She’s So Cold

I am a fan of public transit for one very vital reason; it saves me the headache of dealing with traffic. Unfortunately, for me it is not as cost effective because the closest train stop to my house is an half hour drive away. The worst aspect about public transit for me is the public aspect of it especially at the end of the workday when people cram into the trains like clowns in a car. Usually when there are limited seat options I try consciously try to sit by a woman because honestly I know that they will most likely not utter a word to me and that sometimes sitting next to a man can result in an unwarranted conversation. After sometime of doing this I got to thinking. Why are women (myself included) so cold? Not only to each other, but to the opposite sex. I figured that I would take the time to provide some answers to the question: Woman to Man: In general I would like to say that I am a really nice person. Sometimes to the point of being too nice if that's possible. However, when it comes being alone in public I operate by the rule of "stranger danger". One reason that a woman may come off as acting cold towards a man in public is because of the countless stories we hear about women being raped, abducted, or harassed by men. As a woman you always have to be cautious about who you talk to because you never know what may happen. Another reason a woman may act cold towards  the opposite sex is because there are men out there who do not understand what limits are. Whether it is knowing that a woman is not in the mood to talk or feeling that he has every right to attempt to sit hideously close to her knowing that he has halitosis. Body language is key fellas. If a woman clutches her purse when you walk by, turns her head, or looks away it means she's uncomfortable either around you or by someone else. Don't take it as arrogance. Rather take it as a means of self-protection. Woman to Woman: I've never been the type to consciously act cold towards another woman . Maybe it is because of the bonds of sisterhood. Yes, that was cheesy.  However, there are some women who are rude to other women. I can't really speak for them, but I will speculate why they may be cold to other women. First, some women are very insecure and can initially dislike someone for a reason as petty as their handbag. Secondly, some women have had bad experiences dealing with other women in the past which leads them to think all women are evil, including you. Don't take it too personally. Do you think women are cold? What is your take on the issue?
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The Art of Non-Conformity

Most people who know me, know my deep fear of mice. While I won't get into that or any traumatic childhood stories I will say that they scare me to no end. Out of all of the mice in the world there are only two that I can tolerate and their names are Pinky and The Brain. You have to love the determination they had in there quest to take over the world. At some point we all think about our life's purpose and ways to take over the world. Hopefully, I am not just speaking for myself here. Sometimes it is hard to imagine what the future will be like. You begin to wonder whether or not all the work you are putting towards your goals will really pay off. I've always been the kind of person who follows the rules in fear that something would go terribly wrong if I didn't. It may not be the most adventurous way to live, but it has worked for me thus far. I recently had an epiphany, or what Oprah calls an "Aha Moment". When you live life according to "the rules" you are not really living at all. I've found myself just going through the motions of living without putting much thought into my actions. Almost like a robot. While doing my usual web-surfing I stumbled across a website about The Art of Non-Conformity. The site's author, Chris Guillebeau defines non-conformity as, "a lack of orthodoxy in thoughts or beliefs” or “the refusal to accept established customs, attitudes, or ideas." This is a pretty standard definition of the word and it makes sense. When you play life according to the rules, you learn that things don't always work out as you think they should. According to "the rules" the course of life usually goes as follows: Birth, Primary School, Secondary School, Marriage, Death. If these are the rules does it mean that anyone who does not follow them will live inferior lives to those who do? Not necessarily. If the recession has taught us one thing it is that following the rules will not always get you far. Imagine yourself being a college graduate in a time like this. You took out loans to go to an overpriced school because you were told that it would be the only way to get a good job. Now you've graduated with more than $50,000 in loans to pay and have no job prospects. Welcome to the School of Hard Knocks. Maybe it's time to skip some of the rules and learn The Art of Non-Conformity. In a nutshell this art involves focusing on your unique passions and interests while directing your time towards activities that will improve your quality of life and allow you to see the world. It all sounds so peaceful and kumbaya-ish (yes, I just made that up), but it might just work. Before you go crazy on the theory of non-conformism I will caution that in order to break "the rules" you must first understand them. There are ways to be a non-conformist without being obnoxious about it. Especially if you follow the site's philosophies below: 1. You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. 2. If you don’t decide for yourself what you want to get out of life, someone else will probably end up deciding for you. 3. There is usually more than one way to accomplish something. 4. You can do good things for yourself and help other people at the same time.
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Props Rock: Willi Smith

I come from a frugal, not cheap family. Trust me, there is a difference. My mother and I enjoy going to off-price stores like Marshall's and TJ Maxx in order to find what we call "hidden treasures". Out of all of my various trips to off-price stores along the east coast there is one trip that I distinctly remember. My mother and I went to a TJ Maxx store in Maryland when I was in middle school. I remember looking around in the women's wear section and noticing some clothing by a designer named Willi Smith. The first thing I thought was, "Since when did Will Smith have a clothing line?" Then I thought that they had spelled his name wrong. Later that night, I looked the name "Willi Smith" up online and learned that before the "Fresh Prince" inspired people worldwide to get "Jiggy Wit It" there was another man who showed us how to dress in Big Willie Style. Philadelphia born fashion designer Willi Smith, who is unrelated to the "Fresh Prince", has been referred to as "the most successful black designer in fashion history." When it came to his work as a designer Smith preferred to be known more for his raw talent than his skin color. Although he would admit that his skin color gave him few advantages, he would often be annoyed by the attention given to him based on it. Willi Smith was known for his use of brightly colored fabrics that were comfortable, loose-fitting, and moderately priced. In 1976 he co-founded his company "Williwear" with Laurie Mallet. Although his clientele include the wealthy by the early 1980s, Williwear had grown to become a popular clothing line in youth culture and was referred to as "street couture". Willi Smith died unexpectedly in 1987 at the age of 39 after contracting shigella and pneumonia while on a trip to India. His death was determined as a result of AIDS. Willi Smith once said, "Models pose in clothes. People live in them." According to Richard Martin, there were "countless fans of his sportswear style who may never have known-or care- whether he was Black, White or any other color". The style Willi Smith was accurately summarized in his obituary in the Village Voice which said that his clothing expressed, "the designer's democratic urge: to clothe people as simply, beautifully and inexpensively as possible". Now when I go to TJ Maxx I am proud that I know about the designer, not the rapper,  Willi Smith. Flashback: Black Style: Willi Smith
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It’s That Time Again…Mother’s Day

Mother's Day in theory is a lovely idea, but it is also one of those holidays that just creeps up all of a sudden. It's less than a week away and I'm sure the portion of you who have already realized this are in a frenzy over what to get. The standard Mother's Day presents are usually bath salts, a coupon book of things you promise to do for her, a Bath and Body Works lotion basket, or flowers. I've always found Mother's Day interesting because it's as if we expect our Mothers to forgive us for the other 364 days in their year that we may disappoint them. So, to thank her for giving birth us and enduring stretch marks and labor pains we give her bath salts that she will never find time to use, a coupon book of things that we will never get around to doing, a lotion basket that looks exactly like the one she got for her birthday, and flowers with a mundane message that will die within a week. It looks to me that mothers get a lousy deal out of this holiday because for one day we pretend it doesn't annoy us when they give us advice (that wasn't asked for) about our personal lives, or when they tell us to wash the dishes (even though none of them are ours). After that, we go back to ignoring their needs. What exactly is it that mothers need if they don't need bath salts, coupon books, lotion baskets, or flowers? Well, I'll let you in on a little secret. What mothers really want for Mother's Day is to know that you appreciate them. What they really want is some of your time. So, what are my Mother's Day plans? As far as children go my mother has got it made. I never went through an angsty teenager stage or have been much of a troublemaker. I would say that we have a great relationship. This weekend I plan on taking her to the movies and paying for it myself. Not for Mother's Day, just because we both have a day off from work.  Nothing impresses my mother more than my money( because she knows I barely make any) and my time. But, just so she won't feel left out (she won't), I'll send her a Mother's Day e-card. Flowers may die, but memories and e-cards last forever.
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Hiya America!

I am finally back home after an extended vacation. Out of all the things to think about before going abroad a volcano eruption was certainly not something I had anticipated. If you have been keeping up with the Dookyblog then you already know that I went to England for my cousin's wedding and feared that as a bridesmaid I would end up looking hideous. Luckily, the dress was not as bad as I had thought and all was well for the most part. I had a great time in England and definitely felt a bit of a culture shock. Below are a few things I learned abroad: 1. Everyone says "Hiya"; not "Hello", "Hi", "Hey", or "What's Up". Just "Hiya". 2. When someone says "cheers" they are not about to make a toast; they are saying "thank you". 3. Most houses, most commonly called flats are not equipped with dryers, so be prepared to hang your clothes everywhere if you want them to dry. Oh, how I missed my dryer. 4. If you are a card carrying member of "Overpackers Not-so Anonymous" like me then feel free to laugh at everyone who tells you not to pack so much. My over packing helped me survive the extra week. 5. What we refer to as "fanny packs" are known as "bun bags" in England. Turns out that in their culture "fanny" means "vagina". I learned that one the hard way. 6. For those of you who are not fans of the typical English breakfast shown below head to your local grocery store and befriend a jar of Nutella. 7. If you want to look "fashionable" then wear false eyelashes, hair so big it almost rivals Snooki's from Jersey Shore, a bright orange tan, and a denim on denim outfit with Union Jack Ugg boots. If you want to walk around without being laughed at by me then don't wear any of that. Below are some pictures from my trip for your viewing pleasure:
You can see all of London from here (the thing that looks like a ferris wheel). I wasn't willing to wait an hour in line though.
Graffitti
This person was protesting against everything from Marks and Spencer's to Sri Lanka, to concentration camps. It was hilarious. My advice for protesters is to choose ONE thing and run with it; don't protest everything.
Big Ben. Funny story: I almost bought my friend a condom that said, "Have you seen Big Ben?", but then remembered my father's name is Ben and that would just be horrbily awkward.
A "performance artist" whose job is to not really perfom;just stand there like the tin man.
A positive aspect of my extended vacation was that I got to attend London's Alternative Fashion Week. Yes, there was a silver lining.
Oh hey! That's me being very touristy in my trenchcoat which they refer to as a "Mac". Why? I'll google it and get back to you because no one else seemed to know why.
In case you were wondering how I survived the extra week I was lucky enough to have stayed with family during my time there. So, no I was not stranded at the airport. Hallelujah, holla back!
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MUM ON HAITI

JANUARY 21, 2010 So I haven't chimed in on the insane condition of Haiti. Basically, I just don't have the visual or verbal vocabulary to express how much sorrow, frustration, amazement etc over the whole situation. I'm not gonna lie, I feel real paralyzed about what to do to help In this time when so much is needed, especially having the understanding that some shipments are getting bottle necked from the airport and some planes are being sent away. It doesn't help that I think most charities (not all there are def some fantastic ones) are full of sh*t. I feel that it's almost wrong to bring up my personal views of most non profits, but I must just to get some dirt off my chest. I think that most non-profits spend waaaaaaaaay to much on administration. Just google Salaries of Charity CEO. Yes it's gotten a lot better within the last few years but still, charities aren't suppose to be about creating a high paying job. They should be about helping out. I've created this tee and want to donates or coordinate a way to send resources to those in need (in the most direct way possible) 50% of the profits of this tee will be contributed to [fill in the blank] APRIL 7th, 2010 So that tee sat on hold for a while. In between the time I wrote the first half of this post and now one of the most popular fund raising organizations, Yele has come under scrutiny for mis management of funds, red tape is still is slowing down delivery of aid and the Oxfam has reached it's fund raising efforts and would like you to donate to one of their other causes.  So I ask again, how does one help?. REALLY help not just save a few babies have a few inspiring heroic stories, but actual invest in helping Haiti come a place with a stable economy and not just another poor 3rd world nation with a sad story and a telethon fund raiser? I have an interest in Haiti because of it's rich history and symbolism of diasporic freedom (one of the first slavery victories included in American history...near the end of the text book). The reason why I use the word symbolic is because. Yes , Haiti was the first  nation to be ruled by people of Africa ancestry but they literally had to pay for it...like paid money to the the french banks. Who wins a war and has to pay the enemy? That's already one huge economic smack in the face and If you think about it, who is really trying to do trade with a nation ran by ex-slaves when they could buy sugar from slave nations throughout the same region. Haiti basically got fed a bone and even before this last earth quake needed a severe restructure to become a truly independent and sustainable nation. I wish I was here, figuratively and literally, with this Haitian family in 1978 looking all happy. This tee is not currently for sale on junkprints because I haven't decided yet where the funds raised should go. I do believe that helping by sticking close to home can have a rippling impact and am seriously considering just giving to money to my token Haitian friend Claudia, at least she won't give it to her ex-wife. If you have any other suggestions pls feel free to leave comments.
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Rent-A-Negro.com: Hilarious Website/Artistic Statement

I recently came across a website called "Rent-A-Negro.com". When you look at the site it seems completely legit. It even comes with a pricing guide and order form. Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. A site that "allows" users to buy a black friend if only for a night. It's always nice to have at least one black friend, so they can answer all the questions you have about black people with risking get beat up over it. Safety first. The site was created in 2003 by damali ayo, a Washington, D.C. born artist who prefers her name be written in lower case. "Rent-A-Negro.com" uses satire to examine racism in the interactions between white and black people. Let's be honest. If this site actually allowed people to literally "rent-a-negro" sales would be through the roof. There are aspects of being "Black in America" that haven't yet been covered by CNN. Living in the suburbs for most of my life has put me in situations where I have been the "TBK" or "Token Black Kid". As the "TBK" I have been the recipient of many questions about black culture and would like to put you up on game drop science school you share some answers with you. Most of the questions have revolved around hair: Question 1: Wow, your hair sure grows fast. What did you do? Answer: Well, [insert name here] I got my hair done last night. So now they are in braids, a weave, etc. Therefore, this is not my real hair. Question 2: Can I touch your hair? Answer: No, you may not. I don't like people touching my hair unless they are my hairdresser and even then I am wary because she tends to get a bit scissor happy. Question 3: How do they braid your hair like that? Answer: Essentially, they use fake hair and weave it through my real hair. It's un-be-weave-able isn't it? Question 4: Why do you wrap you hair to sleep? Answer: Wrapping your hair in silk material to sleep protects the hair from breaking. And, if your hair is relaxed it is especially important to cover it so it won't look hideous in the morning. Question 5: What's the difference between a relaxer and a perm? Answer: A relaxer chemically straightens the hair. A perm is not something that black people typically get done. If you've seen Legally Blonde you would know that perms are geared to make straight hair become curly. Question 6: Is that all your real hair? Answer: (If it is) Yes, it's all mine, thanks for asking. (If it is not) Well, I bought and still have the receipt so yes, it's all mine, thanks for asking. There are so many questions I have answered, but there is not enough time to re-state them all here. Maybe I should be charging for this? Until then, feel free to post up any questions you would like me to answer.
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Etsy HQ Wall of Records

Yesterday we (me and Mr. Tough Dumplin) completed the installation of the Etsy HQ wall of records! Rockin it it rockin it yes we are rockin it. Now I can truly say I have incorporated a Milli Vanilli image into a professional project I’ve worked on. Girl you know it’s true!

plan your work, work your plan.

'Stay Handmade' created from laser cut backs of album covers filled with 12" vinly. Etsy letters cut from 12" LPs over orange arcylic circles on square clear acrylic panels.

Desk features 12" and 45 vinyl.

Each record is linked with 1" binder rings through upcycled white grommets from the close down belt factory.

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“How It Feels to Be Colored Me”

"How It Feels to Be Colored Me" is an essay by renowned writer Zora Neale Hurston.   I have re-read the essay to myself repeatedly for years. In the essay Hurston explores her own sense of identity by recalling the time in her life when she first realized that she was "colored" or somehow different. Unlike Hurston, I cannot accurately pinpoint the moment in my life when I realized that I was "colored". For me, it was always my lack of pigmentation that had distinguished me as somehow different from others. There have been numerous occasions in my life where people have assumed that I could not possibly 100% black and that I'm lying about my full Nigerian heritage. My problem was never being colored, it was not being colored enough. I can remember going to Nigeria when I was thirteen and being catcalled. "Go back home English girl!" "White girl!"  I can remember being chased by the other children and dodging the rocks they threw at me. So much for "sticks and stones". I'll let you know that the sticks, stones, and words ALL hurt me.  In all, that trip affected my sense of identity because I no longer wanted to be associated with a place that disassociated itself from me. Since then I've learned to appreciate my Nigerian heritage in theory, but I haven't been back since. In fact, I can honestly say I'm afraid to go back to at least the village. I can deal with the city. When I was in Nigeria I wished for darker skin, just so I could blend in. Unfortunately, I had skin that refused to tan. My skin still doesn't tan, even in the summer. A few years ago my father's friend a came to our house for a visit. He brought some skin bleaching lotion bottles with him for a business he was about to start and asked my mom and I to choose a label  for its packaging. It was then I learned about how profitable skin lightening and bleaching was in Nigeria. Looking back I find it hilarious that I spent so much time wishing for darker skin so I could be accepted while others were wishing for lighter skin so they could be accepted. I'll admit I still have some hostility towards the people who ridiculed me in the past, but at least I now understand the pain behind it and realize that our pain is all the same. It took me some time to accept myself and the fact that some people may assume that I am "mixed", "bi-racial" or as they say in Nigeria, "half-cast" because of my skin color.  Even though our stories are different, reading "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" has helped heal some of my old wounds and has allowed me to grow as a person knowing that I have more to offer the world than my so-called lack of color. When I think of the pain in my past I just remind myself of a quote from Hurston's essay, "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."
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TEAM LAID OFF

Now that over 10% of the US is unemployed and everyone knows some one who is/was laid off, I’ve decided that they should all start a brainstorming team. Since things are all wonky with the economy, this is the perfect time to ‘take a risk’ and pursue what you always wanted to pursue, so team up and get started…better laid off than laid out, I’m just sayin’ Get it here
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