Music in the Summertime & Lauryn Hill

During the  summer there is nothing like going to concerts and music festivals with friends, meeting new people and having summer adventures. Plus the summer festivals are the breeding grounds for creativity and reinforcing open-mindedness, these events add something special to your summer. However the best part for music lovers, is the possibility of seeing your favorite artists in the  span of 3-4 months. Especially, when the people on your musical bucket list are in your area, depending on what kind of music you are into or a person who creates music that you connect with. photo 5(3)

Me personally the featured artist on my musical bucket include Jill Scott, Common, Yasin Bey ( Mos Def), Andre 3000, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill to name a few. I obviously have a love and respect for neo-soul, R&B, and Hip Hop genres. Even though some artists aren’t on  my list doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind seeing them like  Beyonce or Kanye West ( as long as it doesn’t come out of my wallet) their the “icons” of this era. Honestly I love music enough to see most artists of today, the 90’s, and the stars from before then.

Anywho, Looking at my musical bucket list, I can successfully cross of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill off my list. I recently saw Lauryn Hill while I was in Boston  at the House of Blues , which is a very popular, well-known venue for music and other large gatherings. My friend and I made a very spontaneous concert-going decision, because after I brought my ticket I was broke, but one of my personal philosophies is: I rather live life right now, than focus on the money I don’t have at the moment.  Plus I weighed the pros and cons and thought to myself why miss an opportunity to see this legend while visiting my best friend and to regain inspiration, but my exceptions for the concert didn’t match the reality of it.

If you are not familiar with  Lauryn Hill, here is an article that gives a general Bio of her life.  The reason I love her so much as an artist is because she is true to her art and to herself. Even though she has been out of the public eye for a while and hasn’t produce anything new, her fan base is still large and anticipating.  My appreciation for her is summed up in a statement she said in one of her tumblr post that partly explains why she has been away for over a decade , as it suggests  that she is creating something great.

       “I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings… have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.”

With all that said, I previously stated that the expectations for the concert didn’t match the reality because  she performed songs from her solo debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in a new/interesting way. If you have heard some or all of this album you know it is a very emotional and powerful that is supported by her lyrical superiority especially in her songs: Lost Ones, Ex-Factor, and Doo Wop. 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo to prepare myself for the concert I made sure that all my emotions were in order, I even prepared myself for a tear or two. The young woman who was standing behind me even said  ” I’m ready to cry”. Me in this person were in the same boat so to speak. After waiting a couple hours for Ms. Hill to hit the stage. When she finally starts her performance I’m in shock and awe because:

  1. It’s LAURYN HILL!!! In the same room as this legendary artist who is related to the Marley’s! ( insert high-pitched scream here)
  2. the music was not at all what I was expecting, granted I enjoyed the concert and all that. I was expecting some real tear-jerking moments and was denied that pleasure.
  3. Most of the songs were remixed to a upbeat hip-hip/ reggae sound, not including when she did her unplugged, which was smart on her part to make the concert more live. Yet, it really through me and my friend off . ( I have some video clips I’d post,but I  was singing along and I sound HORRIBLE).
  4. With the remixed songs it was hard to hear which song was which, my friend couldn’t even tell if “her” song was sung.

After the initial shock and  some time thinking to myself, I came to the realization that: yes Lauryn Hill has returned, but did she really? Is the  Ms. Hill of today the same as the one yesterday… Of course not! I’m sure 10 plus years out the game spurred change, but how has that and will that impact her music that we are now accustomed too?

Everyone loves her, but which one do we love?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetGenerally , ” we” as the audience give a lot of credit to celebrities regardless of time or the situation. It seems we don’t hold them accountable.  In the case of Ms. Hill, even though she is a legend  in the music world and well known for her part in upholding the Marley legacy, we negate the reality that it is time for her to produce something new and amazing. Not just the remixes of the songs we once loved. Even though I have read things in regarding her hiatus and her return and I believe she will produce something phenomenal when she releases new material, I am just weary that there will be a disconnect from the Lauryn Hill of then and now. That the music she gives us will not reach the bar that she set so high for herself.

what are your thoughts?

Take it from the top!

I am sure you have wondered where have I been and why I have not written in the last couple months. However, if you haven’t that is fine too…
This has been an interesting summer to say the least.  For a large portion of the summer I’ve been idle constantly thinking without my notepad in reach. With that said I am not using my idle-ness as an excuse to why I have removed myself from the blog-world. However, it does  suggest  writers block or rather a lost of inspiration and motivation.


Side Note:   I had a conversation with a friend who made the point that there is no such thing as “writers block” but that it is rather a loss of inspiration/motivation. I thought this was  a great point because a person, a writer can always write, but to write things that mean something requires a muse and motivation.


However, I have chosen to no longer stew in my lack of inspiration by plunging myself into entities of inspiration. I am working on rediscovering my passion to write and use my voice.  Simultaneously,  making a better me. I am back.

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Stay tuned &  back to the art.

How Can You Not Appreciate a Madwoman?

No wallpaper, No red or yellow rooms. She thrives in her insanity, not limited by gatekeepers.  She bares no hat or thrives on tea. This madwoman is mental for she dare  push a Queen.  Not apologetic, doesn’t give a damn, mis-cite that source, Off goes your head! She will force you to read, which is a constant dread. Making you better is easier than said… Writing and fighting, this Madwoman with a laptop is something: Is she an inspiration or apparition, for in her post, she is never there. . . Drop the mad, just the woman all is done keep your spirits. you have taught, i have much to learn.Keep in touch

All that is left to say is thank you very much.

To the Underappreciated Black Man

I see you work hard,                                                                                         I worry for your wisdom untapped, battered.                                       I got your back,fight. ~ Me

This post is dedicated to the Black Men who have worked and are working hard to make a living for themselves and the others around them.  The men who are role models and teachers to youth and their peers, no matter class or intellect. This is definitely for the Black Men on university and college campuses who struggle for understanding, recognition, and opportunity. I am writing to the Black men  saturated with potential who are pushed aside and marginalized; unable to be seen past their inherit features that produced ongoing ridicule.  To the big brothers always taking care of their siblings being the keepers the country won’t be.  To the  passionately driven men,  who live for themselves and inspire others. The artists, bloggers, dances, photographers, musicians, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, intellectuals… Thank you for working hard to build a strong foundation for the black community

This post was inspired by my close friends who are constantly sacrificing their lives to better the collective attitude of the community.

Dress for You and Others will Follow

This could be a fashion post about what celebrities wore to the Met Gala  but I don’t care for what they are wear. ( sorry for that corny rhyme there). I rather focus on what fashion means to an individual. How you dress as an extension of yourself and how you choose to express yourself on a day to day basis.

Personally, I have struggled with picking out what to wear for a good portion of my life especially in high school where life is just a maze, but once I started to grow and understand myself better, what I decided to wear became an outward expression of who I am.  Today people possibly title my style as: ethnic, unique, urban, earthy cool, and essence of the 90’s and more adjectives I cannot think of! But ultimately these words are indications of who I am and how I am.  I am a strong believer in striving to be different in all aspects of life. Especially in how a person dresses because before you interact with someone you see what the have on ( even though some days may just be a rushed outfit day) And who wants to dress like everyone else… Plus fashion and style are forms of art that I love with my whole being! Just like a person can be inspired by words and paintings. I am the same with clothes, accessorize, and shoes.  At the same time I can be uninspired, which makes me take longer to get dressed.It is all a matter of Inspiration.

As a fashionable individual and artist it is important to me to surround myself with friends who have a strong sense of personal style, so that I am always challenged and inspired. Here a few words from my style inclined friends:

“For a long time I’ve wondered why I was chosen to be in this body. Through self exploration I’ve learned to love myself genuinely and wear whatever I want. Bikinis and crop tops are not just for size 0 and I am not pretty for a big girl.                20140506-141312.jpg            I am Pretty Period. ” ~ Jasmine Everett  Instagram: @happilyeverettafter

“You have to choose to slay everyday. Dress for the life you Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetwant to live, the job you want to have, and the person you see yourself being. But don’t do think about it too much because then it doesn’t look natural, just have fun playing around with who you are. Be fierce.” ~ Darrin Von B.

Instagram: @_darrinvonb

 

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset“Fashion is about breaking the rules, what makes you, you. But all in good taste and that’s what’s really hard to find lol” -Maya Fletcher  Instagram: @milly_thekid

Fashion may seem like it is a simply superficial and archaic, but its not about the superficial things, but what is being expressed and what we can learn from a person through their style.

I have a fashion challenge for my readers: I challenge you to wear something that you normally wouldn’t wear and let me know how it goes! (Hopefully people read this and accept the challenge)

Happy Earth Day! Green and Fashionable it Can be Done!

Happy Earth Day  my fellow Earth inhabitants! In tribute to today I wanted to share some insight on being green and fashionable! Keeping in mind the sustainably mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”

Of course I have to talk about thrifting because that is where I spend a good portion of my life these days ( and I recently discovered a new thrift store!), but also in the long run it reduces how much you emit into the environment. Have you ever thought of shopping at the Thrift store as an environmentally friendly practice? If you have then you are ahead of the game, but if not here are  a few reasons why it is:

  1. Thrift stores are generally closer than shopping malls and outlets etc.  So by venturing out to a thrift store you are saving gas reducing the amount of pollutants emitted into the environment
  2. When thrifting  you get a lot more for cheap prices and you can find most things you want or need in the thrift store. Plus you see how far your money is going.
  3. Thrift stores generally recycle themselves and they provide reusable bags  from grocery stores ( the plastic ones).  And even you can reuse the bag! Once all of your wonderful finds are home safe and sound.
  4. In relation to the “Reuse” aspect of the sustainability mantra, reusing and re-wearing clothes decreases waste and pollution. Constantly buying new items increases production cycle      (factory-> truck-> store) where a lot of time and energy is depleted. I am not saying never buy anything new, but be conscious of what you need to buy new and what you can  buy used.
  5. Thrift stores often help support churches and charities.
  6. The clothes you find are generally of good quality and can be easily altered to fit you better versus  buying an expensive item that  you wouldn’t even want to alter because of the price.
  7. Thrifting allows a lot of creative freedom, variety, and rare finds that will accent your wardrobe and your personal style.
  8. Plus thrift stores are forever having discount days  and sales, dependent on the day of the week it could be up to 50% off there are even sales  during holidays!

*If I haven’t gotten you to think about the possibilities of just thrifting or being green and fashionable then this is where you should be thinking about them :) .

My recent purchases from the thrift store last weekend
My recent purchases from the thrift store last weekend! 1.Chambray shirt 2. Coach purse I got for$ 3.95! 3.Printed floral button down 4. Gold earrings 5.Swimsuit/Bodysuit 6 Printed Jacket 7. Culottes

Even though thrifting has become a trend, its more than that under the surface it is an activity to do when you want to upgrade you wardrobe when you bank account is struggling. Plus It’s an unacknowledged opportunity to be green and still look like a Queen! ( I know that was super corny, but I had to do it)

Upcycling: Make it better than what it was before !                                   When you buy something without trying it on or can’t try it on and the fit is weird either donate it or convert the item into something more useful and beautiful! I practice this quite often especially with liquor bottles turned vases Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetand my pasta jars turned mason jars as seen in my  post Make Tea Not War and with t-shirts that need a little more character, I made the coolest  black bleached cut off v neck shirt, but then my friend stole it! ( insert tears), but  instead of throwing away clothes make it better: cut it, bleach it paint it, or make something new.

Here is a picture of a shirt that I made off the shoulder ( so I could show off my tattoos) after i went to a paint party. I got the shirt for aProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset dollar at the thrift store and pulled up a quick YouTube video to see how to cut it, and I will probably cut it more until it is perfect!

Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. – See more at: http://hipcycle.com/what-is-upcycling#sthash.p4IpJoxg.dpuf

 

 

 

Recycling and Fashion

No I don’t mean repeating outfits, but you could mix  up your style by mixing up what you wear together i.e. your favorite shirt with a different skirt with a blazer in closet that you never thought of…  Anywho isn’t a great feeling to go on a shopping spree and have all those bags feeling good about yourself and your  purchases? However, you get stuck with all those bags, tags, plastics, and pieces of paper after you home and your clothes are safe and sound in your closet. RECYCLE most and save the bags to be reused, but don’t keep so many bags you hoard.  Remember it is important to integrate recycling habits in aspects of your life especially, shopping because we shop for anything and everything.

Need some DIY inspiration Check out A Beautiful Mess or even ask me! I have so many ideas it would be selfish not to share! :). I hope I was able to provide some perspective of the greatness of being environmentally aware as you shop. And if you have any questions about fashion or sustainability because I am studying the latter, feel free to shoot me a line.

 

Make Tea Not War

On my ongoing adventures to  thrift stores  I make it a mission to search through the “dishes” section to see if I can  discover tea cups that possess a lot of character.  Is it weird that I think tea cups should have a special quality about them to make them worthy of tea? Perhaps, but I feel that the reason I search for interesting tea cups is because of my personal philosophy:  I rather be weird and random than the same and boring as everyone  else, because who wants to be around a boring person and life is  more fun when it is random and spontaneous. I apply this  logic to most aspects of my life, my clothes, my friends, and my tea cups.

Any who on one of my latest thrift adventures, I saw so  many tea cups overflowing with character ( see what I did there)! Now you are probably wondering how can you determine if a tea cup has character. Well, it is quite simple, actually. You just have to look and see if it has one or more of the following characteristics.

  • Funky color
  • Big or small (height and length)
  • Designs
  • Art
  • Shape
  • Handle width and shape
  • Clever sayings
  • Weight
  • Cool symbol(s)

Here are some of my pictures of tea cups with character that I found in the thrift store! Which cup do you think I bought?5 4 2 3 1 BeFunky_image4 BeFunky_image5.jpg BeFunky_image3.jpg BeFunky_image 2.jpg BeFunky_image1.jpg

 

It is also interesting to think of reasons why the tea cup ended up in the thrift store. Did someone move? Were new cups purchased? Were these neglected cups? Did someone hide something valuable in the cup when they were running away from 100 duck sizes horses? Who knows, but it is always fun to give your imagination a work out especially when things are so routine and hectic.

Tea and tea cups can be applied to life in cliche ways saying ” your cup is half full” But I rather associate tea cups with individuals. It is apparent  that not all tea cups are the same( I mean unless they are in a set but anyway) most people pick tea cups based on their individual preferences and what is a comfortable fit, just how they pick their friends.  I guess you can say I pick my cups the way I pick my friends!

My all time favorite applications of tea and tea cups is  in Alice in Wonderland  because the scene is rooted in “madness” and randomness even though the dialogue between Alice, the March Hare, and  the Mad Hatter hold some weight when applying that attitude to life.

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Even though tea is a fairly simple topic when you connect tea to your  life, it can mean so many different things! Some days to me, tea equates to the possibilities that are in each day…

teaThis is a picture of my cold tea that I make weekly.

How I make my cold tea ( as seen in the picture)

What you need:

  • Mason jar with lid or an up-cycled jar with lid. Like mine in the picture above for it once was a pasta sauce jar.
  • Favorite tea or tea that you have been craving.  In the picture I used Tazo Green Tea, Zen
  • Agave ( I try to keep it healthy most days)
  • Water
  • Fridge
  • Whatever else you want to add

Now all you have to do is:

  • Place tea bag in jar
  • Pour boiling water over it
  • Add desired amount of agave/sweetener
  • The jar will be very hot at this point
  • Secure lid on top of the jar then put it in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
  • Once it is cold, shake it up add your additions and Enjoy!

I drink  tea hot, cold, with honey/agave, fruits,   just plain or whatever I feel it needs!

How do you create your tea?

 

Social and Cultural exploration. Taking a journey through people and events. Supporting those with passions and those still looking. Welcoming Inspiration. *All original photos unless stated otherwise

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