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Tied To It

Today, I tried to do something different. 

I tried to go about my day WITHOUT incessantly checking my cell phone. I failed, miserably. 

I think I made it about ten minutes, which is a personal best, but dismal in the grand scheme of things. 

Remember the days of personal interaction? When two or more people would gather to speak to one another in person instead of sitting together but holding multiple text conversations with other people? See below. 

Via Shutterstock

Via Shutterstock

Those days are over! Now, everyone is glued to their electronic device. Even babies. My two-year-old godchild knows how to unlock my phone and swipe to access her favorite apps!

 

Hiya Images

Hiya Images

Several studies have shown the negative effects that stem from overuse of said electronic device, but what are we to do? Miss an update on our favorite singer? Get behind in one of our GroupMe threads? No, not a chance! The world would end! 

My solution now is simple: treat it like an addiction (because it is). Resist the urge as long as you can and when you've met your wit's end, then you can check those new texts, tweets, emails and Instagram posts. You can do it! I believe in you. You must believe in yourself! Resist! Resist! 

But, just in case, on the off chance that you can't...

via Redbubble

via Redbubble

With Age Comes Wisdom

The past few weeks have been particularly trying. 

While my professional life began to take off, one thing after another seemed to occur on a personal and private level in my life. I've been in a reflective state and have come to two realizations for 2018 that, I think, will help you also: 

With Age, Comes Wisdom

Some things that occur in our lives are tests of character, strength, or patience. These are moments of actual or emotional chaos that can reveal several insights into your nature. I am learning to remain calm in these moments. When I was younger, I would immediately become flustered and frustrated which made any attempt at resolution delayed and often combative. Now that I am older, I see that every action does not deserve a response, nor does every conversation. 

Unemotional and Unintelligent

One of my sisters - I call my friends sisters - sent me a passage she saw on Instagram that blew my mind: 

I'm learning how to respond intelligently and unemotionally to unintelligent emotional treatment. It's tough. 

I agree wholeheartedly that this process of retraining one's mind to make a sound and logical response to an illogical and very emotional aside/action is challenging, but a necessary task in order for survival. Peace of mind and heart, if you will. The best way I've learned to hinder your emotional response is to inhale deeply and gather your thoughts before opening your mouth. Feel free to repeat this several times if needed. 

As the year progresses, I'll give more tid bits that have proved successful for me in hopes that they will be of aid to you also. 

#KindredApproved

Kindred Eats: Ice Cream Sandwiches

It's one of my favorite desserts! 

One of the easiest to make, too. Thirty minutes tops!

Courtesy of The Food Network 

Courtesy of The Food Network 

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Needs: ice cream, cookie mix, an ice cream scooper, and parchment paper 

First, you'll purchase your favorite type of ice cream - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, rocky road. Stick it in the freezer. 

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Second, prepare your cookie mix according to the instructions printed on the bag or box. (You might need eggs, butter, and/or milk for this part so read the instructions BEFORE you get home.) Make sure that you're scooping the same amount when you're placing the mix on the parchment paper. You want your cookies to be the same size.

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Bake them on sheets of parchment paper until they are slightly crispy, not burnt, but sturdy. While they're baking, remove your ice cream from the freezer so that its not so hard. Once you remove them from the oven, allow them to cool on the stove. Remove them from the parchment paper you baked them on and stack them, one on top of the other.  

 

 

Third, get more parchment paper and cut it into 4x4 squares. Take one of the squares in your hand, place one of the cookies ontop of the square being sure to face the bottom face up. Use the scooper to scoop two scoops of ice cream onto the cookie. Take another cookie and gently push the bottom of the cookie against the ice cream, making a sandwich. Wrap the parchment paper around the bottom of your sandwich and place it back in the freezer so its able to mold. 

Honestly, I forgot to take pictures of these as sandwiches before we ate them. But, refer to the picture above from The Food Network to give you an idea of what yours should look like. 

This is a great dessert for any season! Happy eating! 

#KindredApprovedEats

Found this one on Pinterest!

Found this one on Pinterest!

Best of 2017

2017 was an eventful year. 

We endured a lot as a culture and somehow made it through.

Here are some of my top picks (coping mechanisms - mostly movies, music, and TV shows) from one of most infamous years of this decade. In no particular order...

Top 17 of 2017

17. #LetNadeskaSpeak

When Everyday Struggle premiered on Complex, it was a rocky start. DJ Akademics and Joe Budden were getting used to sparring with one another while cameras rolled and their moderator had challenges getting a word in, even introducing a topic. Thus, the hashtag of allowing poor Pinky the chance to speak without interruption was birthed. With Joe's sudden firing a few weeks ago, I am definitely curious to hear Nadeska speak...finally. 

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16. Uber, wait no Lyft! 

This year, the former CEO of Uber found himself in a compromising position when a video of him verbally accosting one of his employees went viral. I was one of the thousands who deleted my Uber account, app and UberEats. Deleting Eats was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Let us pause for a moment of silence.

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15. DAMN, Kendrick!

Self-explanatory. 

 

14. She's Gotta Have It 

The first season of this revamped Spike Lee joint was both poignant and informative. Comical and spellbinding. Thought-provoking and equally as musically stimulating. Why can't we as women have our proverbial cake and eat it too? This series showed that monogamy isn't for everyone, and rightfully so. I lived for the single coverart displayed as scene transitions. 

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13. The Carter Twins

Yonce had twins and the Beyhive sang their praises! The twins aren't able to walk yet but they and their children's children will be able to live out their dreams, not their jobs. Not bad, Baby Carters. Not Bad. 

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12. Donald Glover - Emmy History 

When he won the best directing- comedy Emmy and accepted his award in his purple suit, thus making Black history, I beamed with the same joy and pride I had when The Obamas finally walked into the White House. (That walk down the street before had my anxiety levels all types of high.) I can't wait until Atlanta comes back! 

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11. Insecure..Hella Insecure

Season 2 showed us that the best laid plans eventually lead to more wine and inevitable disappointment for Issa and Molly. I smell a reuniting coming down the yellow brick road in Season 3. Or maybe Molly gets pregnant with married-Dro's first child in a dream sequence. Or maybe Kelly gets engaged and at Tiffany's baby shower, Lawrence declares his love for Issa. And married-Dro's wife gets pregnant and Molly falls into Lil Rel's arms in Chicago. A girl can hope. 

 

10. Blackish's Juneteenth Episode

The fourth season premiere of ABC's Blackish brought a primetime explanation of a widely unknown and misunderstood holiday celebrated within the Black community. June 19th is celebrated as the official end of slavery (even though the amendment was formally passed the year before - 1864 - and President Lincoln signed his approval four months prior, but that's another post for another day). Like Dre in the episode, its been a holiday that my family celebrated with Kool-Aid, BBQ, potato salad, and no real understanding. There's an amazing article on TheRoot.com that shows just how uneducated we are: https://thegrapevine.theroot.com/black-ish-taught-me-more-about-slavery-in-22-minutes-th-1819138998 We are our ancestors dreams. 

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9. SZA's Luxurious Hair...& Voice

SZA released a beautiful EP about love, lust and desire but her hair is what initially drew me to her. It's literally her crown! Long and thick, wavy and majestic. Ok, back to the music. My favorite song is "The Weekend" which is horrible on a personal level, but I'm trying not to let it get the best of me. The song is amazing and I hope she wins every category she's nominated for at the GRAMMY's. 

 

8. Meet The Balls

Lavar Ball and his parenting techniques shook up the bright, serene DTLA lights near Staples Center (and then China). His bold personality and candor made for one hell of a continuous news cycle. Lavar might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I know a great many Black men who would have prospered to heights beyond their believed potential if they had him barking in their ears.  

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7. Remy Ma

Remy Ma owned 2017. Though these aren't in any particular order, seven is the number of perfection. I'm just saying. She released "ShETHER" and ignited a fire that shows no signs of being put out! I loved her interviews, her life and her genuine spirit. She is the comeback story that Disney bases every movie on and I'm just happy she's winning. Stay all the way up, Remy!

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6. Bodak Yellow

The opening two lines command your attention. Immediately, you know this isn't sisterly. It's not tea and pastries or mimosas at Sunday Brunch. This is a pull up on the corner, one-sided woman to woman confrontation. After I listened a few times, I had the chorus and the first verse down complete with finger pointing hand movements and neck rolls. Other women learned too and soon there was a chorus of Cardi's running around cussing out the air like it embodied our arch-enemy. You know where I be. 

 

5. Girl's Trip 

Reunite Cleo & Stony (Queen Latifah & Jada Pickett-Smith) 20 years after they Set It Off, add the beautiful and hilarious Regina Hall and a healthy serving of my hometown unicorn Tiffany Haddish and you have the record-breaking all Black female-lead cast behind this $139 million grossing smash - the first comedy of the year to gross over $100 million domestically! Don't forget your grapefruits ladies! 

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4. Chappelle & Netflix 

Dave Chappelle showed up right on time. True, his debut Netflix specials were a decade late according to our collective watches but absence makes the heart (and soul) grow fonder, right? His double feature proved to be the perfect dose of hard-hitting truth and humor that put me back together, even if it was just for a night. Two more episodes are due out New Year's Eve. #Winning! 

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3. Queen Maxine Reclaims Her Time 

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, or Queen Maxine as we affectionately call her, schooled Steven Mnuchin in the ways of professional etiquette. I'm sure he'll think twice about leaving any letter/tweet/Facebook post/Snap/Instagram video unanswered ever again. Even better, this amazing man below turned the moment into a gospel hit (below)! There's merch on Amazon, too! This is the gift that keeps on giving! 

2. Taking A Knee 

Though Colin K. was taking a knee before this year, 2017 saw the protest become a national discussion that transcended football. Cheerleaders, singers, military, elderly, and athletes alike knelt in support of justice reform. The discussion got ugly along the way, but the dialogue exchanged not only exposed a longstanding history of exclusion and division but also created a space for focused and educated voices to speak with influencers in order to enact change.  Howard's entire cheerleading squad got in formation back in October!

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1. Get Out 

Jordan Peele's shocking "documentary" showed the world that subtle racism makes for one hell of a horror film. Critics and fans alike kept social media abuzz with conspiracy theories for weeks while repeat audience members solidified Peele and the film's place in history, grossing a whopping $254 million. Be careful when checking the DMs! 

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2017 was one hell of year, hopefully 2018 is heavenly. 

#KindredApproved 

 

I Rock, I Got This

I rock.

I got this. 

I am enough. 

Before you head out, stand in front of the mirror and repeat these statements five times. For the confidence you're about to experience, you're welcome. 

"Head up, Shoulders Back, Smile...Let's work!"

A few days ago, I attended the first "Walk This Way Movement - Ladies Night Out" event in Los Angeles. Founder Shakila Grigler greeted her guests as we filed into Evolution Dance Studios. The air was filled with sisterhood, opportunities and positive energy. The flyer stated that we should wear workout attire and a pair of heels. Since Nikes and sneakers are a part of my daily wear, I was somewhat hesitant about breaking out the mandated three-inch heels but pushed through anyway. 

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I Rock.

              I rock. 

                            I rock. 

Immediately, Shakila relieved the anxiety I felt. As the class progressed, she guided us through a personal evaluation and group confidence training session. We recited mantras - especially the one listed above - created and shared our goals for the coming year, and learned a short dance routine. We ended the night with a mini cat walk, expressing our main goal for the next year with confidence and resolve. 

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I Got This

Conquer Your Fears, Live in Your Destiny

What started out as a run-of-the-mill night out in LA turned into a transformative, even spiritual, experience. We took an introspective look at our successes, especially those that came from experiencing obstacles. This personal and reflective exercise was the highlight of the event, bringing us all together through shared experiences and bridging the gap that will allow our dreams to become realities. It was one of the most powerful nights I've had this year! 

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Post Up

Flawless.

So, the next time you and your friends are trying to decide your next Girl's Night Out event, check out www.walkthiswaymovement.com and tell Shakila we sent you! 

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Shakila G.

WalkThisWayMovement.com

#KindredApproved