Sunday, December 15, 2013

My thoughts on Money

Okay so I constantly feel like I have a million and one thoughts/opinions on the world and life and how things work. So I decided I'll break the topics down and write about them one by one. So this is the first dive into my mind.

Money is a piece of a paper with an old white man's face on it to which we have attributed value. Someone made cash up a long time ago, and I guess everyone thought it was a good idea because it caught on and folks went with it [as if mankind needed any more problems]. We believe that a bill displaying Franklin's face is somehow different than a bill displaying Washington's, even though they are both printed on the same exact paper in a similar fashion. But that's just programming, which is a whole nother story.

Money is a tool, one which has a unanimously agreed upon value, to which most people incorrectly assign personal value. There is an psychological heft that comes with being "broke" or "rich" or "wealthy". People who attach their worth to the amount of money they have are people who still seek happiness or fulfillment in material things. People such as these have a long way to go.

Ultimately money is an asset in the society that we created. Saving for goals is smart, although I don't believe in socking it all away for a rainy day or just because. Spend it now. Use it to your advantage and invest. Make yourself comfortable. Enjoy yourself, splurge a little. Ask for a raise. Heck, in a world where athletes and stars make more money than some third world countries, what we "deserve" is relative. 

I use it as a tool, save for goals, and plan on continuing to live quite comfortably. We have to maintain no matter what we do, so might as well maintain on a livable income. We only need money because we make each other pay to live on earth. So you know, you literally can't live without it. And that's probably the saddest part. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Haves & The Have Nots

I consider myself a simple person because I don't need much from the world around me to sustain me or even make me happy. There's little that catches my interest, or impresses me, or even makes itself important. There is so much fluff out there to distract you from what's really affecting your day to day life, like the fact that you're in your third year of college and hate your major, or the fact that your boyfriend is living overseas and the reality of him cheating on you is eating away at your self-esteem. Or the fact that you've spent every week this year looking forward to Friday. Being unhappy is lame, and it makes you lame, and society's job is to make you not notice it.

I'm not going to have an extensive conversation about religion, racial pride, your alma mater, or some bullshit reality TV show with you. Because those things don't matter. Sure I enjoy a little tune, I like to rock fly garments, I like to catch an interesting movie or documentary, I enjoy a hearty dinner in posh surroundings but I consider those things frivolous and secondary. Those things have their box in my carefully compartmentalized brain, and ultimately, my eye is on the prize. And for me, those priceless things are security and connection. Or in more simple terms, I'm only obsessed with my business endeavors and the people [and things] I love and hold in high esteem.

Right now I'm developing a luxury eCommerce site, redoing my consulting site and putting the finishing touches on a very personal (and most likely, very short) book. And after those are done, I'll be buckling down hard on this gem of a novel I've been pecking at for over a year. I'm not stanning over Beyonce's new record like everyone else for two days. I don't worship anyone, let alone false idols and I don't need Beyonce to let me know I can shine, I already knew that. [Sidenote: I feel like people are so impressed with Beyonce because she is pretty/light skinned, she can dance, and she can sing hold a note. Although I recognize her as a captivating performer, she does nothing for me, and it's probably because I am also pretty, an incredible dancer, and a great singer... and for some reason my standard for judging talent is myself. If someone is or can do something better than me, then I'll give it to them, if not... well then it's quiet for you.] I know I sound like a hater, but that's just not true. The core of my frustration comes from my disbelief at the general public's stupidity and the consistent lauding of simply "okay" entertainment. I mean, I knew people were stupid, but sometimes it baffles even ol misanthropic, cynical lil me.

This year has been good to me and I made some life-changing advancements, like upgrading my entire closet, handling some major moolah and finding [a] love. My social life definitely suffered, as it has ever since I quit the full-time workforce and turned my focus to more serious things two years ago, but hey there's always next year. It's New York, there's always an opportunity to party.

Wondering why Ashley Olsen is plastered all over this post? She's my current style and business inspiration.

Now playing: - ATM Jam [Kaytranada Remix] - Azealia Banks & Pharrell [I can't stop listening to this!]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Figuring out what to do is hard when you're great at everything

Sometimes, when a song hits just the right groove, I find myself singing along. Sometimes people overhear me, and almost always they comment on the fine silkiness of my voice. Esthero-like. Smooth. Beautiful tone. “Maybe I can be a singer,” I think aloud while lying in bed one night. I picture myself in a studio, my hands over my headphones, my eyes squinty, my mouth crooning to some melded alt-R&B beat. I see myself on stage, and touring the world, and crashing in fabulous, tired but reaping the fruits of my incredible debut album. I know some excellent producers, I think. I know people who make music, I think. These people could help me. Then I start to think bizarre thoughts. “I'd like to be a one album wonder,” I say, preferring to eschew the barrage of fame that comes along with being a musical legend. No one goes into singing hoping to be a one hit wonder I mutter, and scratch the idea off my list just three minutes after thinking it.

What about a dancer? I pipe. I know someone who moved to LA in his mid twenties and three months later - despite having no formal dance training - had a paying gig. He has danced for Lady Gaga and Beyonce since. Not bad, I think. I once went to a party full of pros, and still managed to look impressive. “I'm old though,” I blurt out, remembering that I had turned 25 earlier this summer. And although I can cut a spontaneous rug, the 1-2-3-4 movements of professional dance classes are hard for me to follow. Plus touring around the world sounds cool and all... but I'd miss home. And all that being in the background shit? All that making the star look better shit? “Dancers don't get enough credit,” I decide and chuck the idea out just as fast as I did the last one.

Then I think about being a writer. And then I remember how I hate the pressure of deadlines, and editors who distort my ideas, and writing about asinine things in order to keep the attention of the ADD and disillusioned public. I think about being a novelist, and think about my book ideas that have been swimming through my brain for months now, with only character outlines and short passages written down on paper. I think about this blog and how I practically abandoned it for 6+ months. I think about how tons of people don't even like to read. Then I think, I'm too outgoing to be a writer. I need to be more visible. I need to out there in the world.

Then I think about the things I haven't thought about. The things that for some reason or another, I haven't done (or haven't touched in years). Fashion. Art. Photos. Videos. And my ultimate dream: Creative Directing. And then I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and decide that it's time to go in the direction of the unknown, and that now is the time to do it.

Now playing: "Donatella" - Lady Gaga

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm baaaack

The world is big, and there are millions of blogs out there, but people with my perspective and opinion are few and far between. There might be a handful of bitches out there who are known as "Blue", but I'm the only one that matters.

Don't you just hate that you love me?

This is the longest I've gone without blogging since starting this thang in early 09. I didn't plan to stop, I think I just grew bored. I was tired of talking about myself, tired of typing, tired of the blogging scene in general. 

But now it's time to go in a new direction. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

Now playing: "Royals" - Lorde 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"I had other goals...

...but I accomplished those." - Lady Blue

I have high standards for just about everything because I want to feel GOOD. When I settle, I feel everything but. I guess that's why I've been so picky with... Well everything lately. Because I want to feel good when I wake up in the morning, and even better when I lay my head back down at night.

What it feels like to have your eyes opened. [Painting by Logan Hicks]

It was eye-opening to realize I could truly design my life and be in charge of how I felt on a day-to-day basis. I hated commuting during rush hour, so I stopped. Any task or chore I was avoiding, I just outsourced. And if I wanted to have popcorn for dinner or take a nap in the middle of the day, I would do it and feel no guilt. Who is keeping score anyway?

I now know that the things I truly desire are achievable and within my grasp. Why? Because I make my needs a priority, and don't care in the slightest what others think about me living my life that way. I'm a law-abiding citizen and an earnest and pleasant person who treats others with respect, but people have their place in my life. And their place is one that is not allowed to regulate, or make me feel guilty or bad about the things that make me happy. [And it's as easy as: healthy food makes me feel better so I prioritize buying it, I like high quality things because they last longer or provide a better experience so I put aside money to purchase them without a whole lot of hand-wringing, I wake and sleep when I want to, I say no often knowing that someone else will find it to be a better fit, and I say yes with glee and excitement when it feels right.]

It takes strength and conviction to “Do you”, and even though I'm as strong as they come, I'm human, and I've had doubts. My most prominent and recurring doubts have been related to my career. You see, my life consists of lots of realizations and epiphanies about how to live my best life and especially about how to catapult my career. [Why just my career? "I had other goals, but I accomplished those.” - Lady Blue] I'm admittedly obsessed with achieving my version of success [preferably by age 30], and it's something I constantly think about. It's hard to know how well you're doing and if you're on the right track by observing the people around you because they masterfully hide their struggles. You end up wondering if your constant bloopers are a sign that it just won't happen for you, when the truth is, everyone else is just showcasing their highlight reel, and people are hesitant to share all the ways in which their ideas didn't work.

Imagine walking into a dark room, only to see this when you look up. 
The sky is the limit. This is bigger than me now.

I saw other people with half the talent [and to be frank, half the looks] “succeeding” and I started to feel a slow burn of frustration and resentment. Then one day it just hit me... “I'm not getting the recognition I deserve and I'll never get it unless I change something.” I realized I couldn't be the quiet girl in the corner anymore... the shy girl in the corner isn't get paid. And she isn't get paid because she's invisible. And if she's invisible... ain't nobody checking for her. [cue Quadron's “Unpatience”]

Yes, that is my long ass, hood-tinged analogy and you will just have to deal! On March 30th of this year, my blog will be four years old. A toddler. A potty trained one, that can read and speaks in full demanding sentences. Gawd Bless. Anyway, over these past few years I've learned a lot about entrepreneurship and my writing has gotten better and better [as well as snarkier and snarkier] with every new blog post – this blog is my 300th [and no I didn't plan that!]

I started Elle B. Consulting last year and while I don't regret it, I still felt more connected to this blog than I felt to my business. Although dealing with people can be a pain in the ass, I had already determined that I wanted to be a boss more than I wanted to be an artist, so I thought it was the right move. And all things considered, I'm doing well for myself, I'm just ready to focus on what I really want, which is getting my blog and my writing the recognition it deserves.

Blogging here has been a great experience that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. It's super heartwarming to know that here lies a little space I carved out for myself, and that people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Over the years I've gained a few faithful readers, I've been given tips and advice and pointers, and I've let all that stuff, good and bad sink in. I decided that the blog needed a boost, because for one, it's no longer just a blog, it's a brand. I'm a brand. And I didn't do that. Y'all did.

I'm going to work on bringing that concept to life [in fact, I've already started working with a team - !!!]. All this time I've been looking outside and elsewhere to find my true passion – I sought out collaborations, I started my consulting company - when it has been right here, right under my nose the whole time. My blog, that I have faithfully committed to for four years now. If this isn't love, I don't know what is.

I'm so nervous I could faint, but it's time to make that love shine and spread it all around.

The photos below are candids I took after doing a mini photoshoot on Thursday. I'm proud to say that:
A] I did my own makeup! and B] #TEAMNOFILTER.

"Oh you was watchin'?! Who the fuck wasn't..." 
From Christian Dior Denim Flow - Kanye West with Kid Cudi, John Legend, Pusha T, Ryan Leslie, and Lloyd Banks [phew!]

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Latest Likes

Read on for this week's compilation of things that held my interest:

NYC loves quirky curly-haired girls!
Yeah yeah. I'm just getting into this show like a bazillion years after it left the air. Whatever. I'm not a big TV watcher, but I also didn't realize this show was set in NYC [while the main character attends a school modeled after NYU] - the location and “college experience” being the only reasons I decided to tune in to it now via Netflix. It's cute. Felicity is your average, pretty-ish, brainy awkward chick, and Ben and Noel are good-looking and endearing in their own ways. I'm sure I can read all the spoilers to figure out what eventually happens, but for now I'll just patiently watch.

These cupcakes are pretty much close to perfect. They are precisely moist and are outfitted with a proportionate layer of frosting that isn't tooth-achingly sweet. Red Velvet is of course a popular favorite here, but I don't fuck with that dessert too tough because let's face it, it's nothing but red food coloring. I prefer the vanilla on vanilla, and it's just right.

American Horror Story: Murder House
OH. FUCKING. KAY. Again, I know I'm late, but who cares. This show is wild as all hell... it was gory, tragic, poorly/incredibly acted and completely campy at times... yet I couldn't turn away. I watched the entire first season in one sitting, and after every single episode caught myself saying "What the fuck?!" Moira the maid was a genius plot device and Tate - the true monster of the show - was incredibly written and portrayed. And I can't forget Constance, whose blunt honesty you hate to love. You should watch this show for those three alone. Some episodes were especially hard to watch: episode 6 "Piggy Piggy" and episode 10 "Smoldering Children" gave me some serious stomach pains. The finale left much to be desired, but the rest of the season delivers.

Speaking of more TV!!! Enlightened just wrapped up its second season this past Sunday and man... what a heck of a show. It centers around a bunch of elements I don't particularly care about [corruption within corporations, healthy living kooks], but the acting is superb, especially Laura Dern's portrayal of Amy Jellicoe... who is heart-achingly cringe-worthy in almost every scene she's in. My favorite is when she goes from righteous do-gooder to shrieking mad-woman right before your eyes, which she does, often. It tugs at the heartstrings without making you feel corny and it makes you think without beating you over the head with affirmations or life-changing lessons. Well done, Mike White [who plays the lonely and boyishly shy Tyler and also writes the show].

The East Village 'The Smith' - steps away from Union Square

The Smith
I first saw this restaurant mentioned in a friends Facebook feed. The menu sounded great, so when the time came, me and my newest girlfriend Danielle decided to check it out. Four hours, a drink, a meal and a dessert later and we were beyond satisfied. The food is a nice twist on American classics, everything tasted just right, and the ambiance was sparse yet urbane without seeming too bare or pretentious. As expected, it's slightly on the pricy side, but that hasn't stopped me from adding it to my list of faves. I am a baller, after all.

Theresa Duncan & Jeremy Blake
Two attractive and well-to-do NYC artists, both with considerable achievements, take their own lives a week apart from each other in July of 2007 [just weeks before I moved to the city]. What drove them to do it? Scientology, gangstalking, and CIA take some of the purported blame. I stumbled across the intriguing story of “The Golden Suicides” after learning that a Law & Order show was inspired by the deceased couple. After reading tons of articles and opinions on the pair, I have my own theory as to how it all came crashing down. Occam's razor comes to mind – the first thing I thought of - besides narcissism - was the potential abuse of hallucinogens. Drugs, combined with paranoia and entitled narcissism, possessed in full by the matriarch of the relationship: Theresa Duncan, is my guess. I believe she killed herself because her life wasn't keeping up with her delusions, the story she told others, her persona; and she felt at near 40 that time was running out. She was smart enough to deflect and blame Scientology - an external variable known for reprehensible and questionable practices - and most people fell for it. Jeremy whose career was flourishing, was the "Echo" of the relationship, and he obediently followed despite all he had going for him. Fascinating stuff, but with a simple and conclusive motive.

L.A.M.B. Oxley Pumps
Although they don't show off any toe cleavage in the way that I'd hoped, these shoes were way worth the dozen or so Jacksons I laid down for them. At 4.5 inches, they are the highest heel I own, and the blue crocodile-esque leather was an eye-catching must. Plus they look like pure sex on my feet, and after years of buying cutesy shoes littered with bows and glitter, I was desperate for something more grown. This shoe effortlessly fits the bill.

Gala Darling's Blogging Tips
Don't get me wrong, she annoys me, and I still can't fight the nagging feeling that she's a complete fake [I don't buy the sugary princess “I'm so happy and full of virtuous glee!” shtick she extolls so faithfully on her site – plus I had a meeting with her once, and it didn't go well] but homegirl is THE lifestyle blogger/brand poster child. She took that glittery cupcake persona and bodied that shit, even going so far as to changing her name from the kinda regular Amy Pappe to the infamous 'Gala Darling' that she regales us with now. I have to admit, for that fact alone? Swag. With all that being said about her positives, she's obviously one to listen to when it comes to stepping up your blog game. I didn't learn anything new from her tips, it was just a good reminder of what I needed to do on some fronts – like, get organized and add new features ["my latest likes" being one of them]!

Trader Joes S'mashing S'mores
A week or so before buying these, it dawned on me that I hadn't eaten a s'more in years. And I thought to myself "Well, why the hell not?” So when I saw these at Trader Joe's, it was like a sign from GAWD to buy and consume ASAP. I pop em in the microwave for a few seconds, and I'm telling you, after that goodness hits my tastebuds, it's like a few seconds of fireside bliss.

My Latest Likes in Music:
"I follow rivers" - Lykke Li [All versions!]
"So much betta" - Janet Jackson
"Midnight City" - M83
"Supposed to grow old" - Justin Nozuka
"Drugs" - Lil Kim

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Finding my Tribe

I have a personality that thrives on accomplishment. When I feel I've mastered something or achieved excellence in a certain category - I enjoy the five minute buzz - then immediately turn my attention to what's next - the next necessary element in my life that is "missing".

And considering that I'm conventionally attractive, stylish, brilliant, and completely independent with my own fab place and my own flourishing career endeavors – there was only one category that seemed to be lacking:

Friendships. Connections. Buddies. Pals. Girl friends. Guy friends. Comrades. Allies.

As an extrovert who gets her energy from being around others [a cross I have to bear since I feel most people are *cough* MORONS], connection and interaction are important to me. They have always been important to me, and for some reason I seem to attract and befriend hoards of introverts who never seem to fully understand that desire. [I love/hate all of y'all by the way!]

I have plenty of friends. But it had been a while since I'd made any new ones, and I'd learned a lot since my last few buddy blossoms and crash and burns. Besides, when I really took a look around, I realized I had no NYC-based* friends who shared my same interests or who were around my age. And that was a problem. One that made me feel ridiculous in a city of over 8 MILLION people. Eight million inhabitants, and I was feeling like a lonely anomaly? Get the fuck outta here.

'Find your tribe' was something I read in "If you have to cry go outside" by Kelly Cutrone along with 'The No Matter What Club' mentioned in her second book "Normal gets you nowhere" [interesting books by the way, but both were far too short]. It not only meant find your groove and your niche, but find your people. The folks on your wavelength. The folks who will give you love and support, who genuinely understand you and have your back. And the search seems frustrating and hopeless sometimes, but people like that are out there. The world is so big that they have to be, trust in that. And if I, someone who has little to no faith in the general public can believe that, then anybody can.

Putting a call out for friends was not only courageous [and apparently a little abnormal], it was also difficult. It wasn't easy to sort through those emails and determine why, for one odd reason or another, I knew this person wasn't the right fit. Or why that one was only kinda what I was looking for, if I could just ignore all that other stuff. Or why this other one read my requirements all wrong. Or why that one took “unicorn” all too literally. Or why this one saw "mother/life guide/babysitter" in place of "friend".

I've gotten super sharp at identifying my kind of people – and reading through those eager responses just reminded me how good I've become at pinpointing these individuals. My perception is so sharp these days, sometimes it seems I'm psychic. It took years of hanging out with all the wrong people and a few more years of letting go of others who were close but still not quite right – but hey, I got here.

It was never easy to reply to a giddy response with “I'm sorry, I just don't think we're the right fit”, but it was necessary. I had wrangled with enough pity in the past, I had had my fair share of unevenly yoked relationships, and I knew in my heart that I no longer had the energy, the room, or the time for alluh that! 

Not only had I grown into a put-together young woman, but I no longer thought it impossible to have what I wanted... which included strong bonds with similarly minded, equally put-together young adults - the kind of friendships I'd always craved.

X-Men, as usual, had it right!
I like my people brilliant, layered, rich with thought and experience. Maybe a little rough around the edges, and tested by time. Yet I like those who are open, those who aren't completely worn down by the effects of poor decisions or consumed by the ills of the world.

I adore sincerity, unique quirks, people with a frankness about themselves and the inequities and intricacies of life. I like when someone has a warmness to them - a well of kindness sitting right in the middle of their chest - a sweetness that can never be artificially replicated for the flavor always skews slightly off.

I like people with heart and passion, people with wit and brains... people who are easy to love and admire. That is who I'm drawn to because that is who I am.

[Yes, I'm a cocky bastard who doesn't understand opposites attracting, who only values those who swag their way into my mind and heart, but we all knew that by now. Get with it or get lost. This blog is nearly four years old, you better act like you know!]

I know plenty of these people now [most of whom I met in these past few weeks!], and I'm so glad that I never stopped looking for them. Cheers to 2013, and moving upward and onward, with my crew in tow.

*I've seen a lot of friends come and go as New York is a very transient city, a mecca for the young and ambitious. But NYC is home to me – and it will always be. This city just gives me what I feel no other place can, so it was important to find friends who for the time being, felt the same.

Now playing: "Started from the Bottom" - Drake [PS - I can't get enough of this song!]

Monday, March 4, 2013

Team No Sleep

Tired of you - Joanne Young

I could never get behind "team no sleep" - a team that apparently only operates on Twitter. I need nine hours of sleep every night to feel decently alive the rest of the time. I've always known this but it hit me hard this past week when I couldn't stop my mind from racing one night and ended up getting 2-3 hours of interrupted sleep. The next day, although I was cranky and exhausted, I decided to do 3.5 bags of laundry [one whole bag of which I sorted and donated]. Then the next morning, after another sleepless night, I went grocery shopping which resulted in me carrying 5 full-to-the-brim bags of Trader Joe's goodness home. But that's not all! After I came home, unloaded and put away all that stuff, I decided I wanted to rearrange my apartment and clean it from top to bottom. Okay?! It's like I was in the midst of some sleep-deprived maniac hysteria. FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS. I also wrote like mad and did a bunch of reading and research.

So then, due to all that sleep deprivation and overworking my mind and body... what had happened was... I lost my voice. And I ended up not only having to cancel a Friday morning brainstorming meeting I'd been looking forward to all week, but missing a photo shoot I had scheduled for Sunday because I again, couldn't sleep the prior night and started feeling cold-like symptoms in the morning [unfortunately, so did my photographer]. To add insult to injury, I still am unable to say a damn word! And my streak of shit sleep is just continuing, as I am putting the finishing touches on this blog post at 5somethingAM.

Upon closer examination, I realized that I lose my voice at least once a year. Sheesh.

So two things:

1] I think what I'm feeling is resistance. Granted, I didn't get much rest... but why was my mind racing to begin with? There are lots of changes on the horizon, and even though I'm excited to be moving forward, there's always that tiny part of me, as a human, that just doesn't want to shake things up. By hiring a PR professional to assist me, not only am I saying "I'm truly ready to take my career to the next level" but I'm also committing myself to months of work... months of potentially putting myself right in the middle of many out-of-my-comfort-zone situations. And I think that freaked me out. And the photo shoot? I mean, I've done two already and you guys have never really seen the pictures. Not only am I neurotic about how the photos may turn out, but I'm famously and obviously uncomfortable in front of the camera. You think I'd be able to relax since I trust and adore my chosen photographer, but I still caught myself having a mini panic attack the morning of. I'm recognizing now that all those changes and challenges - in one weekend at that - were possibly too much for my psyche. But fuck it - that doesn't mean I'm going to press pause on things. I'm going to press on and push through because that's what I do. That's how I got here, you dig?

2] I believe in balance. People who pride themselves on getting through the day with just a few hours of sleep are silly at best and delusional at worst. Everybody is different... some folks actually do fine on 4-5 hours of sleep, and that's cool, although I still don't believe it's healthy. Others need 8 hours - or more than that - complete with a cat nap or two littered throughout the day [*raises hand*]. It's important to take care of yourself. Don't pay #TeamNoSleep any mind - they probably don't even have real jobs. Eat well, sleep well, calm yourself and never let resistance take over. That complacent bitch is just another crab trying to crawl out of the barrel in an effort to sabotage your dreams.

Now playing: "Samba Tranquile" - Thievery Corporation

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lemme buy you a draaannnkkk

“You said you've never been drunk right?”

Three is my max!

Yes I'm almost 25 years old and I've never been stumbling, puking drunk. I've never had a hangover, and I've only been "buzzed" a handful of times. Getting pissy drunk has never appealed to me. A lot of people use alcohol to fuel their escapism, but I've never felt the need to escape. I like my life. And I don't need alcohol to obtain courage, for I'm as bold as they get. Plus I don't like losing control of my body, I'd much rather control it while grooving on the dance-floor.

So you might be asking yourself how do I avoid it? How do I stay faithful in a room full of hoes? Easy. I don't succumb to peer pressure, I don't like the taste of alcohol and I never buy it myself so I don't consume a lot, and even on a night where the drinks are extra sweet or someone is being extra generous, I know when to stop myself... which is usually right when I start to feel warm and as light as a flickering fairy.

Now playing: “One of those Nights” - Juicy J ft. The Weeknd

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Je suis un Artiste

"Learning to see" by Charmaine Olivia

I think that for many of us, creating art has become a means of survival. The moments when we let our artistic spirit run free have become small respites in our adult lives full of obligations. It is the slice of sweetness we carve out for ourselves, a method of expression we deem vital to our health. How some do not “get” art is a position I fail to understand, and one I am glad to have never known. My relationship with art has been exhilarating, profound, awakening. I have found solace in words, drawing lines, the movement of my feet, touching pencil to paper. I have found myself lost in the eyes of my images, in the shading of their brow, in their subtle expressions. I have shared some of my innermost thoughts while simultaneously reflecting many of yours. For me art has been, and always will be, a necessary beauty – a peace and pureness that swirls through my mind and takes me elsewhere. I have never tried to understand why I was inclined to draw, write, sing or dance. I only knew that these things made me feel wonderful and that I felt fortunate to not only have been blessed with these talents but to have had such intimate experiences with them.
Now playing: "Spirits" - Jamie Woon

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Making my Ideals Real

I love when I write a blog draft, leave it with a cliffhanger for a moment, then come back to it in a week or two with more things to say... which is what happened here. Read on to catch up on what I've been up to.

New sentimental purchase
I'm proud of myself today. The 2013 “75% effort” plan of action is going splendidly! "2013 is the year of the manifestation" indeed.

I don't have a work schedule. I wake and work whenever I desire, sending emails to clients and working on assignments when I'm free. I didn't know where to begin with my novel, so I started free-writing for three hours a week, quickly typing up whatever came to mind, resisting the urge to edit the content as I wrote. I ended up creating a character that is dynamic and putting together a storyline for her that is intriguing. I've connected with some interesting new people [I believe that if you dig long enough, you'll eventually find a goldmine] and I know I'll continue to do so as this year carries on. Some may become life-long friends, some may even become lovers, but either way, I'm eagerly anticipating the unknown. I completely cured my skin of its ailments, and it's clear and smooth and glowing in a way that it hasn't since childhood. I've continually pruned my friendship tree, saying thanks but no thanks to many people that I would have spent pity time with just a few years ago.

Style icon!!! I may or may not have bought all of these exact pieces.

I spent some mighty dollars on new pieces, exquisite adornments that match my ideal, sophisticated, and somewhat new-found sense of style [more on this later!] I purged my place of all the needless stuff I'd acquired, and put aside a bulk of clothes, shoes, accessories and books to later give away. I discovered Trader Joe's [!!!] and grocery shopping is now a pleasant and exciting experience, one that no longer feels like a chore or robbery. My braces are coming off in a matter of weeks, I have a hair appointment at Ouidad next week, Paris is damn near booked, and Miami and L.A. are actually looking like very real possibilities [I finally found people to roll with!] There's also a birthday cruise that I'm planning with my oldest friend and a “not sure what I'm doing yet but it will be epic” celebration on or around June 1st for my 25th birthday. I've been trying not to let my dishes and laundry pile up, I've been practicing gratitude at every turn, and I refuse to lose faith that I can make my dreams come true. In fact, my faith in myself is stronger than ever. I have never looked and felt better, and I believe that I'm only going to continue to rise.

In the age of google and virtual reality, I have the world at my fingertips. And with my looks, brains and persistence, what can stop me? 

That's right. Nothing.

My ad for female friendship generated better responses than I'd ever expect from the internet - maybe because the post was firm and clear yet intriguing? I got about a dozen emails [there's a lotta lonely people out there - you're probably one of them too, don't front!], and I immediately clicked with two women in particular that I couldn't be more grateful for. They are both exactly what I was looking for in totally different ways. I took a chance, was choosy and got very lucky - but truthfully, so did they.

Since I'm crap at selling myself, would rather stick to practicing what I know, and finally feel ready to move my career to the next level; I decided to enlist the services of a PR professional. I spoke with a strong potential hire who - on paper at least - was so much more than I could ever ask for. He's the first man who said "I'm exactly what you need" whom I actually believed. We both seem to have major happy butterflies about the whole thing and I'm looking forward to seeing what we produce together. Cheers to our union and to this site's progress!

I also signed on to run background operations at the fun, fresh and innovative multimedia entertainment site - Kidz 'R EViL: bigger than a blog, smaller than a magazine, more exclusive than a cult. Felix [the creator] and I crossed paths on twitter, were impressed by each others work and decided to make a permanent collaboration happen. My official title is Director of Operations or “Smooth Operator” and the gig is official as of March 1st - coincidentally the same day I'll be meeting with my new PR pro to conduct our first brainstorming session. Check out some of the neat "Made in NY" videos that Felix and his team created here.

Wondering how OKCupid is treating me? Well I'll tell you. Although the latest contenders in my dating saga are a huge step up from the three complete losers I dated last year [all of them were liars with dead-end jobs who lived at home and two out of the three had kids] as well as all the hot but emotionally unavailable dudes I dated in the years before that - I'm afraid I still haven't met a solid match. Many of these new guys have good looks, flourishing careers, their own apartments and cool interests - but I still can't shake the 'close but no cigar' feeling I've gotten from everyone I've met. Ultimately, if I'm not really intrigued or impressed, it's for a valid reason.

Despite my dating journey being in the dumps, I have already found my wedding dress [pictured below] - so I'm somewhat prepared. If there's anything you've learned from me, it should be: Stay ready!!!

Swaggy. You didn't think I'd wear white, did you?

Over the past few weeks, after crossing off so many personal goals and making so many connection-based hits, I learned that if someone or something is a standout, then it's definitely for me. The wisdom of my intuition has been reinforced, yet again.  

Now Playing: "I'll be" – Foxy Brown ft. Jay-Z

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How I figured out I was a Bawse

Lady Blue giving a bawse inspirational speech to the poor and shiftless.

As you all should know by now, I consider myself an entrepreneur, being a business owner and having you know, done everything myself. Although there were signs pointing to my strong desire for career independence, I didn't come to terms with my reality until a few weeks ago. My reality? All I can do in my life is hustle: I don't want a day job, I don't want to wake up painfully early five days a week, I don't want to deal with rush hour, I don't want to do work that I find meaningless, I don't want to shoot the shit with people I have nothing in common with except a workplace. This thought - which I am paraphrasing - sums it all the way up: "Creatives aren't always doing what they love, they are doing what they are driven to do. Their motivation is torture avoidance." Below are the signs that told me I needed to break out of my cage and fly.

"Look closely at the present you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming." - Alice Smith
The lethargy that would creep up a few weeks after starting a new job:
One of the easiest jobs I had in my life was taking reservations at a high-end restaurant, where I was able to work independently and surf the internet during my downtime [which was about 70% of the time]. Oh, and I also convinced them to pay me $17/hr for the privilege, which they did without hesitation. But within a matter of weeks, I started dreading the gig. I would leave my house later and later, cutting it super close with my arrival time. Then “just making it” turned into tap-dancing recklessly on the disrespectful line I was showing up so late. All I know is that Hurricane Sandy gave me the excuse I apparently needed to stop showing up and live my truth, Oprah style. You feel me?

I subconsciously sabotaged interviews, and upon realizing it, didn't care:
I remember sitting across from a leggy former model, who hadn't even bothered to clean herself up for our interview, who spoke to me with the enthusiasm of a snail. I sensed her condescension and boredom, and delivered my answers in the same disinterested tone she initially gave me. It did not go over well, something that was confirmed when she blurted out “So do you want to tell me more about that or do you just not care?” I think I blinked in response. I couldn't wait to get out of there, and that feeling was common throughout most of the interviews I endured in my lifetime. And let's not talk about all the instances where I had an interview scheduled for 10:00am, yet wouldn't awake till something like 11:15. Whatever. I blame external factors!

I have over 290 posts published on this here blog, and I probably have triple that amount in drafts that have never seen the light of day. I have plans from A-Z, with a different set of to-dos for wherever life happens to take me. I had three novel ideas before I settled on the one I'm writing now. I want to produce films, design accessories, creative direct and shit. I'm a visionary and the creative ideas are always cropping up, a big reason why I'm always keeping an eye open for collaborations and more specifically, a talented team.

My premonitions and gut feelings:
Although the thought of fame and/or some sort of remarkable success makes my heart palpitate in a dangerous way, the truth is that if I one day end up helming a profitable business, or on a red carpet, or at a major premiere, or even as a short blurb in a newspaper or magazine, I wouldn't be entirely surprised. Not because I'm any more special or talented than some of the top acts that are out [except for you Rhianna], but because I've seen these visions in my head since I was very young. I didn't know what they meant at the time, but since all of my other visions have come true... the ones about glory no longer seem so far-fetched.

I quit over and over again:
I was never let go for cause, and issues on the job were never related to the quality of my work. But most of my employers had to be blind if they couldn't see how unhappy I was. Sometimes I quit when I sensed the end was coming [like I did after assisting a customer that I apparently shouldn't have at a now out of business Soho boutique], and another time I was let go due to lack of funds within the company. But most of the time, after weeks of feeling like I was slowly dying, I'd take a look around, gather my bearings, and make a decision..."I won't be coming back tomorrow."

Now playing: "Trials of the past" - SBTRKT

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to be Proper

It has occurred to me that many of you barely know right from wrong, and even less about proper etiquette and what's appropriate in any given situation. Let me, the all-knowing and ever gracious Lady Blue rescue you all and bring you up to date as to what is proper.  

Lots of us have friends in distant places, and the best part about having buddies in these strange, far away lands like Los Angeles, is that we know we automatically have a place to stay when we visit. In order to show gratitude to your host, you should bring them a gift – preferably a little something they can use in their home. [I like gifting luxurious soy candles!] And if you're too broke or forget to manage that, make sure to clean up after yourself everyday [make your bed, wipe down the sink, smoke outside etc], and at the very least, offer to do the dishes one night... goodness gracious. 

We all like food and eating, and some of us with a stable stash of funds even enjoy dining out every now and again. There's a reason why place settings at restaurants don't include a spoon, as spoons are reserved for desserts, soups, sorbets and the like. When eating anything other than the aforementioned items, use a fork – using a spoon to eat your dinner is in poor taste and it just makes you look like you're shoveling food into your mouth. I had to learn this harsh lesson as a teenager, and although I found it weird to use a fork for everything at first, I have yet to look back! 

Gentlemen of the world, picture this: you've just finished dinner with a fine young lady, she's got your coat draped over her shoulders, she's smiling, you're smiling back, you seem to like each other very much. But none of this will matter if you're not walking on the street side of the sidewalk, protecting her from all potential harm! I'm not sure why this is the standard, but it works for me, and if it works for me... you peons shall not question it! And please don't tell me that I need to remind you men to pull out chairs and open doors for women. If you don't at least know those basics, then it is entirely possible that you are beyond salvation. 

Invitations are typically sent out 4-6 weeks in advance.

How else can one be proper? Let me count the ways:
  • Chew with your mouth closed. Don't speak with your mouth full.
  • Say please, thank you, excuse me and you're welcome.
  • Keep your elbows, phone, papers and accessories off the dinner table.
  • The host always sits at the head of the table, and the guest of honor to their left or their right.
  • Don't slurp your soup and don't pop your gum. Both of those things make you look obnoxious and hungry.
  • Use your words, speak up, stop mumbling.
  • You're allowed a maximum of two follow-up inquiries after an interview. Space them a week apart.
  • Take it easy with the PDA, especially in front of company.
  • Don't interrupt, listen to others as they speak, apologize if you need to interject.
  • If the invitation doesn't say “Your name and guest”, consider yourself a solo rider for the function. Don't push it and always RSVP.
  • Always send a wedding gift, whether you attend the affair or not.
  • Lavish events that involve the giving of gifts deserve handwritten thank you cards, sent out in a timely manner.
  • Learn to accept a compliment, don't pry, avoid gossip at social events. 
  • Address people by the name they introduced themselves as. Don't be presumptuous or cute.
  • A funeral is not the time to experiment with color, unless otherwise specified, show respect and wear black.
  • Don't wear white to anyone's wedding, I don't care how much you despise them.
  • No one really follows this anymore, but it's considered appropriate to remove your hat when inside.
  • If you have the good fortune of traveling via plane somewhere, dress as if you're grateful for the opportunity.
  • Stand up straight, give a firm handshake, look people in the eye.
  • Adhere to the dress code. Don't know what black-tie or cocktail attire entails? Google it.
  • Sending flowers is always tasteful and appropriate.
  • Be a gracious host, and a delightfully grateful guest
Now playing: "The Moon and The Sky" - Sade & Jay Z

Over It III

It's a new year, and yet, I find myself here again, lamenting all the things I am absolutely, positively OVER. Enjoy.

People who talk mad shit about what they're up to when they ain't up to shit:
This is self explanatory. Couple all that shit-talking with a dead end job in the ubiquitous and all too vague 'sales', and you can REALLY miss me with all your yip yap. 

The headlines full of derogatory racist slurs with white writers in the bylines:
Did we forget the Nigga bitch and Chink Lin fiascoes that were all over the blogs not too long ago? It is completely inappropriate to bring peoples race into a non racial discussion this way. I'm sick of this. Why exactly is this a problem? Because as much as America likes to delude itself, this country is nowhere near post-racism to allow this to slide. It's not that non-whites lack a sense of humor, it's that things like this are not seen as funny when many of us face similar jabs in our daily lives, the difference being that the perpetrators in the “real world” are often willfully ignorant and dead serious. And the writers and editors can miss me with their predictable faux apologies, full of clueless and careless statements like “I'm sorry you were offended.” Oh that's not what you meant? Okay. Say what the fuck you mean the first time so that you don't end up groveling and apologizing for your subconscious racism later. See? Easy. 

The use of the word “female” to refer to women:
This is one of those things that I've only seen men of color do. The word female strips a woman of her humanity, and it begs the question, female what? Female dog, female bird, female pig?! Female woman doesn't make sense, and therein lies the problem. Imagine if women referred to men as “males”. It just sounds wrong, ignorant and misinformed. I find 'woman' and even 'girl' more appropriate than the basic sex identifier “female”. But when addressing me, feel free to use 'Lady', of course. 

Cosmetic companies that are drowning in a sea of milk:
In all too many brands of makeup, I am the last or second to last shade available. Sometimes there isn't even a shade available that matches my skin color. This is ridiculous, especially since I have the same light tan skin tone as Denise Vasi and Vanessa Hudgens. What are girls darker than me supposed to buy? Do cosmetic companies expect us to slather ourselves in mud?! And please miss me with the lazy "one shade fits all" products currently on sale. Becca has an amazing range [with more than 30 shades of foundation/concealer available], as do the more limited but still extensive palettes by NARS, Bobbi Brown and MAC. Iman specializes in makeup for darker skin tones, as well as a few other drugstore brands [although I find their formulations to be cheap and chalky]. But those brands are only a handful out of the hundreds of makeup brands that exist. Cosmetic companies need to stop ignoring us [us = women with a butterscotch to dark chocolate complexions!]

The poison that America repackages and calls food: 
...and the lies that they want to sell as nutrition. And I'm not just talking about McDonalds and fast food. But don't take my word for it! Get thee to a flat screen and watch Food Inc. Get educated, and thereafter make healthy choices. You'll feel better, you'll look better and as an added bonus, you'll get your taste buds back. 

I don't have have an instagram account and I never will, so y'all can stop asking me now. Why? I don't feel the need to show the nosy world what I'm doing on a daily basis, I don't need the validation from people I don't care about and men I'd never date, I have enough stalkers/obsessed followers as it is and I never remember to take pictures of myself or my surroundings anyhow. How many struggle meals, coveted yet unpurchased luxurious items, Kim K/Rhianna/Beyonce wannabes and cellulite-ridden asses perched ever so carefully on bathroom sinks does one need to see? How many memes, Forever 21 outfit-of-the-days, bottle service club nights and new Jordan photos does one need to view before enough is enough? I had my fill of shit photography after perusing only a handful of profiles.

Now playing: "I don't care" - Icona Pop

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life is Your Creation

An outfit I plan on "manifesting" into my possession
in order to "create" the appearance that I am nouveau riche.

[AKA Swag on a trill.]

Throughout all the advice I've given on this blog, and all the experiences I’ve shared, there's one thing that has always sat in the back of my mind... and it's the fact that NO ONE - not even the all-knowing young lady writing this passage - has the master key to life. There is no foolproof way to live... there is no unilateral high road we should all be taking... and the differences in our needs and desires is really what makes life interesting and new and exciting. If everyone behaved the way we wanted them to, if everything were to happen as expected... well life would lose its color and luster. Nothing would be shiny or brand spanking new, it would be as awe-inspiring as a brown paper bag.

Don't be so quick to absorb what people say and do and recommend. I beg you... Figure out what works for you, and try to dodge the curve-balls that get thrown your way with sense and agility. Because at the end of it all, life is what you make it... and how you handle what happens to you.

Now playing: "Something about the Fire" - Adele vs. Daft Punk [Carlos Serrano remix] 

[Edit 1/21/13: Although there is no one "right" way to live... I believe that worst way to live, hands down, is in fear.]

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thirteen is Lucky, Right?

Just a glimpse of the fun I had this New Years Eve.

This morning I tweeted “I am so at peace. It really does start with the mind” and after some thought, I added “...and with proving your fears and doubts wrong.”

I went to a few parties in December, and doing so reinvigorated me in a way that I desperately needed. In just a few short weeks, I regained confidence in the world at large, but even more in myself and my ability to make shit happen. I remembered that I was brilliant and capable, that I was healthy and young, and that I had reserves of strength and energy I could always tap into. I dated a total hottie which not only reminded me that I'm gorgeous enough to attract one, but also reminded me what I truly desired from a man when I tossed him a few weeks later for toeing the unfaithful line. I completely walked away from the idea of a job and decided to fully commit to my other baby: Elle B. I went out for the first time this New Years Eve [which is now my new tradition!] and it reminded me that a fun time can be had with anyone with the right energy [Brooklyn Greeks are awesome].

I was on the phone with a new friend last night [an incredible actor who you'll most likely be seeing more of on this blog!] and I was telling him about my “75% effort” plan. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, “It's not that you weren't making an effort before, it's that you were doing spiritual work, to now be ready for the physical changes you want to make.” It was a light-bulb moment for me... because he was absolutely correct, and because it taught me that I needn't discredit the last five years' [at times, grueling] emotional upheaval. My baptism by fire at 19 has created a god-like and spiritually attuned woman that I'm quite proud of today. [I don't at all mean this in the religious sense – I am agnostic after all].

In 2012, I learned:
  • Time is of the essence, it waits for no one and it's the one thing you can never, ever get back. So get to it!
  • People can surprise you and you can surprise yourself... in both great and terribly unexpected ways.
  •  A man who critiques me incessantly under the guise of genuine concern is actually just insecure and jealous [because at 24, I had more than he did at 32] – and that when that same man lives with his mother, has two children from two different women, unquantifiable delusions of grandeur and no viable career path - he certainly shouldn't be listened to.
  • Even though it hurts the wallet, eating clean tastes great and makes you feel even better.
  • If you take a job just for the money, that is all you will get.
  • I can't date men who don't know where their head or hearts are at – to be with me, a man needs ambition, a plan, a shining soul and a head, heart and dick that feel fulfilled with one woman.
  • People who can't trust me even though I've given them zero reason not to don't deserve my friendship.
  • “Funny feelings” that you just can't quite put your finger on should be interpreted as a red light, until further notice.
  • Designer duds suit me like a mutha... and when I look good, I feel good.
  • Fears and doubts shouldn't consume me, instead they should be challenged, because in doing so, I'm able to see how baseless most – if not all – of them are.
  • The more manageable my skin gets, the more my confidence increases.
  • Speaking of which, natural skincare and treatment options are the only way to go!
  • Laziness is so unbecoming.
  • I need to start taking full steps towards financial independence and entrepreneurship now, because there's no better time than when I'm young, unencumbered and crazy enough to still believe I'll make it.
And because I learned all these things in 2012 – and I don't repeat my mistakes – 2013 will be epic.

Now playing: “Descending” - Big Boi & Little Dragon. "If you don't know me by now..."

P.S. - This couldn't have come at a better time. Needless to say, I concur entirely.