D.J KY in the House

Solange, Va$htie, Brittany Skye, Kitty Kash—These are all female D.J’s that I’ve come to admire. They are also the reason why I was so hell bent on becoming a D.J for the last 2-years. After going to numerous parties, more than I care to admit, I realized there’s very few female D.J’s in the industry and when I do see one, I am filled with pride.

There’s a lot of pressure on these women too. They have to be better than the men whose set was before theirs, and although they are more than capable of doing so, this is still an arena that needs to see more women in the booth. So I decided to take a D.J class to really understand the technique and if I had what it takes to become one.

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The class was at Dubspot on 14th street. It started promptly at 7 and ended 2-hours later. We learned to mix, spin, and scratch with the musical likeness of Jay-Z , Eric B and Rakim, and Black Rob. It was an excellent class, one that I will consider taking again although the lessons are pretty pricey. I think this is an investment and a craft I would love to learn, just because…well you never know. DJ Ky in the House.

http://www.dubspot.com/

The Danger in Chasing the Woo-ha!

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I remember my wonder years as a college student. Whenever, I told someone I went to Penn State I would get the same response. Ohhh…Ahhh…Wooha! It made me feel good, like I was doing something great with my life. It made me feel validated even…But then after 4-years, I graduated.

As soon as I graduated, I knew things would change and it did. Now the Wooha’s were replaced with “So what now?” It was a frightening reality that my degree was just that, a degree, a piece of paper, and nothing I did in college mattered remotely to the giant machine we all know as the real world.

Eventually, the wooha’s came back when I landed my first job on Wall Street. I was working for a financial tech company which made it seem like everything I was doing was super important. Nevertheless, my enthusiasm about my job was lackluster at best and the wooha’s began to diminish again. People could see that although my job was great it didn’t align with who I was or what I should be doing.

Chasing the wooha’s led me to do many other things that did not align with who I was. It led me to apply to law school when I knew deep down inside I didn’t love the law that much. It led me to apply to business school when deep down inside I knew I didn’t like business culture that much. It led me to chase after goals that seemed pretty on paper and socially acceptable but just wasn’t for me. It led me to deny a bit of myself in the pursuit of acceptance.

Now, I am at the point in my life where the wooha’s cannot define my journey anymore. Yes it would be great to be praised for how successful I am, but society defines success in very rigid and traditional  ways and that’s just not my trajectory. I want to be true to self, not the wooha’s. I want to be happy with what I am doing and I plan on doing just that.

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Book Review: What I Know For Sure

 


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Before reading this book, What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey, I set out to answer that very question for myself. In the beginning my answers were pretty cryptic. I know for sure that I’m going to die (as we all should know). I also know for sure that I believe in Jesus. But what else did I know for sure? I was stumped. If this book was anything like my answers, I was in for a rude awakening. So I decided to figure out what it was all about first and then try to answer the same question once I was done.

What I Know For Sure, made me fall in love with Oprah. It humanized her, as she talked candidly about her 20’s and 30’s, building a career, feeling worthless and even dealing with bad guys in relationships. There were a lot of things that I didn’t know about her life, that I was so happy she shared. For her 58th birthday, Oprah’s friends surprised her with one of her favorite singer’s Snatam Kaur. I know what you’re thinking, big deal, its Oprah, but the beauty of this story is that she didn’t think she was worthy enough to invite the singer to perform at her own birthday, and she only felt remorseful about not doing so when one of her other friend’s exclaimed how much she loved this singer as well. She went to bed kind of disappointed in herself, only to find out a few hours later her friends had the singer come to her home and serenade her with her favorite songs. It was a beautiful story.

This book is filled with the advice only Oprah can give. She is transparent, infusing personal stories with life lessons. She talks about her relationship with Gayle and how supportive she’s always been as a best friend. She also talks about aging, how she chooses to celebrate growing older as opposed to begrudging it because it represents more opportunity to live. There are a couple of things that Oprah knows for sure, which now serve as life lessons for me which you can find below:

  • Reading opens you up and exposes you to access anything your mind can hold.
  • Love A relationship built on real love should feel good most of the time, it should involve bringing who you are to the table and walking away with more.
  • Encountering Obstacles Every experience is a valuable teacher. It’s a blessing to be able to survive them and make the climb up life’s mountain.
  • Unworthiness Unconscious feelings of unworthiness shows up in everything you do or don’t do.
  • Combating Shame When you know who you are and what you stand for, stand in wisdom.
  • Haters Naysayers will always feel threatened because they don’t believe they are enough and will never feel satisfied.
  • Fear What would you do if you weren’t afraid of feeling rejected, making a mistake, looking foolish, or being alone? When you remove the fear the answer you’ve been searching for comes into focus.
  • The Journey Never lose faith in the path. Changing the way you think about your situation is the key to improving it. Learning to appreciate your lessons are a clear sign you are moving in the right direction.
  • Prayer If the only prayer you ever said in your entire life was thank you, it would be enough.
  • Gratitude Sometimes we get so focused on the difficulty of our climb that we lose sight of being grateful for having a mountain to climb. When you focus on the goodness of your life you create more of it.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for some encouragement in their lives. Oprah’s outlook on life is simply magnificent. She find’s beauty in everything around her and is willing to share with us, some of her mistakes and triumphs that made her the wise woman she is today. Make gratitude a priority.

P.S I asked myself the same question, what I know for sure, after completing this book and now with the inspiration of Oprah’s stories, I feel like I know a lot. I’ll share my thoughts in an upcoming post.

 

Lacking Faith

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…” – Hebrews 11

I lack faith. Some people are ashamed to admit that but I know I do. My church did a class on Faith recently, teaching from the book Hebrews Chapter 11, where we dissected the meaning of faith and the people in the bible who exhibited great faith-Abraham, Moses, David. I was inspired but still failed a test of faith recently.

The test was simple, so simple that I knew it was a test, but still, I failed miserably. I decided to apply for something, which at the time I thought I really wanted. When I was rejected I was very angry. I’ve never been this angry in a long time. That anger turned into questioning the plans that God has for my life, those questions led me to feelings of defeat, and that defeat deflated me completely and I felt so discouraged and depressed. I didn’t have to react so poorly to rejection but I did. I could’ve gone totally against the grain. I could’ve completely remained confident that the next door of opportunity would open but I didn’t. I created a pity party for myself filled with negativity and a spirit that was not aligned with God.

I decided to go to church the next morning in hopes for an answer and I received one. The pastor preached about hindrances and what it means to be blocked from doing something. A hindrance can come from either God or the devil; you just have to be spiritually in tune to decipher who it’s from. I left church feeling empowered. Simply because having faith means putting your trust in God. Sometimes that’s extremely hard. You see other people doing great things and you want to know when your turn will be. You see people building great relationships and you want to know when your prince or princess will come into your life. Navigating life with such uncertainty is hard, but that’s where faith comes in.

One of the many beauties of life is the mystery of it. One of the most challenging things about life is not knowing when your expectations will be met. Will it be a year from now or tomorrow?  That’s my struggle, I just want to know when. I wish this post was the answer to how I conquered my lack of faith but it’s not. It’s more about transparency than anything. It’s letting you know that as a Christian sometimes it can be hard to keep believing in God’s plans even if we know he wants the best for us. I know for sure God has my back, because he always has. I know you’re supposed to be patient and wait on God’s timing for all things, but even though I know this as a fact, it’s hard to accept when it deals with the circumstances of YOUR life and that’s the trouble.

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Kizzy’s Decision Taught me…

 

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Roots was an amazing series, which was sometimes hard to watch but overall, significant for me and I am very pleased with how well done it was.

One of the defining scenes in my mind after watching Roots, was when Kizzy, whose name means “Stay Put” in Mandika actually did that very thing.  She had the opportunity to be free and marry the man she was in love with, but turned down the opportunity to stay on the plantation, because it was comfortable for her. Although a pragmatic decision, it shook me to my core. If there’s one thing I learned about life, it’s to jump on opportunities when they come to you. You never want to wake up one day, thinking What If?. Kizzy missed out on love and freedom and the opportunities that life as a free woman up North had to offer her. I guess, too often we all do that in our own lives. We get comfortable in security. Comfortable with avoiding risks. Comfortable with allowing fear to leave us stagnant, and then we lead unhappy lives, knowing there’s more to us than what we are settling for. I don’t want to do that. I am finally learning that taking risks although frightening is the only way we can grow. Not giving into our fears and taking on new opportunities encompasses the excitement and the mysteries of life.

This scene hits home for me because I find myself at a cross road, comfortable in the security I’ve built for myself for the last few years, but ready to grow and become a batter person and unleash the inner powerhouse in me. I am ready for a change.

Latest Obsession : Joey Alexander

Everyone should know Joey Alexander. He’s an Indonesian pianist from the island of Bali who plays Jazz and Blues like one of the greats; some may say he’s in a lane of his own.  I watched this 12-year old prodigy on 60-Minutes and was immediately overwhelmed with amazement. He’s an inspiration. This child has no prior music training but comes from a very musical family, so music runs through his blood and he is ahead of his time. Please watch the clip below:

 

 

BAM Dance Africa Cool Finds

This year at Dance Africa, I found so many great things I want to share with you guys. As you know, Dance Africa is an annual event that happens every memorial weekend at BAM where Brooklyn locals celebrate Africa in all its glory through performances, amazing food and vendors. This year I bought so much cool stuff that I’m so excited about:

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 Tribal Print Dress

Besides the beautiful tribal print, what I love about this dress is the pockets and the racer back. It’s such a well made dress and I never want to take it off. Price: $20

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Earrings 

I’ve wanted Fulani earrings since 2011. Finally I found these rare finds from the country of Mali and put them on as soon as I bought them. They’re a dream come true. Price: $20

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Shea Butter & Black Soap

These two necessities speak for itself. I haven’t used Shea Butter in my hair since 2014, so this is a real treat and my hair loves it. As for the black soap, I am hoping it performs miracles on my dark spots. ($3-$5)Black Soap

Alternative Ways of Networking

NETWORKING.jpgI love people but I can’t bring myself to walk up to someone randomly and introduce myself . Because networking is such an important tool to develop in your career, I had to discover alternative ways of networking where I can meet people and still be true to myself by attending conferences, working for others and social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook groups just to name a few. Check out my latest podcast.

https://soundcloud.com/lifestylebyky/alternative-ways-of-networking

Whats Real? Birkenstocks

I’ve wanted Birkenstocks since I saw Melanie Barnett from the Game  (aka Tia Mowry )wearing them on an episode where she walked gracefully through a farmers market. She was so cute and looked oh so bohemian. Yet, the price tag is what took me years to finally purchase a pair. To be honest, I didn’t think it was worth it. There’s nothing really special about them, right?

Well truth be told, there is something unique about these shoes, which is why they have been on my shoppers remorse list since 2008. Now Birkenstocks are in style and to match this seasons summer trends  I couldn’t help but to purchase a pair or two. Can you tell which one is the real one and which one isn’t? Just to give you some background, I purchased one at H&M ($24.99) before finding the real birkenstocks ($99.00) at Nordstrom’s Rack. I was going to return the H&M ones but decided just to keep both.

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I Lied About My Age…

What are you like 24?

Her question stopped me in my tracks. I haven’t had an issue with my age until turning 27. I actually resented people who lied about their age, just to appeal to others, that is until, I became one of those people.

No. I’m not 24.

Then how old are you?

Ummm (Soft Whisper) 26.

See you’re 26? You’re still really young.

The thing is, 3-months prior to this conversation, I turned 27, and have been dealing with the ramifications of being so close to age 30 ever since. So much so, that I lied. I really try not to lie anymore, especially for something as trivial as age but the guilt of my lie consumed me for the whole day. This situation illustrated to me that I was not comfortable with who I was and what I’ve done so far in my life and that’s never a good feeling. I was being super hard on myself and was not looking at my blessings and all that I’ve attained but only focusing on what has not happened…yet.

Yes, I know I have my whole life ahead of me and I’m still very young. I understand this more than anyone. But the pressure is falling hard on me. I am 27-years old and I still don’t feel like I have it even remotely figured out. The thing that bothers me the most is that I know my career route (the one that I will eventually choose) won’t be straight and narrow and that fear of possibly having to struggle scares me. I have not taken the plunge yet because I am too comfortable in my current situation, and these realizations are making me freak out. But what scares me even more is waking up one day as a middle-aged person and having regrets of not chasing after my dreams and taking risks. Complacency is my biggest fear of all.