Thursday, March 31, 2011

Did you know that March was National Craft Month? 

Yeah, I didn't either until a couple weeks ago, but I have always had aspirations of being a crafty lady. However, despite my literary bent, I'm better at calculus than I am at art. Still I often try my hand at arts and crafts and I've discovered the joy of painting pottery. 

I realize this isn't quite as exciting as making clothes or handbags but you'd be surprised by how relaxing it can be. 

Cities across the country have shops that offer folks like me the chance to paint plates, mugs, bowls, figurines, vases, picture frames and much more. About a week and a half ago I went to Painted By U here in Birmingham to celebrate a gal pal's birthday. With the smooth sounds of Sade playing in the background, I designed a mug that's so girly it needs a bra. Check it out:

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, our society is facing a disturbing new trend.

Grown, intelligent women - your friends, coworkers, even wives - now consider Lil Romeo a sex symbol.

Yes, THAT Lil Romeo.

Now 21 and known as Romeo Miller, he's part of the cast of Dancing With The Stars. Needless to say, I haven't seen 15 seconds of that show. You're more likely to catch me watching wrestling, The Event, The Bad Girls Club or reruns of the 60s Batman show (in that order) on a Monday night.

But just because I haven't been watching doesn't mean I've avoided Romeo's admirers. For two weeks straight, I received text messages and emails asking "Is that THE Lil Romeo? He sure grew up, if you know what I'm saying."

Oh, I know what you're saying lady. And you should be ashamed. He may be older, he may now be legal, but he's still the spawn of Master P, and is still lame.

Maybe it's just me but I think it's weird to swoon over a former child star. When I see Raven Symone, I only see Olivia. When I see Jodie Sweetin, I only see Stephanie Tanner. When I see Lindsay Lohan I only see a crackhead.

To each her own, I guess. But ladies, in case you needed a reminder, here's the man of your dreams. You can call me a hater now, but you'll thank me later.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday afternoon I attended a seminar called "Men on Natural Hair." The seminar was hosted by I Love My Own Hair, an organization started by Birmingham natural hair advocate and media maven Keisa Sharpe. Her seminar series is quite popular in the Magic City and was recently featured in Jet magazine.

When a friend of mine saw "Men on Natural Hair" listed on my Facebook page under my upcoming events she commented saying she just didn’t get why anyone would host such a seminar. Why should women care if men like their natural hair? While I do believe that women should feel free to wear their hair as they please regardless of what men think, I know that’s a bit naive. I know women whose husbands or boyfriends don’t find their natural look attractive. I know single women who say they get less attention from men now that they’ve stopped relaxing their hair. So I knew that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. But as the day of the seminar grew closer I did ask myself once or twice, “Why am I going to this seminar?”

I’m fortunate enough to be married to a man who loves my natural hair, so I wasn’t really sure if I would get much out of this event. But, I wanted to go to support Sharpe and I figured I’d leave with some hair care tips from the stylists I knew would be attending the event. But I left the seminar with so much more than information on the benefits of shea butter.

First, it was quite refreshing to meet men who are extremely supportive of the natural hair movement. The men on the panel agreed that if a woman decides she wants to wear her hair in its natural state she should just go for it. They maintained that most men would grow to love the look if their women rocked their natural hair with confidence and class. I must confess that I am guilty of sometimes thinking that men don’t understand how difficult sporting natural hair can be.  But the men who sat before me at this panel discussion really got it! And best of all they understood that for many women natural hair is much more than a simple, superficial aesthetic choice.  

The thing I enjoyed most about the seminar was that many of the panelists and Sharpe expressed that natural hair can be a gateway to self-acceptance. For me the decision to wear my hair in its naturally curly state was the first step toward embracing who I really am not just on the outside but on the inside too. It started my journey of welcoming all my quirky ways with open arms. To know that this has been the case for other women and to know that even men recognize that this is why natural hair is an important issue was very reassuring.

Finally, the seminar confirmed my notion that natural hair can also be a tool in building community. While I do get annoyed when complete strangers feel compelled to touch my hair or ask questions like, “What are you mixed with?” because of my curls, I’m always elated when a fellow naturalista stops me in the mall, in a restaurant or at the grocery store to talk products. It’s amazing how we women can bond and form instant friendships over our tresses. Men on the panel professed to witnessing this too and even commented that they wished men could more often share a similar sense of camaraderie.  

In the past I’ve been reluctant to tell some people that natural hair is one of my passions for fear that they might see this as vanity. But thanks to this seminar I feel affirmed my belief that while natural hair can simply be about a change of style, it can also be about a change of attitude; it can build confidence and community. Natural hair can truly be a movement.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Before Aloe Blacc became a soul singer, he got his start in the music industry as an MC in an indie group called Emanon.  His singing style is compared to that of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. His music contains elements of jazz, hip hop and R&B. He has released two solo albums. Enjoy!

Progressive Soul Mondays: Opening Minds and Eradicating foolery, coonery, and buffoonery one Monday at a time®

-- Desiree

Also check out "I'm Beautiful."
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Chris Brown

F.A.M.E. (Deluxe Edition) (released March 23, 2011)

When I said earlier this week that I hadn't planned to blog about my delinquent Cousin Chris Brown, I wasn't joking. I know #TeamBreezy was wetting its collective pants (so to speak) in anticipation of their hero's comeback album, F.A.M.E. (which I hear stands for Fans Are My Everything, Forgiving All My Enemies, or F*** All My Enemies, depending whom you ask). But I wasn't caught up in the hype.

But then he had to go all Incredible Hulk on Good Morning America and I had no choice but to speak out.

After that post, I received tons of requests for this album review. GM readers apparently wanted more of the Sisqo-haired Chris Brown.

Who would have thought that Chrisqo's album review would be the most demanded post in Georgia Mae history? And as much as I'd love to diss it, I simply can't - it's probably his strongest album to date.

Odd as it might sound, CB is at his best when he unleashes unabashed anger and arrogance. I contend that "Deuces," where Breezy tells off his ex-lover, is the best track he has ever recorded. It easily my favorite radio track last year. But get this - Cousin Chris dismisses his fictional lady over an altered version of the very same beat used by his former girl Rihanna. What gall!

On the surface, "No BS" sounds like the sweet seduction of a young lady, till the hook drops in and it's clear that Breezy is not taking no for an answer. Watch out, ladies. CB goes fully hip-hop and shockingly out-rhymes Lil' Wayne on the braggadocious "Look At Me Now" (although Busta Rhymes steals the show). Back in the world of R&B Breezy blatantly admits to his woman that he's cheating on "She Ain't You" but assures her that he isn't leaving. How comforting. But you've gotta love the Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" sample. In fact, the sample actually might be lifted from SWV's "Right Here" remake - it's a lot more hard-hitting than MJ's original. And I was ready to hate on "Wet The Bed" but CB's improved vocals and Ludacris' fun verse make the juvenile lyrics bearable.

As defiant R&B thug, Brown is light-years ahead of his peers. But sorry #TeamBreezy, in the world of pop, Cousin Chris just doesn't measure up. The second half of the album is cluttered with generic club tracks. "Say It With Me" and "Yeah 3X" aren't bad but they sure are bland. I didn't even recognize Justin Bieber on "Next 2 You" - I honestly thought he was a female backup singer! It's ironic that Michael Jackson's so-called successor can out-moonwalk everyone but struggles to drop a decent pop song.

The deluxe version of F.A.M.E. has about five additional tracks, but they're a mixed bag. "Bomb" is sorta notable but you won't miss the rest.

My personal issues with Chris aside, F.A.M.E. is much better than I expected. The more aggressive the song, the more confident he seems. But when he cools his jets, he becomes a bit unfocused and dull. It's almost like he's fueled by his inner frustrations.

Remind me to sit far away from Cousin Chris at the next family reunion.

Best tracks: "Deuces," "No BS," "Look At Me Now"

3.5 stars out of 5
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today I was invited to stop by Good Morning Alabama to discuss Birmingham Twestival, a local social-media driven fundraising event.

Unlike some people, no windows nor reporters were harmed in the making of this video.

Bham folks, if you're free this afternoon, please stop by and contribute to this great cause. All proceeds benefit the United Way of Central Alabama, specifically efforts to improve our children's literacy. You can find more about the event here.
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Cherry blossom
image via

This week I welcomed spring with open arms. I look forward to jogs at the Shades Creek Greenway near my home and taking evening strolls through my apartment community beneath the cherry blossoms. And spring means flip flops, tank tops, and cute cropped jeans. 

But walks and wardrobe changes aren't the only reasons I was excited about the equinox. As spring rolled around I reflected on how nature teaches us that we should and that we must change to flourish and to survive. The world reminds us that there is a season for everything, that even the winters of our lives have purpose. 

Consider which season of life you're in right now and what you can learn from it. Reflect on the changes you will make as Mother Nature changes her hair for glorious spring. 

After the Winter
by Claude McKay

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning's white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We'll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire to shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

As loyal Georgia Mae readers know, last week I reviewed two natural hair care products by Curls -- Curls Milkshake and Cashmere Curls. 

While I loved the scent of Curls Milkshake (it really smells like a vanilla shake) and I appreciated that the products left my hair very soft, I wasn't completely satisfied with the results as they also left my hair very big. 

While writing the review, however, I realized that I hadn't correctly followed directions (bad teacher!). The instructions recommend using Cashmere Curls under another Curls product; I'd used Curls Milkshake under Cashmere Curls. So Monday I tried the products again, this time following the manufacturer's suggestions. 

Unfortunately I can't report drastically different results. In fact, the products seemed to work better the first time. Monday some sections of my hair felt a bit dry and my curly coif was still humongous. 

The products would probably be best for a curly girl with thin hair. The products did leave my hair full of body. But as thick as my hair is, the last thing I need is more volume.  
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You know, I had no intention of writing about my Cousin Chris Brown today, despite his album being released. That cheapskate could have at least sent me a copy to review.

But alas, Cousin Chris is up to his old tricks. Did you check out his interview on Good Morning America? Here's a link.

Clearly, Breezy was annoyed by Robin Roberts' line of questioning. But just how annoyed? From

Chris Brown exploded in rage behind the scenes at Good Morning America, smashing a window and storming out without a shirt ... sources tell TMZ ... and it was triggered by on-air questions about the Rihanna incident.

Facebook and Twitter went nuts, proclaiming that Chris Brown has gone crazy.

To paraphrase Chris Rock: Chris Brown didn't go crazy. Chris Brown went Chris Brown.

Don't get me wrong, the dude has a right to be a little irritable. Cousin Chris was merely there to talk about his new album. And when Roberts continually tried to steer the conversation back to the two-year-old Rihanna drama, he wisely kept going back to his album. I can't fault him. Really, at that point, his only sin was going on TV looking like a muddy Eminem, with his bad dyejob and ridiculous tattoos.

But, in typical Breezy fashion, he couldn't leave well enough alone. He reportedly ran around backstage screaming, tore his shirt off, smashed a window with a chair and ran outside shirtless. Somebody watched too much wrestling last night.

All you Chris Brown apologists shouldn't even waste your breath on this one - there is no way his actions can be defended. Roberts did her job as an interviewer and brought up the Rihanna issue - as any interviewer worth her salt would have. Yes, I do think she harped on it a bit too much but does getting annoyed with an interviewer justify terrorizing a television set? Besides, Roberts claims that CB approved all of her questions beforehand so Cousin Chris had an opportunity to protest - but didn't.

After Cousin Chris showed his legendary toughness by frightening hair stylists and camera operators,  he hit up Twitter (of course) to whine about how Charlie Sheen is praised for acting like a fool while he is demonized for ... um ... acting like a fool. What sense does that make? That blonde dye is seeping into his brain.

In his attempt to travel the high road and deflect the negative Rihanna press, Cousin Chris resorted to the same ol' hot-headed ignorance that got him in trouble in the first place.

But as long as y'all keep buying his records and defending his actions, don't expect Ike Turner 2011 to behave anytime soon.
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I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for celebrity weight loss stories. When Jennifer Hudson shed an astonishing 80 pounds on Weight Watchers, I signed up for the PointsPlus system. And now just when my determination  to reach my goal weight has started to dwindle, I'm encouraged by "American Idol" star Jordin Sparks. She showed off her slimmer figure this weekend at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix. According to FOX, the 5'10'' beauty purportedly has lost 30 pounds, dropping six dress sizes. 

Clutch Magazine, however, recently asked a question I've been wondering myself: Does weight loss simply take willpower or is there something more? 

Clutch reports that James Hill, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, says that in addition to willpower dieters need to envision weak moments (those times when we're likely to break our diet) and prepare ourselves for them before they pop up. Those weak moments, he said, tend to be when on vacation, when at a party or buffet, while watching TV, or after a break-up. 

While I certainly broke my diet while on vacation last week, now that I'm back to work, I'm facing another problem -- stress. During my weight loss journey vigorous exercise has been the key to my success. But for the past few days I've been too busy to work out. I've also been battling flare-ups of my connective tissue disease. So what's a girl to do? Georgia Mae family, I need your help. How do you find time and energy to exercise when your to-do list is spilling into the margins or you're not feeling well?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Born in Tampa, Fla., Sean C. Johnson was an Army brat who often moved from place to place. But two things remained consistent in his household: church and music.  Though Johnson always loved music, he never thought of making it a career until one of his closest friends was moved to tears by a song that he wrote and recorded. Johnson names John P. Kee, Commissioned, and The Clark Sisters as some of his influences. Enjoy! 

Progressive Soul Mondays: Opening Minds and Erradicating foolery, coonery, and buffoonery one Monday at a time®

-- Desiree

Also check out "Does Anybody."
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Here are the answers to Friday's Women's History Quiz. How did you do?

1. Gertrude Boyle

2. Olympia Brown

3. Anne Hutchinson

4. Lucretia Mott

5. Martina Navratilova

6. Leontyne Price

7. Julia Child

8. Eleanor Roosevelt

9. Mary Church Terrell

10. Madeline Albright

11. Anne Bradstreet

12. Rita Dove

13.Betty Friedan

14. Mary Dyer

15. Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Hopper
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Posted by in  on 5:55 AM 1 comment

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just a few weeks into my journey to fall in love with my hometown, I'm already beginning to realize that people who say there's nothing going on in Birmingham (and I admit I was once in that number) simply aren't paying attention. Last week I saw a great show at WorkPlay and yesterday I celebrated St. Patrick's Day in a quite unique way. After having dinner at Rogue Tavern, one of my favorite downtown spots, one of my best gal pals and I headed over to the gorgeous and historic Alabama Theatre to see...wait for it... Ferris Bueller's Day Off

The showing was part of the Alabama Theatre's Totally Awesome 80s Movies Series. The evening kicked off with a sing-along, complete with a live organist, which featured beloved tracks from the movie such as "Twist and Shout." There was even an '80s costume contest. A guy named Miles dressed as Cameron from the movie took home the prize. 

The series continues next week with Sixteen Candles and will close out on March 31 with Dirty Dancing. I really want to see this film on the big screen, but Edd is not a fan, so if anyone out there would like to be my date let me know.  

Remember, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
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Continuing our celebration of Women's History Month, today I thought I'd give readers a chance to test their knowledge of the great contributions and progress women have made through the centuries. These questions were compiled from the National Women's History Project website and I mostly included questions to which I already knew the answers so I can say, "I can't believe you didn't know that!" when you share your results. Just kidding, but, as I teach early American literature, that will explain the disproportionate number of literary and early American history questions.

Quiz questions are after the jump. Check back on Monday for the answers. 

1. Who took over management of Columbia Sportswear Company in the late 1930’s, when it was near bankruptcy, and turned it into the largest American ski apparel company worth $4 billion in 1972?

2. Who is considered the first American woman to be ordained by full denominational authority in 1864, and who also campaigned vigorously for full woman suffrage? 

3. Who was the free-thinking woman who was forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and sought sanctuary in Roger Williams' Rhode Island in 1637?

4. What woman met Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the International Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840 and worked with her for women's equality for the next half century?

5. What woman has won a total of 56 Grand Slam tennis competitions events and 9 Wimbledon women's singles titles?

6. Who was the first black prima donna soprano at the Metropolitan Opera, starring from 1961 to 2007, the first black singer to earn the top fee of $2750 for each performance (second only to Birgit Nilsson who got $3000), and winner of 19 Grammy awards?

7. Who introduced America to French cooking in her books and television series from 1963 through the 1990's?

8. Who was the United States delegate to the United Nations who championed and won approval of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948?

9. Who earned a graduate degree from Oberlin College in 1888, was the first black woman to serve on a Board of Education (in D.C.), sued to integrate restaurants in the 1950’s, integrated the American Association of University Women at age 85, and was a founding member of NAACP?

10. Who became the first female Secretary of State of the United States, appointed by President Clinton in 1997?

11. Who was the first American woman poet whose poetry was published in London in 1650?

12. Who was the first black woman and the youngest poet laureate in American history when she was appointed in 1993?

13. Who wrote "The Feminine Mystique" in 1968 and became a leading figure in the Women's Movement?

14. Who was imprisoned and then hanged for her Quaker faith in Boston in 1660, and 400 years later her statue was placed in front of the state House?

15. Who was a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy credited with developing the COBOL computer language, and with coining the phrase “debugging” to fix a computer?
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Sailor returns netting to Japanese man during cleanup at Misawa, Japan following earthquake.
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy Imagery Photostream

One week ago today an 8.9 earthquake hit Japan and caused a tsunami that devastated the nation's coastal towns and led to at least two nuclear explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. You're probably thinking, "This is old news. Why is she writing about this now?" Well, because I don't want this to become old news. For the past several days Japan has been at the forefront of the media and our minds, but soon that will change. Don't forget about Japan. After the jump is a list of five ways you can help compiled from the blog of Bust magazine

  • The Red Cross has begun relief efforts. To donate, you can visit their website or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone. (Keep in mind that when you text a donation 5-10% of your donation goes to mGive as an administrative fee. The best way to donate is through the organization's secure website, or by writing a check (Remember those things?).
  • The Happy Hearts Fund was started by model Petra Nemacova after she survived the 2004 Indian tsunami. It’s not a first response fund, but helps rebuild communities after disasters. It’s administrative members are underwritten by the board, meaning that 100% of its funds go towards relief.
  • ShelterBox provides shelter for displaced and evacuated persons. Reports are estimating that over 250,000 people have been made homeless by the disaster.
  • Lady Gaga has created white “we pray for japan” bracelets. They can be purchased for 5 bucks with all proceeds going to relief efforts in Japan.

For more ideas visit the Bust magazine blog
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

I thought it was too good to be true.

I’d heard rumors that there was a new natural hair care store in Birmingham, but I simply didn’t believe it. I’ve been wearing my hair in its naturally curly state for about 10 years now which means for a decade I’ve been spending an ungodly amount of money on shipping costs ordering my favorite hair care products online. But nestled in a small storefront in Valley Avenue Plaza is a tiny shop that has changed all that.

LeVia’s Hair & Body Essentials, located at 421 Valley Ave., opened in November of 2010. Owner Shavonne Holt, 32, doesn’t sport natural hair, but she’s still quite familiar with dishing out dollars for shipping costs as she’s searched online for the best hair care products for her 7-year-old daughter.

“I thought, ‘I know I’m not the only person going through this trying to find good products,’” Holt said.  In July of 2010 Holt got the idea of opening a shop that would sell natural hair products. Two months later she and her husband purchased the Valley Avenue storefront and two months after that LeVia’s welcomed its first customers.

Click here to read the complete post at
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I know I'm a little late (blame my ethnicity) but I couldn't let another day go by without wishing a belated happy birthday to my favorite chanteuse, Blu Cantrell.

Blu and I go way back, and she loves me like a fat kid loves birthday cake.

Well, actually, more like a fat kid loves vegetables.

Last year this time, I dedicated one of my Whatever Happened to columns to her. But instead of a hearty "thanks" for my journalistic efforts, I was ripped apart by Blu and/or her minions (who can tell?). Man, they ran up on me in the comments section and on Twitter like the Putty Patrol from the Power Rangers. Among my many sins, the Blu Cru said I incorrectly reported Blu's age. I claimed she was 34, but she was actually 32. My bad for being off target by so, so many years.

I think Blu's buddies were also salty because I mentioned that explicit magazine Black Tail once showed racy pics of Blu's black tail. But Blu has gone on record saying she's cool with the photos, so I don't know what the problem is.

Anyway, I promised to leave the past behind us and set things right this year. So Blu, I hope you had a very happy 33rd or 35th birthday! Hopefully she doesn't have the Benjamin Button disease and isn't 29 next year.

Oh, I kid, Blu. I love you and your many ages. You're like a younger (or older) Blanche Devereaux.

To celebrate, let's check out Blu's best video. It was easy to pick cuz she only has like two videos.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hold up, waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!

As some of you know, the wifey and I have spent the week vacationing in our old stomping grounds of Louisville, Ky. But this morning I awoke to billions of text messages from friends far and wide, informing me of some very sad news. Courtesy of

The family of rapper Nate Dogg has told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that the performer died Tuesday at age 41.

No details were immediately available, but the paper said Nate Dogg, whose real name is Nathaniel D. Hale, had suffered two strokes in recent years.

He got his start with Snoop Doggy Dogg and Warren G in a Long Beach-area band called 213. He later recorded with Dr. Dre on "The Chronic" and appeared in Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Doggystyle.

As the Times reports, Nate had been under the weather for years but this still comes as a shock. Perhaps it's because our favorite artists have such larger-than life personalities that we often forget these guys are human and it hits hard when they leave us.

Nate definitely was larger than life - his voice defined early 90s hip hop. His voice made sucky songs spectacular (remember Houston????) and transformed great songs into classics. If not for Nate Dogg's contributions, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg probably would be washing cars for a living.

That movie was turrrrble.

Nate's legacy will always be his classic hooks. "B Please," "21 Questions," "Area Codes," "Can't Deny It" - the man's resume was as extensive as his collection of hats and bandannas.

The greatest hook man in all of hip hop - Nate Dogg will never been forgotten.

What's your favorite Nate Dogg song?
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Posted by in , ,  on 8:40 AM No comments

Man, you guys certainly aren't making my job easy. The questions keep getting tougher and tougher. But you know I love a challenge.

Send your inquiries to, or find me on twitter @etbowser. Just provide your initials, or a fun nickname. 

Here's today's question:

Should you stay with someone out of obligation? I have a friend who is currently recovering from breast cancer. She and her boyfriend were together for two years prior to her diagnosis. Now that she is in remission (praise the Lord) she says that she feels the relationship has run its course. She is also beginning to feel an attraction to an old high school boyfriend who is now available. I have told her that her cancer should have showed her that life is short and that she needs to be happy. I don't feel like she should stay if she's not happy because it is going to come out eventually and it's not fair to him. She says that she owes him to stick it out with him because he stuck it out with her through her illness. But she's growing unhappier every day.

A Friend In Need, k.j.

Congrats to your friend for conquering breast cancer. And I'm glad to hear that her man stuck by her side through those trying times.

However, I'm used to being Georgia Mae's resident villain so I'll cut to the chase: I must admit agree with you - your friend is not at all obligated to stay with this guy.

I applaud the guy for caring for your friend when many other dudes in his position would have hit the door. But staying in a loveless relationship doesn't do anyone any favors. Prolonging a doomed relationship causes nothing but headaches down the road. In her case, she should expect a nasty backlash from her beau (I know I definitely would be pissed if I was dumped by the woman I nursed back to health) but there is no need to prolong the agony.

But before your friend changes her Facebook relationship status, she should strongly consider this - does she think things are truly over with her current guy, or is she just distracted by her old high school boyfriend? Clearly her current man cares for her and I'm sure on some level she cares for him as well (even if those feelings are now simply platonic). But if run-ins with her old high school man have her reminscing about the love she had (word to Mary J. Blige), she'd better sort out her feelings. Nostalgia has a nasty habit of clouding our judgment.

If the love truly is gone in her current relationship, she has every right to bounce. But if she just wants to chase a long-lost love, she'd better think twice before leaving the man who stood by her in her darkest hours.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This product junkie has yet to kick her habit. 

Most recently I decided to experiment with a couple of products by Curls

After shampooing and conditioning my hair I applied Curls Milkshake-- a blend of natural milks, plant extracts, and jojoba oil-- and combed it through my hair. I LOVE the scent of this product. It really does smell like a vanilla milkshake. And I like that it's made from more natural products including certified organic aloe vera juice. Curls Milkshake is meant to give us curly girls "light, frizz free, defined curls." 

Since I usually use two products in my hair, after combing through Curls Milkshake I applied Cashmere Curls. I wasn't as crazy about the scent of this product and since it's a gel-like serum I was worried it would make my hair sticky or hard, but it didn't. 

My hair was incredibly light and soft that day, but it was also incredibly big. See!

While I received a few compliments on my hair that day, I wasn't too happy with the results because my curls weren't as defined as I prefer them. Now that I'm working on this review I've realized that the instructions recommend using Cashmere Curls "under" another Curls product. Oops! So perhaps I will try these products together again, actually follow directions and see if I get better results. I also plan to try to use Curls Milkshake with my go-to product Hair Milk Lite by Carol's Daughter. Stay tuned for an update. 

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Posted by in  on 6:00 AM 4 comments

Monday, March 14, 2011

Last week I wrote about my new commitment to bloom in Birmingham. Not only am I on a mission to fall in love with my hometown, I'm determined also to prove to the world (and to myself) that I can make my writing dreams come true here.  I'm not wasting anytime. 

Last week I signed on as a contributor for, which is described as "Birmingham's web portal for urban lifestyles." I'll be writing on a number of topics including the arts, independent business, community outreach, and natural hair. I hope that you will find the articles interesting and inspiring even if you don't live in Birmingham. (And if my posts garner the most hits and comments I could win some cash!) Click here to check out my first post. 

I'm also organizing a networking group for women writers in the Birmingham area. So if you do live in my neck of the woods and you're a female journalist, blogger, or creative writer, please consider joining us for our first meeting at the Pepper Place Cantina on March 24 at 6 p.m. For details and to RSVP e-mail me at by March 17. 
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Friday, March 11, 2011

His voice reminds me of one of the happiest days of my life.

Marc Broussard's "The Beauty of Who You Are" is the song to which Edd and I shared our first dance as husband and wife. So last night when I went to Birmingham's WorkPlay to see Broussard perform live I walked in eager to hear that song. But I was wondering also if he'd live up to the hype: several friends who are also fans had told me his voice is even more impressive live than on his albums. Broussard did not disappoint. 

As much as I hate the term "blue-eyed soul" if there really is such a thing this Louisiana boy is the epitome of it. Just check out Broussard's cover of the soul classic "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" if you don't believe me.

He kicked off the intimate show with Rocksteady which is from his first major album Carenco (2004). This got the crowd excited and Broussard kept us that way the rest of the night with his high energy performances. Jamming out on his guitar, belting out lyrics with unbelievable power, and dancing across the stage, Broussard seemed determined to make sure we were all having as much fun as he and his band were. 

The show offered a nice mix of old and new songs, original tracks and covers. Songs from Carenco (such as "The Wanderer," "Save Me," and "Come Around,") were true crowd pleasers and in Birmingham we aren't afraid to sing along, clap our hands and even dance. 

This crooner also likes to romance the audience. His sultry voice warmed the room on tracks like "Our Big Mistake" and his rendition of "Come in from the Cold" (which is featured on his 2007 release S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, an album of mostly covers). And his rendition "Love and Happiness" (also on the 2007 album) would have made Al Green proud. Hugging their dates or their drinks to their chest, audience members swayed side to side slow dancing with their baby or their beer bottle, caught in his smooth sounds. During one song Broussard grabbed the iPhones and Flip cameras folks on the front row were holding up to capture the moment and began to serenade the devices so those fans would have something extra special by which to remember the show. 

The encore was an extra-special treat for me. Broussard came back to the stage and melted my heart with "The Beauty of Who You Are." He then closed out the show with my other favorite track "Home." Considering this song's gospel flavor it's no surprise he finished the performance dancing across the stage in that "I just caught the Holy Ghost" fashion many of of us grew up witnessing in church. 

If you live in Birmingham and you weren't there, you missed a fantastic show. For the rest of you check here to see if Broussard will be in a city near you this month.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Art imitates life. From, with thanks to my girl @sophiiblu:

More than 30 people, including the actress known as "Snoop" from the Baltimore-based HBO series "The Wire," were arrested Thursday morning across the city and its surrounding counties in connection with a large-scale heroin and marijuana operation.

Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, known for her drug-assassin character on "The Wire," was taken into custody at a downtown apartment on a state warrant, officials said.

The actress has a troubled past, having been convicted at age 14 of second-degree murder. More recently, she refused to testify as a witness at a murder trial and was arrested at her then-Northeast Baltimore home.

Somehow this doesn't surprise me. There was always something about Snoop that told me that she wasn't just "acting." That raspy voice, the crazed look in her eyes, the forceful way she curses - even though she looks like Lil Romeo there is NO WAY I'd cross her.

Poor Snoop. Marlo and Chris will bail her out.

In one of the most hilarious scenes ever, watch Snoop creep out a hardware store employee.

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The idea that feminism has destroyed the American family is all too common.

Conservative writer, political activist, and radio personality Phyllis Schlafly has said,  "If there's one thing feminists love, it's divorce - they consider it liberating." That's just one of the claims she and her co-author Suzanne Venker make in their new book, The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know - And Men Can't Say, set to be released next week. 

Last week I had a lively debate with a friend's pretty conservative husband who argued that one of the "unintended consequences" of feminism is that it is now harder for women to get married because men are leery of egalitarian relationships. Even though he is in an egalitarian marriage, he believes that most men simply don't want to settle down without the incentive of being the king of his castle. While I am sure there are plenty of men out there that may feel this way, this is irrelevant because most feminist women don't want a man with this type of attitude anyway. 

While my friend's husband's argument was is no way as outrageous as Schlafly's, during our chat I couldn't help thinking about statements Schlafly made in a recent interview with Beverly WillettWillett asked Schlafly why she claims feminists love divorce. Her response: 
Their own writings reveal that feminists sought liberation from home, husband, family, childbirth, children, and the role of full-time homemaker. They wanted to be independent of men and liberated from the duties of marriage and motherhood. So, their first legislative goal was the adoption of easy-to-get divorce. They were behind California's adoption of unilateral divorce, which then spread across the country.

Well I'm a feminist and I LOVE being married. I would be completely devastated if Edd and I divorced. Over the years I've seen the marriages of few friends crumble and it twisted my stomach in knots and at times brought me to tears.  I don't love divorce. (However, if I find out a woman has left an abusive marriage, damn right I'm going to celebrate.) 

True feminism isn't anti-marriage or anti-motherhood, it's simply about choice. It should be a woman's choice if she wants to get married; it should be her choice if she wants to have children. However, if she decides these aren't for her the rest of the world should let her be single, let her be childless, and shut up about it!

What bothers me most is while everyone keeps yelling about feminists killing the family, there is evidence that suggests the exact opposite. Reporting on the new model for American marriage, Jill Filipovic yesterday wrote:
And the more egalitarian the relationship, the better. Couples who share both paid work and housework have more sex. Children of women with college degrees do better in school. Women who are college-educated tend to marry later, and also have lower divorce rates; they are more likely to stay married than women who aren't highly educated and financially independent (quite possibly because women who are self-sufficient don't need to get married for support, and can choose a partner with whom they can have a happy and egalitarian relationship).
This is exactly why I believe my marriage is working. It is a partnership. It is built on friendship and respect. It's feminist. And feminists do it better!
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