Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

My favorite day of the year is finally here. For me NYE is more about possibilities than parties as I finalize my list of goals for the coming year, goals that, on this day at least, I truly believe I will accomplish. 

In preparation for today and the year to come I spent most of yesterday reflecting on 2010.

I began the day writing a blog post in which I gave thanks for the wonderful people in my life, people who made 2010 a good year. Then I read through my prayer journals to reflect on what God has taught me and how I've been blessed this year. 

Here are the three most important lessons learned in 2010 that I will take with me into 2011:

Believe in miracles. Reading through my prayer journals was quite eye-opening. It's so incredible to read your prayers and realized they were all answered. As I enter 2011 I must remember that even though faith without works is dead, I cannot rely solely on my own works. I must rely on God to make my dreams come true.  

Joy is a choice. 2011 is bound to have its share of adversity just as 2010 did, but how I respond to these negative circumstances is up to me. I have a bad habit of letting stress overwhelm me, but in 2011 I shall choose joy. 

It's not about me. In October I attended an incredibly enlightening and inspiring women's conference at my church. Holly Wagner, the keynote speaker, reminded us ladies that our spiritual journeys are just about us. I am to gain spiritual wisdom so I can pass it on to others, especially other women. As it is written in Proverbs 31, I must us my writing to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." As an educator I have the great responsibility and privilege of being a role model for girls. I must ask myself daily, "Am I living my life in a way that would make younger women want to follow?

What lessons did you learn this year that you plan to carry into 2011?

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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM No comments

Thursday, December 30, 2010

You may not know the name Geraldine Hoff Doyle but you certainly know her face. She was just 17 when a United Press photographer captured her in 1942 working at a Michigan metal factory, wearing a red polka-dotted bandanna. Her face eventually caught the attention of artist J. Howard Miller, who had been commissioned by the government to create a series of motivational posters for factory workers. With his work, Doyle's image would be immortalized with the famous "We Can Do It!" poster, which was used to motivate America's female workers called into manufacturing jobs to support the war effort overseas.

The face on the poster was Doyle's, but the bulging biceps were not, according to her daughter Stephanie Gregg of Eaton Rapids, Michigan. 

She told the New York Times: "She didn't have big, muscular arms," Gregg said. "She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face — that's her."

According to the Washington PostDoyle abandoned the factory job after just two weeks. She worried that she might injure her hands and wouldn't be able to play cello anymore. She took a job at a soda fountain, where she met her future husband. Doyle never recognized her own face on the poster until 1984, when she saw it in Modern Maturity magazine, the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal reported.

Nonetheless, that poster has become an icon of women's empowerment and inspiration for other images like this one:

Doyle was married for 66 years to dentist Leo Doyle, who died in February. They had six children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Geraldine Doyle died Sunday at a hospice facility in Lansing, her daughter said. She was 86.

via CNN and TIME
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Posted by in ,  on 12:23 PM 1 comment

For those of you with an aversion to Twitter, you missed out on some good stuff yesterday.

While messing around yesterday afternoon, I noticed that one of my followers retwitted a tweet sent from my loving "cousin" Chris Brown:

I ain't deleting my tweet either!! I was minding my damn business and Peter pan decided to pop off!!! #whatalame

Curious as to what Cousin Chris was complaining about this time, I did some digging. At some point yesterday, Raz B, formerly of the (thankfully) failed R&B group B2K, hit Twitter to profess his undying love for Rihanna. I would chide Raz B for his poor taste in women, but come on, it's Raz B - the man named himself after a raspberry. Common sense isn't his forte'.

Anyway, Raz tweeted that men like Eric Benet and Cousin Chris must be crazy to disrespect (i.e., cheat on or beat up) women like Halle Berry and Rihanna.

Raspberry actually has a point. But that sent Cousin Chris into a rage.

And then it was on.

C Breezy started slinging homophobic barbs at Raz, who alleged a couple of years ago that he and other B2K members were sexually assaulted by their manager.

Witness the carnage:

CB: I'm not homophobic! He's just disrespectful!!!

CB: Tell me this @razb2k!! When the money was coming in u won't complaining about getting butplugged! #homothug!!!

RB: @chrisbrown I love you how resort 2 disrespectful low brow tactics when u clearly sabotaged ur own career by beating women!

RB: @chrisbrown do you hit your boyfriend @andre_merritt like you hit your women?

CB: This argument has lasted longer than your career @razb2k

CB: @razb2k When I need tips on how to demolish my career I'll call ya!!!

And the kicker - Breezy posted a picture of "Raz B." Peter Pan, indeed.

In the midst of all this childish, but hilarious, playground banter, Raz B did raise one good point - Chris Brown's homophobic remarks about Raz's alleged sexual assault are very offensive to victims, and insults the gay community too. But Cousin Chris isn't know for his compassion.

What's sad is these two fools don't realize that we're laughing at BOTH of them. Raspberry hasn't been on the radar since 2003 (thank the Lord for that) and if not for the recent success of "Deuces," Cousin Chris would have spent the holidays at my parents' house, sweeping out the garage before company came over.

I know this because that's how I spent my holiday.

The only winners in this so-called beef were the readers, since their catfight kept us entertained for 90 minutes. Next time these two wanna flex, they should just grab a Wii and go at it Just Dance-style. That's more their style.

Or maybe they should just play PaRappa the Rapper on Playstation One. Raz probably doesn't have a Wii - 2003 was a long time ago.
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Posted by in ,  on 9:35 AM No comments
My hubster and your music guru Edd Bowser loves Christmas so much that he even gets excited about Dec. 23. He calls it "Christmas-Eve Eve." Those of you who know me well know that my favorite holiday is New Year's Eve and this year I've decided to start a new tradition. Today, which is New Year's Eve Eve, I will spend the day reflecting on and praying about 2010 and preparing for 2011. 

I've decided to start the day by counting my blessings. When I make such lists they usually start with things like "my car," "my apartment," and "steady income," but not because I'm a materialistic person (at least I hope I'm not.) I'm just quick to thank God for these things because I know what it feels like to not have them. 

But today I want to start by simply giving thanks for all the wonderful people in my life who make it worth living. It's mushy and sentimental, but who cares. I don't do this enough. We always wait until we're drunk to embrace our best friends and tell them we love them, but here's a big sober, virtual hug from me to you. 

This is for folks like my amazing husband. He's my best friend, the keeper of my secrets, the funniest and smartest man I know.  He's the only person I can take a 12-hour road trip with and not turn on the radio because after nearly five years of marriage we still have that much to talk about. He respects me -- my personality and my politics -- and he loves me passionately and unconditionally.

This is for my wonderful parents who may not have been able to buy me those British Knights I wanted in elementary school but who raised me in a house that was rich with love. Growing up my parents hugged me, kissed me, and told me they loved me every day filling me a love that I pray I pour onto the people in my life today. 

This is for my brother. I still remember changing his dirty diapers and helping my mom warm his bottles of milk. Today he's all grown up and I'm so proud of the hard-working and ambitious man he has become. He adds so much light to my life.

This is for my cousin, though it feels inadequate to call her that. She's more like my sister, better yet, my twin sister. She was my roommate in college and the person who came to all the stupid programs I had to do the year I was a dorm RA. When I decided to start rocking my naturally curly hair she joined me on the journey. And speaking of journeys, when I needed to pack up my life in my Chevy Cavalier and drive from California to Alabama she was there to help me make the trip. She helped me move into the apartment I'm sitting in right now and helped me pick out the laptop I'm using to type this post. And she's there not only to help but to make everything more fun.  

This is for my friends, those pals from high school who knew me when I had acne and had no idea what to do with my hair, the guys and gals who made college the most exciting years of my life, buddies I've made in the writing business who keep me inspired, and new friends I've made at church and school who are helping my hometown actually feel like home again. 

And this is for you. Whether you visit this blog out of loyalty to my husband or to me, to read Edd's rants about music, to see me get on my soapbox about sexism, or just to get some natural hair care tips, you should know that each time you log onto you're helping to keep alive the dream of a little girl who once sat in her room, journal clutched to her chest, and said, "When I grow up I'm going to be a writer." 

Thank you. 
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Posted by in  on 8:42 AM 1 comment

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 is winding down and yesterday I got my hair straightened for the new year. Woo-hoo!

Despite the fact that people tend to think my hair is fake or assume I got a relaxer and start scolding me for it, I enjoy rocking straight hair occasionally because it's a nice change of pace. But when I don't have my curly coif I miss walking umbrella-free in light rain and most of all I miss playing around with products.

Avid readers might remember that this summer I decided to try out several different natural hair care products and write reviews of them. Well, I got hooked. Now I'm always looking for new products to try and I tend to change my regimen each month. This makes answering the question, "What do you use on your hair?" a bit difficult to answer because I could go on for an hour. Sometimes I use Kinky Curly Curling Custard. Other times I use Hair Milk Lite by Carol's Daughter. I'm also a fan of the Leave-In Conditioner by Mixed Chicks. When I'm broke and need to opt for drug store brands I buy Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk or Leave-In Conditioner.

Some folks may say it's silly to keep trying different products, that once you find something that works you should just stick with it. But I disagree. We product junkies are at an advantage. If you swear by only one smoothing milk what will you do if that product is discontinued or if you use your last dollop of leave-in while you're out of town and can't get your hands on a new bottle? We product junkies never have that problem. If Whole Foods is out of Kinky Custard I can run to Sephora and grab some Carol's Daughter Hair Milk. Looks like I finally have an addiction that's actually good for me.

I'm really eager to try a product by Miss Jessie's but they are so expensive I can't do too much experimenting. So any readers who are curly girls and have had success with this line, please send me some recommendations.
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Posted by in  on 11:54 AM 4 comments

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

As many of you know, last week the wifey and I spent Christmas with my family in Virginia - the greatest state in the union. And we had a great time, even in spite the Blizzard of 2010 that kept us trapped in my parents' rural home for 2 1/2 days.

One more day and the wifey would have had the starring role.

With the exception of a spotty BlackBerry connection, we're usually cut off from many forms of media while out in the woods with my folks. But thanks to a few friends, I was informed late Sunday of some heartbreaking news. Although it's certainly old news now, I couldn't let another day go buy without mentioning the passing of one of my favorite 80s R&B voices. From
Teena Marie, a celebrated R&B singer-songwriter, was found dead Sunday at her California home, her manager said.

Born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, California, the 54-year-old artist famously paired with late funk legend Rick James and was nominated four times for a Grammy Award, according to her official website.

Marie was found dead by her daughter after apparently dying in her sleep, manager Mike Gardner said.

I'm not a big fan of the term "blue-eyed soul" (why is soul determined by eye color?) but no matter the label, Teena Marie exemplified soul. She's quietly released pretty solid albums from 1979 to as recently as last year - essentially, her career has spanned my entire lifetime. I consider her the most underrated soul artist of the 80s and sadly I can't think of any current artists who can carry on her legacy.

History may have overlooked her, but we never will.

Teena Marie, "Square Biz"

Teena Marie and Rick James, "Fire and Desire"

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Posted by in , ,  on 2:11 PM No comments
Welcome back to our look back at the year's best music.

Yesterday we named the 10-6 top albums of the year. For those that don't want to scroll down to that post (ugh, lazy bums...) here's what you missed:

Honorable mention: Drake, Thank Me Later

10. Black Milk, Album of the Year

9. Lyfe Jennings, Still I Believe

8. Keke Wyatt, Who Knew?

7. Nas & Damain Marley, Distant Relatives

6. Eminem, Recovery

And here's the cream of the crop - the Top 5 albums of the year.

5. Big Boi, Sir Lucious Leftfoot...The Son of Chico Dusty

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: I don't know if we'll ever get another OutKast album, but Big Boi filled the void with a long overdue dose of imaginative Southern heat

4. Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: Well, it took her long enough! Badu took her sweet time releasing this but this throwback to Baduizm was well worth the wait.

3. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: We had to endure a year of his antics but the end result was definitely worth it. Ye stretched hip hop's boundaries in unimaginable ways.

2. Cee Lo Green, The Lady Killer

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: In the year's biggest surprise, Cee Lo gave new life to soul music. Let Usher n' dem keep singing their techo songs. Cee Lo offers substance.

And now, Georgia Mae's album of the year:

Just playing. Although it might be album cover of the year. Look at that suit!

Georgia Mae's album of the year:

1. Janelle Monae: The ArchAndroid

GM review; 4.5 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: One of the most imaginative social commentaries I've ever heard. Backed by an amazing voice, nothing else came close to this all year.

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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM 1 comment

Monday, December 27, 2010

Longtime Georgia Mae readers know that this is usually the time of year where I whine about the subpar quality of music released in the past 12 months.

But not this year.

2010 has produced of the most creative, thought-provoking and genre-bending albums I've heard in the past 10 years. That's no exaggeration. Oh, there was the usual crap, but the good far outweighed the bad and we were treated to quality music this year.

Over the next two days, we'll relieve some of the year's highlights. I actually had a difficult time ranking some of these albums. Discs that would have easily topped a similar a couple of years ago barely made it into the top 5 this year.

This year, since I already reviewed nearly all of the albums featured below, I've limited my comments to 140 characters or less, Twitter style. It'll keep my rambling in check.

Feel free to share your thoughts, and your favorite albums with us as well.

Honorable mention

Drake, Thank Me Later

GM review; 3.5 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: Your hero's coming out party. Didn't measure up to the hype but it still served as a sturdy launching pad for Drake's superstardom.

10. Black Milk, Album of the Year

Twit thoughts: Album of the Year? Not quite, but don't write it off. Stellar production and aggressive rhymes makes this a hip hop junkie's dream.

9. Lyfe Jennings, I Still Believe

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: Allegedly Lyfe's final opus, it's an album that mirrors his troubles - filled with regret for his mistakes and hope for his redemption.

8. Keke Wyatt, Who Knew?

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: This album flew under the radar but Keke showed that she's more than just a tabloid punchline. One of the most underrated voices in the game.

7. Nas & Damian Marley, Distant Relatives

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: What could have easily been a disastrous reggae/hip hop styles clash instead was an amazing salute to black culture.

6. Eminem, Recovery

GM review; 4 stars out of 5

Twit thoughts: Forget the overhyped Relapse, this was Em's return to form. Any other year Recovery easily would have been named album of the year.

Join us tomorrow for the year's Top 5 albums!
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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM No comments

Friday, December 24, 2010

I've mentioned before that Edd loves Christmas and each year he can't wait to not only decorate our place and put up the tree, but also send Christmas cards. I sign my name on each one while grumbling about all the money we're spending on stamps and how sending out so much snail mail is bad for the environment. (I'm a joy to be around during the holidays.)

But deep down I actually admire that he does this. So for years I've been saying I'm going to send Christmas letters to family and friends. However, if you're my family member or friend you know that's never happened, until now, sort of. Here I present an open Christmas letter to our Georgia Mae family.

Dear loyal readers and road dawgs,

In the Bowser household 2010 is known as the year that could have sucked but didn't. Things started off as terrible and tumultuous as 2009 ended. Edd still didn't have a full-time job and was only freelancing. I had a job, but hated it. Our ghetto apartment complex was driving us mad and we still hadn't found a church.

In February after freelancing for the company since October of 2009 Edd was hired full time at a cutting edge, forward thinking advertising agency with clients like Little Debbie and Regions Bank. He quickly adjusted to the new gig and is making a name for himself at the agency.

In May my car was totaled while parked in front of the ghetto apartment, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Not only did I get a new car (thanks, AllState!) but the crash gave us the push we needed to say enough is enough and break our lease and find a new place, which we absolutely love.

We also eventually found not one church but two. You see, Edd and I want very different things from our houses of worship. We tried to find a church with which we'd both be happy, but to no avail. But during the search we each found a church that was a perfect fit, it just wasn't the same church. We know that it's very nontraditional for a married couple to attend separate churches, but we aren't exactly traditional. We do things our way and it works!

Finally, with a year of teaching under my belt, I returned to the classroom this fall with the confidence and competence to make for a very successful semester. I've never had so much fun at work!

To top it all off, you guys have shown us much love. Georgia Mae readership doubled this year.

As I've said before, here at Georgia Mae headquarters we're on the upswing. 2011 here we come!

javacia and edd
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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 3 comments

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Tuesday, Diddy's long-delayed album, Last Train To Paris, was released.


Nope, I ain't reviewing it. I'm not that desperate for content. The most intriguing thing about the album is that it's billed as Diddy Dirty Money, which is just a fancy name for Puffy and the scraps of his former girl group Danity Kane.

Puffy has had his share of failed female acts, but my favorite group was Total. Let's reminisce about the group named after a bowl of cereal.

We were first introduced to Kima Raynor, Keisha Spivey and Pam Long in 1995 via the New Jersey Drive Soundtrack, with their hit "Can't You See." Their vocals were always, ahem, questionable (although they sound magnificent by today's standards) but nonetheless the song helped fuel Bad Boy's hot streak - back then, anything Puff touch turned to gold, or platinum. The Notorious B.I.G.'s infamously quotable rap made the song even more memorable: "My rap rhymes is like land mines/one step, kaboom, black suits fill the room."

I know I say this at least once a week, but I MISS BIGGIE.

The girls' platinum self-titled debut was released early the next year. Remember the Columbia House Music Club that sold you about 15 CDs for a penny each? I got this album for a penny, and it was worth every (1) cent. Boy, did that album spawn some great singles - "Kissin' You" and its remix, "No One Else" and its remix, and "Do You Think About Us," which, um, didn't have a remix that I recall.

Oh wait, here it is!

If you didn't click at least one of those links, you were probably born after 1999.

Total struck gold the next year with their single "What About Us" from the Soul Food Soundtrack. It featured my hometown peeps Missy Elliott and Timbaland, who at the time were blazing hot. Total certainly knew how to ride the coattails of the hottest producers.

Not skipping a beat, Total's sophomore album Kima, Keisha, and Pam landed the following year, 1998. By '98, the Bad Boy gravy train was beginning to run out of steam and this album was the first casualty. Don't get me wrong, the set was decent and went gold, but it was hurt by the lack of a strong single. I was a fan of both "Trippin'" and "Sittin' Home," but neither took off like their earlier work.

By 2000, like most of Bad Boy's early acts, Total had totally vanished. Keisha married actor Omar Epps a few years back and I haven't a clue what Pam and Kima are doing these days. Even Kima's sister, Vida - the scrawny female rapper who hung out with Ja Rule back in the day - is in hiding.

Should They Come Back?: If Wikipedia is to be believed (I know, I know) the group has no interest in reforming. That might be for the best. What Total lacked in vocal power they made up for it in spades by getting cozy with the hottest producers of the moment. I doubt Kanye West or that guy 40 who does all those sad Drake songs would be interested in resurrecting their careers.

Whatever they do, they should stay FAR AWAY from Puffy. He'll turn your career into a bad night of drinking - it's a big ol' party till you wake up in the gutter.

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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM No comments

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ladies, need to get into a brother's head? Fellas, wanna know what your girl is thinking about? We're here to help.

Ladies, send your inquiries to, or find me on twitter at @etbowser. Dudes, you can get in touch with Javacia at Just provide your initials.

Here's today's question:

Why do men lack communication skills? They expect you to be mind readers. s.c.

Here's my question - why do WOMEN lack communication skills? They expect you to be mind readers!

That's a problem we all deal with, no matter which chromosomes we're lugging around. Admittedly, guys do have a tougher time expressing themselves. Why? Cuz it ain't manly.

I know it's cliche, but it's the truth.

Boys are taught that showing emotion is weak. Real men don't cry. Real men aren't affectionate. Real men don't talk about their problems - suck it up and stop whining. We were taught this by our fathers, grandfathers, coaches - it was drilled into our heads from birth. Women have to be a bit more patient in trying to get some of us to open up.

But that doesn't mean that you have to live with miscommunication. As adults, men need to learn to clearly state their issues. Ladies, sit down with your man and let him know that you're there for him, that he can confide in you and remind him that your relationship is a partnership - it only works when there is unity on both sides. Reassure him that it's OK for him to talk about things.

Oh, but ladies, you aren't off the hook.

Y'all have similar issues. Dropping "hints" to get us to read your minds is not going to work. I told the wifey long ago - if you have an issue with me or something I do, just say it. Don't expect guys to pick up on subtle hints, then get mad when they don't. We're too grown for guessing games.

Y'all know I have no problem saying what's on my mind. That's why your favorite R&B singers hate me. You should adopt a similar philosophy. Clearing the air might sting at first, but it's worth it in the long run.

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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM No comments

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It should be no surprise that I hate cold weather. I was born and raised in Alabama and I lived in California during my early 20s. So I begin to dread winter pretty much as early as the first day of autumn. But in an effort to not be such a grump, this winter solstice I give to you 10 things I love about winter:

10. Conversation Hearts

Forget a box of chocolates, give me a pack of Necco Sweethearts for Valentine's Day and I will be your #1 FAN.

9. Gifts from students

When I started teaching no one told me I'd get extra Christmas gifts out of this gig! Each year I'm showered with cookies, pies, candy and more. One parent even gave me a $25 gift card to Starbucks which will be perfect for snagging...

8. Hot chocolate

Why do the coffee house baristas ask if you want whipped cream? Of course I do! And I better not find out you have marshmallows back there that you're saving for your favorite customers. 

7. Snow Days

Now that I'm a teacher instead of a full-time journalist snow means I get a phone call telling me not to come to work instead of one telling me to come in early (and stay late). Furthermore, living in the Deep South instead of the Mid West means that even when it does snow I still have no use for our snow shovel. So no more of this:

6. The Snuggie!

Whether you sport the original Tibetan monk red, the breast cancer awareness pink, or a University of Alabama themed Snuggie like yours truly, do so with pride. Don't worry about haters like my husband. And get one for your dog too!

5. Cowgirl boots

Sure, some girls sport these even in summer with their favorite mini skirts but I think that's a bit weird and this girl lives in flip flops from March to October. So winter is the only time the boots get to make an appearance.

4. Layers

Really I don't need winter to dress in layers. I usually wear a camisole with everything but cold weather does mean even more layers. You'll usually find me sporting a cami under a quirky tee under a cardigan. And according to Family Guy, this makes me cool.

3. Scarves

The scarf is quite possibly life's greatest fashion accessory. Not only is it functional, keeping you warm on those chilly days, but it adds flair to any simple outfit. I'm currently on a mission to collect scarves in every hue imaginable. Feel free to contribute to the cause. 

2. My birthday

This winter February 9 will be particularly special because I'll officially become an old woman (but I will be a sexy old woman).

1. New Year's Eve

Winter may mean no flip flops but it also means my favorite holiday of the year - New Year's Eve, a night that for me is not about the parties, but the possibilities. It's about all the hopes for the year to come and the magical feeling I have on this night that I can make all my dreams come true.

Happy Winter Solstice!
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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 2 comments

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mississippi-born but raised in Texas, Carmen Rodgers began performing as a child.  She attended Kansas State University where she studied to be an engineer but later decided to pursue music full time.  She began her professional music career as a background vocalist for N'Dambi and a songwriter for artists like Geno Young.  She has released two albums independently. Enjoy! 

-- Desiree

"Progressive Soul Mondays: Opening minds and eradicating foolery, coonery, and buffoonery one Monday at a time"®

Also check out "Ain't No Time."
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Friday, December 17, 2010

I've gotten a few requests to review T.I.'s new album, No Mercy. Sorry to disappoint our loyal readers, but it ain't happening. Your boy has been furiously scrambling to get things in order before Christmas arrives, which leaves little time to review albums of people I dislike.

But while in the gym this week, I saw T.I.'s video for "Get Back Up" and I just HAD to comment.

The song features fellow hoodlum Chris Brown. I don't think I've mentioned this on Georgia Mae (it's not something you'd want to admit publicly) but Chris Brown is apparently my cousin. Sorta. His aunt married into my family recently.

Ugh, why couldn't this guy be my cousin?

Or him?

Or him???

That's a real hero for ya.

Anyway, I digress. So Cousin Chris and Clifford, the Little Red Rapper, teamed up for "Get Back Up," in which they seek redemption for being sorry human beings. I don't have time to do a full-blown Lyrical Dissection, but check out these bars from T.I.:

Yeah he go to work, never done no drugs or to be fair

He just drink his liquor, touch his kids, beat his wife instead

Difference is, my shortcomings hit the media

Thanks to TMZ, the AJC and Wikipedia

See the stairway to heaven while stepping down Jacob's ladder

My good outweigh the bad, God, aint that what really matters, nope

A matter of fact I'm wrong but after that the good I've done in your hood

Should it overshadow that?

Got the world laughing at me for the moment

But it gonna be your turn 'fore it's over with

Even if you so legit that you get a house with a dog and a picket fence

The people with you then but when they turn on you remember this

Those lines set me off. Word to Cleo.

So T.I. is saying "yeah, I did drugs - but you're worse off than me because you molest your kids and beat your wife!?"

Actually, I don't do either, so you're still worse than me, T.I.

And before someone (probably Tiny) sends me a threatening e-mail, yes I know T.I. is going for a "he who casts the first stone..." reference. But this is wrong and insulting. No one is saying that T.I. should be without fault. We all make mistakes. T.I.'s problem is that he keeps making the same faults over and over (and over) again. And in this song he's just passing the blame instead of taking responsibility.

What really fires me up is when he plays the role model card, like when he mentions "all the good I've done in your hood." Constantly getting locked up for the stupidest of offenses, hoping for a break in the case, then crying the blues when faced with hard time does NOT set a good example in the hood. It just shows that it's OK to break the law - just be sure to get a good lawyer.

It's no secret that I've been hard on Cousin Chris Brown, but I do respect that he has said "I made a huge mistake, I'll do my best to move on" and has kept his nose clean. I don't recall him saying "But y'all beat your girlfriends too!" and then beat his girlfriend again.

T.I., like all of us, deserves a clean slate. But it's awfully hard to give him one when he keeps talking like a complete idiot.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

... let me tell you that this shouldn't be it.

Designer Jonathan Adler is known for his tongue-in-cheek works (such as this one which lists the seven deadly sins) so I'm pretty sure he simply means this as a joke. But I'm not sure when anorexia became funny. The infamous quote featured on this handmade needlepoint pillow is from supermodel Kate Moss and is pretty much a motto for people with eating disorders. Despite that, and it's $116 price, this bad boy is already sold out. 

I guess most folks just aren't as uptight about anorexia as I am.  

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Posted by in  on 7:05 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Edd's reaction when he saw this: "Christmas really is no longer sacred. Sigh."

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Posted by in  on 4:30 PM 1 comment

Judging by the popularity of this column, as the temperatures continue to plummet you ladies must be looking for a guy to provide some warmth.

Or, "boo up," as they say in the hood.

Keep those questions coming.

Remember, ladies, send your inquiries to, or find me on twitter at @etbowser. Dudes, you can get in touch with Javacia at Just provide your initials.

Here's today's question:

Do men think women are promiscuous if they carry condoms? s.f.

Oh, now this is a tough one and I'm guaranteed to get hate mail.

If I was on a date with a woman and she proudly proclaimed that she already "has me covered" (so to speak) in case we decide to tear up the sheets, I might be concerned.

Yes, I'd be glad that she takes her sexual health seriously. In today's climate, fail to Rap It Up (word to BET) and you'll wind up just a fond, distant memory - like Cita (word to BET).

But if I went out with a woman who had a purse full of Magnums - especially if this was a woman I didn't know well - I'd see it as a red flag. Unfortunately, it does give off vibes that the woman uses them often, and that's just not the type of girl I'd be looking for.

So, sadly, yes, some dudes are gonna see it as promiscuous. I'm NOT saying women shouldn't protect themselves, I'm just saying some guys will jump to conclusions, especially if the relationship is still relatively new.

Yes, I know it's not fair, but it's true.

Some may chalk up that mindset to a male-dominated society where a woman can't be in control of her sexuality. And I'd agree. Honestly, those preconceived notions have a lot to do with it. But here's how you work around it - I believe women, and men, need to hold off on sex until the relationship is more mature and stable. Or even wait until you're, gasp, married.

Oh, the horror.

Seriously, get to know your partner and establish a real relationship before gettin' down. Then you won't have to guess if the dude is smart enough to bring protection and you won't have to lug around a suitcase full of Lifestyles. Make him responsible for his actions. And if the relationship has matured and has eventually progressed to sex, you won't have to worry about looking like an Easy, Sleazy, Booty-full Cover Girl. The guy will know you better than that.

That brings up what I feel is much bigger concern - ladies, if YOU always have to supply a condom for a guy, that tells me he's either unprepared or was willing to do the deed unprotected. Both of those are much bigger worries than a women being perceived as freaky. Cut those guys off.

Uh, not literally. Just don't date them.

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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 1 comment

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I mentioned last week that I'm exploring the Reverb 10 project in hopes that it will get me excited about 2011. Here's a recent prompt that had me running to my journal: 

11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 

I love lists so I was excited to pursue this prompt, but once I had my pen in hand I realized just how difficult this would be. I could go on for days telling you about the things I wish to add to my life, but I rarely spend time thinking about what I need to eliminate. But after two days of thinking I finally came up with this list:

1. Negative self talk. Most of us are complete jerks to ourselves. As I recount the things I think and even say out loud about myself -- I'm so fat, I am so stupid sometimes, There's no way I'm ever going to make a name for myself in publishing -- I realize just how cruel I can be. Funny thing is, I say things to myself that I would never even think about my friends or even my enemies. Next year I promise to be nicer to myself.

2. Using credit cards. On January 1, 2011 the credit cards are coming out of my wallet and they're going to stay out. I'll never pay off my debt if I don't stop creating more of it and the guilt I feel each time I swipe that piece of plastic is just making me miserable. 

3. Fruitless daydreaming. I'm not talking about giving up on goals. I'm talking about no longer sitting around thinking about how great life would be if I drove an Infiniti or lived in New York or had Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe.  I'm talking about no longer focusing on things that are never going to actually make me into the woman God intends for me to be.

4. Worry. You know the saying, "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere." It's time I actually take this to heart and find something better to do than rock back and forth in place.

5. TV. This will be hard because as I mentioned last week a lot of the time I spend with Edd in the evenings is spent in front of the tube. But I do believe that if I spent less time watching "Baggage" I'd spend more time writing essays and reading good books. Instead of completely nixing TV I'm considering designating a few TV-free days each week. 

6. Processed foods. One of my primary goals for 2011 is to eat more fresh and healthy foods, even if that means reducing the quantity of groceries to increase the quality. 

7. My candy addiction. I will drive to Walgreens in a storm to get Tropical Chewy Lemonheads  & Friends. Yeah, I got it bad.

8. Professional insecurity. Feeling inadequate at work is getting annoying and old. I's time to to dig up some self-confidence. 

9. Envy. Those futile daydreams I mentioned before are usually triggered by this very thing, but in 2011 I shall slay that green-eyed monster once and for all.  

10. My Scrooge-like tendencies. My husband loves the holiday season. I probably like Calculus more than Christmas. But this year I realized that my bah hum bug behavior is putting a damper on December days for Edd. So, sweetie, here's a public apology and a promise that next year I'm going to help you have your happiest holidays yet. Actually, why wait until next year? I'm shedding my down with Christmas attitude right now, just for you babe.

11.  Poor body image. Sadly, this is probably the thing I struggle with more than all else these days and it causes me to waste too much time and energy obsessing over meal plans and workout regimens. I have a pal who believes that self-esteem is basically a learned habit. For a year she practiced thinking positive thoughts about her body and countering negative self-talk like “I’m fat” with more loving statements.  And her deal was that she would love her body no matter what – whether she lost weight or gained, ate a salad or a cupcake, went for a run or skipped the gym to watch a NCIS marathon (okay, that’s something I’m more likely to do than she is, but you get the point.) And you know what, I think her experiment worked. She honestly seems like one of the happiest, most confident women I know. Next year this time I hope someone is able to say those words about me. 

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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 4 comments

Monday, December 13, 2010

Natalie Stewart, better known as The Floacist was once one half of the group Floetry. Along with Marsha Ambrosius, Stewart began her career in 1997 with the duo being the most sought after songwriters for the new neo-soul movement. In 2002 they launched their own career with the release of their debut Floetic. The duo went their separate ways in 2007.  Stewart's debut album Floetic Soul promises to deliver the same artsy, poetic, bohemian vibe as Floetic. She collaborates with Musiq, Raheem Devaughn, and Lalah Hathaway to name a few. Enjoy!

Also check out "Breathe"
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome back to Love Letters, where the wifey and I help the opposite sex with matters of the heart. The response has been great and we already have lots of questions that will be answered in the coming weeks. So be patient - if you e-mailed us you'll read a response soon.

Remember, ladies, send your inquiries to, or find me on twitter at @etbowser. Dudes, you can get in touch with Javacia at Just provide your initials.

Here's our question for today:

I'm not a stalker or anything, but I've noticed that a coworker recently broke up with his on again, off again girlfriend...for the third time in a few months. We talk casually and hang out at an occasional happy hour, but nothing serious. How should I let him know I'm interested? (Note: I don't consider being coworkers an issue, ...we are not subordinates or even work in the same division--just the same building.) t.e.

As many of y'all know, I met Javacia at work, and just like t.e.'s case, we we did not work in the same department. I think dating coworkers is OK. Most of us spend most of our time at work so it's totally natural to be drawn to someone there. As long as you're not trying to creep with your boss (word to Monica Lewinsky), it's all good.

Ladies, unlike what your momma probably told you, it's OK to initiate dating guy. My grandma always said a lady should NEVER make the first move. That might have worked in the sharecropping days but sometimes, if you wait for guys to make the first move, you'll be waiting forever, like Dr. Dre's Detox. Men like to know when a woman is interested, just like y'all like to know when a dude is feeling you. The trick is not to be TOO forward (which is likely what my grandma was alluding to). No one wants a bug-a-boo.

The next time you speak with the guy, invite him out for coffee or perhaps lunch together during work hours. Something very informal. And toss out the suggestion in the midst of a conversation, to make it look like a spur-of-the-moment idea. Don't run up on the guy out of the blue and invite him to Christmas dinner. The less pressure the guy feels, the more likely he'll be down for the idea.

I do have one concern - this guy has broken up with his ex three times in a couple months? Be careful - he's obviously still hung up on her. Don't wind up being his rebound.

And cuz I'm in such a good mood, here's a bonus question:

Is it OK to run a background check on a potential boo? d.w.

Ladies, let me flip this one on you.

You went out with a guy, and the date went OK. On the second date, dude says "I checked your credit score - you got good credit, girl!" Would you be annoyed?

Of course you would. You know your credit is good, why do you need him to tell you?

Invading somebody's privacy is straight-up pointless. And I know your response will be "if he has nothing to hide, he shouldn't care." Yes he should! As a mere "dater," it's not your obligation to know someone's intimate business right away. If things progress to something more serious, then yes, you have a right to know. But it's the person's choice to divulge that information. If you find out they're keeping secrets (secrets ALWAYS come out, eventually) then deal with them then - and take him to task for hiding stuff. That's why you date someone, get to know him and his family, THEN marry him, have kids, build a life, etc. When you start skipping or rushing these steps, you don't learn as much about a guy as you should.

Despite what Tyler Perry taught you, men don't just wake up one day and suddenly become abusive, money-grubbing murderers on the DL. The signs are there without stealing his Social Security number.

Here's the bottom line - if you suspect something is fishy, why are you dating the dude in the first place?

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

As most of my close friends know, New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. It's more magical than Christmas and more meaningful than my birthday, I always say. It's not because of the parties. Those are usually disappointing and lame. It's about the list of goals for the coming year that I spend all of December drafting and the feeling that I have on December 31 that I will be able to make all those dreams come true. 

This year, however, things have been different. Creating my list of aspirations has felt like a chore and each time I add a goal I'm hit with a twinge of doubt. "You really think you'll be able to do that next year?" a small voice says. 

I'm not sure if I'm having this feeling because I'm about to turn 30 and therefore more jaded or if the stress of the past two years -- new job, new city, wrecked car, lupus complications, etc. -- is taking its toll. But whatever the cause, the result is a girl who's not so excited about that big countdown to midnight. 

Recently, I stumbled upon something I'm hoping will get me in the spirit. It's called Reverb 10 and it's an annual online initiative designed to get folks to reflect on their year and "manifest what’s next" through daily prompts in the month of December. I found Reverb 10 late, but I'm still hoping it can help me get back on track. Here are some reflections from my favorite prompts thus far: 

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I have found great community at church and work -- both of which were a surprise to me. The church I attend has thousands of members so it's easy to get lost in the masses. But through small groups and an amazing women's conference I've met a great group of girls with which to share my spiritual journey. And, as mentioned in a previous post, my closest friends at work, the women I can't wait to share lunch with each day, are in their 40s and 50s. Next year, I want to lead a church small group and grow even closer to my gal pals at work. 

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

This was a tough one. The answer would probably be sitting on the sofa watching bad TV with the hubster, but I'm not sure I want to give this up, not because I'm attached to the television shows, but because Edd's running commentary is always so hilarious. Then there's Facebook. Yeah, I can't think of much of a defense for that. I plan to give up Facebook during my church's 21-day fast next month. Maybe I'll add TV to that as well. We'll see. 

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

Upswing. Yes, I know that's an ugly word, but it's the one that describes my year best. Things started off horribly. Edd and I lived in an awful apartment, I was quite unhappy with my new teaching career, and in May my car was totaled while parked in front of the crappy apartment. But mid-year things started to turn around. We moved to a great place, I got a new car that I adore, and I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of this teaching thing. 
The word I hope will describe 2011 for me is adventure. I will turn 30 at the beginning of the year and I want to kick off my 30s feeling as if I'm finally having the time of my life. 

Now I'm off to work on that list of mine. 

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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 1 comment
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