This. 


Are you wearing clothes you love? Why in the world wouldn’t you? I’m not suggesting you go to work dressed like Tinkerbell-unless that is in fact your job. But why keep a closet full of things that don’t fit your body, taste or lifestyle? Who does that serve? Let it go. 

Stop forcing yourself into clothes that don’t fit, literally or otherwise. Pretty soon you might find you’re forcing yourself into other areas of your life that really don’t fit either.

Via @ilovejcrewyesido

On Prince (1958-2016)

“A strong spirit transcends rules,” Prince said.

 His music was for the nonconformists, the dreamers, the mad poets, the unapologetically funky. The first music I bought with my own money was a Prince cassette tape that I had to keep hidden because my Mama literally did not play that.

Prince’s fight to control his catalog and own his image and presence as TAFKP set the stage for what we know now as intellectual property. He made it ok to be different, to be strange, to be artistic and creative and answer only to the muses in one’s head. I used to not get why people lost it over Elvis and The Beatles. But I’ll admit I felt some type of way when Johnnie Taylor and Luther Vandross died. I got it when Michael and Whitney died. But now I REALLY get it. I wanted to be Appollonia Kotero. I wanted to be Vanity. I would’ve been ok with trading lives with Lisa and Wendy (who played in his band and got to wear awesome pink furs and go on stage when he won an Oscar for Best Original Score in 1984). But I REALLY wanted to be Sheila E. When I was a little girl, I would dance and lip sync to “The Glamorous Life” in my babysitter Laura’s kitchen. I wanted to live that life when I grew up.

When I became an adult I realized that in writing the song, Prince was reflecting “cynicism for the decadence and materialism of the song’s protagonist, referred to in the third person, who “wants to lead a glamorous life, although she is aware that without love, it ain’t much.” (Wikipedia) And in some ways, maybe you get a sense of that on this blog. I could listen to his music–or Whitney’s or Michael’s–and be five, ten, or fifteen years old again.  Yesterday the music died for me.

Maybe I’m not just crying for Prince. Maybe I’m crying for my aunt and my grandmother too, and the many ways in which the familiar, the beautiful, the precious, the irreplaceable and well-loved elements of my life are being erased and eroded. Prince’s music was always part of the soundtrack.

“Until the end of time/I’ll be there 4 U/U own my heart and mind/I truly adore U/If God one day struck me blind/Your beauty I’d still see/Love’s 2 weak 2 define/Just what U mean 2 me…”-Prince/”Adore”

Image via feelnumb.com

 

I’m here for #Formation. Here’s why. 

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Oh, y’all thought you were going to survive Super Bowl 50/Mardi Gras/the weekend without getting your wig snatched? In the middle of our Saturdays we were all blessed with a new song+video from Queen Bey. If you’ve been living under a rock on an undiscovered planet, the clean version is provided HERE.

Now let’s discuss. The Internet is on FIRE trying to deconstruct what it means, such that I am experiencing analysis paralysis while I bounce to the beat. The song unapologetically celebrates Mrs. Carter’s proud heritage and motherhood. It also makes a pointed statement on race, class, work ethic and creativity. What she’s been serving all along–and the side she let us see in her self-titled surprise album in late 2013–comes into even sharper focus. And is baby sis Solange driving the getaway car???

Beyoncé releases new single, music video ‘Formation (Dirty)’
Bey’s “Formation” is getting on folks’ nerves for the same reasons Cam Newton’s dabbing does. The thing is, they don’t care whether we’re here for it or not because they both have a radical sense of self-acceptance that doesn’t depend on our opinions. Even more radically, she’s raising a precocious little black girl to love herself, baby hair, Afro and all. And she doesn’t give a pot of Mama Tina’s red beans what we think about it. She rocks multiple hair styles in this video and celebrates her “Negro” nose and dares you to suggest she alter (or contour) it.  She’s gonna make us ALL dance to this message, and maybe we’ll start loving our own uncommon beauty, unique backgrounds and unusual tastes–our weird, wonderful, conflicted, contradictory selves–whoever we are, wherever we come from and however we’re made. We’ll go off, “go hard/get what’s [ours]” no matter what our haters say or do. That’s why there’s a church scene: because Bey just gave us all Gospel. Then she turns the “BlackLivesMatter” movement on its ear, with a little black boy dance battling a line of policemen–easily my favorite part of the video.  Has she always been “woke,” i.e. totally self-aware and/or socially conscious? Have you?  Is she here to speak for or even save the African-American experience or community? Are you?

Reflect on your own emotional, physical, social, financial, and spiritual evolution. Are you the same person you were fifteen years ago? I hope not. I am not even the same person I was a week before my last birthday! When you free yourself, you too will slay, swerve, serve, second line, toss sequins and twirl regardless of how other people respond–if they respond at all.  You’ll do it on your own timeline. And you won’t need anyone’s permission. As for me, I’m headed to Red Lobster…and yes, I have hot sauce in my bag. Bye!

GO OFF!

Images via Vogue and Hypable

   The Year in Review: 2015

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This year, I held two internships, commuted between three cities, completed graduate school, started three (!) new jobs, covered the First Lady’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University and a story in my own backyard, published my first fashion piece for a magazine and my first essay for a major women’s-interest website, interviewed a Maasai chieftain, survived some serious shenanigans with my car, learned to live with hypoglycemia, raised some serious money for the United Way, took my first trip to New York City, appeared in Glamour magazine and got to share lifestyle expertise on 95.7 JAMZ and ABC 33/40 (a dream that was decades in the making!). The unexpected loss of an aunt and my grandmother during the last two months of this year have been sobering reminders to take absolutely nothing for granted. I am more determined than ever to drain every bit of positivity and purpose from 2016.

Throughout all the ups and downs, twists and turns, dead ends and roundabouts, this creative space has been a constant source of joy. Sometimes it’s been my escape. It has been the launching pad for so many special experiences this year that some of them will run over into next year’s posting schedule! I don’t make resolutions, but I will say it’s my intention to continue living life with a little bit of sparkle and a whole lot of gumption. And I’m especially excited about a couple of things coming up next month–but for now you’ll have to stay tuned!  Thank you for sharing the journey with me; I can’t wait to see where 2016 takes all of us. I’m sure it’s going to be fabulous.

Xo, Alexis

P.S. What are you looking forward to next year? Drop me a line in the comments!

 


Image via Closet Savvy Consignment 

 

 

Happy Friday, darlings.

I’m baaaaaaa-aaaaaack.

Xo, Alexis 

 

 
Via my IG buddy @leighannkosmas.

 

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Yes, this was a debate 50 years ago. Apparently it still is today.

I really have struggled with writing this post.  I can’t believe that in 2015 people of color still have to insist on their humanity, much less their beauty. But. In a few short months our hair and facial features have been pointedly insulted in mainstream media. No, we actually don’t all look alike. However, I say “our” because the deep shade Giuliana Rancic threw at Zendaya Coleman and Univision anchor Rodner Figueroa’s disgusting remarks about the First Lady of the United States (!!!) reflect how some individuals see women of color as a whole: as jokes at best…and as animals at worst. Giuliana has apologized, and Figueroa has been dismissed, but what has really changed? Especially when individuals in fraternities like SAE are so comfortable with their racist beliefs that they sing them to the high heavens?

I had hopes for the younger generation until a well-dressed, well-educated young lady said – in my presence and without a touch of shame or irony – “One of my best friends is Black, and he’s completely normal.” The truly sad part is I think she honestly perceived this comment as being complimentary and progressive.

I don’t know what we do about these things. I don’t know how we change them, or if we ever can. But I will keep churning out posts that affirm our beauty and our style. Having transitioned to natural hair, I make it a point for girls and young women to see my real hair so they hopefully get the message that unapologetically embracing whatever makes you, you is important. And we have to keep calling out people who err, educating where we can and forming a serious prayer circle for those we can’t reach. There will always be someone who is so wrapped up in their own biases, “-isms,” issues and/or stupidity that they won’t recognize the exquisite, inherent beauty in our varied physiques, complexions and features. But that doesn’t mean we have to absorb or accept those beliefs.

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