My business cards for Lifestylebyky came in the mail today and I am excited. I have not officially launched this blog to the public (although some people know about it ) but I may have to soon. I can’t wait to network at events with these cards. Building a blog and brand is no easy task but someone has to do it! This blog is literally a fulfillment of one of my many passions. I mean business now.
I’ve never been a fighter. The one time I was probably supposed to fight a girl for trying to “steal my man” I didn’t have the heart to. What was the point? To hurt her? I didn’t want to hurt anyone. Sometimes I would ask God why he made me like this? Passive, never wanting to entertain trouble. People assumed it was a weakness but I look at it as having a big heart. People assumed I was letting others take advantage of me, but it was more about being a nice person. Growing up in Brooklyn, this was one of the many nuances in my personality that made me feel different from others. As a Brooklyn girl you have to be tough, right? Well, I was never like that. I would rather be friends with you than fight you. However, there are so many people, so many young girls to be exact. who feel the opposite.
In order to gain respect, you have to fight and be the champ. For some reason, a lot of girls and guys hold girl fights in such high esteem. I will never forget when I was peer pressured to go to the projects and fight a group of girls to defend one of my friends. I brought a bottle of Clorox to defend myself; otherwise, I would’ve been done for. God was with me that day because the girls never showed up. I vowed never to put myself in such danger again, all in the name of fitting in or proving something to these so-called “friends.” Continue reading “Fighting Culture Among Girls&Women…Why?”
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. -Luke 15:1-7
Lost sheep. I was the lost sheep that Jesus talks about in the parable. I remember the very day when I wanted to be redeemed. I’ll have to save some of the details for when I eventually write my book (total plug), but I was in my bed at Penn State University. My “boy-friend” at the time just left after a weekend of total sin. He wasn’t really my boyfriend but we were together for two years. He strung me along and claimed he wasn’t ready for a relationship. In all actuality he was ready for a relationship, he just wasn’t ready for one with me. My soul was spent. I felt dirty. I felt like I was sleeping with a demon. I felt low, unworthy, soiled, and disgusting. I can’t describe the feeling but I had the weight of sin all over me. I cried from day to night. I felt so alone in that empty room in Pennsylvania. The feeling was indescribable. I called on God. Help me, lord. Get me out of this situation. Get the pain that I am feeling in my heart and chest out. Make me whole again. Nothing changed, I felt the same. I eventually went in the shower to try and wash off all remnants of him. I was with a man who wouldn’t even give me a title, yet I just spent the weekend giving him all of me. I would do anything for him. I was like the girl in Coming to America, who barked on Prince Zamunda’s command. If I noticed he was going to the strip club too often, I turned into the stripper. When he demeaned me, I tried to change myself so I could be more acceptable in his eyes. Every day that we spent not in a relationship but doing relationship things weighed on my confidence. I knew I deserved someone to respect me enough to claim me but I couldn’t break the shackles of this soul tie. It was a strong soul tie indeed. Continue reading “Lost Sheep”
“Ky, please pray, your cousin is missing and has not been home since Wednesday.”
I received this text as I was leaving a talk at the Schomburg on a Thursday night. Let’s just say I immediately lost my appetite and a sense of worry overwhelmed me. Where was he? I spent the rest of the night praying before falling asleep. I knew he didn’t have any friends so if he was missing something probably happened to him. I thought the worst, as we all do in times of turmoil. My mind went over all of the times I could’ve told him I loved him or been there for him and yet I chose not to. Life is so short and within a blink of an eye, your whole existence could change. I imagined life without him for a split second and couldn’t bare it. He needed to come home.
The next morning I received a text from my mother saying my cousin came home in the middle of the night. Thank you, Jesus. A sense of relief came over me until I questioned his whereabouts for the last couple of days. Apparently, he was riding the trains back and forth. Not the same train, different trains. I am not surprised by this revelation but I am worried. His condition is seemingly getting worse. Continue reading “One Black Man’s Silent Struggle”
Excellence makes my skin color secondary – Judith Jamison
Dark Girls was a documentary that premiered on OWN a few years ago. It highlighted the insidiousness of colorism among African American women. There’s an invisible hierarchy in the black community between dark-skinned and light-skinned women. Dark Girls sought to shed light on this pervasive issue with hopes of starting a conversation and bringing about change.
Yesterday while in Barnes and Noble I came across a striking cover with Lupita Nyong’o adorned with multicolored feathers. The title of the book is Dark Girls by Bill Duke and Sheila D. Moses, based on the documentary. I bought it immediately and read through the 200+ pages that day. It’s a book of photographs and stories filled with beautiful dark-skinned women. According to the author, he chose women who were darker than the brown paper bag to produce the reverse effect of that dehumanizing tradition. The women share stories of what it was like growing up being ridiculed, outcasted, and overshadowed because of their dark skin. They also shed light on how they empowered themselves by finally seeing their beauty. The subjects ranged from famous celebrities to everyday women who deal with this issue. I thought it was a lovely book and added it to my bookshelf. I am keeping it so my daughter when I have her one day, can look through the pages and be empowered by black beauty.
One of the thoughts that rained through my head was why colorism is still an issue and why we have to create books and documentaries to empower our sisters in this day in age? Why hasn’t progress been made when it comes to us, as black people, accepting that we come in all different shades and colors and no one shade is better than the other? It hurt me to know that so many of my sisters had to endure feelings of inferiority for a trait they are born with. Why do we always have to find subtle differences in one another to use as a measure of attack? I’ve studied colorism for some time now and unfortunately, this is a deep-rooted issue that most blacks will not own up to. The conversation is the first step towards progress but we have to see that this is actually a problem before the change can begin to take place.
First Saturdays are when a large majority of Brooklyn locals flock to the Brooklyn Museum for a night of entertainment and culture. Black masculinity and the socialization of black men in America were themes in some of the popular exhibits of the night. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic so I decided to go.
I discovered Basquiat’s Notebooks before heading to Kehinde Wiley. I am so happy this happened. The exhibit just opened the day before and it was a very high profile one. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse into the mind of Basquiat. As you walk in you are graced with a video of Basquiat working in his element of street art and graffiti. I became entranced as I watched this video of a young artist spray painting words that obviously had a deeper meaning behind it- THE WHOLE LIVERY LINE BOW LIKE THIS WITH THE BIG MONEY… He had on a long trench coat and wild natural hair. He looked modern, like someone I would meet in the Lower East Side today.
I walked into the exhibit and noticed that, as the name details, this exhibit would be a display of his notebooks throughout the years. I rubbed my head trying to figure out the depth behind his words. Was it to be analyzed or were his notes just like any other person jotting down things he viewed in the world. How was his notebook’s art? His words were simple; some were poetic. He obviously appreciated his heritage and wanted blacks to be the focal point of his art–the heroes. He also wanted us to pay attention to the words he crossed out. According to him, “I cross out words, so you will see them more. The fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.”
Continue reading “A Lesson in Culture and Black Masculinity”
A couple months ago I wrote a blog about Relationship Weight and how much I’ve gained after getting too comfortable. Well, I am finally taking my own advice and doing something about it. On April 1st I applied for Weight Watchers. I signed up for the $44 a month plan, which consists of meetings, 24/7 counseling, and online support. There are also other price points more or less than what I chose. I will consider the $19.95 a month plan once I get some control over my weight. The pictures of me in Dubai was a reality check; I looked at least 15-pounds overweight. I haven’t checked my weight but I can always tell when I’ve gained some. I get rolls in my neck and back. My face also looks fuller than it already is. I believe I am probably around 150 and I would like to get back down to 135. I feel like I am in college again when I gained the freshman 15 during my junior year. I already know what you’re thinking, junior year? but that year I decided to stay on campus in the dorms after 2-years of having my own apartment. With dorm living, comes the meal plan, where you can eat all day, every day and only God knows what they put in that food to make you fat.
I was surprised by how much fun Weight Watchers actually is. Each day I track the food I am eating and sometimes to meet certain goals I’ll eat fruit or more veggies which I would’ve never done had I not signed up for the program. I get 26 points daily that I try not to go over. The first couple of days I was going over these points. My love for baked mac and cheese cannot be replaced, but it was taking a majority of my daily points(10 pts) and this week alone I had it 3-4 times. I feel like as I get more involved and invested in the program things will change and I will begin to take my weight loss journey more seriously. Excited to share this new journey with you. I am so stubborn when it comes to my food and don’t like to exercise, but I am going to try to make this fun.
It’s been a month since my 26th birthday and I am overjoyed with the outpouring of love and acknowledgment that I received this year. It’s truly a blessing when you are loved, and when people think enough about you to want to make you happy and recognize your special day. I was humbled as the gifts kept rolling in for the whole month of March and even in April. Like a spoiled brat, I received some of the things that I wanted most, the books that I wanted to read, flowers that I wanted to smell and cupcakes that I wanted to eat. What a blessing. Thank you all!
I am totally looking forward to what this new year has in store for me. I just feel so motivated. For those wondering, no, I don’t feel old turning 26, I feel younger and better than ever. I have a whole life to live. If 26 is old, what is 76? Some people need to get a grip and start putting things into perspective. I welcome growth because it makes becoming a better version of yourself possible. This year, I would love to be more outgoing; that would be a huge accomplishment because I can be so shy. I want to continue to encourage others. I want to start being more selfless, giving more to those in need and setting aside cash specifically for the homeless on the street. Overall, I want to evolve into a better me.
Miracles do happen. After years of trial and error, I’ve found the perfect foundation. Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give a bit of a back-story.
I was at the dermatologist, and I forgot to wipe off my make up before going in the chair. With his microscopic glasses, my doctor inquisitively asked what makeup I was using. At this point, I was using a MAC foundation and/or concealer. A look of concern came on his face as he said: “Your make up is clogging your pores, you can’t use those kinds of products-your skin is too sensitive.”
“Well, doc, what am I supposed to use?” I replied
“You need natural products, try Clinique or Bare Minerals. Go to the store they will tell you” he said.
A week later, I went to Sephora and explained to them my dermatologist recommendation. They did the foundation test, which is really cool; the associate placed a device on my face which detected my exact skin color. I was in need of 100% natural products which would reduce the options that came up once my skin color was in the system. I immediately told her I was interested in Bare Minerals as suggested by my doctor. She led me to the Bare Mineral section and worked with me until I found the color that was a match to my skin. The color is #18 Bare Walnut. It’s hypoallergenic and made without the following ingredients:
Six-months later and my skin is doing so much better. I still have breakouts but they are minimal. I drink tons of water and take Hair, Skin, and Nails pills, but the compliments I get on my coverage are amazing. Bare Minerals foundation allows my skin to breathe, reduces how much of my pores are clogged and is an exact match to my skin color which is a first. It leaves my skin looking flawless. I am truly amazed by this product. It also lasts really long. I just finished the first bottle that I bought 6-months ago. Another plus is the cost. It’s priced at Sephoras for $29, which I think is a great price point. I hardly ever do product reviews but I thought this one deserved a rave review. Bare Minerals: Rating 9
Karla’s Closet aka Karla
Karla’s Closet exhibits some of the best and most minimalist styles that you can think of and that’s why I love her blog. She’s funky but simple. It’s attainable styles; boyfriend jeans, belly shirts, and wide-legged slacks (that I am sure she pays tons of money for but you can create it to your liking for less). I love that she wears neutrals, she doesn’t experiment much with colors. Black, White, Nude, Navy Blue and Army Green seem to be her colors of choice. I enjoy it when she travels, whether its Hong Kong, Paris or an exotic island, she’s always dressed perfectly for the occasion.
Shirley’s Wardrobe aka Shirley
Shirley Beniag is a mini Karla’s closet but she gives me more of the classic, professional, and chic vibe. She shops at ZARA and H&M, so it’s so easy to replicate her style. Sometimes she gives me Kerry Washington, which is always a treat. She makes professional dressing look fabulous and attainable. The thing that I also love about Shirley is how neat she is and her personality is incredible. I can watch her on her youtube channel for days. She’s funny and so stunning. Her sister has a cooking blog as well, so I take turns watching the both of them. I love Shirley, but sometimes you have to wait a while before she posts something new. I don’t blame her though, life gets hectic.
Theaccessory aka Alexis
I just discovered this site, but I am a long time fan of Alexis Phifer (who is most famously known as the ex. of Kanye West). She’s beautiful and a few years back I discovered she has a keen eye for fashion. Now she has a website that highlights her fashion sense. What I like about Alexis is how she mixes it up. She can wear funky suede boots with a boho oversized sweater and look like a million bucks. You can shop on her website and replicate some of her looks, as she is a designer. She’s pretty cool. Continue reading “Ky’s Fave Bloggers Awards”