With Warmest Regards,
Thank You to everyone who took the time to send messages on social media, texts and phone calls on this special birthday. I do not take your love, support and kindness for granted. In fact, it's what keeps me motivated and fulfilled. I'm 37 today but the memories we make are timeless. May God continue to bless your life and families. Here's to another year of love, good health, wealth, peace and happiness.
With Warmest Regards,
This past week could’ve made parental headline news because it was a rare instance where I was home alone…and for the weekend! WhoopWhoop! Don’t get me wrong. I love being surrounded by my family and all the duties that parenting involves but there is nothing like having some time and space in solitude to manage the household chores or in fact, ignore them completely!
Talk about the ultimate rest and relaxation! Here’s a list of things I did and did NOT do in my “free” ME time:
Now, you won’t find shopping, nails done and hair “did” on this list because I went went the flow of things and if it required too much energy on my behalf or others then it wasn’t going to get done. Plus, I already did those things last week.
I appreciate the blessings of momentary solitude because it’s how I recharge and rebuild my own psychological and physical force so that I may have positive and present interactions with others. It takes a lot of energy to be engaged all day, everyday, so I’m grateful to my spouse and kiddos for giving me the time to rest, recharge and refocus until they return from their weekend travels.
Is it just me or is being home alone (when you have young, school-age kiddos) a rarity? How do you spend your "me" time whether is a few hours or a few days? I’d love to hear from you!
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Dance aficionados flocked to the Wyly Theatre in Dallas to watch the highly acclaimed, Dallas Black Dance Theatre production, "Cultural Awareness." I got lucky and purchased a ticket from another spectator who's guest was a no show for the evening which meant I had to sit with my new friend :) She was an elder who enjoyed dance and was impressed by the fact that I facilitated transferring the money to her via PayPal. "I only use it for travel, she said. "I didn't know you could pay people." I smiled and appreciated how modern technology made our cash-less exchange pleasant and uncomplicated.
One can only admire the grace, elegance and strength of the DBDT dancers as they blessed the stage with a tribute titled, "His Grace" to South African Leader, Nelson Mandela Coreographed by Christopher L. Huggins. The performing artists also paid tribute to the dancers of the past including Alvin Ailey, Josephine Baker and so many others. They were affectionately called "Dancestors."
This year marks the 12th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina flooded the homes and lives of many residents of New Orleans. Choreographer, Performing Artist and New Orleans Native, Michelle N. Gibson remembers the time all to well and she gave the audience a taste of the tragedy, hardship and rebirth through her amazing work titled,
"Displaced, Yet Rebirthed" featuring none other than the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Kickin Brass Band. Click on the image to hear an exclusive interview where she recounts what it was like to be displaced and affected by the tragic event.
Years later today, Michelle's choreographic work in "Displaced, Yet Rebirthed" performed by the DBDT had almost everyone at the edge of their seat and eventually dancing on their feet! It was beautiful night of art, culture and awareness that made my heart swell with love, hands clap for joy, and eyes water with pride. Bravo!
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The ladies and I gathered up and finally saw Marvel Studios, The Black Panther and it did not disappoint! I felt a connection with the story in that I enjoyed the theme of honoring the ancestors and identity to one’s own people. It’s what makes us all unique. For many African American’s, our identities have been striped from us so its good to see a movie that reminds us that there is a bond, and to some extent, an obligation to seek one’s own history. Furthermore, we have the technical capability to know that history through DNA African Ancestral testing. We as black people, don’t have to succumb to the negative stereotypes that we’ve been told that keeps African-American and native Africans divided.
Wakanda is a beautiful Utopia! I've seen it with my own eyes... in the movie! Wakanda is a glorious but fictional place. Unfortunately, it does not exist in real life. However, Please know that Africa is, indeed, as real as it gets. There are aprox. 54 countries on the continent and there's an abundance of natural resources, many cultures and the most beautiful people.
I’ve traveled to Egypt, Senegal twice and Guinea. Our young daughters (now ages 10 and 12) have traveled there with me as well because we want to show them that Africa is a beautiful and versatile continent from where we all come. I feel a connection to our ancestors, the motherland and its people around the world. Our American-born children should know of and show reverence to their African heritage. I’m glad this movie stands as a testament that we should teach ourselves and our youth to build bridges among our cultures, -black or otherwise- so that we can thrive together for a better future.
I loved the "Dora Milaje," all female warriors and the representation of powerful black women in this film. I was enamored by the love shown between characters because you don’t see that portrayed often, if not well, in mainstream media. You don’t see a lot of pro black, pro cultural and pro ancestral themes that were present in the film which made Black Panther a winner for me. Wakanda Forever!
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“Let mommy do your hair.” We’ve probably been told this phrase at some point in our lives or we tell it to our little ones daily. Or at least once a week. Luckily for me I was taught how to braid, twist and do our hair at a young age so it’s natural for me to impart the knowledge and style upon my own kiddos’ crowns.
I follow a hair ritual of using products that are natural and/or gentle to our hair.
My favorite products are:
-Creme of Nature Detangling Shampoo
-Pantene ProV Shampoo and Conditioner
-Natural Black Soap
-Free to Swim Hair Cream and Oil Spray
-Spray bottle of water
I use up to 5 different combs:
A rat tail to part
A long tooth comb
A wide tooth
A regular size and thin tooth comb
My ritual consists of washing their hair with either said shampoo and conditioner and doing a vinegar and lemon rinse to soften and detangle their hair.
After rinsing conditioner, I part their hair into sections and comb it out with a cream moisturizer because it makes the task of doing their whole head easier to manage. For further manageability, I blow out their hair with a Yellowbird Conair blow dryer with a comb. It lengthens the coils and makes it easier to comb. After that, I braid their hair into a style that can last up to two weeks or longer if they sleep with the ubiquitous scarf that keeps strands in place over night.
I love the fact that our children embrace the importance of maintaining healthy, natural hair. They know that their hair grows tall, long, kinky, curly and “different” from others so might as well learn how to do it, enjoy it’s unique versatility or just come over here and let mommy do your hair. With Love.
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Who doesn’t love lasagne? When it’s made with love, it takes on a whole new meaning and taste. When I was younger I remember my mom cooking in a way that seemed almost gastronomically poetic. Her name is Stephanie and she's still young and sweet. Whilst she cooked, a seasoned Frankincense incense would burn in another room, music blasting (most likely Stevie Wonder or Teena Marie) with her holding a glass of wine, swaying with the windows and patio door open on any given, lovely day. I enjoyed watching her float, sing and shimmy from counter space to stove, chopping this and sautéing that… It was a process that evoked happy thoughts and feelings that seemed to be apart of her dish’s ingredients. I tasted and felt it in her food then and I still sense it now when I cook for my family and friends.
Fast forward 26 years later to my kitchen, it’s full of aroma and tunes with an Nandita Acharya incense burning in the living room. Windows wiiiiide open to receive all that this 60 something degree weather has to offer.
I’m making Love-sagne. I looked for the healthiest, mostly organic ingredients I could find…at Kroger :) No meat because if you do it right, you can’t even tell the difference.
Cooking makes me hungry so first, I indulge and fed myself salmon, artisan cheese, hummus, rice crackers, blueberries and wine. It’s like my pre-game soul fuel. Lasagne is probably one of my favorite dishes to prepare because I like to layer ingredients. It’s as if my positive thoughts and intentions are layered in between the marinara sauce and cheeses.
Annie Lenox is blasting through the air and is one of my favorite Pandora stations. Something about the nostalgia of her peculiar voice . It sounds and feels, TIMELESS. My childhood experiences of my mother in the kitchen made me feel good and those feelings transferred to my own daughter today. I felt it when she came home and hugged me after school. She held me a bit longer and swayed with me to the music. She knew I was happily cooking with love.
Bon Appetite and Happy Valentine’s Day.
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February is my favorite month because it's like one big party. The party in my mind in addition to it being "Black History Month," Carnival around the world annnnnnd Marvel Studios highly anticipated movie, THE BLACK PANTHER premiering this week! Oh and Valentine's Day :) My birthday is February 19th which officially makes me a Picese. Yep! A water sign represented by two fish. Pisceans go with the flow, they’re passionate and generally optimistic. Carnival is a large celebration that precedes Lent, a religious practice when people abstain from certain foods and/or activities for a period of time, usually 40 days, after Ash Wednesday. It's a faith-based practice of the Roman Catholic and some Christian religions. May I add it's also the Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog?! Lot's to celebrate this month.
I watched Carnival in Brazil being broadcast via satellite on Globo Brazilian TV and I tell you, it fascinates me every time. First off Carnival is celebrated in most places though out the streets of Rio de Janeiro and throughout Brazil. Granted, other places around the world too but Brazil was my first taste of a real Carnival. Ask any Brazilian and they'll tell you that Carnival is a big party and many Brazilians either stay and enjoy it to some degree or leave to go on vacation while their city or town is overtaken by thousands of tourists. I too traveled to Brazil and experienced Carnival in Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro and both were overwhelmingly extraordinary. Too much of a good thing ie partying, can in fact have you waking up in the middle of the next day wondering, "how did I get here and where are my ____?"
You fill in the blank!
I tuned in from home as Salgueiro Samba School showcased the most beautiful tribute to black women and Kemetic history. One scene featured a troupe of pregnant women adorned in bright red and orange feathers and sequined costumes. Big, beautiful and bare bellies shown for the world to see. I can't help but to feel excitement every time I watch the sea of beautiful people parading through the sambadrome but I would be remised if I didn't acknowledge its downfalls. It costs A LOT of money to produce the annual Sambodrome Carnival celebration and I've heard that the majority of the profits does not benefit its citizens. Sex trafficking is at its highest during carnival and poverty keeps children scavenging in the streets especially in the midst of the festivities. It's a lot to reckon with but its good to do further research on the socio-economic issues of Brazil and its Carnival so that you can be aware and know that it's not all glitz and glamour.
Topic of Carnival merits it's own blog but I’m going to continue with why I love February. It's Black History Month which I can't say enough about the SACRIFICES people of color have made in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today. Still a long way to go but you can see the forward movement with the mainstream production of the
Black Panther movie, which depicts an African-inspired future fantasy world where Africa is the most technically advanced society on the planet. Last but not least, Happy Birthday to Me.
30 something and counting. Yay. Enjoying every moment.
I Love You February.
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We've all heard of the ancient practice of Acupuncture which uses a series of fine needle points that are inserted just beneath the skin's surface in an effort to alleviate pain and unblock energy though a bunch of channels in the body called Meridians.
I first met Dr. Ahmad about 8 years ago when my daughters were toddlers who required a lot of attention and upper body strength. At that time, I was also a dancer in Bandan Koro's African Drum and Dance Ensemble. I sought psychological and physical relief particularly in my neck and back area where I would sometimes feel discomfort from everyday life.
Today, our session began like any other with him checking my pulse and examining my tongue. It's funny how he can tell my level of stress even before I say anything about it. Based on his keen observation, he'd say something like "your kidneys are inflamed." I remember thinking, "Oh my. I should be more careful with my kidneys," as if it were an exterior body part or something. Then he would begin the process of inserting at least a dozen little needles into my skin starting from my head to my feet.
He said the point on the top of my head was called, "Bai Hui," the meeting point of a thousand channels because it connected to every point in the body. I would twitch at some entries because due to blockage or an area that needed attention say for instance my kidney. I need to exercise and drink more water to keep my kidneys healthy and functioning properly.
Once the needles are inserted and electrodes are applied I'd rest for about 45 minutes letting the healing and flow of energy take place. Once the session is over, I wake up feeling so calm and rejuvenated from the inside out.
Last but not least, Dr. Ahmad leaves me with small portable needles (one on each wrist), acupuncture beads in my earlobes and medicated tape across my muscles for ongoing release and relief. Dr. Ahmad used to practice western medicine but now has his own practice offering Acupuncture and Alternative Medicine in Plano, Texas. Herbal remedies and alternative medicine is definitely my go to remedy for optimal health and wellness. How do you care for you and your family? Comment below.
Acupuncture & Alternative Medicine
2800 West Parker Road Suite #101
Plano, Texas 75075
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Being in media production gives me the opportunity to witness and assist with some extraordinary works of art in motion-picture. So I felt blessed once again when I received the call from Filmmaker and Director, Andre Costa of Andy Costa Films to operate audio for his latest short film, "Love Never Fails." It's an endearing story based on the premises that love has the power to bring two people from different ideologies and backgrounds together in one awe-inspiring twist of fate. The signs are all there if we just believe.
It was about 8am when I arrived on set to the home of film producer, Heather Anderson who welcomed the crew with smell of fresh home-made muffins. Mmmm. Adorned with inspiring antiques with a modern southern feel- the home is in fact, the perfect set for a love story which this family lives in real life. The space was warm and inviting. However, today it was the home of characters Grace, played by Bella Kane who invites her love interest, John (Brian Elder), over for an evening of "Netflix and Chill."
As a crew member in charge of audio, I watched and listened as the couple "acted" for the camera....and Action! They laughed, cried and fought out what seems to be a prevalent issue that many people may deal with in real life. "What role does love play in relationships and how does God reveal love to us?" "How can love help to settle differences?" "How do you know when it's right?" These are all questions that came to mind whilst assisting on set and I was all too happy to get some answers.
Our last scene was shot that evening at First Christian Church Plano. Bella marches down the isle determined for answers...and Action! Her heart-felt words shouting, "Why God WHY?" penetrated the mic and sent an eerily sincere sensation through my headphones and into my heart. With "Clear Eye" tears streaming down her faced, Bella prayed on her knees before the pulpit. It was a scene that appeared to be all too familiar. She pleaded for answers, some of which could be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV). As for the rest, you'll just have to watch.
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I can't believe it's been almost a year since I last blogged! Then a year before that! I'm pretty active on other social media platforms like Facebook and most recently, Instagram which has been my main mode of posting but gosh, does my blog need some updates and attention! Actually, my whole mindset needs an overhaul right along with my tech devices. I took my computer to the Mac store yesterday to see why my computer is sooo slow and come to find out, I was at least seven software updates behind! Now I refuse to buy the new iPhone 10x or HomePod but at least I can stay updated on the latest programs that my computer and devices need to run more efficiently which if you're wondering it's Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.3. Otherwise, they become slow and outdated.
This got me to thinking about my mindset and actions. I spent the last year reading and investing in personal and business development and now it's time to upgrade and do the work! It's time to commit to a schedule of activities that will yield beneficial results such as exercise, blogging, video editing and content creation, learning new media technologies for my business and finishing personal projects that need just as much attention ie. that family trip to Guinea West Africa documentary, but that's another story.
I have a short but sufficient list of personal and business coaches whom I follow and their content is spot on when they say, "consistency is key." Strategic consistency is something I've struggled with for a long time. So I'm going to apply one of the practices I've heard and seen from my favorite strategists whom often give this one particular advice and that is to: Create a habit.
I regret that I haven't connected in so long thus the habit I'll choose to focus on is: Blogging. That's right! I love to write and share my experiences so I will challenge myself to 21 days of posting blog-worthy content right here so that I can connect with my readers and they too can share with me. So if the spirit moves you and you're ready, let's create a good habit together. It's a new year! Nevermind, that new year resolution we promised ourselves at the beginning of the year (every year) because that is not what this is about. Anyday is a good day for progress, updates and improvements. What are you working on? Just curious. Thanks for reading. Day 1.
Hi. I'm LaDonna.
"Nothing superior has ever been achieved, except by those who dared believed, that something inside of them was superior to circumstance."