marvel’s youngest filmmaker, with record-setting highs in the box office for Black Panther & phenomenal works like Creed (original story), & Fruitvale Station.

Oakland bred and Sacramento State Alum (like myself), Ryan Coogler!


Beyoncé - Icon, Mogul, Queen of Everything. I really don’t need to say more, but I will: activist, humanitarian, mother, wife, ever-enduring, passionate, compassionate, giving, Queen Beyoncé.

She literally has people begging that she pass the torch (i.e. stop putting out music, doing tours, etc.) so that these other girls can catch up. When you reach this level, it means that you’re not done, it means that you’ve got them shook, and it means that you are the greatest of all time!

She is the most Grammy-nominated and second-most Grammy awarded woman in Grammy history as well as the only artist to have ALL of her studio albums debut at Number 1.


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Marsai Martin - World’s youngest producer and first to ink first look deal with Universal!

Comedic cuteness, and such a huge heart. It’s like we’ve watched her grow up on Black•Ish over the years but now she’s blossomed into the beautiful woman who we KNOW cannot be stopped.

I am excited to see what’s to come from her because I know it will not be anything light! Keep your foot on our necks, Sis! You’re killing it.


Tracee Ellis Ross - Motha! Actress, motivator, #bodygoals, director, comedian and television host.

Young Ms. Ross who I know best for her role as Joan Clayton on Girlfriends. I literally grew up wanting to be the crazy friend that Joan Clayton was. I watched her become a lawyer, decide that that was not for her and then start a whole new career in her 40’s!

If anything, over the years, Tracee Ellis Ross has given me hope in many areas of my life. And the part that I love most is that she’s done it for YEARS without the need to have a man by her side. I don’t know how but I simply aspire to not feel as though I need a teammate, a partner or someone to battle this cruel cruel world with.

Tracee you are, remain, and will always be GOALS.


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Dr. Shirley Jackson - A top woman in science and invention. Inventor of the touch-tone phone, caller ID and fiber optic cable. A leader in telecommunication inventions, Dr. Shirley Jackson!

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Philip Emeagwali - Creator of the world’s fastest computer.

A Nigerian native who has made tremendous advances in computer science. Winner of the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing applications.

LXXIV: The Best Duos That The Television Has Ever Seen?

Maxine Shaw & Khadijah James 

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The Home-Girl for Life Type:

Now, if you know me at all, then you know that my favorite show of A L L T I M E is Living Single. Yes, the show that everyone else’s favorite show “Friends” copied. That’s the show.

Anyway, Khadijah is the main character played by none other than the Queen [Latifah] herself! And, the woman who is basically me but with a better body, Maxine Shaw [Attorney At Law] is played by the beautiful Erika Alexander (who deserves credit for life for her role as Max).

Their friendship throughout the five seasons of this show has been hilariously beautiful to watch. It is legitimately what I strive for in any friendship that I have: it has the loyalty, the honesty, the love, the appreciation, the laughter, that tears, and the realness that is definitely hard to find in people these days.

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Rocky & Apollo Creed

The Unexpected Motivator Type:

If you took a gander at my post on Creed II, then you know that a big part of why I love the Creed and Rocky movies has to do with the respect and love shown within the relationships between the characters.

Rocky and Adonis had a dope relationship filled with respect and admiration for each other. They were able to push each other to limits unknown, and to be there for each other through situations neither of them could have foreseen.

I love their relationship.

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Naruto & Sasuke   

The Aggressive Motivator Type:

First off, don’t judge me! I love Naruto to this day…

Second, Naruto and Sasuke HATED each other (and also loved each other), but this was a huge motivating factor for them to grow stronger. They challenged each other and grew just so that they could beat/kill each other.

What better friendship could there be?!

No, but really, I like these two because I am a firm believer in helping friends grow no matter what. I will not take on the responsibility of being someone’s friend just to leave them in the same (nor a worse) position that they were before they met me.

I definitely saw that same quality in the relationship between Naruto & Sasuke.

Zoey & Luca

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The Lit Love Type:

If this season of Grown•Ish doesn’t have your attention, then you just don’t want to know what does. Apart from the amazing hair styles and daring outfits, the issues that this show tackles in every episode are phenomenal (just like Black•ish). These writers and EPs do not sleep on the issues.

But, what I love most about Zoey and Luca is that their relationship is one of the more authentically depicted relationships on television. I like that Zoey gets insecure (all the time); I like that she compares her relationship to those that she sees around her (because that is real sometimes); I like that Luca literally rides for Zoey and thinks that she is the most “fire” person on that campus; and I love that they draw inspiration from and motivate each other.

What a R E A L B O N D.

Grace & Frankie

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#FriendshipGoals

Talk about opposites being brought together by a tragic situation and bonding, rebuilding and growing together!

Grace and Frankie are the epitome of friendship and loyalty. They accept each other for all of the things that make them different and unique. They’ve learned each other’s ticks and work around or with them. They’ve learned through fights and misunderstandings and their bond has become all the more stronger because of it.

I think that this is a show that I watch over and over simply because of the bond that these two created over the course of 5 seasons.

LXXIII: Brown Estate Vineyard

Black-Owned Business Alert!

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Brown Estate Vineyard is located in Napa, CA and was established in 1995. It is the first and only Black-owned winery in Napa. The land was bought in 1980 when it was initially cultivated for growing viniferous grapes. By 1995, the idea was sparked to turn those grapes into wine, and so the first Brown Zin was created for public consumption… From there, the sky was obviously the limit!

My Aunt was raving about “the walls that have legends on them”, so we went on a mini search for them and found them in the bathroom! Of all places… 🤷🏾‍♀️

These are just a couple of the pics that she snapped from that little restroom visit.

Now, in addition to these very cool illustrations, the decor at Brown Estates is completely decked out in earthy tones of browns, blacks and darkish teals which I, personally, L O V E.

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On either ends of the upstairs sitting rooms are bars. One, a marble top bar (as seen above), and the other a dark top facing a beautiful black and white abstract three-pieced painting (as shown below).

Overall, the feel is deep, dark and rustic. I love the brick walls to one side, and the deep blue modern walls to the right. Add to that, the matching decor: against the brick walls are cozy couches and separate chairs; and against the blue wall is a dark brown picnic-style table with a side bench and a stool option.

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This cheese board was amazing! To the far left is a house marmalade which is a perfect pair with the light and airy cheese-based cookie-like crackers next to it.

There’s a goat cheese as well as a gouda (which I thoroughly enjoyed). And another gem from this board are the greenish cookies that you see on the end. These bad boys have the richest flavor and it’s probably because the recipe has red wine in it!

The cheese boards definitely have more to offer, so excuse my brevity, but I encourage you to get up and go test this one out yourselves.

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This short post definitely doesn’t do this place justice, so you should really just schedule your visit today!

LXXII: Oh, So You Just Have NO Self-Control... ?

Song: I Hate Giving You Everything by Arlissa

Some situations have ‘unhealthy’ written all over them. And yet, they are so appealing!

I have never encountered a situation that worked, didn’t and then became unhealthy to the point of having to split before NOW. How human of me, right? I hate it.

So, the mind is a crazy thing. Add to that the powers of the heart and you’ve got nothing but trouble. All of this leads to my current feelings:

I: I really want to keep something around that really needs to be let go of

II: I really miss having someone around who really shouldn’t be around

III: I really wish things went differently, when who knows if that situation was even for me

I could rack my brain and play out scenarios for days where we don’t lose what oftentimes feels special or different, but then how will we become who we are meant to become? But let’s slow it down:

Honestly, in all of my moments of weakness surrounding this whole ordeal, I find myself missing our laughs, our random conversations, our arguments and disagreements, our crazy and random adventures and so much more on the broad spectrum. On the narrower spectrum, I find myself missing his eyes, his laugh, his touch, his insane sense of humor, or the way that his face just works (maybe even left-handed things)!

These are the moments that I think, ‘Oh, one text message wouldn’t hurt’, or ‘Hmm, maybe we should just hang out and keep it light’. IT’S LEGITIMATELY AN INTERNAL BATTLE.

 

Sidebar: Have you ever been in a battle with your mind and your heart? That is the most uncontrolled fight you will ever take part in. Impulse is literally the only winner when those two are fighting and my impulse is usually an ‘okay, send the text’. I give in!!!

 

BUT HOW WILL I GROW IF I’M NOT EVEN WILLING TO EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL IN THIS INSTANCE?

My biggest fear in “letting myself grow away from this situation” or in exercising self-control (as I’ve put it) is that maybe I am not supposed to let it go so easily (and I use that loosely because it has not been easy). Maybe I am supposed to fight for it. Maybe this one is worth it (chuckle chuckle, because, are they ever worth it? 🤔).

Two factors, however, control what I can do in this situation: (1) I can’t fix it alone — teamwork makes the dream work, and (2) I don’t want to fight for something that will land me in a worse position than the one I’m already in!

These two factors usually help determine what you should do, or which direction you should go next with whomever this person-in-question is. The fact that giving up is easier than actually putting in work for what’s worth it makes it to where teamwork would be impossible in my situation. Some people like complacency and everything that comes easily is preferred. If they have to work for it, then they don’t want it. And secondly, with a person like this, how would I not end up in a worse position?! I’d be fighting for something that the other party would just drop the moment it gets difficult!

If my two factors above establish whether or not self-control needs to be exercised, then it is abundantly clear that this situation has got to go and that it’s on me to exercise enough control to ensure that it does!

In 100% transparency, I have completely said self-control be darned and just given into it at every avenue, but at some point we have to acknowledge that:

THIS NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE IS EXACTLY WHAT WAS NEEDED TO SPARK THE LIGHT THAT LIT THE FIRE IN WHO I AM ABOUT TO BECOME.

You can’t grow if you don’t change what is not good around you and within you. Exercise of self-control is just a step. Perseverance is a requirement. Self-awareness is imperative. Reflection is crucial. And, knowing your self-worth will literally save your life.

With that, I’ve let it go! 🤷🏾‍♀️

LXXI: A Couple Of Things That I Wish College Bree Would Have Done?

College, for me was not all that it could have been, but, don’t get me wrong, it was still great! However, there were a couple of things that, looking back, I wish I’d done:

LIVE ON CAMPUS

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Let’s start with the reason why I emphatically said, ‘NO’ to living on campus in the first place:

So my undergrad university had an open house where incoming students come to campus before school starts and sleep in the dorms to get to know each other. The idea was that the people around us would be our classmates for the next 4-to-forever years.

So, my dad drops me off at the campus for this night of fun and interaction, and I’m excited and ready to go! Just kidding, do you even know me! I didn’t want to get out of the van!

He finally convinces me to get out and we all gather in the game room. You know, put us there so that we think that this will be a fun experience. At this point, people are chatting, laughing and looking around. Everyone links up and I find the people who share similar loves as I do — I bond most with those also hovered around the food table.

After that we’re given a tour and are told to shower and go to sleep. They take us to the shower room which, to my surprise, was a room with showers in it! Showers, but no doors! No shades! No dividers and no mats on the floors to protect our bare feet from germs!

So, the next morning, when I woke up in the comfort of my own bed [at home], I decided that that was where I belonged. And throughout my years at my undergrad, that was where I remained. I was completely turned off to the whole “living on campus” deal.

But, I do wish that I’d experienced living on campus because I saw so many bonds being built just by living in close proximity to those within your own cohort. College is just lenient enough that you are able to create relationships with people while partying and still manage to pass all of your classes, so I should have taken more advantage of the on-campus life while I was a student.

EXPLORE MORE

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I have lived in the same city since leaving high school ten years ago, but, honestly, I still know nothing about this city.

I have only become interested in learning more about this city because of my love for photography, but I do wish that I would have explored it more while I was in college.

There’s something much more fun about seeing the world through young, impressionable eyes than through my now older and cynical ones.

So, I definitely wish that I would have explored the city during my college years and with the people who were in my life at that time.

STUDY ABROAD

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I am pretty sure that I thought that travel outside of the states was just out of my reach during college.

Of course nowadays I know that there are literal programs made that help you through the “study abroad” process from start to finish with funding and packing, roommates, etc.

Unfortunately for me, however, I went into college with everything set already: I had a best friend, I had the boyfriend, I hung out with my family at every chance, and because my boyfriend lived in a different city, I spent my time either preparing for him to drive up or driving down to where he was.

I just didn’t see a need to spend a ton of weeks away from what was already so cozy and so comfy. But, of course, NOW I regret not going! Not that I can’t just book a trip and go, it just won’t be the same these days!

TRAVEL MORE

Now, because I was a military spouse for a while, I did have the opportunity to travel a bit. But, I didn’t start taking the bigger trips until I was out of undergrad.

I am glad that I did start to travel, but I wish that I would have learned how to travel back when I was taking those smaller trips and not during the bigger, across-the-pond trips that I was taking post-undergrad.

Learning how to travel simply means: knowing how to find the best flight deals (or packages), figuring out which hotels I prefer, knowing the best days to book flights, knowing the best days to take off and land, knowing what times of the year to go where, how to pack for long travel, how to pack for short travel, etc.

These are things that I’ve only recently began to learn that I really could have benefited from knowing on trips like Paris, for instance. So, I definitely wish that Undergrad Bree would have just booked more flights, stays, and vacations. I’m sure she deserved it!

TRY A LITTLE BIT HARDER

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Clearly, there were classes that I had to put more effort into than others, but, for the most part, I don’t feel like I really truly tried in college.

Why? The answer is beyond me! Why don’t I try now? And I’m still in school!

While I was there, I literally just wanted to do enough to pass and maintain what little sanity and “life” I had. Looking back, however, I completely see that college was a joke compared to Grad School and I definitely had the time to put real effort into my education (regardless of my forever-feeling that I am just an average student).

So, boom! There you have it. College Bree was fun and definitely had fun, but there was always more that she could’ve done that definitely would have shaped some of the experiences that I have today.