Monthly archives of “April 2016

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SUCCUMBING TO TIDAL WHILE SIPPING LEMONADE 

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Kind of an awesome title, right? It came to me during church while I should’ve been paying attention to the sermon. Anyway… On Saturday, Beyoncé’s visual album entitled Lemonade debuted on HBO (I think). I’m not entirely sure because it could’ve been released on HBO before, during or after it was released on TIDAL. Speaking of TIDAL, they finally got me.

I’ve always understood its existence but was cool with Pandora and Spotify which are both free. Then, I deleted them because I needed more space on my phone. Most recently, I’ve been leaning heavily on YouTube where I can create playlists and also listen for free.

When Kanye told us his newest album would only be available via TIDAL I started thinking about subscribing but wasn’t convinced. Then, Rihanna released her album but I was still a bit unbothered. It took Beyoncé to nudge me. Lucky me, they offer student rates so it’ll only cost me $4.99. Since then, I’ve listened to Beyoncé’s entire album a few times, Prince (RIP), Faith Evens and Maroon 5. Initially, I thought TIDAL only had music from Jay Z and his homeboys but there is a very large catalog. Oh and it includes other exclusive crap I don’t care about. For a 60 day free trial, use this link. You’re welcome.

So, I like Lemonade but it’s likely that the music will have to grow on me. It’s different, which I like but I’m not totally obsessed. The song I like least is “Don’t Hurt Yourself” featuring Jack White. I was surprised because I’m a fan of Jack White but not today. Of course I have to blame him, I can’t directly blame Beyoncé for fear for my life. So far, my favorite song is “Love Drought.” However, what I favor most is the visuals and it has nothing to do with me being from New Orleans and favoring the Louisiana backdrop.

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As with anything Beyoncé does, fans, scholars and conspiracy theorists try to dissect the lyrics. Did Jay Z cheat? Is Rachel Roy a home wrecking whore? Is Beyoncé the new voice of feminism and black nationalism? Is she the new leader of the new world order? The answer is I don’t know. I should be writing my dissertation instead playing around with you guys.

Have you watched and or listened to Lemonade yet? Did TIDAL get you too? Is Beyoncé the Antichrist? What do you think?!

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Thanks, Management.

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I WORKED OUT AT THE POLICE ACADEMY AND NEARLY DIED

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As usual, I’m over exaggerating…

A few weeks ago, I was asked to serve as my department’s representative for my employer’s wellness committee. At that meeting an officer informed us that they hosted FREE workout classes, 3 times a week at the police academy. I told her I would try it out, I’m down to mix up my workout routine. Then, it dawned on me that I’m going to go to a police academy to workout… From physically fit police officers… Another dumb decision on my part, typical Ashlee.

Upon arrival, I was informed that I should sign a release form. I should’ve walked out. I was then informed that I should stretch so I did some cute stretches then started tweeting you guys.

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Then, someone rolled up on me like “you may want to stretch.” And I’m thinking “back up off me, I’ve already stretched my brother.” Turns out, he was one of the instructors. Once class started he told us, “this is going to be tough, get mentally prepared.” So, why didn’t he tell me this when I pulled up? When I walked in? When I signed the attendance form? When I stretched, twice? I should’ve walked out.

An obstacle course was laid out across the gym. We had to do push ups, lift giant ropes, jumping jacks, the mountain climber exercise, squats, crunches, more leg exercises, laps, more leg exercises, laps and you’ve probably guessed it…MORE LEG EXERCISES.

The most important lesson I learned was teamwork. Instead of laughing at people, you’re supposed to motivate them. It was my first time, no one told me. Another reason teamwork is important is because if we didn’t do the excercises in sync, we had to start all over. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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After an hour, the class just ended. No cool down, no soothing breathing exercises, and no stretching. Just “good work and come back if you want to be fine.” So the big question, am I going back? After being warned with a release form? Double stretching? Wheezing? A full body ache? Of course I am! I WANT TO BE FINE!

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Oh and shoutout to the new friend I made. I suffer from chronic hives and came in there all swollen. She was like “girl, I have hives too.” Then, we discussed all the medications we were on and how none of them work. Anyway…

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AN AFRICAN CITY (SEASON 2)

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Source: An African City

I think I’ve threatened you guys twice about an African City (Read: An African City and An African City Pt. II). Well, this past Sunday was their finale and I plan to give you enough info to peak your interest but not enough for you to bypass them (again).

As requested (because they make all of their decisions based on me), there were longer episodes, a longer season and their was growth in their characters as well as the character’s experiences. Subject matters included but were not limited to the pressures of dating and marriage, homosexuality, skin bleaching, sex and abstinence, rape, returnees, careers, the cultural divide between Africans and African Americans, utilities (or lack thereof), and natural hair. Most importantly, let’s take a second to admire the fashion:

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Source: An African City

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Source: An African City

An African City, how can we shop the clothing, shoes and accessories? Do they ship to the United States? How can I be down? Also, I freaking love that necklace *drools*

Oh and the music was really good too. MaameYaa Boafo (who plays Nana Yaa) even played the lead in Abiah’s Gone which was also featured on the show.

If you blatantly ignored me, watch Season 1. If you’ve completed Phase 1, pass Go, collect $200 and proceed to Season 2. Note: This is a Monopoly reference, you will not be getting $200 from me.

If you’re late to the party, you’re at an advantage. You get to binge watch. I didn’t have that much restraint, I had to watch as soon as I received the email with the newest episode.  And, shout out to An African City for being so engaging. Even the leading ladies joined in on the conversation when we recapped their episodes. But seriously, can you guys tell me where to shop or nah? I’m not opposed to free clothes, accessories, shoes, a pencil… 

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HOW TO…FUNERAL: BAPTIST CHURCH EDITION

If you read last week’s How to…Funeral, you know I had to attend another funeral. This one was different from the last. It was very “black southern Baptist.” My thoughts were this could good be a really good thing or…a really bad thing. For example, there could be a lot of theatrics which include but are not limited to screaming, throwing one’s self over the casket and yelling “wake up!” Or, a celebration which almost always includes a great choir! Well, it was the later.

Note: If you have not attended a black southern Baptist church, please add it to your bucket list.

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The bishop could sing, his wife (an elder of some sort) could sing and the chior was awesome. It was a bit nostalgic for me.

These days, I’m a complete stiff in church. I don’t move, I don’t sing, I don’t clap, I don’t blink, I don’t breathe…

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I basically hold my breathe until the services have ended but this choir made me imagine moving a little bit, even clapping. It also really made me miss Baptist churches, they can be entertaining sometimes.

My aunt was quite the staple in the Baptist community, training a lot of people into religious servants. So much so that a host of them introduced themselves during the funeral. I thought it was super formal and kind of unecessary. A handful of them stated “protocol has been established” before proceeding with their condolences. Per research via Google, it’s basically reaffirming that all the HBIC’s of the church have been acknowledged and “I don’t feel like listing all of these people.”

Another thing, a few of them mentioned not telling my aunt goodbye but “goodnight, I’ll see you in the morning.” Without Google, I’m going to use my context clues and assume this means they will see her on the other side.

The preacher was really good, quick (which is highly unusual in the Baptist church) but he lost me when he mentioned Hog Maws in the sermon. I had to Google that as well and trust me, you don’t want to know.

After the service, I realized that most of my grandma’s siblings are heavily involved in the church except for her, her spawns and grandspawns. Even after my aunt poured her heart out to my grandmother about how she can’t get people involved in her church, she then asked my grandmother her role at her church. My grandmother told her she was a “bench member.”

The repast was also good. It was the first time I saw my entire family together since my great grandmother’s funeral in the late 1990s. I even met new family and got the idea that we should have a family reunion opposed to a funeral reunion. Why did I do that? It shouldn’t be too bad since I’ll be employing the assistance of cousins, my little brother and Husband (yes Husband, you read correctly). I’m sure planning and having the family reunion will result in a host of blog posts.

I wish my family healing, I hope it’s made us closer and allowed us to lead better lives. For example, I smiled once this morning. I’m thinking about trying it again in a few days…

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GUIDE TO… FUNERALS 

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As I write this, I can hear Mom saying “do you have to blog about everything?” It appears I do Mother, it appears I do.

If you didn’t know, death sucks. It’s so…final. Unfortunately for my family, we experienced two deaths last week, in a 24-hour period. I know, thank you for your condolences.

I knew right away that I would probably be serving as a support system to a few family members. Something that could possibly be a challenge because it incorporates selflessness, empathy…  Two characteristics I don’t necessarily have. After a nearly eight hour drive to and from the funeral, I came up with a preliminary list of how to…funeral:

  1. First and foremost, make sure the people you love know that you love them. If you knew they would be gone tomorrow, how would you treat them?
  2. There will be a lot of hugging and holding people up. You should start doing core exercises as soon as a date for the funeral is set.
  3. Don’t take pictures of the dead, that’s weird as f***.
  4. Make sure you prime and set your makeup. If your family is like mine, you’ll be taking pictures after you’ve been crying for two hours at the funeral.
  5. Prevent funeral brows (eyebrows) by applying eyebrows in good, bright lighting.
  6. Don’t talk about the dead and other associated family members at the funeral and repast like my petty grandfather. Wait until you get in the car…
  7. Don’t complain about the decease’s final resting place if you’re not contributing to said person’s final resting place. My grandfather and a few other family members debated if my uncle wanted to be cremated or if his wife was being cheap. Either way, there are two facts: (1) he’s dead so it really doesn’t matter and (2) or you paying or nah?
  8. Don’t serve gumbo at the repast if you don’t know how to cook gumbo.
  9. Stay in touch with those most affected. A year or so ago when my cousin died, I got his younger sister’s number. We are the same age and spent a fair amount of time together when we were younger and I hated that we reconnected under those circumstances. I texted her once. And here we are again, at her father’s funeral. I will do better staying in touch with her this time around.
  10. Basically I’m saying, don’t be funeral family. Only speaking when there is a funeral. I really don’t like family reunions either but maybe there’s a happy medium.

Bonus: Try to be a better you. After all, you’re still here.

1 funeral down, 1 more to go. Ugh…

If I haven’t lost you with this morbid post, subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin, and check out my last blog post: Bogus Book Review 2: One Week Budget.

I know it’s a lot to ask but you obviously have nothing better to do if you’re reading my blog 🙂