Black Panther Feels

I remember the first time I knew I was black - I was five years old and a group of kids in my kindergarten class were going to play Power Rangers. I called Pink Ranger and another little girl looked me in the face and said I couldn't be Pink Ranger, because Kimberly was white and I was black. The next year I couldn't go spend the night at my best friend's house, because her father didn't want a black person in his home. I had a complicated relationship with my blackness for years. I spent years not understanding or accepting my blackness because I wasn’t sure where it left me in the world.I wasn’t black enough to be black and I wasn’t white enough to be white. For years, I identified with white culture, and I wanted to fit in with whiteness - I was a baby goth and a complete nerd, things heavily identified with whiteness. I didn’t identify with black culture - I hated church, I didn’t like Tyler Perry movies, and I wasn’t into hip-hop music. However, Black culture is so much deeper than that, andthe media didn't/doesn't want people to know that. Unfortunately that superficial glance was all that was fed through the media for years and, that’s what people saw, that's what I saw. Blackness is bad. Blackness is sad slave movies. Blackness is ghetto and loud and harsh and less than. I thought I could not succeed and be the person I wanted to be and be black. No skinny ass emo goth boy would ever date me, love me, because of my blackness. I was always told that I was smart for a black girl, pretty for a black girl, talented for a black girl...and that clearly meant my intelligence, beauty, and talent would never measure up. But then I got older and I read books by Zora Neale Hurston and bell hooks. I took Sociology and Black Studies and Theater classes with professors who understood blackness. I listened to A Tribe Called Quest and watched films with Sidney Poitier, and really listened to, not just heard Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. I voted for Barack Obama. I began to de-colonize myself. I reclaimed my blackness. I am the great-grandaughter of a man who was born a slave and died the owner of the largest farm in Louisinana. I am the grandaughter of a man who only had an eighth grade education, the man who laid the blueprint that Century City Mall still sits in, the man who was awarded five metals in World War II. I am the grandaughter of one of the Rosie the Riveter's and COGIC royalty. I am the daughter of Acquanetta - top of her class in law scool, an ordained minister (who was ordained when women just didn't do that) and biblical scholar, mother to three brilliant successful children. I am black. We are in a golden age of black media - positive and deverse portrayals of black people abound. And when I walked out of the theater after seeing Black Panther the first time - my god, how I cried. I didn't just cry for me - I cried for the little girls who get to go to kindergarten this year and get to be Nakia, Okoye, or Shuri on the playground and no one gets to say a damned thing to them about who they can be and what they can do. Wakanda Forever!

July Favorites

Wow. We're already ten days (most likely 11 by the time you read this) into August! Where has the summer gone? It feels like it's literally slipped through my fingers and we're barreling towards the end of the year. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. This year has been incredibly odd. I've also had a real bad case of summertime sadness, but that's a story for a different post. I'd really like to introduce a new type of post - my end of the month favorites. So, without further ado, let's get to the things I was jamming with during the month of July! 

  • Micheladas at Disneyland - I am going to be so sad when this seasonal beverage is no longer offered. This tomato juice/beer combo is so refreshing on a hot summer day. Which just the right amount of spice...SIGH. Disney is kicking it up a notch in the snack/drink department and this foodie is trying to make the most out of her pass.
  • Green hair - I installed a green unit this month and while I was unsure at first (I've never had green hair), I have quickly fallen in love and think emerald hued locks will be here to stay for a while.
  • Handmaid's Tale - Just like everyone else, I got sucked into this show and it's warnings about our possible dystopian (not-so-distant) future. While I definitely think the criticism's about it's blind spots were valid, it still hit a hard nerve with me. 
  • Reign - Okay, thanks to my mom and Netflix, I got sucked into everything that is Reign. This is a show that had been on my radar and after catching a few random episodes, I knew I eventually wanted to dive in. And I did. And now I'm beside myself because it's over. The costumes were not period appropriate, but they were GORGEOUS. There was so much DRAMA, and ROMANCE, and MAGIC. And of course, because it's a CW show, ridiculously good looking young people. 10/10 would binge again.
  • Retrowave - A discovered a whole new genre of music thanks to my friends Cristina and Daniel and I am OBSESSED. "Retrowave is a musical genre and growing culture that harnesses the sound, drive and sheer passion of the 80's-90's. It is one of the most refreshing sounds to hit the music scene and has been long overdue." Via NewRetroWave. It is everything in that exerpt and more. It's given me life.
  • Muna - I also became OBSESSED with the band Muna. They're three queer girls from LA who make dark pop and their album is AMAZING. I've included my favorite song of that release on the July playlist. Don't just take my word for it - they're opening for Harry Styles on his upcoming US tour.
  • Banana Pudding - I had the best banana pudding I've ever had at a party on July 4th and now I'm lowkey obsessed with the desert - and I never really cared for it before. 
  • Laura Palmers - Half lemonade. Half coffee. I know it sounds crazy, but it's tart and acidic and totally refreshing. 
  • Green Crush - I'm all about agua fresca when it's hot out, and the only place I know where it's readily and quickly available is Green Crush. The offerings at Green Crush are a bit sugary, and they are only located in malls, but they're still great. 
  • Face Masks - Dude. Summer is rough on the skin. Take care of your precious faces. I've been doing approximately two masks a week and still had some skin flareups from travel, stress, sun, sweat, etc.
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - Picked up a copy at SDCC and read the whole book in about six hours. I am all about SnowBaz and wish there were more books. It basically takes all of the subversive things in Harry Potter that fans complain about and makes them canon. Perfection.
  • DreamDaddy - Damien Bloodmarch is my sweet goth Daddy whom I love with all of my heart. Fight me.

And to finish things off - here's the July playlist. 

Love you all. Be kind to yourselves.


All photos in this post are the property of their respective owner's and I am using them at the mercy and with the thanks of Google image search. 

Fall 2015 Recipe

I've been having a very distinct internal struggle the past few months. How do I keep one foot firmly rotted in my present and make good decisions for me today, while also remaining focused on my future and planning for that? I haven't come up with a good answer. I feel like I am very close to becoming the woman I've always wanted to be, and yet I'm still not her and am various versions of my messy younger self. The moment I feel like I might have my ducks in a row, one of them up and wanders off. 

I am very focused on my future plans. Any decision made for today that feels like a sidestep or detour on that journey is intensely frustrating. However, I'm aware that the process has to be trusted and I think back on all of the times in my life that seemed random as they started and were highly significant as they ended. I often think of all of the cliche motivational quotes I was surrounded with in school; "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" and "Just because it's not happening right now, doesn't mean it never will". I keep"May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me" and "Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods" close to my heart. However, as I muse about my goals, plans, and how to go about my journey a small, voice nags at me, "think about your real life". Which causes me to roll my eyes in both confusion and annoyance. At this point, which is my real life? My day to day drudgery; or my Pinterest board future? I don't have an answer. 

What I do know is that I can be my best self everyday and manifest goodness and fulfillment into my everyday life until my future becomes my present. I'm currently figuring out what that looks like Fall 2015. You know, Fall. Only my favorite season and all I've been able to talk about since the first week of August. I've been rooting around online trying to figure out what's going to be "trendy" and what I'll want to incorporate into my going ons. I want to take things that will help bridge the gap between this version of me, and that version of me. It looks to be a very promising season (as long as the weather in LA can get with the program). Let's take a look together...

Fashion Apparently bohemian inspired fashion is going be back in a big way. Expect to see flared pants, bold dark floral prints, patchwork, and fringes. Grey, metallics, and pastels are supposedly going to be big in the color pallet. Silhouettes are going to emphasize the waist or leave one shoulder exposed. 

I'm basically not on board with any of this. I hate pastels, I don't like patchwork, and fringes never went out of style to me so how can they be back? I'm down with dark florals, metallics, and possibly flared pants. Also, let me get back on my gym regimen before we talk about emphasizing my waist.

Things I always feel are in style for fall; plaids, beanies, wide brim hats, layering, ankle booties, and scarves. 

Make Up Things that ruled the runway; red lips, crazy smudgy black liner, blush instead of contouring, metallics, dark almost black lips, bold eyeshadow, and crazy false lashes. 

I have mixed feelings about this. First of all, runway makeup always just looks like a mess. Secondly, I (again), don't think any of these things ever went out of style, it just varies by personal taste. Makeup is one of those things that you have to tailor to your individual tastes. I, usually, won't leave the house without a really dark lip and enough eyeliner to make Gerard Way feel underdressed, but that's just my taste. 

Hair Again off of the runway; texture, side swept styles, platinum blonde, copper, bayalage, grey, rose gold, pastel hair. 

I can get on board with all of this. I am probably going to do something very drastic to my hair, very soon. I just can't decide what, because everything sounds so enticing! 

Food No food "trends" so to speak, but I'm really going to attempt to stuff my face with every single pumpkin, maple, and sweet potato flavored thing I can find between now and January. Starbucks, for the first time in four years, has introduced a new fall drink. I haven't tried it (yet), but keep an eye on my Twitter, because I'm sure it will happen within the next few days. 

Shows Oh man. Oh, man. There are some gooooooooood bands passing through Los Angeles between now and the end of the year. Taste of Chaos (a throwback to my teen years) is happening for the first time in AGES with a primarily old school line up (THE USED, JIMMY EAT WORLD AND TAKING BACK SUNDAY). I'm so excited. 

Hozier, Florence + The Machine, Chvrches, Marilyn Manson, Black Veil Brides, Sleeping with Sirens, Tiger Army, Falling In Reverse, Jhene Aiki, Evanescence, Frank Iero, New Found Glory/Yellowcard, Gogol Bordello, Mooseblood, The Weeknd/Banks/Halsey, Lights, Our Last Night, and The Academy Is... will all hopefully have spots on my dance card. Those are just the shows I marked on my calendar, there are waaaaaaay more happening that I couldn't squeeze in. Do yourself a favor and go see some live music this fall. Not only are a lot of really good bands on tour, but it's a sure fire way to break up the monotony of the cooler evenings that are usually spent at home. 

Haunts and Halloween-esque Activities So, one of the things that I love about fall (and one of the reasons it's my favorite) is Halloween. I really love creepy stuff and horror movies and monsters and weird things. So, Halloween and horror themed entertainment usually rule my October weekends. 

This year I'm looking forward to, but probably won't have enough time to do all of the following;

  • The Experiment; A Rocky Horror/Hedwig and the Angry Inch Mashup Play Sept 11-Oct 31
  • Universal Halloween Horror Nights Weekends Sept. 18 - Nov. 1
  • Mickey's Halloween Party @ Disneyland 
  • Ghoulmaster Haunted Playhouse (a spooky play!) Sept 25-Oct. 31 
  • Haunted Hayride Weekends Oct 2-Oct. 31
  • Queen Mary Haunted Harbor Weekends Oct. 1 - Oct. 31 
  • Knotts Scary Farm Weekends Oct 3 - 31 
  • Rise of the Pumpkins - A Pumpkin Carving ExhibitionWeekends Oct 2-Oct. 31
  • Haunted Stadium in Lake Elsinore 
  • Coffin Creek 5 Haunted Attractions and a Market Place 
  • The Hollows Market (Spooky Flea Market) Sat Oct. 24th (Santa Anita Racetrack) 

Horror movies! Fall is the best time to crawl under the covers with a bag of chips and a horror movie. The less sunlight there is, the more time there are for creeps to haunt our dreams. My favorite horror series of all time is Scream. I would also recommend Halloween, Rob Zombie's Halloween, The Cabin In The Woods, and Psycho for home viewing this year. I’m looking forward to seeing The Final Girls, Knock Knock, Victor Frankenstein and The Krampus in theaters. 

New Televison/Movies/Music I won’t be reviewing television and movies here that often (because reasons…you’ll all find out soon enough), but I am excited about the following shows; Once Upon a Time, Blood and Oil, Gotham, The Muppets, Scream Queens, Empire, and the entire TGIT on ABC lineup. Movies on my radar include; The Martian, Goosebumps, Crimson Peak, Room, The Hunger Games: MockingJay Pt. 2, The Good Dinosaur, The Peanuts Movie, By The Sea, Creed, Sisters, The Hateful 8, and STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 THE FORCE AWAKENS (yes, caps were necessary).

Spending Time With Friends and Family From mid September to Mid February is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it; but particularly the attention spent to being with those that you love. My friend structure is changing. I think that’s a side effect of your life entering a new phase. I am very thankful for my current support system. I can’t wait to display my gratitude with squashes and hand turkeys. 

I'm still trying to figure things out...Maybe I always will be and that's part of life. Did you see Matthew McConaughey's Academy Award acceptance speech? He basically said he always wanted to be inspired by his future self, that he always wanted to have a dream to chase. I feel that.

Until next time.



Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Happy #FirstDayOfFall! Here's a recipe for the ULTIMATE pumpkin spice latte.

Posted by Above Average on Wednesday, September 23, 2015