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Weekend Links – 11.19.2010

19 Nov

Hey everybody! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week and for my American readers, are geared up for an awesome Thanksgiving! I’m on my way to Light Up Night, a holiday extravaganza in downtown Pittsburgh. Expect pictures! Anyhow, here’s some reading for you this Friday evening!

◊ Like always, here’s Danielle LaPorte, dropping truth bombs all over the place. Just read.

◊ Here’s an interesting documentary about Shadeism, the prejudice and divide that exists between darker and lighter skinned members of the same community. It isn’t very long, and is definitely worth the watch.

◊ Amazing art by Lerms on Kiss My Black Ads.

◊ On Miseducated (one of my new favorite blogs!), How to See People for Who They Really Are. Hmm…

◊ For every order of Festive Light underwear you purchase, Pact will donate a solar-powered LED lamp to Haitian earthquake victims, many of which feel unsafe at night with the energy scarcity in the area. Plus, your booty will have bokeh on it! What’s to lose?

◊ Hearing my boyfriend’s stories of how amazing Istanbul was makes me want to go there – but this post on Decor8 makes me even more hopeful to pay a visit to Turkey!

◊ Is gossip and negativity something you have to deal with? It’s been an issue in my life recently, but this is a really great article (from Oprah magazine no less!) That sheds an interesting light on it.

◊ I admire crafty people! Here is a template to make a cute little owl calendar via What About Orange.

Awesome. (via Kiss My Black Ads)

◊I’m a huge fan of paying it forward – random acts of kindness tend to spread, you know. If you’re stuck on how toss love bombs throughout your community, look no farther.

◊ Did you know there’s a new art exhibit that is visible seen from space? Well…now you do.

◊The controversial drink Four Loko has been all over the news lately – and now the FDA is taking a stand. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard the stuff can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. Also, for your enjoyment, a man drinking Four Loko for the sake of journalism.

Todrick Hall Does McDonalds

That’s all from me! Have anything to share? Leave it in the comments!

xoxo, Tara


The Girl Effect

17 Nov

So, we have a situation on our hands.

This is a cause I feel very deeply about. While I’ve mentioned The Girl Effect in posts before, I felt that it was necessary to dedicate an entire post because ladies (and gentlemen)? This is extremely important. I’ll keep it brief, because as I said, all of these videos express the sentiment far better than I can.

Soul-stealer: Happy (post)-Halloween

10 Nov


And that is my attempt at a ducklips + fierce hybrid, although I’m not sure how it corresponds to my peacock costume. I’m not exactly sure how well that worked out. So happy belated Halloween, everybody! Unfortunately, I do know it’s been a little while since All Hallow’s Eve. Here is the finished product of my costume – unfortunately, due to time constraints, it didn’t turn out exactly as I intended, but due to the peacock necklace I was wearing (not pictured – which is sad, because I love that necklace!) I also intended to style up my hair in a fro-hawk, but due to my hairstyling fail, I ended up leaving it as is.


Me and my friend Lynn, who dressed as Tonya Harding. Not pictured, our friend Kaitlyn, who dressed as Nancy Kerrigan. Hilarious! The face paint was from a carnival I had attended right before – I picked the “Princess” option and talked to her about my costume for later that night, so she did it in green and blue. I’m not sure how much it added to the over-all effect, but I shimmied my way into that dress to not smudge it – and managed to screw up my eye makeup instead. Oh well.


This cat “tattoo” is unrelated, but I also got it at the carnival. I had to get a picture of it, because it was too cute!

So, how did you guys spend Halloween?

xoxo, Tara

Music Feature – Esperanza Spalding

4 Oct

Esperanza Spalding, aside from having an amazing afro, is a jazz musician from Portland, Oregon, and my latest girl-crush. While she’s reached some exposure in the jazz world (and beyond), I still think that she is sorely under-exposed.

More about her, via her official website:

If “esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope, then bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding could not have been given a more fitting name at birth. Blessed with uncanny instrumental chops, a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren, and a natural beauty that borders on the hypnotic, the 25-year-old prodigy-turned-pro might well be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music.

If “esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope, then bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding could not have been given a more fitting name at birth. Blessed with uncanny instrumental chops, a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren, and a natural beauty that borders on the hypnotic, the 25-year-old prodigy-turned-pro might well be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music.

I have recently had the pleasure of seeing Esperanza Spalding perform – and she is amazing. Absolutely amazing. This talented bassist (although she plays other instruments too) is only twenty-five (!) and has performed for the likes of President Barack Obama at his Nobel Prize Ceremony.

Even though I went to her concert at the Byham Theater kind of tired – it had been a long day, alright?? – I was captivated by her soulful performance and the sheer passion she exuded. Every note seemed to light her on fire and the radiant smile on her face was a testament to how much she loved music. Even when she paused her playing, she would close her eyes and hum along to her band, the Chamber Music Society. And while she writes her own music, it amazed me how she was able to play intricate musical compositions while singing along. Take it from a former piano player: that is NOT easy. I became an instant fan.

For more information on Esperanza Spalding, check out her official website. To preview more of her music, listen to the player on her website or her fan station on

If you have any music you’d like me to check out, leave me a comment or send me an email! (Contact info in the about me page)



Poem: Nikki Giovanni – Ego Tripping

1 Sep

This is my favorite poem, and has been for many years. (as those of you who correspond with me on AOL Instant Messenger would know) So here it is, for your reading pleasure:

Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)

by Nikki Giovanni

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat’s meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…

xoxo, Tara

Snapshots – 5.19.2010

19 May
Suuup. Here is a photographic digest from my life! These were from the past week or so as I found myself in all sorts of exciting locales around the Baltimore area. I am trying to cram in time with the boyfriend before he leaves for Turkey, plus a few surprise opportunities came up that I couldn’t pass up. Depending on how eventful my days are, I may make more of these posts. Let me know what you think in the comments! By the way, I am open to name suggestions, because “Snapshots” is Blah.

Photos from Belmont House

My boyfriend’s program had a picnic at the picturesque Belmont House in Elkridge, MD. It was a great place with fantastic food, gorgeous nature and a wonderful backdrop for Ian’s budding fashion photography career (Ha!). We took an impromptu nature walk towards the lake (the path seemed endless…and full of goose poop towards the end) to snap some photos together.

Hill Harper in Baltimore, MD

I was lucky when my cousin decided he couldn’t use his ticket for the annual Enoch Pratt Booklover’s Breakfast. Although I was a little wary when I found out I had to make it downtown by 8:30 in the morning, I decided at the last-minute the night before to just get up early and go. I don’t regret it! I had a great time and got to meet Hill Harper, who was quite cute in person, as well as pick up his book Letters to a Young Sister. While I do think I am too old for that book, it is an excellent read for those of you who are high school age looking for some guidance told with frankness and honesty. And later…

Pho from Baltimore Pho in Hollins Market. Mmm...

Oh my goodness. Seriously. Oh. My. Goodness. I had never eaten pho before this day, but I am officially an addict. This pho was seafood “Hollins Style” (subtract some of the noodles, replace them with veggies) at Baltimore Pho. Highly recommended. I took half of it home and enjoyed the succulent shrimp (seriously – look at that shrimp) two days later. Add some plum sauce and my mouth is feeling blissful fireworks of flavor. Oh, and that is my dad in the background.

That’s all for now! Has there anything been going on with you guys? Let me know in the comments!



What Can Be Learned from Josephine Baker

15 Apr

Josephine Baker

How do you start an article about the inimitable Josephine Baker? She is one of my true idols and a true inspiration – and I think she could inspire you, too. While it is nearly impossible to encapsulate her fabulous persona into a short blog post, here are some bits of inspiration from the life of La Baker.

  • Her achievements are vast: She is the first African-American to start in a major motion picture, the first to integrate an American concert hall and the first to become a world-famous entertainer. Not only that, but she is a noted contributor to the American Civil Rights Movement, as well as an assistant to the French Resistance during World War II. Talk about multi-faceted.
  • Baker was so popular with the French that even the Nazis were reluctant to cause her harm while they occupied France during World War II. In turn, she became an “honorable correspondent” for the French military, passing along secrets as she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Japanese officials and Italian bureaucrats. She sometimes smuggled secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music.
  • She protested in her own way against racism. She refused to play to segregated music halls, prompting integration for her sake. She also adopted twelve orphans (Angelina, eat your heart out!) from various countries around the world
Simply put, Josephine Baker means a lot to me. I first heard of her when reading the book Beautylicious by Jenyne M. Raines. After hearing extravagant stories about what a fascinating woman Ms. Baker was, I had to learn more about her myself. And learn I did.

As a young black woman, to me, she redefines what it is to be a black beauty in an early era where faces like mine were notably missing. She partially embodies one of my favorite eras of history, the Harlem Renaissance. Generations ahead of the curve, she learned to do what she wanted, when she wanted, and became an international icon in the process. The woman was fearless, fantastic. Who else would stroll down the Champs-Élysées, fabulous from the clothes on her back to the diamond collar that adorned the neck of her pet cheetah (yes, cheetah), Chiquita? Her influence and legacy continues to be seen in many of the other women I view as personal inspirations – from Eartha Kitt, to Diana Ross, to Beyonce Knowles.

One of the most amazing facets of Josephine Baker is just that – she is a unique, multi-faceted woman. Not only is she a style icon, but she was a groundbreaking performer, a civil rights pioneer and a dutiful global citizen.

ps – My deepest apologies for this late post.