Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trip Update...In Baltimore, MD


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I am still breathing, and I think about blogging everyday. 
I left Washington DC two days ago for the streets of Baltimore, MD.
I have been having a lot of fun lately and slacking on work.
I slacked so hard...I almost missed a deadline...NOT GOOD!

However, I'm back on track and looking forward to completing some projects.
I'm currently working on a business plan, a newspaper feature article, a research paper on ethics, web text for a college and a couple of restaurant reviews. 
The reviews are so much fun.
Getting paid to eat is not a bad idea, and it is fun to get critical about what and where I eat.
I just completed the first two reviews and I think I was overly critical...there is always something good to say. I head to Philadelphia tomorrow and I should visit a few restaurants there. I hope I can balance the good and bad for my next few pieces. It is a learning process.

Outside of work...I'm doing good. I am totally pumped about unveiling my logo and working on my website. It is a process, but I always say step by step. Little by little. Day by day. That is how Rome got built.

BTW, I am not taking pictures. I don't know why. For a self-proclaim camera-lover...that is unusual. I cannot promise that would change....Sorry peeps!

I am sitting on my friend's couch in Baltimore and she is at work. 
Tonight we are heading to the spa...cannot wait to sit in a sauna.

Have a blessed week and I will be writing from Philadelphia, PA next!

Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Sweet Serving...

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"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."
Ira Glass, Public Radio Personality

Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A dilemma arises in the depth...the dilemma of what to write...what to be...what to say...
What does my pen want to say?
What does my pen need to say?
What...

Wrestling with my double consciousness!

Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

Bound!

Being free spirited in a culture of boundaries, traditions and regulations is very hard on the soul!

Scribed: Red

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Crimson bubbles spurts across the floor
A signal of danger
Death crawls out the hole evoked by a gun shot
It is the snap of bones and the suckle on flesh
Vampires on humans, power and absolute power
The incessant slam of an unknown object, rendering immobile
It is anger
It is Blood





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Screeching sound of a fast moving car
A signal to move no further
All pause at its influence
A sign to re-evaluate one's step
Command denied-Ticket approved
Symbolized in eight-sides, but spelled with four letters
It is Octagon
It is a Stop Sign









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The hue for lovers splashed across a bed
A signal of fervor
Exotic and tender; a lover's rest
Flapping gently at the sway of the cool breeze
Anchored and held steady by greens.
A Valentines night gift
It is for love
It is a Rose


 






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Cherry, Burgundy, Wine, Scarlet, Maroon...Lips
It is the signal of passion
Producing groans from a man's lips.
The need to touch to caress, to hold, to love...
Ancient, alive and a work of art
Pulsating hearts....sweaty palms
It is a woman's weapon
It is a Lipstick







Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

JostWrite's Favorite Things...

Airports!
Yes, I am a sucker for airports. The smell! The signs! The people! The security check-point! The stop-overs! The rush and grind! 

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Airports are one of my favorite places. If you take away the burden of missed or rescheduled flights, heavy luggage, loud announcements that no-one listens to or understands, expensive shops and uncomfortable chairs...Phew! Regardless of all that, I love airports. I think it is because I love traveling. I love seeing new places and meeting new people. Airport, specifically international airports, might just be our mini-world where people you might never have met and would probably never see again tend to conjugate. All kinds of people from all walks of life and nations are at airports...I think that's why I like it there. It is the world in one place, but going in different directions.

My encounters at airports are usually wonderful, except for recently. Oh and also that one time when my fragrance was seized, because it weighed more than 3 ounces. I was so mad, because I just purchased the bottle a few days prior. Geez, the 3 ounces rule was also new then, and it was yet to be ingrained in my beautiful brain. Hiss!  

Recently, my experiences  from Minneapolis to Miami and from Miami to Washington DC was not pleasant. I missed my flight from Minneapolis, MN to Florida. Don't ask me how, but if you have to know, I have a valid reason. I also have an advice: when checking your email for your flight take-off time, make sure you open the right email message not one from two years again. I'm just saying :)  Anyways, my flight was scheduled for 7am, but I did not leave until 4:30pm. My patience and love for airports were challenged.

My experience from Florida to DC was also a mess. There was a storm in Miami on the day I left, and my stop-over flight into Cincinnati, OH was delayed. This meant I would have missed my flight from Cincinnati to DC. Here I was proud that I got to the airport early for my 12:30pm flight, and I was equally ecstatic when the guy who checked in my two obese boxes did not weigh it. My immense joy was shattered. I was rescheduled to a 4:30pm flight into Atlanta and 8pm flight from Atlanta into DC. I took several yoga inspired breathes to calm down.

Regardless of these recent annoying experiences, I still love airports and traveling. I have dreams of being a travel writer someday. I have dreams.

Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trip Update...In Washington DC!

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I'm alive, I promise I have not abandoned the act of blogging. It is hard to blog or do anything substantial when my routine is messed up. Traveling does that to me. Anyways, I arrived in Washington DC on Thursday night, and I had no idea how much I missed it. :( 

Florida was fun, but I'm glad to be in DC. I saw a lot of my friends at church on Sunday night, and my heart hurts because I miss them all. After I moved to DC, it took me a little bit over three years to fall in love with DC. However, I moved back to Minneapolis right on my 4th year anniversary. I did not have enough time to enjoy my new found love for DC. I have an intense feeling I will have a real good time in DC before I head to Philadelphia.

Before church on Sunday, I was at Eastern Market with three girlfriends to visit another church and to have crepes for brunch. We also went to the Freer Gallery of Art, an Asian art museum, for a free film screening. It was a Korean romantic comedy titled "Cyprano Agency," and I LOLed too many times to be appropriate. :)  I plan to organize a movie night around it soon. Two of my girlfriends are Koreans and one is Japanese, but the movie was subtitled in English and I was thankful. LOL.  We had dinner and then went to our church, well my old church while I was living in DC. I miss it. Oh Lawdy, it was good to see my friends and to catch up.

I have not been taking pictures, but I plan to change that. I will do my best to take and share pictures before my trip is over.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are having a good week so far. I am at Starbucks! I love the smell of coffee....Pure Bliss!

Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

PS: I got the first draft for JostWrite's Logo yesterday. I have four options to chose from, and I am currently polling different people for their top two choices. I plan to poll at most 50 people. Excited...so excited! I think my designer is Da Bomb.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Adventure...For Blacks Only!

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I knew something was wrong the first time in college I thought of contributing to the community I lived in. Then I thought," Why start something in a predominantly White community when many Black people need help? Do something only for Black people, for your own people ONLY." A sense of unease settled over me.

I knew something had shifted a few years after. I had just moved to DC; my roommate and I were arguing. She is now a dear friend, but we were and are still very different people.

"If I'm dying and decide to donate my body,  I will donate only to Nigerians," she said. Something inside of me stood up.

"What if someone else, a child perhaps, desperately needed a kidney? Maybe someone in your immediate world like next door to your dying bed, would you still choose to designate your heart or kidney to only a Nigerian?" I asked.

"Yes." She replied vehemently. "White people don't care about us, and there are too many people who are poor and dying in Nigeria. I will never give anything of myself to any other culture or race," she added.  I was uneasy as I realized that I did not want to be the very thing I detested.

PDiddy recently declared on Twitter that his upcoming network was not a "Black Network," and he only happens to be Black (My first reaction was "Who begged you? hiss). In response, Bene Viere wrote a wonderful blog post. PDiddy's declaration and Bene's response made me think about the many issues I settled within me a long time ago and those I still wrestle with. A distinct cord in me was pinged. The angst that exist within me as I navigate external perception, expectation and reception. I'm a woman, a Black woman, Nigerian, American, Pro-life, Feminist...the list is endless. Which of these labels should I adhere to in my work and in my choices? Nigerian, African, Black, Mainstream, American, Humanity?  It is a complex stage especially when one person is simply not one thing and races or group of people are never a product of one experience. Which experiences are we to live up to? The one that best resonates with us or the one the world perceives of us? It can be an emotional dilemma for a growing artist.



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However, there is that equally powerful angst in my soul that makes me question the motives behind my work, choices and connections. Is producing mainstream work an attempt to deny my blackness, Nigerianess or Africaness or is it just the work I produce? In the reverse, is my work when perceived as Black an attempt to submit to what is required of me based on my skin color and heritage? Is it what my hearts resonates with and is it the story I want to tell?

I'm glad to say after spending almost five years doing nothing beyond taking on leadership roles on several student organizations in college, I finally did something. I found something that connected with me, filled a need in my community and satisfied my desire to never forget to give back. It was nothing huge, and too bad it happened in my last year. It did not cover the length and breath of my college town, Winona, Mn, it was in a smaller circle within the city.  I was walking towards the library in the merciless Minnesota winter and I saw a student walking out of the library without a jacket. She was wearing a flimsy sweater and had no mittens. The next few days, I noticed a few more students without jackets, and I realized all of them were foreign students. I decided whether Nigerians, Blacks or Africans existed in that mix or not, I was going to organize a Winter Coat Drive. and I did!

I learned a few lessons from that experience: As a minority, I'll always be passionate about the needs of the minority and of women. As an artist, their stories and needs will fill my work.
 This does not blind my eyes to the need of others that do not look like me. As an artist, I exist way beyond my skin color, my heritage and the expectation of others. The need is usually with the minority. As an artist, I live in a space that is mainstream. Pulling it all together is work. In the double consciousness of my existence, it is a battle that I fight daily.
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As for PDiddy's declaration in all of its ridiculousness, I hope that even if his network is not a "Black Network," that it is a platform to showcase Black people...men and women in all our diversity. The complete overall picture of our strengths and failures.  A platform that should attempt to bridge the gap that exists with few to zero minority faces on prime time TV. I hope it is a platform that showcases Black women and women as UNIQUELY RIGHT. A platform that lifts us all up...Black, White, Asian, Green, Polka Dots. We need organizations run by minorities that do not cater or defer to mainstream only. Consciously choosing to ignore my heritage in my writing belittles the fight and ongoing struggle that got me here and choosing to write Black or Nigerian solely because it is what I'm expected to do belittles my creativity and talent. Denying that I'm feminist, because it clashes with my culture is a slap on the face of many who fought to afford me all I have today. It mocks the women without liberty who desire to taste a little bit of my freedom. However, using that exclusiveness to dispense to others the very wrong I’m protesting is equally fruitless. 

I bear no good witness if I'm angry about the recent oil spill in Florida, and ignore the Niger-Delta issues in my country.  I will equally be guilty if I do all I can do for Nigeria, but turn my back if my next-door neighbor right here in my home-state of Minnesota has an immediate in my face need. However, as I daily pursue truth...not black truth, not mainstream truth, not Nigerian truth, not Obama truth, but TRUTH, these are the fights I wage within me. Ultimately, as a Christian (the place I always end up), that fight is deep, heartfelt, personal, but yet public.

As a writer, I have never had a desire to publish in Cosmo, I dream about one day publishing in Essence or Genevieve.  But, I also wonder if Essence is the place for some of the beautiful quirks in my work that are authentically Nigerian. Ironically, I question if  Genevieve will work for the Nigerian Americans stuck between two cultures theme that are a part of my work. These does not and will not stop me from writing, because whichever way I choose to produce work, critics will always arise.

My closest friends are literally a mix from all continents, the love of my life is White, my mentor is Jamaican, the inspiration for my view on abortion/adoption lives in Guatemala, my writing role models are predominantly African American, my prayer partner is Indian...the list is endless. I see their struggles and they see mine. My roots are deeply Nigerian and I’m unquestionably American. My former room-mate, now dearest friend, calls me White. In the convolution of my own existence, I know who I am and where I stand on different issues. Do not expect me to deny my own just to belong to mainstream and don't even expect me to berate or ignore others just to identify with my "own."

Selah!


Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Sweet Serving...

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It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, "Always do what you are afraid to do." Ralph Waldo Emerson





Thursday, March 8, 2012

In Celebration of International Women's Day...

 

 ...indulge in some Editalo Designs finest with a special JostStart discount code. Visit Editalo Designs online store and enter "joststart2012" at check out to get 15% off all items until Dec 31st 2012.






 Yes, every time you shop Editalo this year, you are guaranteed a 15% discount.





All featured designs are from Editalo Designs Spring 2012 Collection. 
Photo Credits: Wale Photos
Makeup: Amaka Consultants

Happy International Women's Day!

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I’d much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they are the first to be rescued off of sinking ships. ― Gilda Radner

Beloved, You Are Loved Absolutely!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Recap of February's Intentions


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It is that time again when I share progress on my 2012 intentions. In my first intentions update in January, I mentioned I'll be doing this every month. Below is a recap of what I accomplished and what I did not get through in the month of February. These include personal, professional, health-wise and all.
  • Decide on either using a website template or hiring a designer...Decision made!
  • Start drafting text for JostWrite website...Draft is ready. I need to edit and fine-tune.
  • Start on JostWrite logo design...I'm so glad this is in progress.
  • Take on at least one new client...I did. I did! So so excited
  • Work on book manuscript M-F mornings...I took two weeks off, because I got stuck, but so far so good I have been on track.
  • Blog M-W-F...I blogged more than three times a week some weeks.
  • Pull portfolio items together...This is in progress. I made connections with old employers and received some documents. Waiting on others.
  • Start & finish a pending work for a client...done done, well the first draft.
  • Post Showcasing post...Read here
  • Post JostStart: Editalo Designs post...Read here
  • Confirm March, April and May JostStart entrepreneurs...I have May left to go, and work is in progress.
  • Start and Finish "The Kite Runner"...This book is good, I will blog about it soon. I need to see the movie.
  • Spend Time With God M-F mornings...My days are better, because I do this.
  • Go to bed latest at 11pm Sunday nights through Thursday nights...I can't say I succeeded at this; I got into bed at midnight many nights.:)
  • Wake up latest 8pm M-F mornings...Nah, most mornings, I was rolling outta bed at 10am. So sad! This has got to change in March by me going to bed early.
  • Workout at least three times a week...I went running three times in February. Better than January, but still on the epic fail level.
  • Pay tithe
  • Save
  • Give
  • Fill tax.
PS: I took a break from applying to jobs this month. I needed a break!  

There you have it. My March intentions are next; I will share them the first week of April. Until then, wish me luck as I slay monsters step by step, little by little, day by day, poco a poco.The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first steps.

A few changes are scheduled for my blog in the upcoming months as I launch JostWrite's logo and website. I will be making structural and aesthetic changes to match with JostWrite branding, but a lot more changes will come even in content...
PLEASE KEEP WITH ME!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kinda Silently Freaking Out...

[via:No Idea]
Last night, I submitted a first draft to a client, a non-profit here in Minneapolis and CAN YOU GUESS...I have been unsettled ever since. It is my first work for them, and I'm really really really nervous if you can't tell already. It required a lot of interviews to pull the writing together and I already told them I will need to connect with two or three more people before I can feel satisfied with the article. More work for me, but it has been fun so far. I envision doing more work for this non-profit. :)

It is still the first draft, but there is nothing I value more than Excellence. I try to put my very best forward...one of my goals is to never ever submit or publish a typical first rough draft. If I drop death today, I want every first draft I have handed in to my clients to qualified as a final draft. I'm very hard on myself creatively even though I do my best to act and sound relax on my blog. This blog is kinda my space to let loose for a bit even though if you don't already know...I still fret over presentation, layout and every word. 

Okay, back to work! 
I have to make three phones calls today before I take a break from work to start picking out items to pack for my six-weeks trip. Ick! I do not have any idea what to pack save beach requirements. :)

Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!


Is it just me...

Or can everyone else see that something is wrong on my blog? My links are choosing to show up as purple and blue without my permission and regardless of what it is set to.  I have tried fixing it in the templates menu, but to no avail....HELP!

I hate it! Absolutely hate all the color clashing. It makes me restless.

I get anal at times.

HELP!!!!!
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