Friday, March 29

Has Hip Hop Gone Too Far?

I first want to say that I've always been a fan of hip hop, there are a few lyrics that I cringe at but overall some of my favorite songs are made by rap artists. But with that said, there is a new generation of rap that I cannot get with! I believe in the old saying that, "if you don't stand for something, then you will fall for anything." I will not stand for some of the lyrics these days that promote "popping molly" (a pure form of ecstasy) or not too long ago Lil Wayne comparing performing a sexual act on a female to the terrible tragedy that happened years ago to Emmett Till who was beaten to death for allegedly whistling at a white womyn. The recent controversial lyric comes from rapper Rick Ross, who brags about slipping molly in a womyn's drink and having sex with her without her knowledge.

The lyrics that Ross used were:
 Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.
Is this where music is going? Thankfully there are a couple of radio stations in the states that are taking a stand against this type of negative and degrading music by banning these songs from being played. I'm very happy to hear this and hope that more radio and video stations follow suite. I believe in artistic and creative expression, but by promoting date rape as the norm and coming from a rapper, may be viewed as cool or enticing to young people, is completely irresponsible.

What do you all think, has rap culture gone too far to ignore or just a form of freedom of expression?

Wednesday, March 27

2 New Web Series I Am Looking Forward To Watching!

There are so many great web series on the Internet right now. I love that people have found their own avenue to create and produce the content that they want to see while crafting their own opportunities. Instead of waiting for an opportunity or “break” to be handed to them, they are going out there to get it!
There are 2, that I am really excited to follow and see what will come from it:

My fellow Canadian, Andrea Lewis, has launched a production company and new show called “Black Actresses” which I can’t wait for! She will have an awesome line-up of other black actresses making guest appearances such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Tatyana Ali, Keke Palmer and so many more. She will be partnering up for this series with another womyn who has made a name for herself in the web series industry and found great success, Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl.

I respect Issa Rae’s hustle and all of the opportunities that she has created for herself by taking a chance and believing in her talent. Which is why I can’t wait to see her new series, “How Men Become Dogs”. I’m not too sure about the subject of this series since most of the work she has done thus far has centred around a female lead character and our issues but she has made great content so far so I would love to see where she takes this one.
How about you all, will you be watching and supporting these new talents?

Monday, March 25

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Spring Clean Your Life and Clear Out the Clutter

"If you want to fly, you've got to give up the shit that weighs you down" - Toni Morrison

Once I was introduced to clearing the unnecessary junk out of my life with the help of my professional organizer, I realized how important this process is to create a healthy lifestyle - in business, in relationships, in your home, finance etc. While it was initially a dreaded process, I've come to really love the feeling of cleaning out my life because it feels like I am making space for bigger, newer and more exciting possibilities while ridding my life of the stuff that doesn't work.

Now that spring has sprung, it is the perfect time to take inventory of what's in your life and clear out what you don't need. Spring cleaning isn't just about rearranging your closet to push the heavy sweaters to the back or cleaning out the garage, it's about getting re-energized and re-motivated.

Here are a few simple to not-so simple things that you can do to make change this spring:

Clean out your room and office!
I tell all of my coaching clients that one of the first steps to being successful is to clear out your living and working spaces. How do you expect to handle your business if you can't find anything or if everything around you is a supposed "organized mess"? When everything is clear and organized the way that you like and is easy to find, trust me it makes a difference to your spirit and how you function.

Clear out the digital drama in your life
Remove any of the negative energy that you encounter or experience online: do the blogs that you follow contribute to mean-spirited energy? What about your friends list on Facebook or Twitter, are they all worth following or can your list do with some trimming?

Create a list of people to forgive in your life (including yourself) and get to work!
Your mission for this spring and summer should be to refuse to take any hurt, bitterness or resentment from the cold season or years past into a new season. Yes, maybe that person hurt you but let it go. Not for them but for you. Once, you clear out that space that you've held for them in your mind and heart with anger and hurt, you can free up some space for people who love you and deserve to hold that prime real estate.

Spring clean the negative thoughts you have about yourself
Take inventory of all of the negative things you say about yourself and cut them out. Create a new affirmation for yourself like, "I am strong, beautiful and healthy - all is well in my life" or "I am confident, intelligent and charismatic - people respond well to me".

Spring clean your image
Why not re-vamp or re-invent yourself for the new season? Pull that outfit that you love but have been too afraid to wear out of the back of your closet and wear it! Commit to a healthy lifestyle and clear out the junk food from your fridge so that you welcome the new season with a you that feels stronger and healthier. Maybe you want to get out more and meet new people, tell yourself that you will no longer stay home on the weekends watching TV and start filling up your Google calendar with dates and social events.

Spring cleaning is whatever you make it, take stock of whatever areas in your life that you feel needs refreshing and create a plan of action. Try some of the tips above or maybe in these areas you've got this and want to try a new challenge. Either way, just set goals and make gradual steps to change. Start this week!

What areas of your life do you think needs a bit of spring cleaning? Would love to hear it!

Friday, March 22

I Am Friends With All My Exes!

I am friends with all my exes! Many people find this very strange. I also talk quite regularly to most of my exes and each one of them called me to wish me happy birthday! At my birthday party, my ex came with her new partner, who I adore, and we all had a grand old time!

I like receiving regular updates on my exes and I'm very close with most of them!  Some of my exes have even flown or driven 15 hours to come  to visit me in my new home and we have  shared delightful conversations, giggling like school girls way into the night!  All of  my ex partners I truly adore them and I think they are wonderful, amazing, brilliant people!  I'm so glad that I have chosen wisely.

So, it's hard for me to comprehend loving someone so deeply and intimately and then pretending as if they never existed!!  Many years ago I had an extremely bad break up, and because there was so much hurt between us we decided to not speak. This was one of the most difficult and challenging times of my life. It kept me up at night. I went to therapy about it, and could not rid myself of the anger and hurt! I was filled with rage and took no responsibility for the role that I played in the demise of our relationship. I cried about it often. Told everyone that I could, the list of offences against my ex! 
Yet even though I was angry,  I just couldn't understand how someone I loved so deeply could act as if we never were... I was so sad that we were not able to come together to talk it out or even be in the same room without some sort of "drama" unfolding! 

Thankfully, time does heal all wounds and five years after our break up,  I swallowed my pride and realized that I didn't need to be "right" I just wanted to be at peace.  So I swallowed my pride and I sent a "peace" email and we agreed to meet. At that meeting we both shed tears of joy and hurt.  We were able to talk and work things out. We both realized we needed to be in each other lives.  There was so much more we needed to learn from each other,  and much more growing that we needed to do as well. There was too much love there for us to just walk away~too much herstory. 
As I get older and I become more committed to my spiritual path,  I have little time for bitterness, anger, or hurt. I'm a person who loves passionately and loves deeply. I'm loyal. And if I tell you I love you, I will love you for life!  You become my family. I pray often for all my exes, wishing them joy, love and laughter all the things I wish for myself.
I also realize that everyone that comes into your life is a reflection of you... You chose them, they are mirrors of who you are,  and you attracted them.  So for me, every one of my partners have been beautiful learning lessons. I have loved them all differently.  Learnt different things. And they have truly shaped the womyn I am, and slowly evolving to be. I loved them and I still love them all in my own special way.  I want each one of them to be happy and live inspired lives! And I truly thank each and everyone of them for loving me fiercely.  
So my lesson to to everyone today is, I truly encourage you, to let go of anger, hurt and blame. If there is an ex in your life whom you feel anger towards or cannot speak to them, let them go....let them go with love.  Daily bless them and pray for them. Don't hold on to anger it's not good.  Write them a letter, send it, or maybe don't send it. Maybe send them a peace email, reach out in a loving way or silently release them in your heart.  But you must let go of the anger, remember that you use to love them.... and love is a gift~always choose to unwrap it.....
"Love is a gift of one's inner most soul to another so both can be whole." - Buddhist quote. namaste

Wednesday, March 20

Why I Disagree with Jada Pinkett Smith's Question of If White Women Should Ever Grace the Cover of Popular Black Women's Magazines?

The absence of black womyn in mainstream media and specifically on the cover of magazines has been a problem that has lasted for decades and with the exception of a few faces (i.e. Beyonce, Halle Berry, etc) it is still an issue that persists today. This is why I found Jada Pinkett Smith’s latest post that posed the question that if the black community wants to see more diversity on mainstream publications then perhaps black magazines such as Essence, Ebony and JET should consider offering covers to white womyn. She presents the idea of diversity, openness and solidarity amongst womyn which I think is a great idea in theory but the issue is that those 3 magazines specifically were started as a resolution to the gap in the marketplace that failed to tell our stories as womyn of color. There was nowhere to share our unique beauty, experiences and stories, more importantly there was nowhere except these publications that celebrated us.

I’m not opposed to featuring other cultures and races within these magazines because I do believe in diversity. I remember years ago there was an issue over at Essence magazine because a white womyn was hired to be a fashion editor. People were in uproar about this because they believe that black magazines should remain strictly black. I simply think that there can be diversity throughout the staff of the magazines and within the glossy pages of the publications but where I think the line should be drawn at is on the cover. Think of the pride felt by black children to womyn (and men) who see beauty that looks like them consistently smiling on the covers of these pages month after month. It’s always refreshing to see a familiar face smiling back at me when I walk past the newsstand so until mainstream publications start consistently putting our beauties from Kerry Washington to Viola Davis on their covers, I am happy keeping the prime real estate of the front cover to beautiful brown faces for now.

Here are Jada's thoughts on this that she posted to her Facebook:

Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture? There is a question I want to ask today. I’m asking this question in the spirit of thinking outside of the box in order to open doors to new possibilities. These possibilities may be realistic or unrealistic. I also want to make it clear that there is no finger pointing here. I pose this question with the hope that it opens a discussion about how we can build a community for women based upon us all taking a deeper interest in one another. An interest where skin color, culture, and social class does not create barriers in sharing the commonality of being… women. With love and respect to all parties involved, my question is this…if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers? Should women extend their power to other women simply because they are women? To my women of color, I am clear we must have something of our own, but is it possible to share in the spirit in which we ask our white sisters to share with us? I don’t know the answer and would love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think, should white women be featured on the covers of black magazines? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, March 18

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Delete the Digital Drama From Your Life

Have you ever had to pause and take a moment of silence (to calm yourself) after reading someone's Facebook comment or Twitter status? Or maybe you had to delete their comment all together from one of your social media accounts? Well, digital drama and cyber bullying have become an all too real occurrence these days with the continually growing popularity of blogs and social media. People have used online to express rude or hateful comments that they would most likely never say to you in person as they hide behind their send buttons. In these cases you can either develop a thick skin and ignore the cyber hate or you can find a way to take a (personal or public) stand against it.

12 year old Willow Smith has joined Seventeen Magazine's "Delete the Drama" campaign as a celebrity activist. The campaign seeks to empower young women to disengage from cyberbullying by deleting harsh and mean comments they see on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

I've had a few times where I have read negative comments towards me on my social media feeds or noticed hurtful opinions that I was sensitive to. It made me realize how important it is to clear your space (even online) of any negative clutter. Relieve yourself of having any negativity in your digital view or engaging in it.

This week I challenge all of you to clear your digital drama: delete negative people off of your friends lists (it's not about the number of "friends" you have!), follow one less celebrity gossip blog, and/or don't contribute to any negative back and forth in the comment sections of a blog post or social media feed. 

Find ways to protect your spirit from hurtful words and negativity because sometimes the best way to battle negativity is to keep it moving and ignore the hate.

I posted this on my Facebook page and thought I would share this quote again because it is so relevant and a worthy reminder:
"If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive"
- Betty Eadie.
Have you experienced any digital hate? What do you do when people say hurtful things to you online via social media?

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 15

My Six Month Intervention or Reinvention!!!

Learn something new!
For the next six months I'm going to push myself to try and learn something new. It started last week when I enrolled in an eight week on line business school training course.  This has been difficult for me because I'm quite technology challenged! I don't have an I-phone, Ipod, or a blackberry because I don't know how to use one!!! But I realize it's time that I take myself and my business to another level. I need to get with the times, get with the the program! I love being in business school and I'm learning a lot and I'm meeting some amazing people!!! 

No relationships/dating or even flirting! 
The other thing I'm doing for six month is learning how to be with myself, by myself. I'm a serial dater!! So I'm choosing to learn who I would be if I wasn't in a relationship/partnership?  Trying to learn about me..... this has been really challenging because I am one of those people who just loves the idea of lovership/partnership! Yet, I'm learning a lot about myself and realizing that alone does not necessarily mean lonely.
I'm also a flirt so trying not to flirt has been hard because I flirt without even knowing I'm flirting!  But I'm turning over a new leaf! And please don't flirt with me to try and break my sabbatical! lol.  Some of my friends have placed bets that I won't make it through six months but I'm going to try!!! 

Eating well and taking care of my body.
I'm taking the next six months to be mindful of how I treat my body and what I eat. I'm carefully monitoring, how do I physically take care of myself? I tend to overeat when I'm stressed. I also tend to stop exercising when I'm stressed. So over eating and no exercising is a bad combination. I then gain weight at a rapid pace!!!!
And yeah, yeah, I know someone is going to write to me about accepting my body the way it is! Well, to be brutally honest, I haven't gotten there yet! 
So for the next six months I'm challenging myself to be really conscious of the food that I eat, and how I handle stress. This has been the most challenging aspect of my new six month sabbatical so I have chosen to break this six month challenge into a daily challenge. Each day I promise myself that I won't use food as a comfort, and that each day I will move my body in some way and do some form of exercise.

I'm hoping to emerge from this six month reinvention/intervention a better person. I will keep you posted. I encourage you all to join me! Lets do something new for the next six months! Let me know what you are up too! And what are you doing in the next six months to be a better you!!!! 

Wednesday, March 13

Artist Profile: Simone of Multimedia Maverick

From the moment that I met Simone of Multimedia Maverick, I could feel her passion and strong work ethic. I always appreciate and respect being around artists who are serious about their hustle and bring a strong level of professionalism.

I had the opportunity to connect with Simone and ask her a few questions about herself, her company and some advice for any of you who are trying to get into the same field. I also made sure to get tips on what to look for when selecting a company to help you with your own branding and multimedia needs! That's often a difficult task to navigate.
About Simone
My story is quite long and meandering but the short version of it is, I lived in various countries growing up and currently reside in Canada where I work in the interactive media and television industries. 

While doing my undergrad, I married my hobbies of dance, coding, and video production into an on-demand video streaming service where I would teach people how to dance online. 

Upon graduation, I founded my company and also had my first foray into television hosting and associate producing a dance instructional television show for a specialty broadcast network. I eventually ended up at the Canadian Film Centre which led to working on the interactive side of the television industry.

As time progressed and with the proliferation of video technology, I now work as a multimedia content producer. In other words, anything that has to do with content creation for online videos, television, websites, mobile apps, or video games, I produce it. 

For example if you're creating a mobile app, I ensure that all text, sounds, visuals (photos and videos) are created on brand, on budget, and on time. 

For larger scale projects, this involves corralling a team of writers for copy, co-ordinating and directing voice over sessions and composers four sound, and organizing photo and video shoots for image or visual assets. 

For smaller projects, this involves me writing the copy, scoring, or shooting the videos and/or photos myself.

As a result, my line of work ranges from roles such as coordinating activities like green-screen shoots for live action integration into a video game to being a one-person band shooting videos for online and television segments.

Motivation in starting Multimedia Maverick
Since I tether between the television and interactive worlds, I can see that there is a new frontier to explore and am excited by its possibilities as a producer. Now more than ever, out-of-the-box  and unconventional thinking is required to navigate this rapidly shifting landscape and this prerequisite constantly piques my interest. Having your own business in this particular space is the vessel that is needed to charter these waters.

Notable projects or clients
My work is varied in nature but some memorable projects include:
- Working as a writer for McHammer's social media start-up called Dance Jam. 
-Pioneering virtual dance instruction on the internet. 
-Working with companies such as Sundance and Disney on interactive projects. 
-Overseeing content on a variety of children's interactive properties that have gone on to either be nominated or win Gemini/Canadian Screen Awards.
-Interviewing familiar faces such as Maroon 5, Keisha Chanté, Maya Angelou, Rik Emmet, Orianthi

How do you stay motivated and passionate about your work?
To keep motivated, I tend to watch a lot of independent filmmaker videos online. I also read about anything related to technology, design, and music even if it has absolutely nothing to do with television and interactive media. I'm a huge fan of Michael Jackson, Wondaland Arts Society, and Janelle Monáe and it's safe to say that they are inspiring and motivating whenever I experience their work. 

It's difficult to respond to the second part of the question because I have a simple rule:  If I'm not passionate about the work, I simply don't engage with it.

 Advice / tips for aspiring talent trying to get into the multimedia industry
Since most of my work these days are video production and photography, my advice to anyone wanting to be a videographer or photographer is to get out there and shoot. It's easy to live vicariously looking at videos and pictures, daydreaming about the right moment for all of the stars to align to do that concept that keeps haunting your thoughts.  Just get out there and shoot the idea. I'm a big fan of a company called IDEO and there's a line by a guy named Phil Skillman that I love which is "Enlightened trial and error succeeds the trial of the lone genius". In other words, fail often to succeed sooner. Make that your mantra. You'll learn very quickly what works and what doesn't work for you that way.

Also cameras don't take the photos or videos… people do. It's better to do a lot with a little than a little with a lot. Don't' wait until you can afford that super expensive camera to take stunning visuals. Instead, pick up any camera that will allow you to tap into it's manual functions, learn the rules and then break them :-) 

Cameras depreciate fast these days because each year the manufacturers come out with something exponentially amazing. If you're starting out, I'm sure you can pick up something decent in the used pile for a great deal. If you're starting out and shooting with a DSLR, rent the lenses. I've seen amazing visuals done with cameras people wouldn't consider to be "professional" and at the same time I've seen some less-than-average work shot on pro-level equipment. If all you have is a smartphone with a camera, download an app that will allow you to tap into the manual functions of the camera and shoot. The best camera you have is the one with you…. a bit cliché but true.

The other piece of advice I would suggest applies to all paths. Love and respect everyone. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Be courteous and polite with everyone, great, small, short, or tall and smile! People will always remember how you made them feel. Always. Also, show up early, remember people's names, follow up, and always, always, always, follow through. If for whatever reason you are unable to follow through, give advance notice. The sooner, the better.  Sometimes it's better to say no than to say yes. Don't be afraid to say no. You always have choices and don't let external circumstance determine your well being. Own and claim your happiness. Have some moxie and make your own breaks. Finally, always say thank you… even for the little things, they go a long way.

Best advice for someone who is looking to hire / collaborate with a design company to illustrate their brand through web design or other design work
I would suggest seeking someone who has done work in the style that you are looking to do. Research the companies that excel in the style that you want by looking at their portfolios. Their portfolios should have numerous examples of the style you are looking to have or be within the same family of work.  

Speak with their former clients (approximately 3 if you source them online). This is a surefire way to know what to expect of your working relationship with them.

Be as clear as possible about what you are looking to have made. A company that excels in the style you want, will be easier to communicate with and can help you fill in the gaps describing and illustrating the elements you would like to see for your brand. 

Monday, March 11

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Tina Turner's Vogue Cover Reminds Me of a Few Lessons on Loving Your Body and Aging Gracefully

Tina Turner looks fabulous on the cover of the German edition of Vogue magazine. At 73 years old, she may just be one of Vogue's eldest cover models but you would never tell with her confident pose and glowing beauty. It's about time we see womyn of varying age groups covering top magazines as we often only see cover models of a certain look or age group.

Seeing her on the cover and other womyn who look more and more amazing with age, makes me excited about entering this new decade of my life (the dirty 40s!). And, drives home for me the importance of having a set of guiding principles regarding living my best life and living healthy. Because as you age, you realize that it's less about fitting into those skinny jeans and more about standing in exactly who you are and finding a lifestyle that suits where you are at.

My 5 main principles that I try to stick to are:

Eat the cake! - you may have to work out afterwards or walk a few extra steps but eat the cake.

Doesn't matter your age or what you've been through, it's never too late to re-program your thinking. Create positive body affirmations for yourself like"With each day, with each year I get healthier and stronger"

Stop forcing yourself to eat your brussel sprouts or insert here whatever healthy food you dislike Find some healthy, feel good foods that you do love and incorporate it into your meals everyday. Hate broccoli but love mango? Make your self a mango smoothie in the morning or add slices of mango in your salad.

Take the time to unwind - Being driven and ticking stuff off your to-do list is great and a must-have for people with a dream but don't be afraid to turn off your phone, computer, etc. and take some time to check-in with yourself. Do what you love to do during this time, journal, take a bath..find some way to relax and let go.

Sleep is important people! - this is an absolute must! We are not all P.Diddy, so sleeping when we die is not an option. Sleep now so that you can live longer and healthy.

What are some of your lifestyle principles? Would love to hear it!

Friday, March 8

Pick me! I want you to pick me!

I've always loved kids. Always knew I was going to be a mother.  I always envisioned that I would get married at age 28 and have my first baby at 30. I wanted a big family! Three to five kids? Well, big enough!  And even though I knew I wasn't too keen on the whole pushing one out deal I knew I wanted to be a mom!  So I chose to forget about the painful child birthing experience and just focus on the baby! I was going to be a mommy! So, I never thought I would find myself at age 40, single and childless!

Yet, I'm really glad that I waited. I now feel fully ready to parent someone. Fully ready to put someone's needs before my own. I have read every parenting book out there! Scoured every baby blog, taken parenting classes, interviewed friends with kids, Interviewed even kids, asking them what they think their parents did right and what things they wish they would change! I've spoken to adoptive kids, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents!  Yes, like everything in my life, I get a little obsessed and my over achieving personality kicks in.  And of course I know I will mess up! Show me a parent who hasn't!  But I rather mess up less than more!  

When I first started my baby quest I asked a friend if he would donate some sperm to help me, I also got a surprise offer from a somewhat anonymous donor.  Yet, every time I thought about the entire process of pushing a watermelon through a golf ball, I started to feel queasy!  I knew I didn't want to be pregnant but I did want a baby!!!  Soon the entire sperm deal with both my potential baby daddies fell through! I was disappointed but I truly believe everything happens the way it needs to happen. And my womb thanks me daily!  And now I'm in the adoption process. 

I'm currently working with a private agency who specializes in open adoption and placing new born children of colour with families of colour.  I've nearly finished my homestudy and just waiting on my fingerprints from the FBI. Yes the FBI! Home study is no joke!  Paper work table high, workers probing into your mind, your childhood, your family etc! It's a lot! 

 And after my home study is complete the process of waiting begins.... I've been informed that it may take anywhere between eighteen to twenty four months. Yes a very long time! Nearly two damn years!

I've been painfully made aware that I probably won't be a birth mom's first pick. Usually birth mothers choose two parent heterosexual families first, then straight single parents,  then gay couples,  and then someone like me~a single queer womyn is last on the list!  The realities of this was hurtful at first and I even debated whether or not to come "out" in this process. Believing,  who's business is it anyway, what I do in my private life! 

Yet, I felt something as important as starting a family should be started in pure honesty,  there should be no level of dishonesty.  So here I am "OUT", waiting, empty arms... I have this knowing belief that somehow I'm not going to get my baby in the conventional way, and I have a belief that I'm going to prove everyone wrong and that I won't be waiting for twenty four months!  I just have a feeling that my baby  is out there waiting for me and the right moment will come, sooner than later!  And some birth mother out there will also know that I'm the right person to raise our precious baby. 

I'm hoping that a brave, wonderful birth mother will over look all the things that I'm apparently "not" and just see all the things that I am.  A womyn with a big heart, a huge laugh,  who wants to be a mommy really badly......

Keep you posted!  

Wednesday, March 6

Birds & The Bees: Is Kindergarten Too Early To Speak To Our Kids About Sex Ed?

Kids these days know more than you and I know about almost any given topic because of the media, social media and the Internet. They seem much more advanced than previous generations. But when concerning sex,  is there an age when it is simply too early to teach children about it? Chicago Public schools believe that Kindergarten is an appropriate age to introduce sex education as an attempt to keep up with the advancement of kids of this generation.

The curriculum will teach the children appropriate and inappropriate touching and feelings, anatomy, reproduction and healthy relationships. Right off the bat, I think Kindergarten and sex ed?? I initially want to say that's too early. My mind goes back to the 5th or 6th grade when they introduced sex ed and everyone squirmed in their seats uncomfortably and laughed at the mention of words like penis and vagina. But, at the same time I truly believe that knowledge leads to empowerment. I don't think there is any harm in teaching our children in an age-appropriate tone about their bodies and what is appropriate and not in regards to touching. Perhaps, not in kindergarten but for sure at an earlier age.

Alot of people will argue that we should not cloud kids at a young age with the complexities of sex and rob them of their innocence but I think that if it is taught in a simplistic yet factual tone that does not get too deep into the topic than it can be a good starter conversation for them. A lot of the time as adults, we put our own thoughts / histories and attitudes onto things that can be quite simplistic to children. We counsel from a place of fear or hurt.

But hopefully with the right kind of knowledge at an early age, it will prompt this new generation in the direction to be able to understand their bodies in a way that honours and respects themselves without the complexities we learn as adults.

What are your thoughts? Too early or a new step in the right direction?

Monday, March 4

MONDAY MOTIVATION: My Book Recommendation For Releasing Hurt & Disappointment in Your Life

Yesterday morning, I checked out Oprah's 'Super Soul Sunday' and she had author Don Miguel Ruiz on. I have to say that his book The Four Agreements is one of my favourite and one of the most impactful personal development books that I've read. It's one of those books that I've read at least 5-6 times and have found / learned something new from it each time because there was a part that spoke to my current situation.

The premise of the book is to basically realize that how you feel about your life and the people around you is based on how you observe and interpret the world. I like the message of the book because it empowers its reader to realize that we are in control of our lives - not the person who hurt us, anyone who made us upset, the awful situation that happened. We can flip our interpretation of the events that happen in our lives in order to free ourselves from the emotional struggles that we commonly face.

Ruiz outlines 4 agreements that you should follow:

Be Impeccable With Your Word
I love this one! To be impeccable with your word is to not use your words to spread emotional toxicity - not speak badly about yourself or to not gossip about others. This agreement recognizes the power that words have in creating the world around us. Spreading office gossip will only make your life at the office miserable. Speaking badly about yourself will only make you feel worse and will perpetuate the cycle of people treating you with the same lack of respect. Speak with integrity.

Don't Take Anything Personally
Probably the most important of the agreements is the ability to not personalize every action and word towards you. It's a difficult one but a very important one to achieve. Make yourself immune to the opinion and actions of others. Ruiz says that we take things personally because on some level we believe about ourself what others have to say. Release yourself from personalizing people's words otherwise you can walk around getting hurt by everyone and everything.

Don't Make Assumptions
You can completely transform your life if you learn how not to make assumptions in your relationships or in your interactaction with people. How many of us, before even asking any questions, assume that a person tried to hurt us or had ill intentions towards us? You took something that they said to you personally without asking them what they truly meant by it. We make the assumption then that everyone is judging us, victimizing us, or abusing us. Which is more so a reflection of how we view ourselves.

Always Do Your Best
Plenty of the hurt and disappointment that we feel is based on our own feelings of self-judgment, self-abuse, shame and regret. Release that and instead vow to ourselves that we will always do our best in the current situation that we are in - keeping in mind that your best today may not be your best tomorrow. Learn to have patience with yourself. The hardest thing to do and something that I'm learning each day to do better is to be kind to myself. Tell myself that it's okay if I didn't do all that I set out to accomplish for the day or if I didn't say the right thing to someone - striving for perfection is the quickest road to stress and disappointment.

Did you watch 'Super Soul Sunday' this weekend? Have you read the book? If so, tell me about the lessons that you've learned. Would love to hear it!

Friday, March 1

Hide Your Locs! Hair-Theft in South Africa Targets People with Natural Hair Locs

I guess the process of growing and maintaining locs is too difficult for some people because according to South African reports, there have been many cases of people being a target of hair robbery. There is a high-demand for locs on the black market because of a new styling technique called "crocheting", which is a weaving technique that uses human hair pieces as extensions for locs. Apparently the demand for this style is greater than the supply because hair thieves are rampant in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dreads on the black market can run between 200 and 2000 rand dependent on length.

I have to say that as insane as this case is, it is interesting to see that a natural hair style is such a coveted commodity. In North America, a region that often values length and straight hair as beauty, we usually see womyn who may be ready to steal for some high quality Indian Remy hair. But, it's interesting that in this area of South Africa, dreads are so popular that people are ready to lie, cheat and steal to rock this trend. The process to grow your locs to be exactly the way you like them is one that needs plenty of patience and TLC so I would be devastated if anyone even touched my hair.

Were you all surprised to hear about this hair stealing trend as well?