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10 Cool Ways To Wear Your Old Rubber Rain Boots in This rainy weather

22 May

Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to forego a cute work outfit. We’re loving the fact that she paired her green Wellies with a springy striped dress, a bright blazer, and a cross-body bag, you have to forego a cute work outfit. I’m loving the fact that she paired her green Wellies with a springy striped dress, a bright blazer, and a cross-body bag.

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This look works for a number of reasons, mainly because she’ll be warm and dry in a sudden spring downpour, but still manages to look like she’s dressed for the season. Points for her lightweight navy trench, and thin socks peeking out of her boots.

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Who says you can’t wear shorts with rain boots? Here, she adds a pair of Wellies to an otherwise spring-ready outfit (love the slouchy shorts!) and the result is effortless and cool.

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A fabulous example of having a little fun with your rain gear. We’re digging her polka-dot tights, striped socks, khaki cape-style trench, and lipstick-red rubber boots.

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Here’s a flawless example of dressing as you would for a non-rainy spring day, and just adding a pair of boots.

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Rushing around town in the rain is no fun, but here’s proof that even a little black dress retains its appeal when a pair of rubber rain boots are thrown into the mix.

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A pair of lace-up rubber rain boots over tight skinny jeans keeps this outfit looking stylish in any type of weather.

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I’m digging her boho take on a rainy-day outfit that’ll still look stylish after the weather clears.

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It doesn’t get more classic than a standard trench coat, a pair of jeans, and red Wellies to combat spring showers in style.

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Proof you don’t have to be at a music festival to rock a pair of rubber rain boots with cutoff denim shorts.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Your Daughter’s Gay: A Conversation with My Mom

12 May

by Kimberley K. McLeod

My relationship with my mother has evolved over the last few decades. We have grown close to grow apart again to become best friends. As our relationship has morphed and matured, so have her views on me being a lesbian. I grew up in a Catholic household in the Caribbean and many of those traditions and ideologies traveled with us across the Atlantic when we moved to the States.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we had an eye-opening (and at times awkward) chat about my coming out journey, her process of acceptance and even her burning questions about “lesbian sex.” I hope this conversation with my mom, a 52-year-old Christian and native of Trinidad and Tobago, inspires more open and honest dialogue among all of us.

KIMBERLEY: Ma, what were your initial thoughts when I first came out? I was 21; it was the summer after my junior year in college. Do you remember that day?

MOM: Yes, I remember it well. You came to my room and we were on my bed. It was right after the New York Gay Pride Parade and you told me that you didn’t just go to support your gay friends. You went for you.

I was totally shocked. I wasn’t expecting it. I couldn’t say anything for a while. I started crying and I was just silent. I felt sad and disappointed. I thought I would see you married to a man and with children–what I had imagined as “normal.”

Then you asked me, “Do you want me to be happy?”

It took a while to settle in.

The first person I discussed it with was your older sister. She said you were a smart child, and she was sure you would make the right decision for your life.

KIMBERLEY: You didn’t see it coming at all? I was a huge tomboy growing up. My favorite toy was a cement truck. I wore baggy clothes and hated anything “girly.” Not that that automatically meant I was gay but I’m surprised it never crossed your mind. I would send you all these pro-LGBT emails that challenged scriptures. Do you remember when you made your co-worker read the Bible to me? Later she warned you to “watch out” for me because “those ones always end up gay.” I guess she was right about one thing…

MOM: In those times, I never thought they were signs. I always thought you were a child who felt everyone had a right to be who they are. You had an explanation for everything. I was blindsided.

KIMBERLEY: What was the turning point for you?

MOM: You weren’t just about yourself. You were also about making it safe and acceptable for other people to be themselves. You’ve always been very outspoken about that. And I’m just so proud.

You’re a very intelligent child and I respect what you think. I thought if this is who you are, nothing is wrong with it. I have to support you. I’m your only parent. I love my children. Because of loving you unconditionally, it just became natural.

KIMBERLEY: Did meeting and getting to know my first serious girlfriend help?

MOM: It did help. I really liked her. But the first girl you brought home, I didn’t like. My blood didn’t take her at all. I’m not sure why. Your last girlfriend was very likable and I grew to think of her as my own daughter.

KIMBERLEY: How come you never asked me about how I knew I was gay? I’ve always felt like you’ve avoided it.

MOM: I did. I asked you about your last boyfriend and you told me how he would ask if you were a lesbian. You said it never felt right. I never asked beyond that because at that age, I didn’t think I would get answers from you. And I always assumed it started in college.

KIMBERLEY: Well, you can ask me now.

MOM: When did you first know?

KIMBERLEY: When did I know know? Like know for certain? When I had my first kiss with a girl. There were instances that definitely made me question if I was straight or that make sense in retrospect—from my crush on my elementary school teacher to fantasizing about girls in high school. In college, there was this girl on campus that gave me this visceral reaction every time I saw her. My heart would race uncontrollably and my hands would get really sweaty. I didn’t know what it meant. If it meant anything at all. Was it a phase? Was I bisexual? The summer after, I had my first kiss with a woman and instantly knew. It felt like what the writer Audre Lorde called “coming home” in her book Zami.

MOM: That’s so interesting. I feel bad now because I never thought to have this conversation with you. I thought I knew everything when we have the conversation with your ex-boyfriend. I thought that was the complete answer. Now I’m hearing your feelings. It’s nice to know the journey. How did you feel after you first came out?

KIMBERLEY: I wasn’t prepared for your reaction. I was so excited to have met this girl I really liked. You and my sister weren’t only family, you were my best friends. It has always been the three of us. I wanted to share that joy I was feeling with two of the most important people in my life. You were accepting of my gay friends. I knew you were religious but I never got the sense that you were completely intolerant.

MOM: But you knew one day I would come around, right?

KIMBERLEY: Not necessarily. It made so much sense to me that me not being who I was was never an option. I wanted to be able to share that part of my life with you. It made me sad that I couldn’t. I felt removed.

MOM: Well, what I know is that I love my children unconditionally. I support you and I’m proud.

KIMBERLEY: I feel closer to you now that you’ve embraced all of who I am. I remember when you once told me you didn’t want “that” in your house referring to me and the girl I was dating at the time. It was hard not being able to open up that part of my life to you. I’m glad you came around.

MOM: You know, when I would share my children’s accomplishments with the women on my job, one of my co-workers would negatively describe you as “the lesbian one.” I would respond, “Yes, it is the lesbian one. The intelligent, beautiful lesbian one that helped you write and edit your paper once.” You’ve never wanted me to hide that you’re gay and I don’t.

KIMBERLEY: Aww, ma.  You never told me that. As a woman of faith, how did you reconcile your interpretation of the Bible and having a lesbian daughter?

MOM: What I hold on to is that no man should judge. Let him without sin cast the first stone. I always think back to that scripture, not just in your situation, but life in general. There are so-called “spiritual people,” and for instance, they’ll have a lot of piercings. Back in the day, that was considered unacceptable. Times change. You shouldn’t condemn someone else. You do you.

KIMBERLEY: Did you just say, “You do you”?

MOM: [Laughs.] Don’t write that down.

KIMBERLEY: Are there any questions you have for me? Anything you’ve always wanted to know?

MOM: Well, I had asked you this when you first came out and you never answered me.

KIMBERLEY: Nothing is off limits. You can ask me now.

MOM: Do lesbians use those male parts when they, you know…

KIMBERLEY: [Laughs.] Yes, I was mortified when you first asked me that! It’s funny that after all these years, you still have that question. Some women use dildos and strap-ons when they have sex with other women. But some women don’t. How most of the media or porn portrays two women having sex is not accurate…at all. Why do you ask that question even now?

MOM: Because I was curious. My understanding of sex is that it involves a vagina and penis. With two women, there is one more dominant than the other. What is the point of liking a woman if you always want to use a strap-on?

KIMBERLEY: Well, there isn’t always a clearly defined more dominant woman. You can’t really hold lesbian relationships to the same binaries that exist in straight relationships. Heck, you can’t really hold straight relationships to those binaries either. It’s not always so black and white. And sex doesn’t have to involve a penis and a vagina. For a man and a woman, is sex just about the man’s penis?

MOM: No.

KIMBERLEY: There’s much more that goes into sex. I can only speak for myself. But a woman’s body feels different from a man’s. The sounds a woman makes are different. How a woman responds to another’s woman’s body is different. It’s not just about the penetration or whether it’s a strap or fingers doing the penetration. It’s about the individual attached to it. It’s about a connection and/or experience that goes beyond one body part.

MOM: That makes sense.

KIMBERLEY: Now that we’ve got that out of the way… [Laughs.] When you think of me 15-20 years from now, what do you see?

MOM: I can see you being so popular, like the next Ellen DeGeneres.

KIMBERLEY: Really?!

MOM: Yes. I actually shared it with one of my patients who is a gay woman and beautiful. I told her about your website ELIXHER and all that you do. I was telling her I think you’ll be the next Ellen. I definitely see children or a child in your future. I just can’t wait. I see you with a partner. I don’t know if I see marriage but I see you with someone raising a child together.

KIMBERLEY: Is it because of my beliefs around the institution of marriage or you can’t see me marrying a woman?

MOM:  No, no. It’s not that deep. I just never visualized it. It could be because you don’t talk about it. You’re younger than your sister. You’re living your life very freely, traveling often. You haven’t really settled down yet.

KIMBERLEY: What advice would you give to parents having a hard time accepting that their child is gay?

MOM: I would tell them, it’s important for everyone to be able to express themselves and be who they are. We all say we love our children unconditionally, and that love should really be unconditional. If this is who they are, and you really love your child, you should support him or her.

KIMBERLEY: Well, ma, it means a lot to not only have your support, but for you to be proud of me—all of me.

MOM: I’m happy we’ve both journeyed so far together and reached this common ground.

KIMBERLEY: Me too.

Kimberley McLeod is a DC-based media strategist. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of ELIXHER, an online destination for Black lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.

An Open Letter to Tyrese From a “Fat Girl”

7 May

April Dawn Ricchuito

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I loved Tyrese in The Fast & the Furious, but he’s is no Dr. Phil and perhaps he should quit trying to be.

In Tyrese’s latest interview with AllHipHop.com, the singer turned actor/author launched a brutal tirade against “fat” people. I’d have never guessed Tyrese to be a “chubby chaser,” but I certainly didn’t expect an author of self help books to be a “fat basher.” When asked if he felt an obligation to help people live a healthier lifestyle, Tyrese’s answer was gut wrenching and vomit inducing:

“No two situations are the same. If you are fat and nasty and you don’t like the way you look, do something about it. It’s simple.

When you take a shower and you put your fat, nasty body in the shower and by the time you get out, the mirrors are all steamed up so you don’t look at what you did to yourself. That may sound offensive or insensitive but ultimately, you are big as hell because you have earned that sh*t. You worked your a** off to eat everything in sight to get big as hell.

If you got a problem with the way you look, then you need to do something about it. Excuses sound best to the people that’s making them up.”

And now he’s offered somewhat of an apology on Twitter, saying:

“I’m not apologizing for what I said I’m apologizing for the bad choice of wording and execution of my point around obesity …/Y’all seen my documentary I was brought in this world from a plus size mother and my sisters are plus size as well.. I am concerned always/We always associate addictions to cocaine, Heroine, and or alcoholic abuse… Food is the #1 addiction in American #TruthTweet/This is what happens when you decide to not just be an artist or an actor but use your heart… It creates controversy and unwanted energy/I’m done with the topic… I’m sure my last round of tweets won’t be posted cause the goal is to get hits and traffic on your sites.”

While I’m all for empowering people to take charge of their own health, wellness, and fitness, there is nothing empowering about calling anyone the f word, nasty, or shaming people because of their weight or appearance. And not all people who are struggling with a weight issue are struggling because they cannot control their eating habits. Just like you said yourself Tyrese, no two situations are the same. Some people, (such as myself) struggle with a thyroid disorder; others have genetic issues that predispose them to weight gain, and these aren’t excuses I’m offering up–it’s science.

The old adage “What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than Sally” rings true, though. Gibson’s comments reveal more about himself than anyone else–particularly his own feelings of blame, shame, guilt, contempt, and disgust for himself–he revealed in a 2009 interview that he at one time had a severe body image issue, and wouldn’t even face himself in the mirror.

“How lucky is it that mirrors steam up after a hot shower?” Tyrese Gibson asks. “I didn’t have to look at what I’d done to myself.” And every morning for a year, he didn’t look.

Gibson went on to offer his own tips for weight loss and becoming comfortable with body image: establishing self love, maintaining control and working at your own pace.

Tyrese, those are great tips. But in the future, please don’t project your personal issues on the rest of the population–the bulk of America who is struggling with obesity. Self love is, as I’m sure you know, hard enough sometimes, without the media and celebrities force feeding us a bunch of negative bullshit about our less than perfect bodies, lives, partners, whatever. We can feel bad about ourselves all by ourselves, without you adding to it. Your negative comments are one thing this “fat girl” will not be eating. Bullshit, like yours, sounds best to the people who are spewing it.

A large part of making shift happen is accepting people for who they are and where they are; meeting them where they’re at. If “fat and nasty” is where they’re at, your comments aren’t going to help. Self love is necessary at every step of the journey; negative self talk and degrading yourself while looking in the mirror is in no way, shape, or form self love. Refusal to look in a mirror is not self love. Accepting the “fat and nasty” is. In fact, perhaps one of the greatest acts of self love is to find compassion for others–something your comments greatly lacked.

I am not asking you to feel sorry for anyone. The bottom line is that everyone should be accountable for their diet and everyone should exercise. However, losing weight is hard–even more so when you have odds against you, so be it a thyroid problem, a genetic predisposition to weight gain, a problem with emotional overeating, depression, an eating disorder, whatever.

What I am asking you to do, however, is to have consideration. Don’t have pity; have consideration.

We aren’t “fat and nasty” and we don’t eat everything in sight, which is why your comments were a little bit hard to digest. I have now let them go where they belong, Tyrese–the shitter.

And now I’m going to the gym.

-April Dawn Ricchuito

Children From Around The World Photographed with Their Toys

5 May

Toys can tell a whole story about the child’s background and family, and even the professions of the parents. In his photo series ‘Toy Stories’, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti traveled around the globe for 18-months and photographed children with their toys.

Gabriele would often play with kids before actually starting the photoshoot, and he noticed how differently children from different backgrounds accepted his presence:

“The richest children were more possessive. At the beginning, they wouldn’t want me to touch their toys, and I would need more time before they would let me play with them. In poor countries, it was much easier. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.” 

Children also ascribe similar functions to their toys – during his journey, Galimberti met a boy in Texas and a girl in Malawi who both believed their plastic dinosaurs would protect them from dangers at night. And even though the project is about children, photographer says he learned more about the parents – commonly toys represent their occupation and hobbies. Embark on a little journey through childhood and tell us your toy story in the comments!

Website: gabrielegalimberti.com

Chiwa – Mchinji, Malawi

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Jaqueline – Manila, Philippines

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Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya

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Julia – Tirana, Albania

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Orly – Brownsville, Texas toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-5

Botlhe – Maun, Botswana toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-6

Li Yi Chen – Shenyang, China toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-7

Alessia – Castiglion Florention, Italy

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Enea – Boulder, Colorado toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-9

Abel – Nopaltepec, Mexico toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-10

Allenah – El Nido, Philippines toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-11

Lucas – Sydney, Australia toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-12

Keynor – Cahuita, Costarica toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-13

Arafa & Aisha – Bububu, Zanzibar toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-15

Shara-Mumbia, India

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Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-17

Ryan – Johannesburg, South Africa

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Taha – Beirut, Lebanon

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Pavel – Kiev, Ukraine toy-stories-gabriele-galimberti-20

Watcharapom – Bangkok, Thailand

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America’s Next Top Model in South Africa

30 Apr

 

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Tyra Banks is expanding her America’s Next Top Model franchise to the motherland. The popular series is launching in South Africa with “Africa’s Next Top Model.” The reality competition will begin filming in Cape Town in August and will expand to Johannesburg as the season progresses.

“Africa’s Next Top Model” will feature 12 models from various African countries. The contestants will participate in various tasks over the course of 10 episodes before one winner is crowned.

Nigerian supermodel Oluchi Onweagba Orlandi will serve as host, producer and mentor as Banks does in the American-version of the series. Orlandi is internationally-renowned and has both experience and clout in the modeling business. She thinks “Africa’s Next Top Model” will be a commercial and cultural success.

“The African version of the franchise is long overdue and I expect the show to be a smashing success across the continent,” she said.

Famed producer Gavin Wratten will helm the project. He is also responsible for South Africa’s “Idols,” a spinoff of “American Idol.”

“Africa’s Next Top Model” will not be available for all television viewers in the beginning. It is being aired through M-Net, a subscription-based television service. The series will transition to M-Net’s AfricaMagic channel in late 2013.

America’s Next Top Model has expanded to other countries and continents. Africa is the fourth continent to birth a spinoff. It stretches to 36 countries, including China, Brazil, France, Canada and Italy.

Finding my Obama

30 Apr

When I saw this, I laughed and laughed and laughed, I’ve been single for Quite a Few Years now and every time someone asks me what do you want, what are you looking for, I will say, I want to find my Obama, my Obama.
The brand new web series Finding My Obama, Written by TV sitcom writers Antonia March and Jacqueline McKinley, the series follows a young single African-American, played by Nefetari Spencer, who is tired of games and players and in search of “a man of substance.” From dating to friends, to her thoughts on love and the ideal relationship, Nef is a familiar yet unique character. With a pinch of Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City) and a dab of the hit show “Girlfriends,” the formula for this series is not only embedded in the lives of many single women, but it also has a familiar tone that TV viewers can appreciate. Women all over the world view President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s relationship as the paradigm for lasting love. Their example has inspired a new web series called “Finding My Obama
Watch the first episode of the series below.

Fears of a Muslim in Boston

28 Apr

By Claire Calzonetti & Samuel Burke, CNN

When the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon last Monday, Pakistani doctor Haider Javed Warraich was eating lunch at a restaurant nearby.

As a doctor, his first reaction was to help the injured.

But he second-guessed his own response, believing that he could be viewed as a potential suspect because of his ethnicity.

“As a 20-something Pakistani male with dark stubble, would I not fit the bill?” Warraich wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times last week, saying, “I remember feeling grateful that I wasn’t wearing a backpack.”

He called home to tell his family that he hadn’t been hurt in the bombings, but purposely didn’t speak in his native language, Urdu, for fear that it would raise suspicion.

The Muslim community in Boston and across the country has strongly condemned the violence. And yet still, all these years after 9/11, the burden of association remains a heavy one.

“I did think about how I could help and I contacted my hospital,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview Wednesday. “But then these other thoughts did sort of make it complicated – my thoughts about being able to go back to the site itself.”

Learning that the Tsarnaev brothers are Muslim upset Warraich.

“It made me very angry,” he said. “I was disappointed that the Muslims who live in the United States and around the world have been trying very hard, especially since 9/11, to show everyone else that they are, in fact, peace-loving people.”

Warraich fears that acts by a minority of Muslims fulfill the stereotypes that many have of all adherents to Islam.

“The atrocities that these two brothers have committed have pushed us back,” he said of the Boston bombings, which the Tsarnaevs are alleged to have carried out. Warraich now worries that Muslims will have to start from scratch.

Incorrect and inflammatory comments on the internet have been a source of consternation in the wake of the Boston attacks, but Warraich said the online response to his op-ed showed him the positive side of internet commentary.

“It does give me a lot of hope,” he said. “I’ve experienced that people in the United States, people around the world, use the Internet as a way to reach out to others, as a way to express empathy. And I have received a lot of empathy and a lot of kindness from the people of this city and this country.”

Warraich has returned to work in the ICU of the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston where many of the seriously injured are being treated. It is also where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been treated.

“These are times that are, in some ways, unprecedented,” he said. “But in some ways, this is business as usual. Patients are here; we are treating them. And I’m happy to say that all of the victims are now, at least the ones who are in the Beth Israel Deaconess, are now out of critical condition. And that is what we are really focused on at this point.”Fears of a Muslim in Boston