fashion

MY 300TH POST... A REFLECTION

January 08, 2018

300 posts and five and a half years. I can't believe that I've sat down to write three hundred of these. What can happen in 300 posts? To commemorate this milestone (that really crept up on me), I'm going to relay the history of this blog and reflect on how I've grown. As if the New Year doesn't make me existential enough, this will be a trip for SURE.


Technically, I've been blogging since I could get on the internet. I used to spend my nights in middle school on the home computer looking up how to publish a book for free. Nowadays, that's simple. You can publish an e-book. In 2004, things weren't as accessible. I was also 9 years old and had no idea what I was doing. I also didn't have a manuscript written or anything. I just wanted to write and be heard. 

The wanting to write and be heard part hasn't changed at all.  I'm writing now still, right? I definitely still want to be heard, and I don't think that will ever change. When I started refining my writing skills more and more in high school, and realized that you could make a living from the internet, I got back into blogging. I was also going through a Tumblr phase with the rest of my generation, so I started my first blog: "Freedom of Expression" on there.  Looking back, I cringe at overly curly script fonts and screenshots reflecting an old iPhone iOS as legit pictures on the blog. It was a fun, creative outlet for me to spout opinions on topics I pretended that I knew everything about, however. See what else hasn't changed?


For a long time, I tried to be a fashion and lifestyle blogger. I now cringe at my old outfits even more than the graphic design of the site. I miss the blissfully ignorant days of this site. I didn't pour over analytics. I truly couldn't tell you what I even had for readership (if any). I was just happy to do it. In 2013, I switched to blogger, because I could tell that I could be more comfortable customizing on this platform. At the time, the site was pretty standard for blogging. 

I would call 2014-2015 my most active year. I was posting weekly if not biweekly. I was going HARD in Facebook groups and racking up UMVs in the thousands. Then, college got extremely busy. I don't regret dropping off, because I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't double-down on school. Currently, my goal is to get back to where I was, if not better.

I've changed a LOT, to quote DJ Khaled, since I started blogging. On paper, my life is "together". I'm supporting myself and am finally pursuing things that I'm interested in. I grew up in a time where people where taught to go with the status quo, get a job and a white picket fence. I always wanted to do something greater, but those people who rose to stardom were seen a "disruptors". As a woman I was taught in society to be seen and not heard. How could I be disruptive?


Where and when I was brought up, it was also not made a normal thing to be to be introspective with myself and constantly check in on my feelings. I was used to always saying I was fine, so much so that I said an abusive relationship was "fine" and "good" for two years. Now, I'm constantly thinking about what I can do to progress. How I can grow and change is constantly on my mind. When I think of something, I don't let it simmer for too long. I just do it. If something makes me unhappy, I stop and I think about why it makes me feel that way. I'm constantly checking in on myself.

Blogging has been there for every change since 2012. They've seen my go through the changes - the clothing, the thoughts and even the writing styles. It's an online time capsule in a way. It's always been a constant for me. I don't mind change - I would actually call myself a fan. It's important to always have constants, however, and blogging has been a constant for me. Here's to many more years!





crooked media

6 Start Ups That Will Help You Get More Politically Involved In 2018

January 02, 2018

I recently wrote a piece for an up and coming feminist zine, and the topic was women who have become more politically active in 2017. (Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post from my research). During my time interviewing these women, I was inspired by the chances they took. I was inspired by their stories. Due to my research and political media consumption, I have come across many start ups that have a mission to help people run for office, get registered to vote, get politically active and more. 

I think it should be a resolution for many people in 2018 to get more politically active. This can be small or big steps. If you're not active at all, a small step is a big one. It could even be as easy as getting registered to vote! Below is a list of some start ups that have recently been founded or have become more active since the 2017 election. Taking a look at these is a great step towards the resolution of becoming more politically active, and participating in the resistance.

SwingLeft's mission is to find the swing districts in your area, and how you can help swing them in the direction of progress. This way, the House can be taken back. According to their website, the 2018 midterm election will be controlled by swing districts. By exploring the website, the user can find action items that they can take to volunteer and promote progressive candidates.

This company's mission is to fuel a grassroots movement agains the Trump agenda. There are many indivisible chapters across the country, but if there's not one near you then you can start one. Indivisible provides you with a step-by-step guide for grassroots organizing, and many similar resources.

This websites helps candidates own their past so that we don't live in a shameful society. They can own their narrative. For example, instead of being shamed for their past drug abuse, they can own their past and use this platform to campaign on drug law reform. 

The mission of this organization is to flip 100 seats in the house in 2018. They're similar to SwingLeft in their mission of flipping the house. Ever since the 2016 election, there has been a lot of hope in swinging the house so that Democrats have some leverage. They're a movement in itself. By signing up for their emails, you'll learn the ways that you can take action.

Many people have been inspired to run for office in 2017. Running for office is no simple feat, however. This organization provides folks with some resources to help them run. "Run for Something will recruit and support talented, passionate young people who will advocate for progressive values now and for the next 30 years, with the ultimate goal of building a progressive bench," the website says. Their focus is on young and diverse individuals.

This website is focused on a very simple way to get involved - voting! Here, you can get registered, get an absentee ballot, get election reminders and find your polling place. Voter suppresion is due to many things, including lack of education and resources. It's important to making voting as convenient as possible. 





brunch

RED ROOSTER BY MARCUS SAMUELSSON

December 20, 2017


Remember that one time last week where I brushed off fancy restaurants? I may want to take that back a little bit... To be fair, however, I was talking about the fancy Manhattan restaurants and this post is focused on a fancy Harlem restaurant. I went back to NYC this weekend, I couldn't get enough, but this time with my mother. These two trips were planned out in advance, but were spontaneously next to each other. We both love Food Network - there's actually a poster of Guy Fieri in my kitchen in my apartment. The kitchen is flavor town, after all. My mother booked us brunch at Red Rooster by Chef Marcus Samuelsson in Harlem for when we got there. Little did I know, I would be thanking her forever. 

image credit
Samuelsson's food influences are quote dichotomous yet intriguing. He was adopted from Ethiopia by Swedish family. Therefore, his Swedish family and his Ethiopian birth family influence his cuisine. He developed a love for food from his grandmother, who was a chef. According to Biography.com, he "...went on to become a renowned force in international cuisine," by being an executive chef at Aquavit in NYC and receiving numerous awards including a James Beard honor. He opened Red Rooster to be influenced by and build on Harlem's rich culinary culture. 





Red Rooster has a hip Harlem ambience to it. Very cool, very New York. There was even a DJ. What's more NYC than a bustling, hip brunch place with a DJ and eclectic comfort food on the menu. To start off, we had to try his cornbread. This cornbread with honey butter was delicious and hit the spot - there was even real corn in it! I also had to try a Bloody Mary, because I've never had a proper one in my 22-year-old life. I'm sorry to announce that I did not like it. It was too savory and spicy - not things I look forward to in a drink. Not saying it wasn't good to someone who enjoys this drink, however. I also may be scarred from the morning of the first day of classes my last semester of college. We went out for birthday drinks for two roommates the night before and one of the birthday girls made us to-go Bloody Mary's for the next morning, which was actually canned tomato soup and Guaro, a Costa Rican vodka-type alcohol that I brought back from my travels. Needless to say, I did not indulge. 




My meal sent me to heaven. I got the Shakshukatory, which is one of my new favorite dishes. It was a steaming dish of grits, spicy tomatoes, ricotta, eggs and avocados. I also got a side of HEAVENLY roasted brussel sprouts with just the right amount of red pepper flakes and parmesan. It may be the best dish I've ever had. 







Have you had a good brunch lately?




bedstuy

HIDDEN GEMS OF BROOKLYN

December 14, 2017

EVERYONE! Stop ! in ! your ! tracks ! FORGET What you've heard about fancy-schmancy ~Manhattan~ restaurants! Serendipi-who? I don't know her? Who I DO know are the hidden gems of Brooklyn. The holes in the walls. The places where the executive chef is grandma. 

Don't get me wrong, I love me a nice sit-down meal. Who doesn't want more food for less money  -and better, more wholesome tasting food at that? Last weekend, I went on a trip with my friends to the big apple. We stayed in Bed-Stuy, a Brooklyn neighborhood with breweries, artists collectives and delis owned by locals - not people new to the area. The businesses we supported seemed to be owned by people who knew the area their whole life. Their art and food reflected that. Why face the harsh and long MTA ride, the expensive fare and long wait when you can get a home cooked meal and get to know the locals? Of course I'm not ruling out all nice restaurants, there's a time and place for everything. We were hungry college kids on a budget, with an affinity for Puerto Rican and soul food - this was the right time and place.


1. Boobie Trap / La Isla
If you asked me my ideal night, I would describe my Friday night. We got to the airbnb, and our host was a treat. We got the whole top floor of a gorgeous brownstone to ourselves. After hanging out and settling in, we got ready and pregamed. Pregaming included a fun game of kings, dancing and tons of pictures. We took a Lyft to our favorite bar in Bushwick (my friend and I went there last time we were in NYC) called Boobie Trap. That eclectic dive bar had great deals including $5 for a beer and a shot, unique decor and games and the coolest bartender in a cheerleading costume.

After there, we went to eat at a Puerto Rican spot right next to it, La Isla. Yes, we pregamed for dinner. This spot had limited tables and spots at the bar, which we sat at. You couldn't go wrong with anything on the menu - I knew that no matter what I got. Pork is my one weakness for meat, so I went with that and rice and beans. I thought that I would have half plate of rice and beans and the other half would be pork, but I was wrong. I got a whole plate of pork and a whole plate of rice and beans. If I wasn't going to the club after I would've taken the leftovers and ate them later. Just like the spot I will mention below, this was enough for two meals. We were all in awe at how good the food was. Please check out La Isla and Boobie Trap in Bushwick!


2. The Soul Spot
Do I need to say anything more than soul food? When I say my soul was warm after eating this food, I'm not lying. Right before we left to drive the 4 hours back home, we stocked up on soul food at The Soul Spot in Brooklyn on their main street area. I got curry goat, candied yams, okra in stewed sauce and fried plantains. I had enough food for two meals and more. I actually ate that at 3PM then was full until I got home at 9 and ate the second round. What broke millennial wouldn't want two delicious meals for the price of one?

Do you have any hidden NYC gems to share?



abusive relationships

That guy's girl

December 04, 2017

This is a poem about an emotionally abusive relationship I was in for two years. This is the first time I'm sharing my poetry other than just open mic nights or friends. I need motivation to write more!


You Don’t Want to Be Weird, Now Do You?

I used to soar on your livewire
And feel like I could walk on water
But one day I couldn’t walk anymore and I just sank
And the shock of the livewire and the water shocked me

It brought me back to a place of clarity
The clearest tragedy
Became a reality

Not only did I have to consider what was my reality
But what did I want my reality to be

Did I want it for you or for me?
Since when did pleasing you become my reality?
The bane of my existence and simultaneously the reason for my existence
I thought, what would happen if my wildest dreams realized and this all went away?

What would I realize with real eyes
That I could live in a world where my spirit flies
To where I want to be, I see what I want to see
Not what you’ve painted for me

Because the day came where the watercolor lines so you meticulously painted for me blended into the others and not in that
Impressionistic, artistic way visually pleasing to the eye
It may have been pleasing for him, or equally as unpleasing, I wouldn’t know

And the day came where the colors faded
Where the colors once so bright
Bright as it was when you first dabbed it on your palette
Faded away, and there were no more fun and games
The colors were as bleak as the feelings I had remaining

Nothing was remaining but the engine kept turning
Running on fumes
Gears grinding
tensions rising
The engine wouldn’t turn over
Because it was over and neither of us would admit it

I couldn’t admit it to myself because I was taught that
ladies are to be seen and not heard
An antiquated thought, though it sounds absurd
was bestowed upon me as a compact I had to base my life on

I had to tip toe around everything and do it in a ladylike fashion that was
visually pleasing to the eye and not in that impressionistic, artistic way
that’s too weird
and you don’t want to be weird, now do you?

Then, I realized that this lady wanted to be both seen and heard
She had something to say, actually a lot of things to say
She didn’t realize how much she had to say until she started writing this

This lady, finally, one day was both seen and heard
She stopped caring about what he thought and what they thought and what she thought and what
She made her voice loud and clear and now her world is crystal clear
her spirit flies, she has real eyes, and won’t listen to any lies
especially not from you.