TeamIssa………..No TeamMolly?

If it wasn’t for Molly, Issa would not have met Nathan, either.

I had to preempt this post with that thesis statement, mainly because the argument that has been floating around to justify Issa’s actions of going behind Molly to get to Andrew, is that “if it wasn’t for Issa, Molly wouldn’t have met Andrew”. Let’s be clear; a vast majority of couples are together now because someone that they knew, introduced them to their life partner. That doesn’t give justifiable means to cross certain lines when one has expressed their disdain. And how soon have we forgotten (well the show has been on hiatus for a year, right?) that on the “Lyft Party” that Issa asked Molly to join, Molly suggested, by a look at his picture and style, for Issa to pick up Nathan as a passenger. So is it safe to say that if it wasn’t for Molly making that suggestion, that our dear Issa may not have known Nathan either?

I haven’t been this passionate about an episode since the Teddy Perkins episode of Donald Glover’s “Atlanta”. The scholar in me enjoys the character dissection, the debates and further more, researching points and valid sources that further proves why both parties are to blame for their failing friendship.

I wondered why was there was so much hate towards Molly when her friendship towards Issa has been proven time and time again. In the first episode of the series, the audience sees Issa Dee practically manipulating Molly into thinking that the night out was for them to spend together, celebrating Issa’s birthday. When in fact, the plan was orchestrated by Issa to “accidentally” run into Daniel on purpose, thus setting up the potential cheating episode that came later.

When it comes to Molly, the audience tends to bring up all of her dirt of how she slept with a married man (the most popular one), how she has issues that she goes to therapy for but avoid having said issues, etc. If we parallel the two characters, Issa cheating is just as sticky and a little worse because both Issa and Lawrence felt the painful effects of it. But let’s be clear, the former is mainly brought up to justify the Molly hate.

Take away their relationship woes and focus on the friendship at hand. Molly ran interference when she saw Daniel show up at the We Got Y’all fundraiser. Molly was the one to drive Issa back from Malibu to work things out with Lawrence. Molly was the friend who stalked outside of Lawrence’s job to run into him to see where his head was at with Issa. When Daniel shot semen across Issa’s face, Molly was the heated friend that was ready to do a drive by egg-shooting to **** up Daniel’s spot. Lastly, she joined Issa when Issa used her connect to Andrew to break into Nathan’s bedroom! And contrary to popular opinion, because some think that Molly wasn’t supportive of the Block Party because she didn’t do Issa that one favor, she still contributed financially.

In Variety Magazine, Issa Rae states that she “wants people to take a step back” and do a “serious re-watch”. She goes on to say “we’re not asking you to keep tally, but I don’t think Issa is blameless by any means” (Variety.com). Showrunner Prentice Penny adds that the Molly backlash is overboard. “You could ague that when Issa cheated on Lawrence, that was lying. When she isn’t upfront with Molly, those are lies of omission. And it is shady for Issa to go around Molly to get to Andrew to help her”, Prentice told TV Guide (shadowandact.com).

Rae believes that people have boiling points and “whether you think that’s the time or place for Molly to confront it, it came down to this” (reasoning as Molly) (Variety.com). Issa Rae makes use of the word “boundaries” and how, the one time Molly sets one, Issa finds a way to cross it. It brings this idea to mind; didn’t both cross boundaries? Issa going around Molly to get to Andrew can be compared to Molly crossing a certain boundary at the block party. And I can pretty much tell where this next statement is going to go but here goes…. if Molly was wrong for bringing the issue to Issa at the block party, Issa had a choice not to entertain it. But like Molly, they both had reached a boiling point. These characters are really one in the same, and where they are in their lives is just opposite ends but with the same reaction. We know that Molly grew up in the “hood” where Issa came from a pretty nice well-to-do neighborhood (hence the city tour episode with Nathan in season 3). Now, Molly’s career as a lawyer places her in a position to where she is professional, financially successful and about her business; whereas Issa is seen as the friend who doesn’t know where her life is going from one minute to the next, who actually has guts this season to hit below the belt and ready to “knuck” if one “bucks” when feeling attacked.

All in all, how clever of the writers to obviously want to create a Team Molly vs. a Team Issa; but the fact of the matter is , they have fallen short of this task. In the beginning, Molly was made out to be a woman that everyone liked. Voiced by the narrative of Issa, both white and black people loved Molly. In fact, in the narration, it sounded as if Issa may have been a little envious of this love and admiration for her friend. The audience was under the impression that Molly’s downfall was her inability to sustain a substantial relationship. If the writers did not want the friction to be one-sided or black and white, then why have Molly confront Issa at the near-end of her block party event (you saw what I did there? Reread it again!)? Because if one only sees tunnel vision and will surely side with the heroine of the show, wouldn’t it have been fair to have Molly confront Issa at a different time? Or was the character’s morals and respect at the expense of simple TV Drama? Would Molly still be in the wrong if she had spoke to Issa the next day? And would it be clearer for the audience to see where both parties are a detriment to their friendship had she done so?

Most importantly, was not Issa’s block party still a success?

What will make this character of Molly redeemable and will there be enough time for the two women to restore their friendship?

An Authentic $1600 Bag for Under $200?

Yes, you read that correctly. No, it is not a dupe and yes, it is authentic! In the summer of 2019, Gucci brought back their GG Supreme Collection, which made its debut in the 1970s. Very classic, very chic, the Supreme Collection was known for its signature “G” monogrammed pattern and its original green and red stripe. What really set this bag apart from the more modern collection of its kind, was the pig skin leather from which the bags were trimmed. In fact, the 1970s collection juxtaposed to the 2019 collection bare an uncanny resemblance, except for the tiny “specks” or “holes” that differentiates the pig skin leather from the cow leather.

My 60-year-old aunt (and I give her age out of mere respect) is living out her retirement days in style. Actually, if we were to rewind 40 years back, you’ll probably see a younger version of my aunt with a book up to her face studying fashion; a major she loved as she wanted to be a stylist. And her sense of style has not escaped her. So when she came over one day in what looked to be the new bag from Gucci’s line (hers was the GUCCI GG medium Top handle bag Ophidia), I had to compliment her style, all the while wondering if she really just spent close to $2,000 for a purse. Her response: “Thank you! I’ve had this bag for over 40 years now”.

My mouth dropped. It still looked brand new! It was no different than the bags that were currently on the Gucci website! Although I was 5 months pregnant at the time, I was on a quest to find that bag. I mean, surely my aunt wouldn’t mind if I cramped her style just a little bit, right? Luxury consignments shops around Atlanta did not have what I was looking for. A lot of Louis Vuitton (which I did score a Saint Cloud that I will talk more about at a later time) but hardly any Gucci and definitely not the GG Supreme.

I did more research and came across a site called Mercari. While I did not find the exact style that my aunt had, I did find an original Ophidia. The owner was selling the bag for $190! Nope. This can’t be the real deal, even though that is what the seller is claiming. Why were they selling it so cheap and did they not know about the history behind this classic piece? According to the seller, the bag was in poor condition. It appeared to be faded and some of the thread was loose on the straps. The only difference I could point out just from looking at the bags directly was that the 1970s Gucci emblem on the front was brass and the latest model appeared to be a metal-like material.

Well, if that was it, I had to jump on it and I did so quickly. If it wasn’t authentic, it would sting that I wasted my money but it wouldn’t hurt too badly. When my package came in the mail, I called my aunt immediately. After a thorough inspection, examining the quality, the “thickness” of the authenticity tag and the serial numbers, she confirmed that this was an authentic bag. We then took the bag to a luxury consignment shop in Fayetteville that confirmed the same. In one sitting, they asked if I wanted the thread fixed and to recondition the leather. Of course!

And what you see now is the new and improved original Ophidia from the 1970s line.

So what’s the moral of the story, you ask? I can say “there’s nothing new under the sun” and that’s true! But I want you to see how you don’t have to spend a whole pay check on a luxury item, if luxury is your thing. Sometimes what is “in” is just another version of an item that has already been created. If you come across a piece that you like, no matter what it is, dig a little deep and do your research! In the words of one of my favorite singers, Chrisette Michelle, “I’m a rich thrifter!” Okay, not her exact words, but you get the point.

The $1,690 Ophidia from the Gucci Site
My Ophidia

From Gucci to just plain….Good?

From Gucci to just plain….Good?

Last year when I started my blog, I was still in my first year teaching, I was 5 months pregnant and recently engaged. As much as I tried to maintain the lifestyle I had become accustomed to, the fact of the matter was, my life had changed significantly in less than a year! When I say “the lifestyle I had become accustomed to”, this doesn’t mean I lived a life of luxury where I had servants waiting on me hand and foot; a lifestyle where I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to.

NO.

I had a lifestyle that I considered fitting for a young, single woman with no major responsibilities (being a wife, being a mother and all of the good but challenging things that comes with that). I was a Rouge member at Sephora and if you do not have any inkling of what that means, let’s just say I spent well over a thousand dollars at a beauty store within a year’s time. Not to mention I was still gold status at Starbucks, giving the coffee shop at least $100 a week. And believe it or not, when it came time to help supply for my classroom and for my students, I was providing for that financially as well. But let’s get to the point of this post. What do I mean by Gucci to just plain good? Does this mean that I am no longer buying luxury items or that Gucci isn’t considered good anymore?

NO.

It simply means that as an influencer, I am not going to break my pockets on luxury items to compete and compare with others when I discovered that the bags from my favorites , Target and Amazon, looks just as good and they fit my aesthetic!I love looking into my closet and seeing a few of my favorite white tees along with a couple of other v-necks. My 3 pairs of jeans and one dress makes me smile now that I don’t have to stress about what to wear! Simple is simply more. I’m still working on “minimalizing” my shoes but that’s another post for another day.

I realized that it was moreso about me and my comfort, not so much about what I saw other influencers doing. Now the “human qualities” of me still look at other influencers, especially the ones who are still sitting one leg up with a Starbucks cup and a luxury bag sitting on the console. But I look to them now for motivation, motivating me to give my friends (I don’t like the term “followers”) authenticity. Allowing them to take this journey from Gucci to good, to great, to GRAND right along with me. Pure vulnerability and pure honesty.

And what is grand is having a minimalist closet, having a super moisturizing beneficial face mask that you enjoyed making yourself without breaking your pockets.

So I’m going to keep my first blog post up from last year as a reflection. As a means of looking back and seeing how much I have grown, as a person, as a wife, as a mother, as an influential woman.

With that being said, I will give you me through this blog as often as I can and if there is anything you’d like to see or like for my to touch on, reach out and let me know! I LOVE THIS WRITING STUFF!

The Modern Day Love Jones?

In art there is silence. It doesn’t speak out to you immediately. It is not loud nor boisterous. In fact, what it says to you may not be what it is whispering to your neighbor, standing right beside you in the museum, drinking the same merlot under dimmed lights. Art may speak to you moments later, showing you something that it didn’t show you before. It gives you the chance to see it over and over again in different light.

Art via the stroke of a brush is Jean-Michel Basquiat. Art in music form is Stevie Wonder. And art in script is Spike Lee.

I did not learn of this until I studied film at Clark Atlanta University. I was surrounded by great minds and writers, even my peers reeked of talent and skill. We challenged ourselves to be better than our last script or treatment. Our skin had to be toughened because the truth was brutal. We did not want to be basic. We wanted to be artists.

Let’s rewind….

I was eight when Love Jones came out and I have to be clear here, at that age my only “connection” was the crush I had for Larenz Tate. As for Nia Long and the look she always gave, as if someone had just blown smoke in her face, was pretty decent to look at as well. My friend and I would include Love Jones in our “Midnight Movie Marathon” line up along with a plethora of other Black cinematic films. It was the type of movie that made us stay up late to watch when the parents were asleep, drinking coffee all the while acting like we were grown.

As an adult watching the film now, that is the impression that I get from this “cult” classic; two attractive, young Black characters “acting like they’re grown”. A film glittered in art but the art itself not being of these characters. Now I know what you’re probably thinking: “Not every film has to be this deep, dynamic cluster of analytics”. I get it. Simplicity is needed which is why we had the Fridays of its time and the Girls Trips of today. Good movies to sit back and watch, not portrayed as anything other.

But when you have Dionne Farris and Lauryn Hill on the soundtrack and photography as its background focal point, (and yes, I said background focal point…..think about it) you’re expected that the art of the film is what intertwines these characters. But it’s not. I’m sure that there are some who would argue that the poetry and the dreadlocks, and the music and the style does in fact connect these characters. But they do not. The fact of the matter is, Tate was casted simply for his popularity at the time as well as Long. The characters were attractive and if you want to see two people get together on screen, then by all means, make them attractive. However, the characters lacked the depth that was needed to carry out the artistic world that was going on around them. It was simply guy gets girl, guy loses girl and guy gets girl in the end. You saw the sex between the characters. That’s what they wanted and that’s what you saw.

But The Photograph……

Larenz Tate as Darius Lovehall yelling out “You’re the one who went off and fucked ol’ boy!” was Y’lan Noel’s character Isaac Jefferson’s silent stare as he saw the love of his life with her young daughter (who we later found the truth about) for the first time in years. It was during that silence between the characters that allowed the viewers to feel the tension, the love, the frustration….all inter-mingled in the midst of these characters. It gave the viewers a chance to speak when the characters themselves could not find the words. It wasn’t blatant. It was our own interpretation.

Throughout the movie, the photographs allowed the “then” to make sense for the “now”. The photographs, with one in particular, brought the characters together, solving their issues and forcing them to live in their truths. Not to mention the depth in Lakeith Stanfield’s eyes alone was enough to make your heart palpitate and thighs throb (as Darius Lovehall wanted to do in Love Jones). Now am I knocking this film nor anyone who chooses it as a favorite, absolutely not. I love all things Black! But what I do feel Love Jones tried to do 23 years ago is what Will Packer was able to achieve with The Photograph.

In art there is silence. My professor taught us this. When there is so much to be said, but nothing can be said at all, not one thing; that is when the art has been defined as such. And you find yourself, holding a glass of merlot, examining the art in front of you and trying to interpret just how dynamic it truly is.

Nourishing Essentials

First and foremost, I will start by saying that I am going to be honest in my reviews. I do not want you spending money on products that I know will not be beneficial to you. Yes, I am aware that different products work differently depending on the individual; however, these products I am reviewing are, how can I put it……simple. The products that I believe to be genetic specific (you know the girl who just have natural smooth skin anyway?), I will do my best to make sure these products are identified. So here we go!

  1. The face steamer is a must have for my beauty routine, simply because it hydrates skin and minimizes pores. Is it worth the $150? No. I am pretty sure any steamer from Amazon would work just as good. Do I think a steamer should be part of your routine? Absolutely, but not this one. Not to mention that it smells like newborn baby caca. I thought it was just mine but after reading other reviews, it’s a common smell with these steamers. I purchased mine from Sephora.
  2. A friend of mine reminded me just how good the Thayers Witch Hazel mist is and she’s right. This was a staple in my beauty routine in 2017 when my skin was at its best! But watching Youtubers and other influencers review expensive products that swears to do the same thing, I tossed “old faithful” to the side. After a week of using this bad boy again, my skin stays moist and hydrated throughout the day and my pores have reduced in size. The Herbivore Rose mist is good for hydration as well but not so much pores. I purchased mine from Target.
  3. VITAMINS! I thought the HUM Vitamins were going to be a waste of my time and $20 but no-no. Not at all. Between drinking the required water amount for my height and size and taking these skin vitamins, my dry skin and eczema is healing. Not to mention I have a glow to my face. I purchased mine from Sephora.
  4. Garden of Life Whole Food vitamins were the brand of vitamins I was taking when I was pregnant with my son (I took the prenatals of course). I remember our nurse praising me for taking such “great” vitamins. My hair took off with these vitamins and my body felt great. I’ve been taking these for a month now and I’m feeling as good as I did last year. I purchased mine from The Vitamin Shoppe.
  5. The Herbivore Lip Balm. I am glad this came in a kit and I did not pay full price for this product. While I love the scrub and the facial mist, the lip balm falls so short. Whose lips is this product moisturizing? I don’t want the beauty supply level of gloss but I still want to be able to see some moisture on my lips. Do not bother buying or even trying.

Face steamer by Dr. Dennis Gross $150
Thayers Witch Hazel in Lavender $8
HUM Daily Cleanse skin vitamins $20
Garden of Life Vitamins $25

Stay tuned for my product reviews and even leave a comment for products you want me to try and review!

One Leg Up & a Starbucks Cup!

I am pretty sure you have seen this pose one too many times from our favorite bloggers and even bloggers we are not too familiar with. It is the ever common pose where our subject is positioned in the driver’s (or sometimes passenger’s) seat of their vehicle, with one leg folded up in the seat, and nice dainty manicured hands embracing a warm or cold latte of choice. Do not get me wrong! I love Starbucks just as much as the next person and have no qualms about making it known that I have a sparkly gold Starbucks card in my wallet (“Rewards, please!“).

But what this pose suggests to me is something that is entirely different than just a love for a latte. This one “signature” pose not only made me question the opinions and honesty of a product that the subject is “selling” (“Do they really like it, or doing it because everyone else is?“), but it made me question as a blogger, and potential influencer, if I wanted to tailor my Instagram/blog to fit in with the typical, cookie-cutter format. The answer was a simple, no.

What this pose says to me is that this is a club, and unless you do what we do, then you will not be a part of this committee; that we are the celebrities of social media and this is what you must do and look like to be a part of the club. A mere status symbol it is. It says to me that thinking outside of the box and bringing forth originality is a quality that is no longer of value. But wait! Could it be that this pose is one of the “keys” to gaining a lot of followers in the same niche? Especially if there is a designer bag within the same shot? Possibly. I mean after all, we all eventually want a good following if we are going to be completely honest. But shouldn’t we offer our followers something more than repetition? Shouldn’t we offer them less cliches and more humility? Allow them to see that we as bloggers/influencers are just like them except our hobby or decision to influence is to benefit them, not to seem separate or apart from them?

I am a teacher, a fiance, and soon to be mother. However, I made the decision to not appear as though I have tons of papers to grade, a wedding to plan and birthing classes to take. I want to show women like me that they do not have to lose themselves when they take on multiple roles. Yes, it is easy for us to want to roll out of bed, throw on a tee and leggings, toss our hair in a bun and call it a day. But I want teachers, mothers, working moms, SAHM, and women alike to see that luxury is not a limit, and being fashionable and still taking on the world and all of its tasks is doable, obtainable, and admirable. Most importantly, I want to show authenticity and humility…

….and if I just so happen to be doing it all while holding a Cinnamon Dolce Latte or Chai tea, then that is great! But not because others are doing it or to be a part of a clique; but because I seriously enjoy a perfectly crafted beverage!

Do something out of the ordinary.

Show that we are one!

After all, we are all one big nationwide girl gang.

Fragrance Wish List

Between Love Endlessly by Tory Burch and my all time signature favorite Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture, I have been content with my fragrant choices. However, a recent sample from Sephora and Louis Vuitton have caused indecisiveness on what my next fragrant should be. Will it be Indigo by Nest or Cactus Garden by Louis Vuitton? Both fragrances have a soft hint of floral and spring! I am in a trance when I smell both! But the question is, which will I choose?

Summer Pampering

The beginning of summer is always so exciting! I am looking forward to fruit infused iced water and endless popsicles! Speaking of fruit infused water, it is one of the many minimal ways I will be pampering myself this summer. What goes in must comes out, right? My water intake (plus taking my prenatal vitamins) and healthy eating habits is one sure way to pamper myself this summer. Healthy pampering is even included in the products we use for which we moisturize our skin and treat our hair. I am starting this summer off by paying a visit to my favorite beauty hair bar, Sweet Roots, located in downtown Atlanta. My hair has grown significantly! Sweet Roots use all natural hair products with no sulfates and other harsh chemicals and minimal heat! I always leave feeling brand new and refreshed! How will you be pampering yourself this summer?

As Aesthetical As Possible

Thanks for joining me! We are going to have so much fun together appreciating and sharing beauty, fashion and health tips! The best thing about all of these tips, is that they usually will not cost a fortune. How great is that? So slip on your favorite slippers, brew your cup of tea and sit back and enjoy as I make “beautiful” specially for you!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton