Monday, December 29, 2014

My 2014 in Six Words

A six word blog, not exactly, but I will some up my 2014 in six words. All roads seem to lead me back to NPR and it should be no surprise that this blog was inspired by National Public Radio (NPR). It plays such an integral role as one of my main sources for news, media and stories that keep me informed and entertained.

Shout out to my mom for turning me on to my local NPR station, WNPR. While there are a number of shows that I love to listen, here's my short list. They include All Things Considered, Car Talk, Fresh Air, Radio Lab, Latino USA, and local programs like Where We Live, and The Colin McEnroe Show, but this blog is inspired by journalist Michelle Norris' project Welcome to The Race Card Project.

The project asks individuals to sum up their feelings about race in six words. People from all across our nation have taken up the challenge and shared their candid feelings about race in America. Listening to others share their personal feelings about race was a bit of car therapy. It made me uncomfortable. I cried. I empathized. I saw race from multiple perspectives. What a great exercise. I'm going to to steal this.

Sharing my views in 140 character or less on Twitter took some getting used to. Wrapping up my year in only six would be a challenge, but one that I welcomed. I spent the last couple of weeks pondering the words I would select. There's been so much that has influenced and impacted my life in 2014. I've experienced a roller coaster of emotions and have been saddened and moved by the actions of people. With three days to go before we say bye to 2014, here are my six words.

Addiction, Dismay, Opportunity, Own Your Life

It feels good to be in a positive place as I reflect on 2014. I consider myself blessed. I continue to learn and grow. I'm surrounded by people who love and care for me. I have missed the mark on some of my goals in 2014, but am ready to seek out new opportunities that will continue to help shape me for the better in 2015. Bring it on!

How would you wrap up your 2014 in six words?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

YouTube's 2014 Rewind

The holidays are still a couple of weeks away, but the folks at YouTube are already out with their 2014 Rewind. The video gives the viewer a nice little highlight of 2014's "pop culture" buzz. Considering most attention spans these days, it feels a bit long, but the music and celebrity cameos make it fun to watch.

Instead of a rewind I tend to be more reflective about the activities in my life and the impact they have. I look for the game changers. However, I like the YouTube 2014 Rewind approach because it reminds me to keep it fresh, fun, and that some good things did happen in 2014. Besides, we can always use some entertainment and a good laugh. 

When I rewind 2014 here are a few of the moments I really enjoyed:
  • Adopting Billy
  • Getting a new job with Aetna
  • Receiving my second masters from Gonzaga's Communication and Leadership Program
  • Publishing my thesis, "A Post-Feminist Look At HBO’s Girls: A Critical Analysis of Character, Career, Gender, and Sexuality"
  • Being there for my bestie Tara when she welcomed Alex, her first child to the world.
  • Traveling to England to attend my cousin Kamille's wedding and catching up with family there.
  • Traveling to Paris to spend quality time with Jens and Coco and catch up with family there.
  • Attending the U.S. Army v.s. UCONN football game at Yankee Stadium
  • Fasting with Karim and seeing the Mets play at Citifield (my first time in the baseball stadium. After the game we saw a free concert by Huey Lewis and the News. Shout out to the 80s rockers!
  • Taking cooking classes at Kitchen Gadgets and Beyond. Shout out to Groupon!
  • Hosting our "End of Summer" BBQ
  • Taking my godsons to Six Flags New England
  • Watching the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica
When you rewind the year, what are some of your favorite moments?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Black Friday Bah Humbug

It's officially a week since the big Black Friday shopping extravaganza. I don't know about you, but I was disappointed by the Black Friday deals this year. I'm not sure if it's because it seems like we gear up for holidays earlier and earlier each year allowing retailers to stretch out their deals. While Black Friday isn't an official holiday, that fact that it comes right after Thanksgiving and leads us into the Christmas shopping season has me feeling like we should make it one.

I don't need a large screen T.V., a new car (not yet) or other big ticket items and I didn't feel like hitting the stores after I stuffed myself with a fabulous holiday dinner. Thanks Nat! I'm not a morning person either, so you won't catch me waking up at four a.m. to stand in lines to hit the stores at five a.m. Not happening. I did it a couple of years ago and while I was happy with my purchases I'm not sure it was worth the gas and time I put into it.

These days I'm feeling more like a Cyber Monday and online shopping kind of girl. While there's something to be said for being able to look at  items in person I much prefer the ease and convenience of online. It's nice not battle for parking spots, stand in long lines or encounter holiday attitudes of frustrated customers. It doesn't help that you can get free shipping at a majority of retailers if you spend a minimum of $50. Some of my favorite retailers like Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Bed Bath & Beyond, and L.L. Bean offer free returns. Here's a list of other retailers that also offer free shipping and returns.

This year I definitely feel like I experienced the Black Friday Bah Humbug. I want to hear from you. Were you happy with the Black Friday deals? How was your experience? Drop your responses in the comment section. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I look forward to Thanksgiving every year. It's my favorite holiday and not just because I get to eat dishes that I only eat this time of year, it's about reconnecting with family and friends. I have the down time to reflect on what I'm truly thankful for and count my blessings.

This year's turkey day celebration will take me to Atlanta where I get spend time with my bestie Nat. Since she has relocated to Atlanta, I only get to see her a couple times a year, if I'm lucky. This is a special Thanksgiving for her because it will be the first in her new home.

Many of you will hit the road today or tomorrow and head to your holiday destinations, some of you will be hosting family and friends, and others will be welcomed guests.

Thank you for sharing and participating in my "Thankful and Giving"challenge and reading my blog. I wish each of you a safe, relaxed, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bring on the Weekend

As this week comes to a close, Kim Kardashian's latest magazine cover remains this week's celebrity hot topic. She claimed to "Break the Internet." I thought her butt selfie a year ago made my jaw drop. She manages to top that. Even The View's Rosie O'Donnell weighed in and came to her defense. While I get Rosie's point that if she had that body she would do the cover, however, I wonder how much of it is actually her body. Thanks to Photoshop, graphic designers and magazine editors can make even imperfect celebrities have the perfect smile, teeth, and body. Kim's skin is glistening a little to much for my taste. Feel me? My mother also used to tell me, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

I have to say this week feels much better than last week. I got four work out days of the gym in. I finally began chipping away at revising a script (as of last night 15 pages) and am currently reading Toy Story 3. In order to stay on track with my writing I'm writing 30 minutes a night and reading 30 minutes a night.

I don't even mind that it snowed a bit overnight although I was hoping it wouldn't hit until next month. Oh well.

Not sure about the rest of you, but I'm ready for the weekend and looking forward to it. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to see Sacred Heart's High School's production of Singing in the Rain. Elizabeth, the young high school student I started mentoring this summer is performing in the production that will take stage at the Shubert Theater. I'm looking forward to it, it makes me nostalgic and brings back fond memories of when I performed in Cabaret for my senior class play. I still have the VHS of the performance.

The countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun, which brings me to my Thankful and Giving Challenge. Take it if you have a social media account. Lets spread some positivity.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thankful and Giving Challenge

Happy Friday folks. I'm pleased to be kicking this blog off with a challenge to each of you. Don't we all have something or someone we are thankful for? As we approach Thanksgiving I thought it would be nice to share what we are thankful for or how we give back to our communities. At work I kicked off a "Thankful and Giving Challenge"campaign with the Aetna University community and now I'm sharing it with you.

Check out my video and I challenge you to share what you're thankful for or how you give back to the community. I also encourage you to share this challenge with your family, friends and colleagues. Lets have fun with this and have a great weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Addiction: Everybody Hurts

"You can a lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." When it comes to addiction, I've learned that you can't even lead the horse to water. Recently, an individual close to me has relapsed. He/she lost their job as a result of going back on drugs. When you find drug paraphernalia hidden among their personal items, it isn't theirs. Drug addicts live in a world that is built on a foundation of lies. They lie to themselves about their addiction, after all it wasn't going to happen to them. When he/she finally accepts their dependence on a drug, he/she goes to great lengths to hide the addiction.

I've seen and heard a plethora of stories about addiction. It's the problem that happens to other people until someone close to you falls victim.

You can only hide it for so long before the drug catches up with your body, behaviors, and actions. The addict doesn't accept this notion. He/she thinks they can lie their way out of any situation. It's both sad and disturbing to watch, especially when the addict refuses to seek help. How do you help someone who doesn't want to help his or her self? There are no easy answers or easy choices.

I don't believe in enabling a drug addict by giving him or her a place to stay so he or she stays off the streets. The reality is he/she will still use the drug. Why make them comfortable? As much as it hurts to kick the person out, the reality is he/she probably should be on the streets, but I also recognize demonstrating tough love hurts.

I'm a firm believer that at the end of the day the addict has to want to quit. The high from the drug can no longer dominate over everything in that individual's life. What does it take to get there? The answers vary. A lot of people in the addiction community say you have to let a drug addict hit "rock bottom." It is only then when the individual may find redemption that is if he/she doesn't OD first. You just don't know. You hope. You wonder, You wait. You pray.

Addicts don't just hurt themselves, they hurt their family and friends. Everybody hurts.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's Already October

I don't know about you, but September seemed like a bit of blur to me. Maybe that's because I spent 13 days of it on vacation and when I returned I transitioned into a new job.

My new job transition is going well. I'm loving my commute. East Hartford to downtown Hartford is about 20 minutes depending on traffic. While I love audio books on CD, I will no longer need them because I'm spending two hours out of my day on the road. Holla! Working closer to home is also nice because I get to see my Billy and hubby that much sooner.

I do like this time of year, especially when a few warm days make an appearance, but it also serves as a reminder that winter is coming and I'm not talking Game of Thrones (I am looking forward to the next season). Winter is my least favorite season. I hate the cold. You would think I'm used to it having lived in this region my whole life, but I'm not. The snow is okay. I actually like to go sledding and make a snow angel every once in a while. However, no snow balls at me head please and when I have to drive in it, not so much.

Rather than dread the winter season to come I will focus on the now. The now is pretty sweet. I have a new job, in a new industry and find myself surrounded by a new team of interested and talented people. I'm looking forward to growing in the role and with the company. Orange, my favorite color, I mean my signature color is in full effect. I love it! It works well in the summer but there is something about the fall and how is blends with the red, yellow, and brown that I really dig.

I also love that October is the beginning of pumpkin everything. Whether you crave breads, cakes, muffins, lattes, pies, soups, raviolis, ice cream, pudding, or something I may have missed, you'll be sure to find it during the next two months. I welcome October. I'm going to embrace it, because before I know it, "lady winter" will be here.

Here are a few pics showcasing how I'm owning the fall season.

My porch pumpkin came from Botticello Farms (locally owned).

The living room has a touch of fall.

A delicious pumpkin pie from Roger's Orchard

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School, Not Quite

Happy Friday. It's back-to-school time and most kids in Connecticut wrap up their first official week of school today. As I see the school buses pick up and drop off kids it brings back memories of when I used to stand and wait for the yellow banana boat I called a bus. 

Although I'm no longer in school I believe in being a lifelong learner. Regardless of your class, ethnicity, race or religion, education lays the foundation for upward mobility and has the power to level the playing field. Unlike money, which comes and goes, once you learn something that knowledge stays with you. 

There are many ways for us to learn. It can happen in a formal educational setting, through our parents, peers, or in the form of mentoring. Merriam Webster defines a mentor as someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. While the definition gives an understanding of the role it doesn't underscore the importance of mentoring as a powerful tool to enhance one's professional and personal life. 
Attributes of Mentoring.

Having benefited from mentoring relationships, I firmly believe its a relationship that all professionals should embrace, regardless of where they are at in their careers. Even when you have a strong manager or director, it may not be enough to help you achieve your professional goals or address concerns regarding your professional development throughout your career. In my experience mentoring has provided support, guidance, and tough love in helping me set-up and achieve short-term and long-term goals.

Recently, I've embrace the opportunity to "pay it forward" by mentoring a young women named Elizabeth. I used to work with Elizabeth's mom and reconnected with her. At the event I met her daughters, two of which are interested in careers in communications. I received a message from Elizabeth's mom on LinkedIn, she wanted to know if I would be interested in mentoring her daughter. I was honored by the request. 

Elizabeth is entering her senior year of high school and is looking at universities and colleges. My own college search doesn't seem that long ago. How time flies. 

Elizabeth and I had our first meeting a few weeks back. We met at a Starbucks to talk and got to know each other. I felt like it was a good meeting and I'm looking forward to our monthly check in next month. It means a great to deal to me to be helping a fellow African American female strive for her dreams. Although I'm the mentor, I expect to also learn and grow from this process. 

If you're interested in mentoring, learn more at

Friday, July 18, 2014

12 Weeks and Counting Since Billy Joined My Family

Billy takes in the view at a lake.
It's hard to believe that today marks 12 weeks since Karim and I adopted our beloved Billy. For the longest time I pushed back on getting a dog. Karim was ready two years ago. I on the other hand thought about the cost of food, having to clean up after a dog or waking up bright and early to walk the dog. How things have changed. I do all of the above and while the cleaning up after him is a daily occurrence, I don't mind it as much as I thought I would or the a.m. walks. Walking him in the morning helps to wake me up and get myself acclimated to what's ahead in my day. I'm no fan of winter and realize my attitude may slightly shift when the cold temperatures arrive. However, whether its rain, sleet or snow, Billy is a joy to be around.

Chilling on Grandma's deck.
This is going to sound a bit cheeky, but it was love at first sniff. I didn't anticipate falling for him so quickly. Karim and I met him at Our Companions Animal Rescue open house event. Our Companions is a Connecticut based organization that promises to always do the right thing for animals, regardless of the challenge or cost. The staff and volunteers that work here truly eat, breath, and sleep their mission statement. The services they offer include pet adoption, pet sanctuary, dog training classes, spay/neuter services, special events, and volunteering opportunities. 

Karim and I were thinking about getting a dog for a few months before we made the decision to adopt in May. We learned about Our Companions from his sister, Jamila, who volunteers with them. After we arranged a play date with Billy, I knew I wanted him to be a part of our family. Karim agreed. It was a perfect match.

In recent weeks Billy has adjusted to living with us and vice versa. He loves high quality treats like Polly-O string cheese, Purina's Rollhide, salmon treats, and chicken jerky. Personally, I think he'll devour any type of jerky. He loves people food like curry goat, shrimp lo mein, fried chicken wings, chicken fried rice, and a turkey sub, hold the veggies. He's not as big of fan of your typical doggy biscuits and cookies. They need a little something extra. He also loves driving shot gun or in the back with head out the window.

Our friends and family that have met Billy love him. Like his adopted mama, he's a people person and loves to engage others. He's friendly when he meets strangers and most other dogs, but if you bark at him, he'll bark back. Some folks have questioned me about having him wear a pink harness and leash. I have no problem explaining that I don't conform to gender associations that stereotype what society has come to define as female and male. My Billy proudly rocks pink and looks handsome doing so.

To jump or not to jump, that is the question.

Billy has changed my life for the better. Do I clean more? Yes. Do I get frustrated when I'm watching something on T.V., and he starts crying if I don't walk him. Yes. But in the end, its all worth it. I'm a proud and happy dog-lover, probably always was, just needed Billy to bring it out in me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Birthday Celebration Highlights

Great weather. Check. Off Broadway show. Check. Quality time with my besties. Check. Everything fell into place this past Saturday. Not to hot, not to cool and the breeze caressed my face at the ideal times as I walked around New York City on Saturday. It was picture perfect day that made for a lovely birthday celebration. Here are some photos to highlight Saturday's events. 

The official posters at the gift shop.

If I was a out!

Via Della Pace's Brushetta

Dawn and I outside of the theatre.
After the show with my besties outside of the theatre.
Birthday Tiramisu from Via Della Pace.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Year Older: Happy Birthday to Me!

This weekend I will celebrate another birthday. YEAH for me. I consider it a blessing to be on planet earth another year and look forward to the different birthday activities. I have fond memories of having birthday parties up until around the age of 11. After I turned 12 my mom told me I was too old for birthday parties. That news was a blow to me, but I eventually got over it and started a tradition of celebrating my birthday in different ways. 

This year I'm looking forward to a day in New York City with my sister Dawn and best friends, minus one because she lives out of state. Wish you could be there Nat. 

The original mean girls.
I'm going to see the Broadway show Heathers, which is based off of the film with the same name. I'm big fan of the film and watched it numerous times with Dawn growing up. Back in 2004, people loved Tina Fey's Mean Girls. If you watch Heathers and then Mean Girls, you can see that Tina Fey refreshed the story concept for a new generation. Somethings never get old – high school cliques and teenage girl drama/trauma is one of them. It makes for a good story when executed well. In my opinion, Heathers is one of the last well-written and classic 1980s high school films released toward the end of the decade. The film helped propel Winona Ryder and Christian Slater's young Hollywood star power, although they had a number of films to their credit at the time. 

I love musicals and am looking forward to seeing how the producers adapt the story for the stage. After the show I'll have dinner at Via Della Pace. It's going to be nice catching up with my friends who I don't get to see everyday. The older I get, the more complicated life gets and making time for family, friends, work, hobbies and goals can be a challenge. There aren't enough hours in the day, so I have to make the time to stay connected. Even in a world that is more social online, nothing beats face-to-face. 

Since June marks the half-way point of the year, celebrating my birthday this month also allows me the opportunity to check-in with my personal and professional goals. While I don't want to think about the year being half over, I do need to evaluate where I'm at and think about where I want to be by the end of 2014.

This week I submitted my master's thesis through ProQuest Dissertation Publishing. Hitting that submit button felt very good, so good I decided to tweet about it and enjoyed a nice tweet chat. When I get my diploma in the mail in late August or early September I'll have complete closure, but in the meantime, now I begin my search to get my thesis published. I have a couple of publications on my short list. Stay tuned.

With my masters behind me, I'm ready to return to the world of screenwriting. Like Stella, I need to get my groove back. My goal is to finish two if I'm on a roll, maybe three draft scripts by the end of this year. I have my work cut out for me. I've deactivated my Facebook account to help me shift my focus of being social and get back to the craft. 

Thus far it's been a busy year and I have quite a few things a head of me, but this weekend I will take the time to celebrate me with my friends, family and husband.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Emerging Woman Artist: Actress/Singer/Songwriter and Contributing Author Denise Michelle

It's been a while. I know. You would think things in my life would slow down a bit know that I have a second masters off of my plate, but instead I keep it moving with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Although my thesis has been approved I've been working on revisions before I send it out to publication. 

I've also had an opportunity to enjoy a few of the freedoms I've missed over the past two years and catch up with family and friends. However, I'm glad to be getting back to the blog. Now that you're all caught up, let me shift gears.

I'm both proud and excited to feature Denise Michelle, a multifaceted Connecticut-based performer in today's Emerging Woman Artist Q&A blog post. 

Artist Bio:
Denise Michelle (aka Denise Dennis and Denise Michelle Johnson) is a talented, passionate performer with an extensive resume who is based in the NY tri-state area. Denise has experience within every facet of the entertainment industry: acting in film, television, theater (including musicals), commercials, music videos and doing voice-overs and print. Denise is also an accomplished singer and songwriter who has honed her skills singing in showcases, talent competitions and nightclubs. She’s had radio airplay on the East Coast, England and online. In addition, a dance song she co-wrote and sang was featured on Saturday Night Live. Her goal is to continue to grow as an artist and work on union film, television and theater projects in great roles as well as continuing to sing live and record.

Q: How long have you been performing as an artist in film, television and theatre?
A: I started doing theater/plays around the age of 7. It’s always something I have loved to do. In college I continued to study theater/acting and after college started getting work in film/TV as well as continuing to do stage work. 

Q: When did you develop a passion for performing?  
A: Ever since I was little, the desire has always been there. My mother said I started singing early. I was put in pageants and talent shows and I would win them—so I believe it really started to take root then.  

Q: What's your favorite project and why?
A: I can’t say I have a favorite, but every artistic project I’ve been part of. I have learned/grown as an artist/person. My evolution as a creative person has been an interesting and fulfilling journey. However, I will say any project that keeps me on the path of earning a living full time with my art is definitely a favorite! 

Q:  Tell us about your most recent involvement in the Broken Heart Stone project. What peaked your interest about the project: What was your role?
A:  It’s very interesting how that came about. The niece of the doctor I work for part time ran into Andrew Wilson (author of the Broken Heart Stone) in a store in California back in 2012. They struck up a conversation and he told her that he was looking for a singer to write a song for a documentary he was doing about Michael Jackson. (Andy had the privilege of working with Michael Jackson back in the 1990’s.) 

Gena, the niece, suggested me and that’s how we connected. I definitely feel it was a Divine/meant-to-be connection. Also, the same month that Gena met Andy and told him about me, I was at a church prayer service and it was prophesied to me by a woman praying for me that there was a song I had not written yet. I believe my song, Michael’s Broken Heart Stone, is that song. The documentary about Michael will still be done at some point, but the book came out first.  The book, Broken Heart Stone- World’s Most Famous Handprint –Michael Jackson—King of Pop , is now out as a hardcover book and also available digitally. It is a beautiful coffee table book which gives a historical account/journey of how Michael Jackson’s hand impressions were in the basement of a Las Vegas casino for more than 20 years in obscurity until his death, and now reside in the world famous Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Andy was the man who made that happen. I helped do some research for the book and my tribute song to Michael Jackson is in every copy of the Broken Heart Stone book and also available digitally. What is also unique about the book is that fans can actually put their hand in Michael’s—they don’t have to travel to Hollywood to do it. There is a cut-out of Michael’s actual hand on the front cover of the book. Andy wanted to give Michael’s fans an opportunity to put their hands in his—it is an emotional experience for many. Michael actually had a heart on his palm of his hand and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the only star that has a crack running through it—thus the reason for calling the book the Broken Heart Stone. It’s hard to believe that next month it will be 5 years since Michael’s passing—he was a one of kind amazing artist that touched so many people all over the world. One last thing—I want to shout out Wayne Brown, a wonderful music producer from West Haven, CT. He really helped me to flesh out the music for my Michael’s Broken Heart Stone song.  

Q: Where can people find the book Broken Heart Stone?
A:  People can go to this link  to order the book, learn more and also hear clips of my song Michael’s Broken Heart Stone. We are currently looking for a publisher/distributor to take distribution of the book to a higher level and plans are being made to have it sold in Barnes and Noble. If anyone out there has any contacts in this area, please contact me. Denise Michelle, or via phone at 203-803-3941.

I would also like to let people know that with every purchase, a portion will be donated to Dr. Dana Flavin’s cancer non-profit Collmed (The Foundation for Collaborative Medicine and Research).  Dr. Flavin is an amazing physician/scientist who is helping to reverse and put into remission cancer of all types around the world while educating her colleagues on new, cutting edge  medicine/research in treating cancer and other diseases. She was based in Greenwich, Connecticut, but is currently in Germany. People can go to to learn more about Dr. Flavin and her work. 

Q: Tell us about a current project you're working on? Do you have any projects releasing this summer?
A: Currently I am auditioning for projects in film/tv/theater.  I have a Motown band (you can check out timcurriesmotownband on Facebook) with several gigs coming up over the summer, including a benefit for the Make a Wish Foundation next month. I will be singing the national anthem at the Connecticut Sun game at Mohegan Sun arena June 15, 2015  and will continue to promote the Broken Heart Stone project over the summer. I also have tv appearances lined up in the next several weeks. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting Over the Spring Flu and Getting a Response from Stuart Weitzman

There is a saying, "What a difference a day makes." I can't help but think what a difference a week can make.

This time last week, I was coming down with the flu and could only muster the energy to change my clothes and go to sleep. When Karim got home from the gym, he knew enough to let me be and sleep through the night. Instead of feeling better the next day I was getting much worse. I needed to see a doctor when I woke up Tuesday morning. I called him and had an appointment by the end of the day.

According to my doctor, there is a spring flu going around and a good number of folks have been getting sick. It's been over 10 years since I last had the flu and the last time I had it I got sick from getting the flu shot. This spring flu was a whole different ball game. It hurt to think, move, and breathe. While I'm thankful for the meds and the insurance to pay for them, they had horrible side effects.
A screenshot of  my response to Stuart Weitzman's.

I also had to postpone my oral presentation for my thesis, luckily I was able to reschedule it for this Thursday.

I'm down to the wire and just have one more section to revise along with my reference list. How I hate APA, let me count the ways. I know I need to try and not complain since this is my finally week, but I'm so ready for this course and program to be over.

Although the doctor's orders had me primarily sleeping and trying to eat when I felt up to it, I managed to check my social media accounts a few times a day. Initially, I thought I was going to write a post on Clipper's owner Donald Sterling and his racist rants. I still don't get how the media and some people were surprised by his rants. The lesson that I hope some Americans learned is that our post-racial country is not free of racism. Clive Bundy and Sterling reminded us last week and despite all the media attention, America still refuses to address the elephant in the room. Can you say institutionalized racism or white privilege? I'll stop there.

On a more positive note, I received an interesting response (at least I thought it was interesting) from Stuart Weitzman, the upscale shoe designer that I thought was worth talking about. Let me go back and catch you up. About two weeks ago I received my daily email ad from them that I usually do. This ad was capitalizing on the "Sex and the City" theme. The ad had a thin, blond white female with shorts and a jacket on, no bra or blouse. I was taken back by the ad because I thought to myself, "They wouldn't use this approach to sell a man shoes. I consider myself open minded and don't flinch at nudity. My objection was with how the ad was using  a woman's body image to sell a product. I decided to let them know my objection via social media and email. I posted my comments and I waited. Weitzman eventually responded. I appreciate the fact that they took the time to actually respond to me. To view the discussion, just click on the screenshot above.

My voice does matter and so does yours. Don't be scared to speak up or speak out, however, you should be prepared for potential fallout. No guts, no glory.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Seasons of Love When Tragedy Strikes

All day I've been hearing and reading the sad news about Maren Sanchez, the young, and talented high school student that was stabbed to death and died early this morning. It seems that the news story has gone viral and many people are shocked by her death and the violent action that lead up to it.

According to news reports, she was stabbed multiple times by a 16 year-old student that was allegedly rejected by her for the prom. The prom was scheduled for tonight, but the school canceled, rightfully so. 

I have to reserve judgement because all the facts aren't out, but my initial gut feelings are sadness and anger. Sadness because she had the whole world ahead of her. She was in the Honor Society, played team sports and was well-liked by her fellow students. I'm angry because, allegedly, a young man used violence to deal with rejection and as a result a young women's life is gone. I will reserve judgement for know, but there is a bigger conversation about violence against women that needs to take shape.

This blog post was initially going to be a Flashback Friday video highlighting Rent's Season of Love theme song. I heard it earlier in the week and the song has been resonating with me. When we hear about tragic stories like Maren's, I think society's gut reaction is to get angry, seek vengeance and demand retribution. I understand that reaction but don't think it's helpful and it won't bring her back. Considering the state of affairs, the message from Seasons of Love, should never get old. It's a message we need to reinforce and reinforce and reinforce.

Spread the love, spread the word and be kinds to others.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Thesis Paper: Finally in the Home Stretch

My thesis isn't final yet, but I'm in the home stretch and I have to say it's a good feeling. I submitted my draft late Monday night or should I say early Tuesday morning. It all depends on which time zone you count it in. Shout out to Jessica and Karim for reviewing my 50 plus page thesis! Now I wait for feedback and approval from my mentor and adviser.

My two-year academic journey for my second master's degree is almost over. Unlike, Joffrey Baratheon, I'm ready for the end. 

Gonzaga's Communication and Leadership Studies Program was a good fit for me. I was challenged as a student and can see the benefits from this two-year educational experience. I have a greater appreciation for research and the role good data plays in my life. Whether its qualitative or quantitative there's a value in it. You just need to know what you're looking for.

I still have a few weeks before I defend my thesis, but I'm already thinking about what I will do with the free time I get back. There will be no reading of academic papers, journals and books to meet course work deadlines. I have so many television shows and films to catch up on via Netflix, but more important than that, I have a few scripts calling my name. I'm going to switch from academic writing back to creative storytelling. Holla! 

I also have a few projects to do around the house and school work will no longer be a viable excuse to the hubby. The home stretch is a sweet spot and am looking forward to the next chapter.