The Importance of Being Reese: February 2013

The Onion: Public Enemy Number 1

Unreal.

Right now, that is the only word that comes to mind.

As a mother, I can't imagine how I would handle this situation. Actually, yes I can. And in every one of those scenarios I see playing out in my head, I'm letting out a Xena-like battle cry, while kicking down the front door of The Onion and going to town on whoever tweeted this comment last night.


What's even more disturbing than the actual tweet is that the people (of all races) who understandably flocked to The Onion's social media sites to voice their displeasure with the inappropriate tweet, were greeted with comments like this:


*Sigh*

Is this really what we've come to? Instead of addressing the issue at hand, the fact that The Onion tweeted something that was highly inappropriate, we instead try to excuse their behavior. Shrugging it off because The Onion is a well-known "satire" network.

I understand satire just as well as the next. In the right situation it can be hilarious. However, bullying an innocent little girl is never funny. It's disturbing. 
 
This shouldn't be an issue of race. This shouldn't be an issue about whether or not she knew the comment was made. This shouldn't be an issue about satire. We need to focus on the fact that someone's 9-year old child was just publicly humiliated.

So if you think that tweet was funny, or you don't take issue with what was said, I want you to take a good long look at this picture and tell me that it still doesn't bother you.


I refuse to sit idly by and condone this sort of behavior. I may not be able to do much, but simply by choosing to click the unlike/unfollow button on their Facebook and Twitter page I am taking a stand with Quvenzhane.  I hope you all can do the same.

Until next time...

XOXO Reese


Photo Cred 1) Zimbo.com 
Photo Cred 2) Hollywood reporter.com

How To Approach A Suspected Pregnant Woman

While perusing the produce section for some veggies to juice for dinner last night, I overheard this conversation that made me cringe with embarrassment for all involved. It went a little something like this:

Strange Guy: Hi miss do you need help carrying that box?
Strange Lady: I'm okay, thank you though.
Strange Guy: You sure? You really shouldn't be carrying something so heavy while you're pregnant
Strange Lady: (With a look of bewilderment on her face) What do you mean? I'm not pregnant...

And end scene.

Yeah, you can imagine how quickly that went downhill. I honestly didn't know it was possible for a person's face to get as red as that poor man's did. It was brutal. But it was a lesson that needed to be learned.

So listen up folks! Unless you are absolutely certain that a woman is pregnant (and by certain, I mean that lady better be discussing the impending birth of her child...while standing in Babies-R-Us...holding a box of newborn diapers... wearing a shirt that says:

This-->>

This-->>

Or This-->>

Don't ever, ever, ever  mention anything about her suspected pregnancy until she confirms it.

So in review, what have we learned??


Here endth the lesson...

 XOXO Reese

Photo cred 1) funnymaternityshirtz.blogspot.com Photo cred 2) funny-answers.feedio.net Photo cred 3) cafepress.com Photo cred 4) iwastesomuchtime.com

3 African American Women You Probably Haven't Heard of But Really Should Know

As promised, this month I'm putting a greater emphasis on Black History Month. So far I've already read the "I have A Dream" speech to Jasmine and started reading The Blacker The Berry. Hopefully by next week I will have attempted to whip up a traditional African meal.

However, for now, I would like to introduce you to three phenomenal African American women who have been instrumental in paving the road for ALL woman. These woman haven't really had the acknowledgement that they deserve,  so I'm taking the time to spotlight their lives and achievements. Here are their incredible stories.


Sara Remond


More than likely you've all heard of Rosa Parks, but did you know that she wasn't the first African American to refuse to get up after sitting down in a "Whites only" section?

Born into a financially stable family in 1826, Sara Remond was taught the value of a good education at an early age. After moving around a bit in an attempt to find a small town in which their eight children could thrive, the Remond's settled down in Salem and opened a successful catering, provisioning and hairdressing  business.  In 1835, after successfully passing the entrance exam to Salem High School, Sara and her sister were ultimately forced to leave within the week, due to the racist school board.

Outraged at the treatment their daughters had been subjected to, the Remond's left Salem and moved to Rhode Island where they enrolled both of their daughters in an all black school. From here, Sara took more interest in activism and debate.

In 1853, during an Opera performance that she had purchased a ticket to attend, Sara was forcibly removed and pushed down a flight of stairs on claims that she was sitting in a "white's only" section. Sara eventually sued; and won, something that was not commonly achieved by black people during this period. As compensation for her embarrassment and injuries, Sara received  $500, and although it did not cover her medical bills, it served as evidence that how she had been treated was wrong.

Sara went on to become a lecturer and spent time in Britain where she combined her lecturing with studying French, Latin, English Literature, music and elocution. She spoke out about the inhuman treatment of slaves in the US, bringing some Britain's to tears. In 1861, Sara published a short autobiography in which she proclaimed "prejudice against colour has always been the one thing, above all others, which has cast its gigantic shadow over my whole life." She later became a physician, and ultimately served as a reminder that despite what others thought, African American women could be just as educated and cultivated if given the opportunity.

*******

 Valaida Snow


 Nicknamed "Little Louis" by Louis Armstrong, Valaida Snow learned how to play a number of instruments as a child including: cello, bass, banjo, violin, mandolin, harp, accordion, clarinet, trumpet and saxophone. Along with her amazing ability to master a multitue of musical instrument, Snow also danced and sang.

At the height of her career, Snow was playing concerts all throughout the US, China and Europe. During this time, she recorded the hit song "High hat, trumpet and Rhythm." She also began to take more of an interest in acting and began making films with her husband. 

In the 1930's Snows career really took off and she traveled international for filming and recording.  While on tour in Denmark in 1941, Snow was arrested by the Nazi's and held in a Nazi run prison. Upon her release, Snow attempted to continue her career, but she never fully recovered from the abuse she suffered while in prison. In 1956, she died of a brain hemorrhage in the backstage of the Palace Theater.

Snow served as a voice for the thousand of African Americans who were killed during the Holocaust.  
*******

 Barbra Jordan


Last semester, in one of my classes, we had the opportunity to analyze a speech given by Barbra Jordan in front of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal. Before that class, I  had never heard of her, but as I listened to her deliver a speech that she had written just hours before flawlessly delivering it in front of congress, I could not help but be amazed at her rhetorical capabilities. She spoke intelligently, powerfully and persuasively. (If you're interested you can check out her speech here)

Despite having come from a poor, predominantly African American,  neighborhood Jordan strove for excellence in her studies throughout high school and was accepted into Texas Southern University. After completing her degree at TSU, she went on to pursue her law degree at Boston University Law School.

In 1966 Jordan used her extraordinarily orator skills to help win a seat in the Texas Legislature, making her the first African American to do so. In 1979 Jordan once again stole the spotlight with her speech at the Democratic National Convention by proclaiming "My presence here...is one additional bit of evidence that the American dream need not forever be deferred."

Sadly, Jordan developed multiple sclerosis, which eventually led to her leaving the political world behind. Still, what she managed to accomplish in the little time that she was in office was nothing short of spectacular.
*******

I really hope you guys enjoyed this brief look into the lives of these phenomenal women. Stay tuned for next week as I will be posting about 3 African American Men who have contributed greatly to this society, but have not received the recognition that deserve.

Until next time,

XOXO Reese

Photo cred 1)  www.blackpast.org Photo cred 2) harlemworldmag.com Photo cred 3) Biography.com

5 Tips For New Bloggers


After managing to survive in the blog-o-verse for the past year, I officially no longer think of myself as a newbie blogger. I have to admit, when I first started blogging back in January, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I remember writing my first post thinking "this is such an awesome post, that I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow to find that I have over 1,000 followers and at least 100 comments." You can imagine my supreme disappointment when I woke up the next day to discover I had not one. single. comment. Or follower for that matter.

So, I picked up the pieces of my tattered pride and came to the realization that I was going to have to get tough if I wanted to make it. I started researching and modifying my blog so that it was more approachable to my readers. Little by little I started to notice I was getting more frequent page views and more followers.

Now I've decided that it's my duty to pass on my lesson learned so that other bloggers will have an easier journey than I. So here are my top 5 tips for new bloggers.


# 1. Choose Your Font Wisely  
This is one of the most common mistakes I see in new blogs. As a blogger, You’ll find that it’s difficult to maintain your readership if your readers can’t read what your writing. Although those fancy and cutesy fonts may look appealing, they’re also extremely difficult to decipher. Eventually they’ll stop trying and move on to another blog.  Which is the exact opposite of what you, as a new blogger, want.  Sometimes it truly is best to just K.I.S.S.

#2. Word Verification No-No
This is a biggie. If you have word verification on for comments, please remove it. ASAP.  I know from personal experience that most readers will not leave comments if you have it turned on. So if you truly want to engage your readers, be sure to fix this immediately. If you’re worried about people spamming your blog then set it up so that no anonymous people can leave comments. Here's how you turn off word verification:
  1. Go to your blogger dashboard. Click the edit tool between your "new post" and "view blog button". Scroll to the bottom of the drop down menu until you see settings. Select this option.

2.  Under the settings menu, which will appear on the left side of the screen, select the posts and
     comments option.

3. Next scroll down until you see the option that says "word verification." Click on the little
    triangle and change the yes to a no.
4. Be sure to hit the orange "save setting" button in the top right-hand corner of the screen

 #3. Don't Be A No-Reply Blogger
This is a common blogging faux pas I just discovered I had been committing myself (again). This may seem harmless, but if you are a No-reply blogger, this means that although you are leaving comments on other blogs, when the blogger receives the notification email from your comment and tries to reply back to you, they are unable to do so. So if you think that bloggers are ignoring your comments, this may be why. If you are a no-reply blogger you’ll want to fix this immediately. Here’s how:
  
1. Go to your blogger dashboard and click on the blogger profile button. You will find this     button in the top right-hand corner of your blogger dashboard.  Select the blogger profile option.

2. Once you get to the next screen, click the orange edit profile button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. 

3. When you arrive at your new screen look for the “show my email” option under the privacy heading. This should be the second option from the top. Make sure the box is checked.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the save button


 #4. Blog Hop Till You Drop

If you've never heard of a blog hop, then please allow me to give you a run-down on what could most possibly be the most important form of networking that a blogger can routinely engage in. Blog hops are directories that you can link your blog to so that others can visit/follow you, and you can visit/follow other bloggers. Most of the bigger blogs have established their own blog hops, and some of them can get up to 300 participants. So it is a GREAT way to network and meet new friends.

The one thing you don't want to do is just add your blog to the linky and not visit others. People will not just magically begin to follow you. You have to get out there and work for it. Visit some of the other blogs and leave RELEVANT comments. Please don't leave a "New follower, love your blog, be sure to follow back" comment on a post that a blogger has just written about how she was just diagnosed with cancer. (And yes, in case you were wondering, I have seen that before). READ some of the posts that you are commenting on. You may just find a new bloggy friend for life. Check out a few of my favorite blog/social media hops:  

Lovely Thursdays 
The GFC Hop
Aloha Friday Blog Hop
  #5. Be Genuine

Don't get caught up in the craziness of your follower count. Remember the true reason you started to blog, whatever that may be, and tap back into that. Blog about your life. Your kiddos. Your hubby. What you made for dinner. Whatever it is that makes you smile. Blog about it. Your readers can tell when you aren't being genuine. So be true to yourself and your readers. Even if you feel you don't quite fit into any particular category, blog anyway. Start your own niche. I can promise you that there will always be someone out there that can relate to what you're blogging about. So these are my tips for you guys. I truly hope they help.

Now that I've shared my tips, tell me, what advice do you have for new bloggers?? Sound off in the comment section below.

Snow Day and Minnie Mouse Dress Up

Welcome to sunny Carolina! Where the bi-polar weather can change from a balmy 70 degrees to a pseudo snow storm in less than 48 hours. 

Based on the fact that I saw at least 7 students wearing shorts and flip flops on campus on Friday, I'm going to predict that there are going to be a lot of sick people here in the Carolina's in the next few weeks.  Time to stock up on Airborne...



In other news: Saturday (before the psuedo snow storm) I allowed Jasmine to pick out her outfit. The outfit she choose confirmed both my greatest fear and made me incredibly proud. My daughter is, in fact, a diva. Which is adorable now, but when she's 16 and refuses to wear the same pair of jeans twice, this could potentially come back to bite us in the butt.


Anyhow if you're in the Carolina's, I hope you had some time to take your littles out to enjoy some snow.

P.S. I think it may be time for Punxsutawney Phil to opt for early retirement.
P.S.S. Seriously, what is the life expectancy for a groundhog anyway??

XOXO Reese

Without Wax

Yesterday morning was the type of morning that just screamed "stay in bed swaddled in the heating blanket all day." In fact, I probably would have had I not heard the whimpers coming from Jasmine's bedroom in the wee hours of the morning. Despite the fact that just mere hours before I had fervently proclaimed that the only way I was getting out of bed was if the apartment caught fire.... or if Channing Tatum showed up at our front door, I trudged out of bed and rescued my baby from whatever nightmare she was having. 
Once Jasmine was awake, I basically migrated from the bedroom to the couch. Taking the heating blanket along with me of course. Our day was spent lazily flicking though the channels attempting to find something halfway decent to watch. 

Around 2:00 there was a knock at the door. Thankfully I had just attempted to control my hair and put on a pair of jeans because imagine my surprise when I opened the door and was greeted by a gorgeous bouquet of roses and daises. Beautiful huh? It was definitely enough to spur me into actually accomplishing a few of the things on my to-do list.

I was working my way though the laundry when it occurred to me that I hadn't even read the card that came with the flowers. I mean I was 99.9% certain that the flowers were from James, and I was so amazed at how beautiful they were I hadn't even paid attention to the card. So I stopped what I was doing and opened the card. And there it was, two simple words that make my face light up and my heart soar. Two simple words that wouldn't mean much to the casual observer but mean so much to me. There written in the center of the card were two words: without wax.

Because I feel that at least half of y'all are scratching your heads in an attempt to understand the meaning behind these words, please allow me to explain.  In ancient Greece, when an artist would discover a flaw in one of their sculptures, they would use wax to hide the imperfection. If a sculpture was flawless no wax was necessary and it was without wax. Therefore if someone ever tells you they love you without wax, it means their love for you exemplifies perfection and is authentic and flawless. 

The first time I encountered this expression, I was reading Deception Point (really great book by the way). Throughout the book, the main characters husband repeatedly tells her he loves her without wax, but refuses to tell her what it means. Finally, at the very end of the book (seriously it was on the last page) she discovers what it means. Since then, I've always used it when I'm writing a letter or note to James. It's our thing. Most women my age have husbands who say "Yeah, I love you boo." my guy says "I love you without wax." It's amazing how two simple words can make you feel like the most cherished woman in the world. 

So wherever you guys are, whether your single, in a relationship or your facebook status is set to "it's complicated," know that I appreciate how amazing you guys have been this past year. And I simply adore you...without wax.

 Happy Valentines Day
XOXO Reese

Handmade Valentine's Day Inspiration

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching tomorrow, it's time to once again whip out those debit cards that are still attempting to recover from their abuse during Christmas and spend more even more money proving just how much you care for your special someone...and your parents...and your friends...and your kids teachers...your pastor...your babysitter. The list is seemingly endless.

I'm proud to say that I will no longer be amongst these crowds of last mintue shoppers frantically fighting over the last overpriced, obnoxiously large"I Love You Beary Much" Teddy Bear at Wal-mart. No, I will be in another crowd entirely, the DIYer line in Hobby Lobby and Michael's. Check out a few of the things I'll be creating tomorrow:





  (I'm in LOVE with the idea of stringing lights on a ladder. How cool is that?)








 
 


I'd love to know if you guys have any ideas for Valentine's Day. If you have a few and would love to share, maybe something you've created yourself, leave a link and I'll come check it out. I may even feature it next week.

Until next time.

XOXO Reese

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce

I confess. Although I have more than 100 yummy recipes pinned to the foodie section of my Pinterest board, I've only tried out less than a dozen. I know, I know it's horrible. So horrible in fact that I've imposed a new rule. I am no longer allowed to pin anything food related to my foodie board until I try out a few more of my already pinned recipes.

So with the risk of being exiled from the foodie section of my pinterest board hanging over my head, I decided to get to work. Hence last night's impromptu homemade crockpot applesauce. It looks pretty delicious right? Best thing about it, it's super easy. Allow me to show you just how easy.

Ingredients:
8-10 apples (the sweeter, the better)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 of sugar (I decreased the amount of granulated sugar and added two spoonfulls of brown sugar for taste)
a dash of cinnamon

First you're going to clean, peel and dice all of your shiny pretty apples.


Next, toss your apples into the crockpot, mix in your sugar, and top with a dash of cinnamon.

Now that you have thoroughly impressed everyone with your exemplary culinary capabilities, you can chillax and let the crockpot handle the rest. Cook it on medium for about 3 hours, and you should be good to go. As always, if you try it out, be sure to swing back on by and let me know what you thought of it.  

To Everyone Watching The Super Bowl Now


Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials of 2012

Since I'm not a big fan of either of the teams playing in the Super Bowl this year, I won't be paying much attention to the game itself. As for the the commercials and the half-time show, now that's another story. From what I've seen so far, the commercials this year are going to be hilarious.

Since everyone is probably glued to their television right now, I decided to keep it short, sweet and hilarious.  So, here's a recap of some of my favorite Super Bowl Commercials from last year:

5. The Dogs Strike Back-Volkswagen
4. Baby Sling Shot- Doritos
3. Happy Grad-Chevy
2. Vampire Party-Audi

1. Vocal Kombat- The Voice

And now my absolute favorite commercial from last year, The Vocal Kombat Commercial. (Sorry, the only way to view this one is to follow the link. Apparently embedding this vid is not allowed. But still it's definitely worth it)

If you guys think I missed one, drop a link in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out. Also, as soon as the commercials from this year start circulating the web, I'll post a new list with my faves from this year

Happy Watching
XOXO Reese

Black History Month In Our Home

Black History Month is a big month for me for a few obvious reasons, and a few not so obvious ones.  For one, I'm a firm believer that in knowing where you are from, you'll have a better idea of where you're heading. Of course there are some things I will never truly know about my direct lineage. My ability to trace my family history ends with my great-grandmother, (whom I'm lucky enough to still have in my life).

Still, this doesn't mean that I can't tap into my inner Holmes and try to connect a few dots myself. For instance, recently I was able to locate an African American newspaper that was established in the early 1900's in the town my grandmother lived in as a child.  I won't go into details concerning my family's history. We're all mature enough to understand the implications of having been an African American during those times. To sum it up, it's sad.

Although  own personal family history is something I may never fully know, the history of my people as a whole is something I can definitely learn and pass on to my own daughter. Growing up all over the world has given me an interesting perspective on how Black history is taught throughout various schools. In some schools, it is only briefly mentioned, and then quickly shoved aside, like that one Uncle that always makes inappropriate jokes. In others, it is studied quite extensively.

I understand it can be an uncomfortable topic for many. I suppose in some ways people expect that  simply mentioning slavery will cause anger and shame. I don't blame people today for what happened then, just as you shouldn't feel shame for what beliefs your ancestors may have held more than 100 years ago. I will, however, place blame if those same beliefs continue to poison the minds of today and the history of the generations before us is blatantly ignored because people feel that it does not apply to them. That is not just a problem, it is THE problem. As the saying goes, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

I also know there are a lot of black people who aren't exactly fond of celebrating black history month, and I understand the hesitation. We shouldn't be relegated to just one month; it should be something that we take pride in and celebrate daily. Who knows where we would be today if not for those amazing, self-less leaders and entrepreneurs? The way I see it, they fought for us, now it's time for us to fight for them and keep their memories, their dreams, their beliefs alive. If I have to fight tooth and nail for one month for that recognition, then I will continue to do so until people understand that Black history is a part of American history and begin to incorporate that into our schools.

In the end we're all fighting for the same thing, respect, understanding and an acknowledgement of the great leaders that paved the way for us. So this month, I'm not waiting for you guys to celebrate it on your own; no I'm bringing the celebration to you. I've set aside a few goals and activities this month that I'd like to share with you. I encourage you all to take a bit of time out this month to come up with a few activities on your own that you'd like to participate in with your families.

For the month of February I'd like to... 

  • Share at least two posts with you guys about two influential African Americans that have contributed greatly to this beautiful country and yet we don't hear much about.
  • Read The Blacker the Berry
  • Watch Roots (again, it's been a while)
  • Listen to the full I Have a Dream speech, and read it to Jasmine.
  • Buy a few children's books about Black History to read to Jasmine.
  • Cook at least one classic African dish

As the month progresses, I'm sure I'll find other ways to get involved. I encourage you all to do the same. Black History Month should not be celebrated exclusively by African Americans. Don't let the fact that you feel uncomfortable dissuade you from learning more about this beautiful country and the men and women who have paved the way for ALL of us. I'm hopeful that in my lifetime I will be able to witness, not a celebration of Black history, but a celebration of a completed American History.


"We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice." --Carter Woodson
Happy History Month  
XOXO Reese

Photo cred 1) Tallblondestyle.com